Spicy but just okay.
Mangoes and Mistletoe is written by Adriana Herrera, who is a pretty fantastic romance author I’ve come to enjoy this past year. I don’t often read a lot of lesbian romance so I wanted to give this a try since it also had a holiday theme, and while not being a favorite of mine, it wasn’t too bad.
Kiskeya and Sully are female chefs from the Dominican Republic who have been chosen to participate in the Holiday Baking Challenge; a show that’s basically the Great British Bake-off. They’re paired together for the competition and have to learn how to work as a baking team while also clearly developing feelings for one another.
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. While the sexual elements read well and were nice and steamy, the actual characters were so annoying I couldn’t take it. Luckily this is novella length so it’s not a long book, but it does feel like the beginning is well-paced and everything after that just rushes to the conclusion. In the first few pages, I enjoyed the characters but Kiskeya is such a freaking chore to read I could barely take it. I get it, part of her personality and what they need to work on is the way she pushes people’s buttons, but 15 pages in and she is just as, if not more so, judgemental and snippy as she claims so many other women around her to be. She just wasn’t a fun character to read about, and while I don’t need likable, fun characters in all my books, when I’m reading a romance I want to cheer for both people in the couple to get together. Sully wasn’t a favorite of mine either, but I could read her passages without getting overly annoyed.
The big issue with this book is that it’s written in multiple POVs, so the chapters switch between both of our main characters. While this is normally a style I enjoy, I found it hard to remember who was speaking at any given time and whose POV I was getting until I could find a name. I can’t put my finger on why it was a struggle since these women clearly have different personalities, but I think perhaps the author didn’t change up the writing style enough to differentiate between their points of view. Not sure. Overall, a solid, short, sexy romance for Christmas but not on my best of the year.
Title: Mangos and Mistletoe
Author: Adriana Herrera
Three Descriptors: Bake Off Trope, Steamy, Overcoming Obstacles