This Chick Read: Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata

Gaby Barreto doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. She just finished college and her boyfriend broke up with her. When her twin brother calls from the road to ask if she’ll come on tour and sell their merchandise for them she says yes and gets on a plane to live in a bus with her brother Eli and his two bandmates. Oh yeah, she’ll also live on the bus with 4 more guys from another band. Gaby has always been fun, funny and one of the guys, but when she meets Sacha Malykhin she wants that friend zone to turn into something else but she’s determined to play it cool.

Gaby is that girl you’ve always wanted to be. Self assured, funny and pretty. The girl that everyone is comfortable around. She grew up listening to her brothers music and has even toured with their band before back in the days when they got around in a beat up bus. I loved her camaraderie with all of the guys, but especially with Sacha. She had just broken up with her boyfriend but when she and Sacha meet there’s laughter and a twinkle to their connection. It just seems to be really easy for them. Even though they don’t get together for a really long time, you can tell that the connection between them, even as friends is real.

This is not your typical rock star romance. There isn’t any drama (well only a tiny bit) and there’s tons of laughter. These people really don’t have a lot of baggage. Maybe that’s why I could relate to them so well? They were an easy couple to see together. I also really enjoyed Gaby’s interactions with all the other guys on the bus, especially Eli and Mason. Eli is her twin so they have that special connection, but Mason is that brother from another mother. He was hysterical!  I’d love to see him have his own story, but he’ll probably have to live in my fantasies instead. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Rhythm Chord

Click this link to purchase! Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small stipend if you purchase through the above link.

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This Chick’s Sunday Commentary: An Exclusive Book Signing with Mariana Zapata at the Inn Boonsboro

A few weeks ago I received a text from my sister saying that she’d put us on a waiting list for an exclusive meet and greet with Mariana Zapata at the Inn Boonsboro in Maryland.  Someone had dropped out and there was one room available. Did I want to take a few days off from work and go? I had just finished Mariana Zapata’s newest novel From Lukov With Love and loved it so I really didn’t have to think that hard. Umm, yeah!  Let’s do it!  This was a twofer! To get the chance to meet with one of my favorite authors and also stay in Nora Roberts Inn Boonsboro? What a treat!

Inn Logo

The Inn Boonsboro is only a little over an hour’s drive from Baltimore, the airport we flew into. On our arrival, we were given a tour of the Inn. A small library filled with bookshelves full of fiction and a couple of arm chairs in front of a fireplace was right around the corner from our room. I knew I was going to be making myself comfortable as there was also a Keurig in the corner where I could make coffee, tea or hot chocolate while looking at all the books on the shelves. There was also a small dining room, with delicious cookies on display, as well as a parlor where we were told our book event with Ms. Zapata would be taking place in another hour. When we were led to our room, we passed themed rooms with plaques identifying which romantic couple that room’s theme portrayed. My sister and I were placed in Eve and Roarke! As a huge fan of J. D. Robb’s In Death series I was thrilled at the decor, a mix of modern and historical pieces really gave it a unique vibe. The picture below shows the outside of the Inn that evening and our room before we totally wrecked the space with our stuff.

Inn Eve & Roarke

I noticed on the desk in the corner a notebook and curious, I opened it up. It was for guests to sign the page and to write their thoughts about their stay in that room. Look who wrote in the first page!

Nora signed

Later that evening I peeked into a couple of the other rooms and took quick photo’s, just so you could see how the themes were so different from each other and really lovely! They spared no expense in the creation of this Inn.

Inn rooms

To see more details about the Inn Boonsboro as well as their upcoming author events titled A Novel Adventure please click on this link to go to their website. Inn Boonsboro

Next up is YA author Cambria Hebert on 6/18. If you live in the area or are a short plane ride away, I really recommend this experience!

Mariana logoMariana Zapata is the author of multiple best selling novels such as Wait For It, Kulti, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, etc.

At 5pm we were told to gather in the parlor for a two hour cocktail and conversation with Mariana Zapata. I brought my copy of Kulti and my sister had her copy of From Lukov with Love and we entered the parlor, not really sure what to expect. There were drinks, appetizers and a few desserts and only a few people. We saw Michelle, one of the Innkeeper’s and asked her how many people she expected and she said 13 in total. My sister and I looked at each other in shock. Wow! This really was exclusive! Mariana and her assistant Eva were the last two to arrive and the rest of us ladies were seated in chairs around the room.

My first thought was how Mariana was so sweet and young! She was small in stature, but she was outgoing, waving at everyone and asking how we were all doing. She had a purple (kind of orchid in color) rinse on her hair and started up conversation with the people on that end of the room. We were told that she’d sign our novels first and then we’d spend the rest of the time asking questions and she’d answer them willingly. As she signed our books she chatted briefly about where we were from and really I think I talked more about myself, forgetting to ask her any questions! LOL. My sister and I asked if we could have our photo taken, see below!

Mariana and us

After she finished signing all of our books she sat on an ottoman across from where my sister and I as well as a few other ladies were sitting Mariana signingand naturally started answering our questions. I will admit, I did not take notes, however my sister helped me recreate the questions and conversations and I will try to be as detailed as possible without too much embellishment. (Please take note, this is not a verbatim conversation.)

Q: Where do you get your inspiration with books? For Kulti, her inspiration came from watching a women’s soccer game, for Wait For It she was inspired by American History X, and Sons of Anarchy for Under Locke. Her husband is a musician and Rhythm and Chord was easy for her to write because of that. The group chimed in about Eli and Mason from Rhythm and Chord saying they’d love for them to have their own stories, but Mariana was pretty firm about not wanting to write another book about a guy in a band. I asked her about what inspired her to write Lingus, as romance novel about a porn star. She said she was watching a documentary about people who go to porn conventions and how normal they all looked. The idea intrigued her. Would writing a romance novel about a porn star work?

We also talked about the popularity of Alpha Males in some other authors books. She said she liked an Alpha Male but didn’t want to always write about one. It was really important for her to have each of the men in her novels be different from each other.They were all strong characters, but individual as well.

Q: Why didn’t people react well to her novel Dear Aaron? (If you haven’t read Dear Aaron most of the book is told by letters or emails between the two main characters, Ruby and Aaron). She thought it was because Ruby was not as in your face as Sal from Kulti and Diana from Wait For It. Ruby had her own strength but it was quieter. She still grew as a character, but for some reason readers just didn’t connect as much, she didn’t really understand it.

Q: I bet you hear this all of the time but I have to ask about the Toolbox in Wait For It. Why didn’t you ever resolve that part of the story in the book? Mariana seemed a little confused. She said she felt like she had resolved Dallas’s reaction. (The toolbox was her dead brother Rodrigo’s and her friend Vanessa painted it pink with flowers on it.) She said Dallas was upset when he saw the toolbox because he felt she should have someone who could fix things for her, but he wasn’t in the place where he could be that man for her, yet.

Q: When did Ivan and Jasmine in From Lukov with Love actually fall in love? Mariana actually never answered this question. She said she likes her readers to get what they need from a novel and she doesn’t like to spell things out for them. I mentioned to her that I felt like they fell in love after they became skating partners, but that my sister felt like Ivan had always loved Jasmine and was just waiting for his chance. It’s interesting how reading is so subjective and we can all get something different out of reading the same book. She nodded, seeming pleased at our reactions.

Q: Do you have a writing schedule? She said that yes, she does, but she learned pretty early on that she had to make sure she had a life. Make time to make dinner and eat with her husband, work out, etc. When asked about her next book, she didn’t give a whole lot of details other than that she liked to alternate between fun and serious books. She said Dear Aaron was a fun book, although people didn’t seem to agree. My sister and I tried to map out her books and we think it’s one funny to two serious? If that’s the case, the next one may be a serious novel because Lukov was serious.

Q: How did you start writing slow burn novels? She said that she finds the relationship much more interesting than the sex. If she reads a novel where the characters jump into bed too soon she ends up skimming those scenes and loses interest a bit. How they get to that point is so much more interesting isn’t it?

There were so many other topics of conversation but you can see from the above conversations that they ran the gamut of all of her novels as well as a little bit about her writing habits. She was charming and entertaining and very honest. This was an experience that I won’t forget and will hopefully be able to have again. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Inn Boonsboro’s website for future guests! Here is a group photo- you can see how small the group was!

Group

Oh, one last thing! Did I mention that Nora Roberts lives close by and her husband owns Turn The Page Bookstore across from the Inn? Here are a few photo’s of the bookstore and the Nora Roberts/JD Robb room inside.

bookstore

img_2221  img_2220

This was a fun one!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

This Chick Read: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

When Jasmine Santos first stepped on the ice she felt like she had somewhere she belonged. When she finds out her skating partner dumped her for another her life falls into a tailspin. Trying to gain back her confidence she keeps up her training schedule of early hours on the ice, and afternoons waiting tables. When she is approached by Gold Medalist Ivan Lukov and his coach to be his new partner, she is floored. She has known Ivan for years, and while he is adored by fans, there is no love lost between them. He is her best friend’s brother and has been in her life for years, but they are frenemies at best. Can they make this partnership work? She is determined to take this last chance at a career she loves and agrees to put their hate aside… on the ice.

From Lukov With Love was told entirely from Jasmine’s perspective and at first she made it really hard to care for her.  She was very prickly! The more I learned about her history the easier it was to see through that wall she put up and start rooting for her. Since we were reading this story through Jasmine’s eyes, we were never given any insight into Ivan’s actions, only Jasmine’s interpretation which was not always correct. To give her credit, Ivan did seem to be a bit of a snobby jerk, but as the novel went on actions spoke louder than words and that snobby jerk turned into Jasmine’s white knight making not only Jasmine fall in love, but also the reader.

This was a classic enemies to friends Zapata romance novel. The majority of the novel builds their friendship before turning that friendship into romance. Sometimes in that trope, the man or woman already loves their partner, but in this one I got the feeling that although Jasmine misinterpreted Ivan’s actions throughout the years, their love story really started as they got to know each other better by learning to trust their partnership. That slow build up created a perfect climactic moment when they revealed their feelings to each other. It was perfect. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

From Lukov

Click this link to purchase! From Lukov with Love

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Kat is your average ordinary twenty something young woman. She teaches grade school, has had a few boyfriends, has a group of very close girlfriends, and has a wonderful relationship with her father. She also loves porn. Yep! You got it, porn. Kat gets dragged to a porn convention by one of her best friends, and although she is constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure no one she knows see’s her, she is having a blast. While waiting for her best friend to get her favorite male porn star’s autograph, she meets Tristan. Beautiful Tristan who is just sweet as can be. They strike up a funny conversation and inadvertently end up eating lunch together. While he is gorgeous with a capital G, it doesn’t occur to Kat that she is at a PORN convention and that Tristan could be a porn star. Not until she see’s him signing his own autographs at a table later on that same day and he beckons her over asking if he can see her later.

Except for the porn aspect of this novel, this is your typical Mariana Zapata friends to lovers novel. (I would’ve said “typical slow burn” novel, but porn and slow burn, ewww!) Tristan wants to be Kat’s friend. He doesn’t have girlfriends because he doesn’t think it’s healthy to be doing porn and trying to have a relationship. Well, ok, that makes a ton of sense! However, Tristan and Kat have this incredible energy together and even though it takes a while to get there, they do end up together. What makes this novel so different is that this crisis of sorts is well, porn. That is what is keeping them apart. Told entirely from Kat’s perspective, she agonizes over his job. We see that, we hear her feelings, and we know how knowing what he does disrupts her peace of mind.

Tristan through Kat’s eyes is perfect. Beautiful, great personality, fun, and a really really nice person. His explanation for why he does porn doesn’t really ring true for me, but then I’m not a guy and don’t have guy sexual thoughts, so who knows! Maybe it’s that easy to get into porn! Knowing what he did for a living would be a deal breaker for me, but Kat and Tristan are just friends, and one of her other best friends is in that industry. So, even though it’s kind of common to Kat, it’s still strange to me, but I kept reading. LOL.

I’ll give the author some kudos for making me like her writing enough to pick up a novel where the lead characters meet at a porn convention. The friends to lovers story rang true and their friendship did not revolve around porn. (thank God!) I loved both Kat and Tristan and rooted for them to find their happy together. They were quirky, the dialog was fun and just as with her other novels, Ms. Zapata delivered! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Lingus Click this link to purchase! Lingus Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

I’ll admit that I’m a pretty recent convert to Mariana Zapata’s style of writing. She believes in the build up of a relationship more than the outcome, the cake more than the frosting if you will. Her strength is in character development and this novel Wait for It delivers because by the time Diana and Dallas get together, we are so enmeshed in their strengths and weaknesses, so taken with their feelings, that we are sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for that moment to happen.

Diana’s story was unique. It wasn’t until about a 1/3 of the way into the novel that we finally realize that she is raising her brothers two sons and not her own. I mean, I know enough Spanish to know Tia is Aunt, so I got that clue, but I didn’t know the story of why she was raising these two boys, and when we find out, it is devastating. Diana, isn’t very old, maybe 26 if I’m remembering correctly? To raise two kids, juggle her life and job, as well as getting them to school and practice is an amazing feat that a lot of single parents face. Score one for Ms. Zapata in reaching into our hearts and giving it a good squeeze and also for humanizing Diana, making her easily identifiable.

Dallas is pretty similar to some of Ms. Zapata’s other male characters. Stoic, kind of surly and very good looking. A true Alpha male. However, in Wait for It, the author uses those traits as a shield for Dallas to protect himself just as much as that wedding ring on his finger. When he finally decides to go all in. that shield expands to protect not only himself, but Diana and the boys. Score two for Ms. Zapata! I love to read about a man protecting his woman, even if its from catty remarks and not gunfire!

I don’t want to give away any more of this story because it is deftly told and even though long, the pivotal moments are intertwined so that I would fear giving one moment away would unravel the mystery of how they fall in love. I will say that their story made me laugh, touched my heart and made me feel. What more do you want in a love story?


Click this link to purchase!  Wait For It

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Mariana Zapata novels are known for a slow burn storyline. Usually our female lead hates the male lead and it takes awhile for him to get back into her good graces until all of a sudden she realizes she is in love with the guy. Under Locke follows this trope, however, even though it takes Dex a little while to redeem himself in Iris Taylor’s eyes, the reader doesn’t have to wait until 90% to get their first kiss. Yeah!

Dex Locke is a biker in an MC, but he’s also a tattoo artist and owns a successful tattoo shop. Iris is down on her luck and flat broke. She is sleeping in her older half brothers spare room and goes on a job interview he sets up for her at his MC brothers tattoo shop. Despite her misgivings for working for Dex, she accepts the job. Needless to say, Dex’s surly attitude and snarly demeanor is not her idea of a good boss, even less so a love interest, and sparks fly. However, she keeps the job and over time, and multitudes of apologies, the two end up becoming friends.

Even though this book was unlike her other more sports themed books, I still liked the setup and story. Iris has a really sad back story. She is a rather timid thing, but watching her grow into a little dragon when facing down Dex made me appreciate her spunk and fire. Dex was surly through the whole book, but his moments of tenderness and humor, saved solely for Iris made me root for him. The fact that they reached their first kiss quicker than normal and I got to see their relationship develop a little more, I loved. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️


Click this link to purchase! Under Locke

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This Chick Read: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

I have read only a couple of Mariana Zapata novels and I loved them both. When Dear Aaron was released not too long ago I scooped it up hoping for that awesome slow burn romance I’d come to expect. The premise of the story guaranteed that this couple, like most of her others, were going to follow the friends to lovers plotline. Ruby Santos is paired with Aaron Hall through a military organization that organizes pen pals for overseas military. After getting off to a rough start with Aaron not responding to Ruby’s initial emails, they start penning notes to each other and as time goes on, discovering tidbits about each others lives. I actually enjoyed the flow of the book, learning about both Ruby and Aarons lives, however, the depth of emotion was missing, as it would when you are learning about someone through a letter. You learn only what they choose to tell you. This point of view separated the reader and kept me from developing any strong emotional attachment to either Ruby or Aaron for the first half of the book.

When the story advances, Aaron is on leave in the US, and their communication advances to texting and then finally a phone call. Its at this point that the author starts writing in conventional narrative and we get to read from an actual point of view. The Ruby that we saw in email form was only a little different than the Ruby we now know from hearing her thoughts. My problem was that I liked Ruby better in email form. Aaron was solid both in email and in person. I was given a good grasp of his character and it stayed consistent for the entire book. Actually, through Ruby’s eyes he got even more attractive! I think I just found it harder to connect with Ruby because of the email format at the start. I did still enjoy the book, but in comparison with The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Kulti it paled. ❤️❤️❤️❣️


Click link to purchase! Dear Aaron

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Blog Book Club : Kulti by Mariana Zapata (A three blog review!)

A few weeks ago on my Sunday Commentary I asked for my fellow bloggers to help me choose a book to read off my TBR. That post started a discussion with Donna @ Heron There & Everywhere about the book Kulti. It’s been sitting on my kindle for a couple of years and funny enough it was sitting on hers too! Recently I read and reviewed Zapata’s Wall of Winnipeg and Me and was loving her slow burn love stories. It wasn’t very hard for Donna to convince me to read that book together. We asked if anyone else wanted to join in and Sarah Ferguson and Choppy chimed in and we all decided to post our reviews on the same date, today!

If you would like to read all of our reviews, click on each name.

Donna @ Heron There and Everywhere

Sarah @ Travels with Choppy

This Chick’s review of Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Sal Casillas grew up idolizing star soccer player Reiner Kulti and dreaming of one day playing pro soccer. She works hard for that dream and when the story starts she is in fact an aging (at 27!)  pro soccer player whose team just hired Reiner Kulti as their assistant coach. Sal is beyond excited, never believing she’d get the chance to meet her idol in person, and be coached by him. Well, things don’t start off that well. Kulti comes to all the practices but doesn’t interact with the team at all, he’s actually kind of an ass! One day, her dad comes to watch her play, excited that he has the chance to meet Kulti. Sal hadn’t had the heart to tell her father how awful Kulti was being to the team. When Kulti is rude to her father Sal hits the wall. She walks up to him and very precisely, and with the utmost respect (he was her coach after all!) tells him off. After that moment something changed in him and they slowly started to become friends. Until they became more.

First I have to exclaim over how much fun it was to read a sports romance where the female protagonist was the pro player! It gave a whole different vibe to the story. We were given some backstory about Sals rise up through the ranks of pro soccer and a ton of backstory between she and a girl on the National team. I won’t spoil the story but I will say ” what a bitch!” I wanted to give Amber a big kick! Growing up playing soccer myself, and having those same kind of dreams about going pro I wonder if that is part of the reason why I loved this book so much. Then, I’d keep reading and realized I was really enjoying the building friendship between Sal and Rey. Sal was so surprised at their relationship, and the fact that this man wanted to be her friend that she wore blinders to the fact that he was deeply in love with her. Totally clueless and I loved her for that.  And him. After a rough start Rey ended up being my dream guy too.

If, like me, you have put this book on the back burner, PICK IT UP! It will not disappoint!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I’m going to pop on over to Donna and Sarah’s blog to see if they liked this book as much as I did. If you have read Kulti and want to chime in with your thoughts, we’d love to hear them!


Buy this book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo!

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Vanessa was hired to be Aiden’s personal assistant. Aiden, known as the Wall of Winnipeg in the NFO (a fictional football league) is as stoic as his nickname makes him sound. He’s built like a wall, all muscle mass, but he has as much personality as a wall as well! Vanessa has worked for him for two years and even though they spend massive amounts of time together, he has never tried to get to know her, be pleasant to her, or even crack a smile. Continue reading “This Chick Read: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata”