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My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

The Rosas brothers will return in Trashed!

254 pages, ebook

First published March 13, 2018

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About the author

Mia Hopkins

30 books519 followers
Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. Her award-winning books have been featured by many publications including The Washington Post, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 328 reviews
October 2, 2019
Dnf @ 61%

I'm okay with a story that has a slow start, but when it's at the cost of any relationship development between the H and h, I can't hang. The sex between them felt too pornografically impersonal. And if I had to listen to how buff the H was one more time, I'd start wishing he got crushed by a heavy dumbbell during his workout! 🙄🙄🙄 There's more to romance and attraction than a buff body!

I'm so pissed because there was so much potential, but the focus wasn't where it was supposed to be.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,389 reviews651 followers
March 14, 2022

***2 Stars***

Oh man, I wanted to like this book so much. That cover? That blurb? All of it sucked me in. Unfortunately, what's beyond that just didn't manage to engage me.

Six months out of jail, Salvador "Ghost" Rosas is trying to get his act together. And now his brother will be getting out of jail in a couple of months, so he's trying to save up some money so they can get a place together and stay out of trouble. Working two jobs and staying in Vanessa Velasco's garage is where he spends his time.

Vanessa Velasco is the neighborhood good girl. However, in high school she fell in love with one of the members of the local gang. Young love also brought with it an unexpected pregnancy. Five years later and Vanessa is a single mom and widow. But she hasn't let any of that stop her from pursuing her dreams, and she won't let another neighborhood gangbanger derail her.

Told entirely from Sal's first person POV, I couldn't quite get into this story. Normally I'm not one who really has any issues with first person POV, but here it just didn't work for me. Too much internal monologue to keep me interested. I found myself bored way too many times.

Also, the writing is very choppy and stilted. I like to find a rhythm to my reading and I just couldn't get that here. The transitions from one scene to the next were sloppy and disjointed as well. I'd check back to see if I missed reading a sentence that moved me from one scene to the next or from one day to the next, but nope, it would turn out I didn't.

And while I really wanted to root for Sal and Vanessa, I just didn't feel any spark between them. Nothing really clicked. There was no heat, no sizzle, and no chemistry.

I could sympathize with Sal and his battle with trying not to get pulled back into the gang life and becoming the man he wanted to be and that he thought Vanessa deserved, but the author just didn't pull much more emotion out of me than that.

I also really couldn't wrap my head around Vanessa. She didn't feel like a fully developed character. I wanted more information about what she wanted out of life. What kind of future did she want for her and her daughter?

She both was and wasn't hesitant with Sal. I don't think the inner turmoil the author wanted to portray with her getting involved with another neighborhood gang member came through. At least not for me. BUT, I will give her major props for being a total sex kitten between the sheets. She was up for anything. And I love a woman who owns her sexual desires.

The whole brewery aspect of the story felt forced and out of place. I didn't understand its inclusion here. It didn't really add much to the story or to the development of Sal's character. I'm kind of left scratching my head when it comes to that.

Finally, I will add that this book is not a standalone. While the relationship aspect is fully resolved, there are still issues with the gang and other things, which I won't spoil, that will carry over into the next book (which will be Sal's brother's book).

Overall, this was a story that I really wanted to like, but just couldn't get invested in. It bums me out because there was a lot of potential here.

***ARC courtesy of publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review***
Profile Image for JenReadsRomance.
295 reviews1,482 followers
May 27, 2018
I loved Thirsty by Mia Hopkins so much, and I think this is a powerful novel about love and forgiveness. We talk about how love is powerfully redemptive---but romantic love isn’t the only or even the most important kind of love in a person’s life. Friendship, family, community, and just learning how to love yourself---those are just as important and vital. Thirsty is a novel that attends carefully to all of those facets in the life of our hero, Sal “Ghost” Rosas.

Thirsty is that rarity of rarities in romance, a first person point of view novel told only from the hero’s point of view. (I’m not going to say much about it now because there’s a pretty long discussion of it in my interview with Mia Hopkins that runs next week!) The novel starts shortly after Sal’s release from prison. He’s a young man, only 24, but he’s been in jail for a few years for grand theft auto. He’s back in his neighborhood, trying hard to make a new life for himself, which includes steering clear of the gang that he was essentially raised in---both his father and his brother were in the same gang. He’s working several jobs as a janitor to keep himself afloat and to save money for an apartment. His romantic interest is Vanessa, a girl from the neighborhood who he has known forever, but she seemed to be off limits when they were teenagers. Her family didn’t get too mixed up with the gang, but in the time that he was in prison, she got married, had a baby, and was widowed. She’s been working on classes to become an accountant, and she’s focused on making the best future for herself and her family.

There’s so many things I love about this book. I peeked at some reviews at NetGalley and Goodreads, and a common theme I see is that people called it a slow-starter. But I would argue that this book is character driven rather than plot driven. It does take a while for the romance between Sal and Vanessa to heat up, but that’s because we’re so fully immersed in his character as he tries to change his life. The fact that he’s focused on himself makes the journey of the book more believable and more poignant. The book isn’t selling the idea that the “love of a good woman” magically fixes everything because we can see how hard Sal has been working all along.

When Sal and Vanessa finally hook up, neither of them expects it to be serious. It’s a pleasant diversion. Vanessa is fierce, loyal, and determined. I loved her. Her strength of character begins to influence the way Sal sees the world. At one point, Sal confesses feeling trapped by his life in the gang, and his fear that he’ll be pulled back in.

“It’s not as easy as you think it is, Vanessa.” I say.
She narrows her eyes at me. “It’s not as complicated as you want it to be, Sal.” [...]
“What do you mean by that?” I whisper. I can hear my own heartbeat, pounding blood through my body.
“I mean, “ she says quietly, “my whole life people have been trying to tell me what I am. A nerd. A good girl. An honor student. A slut. A whore. A failure. They were wrong each time. No one else is going to tell me who I am. Never again.”

These conversations are also important because Vanessa shows Sal how to stay and be a part of the community he loves. As a teacher, I’ve had conversations with my colleagues about how important it is for us to avoid “escape narratives.” White writers and white teachers often approach stories about gangs or about people who struggle with violence in their communities by promoting the idea the characters would be better off leaving those communities behind. White readers might hope that Sal and Vanessa will “get out” of their “bad neighborhood” without realizing that it’s fundamentally racist to assume that there’s nothing of value in their community; not to mention, our inability to face up to the open bigotry and hatred they’d face in white America. Mia Hopkins doesn’t fall into this trap with Thirsty. Sal wants to leave the gang, and he finds a promising new career when he realizes he has a talent for brewing beer; but Sal and Vanessa know they shouldn’t have to leave their family, friends, and neighborhood behind to find a better life.

As with all good redemption stories, Sal makes mistakes on his road to being the man he wants to be. I loved Sal and Vanessa’s journey to that HEA, and I was rooting for them the whole time. I know that “dark romance” is popular right now and everyone should read what they want; But I can’t tell you how powerful I found the redemptive power of family, neighborhood, and love described in Thirsty. It moved me in ways I can barely describe. Give me a million stories about people who hope, dream and fight for a better future with their loved ones; I can’t take any more grim stories about bleak, violent men clinging like hell to the dark.
Profile Image for ~Mindy Lynn~.
1,396 reviews584 followers
June 2, 2018
3 Stars!

Another book where the blurb sucked me in but the story fell flat. I've been picking up quite a few of these unfortunately.

If I had the choice to be in the females head or the males I would choose the male. Why? Because females like to go over everything a gazillion times inside their heads. I am no different. My mind never shuts off. So color me shocked with how much Sal kept us locked up inside his head. It's a PP of mine. I can't handle having hardly no kind of interaction with other characters. I can only handle so much and he crossed the limit of that.

The writing needs a bit tweaking. I felt lost at times and it took me out of the story.

The relationship and romance was just OK. I didn't really feel the connection with Sal and Vanessa.

In the end it just wasn't for me.

Happy reading dolls! xx

**I received an ARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Talia Hibbert.
Author 30 books28.3k followers
March 16, 2018

I am... In love. With Sal. With Vanessa. With the author's beautifully blunt yet artistic style. With the blisteringly real characters and situations, with the respectful way this book's themes are handled... Did I say that I'm in love with Sal? I'm in love with Sal x 5. IN LOVE. This is a forever re-read kinda book, and I do not say that lightly because I typically hate re-reading
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,089 reviews924 followers
May 3, 2022
I have re-read this book and so many of the scenes over and over again. God tier sex writing. God tier romance.

I never wrote anything about my feelings for this story, but I will fix that soon.

Still trying to process my love of this romance. I don't really have great words except that it is exceptional in every way and makes me think and feel. Mia Hopkins DID THE WORK on this one.
Profile Image for Anastasia シ.
459 reviews112 followers
October 18, 2018
3.5 - 4 Stars

Full Review on my blog!
*a copy was provided by NetGalley*

Thirsty by Mia Hopkins is the first book in the Eastside Brewery series, and you can bet I’m interested in reading book two, Trashed. As my first Mia Hopkins read this one certainly grabbed my attention, and I’m curious to see what else the author has to offer.  It took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I finished it. I did feel like something was missing or maybe I just wasn't that into it as much as I wanted to be. Honestly, the last 20% of the book made me really reconsider the book as a whole and how truly amazing this story is, and how well developed the characters are. 

Overall, a fun, sexy read. I loved the characters and the story line. It's much more than a typical romance story. CLIFFHANGER!! omg! I'm actually looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend it!

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Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,258 reviews272 followers
January 4, 2020
This is an interesting book, in first person POV from the hero's perspective. Sal/Ghost is an ex-con, a gang member, and sounds older than his 24. He's also doing his best to manage anxiety post-prison and stay clean.

Of course he's flawed. He's not miraculous, and yes, there's sexy consent here too. In Hopkins's note that followed, it said she used her time volunteering with reformed gang members as inspiration and it does show. The book is done respectfully and convincingly and not miraculously. And honestly, it could've been grittier. I don't even know what I mean by that, but I know it.

But I wanted more. More depth, particularly from the romance. More depth from the heroine. (She didn't feel like she stood out to me?) And while this romance explored so much, using a narrative style that felt straightforward and like someone who survives by routine, this lead everything--including sex scenes to feel a bit distant.

I will continue to pick up Mia Hopkins. This was interesting hero. Unfortunately it only made an ok romance for me.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,814 reviews477 followers
March 21, 2018
Originally posted at SmexyBookshttp://smexybooks.com/2018/03/review-...

Favorite Quote: “You want a hero. Before we start, you should know—I’m not him. I’m not your hero. A hero is Prince charming, a firefighter, a cowboy. He’s handsome and perfect. He’s probably white. He has his shite together. None of that is me.”

Salvador (Sal) Rosa has just been released from prison after serving a five year stretch for boasting cars and other charges.Working two jobs, he’s trying to make a new life for himself and his younger brother. A member of the East Side Hollenbeck’s (ESHB), Sal knows he has to stay clear to make it but once your part of the gang, you’re in for life.

Vanessa Velasco may be from the neighborhood but she is slowly digging her way out with a good job, college, and a fiery attitude. A single mom whose husband died because of the ESHB, she has no use for the gangs or gangbangers. When Sal finds himself homeless when he’s kicked off a friend’s couch, Vanessa reluctantly offers him a bed

As Sal and Vanessa dance around their attraction to each other, ample opportunities arise for Sal and he finds himself suddenly learning how to make craft beer and liking it. But when the gang calls him back in, Sal has to make a choice and one that will keep him and everyone he loves alive because he now has something and someone to live for.

Thirsty is my first book by Mia Hopkins but not my last. Bold and unapologetic, Hopkins takes readers deep into a gang infested barrio and introduces us to a young man whose life was predestined but whose need for change has him fighting against the only world he’s ever known. Well written with honest descriptions, vibrant characters, and an impacting narrative, Hopkins captures her protagonist’s thoughts and emotions perfectly while building a thought-provoking base on which to showcase them. Though touted primarily as a romance, there is much more at work here. The romance is but a solitary element in this story about family, obligations, second chances and redemption. The focus on two people who are trying to move beyond choices they have made and learn to trust as they enter into a new chapter in their lives.

Hopkins characterization is exceptional. Each character she has built is a three dimensional experience in their dialogue and and actions. Their frank candor holds no secrets as everyone tells you exactly what they think. Sal is brutally honest though it is tempered depending on whom he is speaking too. The drama and angst of the various relationships Sal has with others are realistic and justified. Layered and complicated, Hopkins digs deep beneath the stereotypes to slowly re-image this man. He makes no apologies for his past or present. He is a gangbanger. His gang affiliation is what sent him to prison. He was born into the life and now faces the uphill battle of trying to survive beyond it. We watch as Sal is forced to see himself through the eyes of others; having to prove he is more than just a gangbanger and a convicted felon.

Hopkins addresses many topics throughout the story, weaving them within the narrative. She talks about the gang culture and it’s allure, showing us the emotional, mental, and physical needs it can fill and the ramifications of trying to break free from it. It works its way into the romance as they all go hand in hand with helping to explain how Sal views him as individual and as a potential boyfriend/lover. The romance itself is hot and heavy; very sexually explicit with heavy erotic flavor. This couple is free in and out of bed with nothing off limits. Their age and past experiences played a heavy part in that freedom.

Vanessa is one tough cookie who was on the fast track to college when she was waylaid by a pregnancy, marriage and widowhood all by age 18. She worked hard to make a life for herself and her daughter and refuses to let anyone destroy it. I appreciated the fact that Vanessa’s deceased husband wasn’t made a villain to justify being with Sal.She was able to love them both with no excuses.

Various people are introduced who all effect Sal in some form or fashion. Vanessa, her daughter and grandmother become a pseudo family for Sal and show him that despite his past actions, the neighborhood looks out for its own. His bosses who want to profit off his gang affiliation, the gang who demand his allegiance, and the geeky hipster who sees him more than a gangbanger and offers him a whole new world. Various subplots intertwine with the main plot, adding depth and offering clues for what’s to come.

The ending resolves the main conflict and clears the way for Sal and Vanessa’s future but leaves us with nothing concrete. Revelations are made towards the end that changes everything I for one can’t wait to see what Hopkins has in store for Sal’s brother-Eddie.

Profile Image for Heather C.
628 reviews19 followers
March 12, 2018
Thirsty is my first read from Mia Hopkins and overall I enjoyed the storyline and look forward for more not only in this series but more from the author.

I will start off by admitting that it started off extremely slow for me and it took well into the second half of the book for the storyline to pick up and capture my full attention. I say this not to deter people away from the book but to encourage anyone who might feel the same way at first to keep going. 

Salvador Rosas fell into a gang as a young boy . When he was nineteen, his criminal activity put him in prison. Five years later, he's out and trying to make an honest living. He's working two part time jobs and trying to lay low but it's known that you can't ever escape that life, right? When the gang finally does come back into his life, he ends up risking the one good thing he has going for him. The beautiful woman who is stealing his heart. 

Vanessa Velasco's been around the neighbor and the gang scene. She knows how it works and she's already got a past with one man who was in it. When Sal shows up in her Grandmother's garage, she wants nothing to do with him but he slowly starts to break down her defenses and she starts to see what a good man he really is. But the past always catches up to you. 

My absolute favorite thing about Thirsty isn't the two main characters. It's the Grandmother. Oh my god, I couldn't get enough of her. She's blunt with zero filter. She's not afraid to talk about anything, including her or her granddaughter's sex life. Her direct dialogue had me laughing so hard. 

Thirsty is ultimately about the possibility of getting a second chance to better your life. Love comes along with that but what had me rooting the most was for Sal to end up with a straight, narrow and happy life. Free from the gang. Free from violence. The beauty in the story is not only about the person working to change their life but allowing others that believe in them love and guide them along the way. If you are looking for a story that will lift your spirits by the end of it, then Thirsty is the book for you. 
Profile Image for Taryn.
191 reviews211 followers
March 24, 2018

I really really enjoyed this one- more than I was expecting I would to be honest. I can't recall the last romance I read purely from the hero's POV and when I realised that was the case here, I was a little apprehensive- but don't fear. Hopkins's writing was amazing. I'm definitely going to be reading more of her books!

The plot was engaging and interesting right from the start, the pacing was great and the romance was stunning. I loved Sal + Vanessa right from the beginning and it was such a fun ride seeing them grow to trust and love each other.

I gotta say, I wasn't expecting this to end on a cliffhanger and now I'm just dying for the next book!!! Hopkins has pulled me into this story wholeheartedly and I cannot wait to continue!
Profile Image for Victoria (Eve's Alexandria).
664 reviews384 followers
December 10, 2020
I never, repeat never, listen to audiobooks this quickly, but there was something about this gangster-gone-straight story that got its claws in me. Sal is the kind of hero that I can’t resist - hard on the outside, soft on the inside, anxious but brave, thoughtful and conscientious yet self-deprecating, desperately in need of a hug. The book is as much about him coming to love and accept himself as it is about his romance with Vanessa, a fact exacerbated by the hero-only POV.
Profile Image for Nadine in NY Jones.
2,748 reviews217 followers
September 6, 2019
I run my fingers through her silky hair. “I swear to God, every time I look at you, I feel…” I reach for the most honest word I can find. “Thirsty.”

And we have title!!

I normally avoid books with blatant thirst trap covers like this one, but I saw some enthusiastic reviews and I liked the brewery angle and my library had a copy so I put it on hold and voila!

This book is definitely silly and unbelievable in sooo many ways. The whole “forced to live together for reasons” is one of my favorite tropes, however, so I’m willing to forgive a lot. Unfortunately, this book did nothing to remove my preconceived notions of thirst-trap-cover-books. There’s no relationship tension, no character growth, barely any plot. We spend far too much time inside this guy’s head (and it’s a boring place to be), and I absolutely did not buy the male POV. The relationship is ludicrous: when they first meet, she screams and aims the hose at him, then angrily rants to her grandmother that she doesn’t want him there, and ... two days later she’s straddling him in the backyard and coming on to him?

But it’s not all bad.

Things I liked:
* Real, complex characters who are not like most of the cookie cutter characters in romance.
* Real, complex living situations that are unusual in romance novels.
* The relationship conflict felt real, complicated, grew naturally from the situation, and was resolved in a satisfying way.
* Hot sex with enthusiastic consent.

Things I didn’t like:
* The romance felt flat, the characters were mostly two-dimensional, and Vanessa remained up on a pedestal.
* Hopkins decided to write the entire book from the man’s POV, which is fine except she doesn’t wrote a very believable man. His inner thoughts sound like a woman. (As a woman myself, I of course have no idea what a man’s inner thoughts sound like, but I do know that a man’s verbally expressed thoughtsdo not sound like this.) His inner thoughts definitely did not sound like an impoverished, hardened gangbanger & ex-con. Not that I know what that sounds like either, but I don’t think it sounds like this:
We shake hands. I lean back as Alan sits down at the table next to Barry. They chat and laugh and ask about each other’s families and I feel like I’m eavesdropping. Anxiety bubbles inside me and my knee shakes a little. I force it to be still. I don’t want it to look like I don’t want to be here, even though I don’t.

To distract myself, I listen carefully. I learn from their conversation that the bar has been open two months. It’s been Alan’s dream for many years. He’s been saving up money for a long time. He worked part-time at a home-brewing store. I’m not sure what home brewing is but I don’t want to butt into the conversation with dumb questions so I hang back.

And then in reference to a flight:

... This is a lot of beer. I got drunk at my welcome-home party, of course. I got drunk at Ruben’s daughter’s wedding. Twice in six months. I haven’t had a beer in a while. I take a sip of the first glass, and Alan is right. It’s refreshing. It’s good.

LOLno. A flight is four to six small glasses of beer. It usually adds up to about a pint, total. I cannot imagine Sal thinking to himself “this is a lot of beer.” Especially since he normally drinks Budweiser- if he’s as ignorant as portrayed, he would not know the alcohol content is going to be higher. A pint of Bud is nothing to a full grown man, he’d barely feel a buzz.

And then he showers, and masturbates, and I’ll leave out the extremely detailed quotes here, suffice to say that he admires how big and hard his newly muscular body feels (okay, maybe a guy would think that? but probably not a guy I’d want to spend time with), and then he muses on how he became good at masturbating during his five years in prison, and he’s not ashamed. I’m sorry, what? Are there guys who are ashamed of that?? Are there adult men who haven’t figured out how to masturbate yet? Okay, yes, there probably are, but I’m assuming they are in strict religious households. Not poor city kids in LA.

None of “Ghost’s��� inner dialogue felt authentic. I just don’t think this is how guys think.

* Sal heads back to the fancy brewpub, and the owner serves him the porter he liked:
I watch as he turns the second glass perfectly so that an inch of perfect foam tops the pint. He puts a paper coaster down and places the beer in front of me. There’s frost on the glass.

Gahhhhhh no!!! No brewpub worth its hops would serve a porter in a frosted glass. Extreme cold kills the flavor.

I’m reading this because of the brewery angle, and Hopkins doesn’t know her beer. (And I don’t think Brussels sprouts would go well with a ginger-molasses porter.)

Other things that didn’t make sense:
* why did Sal’s parole office set him up with jobs so far away?? There are no local gyms willing to hire ex-cons as janitors? I could be wrong on this one; Hopkins has worked with gang members and maybe they end up in exactly this situation. I just wish it had been explained. Just one sentence!
* Sal’s schedule. He’s got a two hour commute each way, he works for eight hours (11pm-7am), then he exercises for an hour until the gym opens at 8. That’s thirteen hours. Every day. Plus time to sleep (let’s assume eight hours sleep), which leaves three hours each day. But somehow he still has time to: clean out the garage, look through old boxes, hang out on the lawn with Vanessa, chat with Regina and do her dishes, and leave early for work so he can run errands and chill at the brewery for two hours. Nope. That math doesn’t work.
* Sal was crashing at Spider’s place when the book opens; Spider is another gang member (second in line to the lead, as we learn); Sal is on parole and later worries about going to see Ruben - the gang leader - because he’s not supposed to associate with known gang members. But ... he was staying with Spider?
* “God knows I needed their attention after five years of nothing but Mary Poppins and her four sisters.” ... Mary Poppins???? - who says that??? It’s Mary Palm [eye-roll]
Profile Image for Pam Nelson.
3,215 reviews100 followers
September 26, 2020
I saw this book on the audible website and I thought I would give it a try.

I was sucked in to these characters. I loved Sal and I felt his pain. I wanted to make it better for him. I hate that he was so torn in what to do. He wanted to do the right thing but that right thing isn’t so easy for a gang member when the gang wants you back.

He has a hard choice to make.

He is turning his life around, working 2 jobs to make a better life for himself and his brother when his brother is to be released from jail.

Ahh but he gets his heart snagged by a girl and not just any girl a Vanessa a girl from the same neighbourhood so she knows all about him and his ways.

But she too falls for him too. I do wish she as a little more understanding in the end but I get it she was trying to protect her daughter.

I really loved the narration someone who actually sounds like they know the language, I truly don’t like when they pick narrators who don’t fit the stories. This one does <3.
Profile Image for Skye Kilaen.
Author 15 books304 followers
December 24, 2018
The only romance novel I've ever read that just about broke my heart with office supplies. I was absolutely captivated by this story of a young Latino man sorting out his life after prison and falling in love with a single mom in his community who's working to become an accountant. If I made a bullet point list of everything that worked well about it, we'd be here all day, so I'm going to pick three things. First, I loved Sal's narrative voice. Dry at times, never self-pitying, emotionally raw and honest, just amazing writing here. Second, I respected there were no easy answers to the conflicts Sal faces. Gangs are not full of one-dimensional monsters, and their roles in communities are not simple. This book honors that complexity. Third, the book is deeply compassionate towards the impact that our prison system has on people who end up in it. In this case, Sal develops an anxiety disorder and self-harms due to the discord between prison life and outside life. Hopkins pulls off that compassion without letting anyone off the hook for committing crimes, especially crimes in which people are hurt or killed.

It's an amazing read by a WOC author, and my only complaint is that the sequel comes out so far in the future!
Profile Image for Anita Kelly.
Author 6 books709 followers
May 20, 2022
This was such a unique read for me, & I’m struggling to put into words exactly what I mean by that, but I’m just really glad I read it. Sal <3
Profile Image for Kahea.
2,034 reviews108 followers
March 12, 2018
***4 Stars***

So it went like this “Ohhhh the cover” then “Oooohhhh, beer?” then “Oh, gangsters?”
Mmmm, Yes. Please *hit request*
And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It took a different direction than what I had expected, but I really liked it. It’s got all the goodness of a romance, the heat, the connection that goes soul deep, but there is so much more going on than just that. It’s about getting back on your feet and believing that there is more to you than where you come from, if only you let yourself believe it.

I loved Sal. He’s working really hard to do the right thing and stay on the right side of the law for more reasons than the simple desire to NOT go back to prison. But along with that determination, there was also an honesty that made it easy to connect with him and see just how golden his heart was, even if he couldn’t see it. Vanessa was a little spitfire. Hardworking, sassy, stubborn, but also compassionate, caring and honest. She was a lot of fun and I loved how she didn’t mince words. She let you know what was what and was more than capable of standing her ground when needed.

Sal and Vanessa’s journey was interesting one with how everything started between them, but it actually worked in their favor because they were probably more open and honest about who they were than if things had started differently. The smexy was off the charts! But the way they connected and how they saw each other simply made the chemistry between them burn brighter. Some issues arise, which come as no surprise, but how everything worked out in the end for them was perfect!

This is my first read by Mia Hopkins and I really enjoyed it. The writing was engaging and I really enjoyed the solo 1st person POV. I loved how gang life was shown in the book, the good, the bad and the ugly, and how it affected everyone who lived around it. The secondary characters brought a lot of depth to the story and definitely kept things interesting. Alan was fun, but Chinita stole the show for me. That woman has moxie. And with that little mystery popping up at the end...all I can say is I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

~ Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley & voluntarily reviewed ~
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6,948 reviews828 followers
March 13, 2018

Thirsty is about a boy who grew up in an East LA gang and landed in jail as he was becoming a man. When Sal gets out of jail he is worried about getting drawn back into the gang lifestyle, he knows there is no easy way out but doesn’t want to go back in. Vanessa is the good girl in school; the one who everyone knew would escape their neighborhood and make something out of her life. Vanessa was on the right track until she got involved with a gangster and ended up pregnant, than a widow all by the age of 18, not a quitter she decided to go to the local college and get the degree to allow her to provide more for her daughter.

Thirsty is about Sal’s road to discovering how to live and make a living outside of gang life as well as how he will be able to “retire” out of the gang. Along his journey he falls in love with Vanessa and has to win her trust because of her history with her late husband.
Told from Sal’s POV, I really enjoyed Thirsty, it is a refreshing break from billionaires. Sal is not as confident as you would think a gangster would be, he thinks he is not worthy of a woman like Vanessa. Vanessa is a strong single mother, she knows what she wants out of life and she knows that she wants Sal. Neither thinks they want forever but they cannot fight their attraction or feelings for each other.

Vanessa’s grandmother and daughter are cute and great additions to the story. There are some interesting supporting characters that I imagine, and hope, we will see more of as the series progresses.

The only thing that would have made this story better would have been dual POVs, Vanessa and Sal. I wanted to know what was going through her head while she was falling for Sal and during the moments when they had major roadblocks in their budding relationship.

Thirsty is a sweet and SEXY romance about two imperfect people who are perfect for each other.

Profile Image for inês ☾.
418 reviews237 followers
February 11, 2021
3.5 stars

This book surprised me in a good way. I came for the single parent romance but the story was so different from what I expected.

We are following the Hero's pov, Sal, he's an ex-con and a gang member. There were some really heavy themes and situations explored. That part of the story was gripping and really great. However, I feel like the romance itself took a backseat. They were cute together but it happened quite fast and there wasn't as much development in that department as I would've liked. I needed a bit more depth from the heroine as well. It was still a good book and I would recommend it.
Profile Image for Maida.
Author 13 books442 followers
March 16, 2018
Four+ hot, dirty, gritty, Sal-loving stars.

It was love at first read for me with Sal. This guy is not my usual book boyfriend. In fact he's the opposite - poor, young, unsure of himself, vulnerable. But I fell for him nonetheless. Because he's real and selfless. He just wants to work hard, not for himself, but for the people he loves.

Through Sal's eyes, Mia took me to Eastside LA. I rode the bus and train with him to the gym in Santa Monica, the spa, the bar where he makes beer with Alan. I met real people - from Chinita to Spider to Barry to Vanessa and her daughter and learned a lot about a culture I'm only semi-familiar with.

Speaking of Vanessa - I think she's great. A heroine who knows her own mind, is strong, determined, resolute, beautiful, hot. According to Sal, she smells divine. And that's where my nitpick with the book lies. Vanessa is perfect because the reader sees her from the hero's POV. A hero, who is in love with her. I didn't see a flaw because Sal didn't see it. I understand why the book is told this way - first person limited POV. For the most part, it works. I just wish we know more about Vanessa's character weaknesses.

This is the first book by Mia Hopkins that I've ever read and I can say I like her style. Once I have more time, I'll delve into her backlist and read more of her books.

I requested the ARC of Thirsty from NetGalley and was given the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tracy.
684 reviews20 followers
March 13, 2018
This book had me HOOKED!

Wow. I really cannot say enough good things about Thirsty. This story got me from the first page and I could not put it down. Ghost is a unique character, he's got gang ties, he's just gotten out of prison. Vanessa is the girl from his neighborhood who was gorgeous and smart- she was supposed to get out. She's still determined to do that, but now she has an adorable little girl. One whose father passed on early due to the life Ghost was sent to prison for.

Thirsty was a story that really gets to you. It's about friendship, hope, and bettering yourself. The cast is diverse and are people you can't wait to get to know better. While it is a standalone, it is the start to a series. There were a few loose ends, I felt, but I'm really hoping it was part of an overall story that will continue in the next book. Thirsty is paced evenly, and impossible to put down. I would recommend to the reader looking for a bad boy gone good, and a book with a unique and different plot.

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Profile Image for T. Rosado.
1,697 reviews42 followers
April 26, 2022

4 Stars

I underestimated how much I would like this book. While the story was classified as a romance, I was much more captivated by Salvador's story beyond that. The author did an amazing job at capturing the life of an ex-con attempting to go straight but also feeling an obligation to his past, as well as to his community. I was emotional during a couple of scenes and found that the first-person narrative was evocative in its portrayal of Sal's lonely existence as he struggled to figure out his life after prison. I enjoyed the sweet and real romance, but I can honestly say that it was secondary to what I felt for Sal's story alone.
Profile Image for elisa.
200 reviews1,271 followers
May 31, 2022
not nearly as good as tanked, which is unfortunate 💔💔 much weaker prose and plot, little to no chemistry or personality between the main couple, and an annoying narration style involving addressing the reader directly. 2.6/5.
Profile Image for Amanda.
578 reviews62 followers
July 21, 2018
This book really grew on me. It took me a couple of tries to get into because I wasn’t in the right mood for it at first, but after the first couple of chapters, I really got into the story and became invested in Sal’s journey.

Sal is trying to stay clean and build a new life for himself out of jail, where he spent 5 years. He works 2 jobs as a janitor 7 nights a week to save money for an apartment for him and his younger brother, who is also serving time in jail for the same thing as Sal but with a slightly longer sentence. Sal knows he isn’t free from his gang, but he’s laying low. He wants to stay out of trouble and be in a position to help his brother stay out of trouble, too.

He ends up living with Vanessa, her daughter, and her grandmother. He knew them from the neighborhood growing up but he got involved with the gang at a young age, whereas Vanessa was a “good girl” who worked hard in school. Sal crushed on her from afar, and everyone was surprised when Vanessa got involved with another gang member from the neighborhood. She got pregnant just as she was applying for college, so she stayed. Since the book is told from Sal’s POV, I felt like she was the less developed character, but that’s kind of inevitable with a single POV book. But we come to understand her as Sal learns more about her and falls in love, which he definitely wasn’t looking for.

When her grandmother offers the garage to Sal for $200 if he agrees to clean it out, Vanessa is wary. She’s a single mom with a good job trying to make a better life for her family, and she has no interest in being involved with anyone associated with the gang; even though there is no sign that Sal is still involved, she grew up in the neighborhood and knows that you don’t just leave a gang, even if you stayed loyal and did time in jail. But she quickly sees that Sal is also trying to make a better life for himself and that he’s a good person—a better person than he gives himself credit for.

As I mentioned above, book is told entirely from Sal’s perspective in first person POV. I rarely read books from the hero’s POV, and it’s a risky move. Hopkins pulled it off. Not just his voice, but his identity as well. A lot of books dealing with a Mexican-American gangster who just got out of prison would be a mess of stereotypes, but this felt authentic to me as a reader; not that I have any authority on any of these identities, but the author convinced me with the setting and world-building.

Unlike a lot of romances that touch on gangs, this book isn’t meant to be suspenseful or action-packed. That’s perhaps why I enjoyed it so much; I wasn’t expecting a character study, and that’s what I got. Sal is dealing with anxiety, self-harm, and the fear that he’ll get sucked back into life in the gang just as he’s figuring his life out. It was hard to believe sometimes that Sal was only 24, but it felt realistic that he’d have to grow up fast as someone who grew up with a legacy in this gang and as a young member himself.

The interest Sal develops in brewing was a nice addition. At first I couldn’t make the connection, but it was interesting and different. In prison, Sal kept himself out of trouble with routine. He is detail-oriented, very clean, and organized, which is why being a janitor felt like a good fit to him when he needed a job and couldn’t get hired with his criminal record. As a perk, he can use the gym for free, and he is almost obsessive about his exercise regimen, something else he learned in jail. Sal doesn’t think of himself as being that smart because there is a lot he doesn’t know, but everyone else can see he’s sharp. He has a great memory, and he soaks in new information like a sponge. When he befriends a local brewer, he realizes there are similarities between them, and he is surprised by how much he takes to the brewing process, always wanting to learn more.

This book may well not work for everyone, but I really enjoyed it and it was deeper than I expected it to be. This was my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last.
Profile Image for romancelibrary.
1,084 reviews465 followers
July 20, 2021
Not a perfect book, but I really enjoyed the romance and the hero.

I think I'll start with some of the things that restrained the story and the main one I can think of right away is the first POV narrative. Thirsty is told solely from the hero's first POV and that's fine, but the thing is I didn't feel as close to Vanessa as I did to Sal. I do like her a lot, but I felt more emotionally attached to Sal. Maybe that was the author's intent? I don't know. Not only that, it was hard for me to understand how Vanessa could trust Sal so easily. It took her a while to get there, but I wanted to be in her head to find out what exactly pushed her to continuously trust him. I love that she trusted him a lot, but I just wanted to know exactly why. In a way, the narrative restrains the story's capacity to carry more substance.

The writing was good, but at times, it felt abrupt and choppy. Sometimes the hero's internal monologue would suddenly jump from one topic to the next. There was a lot of internal monologue and it took a while for the romance to get started, but I didn't mind because I liked Sal a lot. I really liked being inside his head. The writing was great for the most part though. I was particularly impressed with how the author captured the lingo and the slang authentically. It really made me feel as if I was part of the Eastside.

Onto Sal...I actually loved him so much. He touched a part of my heart for some reason. He was so...lonely and vulnerable. It made me really sad even though he didn't mind being alone. But there's a difference between being alone and being lonely. He's a very quiet hero — not only in the sense that he doesn't say much....he just has a quiet personality, which made me even sadder for some reason. As his past slowly gets revealed, I understood why he was that way. He's silently wounded and suffers by himself and that really broke my heart. It hurt me a lot to read about his pain.

Moreover, I surprisingly found Sal to be very relatable. I mean, I haven't spent any time in prison, but somehow, I really connected with him. Maybe it's because we're the same age. Or maybe it's because we're both standing at the same threshold in life, trying to figure out our respective paths. The fact that he spent 5 years in prison really made me think about how I would have felt if I were in his shoes. He is so hardworking and so determined to make a better life for himself and for his loved ones. At the same time, he is lonely and vulnerable. I couldn't help but root for him. This book made me think a lot: how much are we defined by our choices and how much are we defined by fate?

When Barry offered Sal a job, I thought he was dumb for not accepting it right away. But as I kept reading, I understood why he didn't accept it. And it really made me think about the jobs that I've taken and the choices I've made. I've worked jobs I didn't like before, jobs that made me depressed, jobs that made me feel less than what I am. Was it worth it? Probably not worth losing part of my sanity, but in a way it was a teachable moment. I know I won't ever do that again in the future and at the same time, I can make use of that experience in the future. Unlike me, Sal saw it earlier on and knew this job wouldn't be good for his mental health and refused it despite all the benefits.

Anyway, wow. I went totally off topic LOL. I can't conclude this review without talking about how freaking steamy the romance was 🔥 Yowza!! I didn't expect Thirsty to be this steamy! Being in Sal's head made everything that much steamier lol.

I'm kind of invested in the series so I'll probably pick up the next book, especially since the mystery surrounding the gang's doings hasn't been solved yet and there was a plot twist as well that took me aback.
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,471 reviews242 followers
March 5, 2022
I've had this on my TBR for a bit but finally dived in and what a treat! I enjoyed everything about the story, the setting and the characters really come to life with this author's storytelling. Also, holy hotness, this were quite the steamy scenes in this one! I've gone and out and bought the next book :-)
Profile Image for Emily.
4,968 reviews524 followers
March 29, 2018
Salvador Rosas spent his time in jail and now he is back. He is trying to live life on the straight and narrow but it is hard with his gang East Side Hollenback at the door. He has been working two jobs and saving money for a place but when life hits a snag he finds himself renting a room from an unexpected source. However it also puts him in the path of single mom Vanessa Valesco. Her hot temper has Salvador wishing he had a chance with her, maybe he does but will his past ruin everything?

This was not what I expected it was better. I thought Salvador's story was realistic and thought he was doing the best he could under the way he was raised. Vanessa is a firecracker, I liked that she was tough as nails and that she could see past Salvador's past even if it took a little bit to realize it. Great read, look forward to more in the series.
Profile Image for Mel.
1,177 reviews4 followers
April 19, 2022
Gritty and raw and real. After endless books about gorgeous billionaire alphaholes, Sal was a breath of fresh air, honest about his faults, trying his damndest to be a better man, and struggling to figure his way out of a difficult situation. I really enjoyed the characters, their struggles felt real and honest and the sexy times was hot AF.

Reread in April of 2022 for #RosasRead22

It was honestly even better the second time around, deeply moving and poignant, Sal and his desperate drive to better himself, to be a man worthy of the woman he was falling in love with. I adored every bit of this story about the power of forgiveness and love.
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