Cover Image: Here to Stay

Here to Stay

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Member Reviews

As a quick reminder, here is my rating structure:

here to stay instagram pic
1 star: Did not finish
2 Stars: Finished but do not recommend
3 Stars: Liked but could use some improvements
4 Stars: Loved this book!
5 Stars: Rare. The unput-down-able, binge read obsession.

I have to tell you that I really loved this steamy, contemporary romance.

There was a grittiness and real world feel to Adriana Herrera’s writing, making Here to Stay feel so far grounded in reality that it never strayed into the fantastical as some romance novels can.

The cultural references made me so happy. With so many ethinicities, cultures, and sexual orientations represented, this book feels true to life in the most basic ways. Relationships are not one size fits all, yet a lot of romance novels have a very narrow view of what their characters should be. Here to Stay tells it like it is in so many ways.

I also want to take a moment to talk about the food. Reading this book made me so hungry, because Adriana Herrera really gave us a great glimpse of the variety of Domincan food. I need to try some chimmichurri, pescado frito, and sancocho immediately. Looking these dishes up had my mouth watering.

Everything about Here to Stay just felt right, like the story fell into a pocket from the very beginning and didn’t let me go.

So good that any romance lover should snap this one up.

*Special thanks to Adriana Herrera and Carina Press for providing a copy of Here to Stay in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this. It's a slow burn, work rivalry type romance, that has plenty of reasons that the leads should be trying to avoid each other - but they just can't help themselves. What I really liked about this is that it manages to dance the line of what is acceptable workplace behaviour really well. Both characters are super competant at their jobs, and they keep their work seperate from their relationship. I read Farrah Rochon's The Boyfriend Project a couple of months back, and pretty much my only problem with that* was the way that the office subplot worked out - with the deception from the hero from the start, but particularly to resolve the situation - and this is much better at the office side of things than that was. I liked this a lot - I liked the idea of a relationship being a haven and also bringing out the best in you. Lovely.

*and it is a problem that has bothered me more as I thought about the book afterwards than it did in the first throes of reading it
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👸🏼🐝REVIEW: Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera

Well I guess on the weekends I’ll just be taking photos of gorgeous book covers paired with delicious pastries. I guess that makes sense because during the week I’m hustling Griff and I out the door while shoving a banana or protein bar down my gullet. And while that’s definitely the healthier choice, it’s just not as aesthetically pleasing.

Anyway, what I’m really here to talk to you about today is the wonder that is Andriana Herrera. This is only my second book by her but I can’t help but feel like I’m reading exactly what I’m supposed to be reading when I pick up a book by her. The way she flawlessly seams together romance and poignant social topics is nothing short of perfection. Honestly, how many times can a person say “OMG YAS” while reading one book?

Julia & Rocco are the classic “I’m not supposed to want this person but I do so let me just screw them out of my system and then everything will be fine” trope. You know the one. Where the whole time you’re like, “TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM!” or “BOY, IF YOU DON’T USE YOUR WORDS...” And I kind of wanted to bang their heads together a couple of times but I just loved them too much. Their chemistry and attraction is off the damn charts and getting them to just do the damn thing takes a minute but when they finally do it’s totally worth the wait 🥵🔥 The support they get from their loyal and no nonsense group of friends is fantastic and the theme that family doesn’t look the same and feel the same to everyone is so true and on point.

Do not sleep on this one, y’all. Thank you to netgalley for the early review copy, but you can also check the audiobook out on hoopla!
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This one was so good. Adriana Herrera is a new author to me and I can see that I have been missing out! The writing was really engaging, the characters were entertaining and the plot was engrossing. I really loved this book because it combined family loyalty with real community issues and a sizzling romance. Definitely one of my top reads of 2020.

Julia del Mar moved from New York to Dallas to follow a boyfriend who dumped her soon after she arrived. He also stiffed her with the apartment that needs two people to pay for so Julia cannot afford to lose her job. She works for a charity foundation, an arm of a high fashion company run by two sisters. 

Rocco Quinn is a New Yorker who was sent to Dallas as a financial consultant to the foundation that Julia worked at. The problem is that the two sisters who run the fashion company are being challenged by a younger brother who wants to streamline the fashion company and maximize profits by phasing out their philanthropic wing, which is where Julia works. Julia tries her best to show Rocco what her department means to both the fashion house and to the community.

Julia plans a series of get togethers for the “Gotham Exiles” aka the New Yorkers who now live in Dallas and Rocco joined the group. The sparks between Julia and Rocco was evident but what added to the drama was the fact that Rocco was hired to end Julia’s job. Added to the burgeoning attraction, was Julia’s family. I was laughing so hard because I remember my mom and grandmother worrying about me when I moved from Dallas to New York. Her family is so protective, loving and hilarious. Julia’s family were scene stealers and they made me crave Dominican food. I also loved the subplot with Rocco’s family and their issues. It helped illuminate Rocco’s values and lets the reader get to know him. I really liked him and Julia as people. They care about other people even to their own detriment. 

If you want a book where the author really develops the characters and the plot is relatable, then you have to read this book. Definitely one of my top reads of 2020.

*Special thanks to Carina Press via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.
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This slow burn romance was entertaining. I would give it a 3.5 rounded to a 4. I thought the chemistry between Rocco and Julia was built up well and they definitely had it but I think some of the steam got a little cringeworthy at times (maybe I need to read more romance?).

Overall, I'm glad I read this. I enjoyed the spanish sayings and I loved the group of friends in Dallas, the Gotham Exiles!
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Much thanks to Carina Press for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may or may not appear in the final published copy.

The Workplace Enemies-To-Lovers I Need

My romance-loving heart is definitely rejoicing with this new release from Carina Press. Here To Stay tells the story of Julia del Mar Ortiz and her life struggles after moving to Dallas from the busy NYC only to break up and get left behind by the reason she moved in the first place. After landing a great job she is passionate about, she finds that her department is at the risk of getting chopped.

Enter Rocco Quinn. Fellow ex-New Yorker and Julia’s beautiful nightmare. Why? Despite this man’s good looks is his job as a consultant that will eventually get rid of the charitable programs she handles.

As these two get to know each other, the real problem arises. Would they entertain this sense of attraction they feel? And what would that mean for their jobs?

Content Warning: Abusive parent, alcoholism

Lovable Lead Characters

As a romance reader, one of the things that influence how much I would love a book is how much I feel for the characters. Not necessarily agreeing with everything about them, but they should not frustrate me to bits, I guess.

Here to Stay was able to meet those expectations and it had me rooting for the leads even at the first few chapters! Julia is such a darling and seeing how passionate she was about her social work is so inspiring. She is fiery and brave – the type of heroine I want in my romance books!

And, I have to admit, as much as I adore Julia, Rocco stole the show – and my heart! He is so sweet to his niece and sister, he loves animals, and he is just a soft cinnamon roll. His vulnerability is so swoon-worthy (and he doesn’t disappoint in delivering steam, as well.)

The Beauty of Found Family

Another plus point for this story is the friend group they have formed. The Gotham Exiles, which began as a simple gathering for former New Yorkers evolved to becoming a support group. There’s just a profound feeling that tugs at the heartstrings when strangers turn into family – and Here to Stay gave us this fun found family dynamic that was so fun to read!

Dominican Culture Representation

Adriana Herrera also gave us some Latinx love! Julia is from Dominican Republic and she and her family showcased a lot of their culture in the story. The integration of the Dominican culture in the book did not feel forced or too preachy. It just showed a story of a fun and loud family who loved each other too bits. Bonus: I loved all of the food mentions and descriptions!

Final Thoughts: Definitely Satisfied

Though this was my first Adriana Herrera read, I think I found a new romance author with a backlist I want to devour. Her writing style is up my alley and I definitely need more! Here to Stay might be a little slow burning, but I enjoyed the whole journey. Julia & Rocco’s story is the perfect blend of cute, fun, dramatic, sweet, and steamy – definitely the total package!

My Book Rating Breakdown
Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.64/5)
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Thanks to the author I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this book before the release on August 25th.
Here to Stay tells the story of Julia del Mar Ortiz born and bred in New York, who after moving to Dallas for her boyfriend Matt, shortly finds herself dumped and left in a new city alone. At least she has a new job she likes! Working for the Sturm Foundation is perfect for Julia but now, she finds her job being threatened when the company decides to go public and a new consultant is brought in to assess every aspect of the Foundation’s work specially whether the charitable program should be cut.
Rocco Quinn, a fellow New Yorker, is that consultant who was brought in to make this transition as smooth as possible. For Rocco, this job could spell a promotion and more importantly, it would be the final step to help her sister move away from New York.
Overall, if you’re interested in a co-workers hate to love with a dash of pining, an adorable/sometimes meddling family and friend group, sexy hot moments, a hero thats not afraid to be vulnerable, more pining, all the food mentions and baseball? then Here To Stay is the book for you
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Adrianna Herraara has a remarkable way of capturing the personality and spirit of her New Yorker characters… even when they aren’t in their native New York!

The friendships created and the corresponding camaraderie are what stood out to me the most in this book. It was fun to watch these ex-pat New Yorkers come together in their new home and bond.

As for the romance, I found it a bit forced. Julia is on a dating sabbatical and not looking for a man… Rocco is only in Dallas working fro the men trying to cut funding and close Julia’s charitable foundation that she works for. These two should be enemies, but they are friends… the tension between them is pretty high, but they both know they are on opposite sides…
I found it unsatisfying… size they were workplace enemies, their friendship muddied the waters. I found it hard to get behind their romance.

On another side, I really enjoyed the representation of the charitable foundation that Julia ran. The way they helped and assisted immigrants and non-documented persons. Their plight was well represented and shone a light on the issue.

Here to Stay by Adriana Herrara was released  August 25th, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin and the Harlequin Publicity Team. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
#HeretoStay #AdrianaHerrara #NetGalley #pinkcowlandreads
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Here to Stay is a great book with a lot of feelings. It follows two NYC expats who are working in Dallas, Julia and Rocco. Julia works at a non-profit for immigrant children and Rocco is the numbers guy who might potentially get her program cut. The best part of the book is Julia's family, both her Dominican/Puerto Rican family back in NYC, and the group of friends who are all transplants from NYC, dubbed the Exiles. Here to Stay is touches on tough topics, like immigration and family trauma, but it is also a joyful book about fashion, family, and friendship. (How's that for alliteration?) It's a great read for the end of a tough day. You'll definitely laugh, you might cry a little, and you'll end with a happy sigh. 

(I was provided an advanced copy by Netgalley. However, the opinions here are my own. )
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I really enjoyed this steamy romance. The main character is a feisty woman and the male character is definitely swoon worthy. I found the descriptions of the Dominican culture really made the story more interesting and authentic. The food descriptions were amazing! The secondary characters added more dimension and were impactful and entertaining. This was a great book that I read in one sitting. I found that the story had a lot of depth and I loved seeing Julia’s character evolve.
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All kinds of mixed feelings.

The good:

- The first half of the book. I enjoyed learning about Julia's work, watching the found family come together, and the 'totally not falling for hot coworker, nope!' vibes.

- Love the Dominican culture, the Spanish not in italics, and Julia's family.

The not-so-good:

- The black moment that pushes Julia and Rocco apart bugs me so much. Just a touch of communication would have helped - and considering Julia is a social worker I was expecting her to do better. I almost DNFed at 70% but pushed through.

- It may be because I'm reading an unedited proof, but "dipped my head" and "lifted a shoulder" seemed to pop up every few pages. Also a lot of teeth sucking.

- A "random" comment in conversation foreshadows the conclusion. Some people may not notice but was dead obvious to me, and it revealed the one last puzzle piece I hadn't guessed at yet. GAH.

After a fun and enjoyable first half I was disappointed with how the conflict worked out, but I still want to read on in the series because YAY found family.

CW: discussion of past trauma, emotionally abusive parent
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Adriana Herrera is killing it in the social justice romance genre game, I'm looking forward to stories about the Gotham Exiles moving forward, and I'm excited that this features the voices of women (the Dreamers series features mostly male protagonists). The main character was eerily similar to a few friends I know that live in Dallas (one of which relocated from NYC!) and work in a nonprofit/public sector that focuses on serving underrepresented youth. 

Julia del Mar Ortiz is a great lead -- she's an extremely confident woman who despite being dumped by her boyfriend after making a move for him, is unmatched when it comes to her work ethic and her own badass beauty. She meets Rocco Quinn, who should be her enemy (or at the very least, someone she doesn't make lustful eye contact with every time he walks by), since he has been brought to her company to make cuts before the company goes public. However, he's a sweet little softy with a complicated backstory, so her internal social worker can't help but go for it.

I enjoyed this read a lot. I love the situations that Herrera puts her characters in, when it comes to making tough decisions, and there is always a focus on healthy communication (even though you still get that anxiety-producing romance twist towards the end). I like my romance books to be open door but wow, this one definitely goes into a LOT of detail, and makes up for the fact that it's a slow burn for the most part in the later half of the book. I also wish that for a book that focuses on 'found family' that you got to know that found family a little bit more -- the friendships aren't highlighted in this book other than in parties and some texts. They definitely care about each, but I don't get a sense from this first book about why beyond the fact that they all lived in NYC once. Hopefully this becomes more clear later in the later books.

Anyone who knows and loves Herrera will appreciate this latest addition, and I think it's also a great book as an intro to her writing! If you love found family, social justice, steamy romance, and delicious Dominican food, you will definitely want to stick around the world of Here to Stay. Thanks to NetGalley for the early review copy, all opinions are my own.
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I am a fan of Adriana Herrera's books, and this start to a new series is absolutely wonderful. Julia and Rocco are on opposite sides at work, but there is a spark between them that they cannot ignore. How can one resist New Yorkers building new lives in Texas?  The Afro-Caribbean ethnicity present in Ms. Herrera's work adds layers to the story and the characterization. I cannot wait to see more of these characters in their own upcoming stories.
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***ARC Provided by the Publisher***

DNF at 33%

I liked the characters in this, and there were a lot of them which ultimately ended up being the issue I had and is the reason I have chosen to DNF this title.

There were too many other people that I felt the central relationship between Julia and Rocco ended up getting a little lost in the crowd and I never felt like I was getting to know either of them.
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I really enjoyed this book! It grabbed my attention from the very beginning! This one was quite a slow burn for me, but there were other things going on the book that held my attention. This was my first Adriana Herrera book and it won’t be my last! I would definitely recommend this book!
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I’ve gotta be honest – despite being an Adriana Herrera fangirl – I was wary of this one because it was described as a romance taking place in the high fashion industry and…that’s not anything I care about. I envisioned lots of brand name speak and I was going to take a pass. I’m so glad I didn’t because this is low on fashion and high on community, second chances, found family and two wonderful people that deserve love.
Julia del Mar Ortiz followed her boyfriend from NYC to Dallas, TX then he dumped her and went back to NYC leaving her with a pricey apartment. It hurt and she’s struggling but she does love her new job running a charitable foundation for high fashion Sturm’s department store, helping the children and families suffering from abuse and the immigration system.

When one of the Sturm brothers, Duke, decides to take the store public, the family and board members bring in a consultant, Rocco Quinn, to find where to cut costs, including Julia’s program.

You would think this would be an enemies to more romance but it’s not. Rocco is there to do a job and he’s thoughtful and professional about it. Duke tries to pressure him to cut the charitable arm but he’s equally attentive to the elderly twin Sturm sisters – Muffy & Mitzy (hilarious spitfires) who believe the charitable aspect is what makes the store attractive and profitable. Julia understands that it’s his job and just sets out to prove the program is worth saving. No petty squabbles or hijinks. But there are plenty of sparks, of course.

My favorite part of Here to Stay is how welcoming everyone was to Rocco. The staff could all hate him but they sensed that he was alone and lonely and pulled him in to their Gotham Exiles Club (a group of expat NYC’er co workers) and Julia’s family welcomed him immediately into the fold and never wavered in their belief in Julia. Herrera does a great job writing big, nosy, supportive families – both by blood and found.

The romance wasn’t easy. Julia doesn’t trust her instincts with men and Rocco has self confidence, verbal abuse issues from his parents (& sees a therapist!) so there’s a lot of back and forth before they give in. Even though I understood Julia’s hesitance, I thought she was a little too hot then cold to Rocco – knowing, with her background, how much that affected him - but thankfully she pulled her head out of her ass and was 110% there for him – as he was for her, knowing she needed support for her dreams.

And oh! Pulgo the cat that Rocco rescued! Too cute

Minor…minor…minor…quibbles but I thought this could have been a tad shorter and I got sick of hearing Julia say "Rocco fucking Quinn" but I still really enjoyed this one and wish it was a series. Lots of great supporting characters that could have been spun off into their own stories.
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Julia left her family and the life she knew behind to move to Dallas with her boyfriend only to find out that her feelings for him were much deeper than his for her.    She is determined to make a success of her new life and found her job of running a program to help immigrants fulfilling.

Due to a change in the structure of the company that employed her Rocco has been sent to decide if the cost of the program that Julia runs is worth the cost.    As he and Julia find themselves on opposite sides their relationship started out filled with friction but as they get to know each other and their pasts the sparks fly.

This  story includes some very important social issues that shouldn’t be overlooked, has a great group of secondary characters and both their families are captivating in very different ways.   All in all I enjoyed this story and look forward to more stories set in this locale.
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I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I’ve heard a lot about her books on a couple of the podcasts I listen to and I’ve been wanting lately to read one. I liked the description on this book a lot and was excited to read it. I liked it a good amount. The hero and heroine were so passionate and lively and it really made for an interesting read. I can see why her books are so popular because even beyond the normal romance plot line there were some important issues that this book dealt with: immigration and emotional abuse being the major ones. I loved hearing about the after-school programs Julia had organized and all the information about her background and her education. She was fiercely successful and it was so great to see such a strong female character in a romance novel. Julia and Rocco also had just the most adorable nicknames and it made me melt. Some of the plot was a tad off-putting for me because the main conflict was somewhat the result of communication issues – which isn’t my favorite. Other than that though it was a really enjoyable read and I’d recommend it!
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DNF 37%

This has great chemistry between Rocco and Julie but at least for time being this romance wasn’t holding my attention. I think Herrera does a great job showing main characters working for social justice, and I liked Julie’s work with immigrant families. I was curious how things would be resolved regarding her job, especially because the men who hired Rocco’s firm seemed nefarious. Plus, as always with Herrera’s work, the family and chosen family dynamics were wonderful. But despite the elements I was enjoying, right now this story wasn’t holding my attention like this author usually does.
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Julia is a transplant from New York to the deep South.  Outside of the crazy temperature difference, and the sudden lack of love in her life, she's settling in with a fab new job, and a great apartment....but she misses her friends!  She's not unfriendly; she's just missing those she knows and, taking the bull by the horns like any NYC gal, she sets up a gathering for other New Yorkers looking for that familiar connection brought about by dodging traffic, living in over priced small spaces, and treating driving like it's something you'd rather not do.  Does it work?  Sure...but there's a catch.  Her new job is being reevaluated as the business makes some changes (significant ones!) and that puts her role on the line...oh and hello monkey wrench!  The guy doing the eval's?  Yeah...he's one of the displaced (who's also trying to take care of not only his life, but family!)...and he's not a hardship for the eyes (though neither is she!)...and he may feel the same way (major sparkage!)...and she can not seriously afford for anything to happen right now (ditto for him!)...but you know, heart's and wanting what they want and....yeah, things are about to get WAY MORE complicated than either of them need.

The story grows from there and the connections forged, problems faced, and obstacles overcome are great, fantastic, couldn't have felt more realistic!  The issue of the people not being representative of the people they are there for was truly felt.  The fact that change comes from some taking small steps in the name of a bigger cause was noteworthy.  The fact that the main characters were both of backgrounds and family histories that included multiple nationalities and heritages that they were proud of was definitely made known.  My only issue was the language during parts of the book and the fact that the excessive use of such language was supposed to be indicative of the fact that a person was a "true New Yorker".  Umm...maybe in some parts, but I wouldn't use it as a general classification and honestly, during those parts of the book, I was pulled away from what was happening to the point of distraction.

Overall, a good story that certainly adds to the diverse literature culture needed in the publishing industry...just be prepared for the language factor going in and take care to focus around it to take everything in.  (or not, if it doesn't faze you!).
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