Kiss Me, Mi Amor is heartwarming, realistic, and well-balanced own voice Latinx romance with fake dating opposite attracts trope.
Kiss Me, Mi Amor (Love & Tacos #2) by Alana Quintana Albertson
Publication Date : May 9, 2023
Publisher : Berkley
Read Date : July 6, 2023
Genre : Romance
Pages : 300
Disclaimer – Many thanks to publisher for eARC via NetGalley.
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Previous book in series –
It turns out that a fake relationship is the perfect recipe for a love that sizzles hotter than Santa Barbara’s spiciest salsa—when it’s between enemies.…
Enrique Montez, smooth-talking heir to the Taco King empire, is man enough to admit that he made a critical error when he underestimated Carolina Flores. The agricultural hotshot should have been an easy conquest—who would turn down the chance to partner with California’s largest fast-food chain? But instead of signing her name on the dotted line, Carolina has Enrique eating out of the palm of her hand, and when fate steps in with an unexpected opportunity, Enrique is willing to do whatever it takes to capture her heart.
Growing up as the daughter of farmworkers, Carolina spent her youth picking strawberries in the fields of Santa Maria and vowing to improve the lives of people like her parents. Now, as one of only a few Latina farm owners, she has no time for romance and she’s certainly not about to let the notorious Montez brother anywhere near her business—even if just being near Enrique makes her skin tingle.
But she is willing to let him help get her overinvolved family off her back. When Carolina’s father and her lovelorn sisters mistake Enrique for her (nonexistent) boyfriend, she reluctantly agrees to a series of pretend dates to their town’s traditional Mexican-American holiday celebrations. Soon the fake feelings turn real and both Carolina and Enrique must convince each other to take a chance on love before their vacation romance is over.
Kiss Me, Mi Amor is heartwarming and engaging second book in Love & Tacos series that follows the love story of Enrique Montez, the middle brother of the Montez trio, and Carolina Flores, an accomplished farmer who owns her farm in Santa Maria.
Enrique wants to learn about ethical operations in the farm industry and reassess their company’s agricultural relationship by contracting with Flores Family Farm. He is calm, composed, charming, and confident he would have this contract but when he arrives at Flores Family farm for their scheduled meeting he fails to convince grumpy, cold, and rigid Carolina for the contract. Instead, he is roped into playing her Joseph for Las Posadas and fake dating!
It was interesting to see how fake feelings will turn real and how they are going to convince Carolina’s controlling, patriarchal, misogynist father to let go of his old-fashioned view and let them date with freedom.
Writing is gripping, engaging, and entertaining. Like the previous book, the narration is third person alternative dual perspective from Enrique and Carolina’s perspective and the plot is filled with Mexican culture, food, and romance.
I loved the theme of ethical agriculture and healthcare in the farming industry, finding purpose in life, modern vs stereotypical views and beliefs, and traditional values. Once again Latin American representation is fabulous. I loved how the cultural aspect is explored more in this book and it is interesting to know about festivals and traditions and what it represents to the community living in America.
All characters are interesting and both Enrique and Carolina are amazing. They are independent, love their family, and care about the community.
I loved Enrique throughout the book. He was free-spirited playboy until they faced problem in Bario Logan. It was sad to see he has to consult a therapist to deal with the hate he and his family received on social media but it made him make things right from then on and made him want to find purpose in life. I also could understand his wish to do something out of Ramon’s shadow.
What I love most about him is how honest and transparent he has been toward Carolina about his intentions with the contract, why fake dating or a relationship might not work between them, why he wants to date her and see where it’s going without giving any false commitments, and his views toward religion and her father’s archaic mentality and rules.
I loved how meeting Carolina made him want a serious and meaningful relationship, gave him push to make changes with farms under their contract without anyone’s help, and also find purpose in life that could make a difference.
Carolina is most interesting. I think most of the story focuses on her because of the theme of the book. I could see how she must feel being the eldest daughter and sister stereotypical family. She lived a struggling life by working in farms with her family since childhood and then raising her ten sisters along with it, giving her no freedom to have her own life.
Even though she owned the farm and the house they lived in, she has to follow her father’s strict rules- of curfew, not going out without a chaperone, no dating non-religious man, no dating without his permission, and not allowing her younger sisters date until she dates and finds a husband…!
I didn’t like her parents for putting so much pressure on her. They never hesitated in telling her no one would date her because she is too independent and she cannot cook… It’s no surprise why she didn’t want to be shackled by marriage, especially with another man like her father or have children after literally being a second mother to her sisters, and why she rebelled suddenly after meeting Enrique.
I hated her parents even more for disowning her and kicking her out of her own house just because she spent the night out with Enrique because of a terrible storm. They were ready to lose their daughter to the storm than risk their reputation! It seriously made me want to recheck in which century the book is set in. Who does that in 21st century ?
It was tiring to read their behavior and action. Indian culture isn’t much different and kids still hesitate talking about relationships with their parents and even though it’s in our culture to live with parents there still is freedom to date without all the fuss of asking permission and going through rules. I would have flipped ages before if I have to live in Carolina’s situation.
I loved how the author showed her dilemma, self-doubts and struggle with the difference between her and Enrique’s beliefs and lifestyle along with family issues. It was realistic and at the same time frustrating. I didn’t like her for not talking about her feelings clearly with Enrique and breaking his heart and how long it took her to accept the differences, Enrique’s love, and find the solution to her situation.
Romance is realistic and well-written with fake dating and the opposite attracts trope. The attraction and chemistry between Enrique and Carolina is hot and instant but they take their time falling for each other. I like that the issues in relationship weren’t because of fake dating or the doubts it create but because of the change in their situation Carolina’s parents created.
Twists and turns are good. The climax is predictable and yet I was shocked how Carolina’s parents reacted. I liked all the tensions it created and I loved Enrique for his unwavering support. As I said I get Carolina’s situation but I didn’t like how long it took her to sort it out. End is lovely hopeful and uplifting.
Why 4 stars-
In the previous book, the community did and said hurtful things to Montez brothers and here it’s Carolina’s parents and like the previous book, their apology didn’t feel satisfying. Also, the end felt too quick. Like Ramon Enrique forgave Carolina too quickly.
Overall, Kiss Me, Mi Amor is heartwarming, realistic, and well-balanced own voice Latinx romance with fake dating opposite attracts trope.
You might like this if you like,
own voice book
good family dynamics
modern vs traditional views
Gumpy x Sunshine
Rich falling for normal person
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