Review: A Dish Best Served Hot

Review: A Dish Best Served HotA Dish Best Served Hot (Vega Family Love Stories #2) by Natalie Caña
Series: Vega Family Love Stories #2
on June 27, 2023
Genres: Contemporary

FINAL DECISION: Liked Saint but really didn’t end up liking Lola. That’s a problem with a romance in my opinion.

THE STORY: High school sweethearts Santiago “Saint” Vega and Lola León separated years ago. Saint joined the military. Years later, the two meet up in their old neighborhood. Lola is a substitute teacher, caring for a family member, and working at a local community center. She discovers that Saint’s family construction business now threatens the future of this community center. Although on opposite sides, Saint and Lola still have feelings for each other. They must work together to find a way to save the community center, bring their arguing families together, and deal with their unresolved emotions from the past.

OPINION: This book promises a second-chance romance but does not deliver. There are too many characters and side stories that bury the love story between Saint and Lola. Their high school romance is lost among all the other drama.

The author tells more than shows when it comes to Saint and Lola getting back together. It feels like big moments happen suddenly between chapters instead of on the pages. There is not much dialogue between them either. Because of this, their relationship does not feel emotional or real.

It is also hard to understand why Saint and Lola broke up in high school because their reasons are not clear. The intellectual reasons are given, but there is nothing heartfelt about this book. There is just too much going on and the characters suffer as a result even as I wanted to like them. I did like Saint as he tries hard to be a good, single father. Lola is not as easy to sympathize with in her aggressively stubborn activism and for someone who claims to accept herself she is pretty shrill and insists her view is the only one that matters.

The other characters like Saint’s daughter seem only created to move the messy plot along. They have no real personalities. This book reads more like a story about community issues than a believable second chance at love.

I only give this book 2 stars because there are parts of this book that I enjoyed, including Saint’s as a character, and Lola and Saint’s romance as teenagers, but it feels like an amateurish effort in many aspects.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book seems directed towards a 20s audience.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A DISH BEST SERVED HOT is the second book in the Vega Family Love Stories series. There are a lot of characters that I suspect are introduced in the first book in the series, and this book doesn’t really explain who they are. I haven’t read the first book in the series and this book made me feel like I should have started there.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.