Kiskeya Burgos is a damn fine pastry chef, if she does say so herself, and she’s ready for the next phase of her life to begin. She just needs to be part of the winning duo on Holiday Baking Challenge so she can score a full-time job at the pâtisserie of her dreams. The fact that the show is being filmed in Scotland, one of her bucket-list countries, is just a bonus. If only she weren’t paired with a smoking hot, fellow Dominicana who seems to be more interested in play than work, because Kiskeya has exactly zero room for distractions in her life.
Now that her mother’s finally recovered from a major shoulder injury, it’s time for Sully Morales to do something for herself. Sully might be a home baker, but she made it to Holiday Baking Challenge because she has some serious skills and she’s hoping to win. Sully is excited to learn another contestant is from Dominican Republic, but it is quickly dismayed when Kiskeya is incredibly rude to her. Things go from bad to worse when they learn that, in addition to being paired for the competition, but they have to share a hotel room that only has one bed.
Sully and Kiskeya clash when Sully wants to bring the flavours of their culture into their bakes and Kiskeya is opposed. But all that tension has to go somewhere. Plus, there’s that whole “one bed” situation…
Mangos and Mistletoe is told in the first person, alternating between Kiskeya and Sully’s perspectives. It’s one of the best books I’ve seen that does this, because the two women are differentiated so well that I always knew exactly whose perspective I was following. Kiskeya is laser focused and stressed, which is understandable when she reveals WHY she wants to win that job so badly. That bleeds out into the way she describes what’s going on, making the narrative a little more sedate in her chapters. Sully, on the other hand, is so vibrant that her chapters are more fun, have a little more attitude, and had me laughing more.
Kiskeya also goes on quite a journey, because spending time with Sully helps her learn that she can have fun even while she’s pursuing a goal. I loved seeing how their relationship stretches Kiskeya and makes her reevaluate things, and I was so happy for both of them by the end.
The Writing Style
This book is so freaking cute and so much fun. It was easy to sink into and I didn’t want to put it down.
Also, while this may be a holiday novella, it’s fairly light on the holiday stuff. Much more focus is put on the setting of the competitive cooking show, so it really can be read any time of year. Don’t make yourself wait until December to read this story!
I liked almost everything. The characters are compelling, the chemistry palpable, the sex scenes are scorching, and the ending is adorable.
I don’t want to share spoilers, so I can’t really get into it, but the crisis that drives them apart didn’t really work for me. It’s a minor thing, so it didn’t stop me from enjoying everything else, but it did pull me out of the story when I came across it.
Do you like books that are cute and funny, and just all around lovely? I sure hope so, because I had so much fun reading Mangos and Mistletoe and now I want everyone else to read it too. This is Adriana Herrera’s first f/f romance and I hope it’s not her last, because I would love to read more from her in the future.
Excerpt from Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
I pushed my fists into my bomber jacket, still not daring to sit at the table, or anywhere that would get me in close proximity to this embodiment of a sunbeam. And it wasn’t just me, everyone in the room seemed to be bewitched by her smile. Even the Beccas looked up from their selfie-posting frenzy to watch her as she made her way across the room.
Was life in slow-motion now? It likely fucking was, and I seemed to be rooted to the spot, as the force of nature with curly hair glided over to us.
As discreetly as I could, I brought my gaze down to her feet and slowly made my way up. She was wearing brown ankle boots and hunter-green tights, the exact same color as mine. Her skirt—a knee-length thing in dark blue and green tartan—hugged every one of her curves. By the time I got to the denim shirt and leather jacket, I could feel the beads of sweat trickling down my back.
Breathe, Kiskeya. Tranquila.
She came to a dead stop right in front of me and didn’t even try to hide she was checking me out. My skin prickled as dark brown eyes, like the darkest chocolate, smiled at me.
“I’m Sully.” Her hand was warm and soft. Her nails trimmed to a sensible length but painted in the same burgundy matte shade as her lips.
I opened my mouth and was impressed with my ability to make words. “I’m Kiskeya. Nice to meet you.”
Her smile got even wider, if that was possible, and the big gold hoops on her ears bopped against the mess of curls which cascaded down her neck and shoulders, as she shook her head.
Her lips were perfect. And kissable, so fucking kissable. “Kiskeya.”
Holy shit, the way she said my name.
I literally stumbled back. Hand on my chest, eyes scanning the room looking for the spot where the thunder had come from. Because surely this throbbing in my head could not be her. And then she spoke again, in perfect Spanish.
“La tierra de mis amores.”
Oh God. She knew what my name meant.
Before I nodded woodenly and hopefully said something that didn’t make me sound like a complete and utter dolt, I had one last fleeting thought.
Kiskeya Burgos, your distraction is Dominican.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1710360059
Publisher: Indie author
Adriana Herrera Online
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