Heat Factor: How is Lopez so good at writing sex scenes that are emotionally kinda ugly but still so hot?
Character Chemistry: Boning → antagonism → cooperation → admiration → more boning, this time with feelings
Plot: Alex goes back to her hometown to take over the family bar, only to discover that her grandma is considering selling the bar to someone else. Also, there’s a scavenger hunt for some long-lost paperwork. And a ghost.
Overall: It prompted a lot of thinky thoughts, but the romance didn’t really hit for me.
Heat Factor: Frequently interrupted, so there’s lots of foreplay, but full penetration doesn’t happen until the very end. It must be noted that Lopez’s sex writing is top-notch, with or without penetration.
Character Chemistry: Is there a grade higher than A+?
Plot: I must protect you! / I am a powerful woman, but I accept your protection.
In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we’re highlighting awesome romances by Latinx authors that also feature Latinx characters. For the record, some of these books are our all-time favorites, and should be read any time you can get your hands on them.
Julia’s family is warm and loving and supportive…but they are far away in NYC when she is dumped in Texas after moving there with her then-boyfriend. At least she has her job–until the foundation’s future is put at risk by corporate cuts. Rocco is the consultant responsible for evaluating the foundation, and can easily see the enormous benefit to the community. However! If he votes to save the foundation, he loses his job as a consultant. This book features just a ton of healthy and truly sexy dynamics and the writing just leaps off the page.
Roxanne Medina needs to be in control. After all, that’s how she pulled herself from her humble beginnings and became a billionaire. But she also wants a baby, and she doesn’t want that baby to be saddled with all the baggage with which her childhood saddled her. What’s a billionaire to do? Buy a prince to use as a stud, of course! Lopez plays with gender roles and creates really interesting dynamics as these protagonists fall for each other and also rescue the hero’s bankrupted country.
Rep: Latinx author, heroine with Latinx heritage, hero from Spanish-speaking European monarchy
In the mood for a sexy work romance? Look no further! Marty and Jay have explosive chemistry, which they valiantly try to fight…until they don’t. There is a definite power differential between the protagonists (in terms of race, gender, class, and age, so we’ve got pretty much the whole shebang), and Polanco handles their negotiation of this dynamic particularly well.
Lina is doing just fine after being left at the altar, but she’s still a small business owner with small business owner concerns. So when the opportunity arises, she sets aside her antipathy toward her proposal partner – the almost-brother-in-law who she thinks convinced her fiance to bolt – in hopes of getting something better for herself when she wins the job at the end of the proposal. Little does she know that she’s also in the running for a totally awesome HEA. Also, there are a gazillion awesome Brazilian cultural references in this book.
As many of Zapata’s heroine’s are, Sal Casillas is a hardworking woman from humble beginnings, the child of blue collar immigrant parents, but she’s also the best women’s soccer striker in the United States. When her childhood crush becomes her coach one season, she goes from unable to talk to him, to enraged by everything about him (talk about being let down by a personal hero!) to his best friend. Sal is fierce, and following her romance is kind of awesome.
To round out our list, here’s a historical romance! Emilia Cruz, suffragette, helps to support her family by writing sensational stories under a pen name. Ruben Torres, rising literary star, pays the bills by running a gossip paper and writing mean literary reviews under a pen name. Of course, he is dying to expose the true author of these very naughty stories that have taken the island by storm…that is, until he actually gets to know Emilia (and gets over the fact that she has a tendency to push him into nearby bodies of water). Of course there are some shenanigans as everyone’s secret identity is revealed, but the characters and setting really shine.
Rep: Set on an imaginary island in the Spanish Caribbean. Latinx hero and heroine.
If there’s a romance-related event close to us and we can go, we also definitely want to go. For this reason, when I saw a tweet from Angelina M. Lopez about an author talk at a library in Arlington, I had to go.
Unfortunately, there were a number of different romance-related events this month, from the Baltimore Book Festival to events at three local independent bookstores (One More Page in Arlington, and Loyalty Bookstore and East City Bookshop in Washington, DC, if you’re curious about tracking where these things happen), and I didn’t manage to get to any of them!
Fortunately, Romance 101 with Angelina M. Lopez was really fun, so if that was my big outing this month, we’re all good.