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Ramón and Julieta - Review

*I received the E-Arc from Berkley Publishing from Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*

So hear me out: Spanish Romeo and Juliet, but nobody dies. Replace impending doom with another form of travesty, add music, a beach, and tacos, and we have Ramon and Julieta! Hey, not all retellings should be a replica of the original, and you have to give them some spice and a little razzle-dazzle a time or two. Coming in as another anticipated read for me, I got an early chance to check out Ramon and Julieta by Alana Albertson.

"Ramón Montez always achieves his goals. Whether that means collecting Ivy League degrees or growing his father's fast-food empire, nothing sets Ramón off course. So when the sexy señorita who kissed him on the Day of the Dead runs off into the night with his heart, he determines to do whatever it takes to find her again.
Celebrity chef Julieta Campos has sacrificed everything to save her sea-to-table taqueria from closing. To her horror, she discovers that her new landlord is none other than the magnetic mariachi she hooked up with on Dia de los Muertos. Even worse, it was his father who stole her mother's taco recipe decades ago. Julieta has no choice but to work with Ramón, the man who destroyed her life's work--and the one man who tempts and inspires her.
As San Diego's outraged community protests against the Taco King take-over and the divide between their families grows, Ramón and Julieta struggle to balance the rising tensions. But Ramón knows that true love is priceless and despite all of his successes, this is the one battle he refuses to lose."

This quick and light story gave me heavy reminders of the show Gentefied on Netflix. It's interesting to see other cultures clash with one another, and you absentmindedly think only these topics happen with your respected race until someone mentions it. Watching the "rich Mexican against poor Mexican" story play out made me realize that everybody has the same problems within their community.

The romance was solid yet cheesy at the same time. In moments it worked, and other times it didn't seem natural. I wasn't too fond of the pet names, and Ramon's dirty talk needed some work. But overall, I liked how the relationship played out. The spice level is pretty minor, but the whirlwind of the story makes up for it all.

I wish I had seen more of the relationship between Ramon and Julieta's parents. Technically their start and woes started with them and a stolen taco recipe. I sure thought we would have seen revenge or redemption on the elder's part.

Overall I rated this book 4.5 stars. I thought this was a cute story. Even though there was a rushed cookie-cutter ending, I was able to get over it with the small comedic reliefs, the singing mariachi, and the passion each respected party had for their talents. I think Ramon and Julieta did way better than Romeo and Juliet. How can you downplay a singing skeleton playing his guitar in the moonlight on The Day of the Dead? Sign me up for that love scenario!

Ramon and Julieta debuts February 1, 2022

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