Review: American Dreamer, by @ladrianaherrera

Title: American Dreamer (Dreamers #1)
Author: Adriana Herrera
Rating: 5/5 stars

“No one ever said big dreams come easy

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food orof Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 94,000 words” (description from Goodreads)

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American Dreamer was my return to New York. And no, not the part in the beginning that takes place in The Bronx. No, this book returned me to Upstate New York, even if it was in Central NY a few hours west of where I grew up. That’s just one of the things that grabbed me with this book, the setting. Setting description wasn’t a huge part of the book, but there was a still an atmosphere of familiarity  throughout.

It also helped that Herrera can write characters that you can’t help but want to befriend. Nesto, along with his friends and family, made me want to join in with them, eat their food, and help out when things got hard. And they’re fictional characters. But I still wanted to jump in and help out. And Jude was amazing too. A small-town librarian who just wants to make sure kids had access to books. Who can’t get behind that? (This small-town library worker definitely felt for this character and his struggles to get a project off the ground.)

While there definitely wasn’t an easy romance between the characters, I also felt that the level of angst was just right. Meaning there really wasn’t any. After reading through the whole thing and understanding where the characters came from in their respective pasts, I think that other authors may have taken these details and focused on them more. Made the book darker than necessary. But Herrera put just the right amount of it all in there to build her characters and drive the tensions.

And now I’m going to go back to the food for a second. Where can I find a food truck like Nesto’s OuNYe? I was craving the food from the descriptions the entire time I was reading. So remember, don’t go into this one hungry. Not that it’ll matter. I think anyone would find room in their stomach to get hungry no matter what.

I devoured this book in a day, barely hitting pause on my audiobook app once. I could not put this down. There are major struggles with bigots and the things life generally throws at us. But also great food, great characters, and two characters who need something right to happen to them. It’s all in here and I can’t recommend this book enough.

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You can find this book on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective and serves as the VP of Programs for the Romance Writers of America New York City Chapter.

Find out more:

New Release: American Fairytale, by @ladrianaherrera

Fairy-tale endings don’t just happen; they have to be fought for.

New York City social worker Camilo Santiago Briggs grew up surrounded by survivors who taught him to never rely on anything you didn’t earn yourself. He’s always dreamed of his own happily-ever-after, but he lives in the real world. Men who seem too good to be true…usually are. And Milo never ever mixes business with pleasure…until the mysterious man he had an unforgettable hookup with turns out to be the wealthy donor behind his agency’s new, next-level funding.

Thomas Hughes built a billion-dollar business from nothing: he knows what he wants and isn’t shy about going after it. When the enthralling stranger who blew his mind at a black-tie gala reappears, Tom’s more than ready to be his Prince Charming. Showering Milo with the very best of everything is how Tom shows his affection.

Trouble is, Milo’s not interested in any of it. The only thing Milo wants is Tom.

Fairy-tale endings take work as well as love. For Milo, that means learning to let someone take care of him, for a change. And for Tom, it’s figuring out that real love is the one thing you can’t buy.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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You can find this book on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective and serves as the VP of Programs for the Romance Writers of America New York City Chapter.

Find out more:

#Review: A Cupid in London, by Tom Caval

Title: A Cupid in London
Author: Tom Caval
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is our first Valentine’s Day together, so it has to be extremely special.

Harry is excited about his first Valentine’s Day with his boyfriend Will, who helped him get over a broken heart.

To be on time, he’s willing to do anything. He’ll even get on the bus dressed in a ridiculous costume that draws more than a few looks, while carrying a box of pink cupcakes.

But when he arrives home, ready to start the special evening in a sexy way, Harry’s jaw drops when he realizes that Will is not alone …

Single or not, treat yourself with this a funny and unapologetically cheesy gay Valentine’s short story, full of tender and unexpected moments.” (description from Goodreads)

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I had this story sitting on my Kindle for a few months. I needed a short read to have with my coffee this morning and I’m glad this was the story I picked up.

It’s a quick read. It’s a light read. But it’s also carrying a strong message. Acceptance and being open minded is how we should all be, especially when it comes to family. I liked how the scene between Noah’s father, Will, and Harry played out. It was a confrontation without a perfect outcome, but it still may have planted a seed for a better future for the family and for Noah. I’d like to see where this leads if the story is to continue later on.

I’m going to have to check out more of Caval’s work after reading this one. I have a feeling I’ll being enjoying it.

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If you’d like a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

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About the Author:

After years of dating men, Tom still considers himself as one who’s far from being an expert in the love domain; yet, being courageous, he continues to evolve and learns a bit about himself in the process.

Endowed with a creative mind and a witty perspective of a real world where one can have their fantasies come alive, his ingenuity with words, guy stories and the human nature, motivates him to put together his experiences into fiction-laced writing.

When he is not putting his characters into real trouble, Tom collects inspiration for his stories from his (and his friends) dating life, pop culture, reading Gay comedy romance, and exploring the nightlife. Tom’s idols are Sophie Kinsella, Candance Bushnell and Truman Capote.

Find out more:

HRM – Better Not Pout, by @AnnabethAlbert

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One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand. 

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Find out more:

HRM – Hearts Alight, by @elliotwrites

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Dave Cunningham hates the rampant consumerism that’s come to dominate his family’s Hanukkah celebrations. But a chance to bring a bit of a holiday happiness to his long-time crush, Amit Cohen, helps put him in a more festive mood.

In the quest to craft the perfect gift, Dave tries to urge a few personal details out of stoic Amit. Unintentionally, he learns the Cohen family’s secret: Amit is a golem. But Amit has a problem that runs deeper than his magical origin, and a Hanukkah miracle might be the only thing that will keep the budding flame between him and Dave from going out.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Elliot Cooper is all about happy endings and positive queer rep in genre fiction – specifically subgenres of romance and erotica. His stories range from sweet to scorching hot, light to dark, humorous to serious, and everything in between. He loves to experiment with genre mash-ups and old favorite tropes, turning some on their heads, meeting others head-on.

Find out more:

Review: Not So Vanilla, by Morgan Noel

Title: Not So Vanilla
Author: Morgan Noel
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

“Bartholomew’s life is perfect. He’s got a job he loves, he’s in a committed relationship with his loving boyfriend who appreciates his neurotic tendencies, social anxiety, and general awkwardness. It’s not ‘white-picket-fence-and-Golden-Retriever’-perfect, but their nice little apartment in the city and the cat they rescued from the shelter come pretty close. 

The domestic bliss gets disturbed when his boyfriend Kyle brings a very hot friend from high school into their sanctuary, making both of them wonder if perhaps ‘perfect’ is as relative as good sex.” (description from Goodreads)

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A quick read (listen, for me technically). Didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I had thought going into it. I felt a potential for these characters to really go somewhere and develop, but much was left out for me. There’s a great premise having a third guy come to live with a couple and there was conflict there. Mew had a chance to grow both sexually and socially, too. While he technically did by the end, it was a bit too easy of a conclusion and then the story was over. I think working this into a larger story could do all the characters justice and I would be interested in reading that book.

Still, with the potential I feel it had, I’ll be checking out more of Noel’s writing. I may stick to text over audio though. Mew came out as too whiny for being a sole narrator and maybe that shaped his character into an even less enjoyable one than he was created to be.

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You can buy this book from:

AmazonAudible

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About the Author:

Full of snark and bitterness about failed careers, I’ve decided to pursue writing, like a real author

Find out more:

New Release: Dirty Girl, by @Chel_C_Cam

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Blakely Fox is a hot damn mess after getting fired from her job. To make matters worse, she crashes right into the girl who ruined her life in high school by kissing Blake’s boyfriend. So what if she had no idea that she didn’t like guys back then? It still wrecked the end of her high school career, and that’s something she can never forgive.

Quinn Riley is the furthest from a mess you can get, and she’s ready to make things right with Blake. What starts out as an apology dinner turns into something… unexpected. Turns out Blake and Quinn are both into girls and very into each other. But can Blake let the past go and move forward with Quinn? Or will ghosts of previous mistakes always haunt them?

*This is the first book in a three-novella series*

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Grab your copy over on:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Chelsea M Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

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