Review: Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

Reviewed by Joanna

This is such a slow burn romance I almost threw a fit as the main characters avoided a kiss for the fiftieth time. So. Frustrating. But this is the nature of the book and thus it’s very well named. Plus it’s well written, has great characters, and I was getting all the lovely stomach flips every time our hero and heroine got close.

Diana, who is awesome, is raising her two nephews – left to her when her brother died. She moves the boys to a new town and works as a hairdresser to make ends meet. She’s slightly crazy, Mexican and fiesty, and I loved her lots.

Meet Dallas, her new neighbor. He’s older (40~ to her 29), tall, tattooed and with a shaven head, and is probably the sweetest and most steadfast man I’ve read in a long time. Seriously, this guy has it going on. Ex-military, he coaches the baseball team Diana’s eldest son enrolls with, and our H&H start seeing each other regularly in the street and at games.

But – even at 30% they’ve barely said two sentences together. It’s that much of a slow burn. Much of the story before is Diana working out how to live in this new place with her kids. Her internal dialogue, though funny and entertaining, goes on for pages between anything happening. Certainly in the first segment, I felt this could be trimmed without losing anything of the character.

The relationship with her kids is adorable and much of the effort of writing is concentrated here. Seems to me a pretty decent representation of living with small people. She stands at the front door, eyes tired and frustration bubbling at having to yell for the boys to get ready for school. They forget stuff, lose stuff, are grumpy, but they all have cute nicknames for one another and there’s so much love in this broken family unit it warmed my heart.

And I’m somewhat hard-hearted about stuff with kids as a main focal point.  They have to be pretty charming kids.

So Diana and Dallas move around one another, with their relationship as friends building and cementing over the weeks and months that pass. He’s married (separated) and mistakenly thinks she’s coming on to him, so he backs away, then they hedge around one another until the mistake is realized. Then it becomes an in-joke and they relax. The attraction is there for both – despite this being a single POV, we can see how much Dallas cares for Diana. She can’t see it at all, which is crazy-making and so he doesn’t act on it.

Whenever he was standing in her kitchen I just wanted him to grab her and for them to seal the deal with a kiss. Or they’d be standing too close at a baseball match and I wanted them to link hands.

I swear I shook my kindle a number of times where nothing happened. I turn the page all excited and we’d be starting the next chapter with her getting the kids ready for school again.

As a reader, I enjoy being messed with by an author. Zapata’s tension-building is a great tactic and she rules supreme at the build-up.

But – this only works well if you have the free-fall the other side. When the kiss, or the proposal or whatever FINALLY YES THIS NOW happens, I want it to punch me in the gut. I want to hug the book and get overwhelming relief that all is right in the world of love and HEA.

Way late in this book, we get a kiss. I didn’t feel all the wow. It was awkward and it didn’t change enough. (Am I unrealistic in wanting my fictional kisses to change everything?) Then with the declaration of love and them having sex – I wanted fireworks and explosions, crackling heat and grabby hands, but it was average.

The tender loving words were perfect and wonderful but the author kept throwing more barriers in between the couple – either emotional, or when the emotions were out in the open, physical barriers – a seatbelt, or being out in public so no grabbing was possible. This drove me a bit nuts.

I’d try this author again as the quality of writing is excellent and the pacing (away from the romance) was great. The characterization of Diana and her kids was brilliant, and the banter with her friends was funny. The book has a lot of heart. It just wasn’t always directed where I wanted it.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Wait For It
by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: December 7, 2016

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