West Side Love Story
Grade : A

West Side Love Story transplants that old Capulet/Montague tale to Texas and gives us a fun, spirited and fresh take on that tale of forbidden love.  In the hands of Priscilla Oliveras, the old becomes new, and fun and sexual combustibility prevail.

San Antonio native and E.R. nurse Mariana Capuleta is, for once, out and enjoying a New Year celebration at a rooftop party.  She’s rescued from an unwanted advance from a too-forward creep by a tall and handsome man, which leads to a warm and exciting midnight kiss – from which she runs into the distance, leaving her mystery prince in the dust.

Months later, Mariana’s all-female mariachi band - comprised of herself and her sisters - has made the finals of a big local contest.  It’s a first for an ensemble of their kind, and Mariana is under pressure to make it work.  She has to defy her foster father to do this, sneaking her teenaged sisters out of the house so they can make the competition. But it will be worth it, as the winner’s fee will help save the family finances.

CPA Angelo Montero, the co-participant in Mariana’s New Year’s Eve kiss, is – little does she know – spying on her progress.  His uncle runs the mariachi competition, and Mariana’s father and Angelo’s Uncle Hugo are bitter business rivals, part and parcel of a decades-old interfamily feud. Angelo’s uncle covets that top spot in the contest for Los Reyes, his own family mariachi band, in which Angelo performs.  Winning is important to Angelo too; if he clinches the top spot, the contest fee will finally give him cash enough to start his own consulting firm, which means moving out of the Montero family shadow and finally getting to do his own thing.

Mariana and Angelo cannot resist each other, no matter how hard their relatives work to keep them apart.  They begin to date in secret and to fall in love on the sly.  Can the Capuleta and Montero overcome their family feud to make a blissful ending? What will they do about their families - and who will win the battle of the mariachi bands?

What a great ride, and what a fun love story!  I defy readers to consume West Side Love Story and avoid falling in love with Angelo, or Mariana and Angelo’s love story.  I mean, he crushes on her while watching her mariachi band play Amor Prohibido - do you expect me NOT to love this book?

Angelo combines geekiness and seductiveness with weariness and a great romantic soul.  Mariana is tightly-wound and in need of someone who can help her have fun and relax; she’s devoted to her family, and her relationships with her sisters, especially Cat, are beautifully handled.

The terrain of life in Texas for Latin families is beautifully written and realized, as is the book’s treatment of foster families. Angelo and Mariana both love their families, and while some members may not be willing to accept the death of their family feud, the rest love them back and are willing to do what they can to see them happy.

If you’re hankering to learn more about the world of mariachi, just want to read a good romance, or would like a good retelling of Romeo & Juliet, West Side Love Story ticks every box.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : A

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 1, 2022

Publication Date: 06/2022

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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