Bookshelf – American Sweethearts (American Dreamers Series, Book 5)

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From the publisher:

Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been.

Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever.

New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants.

What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.

By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach…if they can just accept each other as they are.

This book is approximately 90,000 words

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!

Review:

I’ve been waiting for JuanPa’s book with alternate joy and sadness. Joy, because he will round out the dynamic foursome that form the central protagonists of Herrera’s American Dreamers series, a series that has brought me an immense amount of joy; but also sadness because it will soon be over (thought I notice there is a Christmas novel being planned for release, so this takes some of the sting out of the series coming to an close).

When I saw the excerpt for this book at the end of American Love Story, I knew I was going to love it.


JuanPa and Pris have been dating on and off for most of their lives. They and their family have a lot of history and it is interesting to note just how vested their respective families are in the outcome of their relationship.

JuanPa and Pris meet on a private plane after having had their last breakup over a year before. The plane carries not only their families but also the Patrice and Easton (American Love Story) to the Dominican Republic for the wedding of Camilo and Thomas (American Fairy Tale). Nesto is already there with Jude (American Dreamer), coordinating the catering for the event. It’s amazing because all the couples from the previous books play their parts in this novel.

Meanwhile, JuanPa and Pris try to play it cool but their chemistry gets the best of them – and the reader. The remainder of the book deals with how they’re going to make it last this time.

This is definitely a second -chance romance, and in this dynamic, Juan Pa has really done the hard work of trying to be a different man for Priscilla. Here, it is Pris who has to re envision what she wants out of life, what sacrifices she is willing to make to live authentically and how vulnerable she is willing to be to accept the love she wants.

The sex-positivity is amazing in this book. Priscilla engage in what Herrera has referred to as sex activism – based on the work of Audrey Lord. Pris runs sex positive workshops teaching elderly clients about sex toys. It is this side hustle that presents her with her internal conflict – should she give up her career as a police officer, a job that she not only once loved but also honors her family’s ambitions for her (her father is a retired police officer). As the daughter of Dominican immigrants, expectations for her success are high but what if her definition of success is different from the one her family has envisioned for her? And can she risks the collective dreams of her family if there is a possibility of failure?

The sex positivity doesn’t end there. While the other books in the Dreamers series are m/m, this one is m/f. However, JuanPa is bi, and there is an incredible pegging scene that blows the roof off the hotness in this novel.

As I’ve already mentioned – everyone wants these two to win. The sense of community in this series culminates with the families and friends all conspiring to help these two idiots build a love that lasts. But first they have to get out of their own way. Juan Pa fighting his old, bad habits and Pris learning to be vulnerable, take risks and give herself permission to live authentically is one of the best plot arcs in this entire series.

Adriana Herrera delivers the goods in this installment of a series that has nothing short of excellent. I never want it to end.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Where to buy: Adriana Herrera Books

Friday Kiss – Wish (5/22/2020)

Note: I fell off the earth for a bit, but I’m back and working on my blogging habit.

Friday Kiss is one of many weekly Twitter writing challenges. If I have an excerpt that is relevant to the challenges, I will post it on my Twitter and here on Fridays.

Today’s theme is: Wish.

From my in-progress manuscript, Incandescent (#ownvoice, #contemporary romance, #amdrafting).

‘He liked Rafael, was moved by his unexpected tenderness and his unconscious vulnerabilities. It went dangerously beyond an infatuation.

“He would have made a perfect friend,” Etienne continued, “If I did not wish to lick his face each time we met.”’

About Incandescent:

Book 2 – Incandescent m/m romance featuring Latinx/Haitian leads

Blurb-in-Progress:

Rafael (Rafi) Navarro is an educator who won’t let anything get in the way of the dreams he has for himself and the community he serves.

Étienne Galois is an rising star in the art world with secrets that keep him from finding the connection he craves.

Their chemistry is explosive but can they convince themselves – and each other, that this is a love worth fighting for?

Friday Kiss – Silent (5/15/2020)

Friday Kiss is one of many weekly Twitter writing challenges. If I have an excerpt that is relevant to the challenges, I will post it on my Twitter and here on Fridays.

Today’s theme is: Silent.

From my completed manuscript, Incomparable (#ownvoice, #contemporary romance). Estimated publication date: Fall, 2021, Harlequin Special Edition:

‘Having made his silent point, Philip turned away from Luke & handed Val the flowers. “Red hibiscus. Because they don’t sell flor de maga in downtown Hoboken.”

Val smiled down at the bouquet. “No. Can’t see the demand being very high.” ‘

About Incomparable:

When Val Navarro meets Philip in a club in East Ward, the only thing she knows about him is that he can’t dance, loves Star Wars and is irresistible in every way. Little does she know that they are on the opposite sides of a multi-billion-dollar property development project that might make – or break – her urban neighborhood.

Philip Wagner is the son of a legendary property developer. He’s spent his whole life working his way to the top to be worthy of a place at his father’s side. But his attraction to Val threatens to make him forget everything that matter to him except one – to have her, any way he can.

Take one Puerto Rican restaurant owner and one billionaire property developer. Add two sides of a multi-billion-dollar development deal. Season with equal parts chemistry and simmer until you have the potential for love – or disaster.

Friday Kiss – Believe (5/8/2020)

Friday Kiss is one of many weekly Twitter writing challenges. If I have an excerpt that is relevant to the challenges, I will post it on my Twitter and here on Fridays.

Today’s theme is: Believe.

From my completed manuscript, Incomparable (#ownvoice, #contemporary romance). Estimated publication date: Fall, 2021, Harlequin Special Edition:

“Can’t believe I’m touching you,” he whispered, fingers skimming the column of her throat. “I would have regretted not knowing you like this.” “Let’s…let’s not fight again.” She pushed him back, glaring at him. “Don’t lie to me again and we won’t.”

About Incomparable:

When Val Navarro meets Philip in a club in East Ward, the only thing she knows about him is that he can’t dance, loves Star Wars and is irresistible in every way. Little does she know that they are on the opposite sides of a multi-billion-dollar property development project that might make – or break – her urban neighborhood.

Philip Wagner is the son of a legendary property developer. He’s spent his whole life working his way to the top to be worthy of a place at his father’s side. But his attraction to Val threatens to make him forget everything that matter to him except one – to have her, any way he can.

Take one Puerto Rican restaurant owner and one billionaire property developer. Add two sides of a multi-billion-dollar development deal. Season with equal parts chemistry and simmer until you have the potential for love – or disaster.

Mother’s Day Q&A and Giveaway

I’m celebrating a couple of events this week. First, Harlequin Books Blog conducted a Q&A with me for Mother’s Day, where I discuss the shared passion for romance novels among the women in my family, my aunt who still gets Harlequin romances mailed to her each month & the amazing mentorship opportunity I’ve been given

Second, it’s Mother’s Day in the US. I love spring, the month of May and being a mother so it’s one of my favorite holidays.

And finally, it’s my birthday month. Every seven years, Mother’s Day and my birthday fall on the same Sunday. Double the blessings. Double the cake.

This year, I’m celebrating by giving away a $25.00 e-gift card to The Ripped Bodice. Click on this link here so you can find out how to participate.

The winner will be announced on Sunday night.

During a time such as this one, let’s find ways to celebrate as well.

ST

Friday Kiss – Hug (5/2/2020)

Note: I fell off the earth for a bit, but I’m back and working on my blogging habit.

Friday Kiss is one of many weekly Twitter writing challenges. If I have an excerpt that is relevant to the challenges, I will post it on my Twitter and here on Fridays.

Today’s theme is: Hug.

From my in-progress manuscript, Incandescent (#ownvoice, #contemporary romance, #amdrafting).

“Etienne wanted to hug him the way lovers in movies did after a long separation – scoop him up and swing him in a wide circle until they became dizzy. But the idea was excessive even to him so he settled on a handshake instead.” #fridaykiss

About Incandescent:

Book 2 – Incandescent m/m romance featuring Latinx/Haitian leads

Blurb-in-Progress:

Rafael (Rafi) Navarro is an educator who won’t let anything get in the way of the dreams he has for himself and the community he serves.

Étienne Galois is an rising star in the art world with secrets that keep him from finding the connection he craves.

Their chemistry is explosive but can they convince themselves – and each other, that this is a love worth fighting for?

National Poetry Month Read Aloud 4/4/2020

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996. As an educator, I normally plan poetry activities during this month, culminating in a class poetry event as well as participation in Poem in Your Pocket Day, taking place this year on Thursday, April 20th.

However, in this pandemic reality we live in, I am unable to do these activities with my students, since all instruction has moved online. What’s more, I don’t have the heart to ask them to do more than what they are doing for their classes, their families and themselves.

Instead, I’ve taken to making a video of myself, reading poetry to them and posting it on the online instructional platform.

Since I was already dressed and wearing makeup, I’ve decided to do something similar on my author blog.

Each day, I will post a video of myself reading a poem which is related to my writing. Or a poem which I simply love. There’s no rhyme or reason to the selections. In a time of anxiety and social separation, we look to art, among other things, to comfort us. As someone much smarter and more talented once said, beauty will save the world. Or at the very least, it can make things a little easier.

So, without further ado…

Today’s featured poem is “Rio Grande de Loíza” by Julia de Burgos, from her collection Song of the Simple Truth (Canción de la verdad sencilla), the first bilingual edition of Julia de Burgos’s complete poems.

PS: I realize today is April 4th, which means I should have done this on April 1st, but CampNaNoWriMo also takes place in April and I’m participating in that as well.

Happy viewing!

Friday Kiss – Rain (4/3/2020)

Friday Kiss is one of many weekly Twitter writing challenges. If I have an excerpt that is relevant to the challenges, I will post it on my Twitter and here on Fridays.

Today’s theme is: Rain.

From my completed manuscript, Incomparable (#ownvoice, #contemporary romance). Estimated publication date: Fall, 2021, Harlequin Special Edition. This week, I featured two excerpts:

1.

“It had rained the night before, so she and Philip had spent it indoors, where they’d whipped up a Spanish omelet stuffed with chorizos, paired with a simple salad. They’d then made a pretense of watching a film on Netflix until things ended the way they always did. #FridayKiss” #ownvoices #contemporaryromance

2.

“It didn’t matter that the sauce bubbled, water boiled, rain fell outside, cars moved in controlled chaos, the moon was rising and the galaxies spun. He held her like a man who was inches from falling over a cliff, and she was ready to plunge off the edge with him.” #fridaykiss

About Incomparable:

When Val Navarro meets Philip in a club in East Ward, the only thing she knows about him is that he can’t dance, loves Star Wars and is irresistible in every way. Little does she know that they are on the opposite sides of a multi-billion-dollar property development project that might make – or break – her urban neighborhood.

Philip Wagner is the son of a legendary property developer. He’s spent his whole life working his way to the top to be worthy of a place at his father’s side. But his attraction to Val threatens to make him forget everything that matter to him except one – to have her, any way he can.

Take one Puerto Rican restaurant owner and one billionaire property developer. Add two sides of a multi-billion-dollar development deal. Season with equal parts chemistry and simmer until you have the potential for love- or disaster.