Amor Actually edited by Adriana Herrera
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Romance (Anthology)
Representation: Latinx (Afro, Indigenous, & white), LGBTQ+/Queer (Sapphic, Bisexual, Poly, MLM), Sex work/Adult Films, Divorce, Widows
Content Warning: Mostly sexually explicit
Nochebuena. One party. Nine Happily Ever Afters.
It’s Christmas Eve in New York City and anything is possible. For these couples, it’s the season to find true love. From second-chances, big leaps, missed connections, and reconnections, this charming collection celebrates the spirit of the holidays and delivers nine perfect HEAs.
Sexy, relatable, and heart-warming! I love the representations of different sexualities (bisexual, lesbian, queer), relationships (couples, polyamory [specifically, throuples], divorced, widows, age gaps), and various kinds of Latinx folx: Dominican, Mexican, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Chilean, Ecuadorian and more. The authors made sure that the characters also varied racially with some characters being AfroLatinx, Indigenous, white, and/or mixed.
While most of the stories were pretty explicit, Only Yours by Sabrina Sol and Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Priscilla Oliveras are great for readers who like more tame romances. As all of the characters were lovable, it's hard for me to pick a favorite story out. I wasn't sure what to expect as I'm used to my family being a mixture of open and closed-minded people. I'm glad that this book utilized the "found family" trope in order to avoid the kind of trauma or hostility many queer and black sheep face when returning home for the holidays.
Throughout this book, the friendships were solid, nonjudgemental, fun, sweet, and supportive. This is something that doesn't always get enough attention in romance books. I highly recommend this anthology to folks looking for Latinx and queer representation in their romance books!
One critique: The only thing that annoyed me in the book was the depiction of the librarian repeatedly shushing patrons. To most people, this is probably silly and funny because this is how librarians have been portrayed for a long time. To me, it kind of perpetuates the library as a space where only quiet people gather. Nowadays, I don't really know of many libraries that require silence in that way. We (librarians) are aware of the shift in our communities and their needs so our spaces have become more about fostering that, facilitating research, and programming, than it is about reading books. This isn't a huge hangup, it just distracted me from the story a bit.