Ramon and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson (304 pages)

Love Is Truly Alive on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
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Ramon and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson (304 pages)

Fate and Tacos Bring Ramon and Julieta Together. 

Ramon has achieved his dreams, an Ivy-League education, a fast-food empire and a life full of grandeur. The only thing that eludes him has been love, but in all fairness, he doesn’t have time for matters of the heart. Until one fateful day when he meets a gorgeous woman at Barrio Logan’s Dia de los Muertos celebration. 

Julieta, a celebrated local chef, abandoned her dreams in order to help her family at their restaurant in the heart of Barrio Logan. The restaurant is a local favourite and filled with culture from the neighbourhood. The block has seen its ups and downs and soon finds itself at the mercy of a new landlord. Unfortunately, the new owner is the man she kissed after his serenade in the garden.  

Ramon plans to rebuild the block with his fast-food chain as the heart of the revitalization. This soon pits these two love interests against each other on what’s best for the community. At the heart of the fast-food chain’s success is a secret recipe that could destroy the Taco King franchise.  

The Exchange of Thy Love’s Faithful Vow for Mine – Shakespeare

Ramon and Julieta is a contemporary romance full of cultural references from a San Diego neighbourhood rich in Latino history. It’s a retelling of the romance classic, Romeo and Juliet. Ramon is the son of the famous Taco King empire. Julieta, is the daughter and chef, of a family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant in the Barrio Logan community.  

Dia de los Muertos serves as the backdrop to their fledgling love story. Both adorned in traditional dress and makeup, neither aware of who the other represents, close out the celebration with a breathtaking kiss. They soon discover their true identities – one is the fast-food giant who wants to destroy the neighbourhood, and the other is working to keep the community intact.  

The two love interests find themselves torn between what the heart wants, and a community that needs to be saved from gentrification. 

The Bottom Line: 3.5/5 Brookie Stars

My favourite trope in a romance is enemies to lovers. This modern-day retelling is full of food, culture and family. The story is about community and appreciating one’s cultural identity and passion to preserve it for generations to come.

The author’s note sheds light on her two-year dream to develop this story. I very much appreciated her candidness as a Mexican-American and the issues she addresses throughout the story. This novel represents her determination to make a difference within her culture. 

Fans of millionaire romances will eat this one up. This book will also leave you with a food hangover, and a craving for authentic Mexican cuisine. 

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Shannon K. Loar is a small town girl with a passion for reading.  Books have played a significant role in her life since her youth where she’d spend hours in the local library where her grandma served as the librarian. In her free time, you can find Shannon reading or listening to a book, practicing yoga or binging a streaming show.  Her most precious time is spent with her children ages 20, 18 and 15.  Her new favorite fashion trend, athletic leisure.

Favourite book: The Great Gatsby
Favourite Rock Band: Bon Jovi
Favourite Candy: Jolly Ranchers

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