Review: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata (2018)

Heat Factor: slooooooooooooow burn

Character Chemistry: sparking constantly

Plot: Pairs figure skating team antagonizes each other into a HEA

Overall: low drama, satisfying slow burn

Continue reading “Review: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata (2018)”
Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Mariana Zapata

Looking for a new author? Here’s everything you need to know about Mariana Zapata, whose books include Kulti, Under Locke, and Dear Aaron.

What She Writes:

Contemporary romance with the world’s slowest burns from the heroine’s 1st person POV.

What Makes Her Unique:

She writes heroines with all the emotional angst who are somehow also relatable and reserved heroes who we just KNOW have caught feelings even though they haven’t said so. The burn is constant but extremely slow, with no acknowledgement of feelings or sex until the last quarter of the book.

Writing Style:

The perspective is always the heroine’s POV, so the style reflects the voice of a 20-something woman, usually from an economically disadvantaged or working class background. The text itself is engaging but not particularly polished, with some incorrect word use and points of redundancy when the heroines are feeling particularly angsty. The books are extremely long for romance, often 500 pages or more.

Why We Love Her:

The protagonists never have insta-love, they both fall in love during the course of the novel, so there’s always emotional growth and change. The POV means that the heroes are opaque, so we have to infer what they’re feeling, which means a great deal of showing rather than telling to demonstrate the development of the relationship. This makes the declarations of love really pop.

She Might Not Be For You If:

You like polished writing OR fast-moving plots OR heroes who are not opaque OR quick, incendiary burns.

Notable Quotation:

“Do what you have to do to be happy, okay? No one else is going to do it for you.”

The Best Thing

Content Warnings:

Cursing and body humor (talking about poop is not at all uncommon), sometimes uncomfortable metaphors (going on a death march, noose around my neck, lots of ripping of new assholes), use of “girl” instead of “woman”.

How I feel when I’m reading:

The Bottom Line:

If you kind of miss the satisfaction of waiting FOREVER for Gilbert Blythe to declare his love for Anne Shirley, but you also like some sexytimes after a declaration of love, Mariana Zapata might really hit the spot.

Start With:

Kulti or Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin


Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata (2014)

Heat Factor: Well now I’m curious about penis piercings / I didn’t know MZ could write so much, so hot sex

Character Chemistry: All the butterflies

Plot: Jerky, ex-felon, tattoo artist biker with an anger management issue can’t keep his hands off his friend’s little sister who also happens to work in his shop

Overall: I can’t believe how much I liked this book

Continue reading “Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata (2014)”

Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata (2015)

Heat Factor: Sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooow burn

Character Chemistry: They’re such good soccer besties!

Plot: Women’s soccer star befriends former men’s soccer star coach

Overall: This is a pretty good enemies to friends to lovers romance. But it’s also 570 pages.

Continue reading “Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata (2015)”
Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata (2017)

If Ingrid were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Erin were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together. 

Welcome to Dueling Reviews

Moderated by Holly, who is vastly entertained by Erin and Ingrid duking it out.

Erin’s Take:

Heat Factor: Totally vanilla.

Character Chemistry: They deserve each other.

Plot: I shouldn’t ask you this, it’s none of my business, you don’t have to answer.

Overall: I’d think Aaron was totally hot if I didn’t know I could bowl him over with the force of my personality.

Ingrid’s Take:

Heat Factor: It’s a steamy, fudgy, vanilla ice cream SUNDAE.

Character Chemistry:They’re like sweet, slightly damaged puzzle pieces

Plot: Young, isolated, emotionally inexperienced young woman becomes pen pal to army man stationed overseas. They bond deeply. To make this into a real relationship, they have to mature emotionally and find a way to communicate. Also, very sexy funtimes.

Overall: These guys aren’t perfect, but the way they bungle their way into a match made in heaven is steamy, sexy, and kind of cute.

Continue reading “Dueling Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata (2017)”