After getting the official quarantine orders, I knew that the ultimate comfort for me right at that moment was fluffy fun contemporaries. I was especially excited to read these particular books because they all had Latinx rep. I hope that these books that are full of classic rom-com tropes, mouth-watering French desserts, and heart-stopping romantic encounters in a New York train will take you out of reality…even for a little while.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Carolina Santos has worked hard to build the wedding planning business of her dreams. She doesn’t have time for true love and focuses her energies on building the biggest wedding empire on this side of DC. When Lina has presented an opportunity to grow her wedding planning business, she is thrilled until she realizes there is a big catch. Lina has to work with the best man of her failed wedding nuptials, who is her absolute nemesis. Through the next weeks Lina has to work with the person she blames for being left at the altar and she intends to give him a taste of his own medicine. Plenty of hijinks ensue between Lina and Max but underneath all that tension there is an unbridled passion developing between them that neither can control. Will they be able to get through the next few weeks and land the ultimate opportunity for their careers or will the complications of falling in love get in the way?
After reading this hate to love romance I was instantly hooked with the wittiness and humor of Mia Sosa’s writing. There is nothing like a romance that brings out the snark to make you cackle along with the heavier themes of identity and starting over again. The journey of Lina and her struggles in the workplace as a woman of color being a Brazilian woman and the microaggressions that she experienced was realistic in today’s society. I could feel the instant connection between Max and Lina and the hot tension between them. Max has been added to my long list of book boyfriends because he is not your perfectly confident alpha male. He is a man with insecurities, someone that breaks down the barriers in Lina’s heart, and he definitely shows his true alpha side in bed. The Worst Best Man is one of those books that will bring you back to why you love rom-coms in the first place.
Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas
Isabelle Fields moves to Lyon, France and she is a high school senior who is set on achieving her culinary dreams. Her life has gone through many changes with the death of her abuela and her parents divorcing. Throughout all the struggles she is experiencing in her family life, Isa is focusing her energies on winning the coveted apprenticeship in Chef Grattard’s well-known restaurant. Until a wrench is thrown her way and Diego comes in to shake up her meticulous plans and bring some fire to her French souffle.
Salty, Bitter, Sweet is a book I immediately connected with especially since the character is half French and Cuban. I am Cuban-American whose last name is French and it’s a breath of fresh air to see yourself represented in some kind of way. Isabelle Fields tugged at my heartstrings with her struggle for perfection in her craft and her need to prove herself. I loved the relationship between her and her abuela and how she inspired her to become a chef. The love and tenderness between them was apparent and made me emotional thinking about my own abuela. The relationship that she experienced with Diego is a slow burn romance and his carefree personality teaches all of us an important lesson to remember why we love the things we do and to learn when to let things go. The amount of precision and passion that she puts into her writing when she is writing about the culinary French experience is exquisite and delectable. Salty, Bitter, Sweet is one of the best books to read during a quarantine but also it becomes quite a problem when you find yourself ordering five different French tarts.
This Train is Being Held by Ismee Williams
When Isabelle and Alex lock eyes in the downtown 1 train there is an unexplained spark and pull between them. Over the span of three years, they really get to know one another’s struggles. Isa learns the pressure that Alex gets from his father to be a major league baseball player even though he wants to go to college and write poetry. Alex learns about Isabelle’s family and how pressured she feels to be the perfect daughter for her difficult mother who has a prejudice against Latino men. Alex and Isa learn and grow together through their multiple encounters in the 1 train and the passionate chemistry between them will transport you to the days of those first-time butterflies.
This book was one of the most intense romances I have ever read. The palpable connection between Alex and Isa made the chemistry just jump right off the page. My favorite character is Isa who is described as a white passing Cuban-American and I related deeply to her struggles of being judged for not looking Cuban enough and the pressure to hold it all together in the face of turmoil. Alex Rosario gave me all the swoony vibes and completely melted my heart with his heart-stopping green eyes and his provocative poetry. The relationship itself was poetic and there were so many barriers against their tender romance that you couldn’t help but root for them from beginning to end. Ismee Williams brought me back to the time of the jittery feelings of being in the same place as your biggest crush and the all-consuming nature of first love.
Please recommend to me any good Latinx romances that you have read lately!