Cover Image: Full Moon Over Freedom

Full Moon Over Freedom

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3.5, rounded up. I didn't like this one as much as the previous installment--probably because Alex is a more appealing character than Gillian and because the story here is more fractured and difficult to follow. The chemistry is certainly palpable, though, and the second-chance romance trope works smoothly. There's also some magical realism mixed in with the romance that continues the theme of ghostly mischief from book 1--the appearance of La Llorona and other spiritual elements is intriguing, though Gillian and Nick getting physical during the appearance of said elements feels...icky?

This is a solid second installment in the series, so grab this if you enjoyed the first one. Can't wait to read Sissy's book!

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I forgot just how good Angelina Lopez's writing is. The Milagro Street series epitomizes the best of romance.

This is a contemporary fiction that explores so many themes: class, family dynamics, divorce, addiction, and misogyny/patriarchy - all through a lens of racism. Lopez educates readers, but integrates it seamlessly. Her characters are complex, and their circumstances pull at readers' heartstrings. She's even woven magical realism into this series, and it all feels just right.

Lopez delivers all of this wrapped up in a steamy romance.

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Full Moon Over Freedom is a beautifully written, angst filled book that will probably most speak to people who are feeling a little lost or have been in a place where they're trying to heal from an emotionally abusive relationship. That's not to say this book can't be enjoyed by everyone, but I feel like it's going to speak the most to people who fall into that category. Gillian, the Pride of the East Side, puts a lot of stock in her image and ever since she married Thomas, that image has had her looking more "polished," which appears to have been code for more white. The way that Gillian's emphasis on physical perfection slips away throughout this book is such a carefully constructed ode to the character development she's going through internally. And despite the fact that Gillian is a victim of her husband's emotional cruelty, continuing even after their separation/divorce, this book also explores how her need to be "perfect" led her to being thoughtlessly cruel to people in her own life. I loved the character development in this book and the second chance romance with her childhood friend who "taught" her sex lessons? It was stunning.

Now, all that about Gillian aside, Nick has his own past and his own history and his own angst he's dealing with and some of it was a little ridiculous. I mean, we can begin with the fact that he's so convinced that Gillian will hurt him that he makes up a fiancée. But nevertheless, Nick's sense of guilt over "letting" his brother succumb to addiction is a struggle I think too many people can likely relate to. Of course, the message of this book is in part that you cannot control other peoples choices so I appreciated that too.

All in all, I think that this book was absolutely wonderful and I would recommend it whole heartedly. Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the e-ARC, though I also partially listened to this book via Hoopla and would highly recommend. The narrator is fantastic.

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As a Mexican/German I always very much enjoy reading books with latinx people especially if they're the main characters. It took me a while to get into the story and connect to the characters because the story starts somewhat slow and there were a lot of names mentioned in the first couple of chapters so it was hard to keep track of everything happening and with whom it was happening as well.
That being said, I really enjoyed the story arc and how it portrayed strong women, big family support, and the power of honesty and love.
Moreover, I enjoyed the little tidbits of latino history especially Mexico, the brujeria (magic) aspects and the mention of autism.
I give the book a solid 4/5 and would definitely recommend it to my friends, especially if they're in the mood for a little sultry, magic & family love affair.

Thanks Netgally for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest reviews.

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Thank you for letting me have this arc.

Obbbbbbbsssseeesseeeed!!!!! I love the writing and how certain triggering topics were handled. The representation is great.

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Loved this one, even more than the first in the series. Gillian, despite her struggles, is a strong heroine. Nicky is a gruff dreamboat. Getting deeper into the history of Freedom, and the reinvention of the train station was so great. Definitely one I'll be giving to all my library romance readers.

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In book two of the Milagro Street series, Alex’s sister Gillian is back in town. Formerly known as the “Pride of the East Side,” Gillian is embarrassed to tell her family why she’s home and what led to her recent divorce. That “perfect” wife, mother, and bruja is gone is gone. Maybe it’s a curse...and being “good” is no longer enough.

On her way to town, she runs into her former flame (on the low), Nicky Mendoza. It seems like fate! Feeling pretty vulnerable, Gillian wants to see if he can help her break this curse? Little does she know, Nicky has felt tortured by his unrequited love for her and thinks it’s best to avoid their sexual tension while they’re both in Freedom.

Regardless, the two are inextricably tied in more ways than one...

Full Moon Over Freedom is officially one of my favorite romance books of the year! It’s extremely sexy, emotional, and heartwarming. While I truly enjoyed reading After Hours on Milagro Street, book two of the series is my baby!

I feel like I can understand the pressure Gillian feels from being the “success” story in her town. Nicky was also easy to connect with because Lopez did such a great job of bringing her readers into his memories.

Gillian and Nicky’s chemistry was explosive! There was something comforting about the fact that they already knew what each other liked. Not only did I love their connection, I loved the way they believed one another and gave each other grace. Oftentimes, in Romance, the characters don’t know each other as well and are quick to dip out as soon as their partner presents something they don’t understand.

I also appreciate the emphasis this story placed on community uplift, bringing opportunities to women and people who have been left on the margins in their community. Lopez connects those issues with Gillian’s own struggle against her ex-husband’s abuse.

It was just as heartbreaking to learn about the way he was treating his children. I think that the author was gentle in the way she included Gillian’s autistic son. There was only one part that I thought could be improved: the term, “high-functioning” can be switched to “high-masking” for a more accurate representation (according to many autistic creators I’ve watched.)

I read this book in ONE DAY! It was that good. I expect I’ll be rereading this one soo off I go to get a print copy!

Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, Sexual content, Addiction (mentioned), Death (mentioned), Ableism, Racism, Alcoholism, Toxic relationship

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This author has become an auto buy author for me. She does a wonderful job telling a story, bringing in culture history and bringing characters to life.

Full Moon Over Freedom is the follow up to After Hours on Milagro Street, which was a top read for me in 2022. This story focuses on the eldest Torres sister. She moves back home for the summer to try and sort out her divorce and make a life for her and her children, but her ex is making it difficult. The guy she fell in love with years ago is back for the summer as well and the two work together on a project.

This story gives dual POV through third person, which I enjoy when reading. I love the way the author writers her characters making them seem real. Their lives and experiences are easy for readers to relate to and sympathize with.

I highly recommend this book and the series!

It does read as a standalone.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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This was a nice little read about a summer in a small town. Loved the representation, especially with the single mom romance. Let's also talk about the finding of the childhood romance, it was awesome.

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though there were a few things I had to let go of i still really enjoyed this, believing Gillian went 10+ yrs untouched was a stretch. I snorted at the authors choice to use the word "gobsmacked"
i loved their love breaking the curse, the history and revelations about freedom and further glimpses into alex's story. the epilogue reveal was also great

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What does this book have? Let me tell you! Smart as hell, strong and stubborn latinas; a perfect setting in Freedom, Kansas (I’m not biased at all); brujas aka witches, and supernatural elements; STEAM. And I think this is the most important part: some of the realest fictional characters I’ve ever read. I feel like everyone of Angelina’s characters contain multitudes - just like real people do! They’re stubborn, they’re loving, they’re trying their best and coming up short sometimes, they’re their own harshest critics, their family sometimes sucks but they nonetheless draw strength from them. I just love how messy and real it all feels. 10/10 would visit Freedom, KS. This is a must read but you should also read the first book, After Hours on Milagro Street.

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Thank you Netgalley for the advanced reading copy! I love Angelina M. Lopez and this is a great addition to the steamy, beautifully written Milagro Street series; this story proves that Lopez is a master of emotionally charged, thoughtful, gorgeous romances. Gillian is coming off of a nasty divorce when she moves back to Freedom, Kansas, her hometown, with her two children. She immediately runs into her high school best friend and former hook up Nicky, who is now a street or graffiti artist living in California. Can these two make it work with all the history and obstacles of their trauma between them? I LOVED After Hours on Milgro Street, Lopez’s first book in this series, and I also loved this book for similar reasons - Lopez is a master at writing complicated, flawed, relatable women you can root for. I also liked the magic realism element in this story, but I don’t want to explain too much more because of spoilers. Overall I recommend this book for fans of second chance, contemporary romance, Latinx writers and stories, and magic realism.

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Exquisite story!
I love a story about a woman coming back into her witchy awakening. There is something so relatable about Gillians journey. She lost so much of herself and now is back in her hometown facing her old love.
This is more of a slow burn and reads very different from previous work by Angelina. I found that so refreshing. She showed us a new side to her stories. and I like it.

The steam is always on point though!

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Wonderfully steamy and with a sharp, breathtaking POV that casts the spotlight firmly on Mexican American in Kansas and their forgotten history, I was pleasantly surprised with the latest by the author!

While I had some really big reservations going in after book 1, I much more enjoyed Julianna’s story. She wasn’t a totally winning MC for me, in fact I think FMCs from this author can definitely be expected to be very prickly, I did find myself warming up to her at least. Juli/Gillian’s behavior towards others and “focus” was quite grating and certainly gave the impression of just using people when it’s convenient, while I think the second half of this book redeemed some of that, I still not fully convinced. And that’s ok, I applaud the author for delivering characters who aren’t totally redeemable or likeable and are more flawed and realistic.

The second chance romance worked here even though it’s a trope I don’t generally love, but giving Nick such a rich backstory really went a long way in showing the reader just how and why his first love was so important to him.

While I opened saying this is wonderfully steamy, and it certainly is, I do love a sex teacher trope, the sexy scenes that happen while La Llorona is there were a hard pass. It’s like saying you are literally haunted by the clown from IT AND Bloody Mary and still decided to get it on….I just…no.

The greater lean into the supernatural elements and brujeria in this one was also really fun and makes this a great book to add to your fall TBR. Overall a solid progression from book 1 and characters I felt were much more engaging and interesting.

Desperately hoping book 3 features lovely cousin Joe because I need his story!!!!

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This is my second Angelina Looez book. My first being the first book in this series. Overall it was enjoyable but I had a hard time buying into the chemistry between the two as well as relating to Gillian. Sometimes the writing felt scattered to me, so I had difficulty connecting with the story. I did love the elements of representation though and still look forward to finishing the series.

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This is a great continuation of the story of Freedom and the Mexican-American community there. This time the story centers around Gillian, the eldest Torres sister. She is going through a divorce, can't find a job, has nowhere to go so is staying with her parents for the summer, and her magic is gone -- in short, she's cursed.

I love the big Torres family and sprinkling of Spanish throughout the book. It reminds me of my own family and makes me feel seen. Everytime I see the word "mija/o" used, I swear my heart flutters. It's just not something I see or hear outside of my own family very often. This is exactly why we need more diverse authors and stories in publishing.

The eldest daughter experience always gets me. The way Gillian tried to be the perfect daughter and kept everyone at arm's length to try to maintain that image is so relatable for me as a fellow oldest sibling. Watching her struggle to ask and accept help is a good reminder for myself lol

The one thing I didn't like in this story is the fake fiance that Nicky claimed. I really really don't like to read books with cheating. So even though it's not really cheating, it bugged me that it went on for so long with Gillian believing he was engaged.

After Hours and Full Moon are such special books. Angelina is doing something truly unique here. I don't normally like lots of spice or small town romances. But the high heat in these didn't bother me because I was so engrossed in the stories. And the small town romance is done in such a refreshing way - the women don't need to become smaller or less to fit. Instead, they find that they can make the life they want right in Freedom.

Read this if you are looking for:
-a big over-involved Mexican-American family
-a story about a woman leaving a narcissist and protecting her kids (one has autism)
-a second chance romance
-a unique and fresh small town romance
-high spice

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and Angelina Lopez for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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A very good sequel! This story follows a woman getting out of an abusive marriage and getting close with a previous lover. The best part of this story was Nicky. He was the perfect man and I enjoyed watching them fall in love more and more. The writing at first was quite jarring, the first chapter was unpleasant. But once I got used to it, it flowed quite nicely. The resolution of the main characters problems were realistic and well thought out. I can’t wait to read anything else from this author.

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Lopez is a master of creating deep plots with dimensional characters and somehow infusing these meaningful stories with lightness and joy. I loved After Hours on Milagro Street, and Full Moon over Freedom is just as good. Lopez creates beautiful stories of Mexican-American identity, while not denying the hardship faced by that community. I love this series and am eagerly hoping for another installment!

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✨ Book Review ✨

Happy pub day to Full Moon Over Freedom! 🥳

Full disclosure, I hadn't read the first book in the Milagro Street series and jumped into this one pretty blind. I enjoyed it and didn't feel like I was lost, though I will go back and read book 1. Thanks to @harlequinbooks and @netgalley for the gifted ebook. Swipe for Goodreads synopsis.

✔️ Second Chance
✔️ Childhood Friends to Lovers
✔️ Forced Proximity
✔️ It's Just Sex
✔️ Magical Realism

I loved Nicky and Gillian - the love and longing they had for each other made my chest ache (in a good way).

While both main characters had decided early on what they are worth and how happiness was forever out of their reach, I enjoyed the journey to shedding that perception and embracing happiness and love. I think I like it better when both characters are a little "woe is me" 😂

I also loved the magical realism in this with bruja culture and how that tied in with Gillian feeling more empowered and in control of her life.

I should not have been surprised at the steam level - I loved the author's Serving Sin!

Overall, this is one that you should pick up this month. The love story is angsty-good, the Latine rep is perfection, and there are a lot of good messages about community and giving back as well as family and letting them see you for who you are. Think about choosing this as one of your reads for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Steam 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Banter 🗣️🗣️🗣️
Swoon 💕💕💕

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Heat Factor: They get awfully sweaty.

Character Chemistry: Nicky stands by Gillian’s side—not protecting her from the front, not supporting her from behind, but right there next to her.

Plot: Gillian goes home and finds herself.

Overall: I loved it.

I open this review by admitting that I didn’t love After Hours on Milagro Street, the first book in this trilogy about three sisters who return home to the small town in Kansas where they grew up. Honestly, I think the problem was that I was expecting it to be like Lopez’s first trilogy, which were these tropey, bonkersballs royal romances, and instead there was a lot of dense history and magic layered together. I was not prepared for the surprise ghost. And I couldn’t put my finger on the work that the book was doing.

Like Milagro Street, Full Moon Over Freedom is not marketed as a paranormal romance—which is shouldn’t be, because it’s not—but because I had read Milagro Street and knew that in this context, magic was real, I wasn’t thrown for a loop when Gillian spoke matter-of-factly about being a bruja. Yes, magic is real and yes she does it but we’re also firmly rooted in the real world here. Call it magical realism, romance novel edition. It rocks.

The broad outline of the story here is that Gillian has returned home to Freedom, Kansas after leaving her emotionally abusive husband. She is living with her parents and trying to figure out her life after spending the last few years molding herself into the perfect wife and mother. And it turns out that her childhood best friend slash the guy she got to teach her about sex when they were seventeen is also back in town for the summer. He was the bad boy, she was the good girl, but being good brought her nothing of heartache, so maybe being bad again will help her regain her power. Both literally, because Gillian’s magic hasn’t been working for her, and metaphorically, because she is still negotiating the terms of divorce with her terrible ex and it is not going well.

As you might imagine from the brief plot summary above, this is definitely a heroine’s journey of self-discovery book. Gillian is bitter about being home—she was voted most likely to succeed, after all. She is trying to find a job as a financial advisor after being out of the workforce for a few years and not having much success. She is feeling out of touch with herself and the magic that once came so easily to her. She’s having conflict with her family because her terrible ex is trying to take ownership of the family bar and she doens’t know how to protect them. And she really wants to bone Nicky, especially once they start working in close proximity (Nicky’s painting a mural in a new museum space and Gillian is organizing the archives for the same museum).

Nicky does have some trauma that he’s carrying around, particularly around the death of his brother (for which he feels responsible). And he’s protecting himself, because he’s been in love with Gillian for his whole life and it gutted him when she used him for sex lessons when they were teenagers. But the growth arc is not his; instead, he’s a fabulous book boyfriend who supports Gillian unconditionally without being a doormat.

I am struggling with writing cohesively about this book, so here are a few notes that might be useful for readers:

There’s a lot going on in this book, plotwise. As with the last book in the series, there’s some history stuff featuring Mexican immigrants who settled in the Midwest. There’s a ghost story. There are several threads to untangle regarding Gillian’s family relationships. And there’s the romance. So it’s not tightly focused on the romance arc, but the disparate threads do eventually weave together so that they are all integral to the climax, and boy is the pay-off good.
There’s dirty talk. Readers who are familiar with Lopez will probably not be surprised to hear this, but in case she’s a new-to-you author, be aware that Gillian and Nicky are quite vocal when they’re getting down. Also, part of that dirty talk includes both Nicky and Gillian referring to Gillian as a “mommy.” (I didn’t love that bit, but I acknowledge that it worked with the character.)
While this book is a single-parent romance, it does not follow the standard beats of that trope. Instead of the conflict being about Gillian fitting Nicky into her life with her children, the conflict is about Gillian maintaining her control over custody of her children and protecting them from her ex. For those interested in representation, one of Gillian’s children is autistic, and this representation is handled with care.
My final takeaway? I can’t wait to read the final book in this series. What kind of magic will the youngest Torres sister have?!?

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.

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