West Side Love Story

(Queens of Mariachi #1) by Priscilla Oliveras

I accidentally read the second book first and this one second. The family dynamics make a lot more sense, and the references to the Battle of the Bands now also has an added weight to the narrative it didn’t before.

Mariana Capuleta is trying to “juggle glass balls” with her medical job, helping ease another sister into the family, rehearsing with the family Mariachi Los Nubes, and suddenly…keeping a secret relationship with a member of their rival Mariachi band lead by her father’s arch-nemesis, Hugo Monteros.

Its a reworking of Romeo and Juliet if Juliet also had dreams of being a physician’s assistant. And Romeo lived blissfully unaware of his uncle’s murky real estate dealings.

Oliveras writes fairly low steam (intense action gets skipped over to the next morning) and the hero and heroine truly are trying to support each other. There is a misunderstanding that gets smoothed over quickly, but most of the tension is about them sneaking around under their families’ noses as well as the foster sister causing drama.

I liked the Mariachi bits in the second book better, I think, as here its a backdrop for Mariana’s stress, but in the second book it defines Cat.