About this book:
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Release Date: 20th March, 2015.
What I think?
Warning: This post gets a little long, a bit crazy and quite ranty and you know.. my usual mojo.
I have a thing for footballers. That is the only reason I can think of for why I read this 570 pages long book seven fucking times in the last 2 weeks.
Seriously, if you find another reason, then tell me too, because there has to be another one right?
Like maybe the author is a bloody talented bugger.
Maybe that could be it.
You feel like kicking me in the tits? Come closer, and I’ll tell ya a secret that is sure to trigger your legs to cuddle with my boobs as if they were a white and black ball, and your legs were well.. legs.
I’d never read Mariana Zapata 5 weeks ago.
Missed that did you?
I said I had never read Mariana Zapata before this. 5 weeks ago I could’ve cared less as to who the hell she was, and I mean it. I have a very small circle of authors I care enough to read more than a couple of times, and those that are not in it, I probably wouldn’t give a single flying fuck about. And for some reason, every time someone told me to go read Zapata, I just ignored them, to the point that I never even added a single book of hers to my TBR list.
Blasphemous. I know.
I think the reason I finally picked her up was because From Lukov With Love was in the audible Romance Package, and I got it just for the heck of it, and after listening to like 2 chapters I think, I switched to the book, and I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. I fucking LOVED FLWL, but since this is not the review of that book, I’ll shut up.
A week after finishing FLWL, I picked up Kulti, and I. Was. Hooked.
The-no-going-back kind of hooked.
I should probably tell you now that I’ve read all of Zapata’s books other than Lingus and Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin, but no other book burrowed it’s way into me like Kulti did. Sure, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me was so uplifting and just such a gorgeous story because #TeamGraves, and Wait For Me was just heartbreakingly beautiful, and there’s no denying that. But for me, I think it was Kulti that did it. Zapata earned herself a permanent place in my heart with this book.
So clearly, she’s doing something right here.
Let’s tear it down, shall we?
Sal Casillas is a forward in the the Houston’s football Club, Pipers. And I think I should mention that every time I say football in this post, I mean the game that the rest of the world calls football, and not what Americans call football. Just putting it out there for ya know.. my friends from the States.
Anyways, where was I? Ah yes, Sal Casillas. The twenty six year old forward, who harbored a life long crush on the world’s one of the most iconic football players- Reiner Kulti.
<—Ladies, let me first introduce you to my version of Kulti.
Yup. Christiano Ronaldo is my Kulti. Don’t even argue with me. Seriously, the moment I read about Kulti, Ronaldo’s face flashed in my mind and it was cemented. If we have to choose an iconic player, we have only two options in the real world- Ronaldo and Messi. And Messi, no offense to anyone, is short. And Kulti is TALL. And so is Ronaldo. So we’re sticking to Ronaldo. And now if you’re wondering why you read all that, i.e. my justification for casting Ronaldo as Kulti, then it’s a good question. I’ll answer you with that I’m bored and kinda crazy, and that I already typed this paragraph before thinking and it sounded too weird for me to not include it in the final draft. So, there you go.
Anyways, let’s track back to before we got distracted, shall we?
Sal is horrified to hear that the man who she’d loved from afar, anonymously for so long, before he broke her heart by marrying another woman, is coming out of his retirement to coach her team. And when he does arrive, he is nothing like the man she assumed he’d be.
Separated from his sport, Kulti has turned into the shell of a man he once was. Completely uninterested in everything, and unbearably rude to everyone, the passionate man that was once famous for dominating the field, and completely decimating his opponents was not the man that came to coach the Pipers.
After a series of rather unfortunate events, Sal and Rey, somehow become friends. And that too is a very tentative word, because in a way they were something much deeper than just friends, and at the same time they were so fragile that not even a friendship could hold them together at the slightest of wrong turns.
I don’t really know how to describe their relationship to you, so I’ll just let Sal tell you how it was—
Fatherly, brotherly, friendly, Kulti had been all of those things throughout the course of our friendship.
You just really feel their mutual love and respect for each other long before it even turns romantic. And that is just such a difficult feeling to portray to the readers. You know what the greatest feat of this book was? Even if Sal and Rey never got together, I would’ve been completely fine. If they remained best friends for the rest of their lives, I would’ve been just as satisfied as I was with this ending where they get together. And just how incredible is that?
There is so much that I love about this book. So so much.
For starters, the pace of the story. I’ve seen all these reviews about Zapata’s books mentioning how SLOOOOOOOOOOW they are. And they would be absolutely correct. In the five books that I have read, the characters don’t even get together until the last couple of chapters. Instead of being romance driven, her stories, from what I gather are more plot and character and relationship driven. To explain this, let me just take Kulti as an example, and give you something like a statistical data.
Kulti has 26 chapters in total. They meet in I think the 2nd or 3rd chapter, and then go through the whole enemies to friends transition for the next 20 something chapters. Only in the last 2 chapters do they get together, and even then, sex only happens in the last one.
So yeah, chuck slow, Zapata’s stories are more like snail paced.
But I LOVE that.
Ya know how I’m always complaining about break-neck speeds of relationships, and insta-love factors? If you’re like me, and hate those, then I don’t think you’d find an author more suited to your reading pleasure than Mariana. Plus her writing is absolutely brilliant.
The next thing that I loved were the characters. Kulti starts as an outright asshole. He’s the kind of person who if I ever were to meet in real life, would get his nuts chopped. But holy god do I still love that man. I second Sal when she gave her proverbial ovaries to him. We know he has trust issues, but never are we made to excuse him for his misdeeds.
Zapata doesn’t play like that. She’s more of the “He’s an asshole, you know he’s an asshole, and you know there’s a reason for it, but don’t love him for those stupid ass generic reasons. No. Love him for the things he does throughout the course of the story, and not despite them.”
*cue instant swoon*
Nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G has ever got to me like this scene—
“That letter stayed in every locker I used for the next ten years. It was the first thing I looked at before my games, and the first thing I saw after I played. I framed it and put it in my house in Meissen once it started to wear out. It’s still there on the wall of my bedroom.
… I take so much pride in knowing you’ve become the player you are because you looked up to me, Sal. It’s the greatest compliment I’ve ever been paid.”
And by “that letter” he means the fan letter that Sal had written to him when she was a 7 year old kid, who fell in love with a 19 year old soccer sensation.
And then there was Sal. She was just such an amazing character to be inside the head of. She was one of those do-gooders of the world, but at the same time she was so so strong. And snarky. And sarcastic. It was like Zapata wrote her exclusively for me to love. I don’t think I’ve ever connected with a character as deeply as I have with Sal.
But a book is not just made up of the two MCs. Well, it kinda is, but that would just be a dead story if nobody else existed. The secondary characters in Kulti are probably my favorite secondary characters in all of Zapata’s books. Even though they get very little screen time, it’s absolutely impossible to not adore every single one of them. Except Cordero. And Gwenivere. And Amber, because fuck that horse-toothed woman.
Through all my rereads I kept asking myself, why did I love this book like I did, and I honestly cannot tell you what it was about this entire story that just clicked with me, but fact remains that it did. Maybe it has to also do something with the fact that I spent the last 3 months in a major book slump, and I latched on to the first good book I found. But that might be a cop out.
Whatever the reason tho, this book is undoubtedly one of my most favorite books, and Zapata can be added to the roster of my favorite authors.
Not a bad day I’d say. Not a bad day at all.
PS: If anyone’s still here, and wondering why I went crazy on this post, then I should tell you that this is all the result of the editor reaching hostage situation with the manuscript of Luna And The Lie. I mean when is it releasing?! I AM DYING HERE! DOES ANYBODY CARE AT ALL?!
My heart ran and ran and ran. Without thinking about it, I put my hand on his chest and felt. I felt the furious pounding beneath all that muscle and bone, just like mine. Excited, racing, sprinting, trying to win like always.I loved this man.
About this author:
Mariana Zapata began writing love stories soon after she learned how to spell. She probably shouldn’t admit that she started sneaking romance novels from her aunt’s bookshelves way before she was old enough to even understand what it meant when a man flipped up a woman’s skirt… don’t tell her mom. Luckily, she stuck to stories about princesses and princes for a while. In her teens, she wrote boy band fanfiction (there’s still a website up somewhere on the internet with those masterpieces), and in her early twenties, she picked it back up again with Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight. Eventually, her significant other finally told her to do what she wanted to do and she began working on her original work. Her novels tend to include potty humor, bodily functions, and bad words. Mariana lives in a small town called Pagosa Springs, Colorado with her husband/best friend, Chris Letchford, and their two well-beloved (and emotionally manipulative) Great Dane children, Dorian and Kaiser. When she’s not pretending to write, she’s reading sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk or historical romance novels. You can usually find her harassing her dogs, being a hermit at home or cracking jokes at the expense of her family members.