Reviews

Finding Joy, by Adriana Herrera

chazlove's review

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5.0

The descriptions of life, the country’s beauty, growing pains, and self-control. The struggle of accepting love while feeling unworthy.. or without feeling selfish. I love this story so much.
So much shared wisdom to grow on

lennie_reads's review

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emotional funny hopeful informative lighthearted reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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kelleenmoriarty's review

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4.0

4.5 stars

This book is exactly what is says on the tin: it’s about finding joy, and it was pure joy to read.

This story is told from Desta’s POV, a biracial Dominican American aid worker who finds himself in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, his first home that he hardly remembers. As he reconnects with his past and the pieces of his family history he’d rather leave behind, he falls for Elias. Together, these men must fight their past demons to find their present and future love.

I usually don’t love single POV, and I especially don’t love when they’re first person, but this really worked for me. For so much of the book, Desta is dealing with his own luminal status of being an outsider in Addis and struggling with the cultural differences between himself and Elias, and I think this POV really highlights this. It was so refreshing to read a contemporary romance set in a non-American, non-European backdrop, and this book really deals with the colonial legacy still present in Ethiopia today.

No one writes a sex scene like Adriana Herrera. They are so tender and so raunchy at once, and this book was no different.

As always, the trauma in the books is dealt with with such precision and care, and the piece as a whole feels so intimate and thoughtful. The side characters of the aunt and aid workers were a delight to read, and added so much color and dimension to the world of the story. The whole book is sweet and bright, and the romance between these two men is so grounded in strong communication and true, profound understanding.

Finally, the cover is beautiful. This is a book that can be judged by its cover, because the cover truly encapsulates the sparkling beauty and intimate joy of the book. Absolutely read this book.

avocadobaby's review

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3.0

3.5

instalovewithbooks's review

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emotional funny hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

This book broke me and fixed me multiple times. I absolutely adored it, and would definitely read more of the author works because my god, this book was brilliant. I was worried about the sex scenes taking me out of the story, but they were full of love, and didn't cause that. Absolutely adored Elias and Desta. Loved the side characters. Loved how they grew together but chose what they needed in their lives seperatsly as well.

charlieg's review

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emotional inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

bookishfables's review

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3.0

3.5/5stars

OMG, this book is exactly what I was looking for. Definitely what I needed to get by this week. A slow burn romance with Interracial couple(Dominican/American and Ethiopian) with huge insight into the Ethiopian culture: what's not to love???


This is a feel good kinda angsty m|m romance with a beautiful chemistry which also happens to shed light on important topics like LGBTQIA+ rights and the sad yet true fact that even today gay rights are something we have to fight for and they aren't inherently considered equal as are cis het people.
Even the characters were just so amazing: Elias is so calm and mature and so very cute and Desta is so chaotic. The secondary characters are great, love how the aunt was so supportive of the romance and affectionate towards Desta.



I went into it knowing exactly what it is and loved it very much. Def looking forward to reading her other works now!

franciskalj's review

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4.0

3.5*

wanderingtales's review

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

vinireadsbooks's review

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2.0

2.5
Despite the low rating, I don't think this book was terrible. I did have high expectations for it since it was an m/m romance with two POC leads and set in Ethiopia, but I ended being disappointed.
I didn't care about any of the characters or the romance.
However, I do think this book was qualities, it's well written, it's got a great setting, it has cute moments, I just didn't love it.