Con Amor: Music and Love

Hello friends,

I’m so excited to bring this new project of mine. This September, I’ll be posting weekly recommendation of some of my favorite Latinx books. Since I have been consciously reading diverse books, specifically Latinx books, my reading life has been changed completely. Not only I have been reading more (for a series of reasons, but one of them is finding more stories that I enjoy), my list of favorite stories has gotten so big that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of them.

For this Latinx Heritage Month (technically, it doesn’t start until September 15th but when have I keep up with a schedule?), I want to highlight some of these voices. Not only recommend you some of my favorites, but also, give you a little of insight of what I have seen in these books that have touched me so deeply. Con Amor, With Love, because all of these authors make me feel so full of love and validation.

Sometimes I find that it’s easier for me, maybe for you too, to think of the ways I wish publishing would do better, of all the stories that I want in the world, of all the writers out there who deserve so much more. And although all these feelings and thoughts are more than valid, this month I want to turn the coin around. Yes, I will always keep fighting for more, but today, today I’m going to admire all the authors that came before. All the stories out there, right now, that are waiting to be read and love. I hope you come with me in this journey to memory and stan land.


We’re kicking off Latinx Heritage Month with more recommendations. Yay us! Today I’m talking about music and romance and all the ways these authors have made me smile.

Music is so engraved in Latinx culture, from the international sensations to the traditional artists, we are known for dancing and signing. There are many connotations of the stereotype of the Latinx dancer, many wrong assumptions and harmful ideas. But music, we can’t negate, has always been important in our people’s history. The variety of sounds and rhythms feels like a world in its own.

For me, it means connection to the country that I left behind but never really left me. Listening to cumbia makes me laugh and I may cry a little when rock nacional is playing. We talk so much about feeling seen and representation in media, and music is one place I always find comfort. These are our stories and traditions, our anthems and ours icons, the people, our people, who broke records and set new boundaries.

I may not be a singer or dancer and that’s okay, because these three authors make me feel like I’m part of the stage.


Dance With Me by Alexis Daria

Natasha and Dimitri have been going on and off for a while. She is a dancer, he is one of the judges in the dance competition. The chemistry is there, what a chemistry, but nothing more is allowed. But then, Tash’s plans suddenly go wrong and she’s left with a broken ankle and no money and no place to stay. Here comes Dimitri to the rescue, offering her his place. She recruiting agrees because she doesn’t want a relationship in this moment. Her life is a mess and she HAS to fix it by herself. She doesn’t need Dimitri to solve her life. But what she doesn’t know is that he is the most awkward man in the planet and all these things that he has been trying to do and say? Yeah, it’s because he wants to be there for her but every time he opens his mouth, things come all wrong.

That of course, doesn’t make it okay at all but we see him trying SO hard and that’s exactly how he won me over. Ah, of course, he is an excellent dancer too, you know. That’s an important reason, too. I deeply loved these two and I love how Alexis builds messy people who are just trying very hard, and things are not going very well but they keep going.

This book is about dance, yes, and it’s very descriptive. But it’s also about family, growing, learning to ask for help and learning to let go. If you let me, I could talk all day how wonderful this series is and how much I loved it. Eternally grateful for my friend Mics who buddy read them with me <3.

Let’s finish with this: Dance with Me is a very deeply emotional read of two people who deserve the world. I promise you, you won’t be able to resist the magic of Alexis Daria. Thank me later.

Check out all the books in the series;

  • Take the Lead
  • Dance with me
  • Dance all night

His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras

I actually read this book for Latinx Heritage Month last year! It’s a compelling and wonderful story that involves dancing, family and falling in love when you least expected it.

Yaz has come back home to take care of her dad, she’s a professional dancer, with her eyes set high and her dreams big. She starts teaching ballet to kids and that’s where she meets Tomás. He’s a single-dad, career focus, recently moved to Chigaco. They’re not supposed to want a relationship, not when Tomás can’t let go of his work and Yazmine is going back to her dancing career. But they can’t stop thinking of each other, thinking about how happy they make the other and how much they want that, that joy, in their lives.

This story is moving and hopeful, it’s very funny too but be aware that it deals with parent terminal illness. As much I enjoyed it, I understand it’s not an easy read. Yes, of course it has a HEA (happy ever after) but it’s tough, very tough.

This story was such a joy to read because their characters are just Latinx and they are allowed to exist in this world, with people who share their culture, not explanations needed. Yaz is Puerto Rican and Tomás is Mexican-American, and maybe I need to keep diversifying my reading, but this was the first time where I got to see two Latinx main characters falling for each other. For each other!

I feel like I’m repeating the same five things over and over, but I really don’t have words to express how this story and characters filled me with so much love. So please read it and you’ll understand my love.

Check out all the books in the series;

  • His Perfect Partner
  • Her Perfect Affair
  • Their Perfect Melody

Stripped by Zoey Castile

😈😈

I guess, this is not technically dancing but it’s Latinx Heritage Month so we make the rules for once. Also, you seriously need to hear about Zoey Castille’s Happy Endings series. Let me enlighten you.

Stripped follows school teacher, Robyn, who’s really not having a great time right now. Between her creepy new boss and her mental health, Robyn is at her limit. And then she has a little misunderstanding with her new neighbor. More like, she accidentally takes his clothes from the laundry room. Oops, awkward. And then she goes to her friend bachelorette party and who does she find there? Oh yes, her neighbor. Because he’s part of the stripper crew. Awkward.

When I found out about this book, romancelandia described it for Magic Mike XXL fans, which I haven’t seen but I can guess it’s pretty fun, sexy and adorable? Well, this book IS pretty fun, sexy and adorable.

As I said to Silvana (bookvoyagers), when I think of the representation that I want to see for Latinx folks in romance this is it. Please be sure to check out Sil’s post about how much this series has meant to Latinx readers here.

Check out all the books in the series;

  • Stripped
  • Hired
  • Flashed

Let me know if you have more recommendations, I’m happy to add all the Latinx books where music plays a big part of the story, or a small one. I just want more mentions of bachata, carajo.

Feliz LatinxHeritageMonth, friends!

2 thoughts on “Con Amor: Music and Love

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