From the publisher:
A RESTLESS ROMANTIC
Felix Pascual misses being someone’s boyfriend, which is why he’s willing to get set up by the only Hernandez he’ll admit to liking (out loud)—Lola. But when he gets to the restaurant he finds that Lola has matched him up with none other than Joaquin Delgado, a man who has never shown one iota of interest in him.. And Joaquin doesn’t seem any more open to Felix’s unique charms this time around . . .
A SKEPTICAL SUITOR
Joaquin will do anything for his grandmother. Even give a foul-mouthed, flashy Puerto Rican caterer who gets on his nerves—and makes him thirsty all at once—a chance to run his kitchen after he’s injured. After all, it’s just a few weeks. And he won’t be tempted since he’s given up on dating anyway . . .
A MATCH MADE IN SOUTH BEACH
But Felix won’t give up without the satisfaction of getting Joaquin to admit that he wants him. Felix is stubborn, and his growing desire for Joaquin is about proving a point. After all, it can’t possibly turn into something real . . .
I picked up this book, excited because it featured Puerto Rican leads. Given the growing interest in diverse characters, I was thrilled to give this book a try.
There are many aspects of the novel to recommend it. The characters are likeable and there is a lot of chemistry between them. They have great dialogue and their motivations are clear. Joaquin is a work-a-holic who could use some training in employee motivation and retainment. Felix is getting over a broken heart and plan on moving to New York for a new chance at life. There’s no question that the conflicts in this story promised to be strong, internal ones and I was ready for it.
However, I quickly got lost. Part of the problem was certainly me – perhaps I should have read the other installments of the series. There were a lot of assumptions about things I should have known but simply didn’t. For example, what could have been a great chance to reinforce the nature and importance of extended family in Latinx culture ended up being a kind of name-dump because I missed out on the earlier installments. As a result, I couldn’t assign importance to anyone outside of the main pairing and Lola.
This carries me to my next major point. These are Puerto Rican/Cuban/Caribbean folks. But I just didn’t feel it. Like, what about the food and the language, the code switching and the Spanglish, the funny habits and quirks that make us who we are? There is the fact that there is no one way to be Latinx but perhaps a concession would have made me happy. For example, Lola is a transplant – what else is she besides match maker? Again, I lay the blame squarely on myself, for reading the books out of order so I’m going to assume that her background, as well as others, was addressed and developed in those books.
Structurally, the beats were good and the leads adorable together. I felt the conflict could have been solved with a quick conversation. Roman was not a formidable villain and was almost cartoonish. However, he was intriguing because he served to make Felix desirable and sometimes, that’s a goal in itself.
Overall, I’m giving it a 4 because it’s a quick, fun and engaging read that you’ll certainly enjoy more if you’ve done the work of reading the other books. Now I’m off to look for a book featuring Lola 😊.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.