My Fab Reads – August

For the past few months I have really struggled to keep up my blog. I think I just lost my mojo trying to keep up with reading and then blogging. Whilst I love reflecting on my thoughts on each book, at the moment it’s just too hard and it’s been months since I published any reviews, so I’m trying a new approach.

This is what I have loved in August.

The Ravenhood Duet (Flock and Exodus) by Kate Stewart

You will suffer big time with this one. I had the worst book hangover I’ve ever had. It will kill you.

I won’t tell you another thing about it, the less you know the more you will love it.

The Girl in the Love Song by Emma Scott (Lost Boys #1)

What an unexpected treat. Yep it’s a rockstar romance but not the story I expected. At every stage as it challenged what I thought would happen next I fell a little bit more in love. It’s complicated and with a good bit of angst but overall it’s got the feels and it’s so uplifting. I felt wonderful when I finished it.

Oh and what a gorgeous cover!

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

A debut?! That’s actually quite extraordinary.

This is the retelling of a 40 year relationship, it’s sweet and tragic. It’s beautifully set and written. The pacing is just perfect, it will have you engrossed but comfortable to put down and come back to it. I loved both characters, it’s told in such a gentle familiar way that I felt I knew them.

Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

I read a bunch of sports romance this month it is my fave after all but this was the best. MZ is the Queen of slow burn and unveiling real romance to the reader. No one manages the build up quite like her. She’s in her element with this one, if you’ve read MZ’s Winnipeg, you have a few treats in store!

A Secret Surrender by Darcy Burke (The Pretenders #1)

Ms Burke always delivers, of late her books have had a greater depth to them. They actually have a little sprinkle of contemporary themes. And thank God for that. I’ve realised that I’ve moved away from historical romance in the last year or so, as I’ve not found enough originality, too much gender stereotyping and/or complete historical inaccuracies. None of that here. This story is so original with outstanding use of research.

Love is the best

The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata

Ms. Zapata is queen of the slow slow burn romance. Whilst, I usually yearn for pace in a book I adore her writing style. Its easy to invest time with her characters and their stories, in part because her writing makes me feel safe and kind of exposed at the same time.

As I’ve come to expect Ms Zapata nails the characterisation brilliantly. The cast of extra characters is fantastic. The wider cast are important because whilst this is most definitely a romance, it’s also a book about family love and how we define families. The love that surrounded Lenny was beautiful, it really crystallised the task Jonah had to win her over.

“I still don’t know about that Edward”

Grandpa Gus and his vampire references stole the show! What a character! And his comments in the epilogue are a killer (Kleenex needed). Look out for rugby player Jonah explaining the finer points of the game to Americans!

I’m not going to comment on Jonah and Lenny, who are a fab couple, simply because you need to go into this book cold. There are too many spoilers about! But I will say Ms Zapata delivers so much more than just a romance. She gives us real love, the horrendous pain and the self sacrificing nature of love. It’s so powerful.

PS I’ve been off colour for some time so I’m slowly catching up with blogs on my favourite summer reading. Please bear with me.

Crayons, puzzles and slow cookers


Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata

I wonder what Mariana Zapata was like as a toddler with her paints and crayons? I’m thinking she was a messy little thing, because no one does messy quite like Ms Zapata. There’s a whole load of ruder words, but Luna and Rip are seriously messy.

It’s not just their relationship that’s messy, it’s their families, their backgrounds and the decisions they’ve made. He really should not even be likeable, yet I was swooning. Maybe it wasn’t crayons and paints, maybe it was the jigsaw pieces that the little Mariana scattered all around.

I swear to God, you’re a fucking puzzle I thought was all in the box, but every damn day I find a piece or two hidden all over the place.”

The imagery that Ms Zapata brings to mind it’s just damn near perfect.

If she was a messy toddler, as an adult this author undoubtedly loves her slow cooker, because she nails the slow burn. Even for a master of the slow burn this one simmers at a low heat threatening to boil over at any moment, so you simply can’t take your eye off it, or put it down easily. Delicious!

And then there’s the melt….

“You want someone to be your best friend and your fucking partner? I’m right fucking here, baby girl.”

Who wouldn’t want to be Rip’s best friend and fucking partner (pun definitely intended)?!

Any fan of Ms Zapata is going to compare everything she writes to The Wall of Winnipeg, I guess it probably drives her insane. This comes close to Winnipeg, but I do love a sports romance so I’m sticking with Winnie as my fave but only just.

Dripping Luxury

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The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Oh wow I wasn’t expecting that!

I downloaded this wondering if it would be any good as I didn’t know the author and hadn’t heard of the book, I took a chance because it was on the best Goodread books of the year.  Well, it’s a terrific read, one of my 2016 favourites.

Sometimes it’s all about the slow burn, in this case a very slow burn.  A dripping tap almost. It might have taken me a while to fall for Aiden Graves but I fell in love with this book by page two.

It’s so gorgeously written that the slow unwrapping of the story is like waiting for the best present ever. How the author holds back on the pace I will never know, but surprisingly you don’t want her to go any faster. And I normally like a heathy dose of pace with my stories. Not this time.

There’s something about the way Ms Zapata describes the growing physical closeness between Aiden and Vanessa. It’s not about sex because they aren’t getting down to it, but it’s so damn sensual and romantic.  She sits on his knee in front of his friends and slowly gets so comfy that she falls asleep in his lap.  I wasn’t reading what happened I was there watching it.  It was so eloquently written that I wanted to frame the words – still might!  Or at least fall asleep in Aiden’s lap.

The writing was romance at it’s best.  It was like fabulous coffee, expensive chocolate, gorgeous silk and aromatic cognac it glided through my senses. Luxurious!

There’s plenty of friends to lovers books or the instant attraction or second chance romance. This is just so different, especially for a sports romance. Bravo Ms Zapata!  I certainly know who you are now!