Saving La Familia
by Donna Del Oro
GENRE: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
A romantic suspense comedy set in Silicon Valley, a young Latina teacher, Dina Salazar, is asked by her Mexican-born grandmother to rescue her cousins from a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. After all, her stern grandmother tells her, she is the “smart one” in the family. To do so, she has to recruit help from her hated ex-fiance. What’s a girl to do when “la familia” calls?
SAVING LA FAMILIA by Donna Del Oro, about a latina teacher who’s recruited by her Mexican-born grandmother to save her cousins from a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. It’s a romantic-suspense comedy with many “buen dichos”!
Grandma Gómez—”Life is like an artichoke. It takes a lot of peeling to get to the heart of things.”
How did I, in three short months, get to the heart of my Mexican-American family? It wasn’t easy, believe me. Especially since I was the family’s desgraciada. The disgraced one. Ever since I turned eighteen and had my legal name changed from Dolores—which means aches and pains in Spanish—to Dina. My namesake, Grandma Dolores Gómez, refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence for about a year after the name change. Before that, I was simply the family brat and rebel. The know-it-all.
But you see, Grandma was the heart of the matter. And the big, dark secrets she kept closed up in her heart all got ex- posed in those tumultuous months. And before I could blink and realize what was happening, I was roped into a scheme to rescue cousins I never knew I had out of the deadly clutches of a Mexican drug cartel. Why was I chosen, you ask? Me, Dina Salazar, the desgraciada? A single schoolteacher with a long line of loser-boyfriends? How did I end up looking up the barrel of a cartel commando’s automatic weapon? Come along with me and I’ll tell you.
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
–I’d love to be clairvoyant, like my main character, Athena Butler in my Delphi Bloodline series.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
–I love to sing barbershop and I’ve been singing with the Sacramento Valley Chorus for many years.
When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what features do you start with?
–Dina Salazar’s lively, sparkling green eyes (like my daughter’s) and her quick, warm smile.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
–I’m both. I plot most of the story in my head, but as I write, I allow myself the freedom to make changes as necessary.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?
–Since SAVING LA FAMILIA is all about love, family and what you’re willing to risk to help your family, I was reminded of the importance of your extended family. How some of them might drive you crazy, might make you angry or frustrated, or might be incomprehensible to you. Nevertheless, I was reminded how strongly you are shaped by your childhood with those very same people. And how connected you are to them even though some of them may have passed on.
Where to start? Overall, I really loved the book. Great dialogue, characters you actually will like, a very plausible plot that is relevant, and some very tense moments. I will have to admit that I haven’t read a Latina book before, so it was interesting. I live in Texas, so a lot of the references I got were wonderful. However, I felt like the grandmother was too hypercritical for me. Once you read her back story, I felt like she really needed to lay off Dina. Just because Dina wanted a different life from her siblings, didn’t make her a bad person or give up her heritage.
Dina is hilarious, loyal, and at odds with The Hated One (Rick). I loved the conflict between them and their back story is interesting for sure. Especially after hearing everything that went down with the breakup and why. Plus, there is an added UGH! moment where you just can’t help but feel for Rick. For me, it just made me love him more, and really wanted their relationship to work. Trust for these two is hard-fought, but in the end, they truly loved each other.
The actual storyline with the cartel is frightening. Yes, we read about it and think, that’s awful, but Ms. Del Oro makes you feel you are experiencing the same emotions, thoughts and seeing the villains through your eyes, not just theirs. And yes, the villains, dead or alive, are awful but they are supposed to be. The barroom scene in the end with Dina, Lisa, Rick, and Jesus is frightening and hilarious at the same time.
Again, overall, I really loved the book. You can’t pick your family but they are there for you in end. The Mexican/Spanish culture has taught us we should embrace it, not fight it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not doing research, writing novels, or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal-winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.
Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.
Contact me at:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Donna-Del-Oro/e/B003AUDSCY
Buy Link: The book will be free during the tour.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.