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 or of 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.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Do you have an empty stomach? Then, can I proselytize about American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera? Bring a full stomach as you read unless you want to risk feeling hungry the entire time, or maybe read while enjoying some Caribbean food. American Dreamer is an exquisite take on gay foodie romance you may have been waiting for. If you were a fan of Idlewild by Jude Sierra, but wished to see more of the food-related aspect of the restaurant, then perhaps this is your jam.
We follow Nesto, an Afro-Dominican gay man, as he goes all-hands-on-deck and moves from NYC to Ithaca, NY to work on his Caribbean cuisine food truck. Surrounded by a strong and vast cast of supporting characters, Nesto wants to prove this change was for good. Along the way, he stumbles into Jude and a flirtation with the introverted and guarded librarian.
Jude is an anxious mess, yet falls into Nesto’s suave moves with ease. They take comfort in each other and after a makeout session, they decide to take it slow preferring to stay as friends with benefits; the benefits being Nesto’s cooking and fooling around with each other without the pressure of a ~romantic~ relationship. The slight slow-burn provides a backdrop for their developing feelings toward each other and for poignant, private emotional moments.
The plot allows their relationship to breathe and exist without a lot of pressure surrounding them. Nesto and Jude are very determined to make their lives become successful, despite the racist white lady hell-bent on destroying their livelihoods (perhaps… rich racist white women… were the villains… all along…).
Despite The Racism and Emotional Abuse that the White Lady subjects them to, their actual problems lay in their tunnel vision when it comes to themselves. Particularly, when Nesto’s star is on the rise he becomes too focused on his business to care for Jude, and Jude is dealing with his own personal demons when his homophobic sister returns to his life after she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Their relationship becomes strained, but the supporting cast is incredible, especially when they’re going to become a springboard for the series (all of Nesto’s friends are getting the protagonist treatment in the series, with Milo’s romance coming up in American Fairytale).
It has a HEA guarantee, but I appreciated seeing the development in Nesto and Jude’s relationship. American Dreamer was a fun and scrumptious read, and I can’t wait to delve into American Fairytale soon.
TWs: Racism, Parental and Familial Abuse, usage of Christian homophobia, kicking out family member of home and family for being gay, physical and verbal homophobic confrontations, homophobia, anxiety and anxiety attacks.
An eARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but it’s only been about a week. A lot has been happening in my life, so I’m trying to keep a semblance of a posting routine. I’m not apologizing for it, it’s my life and I gotta do what I gotta do. But I miss writing! I have a review that’s for May ready in my drafts, and I still have a bunch of May reviews to write, I just gotta finish the books. Anyway.
Follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter @boricuareads, and make sure you check out my other reviews, as well as my book lists, edits, and more! If you enjoyed this, know that I put a lot of work into my reviews, so a monetary donation helps keep this blog going. I also have two Amazon Wishlists: one for books by Latinx authors, and another one for the rest of the books that I’d love to read and buy for myself.
Thank you for reading!