Book Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

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Title: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Author: @marianazapata_
Reviewer: Ivy @PoisonIvy70
Genre: Sports Romance
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t even find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?
Ivy

The Wall of Winnipeg, aka Aiden Graves, is the premier defensive end for the Three Hundreds, a team in the National Football Organization. Vanessa Mazur is his assistant. For two years, Vanessa has taken care of Aiden’s meals, his home, his emails and social media, everything. Until the day when she was ready to give it all up. She’d had enough. She quits to focus on her dreams and says no more. Then Aiden makes her a deal that she can’t pass up – marry him for his green card, and he’d take care of her debts. There’s so much more, but ultimately, romance happens.

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Writing like a boss: Mariana Zapata has impressed me with every book she’s written. Each time I think I know what I’m in for, her characters surprise and enchant me. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is no different. Vanessa and Aiden are the polar opposite of insta-love and the journey is the centerpiece. It’s an unusual romance, in that it’s about establishing these individuals first and foremost, then building that romance slowly, surely and solidly. The way it does it is through Vanessa’s eyes, and I’ll admit – You get to really know her, and I’ve got a bit of a girlcrush on her right now.

I love Vanessa: She is what I expect in a Zapata heroine – she’s self-reliant, self-aware, never perfect but always entertaining. First person is particularly difficult to pull off well because you have to a) connect with that narrator; and b) she has to be able to deliver a full view of the world around her. Additionally, alot of times in romances, the characters seem to exist almost in a vacuum. It’s all about the relationship and their individual lives get short shrift. So not the case here. Ms. Zapata is particularly adept at building these characters and their relationships, while maintaining a good balance between humor and drama. At no time did I feel as if I was missing something because it’s strictly from Vanessa’s POV. And her view of the Wall….mmm, mmm, mmm.

I wouldn’t mind being a brick in that Wall: Aiden is the type of hero I’ve come to expect as well – he’s stoic, focused, physically impressive, not exactly cuddly but when his emotions shine through, it’s so easy to see why Vanessa falls in love with him. His past is revealed bit by bit, showing the man behind the Wall. I think Ms. Zapata also does an excellent job in delving into the mentality of a professional athlete. Between Aiden and her other athlete hero, Reiner Kulti, I think she’s drawn two interesting heroes that are perfect matches for their heroines.

Slow burn worth every single moment: This story takes its time to unfold, and it’s not a quick read by any means, so be prepared to settle in and immerse yourself in their lives.  The characters are solidly written, the story kept me engaged from beginning to end and it’s a slow burn that gave me more satisfaction than a hundred insta-love sex scenes ever could.

Teeny, tiny quibbles: The football, and the immigration plot point, play their parts in garnishing this story, but it’s not the focus. The immigration bit feels like a necessary evil to put these two together, which is ok. I’ve read alot of sports-themed romances, and some are definitely stronger when it comes to the sports aspect. That said, I can’t find fault with a story that I devoured in a day and kept me up late at night, wanting to read just one more chapter.

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I loved this slow burn romance so much. It gives me everything I expected and the love is well worth the wait. If you haven’t read Ms. Zapata’s romances, you really should. The only thing that makes me sad is that it’s over, and I have to wait to see what she writes next. I know I’ll be reading it, whatever it is.

– Ivy

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Book Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

1g

Title: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Author: @marianazapata_
Reviewer: Ivy @PoisonIvy70
Genre: Sports Romance
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.
(more…)

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