Review by Veronica

Series Name: Love and Tacos, # 2  

“I read some articles about you. How you use innovative hydroponics. Your progress on sustainable farming. How you make sure your employees have access to health care. How you worked at nights. How you excelled in school, danced, and still farmed alongside your parents. How you commuted back and forth during school to make sure you could still help out.” He licked his lower lip. “You inspire me. And I like to surround myself with people I admire.”

Kiss Me, Mi Amor is a delicious and spicy romance read. 

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.

This book was a lot of fun to read and is excellent for those who just want to escape the world for the day. This is the second book in the Love and Taco series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. Kiss Me, Mi Amor follows the middle Montez brother Enrique, who is looking to show his brothers that he can contribute to their business but also looking for a purpose for his life. He feels lost and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. All he knows is that he wants to meet Carolina, who he admires (and might also find incredibly attractive). 

This book has a lot of great things going for it. It has delicious food talk throughout the whole entire story. I might have ordered Mexican food this weekend because of this book. I loved learning about Latina/Mexican culture. It felt like I was immersed in this rich and wonderful culture, and I loved that I felt like I was learning things. I also admired that Alana didn’t just show her readers the beautiful side of Mexican culture. Readers also get to see how some traditions and ways of thinking are old-fashioned and outdated and how restrictive these traditions can be towards women. Carolina and her sisters are really restricted in what they can do in their lives because their father dictates who they can see and how they should act. Alana also brings to attention the often-deplorable working conditions many migrant workers have to work in. I thought she worked this issue into the storyline in such a smart and thoughtful way. 

Religion also plays a big part in this story. Now that does not stay; this book is preachy in any way, quite the opposite, in fact. There is a lot of criticism and anger towards the Catholic Church in this book, and as a Catholic, I understand that there is frustration with the Church. But I did feel like she was beating the topic to death. It just kept on coming up time and time again and not in a way that helped to advance the storyline.  

Family plays a big role in this book. You have Carolina’s family, which is a traditional Catholic Mexican family. Carolina’s father makes all the decisions in the household. He is like those traditional father/husband figures who hold all the power in the family, and everyone listens and obeys what he says. Just like Enrique did, I am sure many readers will be baffled and frustrated with Carolina’s family situation. In a way, it is a toxic family situation. The way Carolina’s father dictates who she (and her sisters) can see, when she can see them, and hell, even what she can wear is hard to wrap your mind around. It is something that Carolina really struggles within this book. This is because her parents aren’t monsters; they are kind and caring. They have another way of viewing the world and how people should act. It was heartbreaking watching Carolina try and figure out how to break free from some of these cultural restrictions while trying not to ruin her relationship with her parents. 

There is plenty of romance in this book. If you are a fan of fake dating and one-bed tropes, you will adore the love story between Carolina and Enrique. I like these two together. I loved how Carolina just shook Enrique’s world when they first met. He just didn’t know what to himself; it was delightful to watch. I love the witty banter between these two and watching them go from enemies to fake dating to eventually real dating. It was just an incredible and swoony journey to be a part of. Their first kiss just gave me all those extraordinary butterfly feelings. There are lots of challenges these two have to overcome before they can really be together. Carolina’s father disapproves of Enrique; they live in different cities and come from different worlds.

Thank you, Berkeley Publishing for the arc in exchange for an honest review.