Friday, May 24, 2019

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera Dual Media Review

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!

Audiobook Details
Length: 7 hrs, 34 mins
Narrator: Sean Crisden

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Ebook Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press – Harlequin

Audiobook Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Audible US  ~  iTunes
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ebook Reviews

This is a fairytale romance for urban millennials. When Milo meets his Prince Charming at a party, he is immediately swept off his feet. But Milo kinda likes standing on his own two feet and he’s perfectly capable of sorting out his own problems. Milo can’t ride into the sunset with Tom until he is certain the power imbalance between them won’t crush his identity. The connection between Milo and Tom is electric, but the two must find a balance that works for them both before Milo can commit to a relationship.

The characters in this story are carefully observed and beautifully developed. Urban Millennials will immediately recognise themselves in these characters. Like the first book, this story celebrates Milo and Tom’s Caribbean cultures. The book takes a hard look at intersectional identity, making insightful observations about various characters’ identities and experiences. But this isn’t a heavy story. Milo and Tom are incredibly likeable characters with a few flaws. I rolled my eyes more than once at Milo’s snowflake angst, but I couldn’t help but love and admire him. And while Tom is always well meaning, there are a few moments where he takes advantage of his privilege. Tom’s sense of entitlement is instinctive – and bloody irritating at times.

I fell in love with Adriana Herrera’s writing in the first book in this series and this second book doesn’t disappoint. I love the way Herrera writes dialogue, and her characters and their city are wonderful. Herrera’s voice feels fresh and I really enjoy the mix of romance and social commentary in these books. I’m already looking forward to the next story in this series.

This is the second book in this series about a group of friends and their lives and loves. I would recommend the first book to you, but you could definitely read this a standalone and still really enjoy it.

Camilo is doing exactly what he wanted to for a career, and he works hard to make his and his mother's life better. So, when a rich benefactor turns out to be a guy he hooked up with, he is not interested in rocking the boat, even if Tom is hot and keen. The story that follows is a mix of the backward and forward as Milo squares his feelings with his principles, and Tom throwing his money at solving any problems as often as he could.

Certainly both men learn some lessons about life, money, and love – but I did feel that Tom's idiocy should have ended sooner, given his friends' advice and the strong messages he gets from Milo directly. There is a point where being protective becomes controlling, and he wasn't so stupid that he couldn't decide the tipping point.

Once he did straighten himself out, then it was fun to see their families and friends join them in what really was a dream romance, even if not exactly a fairytale!

I loved the blurb about this book and I was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, I think I am in the minority on how I feel about this book. Milo is a social worker, Tom a massively rich guy. I hate when rich people think they can buy love or affection with material things. Milo just wants Tom, nothing else. I was honestly bored and found myself skimming this book hoping for it to get better. I like fairy-tale books but this one just didn't work for me.

Audiobook Review

As much as I enjoyed American Dreamer, I have become addicted to American Fairytale. Book by book, Adriana Herrera is opening my eyes to people, places, cultures, and foods that I’ve had little to no exposure to as a white girl who grew up in the Deep South. Even living in Key West for well over a decade and visiting Miami, my experiences are limited so I am loving the experiences she’s shared – even the ones that break my heart.

Milo (and yes, I will forever second guess its pronunciation in the future) is a proud Jamaican-Cuban man who loves his mother and is committed to making the world a better place – or at least his part of Harlem – as much as humanly possible. Anyone who knows a social worker knows it’s a calling, not a job, so I adored Milo’s throw-caution-to-the-wind attitude at the gala and his first encounter with Tom. Granted, the uncomfortable meeting with his employer’s new donor made it even more entertaining because… awkward! It’s the kind of thing you wish only happened in fiction, but the real world is so much smaller than we often realize. While some label him prickly and opinionated, Milo’s passion for the people he works with and how committed he is to helping them make a new, safer life for themselves is inspiring. It’s no wonder Tom fell head-over-heels for him. And while Tom was a down-to-earth guy and did an okay job of tamping down his White Knight Syndrome for most of the book, when he oversteps, he does it BIG!

Tom is a conundrum we don’t often meet in romance novels. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and American father, he’s an interesting mix of his parents. His father’s love of the DR meant that Tom was raised Dominican with, it seems, little emphasis placed on his father’s American roots. Yet he inherited his physical appearance from his father, a fact that opened doors for him in the US that he knows would have otherwise been closed to him. This is something Tom has grappled with as an adult because while he’s thankful for said opportunities, he’s well aware of the unfairness of it and strives not to take it for granted, especially as it helped him and his friends in the business venture that made them millionaires. Unfortunately for Tom, he’s not as mindful about taking his money for granted and how using it to solve problems is taking the easy way out – at least in Milo’s opinion. Thank goodness, Tom has a group of friends who are just as supportive and straight-talking as Milo’s GA Crew and they give Tom the swift kick in the rear he needs to make things right with Milo.

Sean Crisden is the perfect choice for this series. Again, I won’t even begin to pretend I know the difference between the various characters’ accents, but he has created such distinct voices for the main characters so far that I’m enthralled. I love how he’s able to take Tom and Milo from fun and flirty to sensual and sexy. I found myself laughing out loud more than once and coming to a complete standstill with all of my attention fixed on my earbuds when things began to heat up. Whew! I needed a cold drink more than once, that’s for sure. But it’s how he captured Milo’s passion, exhaustion, and frustration that really impressed me because it took me from listening to an audiobook to hanging out with a friend whose life has become a bit too much and just needs to vent about it. Even after listening to American Fairytale for the fourth time this week – I wasn’t kidding when I said I was addicted – I’m still transported to Milo and Tom’s Harlem and even more amazing is that I hear something new on each listen. I wasn’t sure that Herrera was going to be able to top American Dreamer, but American Fairytale did just that. I so cannot wait for the next book in the series to see how she outdoes herself again and I sincerely hope that Crisden is able to continue narrating this fabulous series. Just like Herrera’s couples, theirs is a perfect match for this band of Dreamers.

On a side note, it was fascinating to have listened to Tom’s experiences as a white-presenting Dominican man when compared to Nesto’s experiences as a Dominican man who looks traditionally Dominican. I’m glad I was able to listen to American Dreamer and American Fairytale back-to-back because it emphasized that disparity even more than I’d probably been aware of having only listened to book two.

Also Available in the Dreamers Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press – Harlequin

For reviews & more info, check out our American Dreamer post.

Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen 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’s she 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.

Connect with Adriana

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Sean Crisden

I have been a professional voice artist since 2006 (wait, people pay me for this?) but my history extends further than that. As a child, I was known as “Radio Man” for the articulate, listenable qualities within my voice. I don’t know any other kid who took quite so much pleasure in standing up and reading out loud Tikki Tikki Tembo or Bunnicula for their class.

This lead to an early pursuit of performing and I performed for nearly a decade with the prog rock band Divided Sky as vocalist and guitar player. I have expanded my abilities into on-camera acting, appearing in numerous commercials and films including M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. I was even fortunate enough to act in and choreograph the combat sequences in Le Meduse Rouge.

I continue to grow, develop and refine my talents in an ongoing effort to find fulfillment by drinking of my creative well. I also train in several martial arts and do my best despite the lure of my bed and apple pie to stay in excellent physical shape.

Connect with Sean

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera to read and review. Angela reviewed her personal copy of the audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed by a blog admin before being published. We thank you for visiting our blog & leaving a comment.