- Gabby Womack
Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: Romance (Novella)
"Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning is her opportunity to prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly herself, she can make it in the culinary world. Kiskeya will stop at nothing to win, that is, if she can keep her eyes on the prize and off her infuriating teammate's perfect lips. Sully Morales, home cooking hustler, and self-proclaimed baking brujita lands in Scotland on a quest to find her purpose after spending years as her family’s caregiver. But now, with her home life back on track, it's time for Sully to get reacquainted with her greatest love, baking. Winning the Holiday Baking Challenge is a no brainer if she can convince her grumpy AF baking partner that they make a great team both in and out of the kitchen before an unexpected betrayal ends their chance to attain culinary competition glory."- Adriana Herrera
Herrera describes Mangos & Mistletoe as "A Foodie Holiday Novella," and if that's not enticing, then I don't know what is! I love that she went all-in with Latine references and culture. From the names to the expressions, I felt wrapped in my Caribbean-Latine culture. Kiskeya and Sully's tension was palpable from the start. I liked the grumpy and sweet romance trope, but this one took a while to get into because Kiskeya kind of annoyed me. To be fair, I was partially influenced by my dislike for the way the audiobook narrator was reading her. The narrator's voice made Kiskeya seem disdainful and that turned me off. When I switched to the e-book, it was easier to get into this story.
On the other hand, I felt some validation in how blunt the characters were about what it really means to be Dominican and Dominican-American. Kiskeya's family isn't very accepting of her sexual orientation which leaves her feeling like she's on her own. I could understand her motivations and her rigidity. I'm glad that Sully had such a contrast in the way she viewed the world and her wants. She was about living in the moment and being grateful for the experience and time she had. It's hard to do when you're always struggling but that gratitude can make a big difference in mood and attitude in our day-to-day lives.
The sex scenes in this book were vivid!! Herrera was not playing around. Fans of risky scenes will enjoy it. Please note that the epilogue begins like no other! HA!
Fans of short steamy reads with a delicious holiday twist will love Mangos & Mistletoe.