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Dreamers #4

American Sweethearts

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“A fresh and vital new voice in romance.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Adriana Herrera is writing some of my favorite Afro-Latinx characters and giving us beautiful love stories along the way.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award Winner for
The Poet X

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!

288 pages, ebook

First published March 30, 2020

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About the author

Adriana Herrera

38 books1,074 followers
USA Today bestselling author ADRIANA HERRERA 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.

Her debut Dreamers, has been featured on Entertainment Weekly, NPR, the TODAY Show on NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Oprah Magazine.

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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 177 reviews
Profile Image for Olivia-Savannah .
719 reviews479 followers
April 15, 2020
American Sweethearts is the conclusion to a series I have come to love from start to finish. I was so excited to read the conclusion and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. I started the book and had it done in 24 hours because it gave me everything I could want and more.

We know these books for their diversity, and this one doesn’t disappoint either. While the romance is m/f for the first time, JuanPa is bisexual and there is mention of it in this book! We also get side characters who contribute to the LGBT+ rep. These a black trans side character which I definitely appreciated seeing in a book. We have a wide range of Caribbean black and brown characters. I always want to mention when a book takes the time to highlight cramps and periods to break the taboo around them. I loved seeing some of the black and brown community openly discussing and talking about mental health. Ooh, and this book gets points for mentioning small details like satin pillowcases – which are apart of black hair culture but rarely mentioned in books.

In this book there is a wedding! I’m not spoiling anything as it isn’t for the main characters in this book, but I am a softie for a lovely wedding in real life and in my books. My heart melted. I loved going to the Dominican Republic with them all to see the couple wedded. I also felt very emotional at seeing the tight friendship gang altogether and how they interacted with each other. The food descriptions were A+ and… I could keep going on about the wedding so I will stop here.

We have to take a moment to talk about our main characters. JuanPa is a playboy who has decided to change up his game. I really love when we see a male character who is vulnerable and learning more about himself. He really is making an effort to improve himself and patiently waiting for his girl to figure out what she wants. We love a respectful and listening love interest.

Then there’s Priscilla. She is definitely an independent, self-made woman. But she is dealing with a lot right now. She’s not sure about giving JuanPa another chance, and she is tired of her career despite how hard she has worked to build it up. Her freelance career is really different than what you may expect 😉 But I loved seeing her tackle and sort out what it means to reinvent yourself and to go for your dream if your dream has changed. I think that’s something a lot of people actually experience and is under-addressed in books.

I also really liked how healthy the communication is in this book. The couple have had communication issues before when they tried to give their romance a go in the past. In this one they are both doing their best to make sure if they go wrong, it isn’t for the same reason. It doesn’t mean there is no conflict in the book! But I appreciated the communication.

As this is a new adult romance, I do need to mention the steamy scenes. These were actually my favourite hot scenes in this whole series, and they were definitely fire. I had to fan myself while reading!

I am so glad I was able to read and review my way through this series. It is definitely one I will be rereading at some point and can’t wait to see what Herrera writes next.

This review and others can originally be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2020/0...
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,542 followers
August 25, 2020
CW: talk and allusions to child abuse, talk of the corruption of cops, on page sex

This book gave me everything that I love in one single story and I DON'T KNOW HOW TO COPE. So, quick bullet points again:

- Second chance childhood best friends to lovers to ??? to lovers again.
- Forced proximity.
- Everyone but them knows they'll inevitably end up together.
- FIRE sex scenes, including but not limited to pegging and use of a variety of sex toys.
- The chemistry is palpable and the banter is top notch.
- Sex positivity and a MC who wants to normalize sex talk and seeking pleasure in her community and making a career out of it.
- The family and friends who are family aspect.
- Characters who do THE DAMN WORK before trying to get back together to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Okay but real talk, I hate when characters (or people in general lbr) do the exact same shit and expect different results. I loved seeing that Juan Pablo sees a therapist, works on his issues and all his failings and shortcomings in his relationship with Priscilla in the past before even trying to attempt anything with her again, and he doesn't even tell her about it, he just lets his changed behavior talk for him. I absolutely loved him, how supportive and considerate he is and how he pondered and weighted all his words before uttering them. I also liked seeing Priscilla wanting to rebuild that trust but still having a hard time with it, expecting things to go back to how they used to be any second, until Juan Pablo proved himself to her.

Profile Image for Jessica .
2,083 reviews13.3k followers
September 29, 2020
I really love this series, but I had a hard time connecting to Priscilla and Juan Pablo. I do think we missed that initial connection between them since this is a second chance romance. We're told what they once were, but I feel like I didn't get that connection between them in the present. I really did love their characters and the journey that they individually went on. Juan Pablo openly talks about being in therapy and Priscilla is reevaluating her life and what she wants to do with the pressure she has from her parents to be successful and have a stable job. As a romance, though, I was left wanting more depth. This is definitely a steamy romance, but I wanted more connection.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Kahn.
Author 10 books27 followers
October 10, 2020
Did I come straight home from work and read this straight through? Yes. Yes, I did. Should you preorder it? Yes. Yes, you should.

🧡 Second (tenth?) chance romance
🧡 Reformed fuckboi
🧡 Sex toys for social justice
🧡 Afro-Latinx joy
🧡 🥕🥕🥕

Adriana is doing important social justice work with her books while also delivering on romance. She delivers a message about the importance of pleasure for marginalized folx. She also depicts how first-generation Americans navigate honoring the sacrifices their parents made while also trying to find their own joy. Juan Pablo's development across the entire series comes to fruition in this book work Adriana showing that people don't just magically change--it takes hard work.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,515 reviews
January 11, 2021
This is the fourth Herrera book I’ve read and as I knew from the first I read, American Dreamer, I’ll want to read anything the author puts out. So far I’ve only read that first book in the Dreamers series and this one. This didn’t hurt my enjoyment of American Sweethearts, even though it is the fourth in the series. Though, I do feel recommending reading the series in order or close together wouldn’t hurt. It’s a good series, so why not?

American Sweethearts is the story of Priscilla and Juan Pablo, two long time lovers…fighters…and best friends even if they don’t always get along. Part of what made this book enjoyable for me is their history. It’s troubled. It’s long. It needed to be resolved, though it wasn’t clear just how that’d be done. The entire time, though, I knew these two needed to be together. That was the only outcome for the characters or they’d be miserable the rest of their lives.

Another thing that keeps me coming back to Herrera’s work is the inclusion of diverse characters, be it their race or sexuality, the inclusion of mental health talk and it’s importance, and also mention of the good and bad of police work. That may seem like a lot to throw all in there and that it’d beat the reader over the head or be preachy, but it’s not. The author includes it in her book(s), but it’s naturally done. It’s all part of life for the characters because they’re accepting human beings from different walks of life.
Profile Image for Kameel.
808 reviews94 followers
April 8, 2021
This wasn't my normal type of story....there was too much back and forth between Juan Pablo & Priscilla.....it would seem that she was unable to make up her mind....plus the various storylines going on within the story went unresolved by the end of the story....Underdeveloped storyline & characters, with all that was stated, there was still a lot unstated....good narration, which is the only reason I gave it 2 stars.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,830 reviews177 followers
March 20, 2020
Progressive, timely, and downright steamy!

American Sweethearts is a passionate, second-chance romance between the intelligent, delectable Juan Pablo and the spirited, unfulfilled Priscilla as they discover that even though they’ve been stubborn and let each other go multiple times in the past, the heart wants who the heart wants, and a love like theirs is definitely worth fighting for.

The writing is titillating and light. The characters are kind, supportive, genuine, and open-minded. And the plot is a push-pull tale full of miscommunication, introspection, patience, acceptance, encouragement, love, friendship, family, diversity, community, and culture.

Overall, American Sweethearts is a sexy, sweet, uplifting tale by Herrera with a whole cast of characters you can’t help but fall in love with, an inclusive, diverse storyline that will keep you engaged, and a happy-ever-after ending that will make you swoon.

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,092 reviews930 followers
March 9, 2020
Mutual pining and a legacy of failed relationship attempts don't stop the sparks flying between two former best friends and lovers who reconnect at the destination wedding of their mutual friends. But can Pris, a NYC detective growing weary of her job, and JuanPa, a physical therapist for the NY Yankees, get over their past to have a future together?

Herrera closes out her Dreamers series with a delicious second-chance romance that reconnects fans with the other beloved couples and closes out with a hard won and well deserved HEA for our jaded couple who both are absolutely gone for each other. As always Herrera deftly weaves social justice, therapy, and culture into her characters' lives without ever losing track of the heart and soul of the romance. And oh the heat. It is real good.

Come for the romance, stay for the seniors learning about b*tt play.

CW for discussion of sexual abuse of a minor - it is a case Priscilla is working on as a NYC detective. All discussion is based on the facts of the case.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.
Profile Image for Carole Bell.
Author 2 books120 followers
August 29, 2020
Full review at @The_Book_Queen blog: bit.ly/2wTRxcb

American Sweethearts is the soul-stirring and deeply satisfying fourth and final installment in Adriana Herrera’s award-winning Dreamers series, which centers on a tight group of Afro-Caribbean friends finding love and living their own version of the American dream in New York. All the protagonists of these books are Caribbean immigrants or the children of immigrants. All are striving and hustling to forge their own path. Though these characters face challenges stemming from or in some way related to race and their immigrant identity, that identity is also a constant source of pride and joy. The cultures of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti are all represented and celebrated in some way in these books. The fourth book steadfastly upholds this and all the traditions that make this stunning series stand out including indelible characters, incredible found family, and a social justice center leavened by blazing heat and humor.

This time the story centers on Priscilla and Juan Pablo, former childhood sweethearts who’ve been in a volatile, love-hate, off and on relationship since they were teenagers in the Bronx. They’re now in their mid-thirties. Two decades is a long time to be feuding with someone you love, and Priscilla in particular, is more than tired of the struggle. In her words, Juan Pablo has been, and when the story opens likely still is, a “fuckboy.” The last time they got together less than a year ago left some deep scars and not a small amount of hostility. Readers of the earlier books can attest to that tension. The sparks, however, are also very much still in force.

This final chapter in the Dreamers series focuses on how these two people, who have never really fallen out of love, find their way back together despite those two decades of drama, pain and mistrust, but it’s also the story of how one of those characters, Priscilla, navigates a life-altering reevaluation of her life’s work and future path. That multilayered setup is one of the book’s greatest strengths. This is truly grown-folks business in the best sense of the term, and that’s not that prevalent in romance.

More here: bit.ly/2wTRxcb
Profile Image for Timitra.
1,281 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2020
Rated 3.5 Stars

American Sweethearts was a hot and sexy read. It's a childhood sweethearts and second chance romance that I enjoyed. It was a bit slow in parts but I liked the dynamic between the main characters, Juan Pablo and Priscilla. I loved how caring and attentive Juan Pablo was. However this book just didn't fully work for me but I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley
Profile Image for Taryn.
1,206 reviews188 followers
April 5, 2020
I jumped on American Sweethearts the day it was released. I was a big fan of the previous three books in Adriana Herrera’s Dreamers series, and I knew reading this one would be like reconnecting with old friends. Juan Pablo and Priscilla have dated on and off for years but can’t make it work long-term. When they’re forced together for mutual friend Milo’s idyllic island wedding, sparks fly once again, but they still don’t quite know how to relate to each other. Juan Pablo has been working on himself for a while and has made a lot of changes for the better, but Priscilla has some issues to work through before she can be ready to entertain the thought of a real relationship.

While I don’t think this book quite measured up to the others in the series, I liked Priscilla’s journey as a character. Her side hustle teaching sex-positive workshops and selling sex toys was a super interesting addition, and her fear of going for what she really wanted career-wise was personally relatable to me. I think the main reason I wasn’t as invested in the romance was there wasn’t one big, juicy reason why JuanPa and Priscilla hadn’t worked out before. For a second chance romance to really hook me, I need a big betrayal or seemingly insurmountable external obstacle. An amorphous “we just never seem to work out” vibe doesn’t quite do it for me. Still, I heartily recommend the entire Dreamers series, and I enjoyed checking in with all my favorite characters from previous books.
Profile Image for Sofia (Bookish Wanderess).
898 reviews598 followers
February 9, 2020

This was my most anticipated release of 2020 and I got an earc of it, so obviously I read it the same day I got it and I loved it.

Juan Pablo is the most swoonworthy hero in a romance book that I have read in a long time. He is absolutely the kind of guy I'll date in real life, which I don't find often in romance books. He is constantly working on being more open and honest and listening more and I was honestly fangirling over him the entire book. Priscilla is badass, smart and fun and I loved seeing her be able to be vulnerable and open with Juan Pablo. They have so much chemistry! Also, I love the way Latinx culture is included in this series and this book was not the exception. It was such an unapologetically Latinx book.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,204 reviews724 followers
February 11, 2020
(free review copy) Just when I thought the series couldn't possibly get any better, Herrera drops THIS on us. An absolute steamy, "lifelong loves find each other again" wonder. It's the first book in the series with a m/f romance, but don't fret ~ there is 100% nothing typical about this story. All of the characters from the previous books feature prominently and new characters add so much richness to the Dreamers world. All in all, a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Jess.
2,864 reviews5 followers
August 7, 2020
I remember thinking this was very well done, but this has sort of been the week from hell and I no longer remember anything I would have put in a review of the book. Which is unfortunate.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,182 followers
March 30, 2020
What a bittersweet end to an impressive series. Adriana Herrera has given us an immeasurable gift with each installment of the Dreamers series and I am sad to see it come to a close but also delighted Juan Pablo and Priscilla finally got their HEA.

J and Pris have had a fairly antagonistic relationship in the previous three books but here they’re trying to be on their best behavior for Tom and Milo’s wedding in the Dominican Republic, although snark and skepticism still slip through, especially on Pris’s part. They’ve had an on and off relationship since they were 14 but two years ago it became decidedly off as Priscilla had enough of Juan Pablo’s sketchy ways. Now 35, she’s reevaluating every part of her life, particularly her career as a cop, and she misses her friend. And he misses her too and wants to show that he’s changed.

Actions speak louder than words, especially given their history, but words still matter. J has gone to therapy and he’s made some overt changes in his life, including the way he decorates his home, just like they’d always discussed. He has the tea Pris usually drinks when she has cramps and a hot pad and is ready to nurture her. This was so sweet to see. He’s clearly a different man! But he struggles on the communication side of things and I really loved watching him figure out how to express himself, even when he overstepped his bounds.

Pris’s journey is more about making peace with the need to take a risk. Not only with giving Juan Pablo a second chance but turning her side hustle as a sex toy shop and podcast into her full-time gig. It’s a big risk regardless but it feels especially big because she doesn’t want to let her immigrant parents down and it doesn’t have the same stability or even prestige that being a cop has. She’s carrying such a big burden on her own and I loved watching her let J in and help carry the load. (Some of the references to Priscilla's cop cases could be triggering. Please see the content warnings for more detail.)

Those two have ferocious chemistry, making for some very hot and memorable scenes. There are ups and downs along the way, making for a very satisfying HEA. I love that Pris doesn’t want to have kids and they’re both fine with being a child-free couple—this is always great to see in romance.

Like I said, I’m very sad to see this series end but what a delightful ride it’s been. I can’t wait to see what Herrera does next!

A final note, more for myself than anything else. Professional ethics, particularly for health care workers, matter a great deal to me and I was concerned during the chapter where Juan Pablo is training Yariel Cuevas, a Yankees player, and we learn that they used to hook up. Physical therapists cannot date their clients and that wouldn’t change while working for a baseball team, even if he only provides PT on the off-season. So I clarified the nature of Juan Pablo and Yariel’s relationship with Herrera. She told me they casually hooked up when Yari was in his rookie year and J was not working with him as his PT. So phew! No ethical violations there. Fun fact: Yariel will get his own story in the He’s Come Undone anthology, which I cannot wait to read.

CW: racism, microaggressions, references to child abuse cases, case involving suspected child predator and a 12 year old who gets pregnant and miscarries and runs away, reference to the predator being stabbed ostensibly in self-defense, hero’s cop father was shot in the line of duty and ultimately retired from the force, heroine almost shot on the job two years prior, colorism

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the author. The author is a friend.
Profile Image for Becky.
514 reviews8 followers
February 20, 2020
I received a free copy of the eARC from Net Galley.

This is the fourth book in Herrera’s American Dreamer series, and the only m/f romance of them - I was looking forward to it because I love this series, but I didn’t feel like I really knew Priscilla and Juan Pablo very well and honestly, I was nervous I wouldn’t like it as much as I did the others.

So here’s the biggest lesson I took away from this book: never doubt the writing of Adriana Herrera. (See also: we are not worthy). This one might now be my favorite in the series!

Priscilla and Juan Pablo (or Pris and J as they call each other), have been friends forever, and even on-again/off-again lovers. Things did not end well last time they were “off again,” and at the start of the book they are headed to the Dominican Republic for the wedding of Milo and Tom (from book two!), and Pris and J haven’t seen each other in about a year.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this book is how hard the characters worked at their relationship because of how long they’ve known each other. They want to be in each others’ lives and they are not willing to settle for just falling into a friends-with-benefits situation again. For instance, J now goes to therapy and Pris can see the changes in him - how he handles arguments and is more willing to communicate better - they both had their own issues to work through but nothing was glossed over or given a quick/easy fix in the story.

I loved so much about this book - the quick banter, the conversations about race and sexuality, the scheming mamas of J and Pris, the friends who tried to push them together but also had their backs when they needed them, and as always, holy steamy sex scenes. Have I mentioned that Adriana Herrera can WRITE?!

I finished this book less than an hour ago and knew I wanted to write the review immediately. It comes out March 30, 2020, so if you haven’t read the first three you have until then to do so!
Profile Image for Em.
660 reviews4 followers
March 18, 2020
I love the Dreamers series. I'm not enjoying this book.

At the 50% mark, I'm still so curious about both of these characters and who they are. There's so much 'other' happening here, however, their love story is lost.

I like all the things the author is talking about in this novel, unfortunately, the dialogue and dialect/diversity/queer representation/body positivity/race relations/misogyny/...and so much more - instead of enhancing this story, distract and overwhelm it. The characters feel like archetypes vs. actual people. The novel is talking AT me rather than TO me.

I'm convinced that if I provide a negative review of this novel, or even a so-so review, it will only present an opportunity for someone to lecture me about my bias against A, B, C, D, E...truly, the options are endless. I try to read books with an open mind and heart, but this book is ripe for a reviewer misstep.

I want authors to confront challenging content and center it in their stories, and when they do it well, I'm all in. I wouldn't say this one is doing it well (how can you center and give weight to this many social issues?) and for this reason (and others), I'm out.

At 50%, the romance - my primary interest - is underdeveloped and underwhelming. It's a C (so far), but I am DNF'ing it.
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,771 reviews651 followers
May 17, 2020
This was off to a bit of a rocky start for me. Especially because the writing style didn't work particularly well for me. But I did end up enjoying this one, although I do think I preferred the previous book in this series.

It took a while for me to start connecting to the main characters, and my favourite parts of the book were the parts where the side characters featured prominently. I felt like they stole the show sometimes. But in the end, I did like these characters, and I thought there was quite a lot of growth in them as people and in their relationship.

I think this book did some really great things though, like having the Latinx main characters visit the Dominican Republic, and showing a main character who has a sex positive sex shop and gives super inclusive workshops to her community.

Rep: bisexual Italian-Puerto Rican MC, bisexual Dominican MC, gay Latinx side characters, trans side character

CWs: mentions of child sexual abuse, sex, menstruation, alcohol
Profile Image for Saritza.
546 reviews60 followers
May 12, 2020
I am an Adriana Herrera fan for life! I don't care what she writes next, I'm buying it! Her ability to root you in her characters' world and life in such a vibrant way is one of the many reasons, her books are so popular. AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS not only delivers on the Happily Ever After promise, it vividly shows what life is like for Latinx and POC in America. The fact that the main characters find love and happiness despite the challenges and obstacles life puts in the way, is the delicious icing on this beautifully crafted cake.
Profile Image for Paige.
167 reviews1 follower
April 10, 2020
The Dreamers series has meant a lot to me. It has made me feel seen in ways that feel absolutely necessary because the people in these stories struggle and seek love, while also pouring love into their communities and families. This book, like all the others in the series, felt like a homecoming.

What I loved about American Sweethearts was the fact that the love & the desire between Priscilla and JuanPa never wavered. It just strengthened and matured to the point where they could listen to each other and trust each other enough to be there to catch them if they fell. I felt like the lessons from Nesto’s book (prioritizing those you love), Camilo’s book (letting those you love help you), and Patrice’s book (allowing yourself & your partner to make mistakes and forge new passions and dreams together) all came together in this book. JuanPa and Priscilla chose to trust each other again and address past hurts. They chose to be brave in spite of their trepidation about really, truly loving someone and being loved back.

I wept reading scenes where JuanPa & Priscilla professed their love but also when they let their guards down and were vulnerable with each other. I also think the work Priscilla did in the community was so important and I want that organization to exist, especially for black and brown folx.

These books have been a love letter to Harlem, the Bronx, Yonkers and Ithaca. The way the characters spoke reminded me of one of my many homes. In the Bronx, working with black and brown youth, I strengthened my capacity to love my community but also love myself. These books bring me back to that love, back to that purpose and even more than that, they fill me with joy. So I just wanna say thank you to Adriana Herrera for writing these & blessing my life with her words.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rafa Brewster.
257 reviews21 followers
April 16, 2020
I'm super late reviewing this considering I received an ARC courtesy of NG a while back, but... this book did not disappoint!

Hot AFFFF M/F pairing aside, American Sweethearts differed from the rest of the series, in the sense that JuanPa and Pris have always been together, in some shape of another, since they were teenagers. Unlike the other heroes in the series, they did not come together against all odds, despite the prejudices or injustices they faced. The only thing JP and Pris was fighting was themselves.

This was a 2nd chance romance with a whole lot of heart, probably because it was more like a 20th chance romance. They're a couple that comes with a lot of history and a lot - A LOT - of pressure from their friends and families. I was a little afraid that the book would be chock full of nosy but well-meaning relatives, but instead, the author let the warmth and love of the community the MCs grew up in shine through. Seeing the rest of the gang (Nesto, Milo, Patrice and their beaux) interact and show support and talk trash in equal measure was an absolute delight as well.

If you enjoyed the author's American series, this book will feel like one big hug. Oh, and there's pegging. What's not to like? Highly recommend.
1,068 reviews
March 30, 2020
the dreamers series comes to a close with american sweethearts, and it's long-time, on-and-off again lovers, priscilla and juan pablo getting all the attention now. so you all know how i feel about second-chance romances, but it's not that i hate them all. it's just that there are so many done wrong. adriana herrera gets it right. yeah, some of their past is there, but it never overwhelms what happens in the here and now, and it's not that the characters make the same mistakes with a miraculously different outcome. it's that they put the work in to make it work.

the last time they broke up, juanpa realized he needed to make some changes. his very real concerns and not unreasonable anxieties were expressing themselves as anger and judgment and kept pushing away the one person in his life that he wants to keep close.

but for her part priscilla is holding on to her pride a bit too hard, life changes and sometimes the things we thought we wanted most aren't actually what we want in the end.

most of the conflict has to do with priscilla's work as a police officer. it's something she's clearly not happy with, and she's found a passion outside of her work at the precinct. but because she stuck to her pact with juanpa to join the police academy and he didn't, she feels like it's been a point of contention for so long between them, she doesn't know how to let it go without feeling like she's admitting she did something wrong.

and honestly, that speaks to me, because *no one* likes to be wrong. and it's more complex than that, because she wasn't wrong when she made the choices she did, and juanpa wasn't wrong to have made the choices he did. they were young and wanted different things and didn't talk to each other openly.

but juanpa has put a lot of work into being open and priscilla has to figure out how to match him and trust that the work he has put in is here to stay. because aside from their communication problems, they are clearly on the same wavelength everywhere else. especially the bedroom. where they are simply hot, hot, hot.

**american sweethearts will publish on march 30, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Emmalita.
528 reviews34 followers
February 28, 2020
While I was reading American Dreamers and American Love Story I requested and was granted an arc of the final book in the series, American Sweethearts. This is an honest review in exchange for an arc from NetGalley.

Juan Pablo and Priscilla have been on again off again since they were sixteen. Through the Dreamers series they have been off. It’s painful to both of them the way they love each other but can’t live with each other. The second chance at romance is a well loved trope. What Herrera is interested in exploring is not a fated mates situation, but the hard work that goes into changing toxic patterns. Before the book opens, Herrera send Juan Pa to therapy.

After that last time, I told Juan Pablo he needed to grow up and leave me alone. I’d been angry and frustrated, but before he walked out of my apartment he’d looked me straight in the eyes and said, I will. After that, it had been radio silence. No, “You up?” texts in the middle of the night, nothing. He’d stayed away like he said he would, like I’d asked him to.

JuanPa has gone to therapy and is working on changing the way he engages with Priscilla, starting by not engaging with Priscilla until she invites him to. Priscilla doesn’t entirely know how to react. Changing the dance steps of an established relationship is hard and while JuanPa has worked on a lot in therapy, the two of them still make missteps and have to navigate baggage. Neither wants to start again if they aren’t going to make it.

Herrera does such a beautiful job of showing the web of connections between them and the way those connections make it easy to fall back into each other, but also how they hinder them growing together. Like the other books in the series, American Sweethearts is loaded with social justice and high on the heat index. It’s a lovely last book in an incredibly strong debut series.
320 reviews11 followers
April 3, 2020
Such a delight. I love these characters and wish this book could have been a wee bit longer to give us more time with them.
There’s so much sweetness here, so much tenderness and humor, so many different kinds of love.
Profile Image for Allison.
223 reviews120 followers
September 19, 2020
Ahhhh!! Adriana Herrera finished our the Dreamers series SO strong. I loved the story of Juan Pablo and Priscilla, high school sweethearts with nearly 20 years of Will-they-won’t-they love, finally trying to get their shit together and make it work. So good!!
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,457 reviews29 followers
March 19, 2020
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

If all women in m/f romance were as fabulous as Pris in this book, I would read a whole lot more m/f romance. Pris is everything I’ve ever wanted in a girl crush. She’s funny, she’s clever, she’s fierce, she’s independent and she has a kick ass job. Pris also has an impressive side hustle. I’ve swooned over the men in this series from the beginning but this time, it was definitely Pris who won my heart.

There’s nothing wrong with JuanPa, but like too many men, he’s only just starting to become a adult in his mid 30s and he has a whole lot of growing up to do before he can meet Pris as an actual partner. I love his growth in the book but I loved Pris more. I love the lifetime of relationship that continues to pull JuanPa and Pris back into each other’s and I love their shared history and culture.

I also really love that neither of these characters are perfect. Pris is prickly and unforgiving and she likes to pick fights. JuanPa is trying hard to make up for years of broken trust. There is something raw and real about the two characters as they fight for the relationship they know they can have.

I usually hate the sex in m/f romance but I really loved that the sex in this book manages to be crazy hot while also feeling realistic and woman centred. Even the kink feels organic rather than sensational. Previously, I’ve really only read this kind of sex in lesbian writing and I absolutely loved it here.

I’ve been a massive fan of this series since the beginning and I love that the author has written a female character as compelling as the men in her previous books. It sounds trite and reductionist to praise this series as ‘Woke Romance’ but I absolutely love the fresh voices and the characters who actually reflect the people I know and love in my own life.
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