I normally love Mariana Zapata’s books. They suck me in. The heroes are usually flawed in some way, but underneath their gruff exteriors, they are good guys, and I always end up liking them a lot. They stick with me after I put the book down, and it’s usually a few days before I can let them go and move on to read something else. The pacing on her books is usually slow. She takes a long time to build the relationships between characters and the romances. I don’t have a problem with that as long as there is plenty of time left in the book for the “good stuff” to unfold and happen. Then you cherish and enjoy it when it does get there.
When I picked up Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin, I had a picture in my mind of what Sacha Malykhin would be like. He was the lead singer of the headlining band. He was tall, dark and tattooed. I pictured him as someone who would be rough, tough and a little worn around the edges. He would be a guy who had been around some. He wasn’t like that at all. The heroine, Gaby Barreto, is the twin sister of one of the guys in the opening act, and she’s with them selling band merchandise. She’s grown up with the three guys in the opening band. As a result, they treat her like one of the guys, tease her mercilessly and call her “Flabby” all the time. It got old after a while. There wasn’t a lot about her that was sweet or feminine. She meets Sacha when mistaking him for someone else, she kicks him in the backside. The guys in her brother’s band were mean and gross. They pull her hair, punch, pinch, and slap her. There are endless discussions about taking a poop. I get that the guys were a little less than refined. Didn’t they ever have times when they were? Gaby plays soccer against them, and the hero kicks a soccer ball into her face, bruising her face. I started to feel sorry for her for the abuse she was taking.
The storyline in this one is extremely slow in building. She and Sacha are friends and buddies and not much else until around the 80% mark in the book. I kept wondering when the heck he was going to make his move. I get that he was sensitive to the fact that she’d just recently come out of a relationship and he wanted to give her time. I also wondered several times if it was going to turn out that someone else was the hero since he didn’t appear to be in any hurry. Couldn’t he at least have kissed her sooner? This guy was either a saint or he wasn’t that into her. When they finally do decide to have a physical relationship, they’ve barely begun and the book is over.
I wanted so much more from this book. I wanted the hero to be stronger. He was goofy, he was funny, and he was sweet. He was not an alpha male. He’s never a douchebag although he treats her like one of the guys just like the rest of them do. I felt like she deserved better than another guy friend. This one had me confused. I liked parts of it but not all of it. It was lacking somehow.
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