With genuinely seat-of-my-pants suspenseful action, tender moments, and realistic characters, Ms. Del Oro has struck an outstanding balance with her La Familia series, and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.


About The Book

La Familia: Book 1
Publication Date: January 8, 2022

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”!



The Review

Saving La Familia by Donna Del Oro has a lot of action throughout. There were twists and turns to the story filled with Mexican-Americans and their culture, lots of secrets, past hurts, family and friends, jobs and businesses, successes and failures, drugs, cartels, family connections, loving, and love. It’s also a chance at a second-chance romance for the main character, Dina. I love the sweetness of the cover, although there was some darkness throughout.

Saving La Familia is fast-paced and has several storylines woven together even when they don’t seem to be. At the start of each chapter, there are quotes by different characters that shed some light on what’s to come. 

The cultural details rounded out the story nicely. This is Dina’s story through and through, and much of it deals with her relationships and interactions with her family, extended family, past boyfriend Rick, best friend Lisa, and others. Dina seems to be in over her head to help save a cousin and her son who lives in Mexico that she and the rest of the family didn’t even know existed. But she wants to make her grandmother proud since the cousin Dina’s grandmother’s newfound granddaughter who needs help, and they’re all caught up in a dangerous situation.

I loved how Dina and Rick’s romance was portrayed and how Rick always seemed to be there for Dina’s family. But is Rick worth a second shot after the way he treated Dina in the past? 

The family dynamics were realistically depicted. There was a lot of Spanish sprinkled throughout, which was translated for the reader. The villains were truly evil and added another layer to the story. 

There was nice closure as well as a hint of how their lives turned out. There were several happily ever afters. Ms. Del Oro is a new-to-me author. I hope to read some of her other romances and have added a few to my TBR pile.

With genuinely seat-of-my-pants suspenseful action, tender moments, and realistic characters, Ms. Del Oro has struck an outstanding balance with her La Familia series, and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

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About The Author

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.


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JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss, nee Montalbano, was born and raised in NYC until moving to CT with her family when she was 16 and she's never left. Married for 41 years with one grown son, she works in an elementary school office where she's been since it opened in 2003. Prior to that, she was an accountant in several corporations before becoming a stay at home mom for 12 years. JoAnne enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her family, and extended family as well as with friends. She enjoys cooking and rarely uses a recipe the way it was intended but instead uses them and cooking shows to give her new ideas and suggestions. JoAnne has a huge bucket list of places she'd like to visit but has been lucky enough to travel to England, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and many states in the U.S. including Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine among others. Some of JoAnne's favorite genres include contemporary romance, chick-lit, romantic suspense, and historical romances including regency and those set in the west. JoAnne is on several author's street teams and enjoys interacting with many of them on Facebook as well as reading their newsletters. She has been lucky enough to meet some of her favorite authors among them Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Meg Tilly, Beatriz Williams, and Marie Bostwick. JoAnne took a road trip with her sister in the fall of 2019 and visited Nora Roberts' bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland for an authors' signing. She hopes to do more of this in the future. JoAnne leaves reviews for all books she reads on Goodreads and her reviews can be found at JoAnne currently reviews for two sites - and Previously she reviewed for which has since closed. Payment is in the form of receiving free books to read and review. Her mantra is too many books and not enough time!


  1. Ms. Weiss, thanks for your review, much appreciated! SAVING LA FAMILIA was truly a labor of love, a story that resonated through my childhood and bicultural upbringing. My latino family, to some extent, lives on in this novel!–author Donna Del Oro

    • I’m glad you liked the review Ms. Del Oro. The title is what first attracted me to the book since I’m first generation American on my dad’s side – he was born in Italy and 2nd generation on my mom’s. So much of the story resonated with me.

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt and Saving La Familia sounds like a great book for me! Thanks for sharing it with me! Thanks, JoAnne for sharing your review! Have a splendid day!


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With genuinely seat-of-my-pants suspenseful action, tender moments, and realistic characters, Ms. Del Oro has struck an outstanding balance with her La Familia series, and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.4-STAR REVIEW: SAVING LA FAMILIA by Donna Del Oro