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You may or may not recall… Back on April 16th, I posted and asked if anyone was interested in a group read. Along with Deborah from The Reading Chick and Sarah at Travels with Choppy we decided to read the same book together. We selected Kulti by Mariana Zapata, published on March 20, 2015.

This book was a complete and utter joy to read. The Kindle edition is 570 pages. I read it through, and then I downloaded the audiobook, and I listened to it again. Essentially, I read this book twice, back to back. It was that awesome.

My Review:

The Blurb:  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 twenty-seven-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 that 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. Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know. Or the murderous urges he brought out in her. This was going to be the longest season of her life.

How refreshing to read a slow-building romance. A little girl’s crush on a sports hero leads to her immersion in a successful soccer career of her own. Her hero, now retired, joins the team as an assistant coach, and at first they don’t even like each other much. He’s gruff and unapproachable, and at first she’s too in awe to speak to him. When she does, he either doesn’t answer or is insufferably rude. He made her angry many times.

I really liked Sal. She’s real and she’s wonderful. She sees the loneliness in Rey, and she befriends him. I loved that she stuck with him even when he was obnoxious and prickly. She gave him the benefit of the doubt and always gave him another chance. There was no drama with Sal. I truly enjoyed her interactions not only with Rey but with her family and her teammates. When Rey tells another character that she is his “best friend”, I wanted to cry.

For all his abruptness, he was also always there for her. He protected her and watched out for her, and he did things for her without her even knowing until later that he was behind these actions. It was obvious to me that he had feelings for her even though he never said and she didn’t have a clue that he was more than a friend.

There is no instant love in this story, and I really liked that. There is no kissing or carrying on of any sort until nearly the end of the book. That worked, too. When he finally told her everything he was thinking and feeling, I was touched and moved.

This is definitely a Zapata book. Her novels are all long books with slow burn romances that are well worth sticking with until the end.

I loved Kulti and couldn’t put it down. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it.