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All Rhodes Lead Here

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Losing people you love is hard.

Aurora De La Torre knows moving back to a place that was once home isn’t going to be easy.

Starting your whole life over probably isn’t supposed to be.

But a small town in the mountains might be the perfect remedy for a broken heart.

Checking out her landlord across the driveway just might cure it too.

572 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 1, 2021

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Mariana Zapata

16 books45.9k followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,738 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,827 reviews29k followers
April 4, 2021
4.5 Stars

Like many MZ fans, I was neurotically checking amazon virtually everyday awaiting this book release. Color me happy when it popped up yesterday. And, luckily enough, I was enjoying a lazy day and had all the time in the world to read it. Which I did in one sitting.

This was just exactly what I was in the mood for. Like all MZ books, it was super slow burn with a somewhat meandering plot...a lot of the characters and tensions were very MZ formula, i.e., Van had her marathons and fucked up family and Aurora had huge hikes and a previously fucked up relationship. In fact, Van/Sal and Aurora felt very similar to me in a way that a lot of MZ's main characters do...Rhodes was very Aiden/Renier with his grumpiness...

But you know what? I don't even care.

Because I like MZ's lead characters. They are usually good guileless people with good hearts and interesting backgrounds and I enjoy that you have to work a little bit to get to know them, even if they all are a little similar. I enjoy the way she writes...the details and the nuance...the way things are slowly revealed to the reader in small chunks. And this book was no different.

Did I love it as much as Winnipeg and Kulti? No. Because those books are like unicorns, folks, and I accept that. And I've learned that picking up an MZ book with lighting strike expectations only leads to disappointment. That said, I went into this book expecting to really enjoy it and I did.

However, to be blunt: If you are over the formula, the character interchangeability and the slow burn, you might not like this book. But if you don't mind, you will find this to be an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for mel ☽.
365 reviews7,579 followers
April 13, 2021
3.75-4 stars ✩⋆

this book really made me wanna get out of my bed, stop reading till 4 am, and instead wake up at 4 am, go on 5 hour hikes, go camping and generally just go outside...

... but am i gonna do all this?

there's just something so peaceful about the outdoors and small town in fiction. like, it just makes me feel so comfy, just- soo at peace, ya know? i don't know why. is it maybe because it reminds me of twilight aka one of my comfort movies? yes, of fucking course.

and the fact that this book has found family/home trope, small town, a dilf and his cute adorable teenage kid, slowburn (no, like, this is VERY slowburn guys), grumpy/sunshine trope? just- I M M A C U L A T E.

but anyways a little backstory,

⤷ this book is about Aurora De La Torre (h) who just got dumped recently by her famous dickhead boyfriend. a year later, she decides to move back to her childhood home and do many of the things her mother used to do. and lo and behold, her landlord, Tobias Rhodes (H), at the new place she was staying at? yeah, he didn't want her there because his son, Amos secretly allowed her to rent their garage apartment. but as y'all know, sunshine characters always win over the grumpy assholes over time.

this gave me KA vibes, mainly the gamble and sweet dreams and the feelings i felt while reading this were close to what i felt when i read my favorite MZ books (kulti, wall of winnipeg and wait for it) so if you like any of these, im pretty sure you'll like this book.

aight let's talk about Aurora first kay? yeah, i love this bish. i really do. she reminds me of Diana with a little bit of Sal mainly because they all annoy the grumpy H's all the damn time with their sunshine, optimistic personality which i love to see in MZ heroines. i just love reading about her journey when it comes to grief, honoring her mom, and just overall realizing that the "love" she had was shit and she now knows what she👏fucking👏deserves👏. we love to see it. whenever she doesn't wish happiness for her ex and her ex's mother- ugh my petty self was delighted af because look at this:

"I wish that I could tell you that I hope you'll both find peace and happiness in your lives, but I'm not that good of a person. What I hope for is that you'll leave me alone... If I see you or Kaden again, I'll make sure you regret it."



i know forgiveness is apparently the best thing ever but is it really? do the wrongdoers really deserve our forgiveness? nah bish i don't think so.

and now let's talk about the dilf to end all dilfs. how do i feel about Rhodes.. hm.. let's just say, non-fictional men could NEVERRR!!!. would a non-fictional man really build a tent for you because your camping trip was cancelled so he did all this just so he could see you smile again? would they? WOULD THEY? yeah, i don't think so. though, even if i love this man, just like in hands down, i still felt more connected with the heroine more than the Hero but i'll talk about this later.

this was SLOW slow, holy fuck. listen, i'm used to MZ slow but this is even slower than the usual MZ's slow slowburn, you know what i mean? they finally touched each other's hands at around 58%. that's how slow this is.

although this was slower than usual, this was also kind of the fastest. and what i mean by that is they did NOT have sex in the very last chapter which is unusual for an MZ book aaand we actually got to see them as a couple!! for those who haven't read MZ, y'all should know this shit is rare. this never happens. and i'm pretty sure Rhodes and Aurora are the MCs who hugged each other the most compared to other MZ characters and i know this because they're hugging each other all the damn time in the last half.

but anyways, although this book is slower than usual, we all know MZ is all about the slowburn so whenever there are little things like light touches, heated stares, calling the heroine beautiful, which are bound to be ordinary in romance novels standards, it is literally the equivalent to sex in normal romance novels. i get so excited when they would brush each other's shoulders because yes, sexual tension is superior to sex itself.

ugly crying in the last 10ish% (spoilers)
so i've been watching a show recently and a quote stuck out to me:

WandaVision(yes, this is from that marvel show)
↳ "What is grief, if not love persevering?"

THIS. this is the one. this fucking quote is basically what this book and Aurora's journey is about dont @ me on this. i- okay. to be honest with y'all i literally cried, um, particularly hard reading the last 10% when they found her mother's body and she had to go through grief all over again because i felt this as i recently lost someone close to me so of course i'm gonna ugly cry. i guess reading about a character grieving and being thankful of her loved ones was nice to read about.

"Grief was the final way we had to tell our loved ones that they’d impacted our lives. That we missed them so, so much... I had to live, but I could also remember along the way. The people we lose take a part of us with them… but they leave a part of themselves with us too.”

hahaha i'm okay- SO okay.

and even though a lot of shit happened to Aurora (losing her mom, getting dumped and kicked out by her ex and was treated like shit for 14 years), she still had a positive, optimistic personality because she focuses on the good in her life and how she's thankful about all the people who genuinely love her and doesn't take her for granted. ugh IT'S CUTE OKAY.

ex drama (spoilers)
for those who want to know the tea, there's a tiny bit of ex/OM drama. Aurora and her ex, Kaden, were together for 14 years and she thought she loved him but found out that she just wanted to love and be loved, etc. and she's 100% over him. there's not much drama honestly. he and his mom just show up at the end to beg her to come back to him but obviously she was like hell no. there's no OW drama. we find out that Rhodes does not have a baby mama, he's a donor for his best friend and his wife.

why not a higher rating?
although i loved Rhodes and am currently manifesting for a guy like him as of this moment, i felt like he was more of a side character at times. his character depth was nothing compared to Aurora and i guess that's bound to happen because this book is only written in her pov. it also doesn't help that he barely showed up in the first half and every characterization of him was basically kind of rushed in the last half and most of his background told >>> shown which again, makes his character depth inferior in comparison to Aurora.

and when it came to the nicknames and Rhodes was all like "ANGEL", i was all like,


hmm. okay, okay. it's cute. and ya know, i was traumatized from that "kiddo" incident and i'm grateful that Rhodes actually called her something sweet and not something that feels weird and illegal because-

"B U D D Y"

take this back. pls for the love of all that is holy and spiritual, take this THE F back. i know he calls her "buddy" because of buddy the elf but nooOOoo. this gave me father-son vibes. it's weird, it feels... inCesTuOuS. take this back!! we cannot go back to "kiddo" days!! we cannot validate freud's theories he can't keep getting away with this!!


this book is very sweet and wholesome, it focused more on the characters which i actually like because yes, i'm more of a character >>> plot type of girl. i loved all the characters and even though the romance is slow as hell, if you like Aurora, then you wouldn't mind reading about her journey/character development, which is the majority of this book.

i think i died a little bit when i saw that Reiner Kulti easter egg because OHMYFUCKINGGODITSKULTI!!!. and y'all, i looked up what Pagosa Springs look like because i'm nosy and i wanna know if it's real (it is) and it's so?? pretty?? i wanna go! someone take me with them please.

but yeah, anyone make a petition for Yuki and her bodyguard to have their own story yet?
Profile Image for Christy.
3,813 reviews32.4k followers
May 17, 2023
5 stars


Mariana Zaptata is hands down one of my favorite authors. She's the queen of slow burn and every time she releases a new book, I read it straight away. All Rhodes Lead Here was another win for me. I adored Rhodes and Aurora's story.

Aurora De La Torre has been through a lot in the last year and decides to go back to her hometown to settle. She rents a garage apartment until she decides where she wants to be rooted permanently and she rents it from Tobias Rhodes. Tobias has no idea Aurora is coming into his life... literally. He never saw it coming. Rhodes and Aurora develop a friendship, even though it takes a bit of time for him to warm to her.

This has got a bit of one of my favorite troupes- grumpy/sunshine and I loved that aspect so much. Tobias can be broody until you get to know him and Aurora is one of those heroines who overcomes all odds and does it as positively as she can. They make the perfect pairing and I wanted them together so badly.
“I’ve never met anybody like you.” “I hope that’s a good thing?” “I’ve met people who don’t know what it’s like to be sad. I’ve met resilient people. But you….” He shook his head, his gaze watching me closely in that rabid raccoon way. “You got this spark of life that nothing and no one has taken away despite the things that have happened to you, and I don’t understand how you still manage to… be you.”

Not only did I love Aurora and Rhodes together, I completely and utterly adored Rhodes son, Amos. I loved the bond he had with Aurora and how he and Rhodes were together. It was so special.

Mariana Zapata's storytelling is incredible. I love the way she develops her characters and we get to watch all the goodness unfold. I never wanted this story to end. Between all fun times with Aurora living in the garage, to watching the friendship turn into more, and seeing all of Aurora's secrets come to light, gah! I loved it loads and it will most definitely be on my top favorites list of 2021.
Profile Image for Kat.
263 reviews79.5k followers
November 13, 2022
First Mariana Zapata and WOW, WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER. Tobias Rhodes!!!! LISTENNN, never have I ever been a fan of the single dad trope in my life; he might have swayed me though!! This man owns all ten of my toes. I'd commit a light felony if I thought it meant he'd crack a smile. His hands are so big and warm and I wanna fall asleep in them like Thumbelina. Not to mention, the "who did this to you?" scene, the post-hike first aid moment, the thunderstorm rescue??? I'm a hurt/comfort girlie forever and ever, through and through. The sluttiest thing a man can do is care, and Rhodes? He was downright INDECENT.

However, I am nothing if not a hater to my core, so let's cut to the critiques:

The main conclusion I drew while reading All Rhodes Lead Here is that Zapata’s hallmark—the length of her novels—might also be indicative of her greatest weakness. The slow burn was not the problem, nothing about the build between Rhodes and Aurora needed to be fully cut. It was the combo of repetitive, wordy writing with the glacial pacing that made me really FEEL each of those 559 pages. Like…please...someone free this woman from her periphrasis cage; let her know that names + pronouns are allowed to be used more than once per paragraph. Also, Not every one-liner needs to be turned into a running bit and sometimes 'cute' nicknames should remain unexplained, especially those that exist because one character reminds the other of Will Ferrell running around New York City like a hyperactive toddler in tights.

But, despite my shit talking, I’m glad the unwavering hype for this author led me here (hah) because it honestly was a good fucking time. MZ fanatics, pls don’t come crawling through my walls. I may be a critic, but I could be one of y’all too <3 K thx bye.
Profile Image for brooke.
62 reviews1,183 followers
March 19, 2023
no thoughts, just men written by mariana zapata.

— this was another slooooww burn with an amazing plot and a beautifully written story about love and loss, living with grief and moving on.
the setting, outdoorsy life and the sweet moments between aurora, rhodes and amos was just so wholesome. this book felt so cozy, it was a relaxing and comforting read. also the relationship between aurora and amos warmed my heart. 🫶🏼
“you are a part of us”

tobias rhodes, this grumpy, sexy dilf will have you swooning HARD. he is the dilf to end all dilfs, the way he won me over so fast. he is the biggest grump but also the biggest softie who will do absolutely anything for aurora and amos. when he came out of his shell and we were shown just how protective and possessive he can be I WAS DONE FOR.
like i fucking lost my mind when he pitched up a tent and set chairs up outside ora’s home so she got her camping experience. THIS MAN >>>

”i’m fine not being the first person she’s ever loved because i know i’m going to be the last.”

aurora was the easiest character to love. a strong, sunshine, witty, compassionate and funny fmc who is genuinely a good person, and wants nothing but the best for everyone. we stan a girlboss who knows her worth.
we see her wanting to focus on her self discovery and starting over after leaving a toxic relationship. she moves back to the small town she grew up in, and she starts to rebuild her life one day at a time. i love her growth throughout this book!!

slow burn
age gap
single dad
grumpy x sunshine
small town romance
found family
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
May 10, 2021
on paper, this should not have been a book that im giving 5 stars to. it has a lot of characteristics that i generally dont like:
- a slow burn romance? no, more like absolutely glacial.

- aurora is honestly way too immature to be 33 years old. when rhodes questions her age (convinced she is younger), i felt that. shes has the mentality of a late teenage.

- single dad trope doesnt really do it for me.

but heres why those surprisingly worked for me in this case:
- i actually really enjoyed that aurora and rhodes become friends first. yes, the romance and pacing is slow, but i appreciated how their friendship developed and then became something more.

- aurora may be immature, but man, shes hilarious. i cant remember the last time a book made me blow air out of my nose so much. there are so many interactions that left me highly amused. shes also very kind. so i was able to forgive her immaturity.

- amos is honestly the most adorable kid ever. i dont really like children, but i would adopt him in a heartbeat.

so while there are things that i dont normally like in a book, they are done in a way that had me loving this story. its actually a really sweet and quiet romance, one that feels real and honest. theres good character growth, really tender moments, and a lot of funny banter that should be had within a family.

so i may as well round up to 5 stars. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4.5 stars
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
496 reviews1,142 followers
April 6, 2021
4.5 stars

This was more than what I wished it would be! It was such a warm feel good atmospheric story that I absolutely loved!! Im just a sucker for a good slow burn romance and a cozy atmospheric setting. The more I read about the mountains and those wild places, the more I hate how broke I am that I can’t travel anywhere. One day tho. One. Day.

I loved Aurora!! She was just so real and so admirable with the way she stood up for herself and how determined and such a relatable person she is. And that scene where she stood up for her mother in law and just kept talking and getting it all out?? I was freakin cheering and clapping so hard for her. I was so proud of her.

Rhodes was such a grumpy sweetheart! I loved how he was always taking care of her. My only complain is the B-word that made me cringe so hard, but we aren’t gonna go there. And that scene when she came out and found the tent????? Don’t judge me, but I think I almost cried!! I loved Amos and his relationship with Aurora, it was so adorable and sweet!! I was just so happy for her that she managed to find a place for herself with people who love her. Also, I loved that when things got bad, they went after her. That scene was just ugggh.

So we’ve got the perfect setting, an age gap, a silver fox, a grumpy/sunshine trope, a single dad with the sweetest kid, a small town with lovely friendly people, MZ famous slow burn romance, and we’ve got ourselves a weekend well spent! I was going to round down, but I had such an enjoyable time reading it so we’re rounding up!
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,076 reviews13.3k followers
January 9, 2022
A grumpy, single dad who lives in the mountains??? Rhodes absolutely sold this book for me. Like other Mariana Zapata books, this one is a super slow burn. The hero and heroine barely even interact until 40% in. They don't kiss until 80% in. I was a little annoyed for the first half of the book because I was impatient. I loved these characters and knew there was potential between them, but we weren't being given anything!! But the payoff was so worth it. You know Rhodes was slowly burning with love and lust for Aurora and they both just needed time. Aurora is in town because she just got out of a 14 year relationship and she's still trying to cope with the loss of her mom. There was so much emotion in this book and I really loved the personal journey Aurora went on. One of my favorite characters, though, was definitely Amos. I loved his relationship with all of the adults in this book and how important he became to Aurora and Rhodes. As a character, Amos was so special and that definitely made me love this book more.

For the romance, I absolutely loved the last 20% of this book where the romance was fleshed out. Rhodes was so grumpy but so protective and I loved how he was trying his best to be there for Aurora. I don't want to spoil anything, but I loved every scene with Rhodes discussing being in a relationship and being there for Aurora. This book just ended up being perfect and I couldn't recommend it enough!
Profile Image for Lilyya ♡.
172 reviews251 followers
April 21, 2023
♾♾♾♾ ( an essay indeed)

"The people we lose take a part of us with them… but they leave a part of themselves with us too." 💚

4th read and accessory a buddy read with Ryohei I’m such a boomer the tag might not work. Had to initiate him to the romance genre with this masterpiece!!😋

Did you ever have this feeling while reading that an author understands your exact taste?
I’m a MZ’s groupie through and through so don’t mind some of my ratings or reviews cuz they are completely blinded and kinda corrupted by my love for her writing style. Well, with that said shall we start the review.😌

"People cried over endings, but sometimes you had to cry over new beginnings."

Aurora DeLattor is looking for a fresh start to erase the memory of the last fourteen or so years and moves on from her previous, hectic life. She chose the town where her existence took a tragic turn twenty years before and end up with a silver fox grumpy dad, landlord who doesn’t specially like her. She’s a very likable personnage, tbh.

"Because I might know everything that happened had been for the best, but it didn’t mean I was a good person who wanted the best for her ex. " 😌 you go girl!

First I’m gonna clarify some points:

I love that MZ’s books are more about the journey than the plot, more about the deep and healthy relationship development than the smut scenes or the mutual attraction, dont get me wrong ofc I love those scenes but I always need MORE when it comes to contemporary romance books.

"No one ever told you how hard it was to make friends as an adult. But it was hard. Real hard."

I love to think that most of her characters are real people; they’re so well builded with realistic flaws and more authentic day-to-day basis that you just get attached to them and want to read more about them even after 500 or 700 pages long. We get through their daily basis without any warnings, some —a lot— insinuations are thrown here and there and we just try to understand them and the hiding meanings they’re carrying, she makes us think and work our brain sells to finally have an insight about their pasts and pin point "why they are the way they are"; it’s clearly an intelligent move so we are hooked from the start; trying to dissect the truth.

"Because as much heartache and tears as I’d wasted in my previous life, the happiness I’d found here balanced it. And maybe with time, it would more than make up for it. Maybe one day it would overshadow that period completely."

You can feel all along reading that there’s a lot of work from the characters to the world building behind her books, I just have a feeling during devouring them that there’s a world surrounding her protagonists and more to them than what their story is relaying or telling I don’t know if this makes sens but it does in my head,lol. Anyway, I think her style is clearly a hit or miss.

" He was the DILF to end all DILFs."

The book is written with a single pov —Aurora’s— I loved being constantly in her mind throughout the story. Especially when she was drooling over Rhodes at every occasion😭 — I ended up laughing so hard every time cuz Ryohei was absolutely weirded by Ora’s obsession with Rhodes’ muscles.🤣—

"That’s the difference between guys like you and me. If she needed something, you’d give her a hundred dollars from your wallet even if you had more and think that was good enough. I’d give her everything that was in mine.” His voice went hard. “The only person you can blame is yourself, dumbass."

An other point I loved about this story; we are fully invested —attached to her— in our female protagonist’s life and brain, feelings and the fact that we don’t know what’s going on in Rhodes’ mind and what he’s thinking about and still be absolutely convinced that he’s THE ONE for her and that they’re soulmates and end game, is still one of my favorites part after every reread. They actually aren’t painted or pulled as soulmates but the author makes them work their way to be each others "ride or die", this book was full of disinterested acts, understanding and acceptance, trust and devotion. It was an epic love story.

" I was thirty-three years old, and like a tree, I’d lost all of my leaves, so much of what had made me me; but just like a tree, my branches and my roots were still there. And I was being reborn with a whole new set of leaves, bright and green and full of life. So I had to try. "

Aurora is such a relatable character and so so lovable, she’s nice to everyone and yet lets no one roll over her ou presque👀, she’s a real ray of sunshine, funny and down to earth, so so modest even with how and who she was used to leave and be around. She putted up with a lot and faced a lot of hurt and pain since her teenhood and still managed to be this positive and optimistic, beautiful spirit. She’s clearly an inspirational, strong female character, one of my all times favorite.

" I only managed to take about two steps when his rough voice spoke up again. “Aurora.”
I looked at him over my shoulder.
His jaw was tight again. The lines across his forehead were back too. “You look beautiful,” Mr. Rhodes said in that careful, somber voice a heartbeat later. “He’s an idiot for looking at anyone else."
best scene ever🫶

Rhodes hmm.. honestly with my first read I didn’t like him at the beginning and how he did behave and deal with Aurora especially when she responded with her famous "kill them with kindness" at every encounter. Rhodes was mean and rude more than once. And then I understood that there’s more to the personage than his "be grumpy to look sexy" aura. He was so guarded and mistrustful; he took his fine time to comes out of his shell and believe that she was just genuinely nice person. He wasn’t the kind of man to give a lot to others —unlike her— but was devoted to the ones he loves and could do anything for them. He was so protective toward Amos —his son—, and the son’s relationship with Aurora was so precious, literally a chef’s kiss.

” You are a part of us,” he said gruffly. “I told you before, didn’t I?” One of the hands on my cheeks moved, and he took my earlobe between his fingers. “I don’t know how anybody would let you walk away, and it isn’t going to be me. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Are we clear? "

Actions speak louder than words and prove more better than any talking; Tobias Rhodes understood the assignment properly. Surely, he wasn’t comfortable with words of affirmation but when he said something it was without a doubt an honest and pure statement.

" I smiled at him. He didn’t smile back, but that was all right."

He was a grump around Ora for half the book and when he smiled and laughed for the very first time in this book I nearly feinted, a drama queen much.

 "Sometimes you looked at a person and thought that they had everything, but you didn’t know how much they still wanted. What they were missing. Most of the time, they were things the rest of us took for granted. Like privacy and time. "

This story was more than just a grumpyXsunshine romance or a small town book, it was about trying to rebuild a new life after being used and left numb and useless, about finding a new family in strangers, about accepting to be loved one more time and to love again, about having faith in life in general.

 "And it’s always going to hurt. I know that. It’s supposed to. Because you don’t love someone and lose them and keep on going the rest of your life complete. "

It was more than a romance and I loved that part so much, because it was about loving a devoting mother and dealing with the aftermath of her death or presumed death, in this case Aurora didn’t even know what happened to her mom and was grieving her loose for so long. The ending was so satisfying; we got some answers but it didn’t feel rushed or just added to procure the reader a more pleasant closure to Aurora’s story, no. The memory of her late mom was a contestant thought throughout the storyline, we felt how it was hard for her to deal with the acceptance and mourning her feelings. The author didn’t down play the loose of a parent and I absolutely adored how realistic it was. —I would have reacted the same way, I can’t imagine facing the loose of one of my parents, ever. I’m sorry if anyone had to live such a hard experience before❤️—

"And maybe… this was my goodbye to at least part of the past. Closing all the opened chapters that hadn’t been completed. I had so much going for me. So much joy just waiting around."
Profile Image for Phuong ✯.
617 reviews5,090 followers
April 6, 2021
3.75 stars
Life didn't have to be perfect for you to be happy. Because what was perfect really, anyway?
Mariana Zapata, buddy, let's talk about your endearment game, shall we?

You know a lot of authors have a certain formula they use for writing their books. Suzanne Wright, Kristen Ashley and Mariana Zapata are just three of those authors that come to mind that ALWAYS write their books and characters the same way, to the point that the characters in their books become almost interchangeable, just bc how similar they are. It can both be a blessing and a curse. Good, cause if it works, it works. Why change a running system. But if you start to expect something different, it can become boring quickly.

All Rhodes Lead Here worked for me, cuz I knew exactly what to expect when reading a MZ book and it's very comforting like coming home after an exhausting day at work. ARLH pretty much gave me the same vibes as Kulti/The Wall of Winnipeg and Me with a mix of some of her other books, but set in a small town somewhere in Colorado.

tropes: age-gap (h: 33, H: 42), single parent, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers, small-town, sunshine-grumpy

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After a break up, Aurora returns to Pagosa Springs to begin her new life. For her career she moved away and now she's back at her childhood home where she lived with her mum until a certain age. Right on her first day, she is off to a not-so-good start with her Landlord a.k.a Rhodes, since he didn't know that she was renting the garage apartment. Amos, Rhodes' son, secretly put up the garage apartment for rent to earn some extra money. After some arguments, Aurora could convince Rhodes to let her stay for a month, but only if she's quiet and stays away from him and his son.

WARNING: everything from here includes spoilers. read at your own risk.

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Sometimes, maybe even more often than just sometimes, you were better off alone. Sometimes you had to learn to be your own best friend. To put yourself first.

Aurora is such a cute little bean without being overly sweet. She is such a positive ray of sunshine and I love her for it. Aurora's relationship with her mom seems adorable, I wished we got more shown through flashbacks than tell, but the way Aurora tried to go on all of her mom's fav hikes as to honor her. I thought it was cute.

Her fear of rats and bats was so relatable lmao. I really felt for her every time there was some kind of animal in the house and she freaked out and thought sleeping in the car is a better option. 😂

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I smiled at him. He didn't smile back, but that was alright.

Rhodes is the perfect grump and a mix between Reiner Kulti and Aiden Graves. The Heroes that don't talk that much, but show they care through their actions and that's exactly who Rhodes is. The quiet and overprotective dad who would walk through fire for everyone he cares about.

He was such a good dad to Amos and I loved it as much as Aurora every time he went into dad mood with her.

Rhodes might not be a talker, but WHEN he talks he's on point. When he was talking about taking it slow when they shared a bed together for the first time or when he defended Aurora before her ex. What a man. 😌

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First of all Amos' parentage is confusing... his mum and dad couldn't get children, because Billy has trauma, so they asked Rhodes to be a sperm donor. Rhodes still wanted to be a dad and to be a part of Amos' life agreed, therefore Am has two dads and a mom.

Am is living with Rhodes, because his mom wanted to do the Doctors Without Borders program and Am didn't want to go, so she leaves her son with Rhodes and the whole time I was like... buut how? why? when? you're just going to leave your only child with his other dad who was more absent in his life than in it just like that? when they come back... is Am just going to live with them again and Rhodes can visit? how is the arrangement? is it the same arrangement I image divorced parents have? anyway, back to Amos as a character...
"I'm good!" I yelled back. "Are you?"
"Scarred for life watching you grab Dad's butt like that, but I'll get over it. Thanks for wondering!" he hollered sarcastically before shaking his head and closing the door.

Amos is a very quiet and shy kid and I consider him one of the main characters since he's featured in the book a whole lot.

One of the reason why the single parent trope is one of my fav tropes is, because I love reading about the development between the kid and the main character. Therefore, it's no surprise that one of my favorite thing about AHLH is the relationship between Amos and Aurora.

It's so sweet how Am was so unsure around Aurora at the beginning and then started to open up to her more and more as the story progressed. How Aurora helped Am with his songwriting and singing and kept encouraging him. That was like their thing.

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"Nobody in their right mind would let you walk away from them. Not once and no way in hell twice, angel."

No one can make me cheer for giving me the bare minimum of phyiscal contact as much as Mariana Zapata. I was smiling like a loon at every high five or hug (and there were a lot of hugs), because for these characters that's basically a love declaration.

I was surprised that we didn't had to wait until the very last chapter until Rhodes and Aurora banged... it was actually much earlier, but everything else was slow. Rhodes and Aurora don't exchange phone numbers until 60% or smth or Aurora still calls Rhodes "Mr. Rhodes" for the longest times in the book without him telling her differently lol.

All their scenes in the second half are great. They are the sweeteest and I just want to wrap them all in a blanket and protect them from wild animals.

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I've loved every side characters that Miss Zapata has written and it's no different here. We all know MZ's books are super long and the romance is slow af, that's why all these side characters are much needed, to keep the story interesting.

I love that Aurora and Clara were reconnecting and that Aurora worked with Clara in her shop. Another precious friendship was the one between Yuki and Aurora. Yuki seems like the biggest sweetheart EVER and I would love to read a story about her.

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💚 When Aurora went on that hike alone and made it back later than planned and then she saw Rhodes coming her way, he drove two and half hours just to check on her, because he was worried. 🥺

💚 Aurora wanted to went camping for so long and when she comes out of the house and sees that Rhodes has set up a tent and chairs. That whole scene is just soooo soft. 🥺

💚 When Rhodes tells Aurora that she's beautiful after her date and that her date is an idiot for looking at anyone else. 🥺

💚 When Rhodes and Amos find out who Aurora's boyfriend is and give her the silent treatment, she packs her bag to stay at Clara's house for a night and they followed her there, because they thought she was leaving them. It was so cute how Rhodes and Am said that she's is not allowed to leave and were getting her bag. 🥺

💚 THE WHOLE EPILOGUE was freaking cuuuuteee!!!! Amos putting ultrasound pictures in his dorm room!!! Plaaseeekfdsöfjdlka my heart!!! 🥺🥺🥺

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We all know that Mariana is the slow-burn queen. All Rhodes Lead Here was even slower than her usual slow-burn. The books is off to a very slooow start.. like the first 20% is just Aurora setting into her new apartment, finding a job etc. There was a lot of monologue which I don't like, cause I'm someone who needs dialogues instead of the main character describing every little detail around them.

Let's talk about the big elephant, everyone just wants to ignore. The 'buddy' part. Ugh. I hated it. MZ has a lot of talents, but finding good endearments is not one of them. I tried to ignore it as much as possible, but Rhodes called Aurora 'buddy' 22 times. 22 times over 551 pages isn't too bad, but it still 22 times too many. Thank you god for all the angels and sweethearts that we got. I still couldn't help to feel like Rhodes put Aurora in the friend-zone every time he called her that. 😭🤚 i swear the only time i call someone 'buddy' is when she/he is under 14 yrs or when i acutally want to friend-zone someone. the cringe. 🥴

and byeee the explanation for why he calls her buddy? "You remind me of Buddy the Elf. You're always smiling. Always trying to make things better." jeeeezzz, is that suppose to make it better? 😭

am I the only one who thought that the drama with Kaden right at the end of the book (if I'm not mistaken the last chapter before the epilogue) was unnecessary???? There was not much plot, you have have inserted that drama somewhere between 5% and 90% of the book and I wouldn't have said a thing, because not much happened anyway, but putting it in the very last second. I can't and I was annoyed. As if it wasn't enough that Aurora had to confront the annoying ex-mom.💀

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Not my favorite MZ book, but still pretty solid and comfort read and recommendable for everyone who loves Kulti/TWOWAM. Just ignore the B-word and you're fine. ✨
Profile Image for elena ❀.
257 reviews2,864 followers
April 9, 2021
“You gotta come back.”
“Come back?” I echoed like I’d never heard those words before.
“Home,” they said at the same time.

I debated writing a review for this or not because I was unsure how I felt about this, but I think rating it 2 stars is enough.

All Rhodes Lead Here simply follows Aurora as she moves to a place she once called home, Pagosa Springs, after being dumped by her long-term famous boyfriend. She wants to start a new life, one full of new opportunities and new memories. She's decided she will rent a garage apartment she saw online, get a job to earn money, and complete the hikes her mother wrote on a list. The story unfolds as Aurora begins a small friendship with her landlord, Mr. Rhodes, and his son, Amos.

People cried over endings, but sometimes you had to cry over new beginnings.

The Good

Mr. Rhodes. Zapata has a type. They're grumpy, tall, muscular, have nice thighs and a nice ass, and broody.

With a few minor exceptions, Mr. Rhodes is a DILF on a whole other level. While he may not be THAT much older than Aurora, his personality, attitude, and physical features stand true to his age. He's grumpy and has no intention on becoming Aurora's friend, no matter how difficult it then becomes. There's no denying that Zapata knows how to create attractive grumpy characters, and Mr. Rhodes isn't anything new. I’ve seen reviews saying he’s a mix of Aiden and Kulti. While he may not be the best at communication, his actions speak louder than his words, and the soft spot he has inside of him begins to show as he befriends Aurora.

I've noticed that's a pattern in Zapata's books. Her male leads seem to be unable to communicate the best. They're not the best at showing their emotions and expressing their feelings, but they show the love and care they have for their friends in different ways. Rhodes is no exception to this, and I'm honestly not complaining. I love it. He's grumpy and tired at first, but his character development starts to unfold as he realizes there is actually more to Aurora than he thought.

Rhodes really was the hottest forty-two-year-old on the planet. He had to be. At least, I thought so.

The romance | part 1. Honestly, the romance between Aurora and Rhodes was not my favorite because of its development. However, I still really, really enjoyed the romantic scenes between Rhodes and Aurora. My favorite? When Rhodes set up a tent and camping chairs outside their apartment because Aurora's plans of going camping were changed. That was truly a top tier moment, one that ended many other romantic scenes. Small things like that make my heart ache and surround it with warmth and happiness.

“I looked for your tent in the garage and in your car, but it wasn’t there. If you want to bring it down, we can set it up in a minute. But mine is a two-person.” He stopped suddenly, talking that was, and leaned forward, squinting at me in the dark. “Are you crying?”

Or when she went on the hike alone.

That entire beefy, hunky body trembled lightly, I faintly noticed. “No more hiking by yourself,” he whispered roughly, so hoarse it scared me. “No more.”

Or when he called Aurora's date an idiot and called her beautiful.

His jaw was tight again. The lines across his forehead were back too. “You look beautiful,” Mr. Rhodes said in that careful, somber voice a heartbeat later. “He’s an idiot for looking at anyone else.”

Yes, my heart swooned.

The setting. I'm from New Mexico, and Colorado is like a second home to me. I've been to Pagosa Springs, CO since I was young, and I'm aware of Colorado's rocky mountains. Being from New Mexico, an altitude like Colorado's and mountains surrounding every area is nothing new, which was why I loved how involved hiking and the outdoors was. I may not be aware of them, but imagining them is still possible. I simply love mountains more than the beach, and reading about a character who finds peace and comfort around mountains, alone in the woods, is refreshing.

“You don’t ever have to hide it—your grief. Not from me.”

The Bad

Unfortunately, there is more "bad" than "good" for me in this book.

Aurora. I forgot Aurora was in her 30's sometimes. It felt like she was still very immature, or if she was in her mid 20s and still looking for guidance in every sense of her being. I found her annoying at times, which made the reading experience worse because the grumpy hero/sunshine heroine is a trope I love. But with a character like Aurora, it difficult to do so. She was annoying and frustrating throughout a part of the book. While I found her to be strong in other times (such as how she wanted to complete her mother's hikes and make her proud), or how I understood the grief she felt (especially towards the ending), I couldn't find myself sympathizing with her all the time.

The b-word. Many other reviewers have pointed this out already, but the whole "buddy" business was so weird. I remember my first reaction to Rhodes referring to Aurora as buddy was just "what the fuck". It kept going for page after page, so I got used to it, but it still was annoying. I felt nothing but relief when he would call her angel/angel face or sweetheart instead. I haven't read Hands Down, which features Zac from The Wall of Winnipeg and Me as the lead, but I know he calls the female lead "kiddo", and I just find that strange. Weird. It's not gross to me (either buddy or kiddo), but it's just so fucking weird. Out of all the nicknames, you decide going with something you call your child, or your dog, or any minor person? Seriously, I got really tired having to see Rhodes tell Aurora "hey, buddy" every chance he got. It was tiresome. And weird. Just. Weird.

Too much filler. The book felt like it could have been shorter, but true Zapata style, it wasn't. Like the whole family tree of Amos? I felt like that could have been shortened down to something more simple instead of making it so complicated. I can't even describe it because I didn't get it myself, but it was confusing to read about how Amos is related to Rhodes but also his uncle in a way because of how his uncle couldn't have a child? Honestly, I forgot it already. I wish it had been more simple because it not only would have made the situation easier to understand (like reducing the family tree to just Amos and Rhodes), but it would have made the story shorter.

The romance | part 2. In my opinion, the romance actually developed a lot quicker than I thought it would, so that was the only quibble I can point out. Rhodes and Aurora's feelings were very clear towards each other before I even realized it. The sex scene they had was also a lot more smutty compared to Zapata's other books and it did not wait until the end. This was something I didn't like, if I'm being honest, because I wanted it to continue being slow burn, and I wanted the sexual tension to continue developing.

While Rhodes is grumpy, I found him to be . . . not grumpy enough? Seriously, I wanted him to be more of an asshole than he supposedly was. It wasn't even 200 pages in when the two were already having a conversation as if Rhodes hadn't yelled at her 100 pages before. Seriously, if there wasn't unnecessary drama and filler (like the situation with Aurora and her boyfriend + his mom, and the entire family tree confusion), perhaps Rhodes could have continued being a grumpy hero for a couple 200 pages more. It wouldn't be until page 300 or so for him to finally start developing and become somewhat nice to Aurora. But no, it was between page 180 when he, Amos, and Aurora go on a hike together and he starts becoming nice. He also called her "angel" for the first time in page 214 and "buddy" in page 226. *Sigh*. It was too early fam. Not enough slow-burn and tension for me.

“I know how I want you to feel, but I’m not rushing you. I know how I feel. I haven’t changed my mind about anything, especially not you. I only want you to be sure of what you want.”

Mariana Zapata is becoming a new binge-worthy author. All of her books (except Kulti, sadly) are on Kindle Unlimited, so I want to take the advantage of reading them before its too late. The one I'm looking forward to the most is Hands Down, and I'm prepared to deal with the cringe I will feel when Zac calls Bianca kiddo. Yes, I am.

All Rhodes Lead Here was, sadly, not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. There were too many obstacles that made the reading experience too dry. I hope her other books make up for this one.

You didn’t survive someone taking a wrecking ball to your existence and not have thousands of fractures to live with the rest of your life.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,324 followers
April 12, 2023
“You know, you keep on being nice to me, and I’m going to think you like me.”
That big body stopped right where he was and one gray eye was on me over his shoulder as he asked in that rough, serious voice, “Who says I don’t like you?”

Hello, Small Town Slow-Burn.
Let me introduce you to Myself and my good ol' friend Daddy Kink.

I think we'll get along quite well.

★𝗪𝗥𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: ✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼/5
★𝗣𝗟𝗢𝗧: 📜📜📜📜/5

I'm starting to think I've finally broken the January contemporary curse that was looming over me, with this book.
In case it isn't and I was just lucky with this one, I'd be glad anyway, because this was a needed distraction and an addition to my collection that I would have regretted forever, if Leni hadn't convinced me to pick it up.
She hyped this book up for me so much she basically raised my expectations so high they were basically touching clouds, and kindly offered to re-read The Selection as a refund in case I ended up not liking it.
It's with great relief that I'm proud to announce I won't have her endure the torture of spending time with America Singer's lousy ass, because this was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

I didn't just like it, I DEVOURED IT COMPLETELY. I literally couldn't stop reading it, at times, and had to remind myself I should have saved some for rainy days.
yeah, sure Jan. Two days and it was all over.
I've never been the saving type, anyway.

All Rhodes Lead Here is your typical small town romance where a new girl comes in town and starts to own it by being her quirky and wonderful self. Sounds familiar? Yeah, there are tons of books like this out there. I actually read Archer's Voice last month (a real flop, that one) and was afraid ARLH reminded me too much of it, to fully like it.
Thankfully, it took a different turn pretty quickly, and I guess I have to thank Zapata's writing and her characters for it.
I couldn't say exactly what makes ARLH so special. I've read a tons of books with the same premise and the same level of writing but, there something about it, about the atmosphere of this entire story, about the depth of the characters emotions and stories that makes it impossible to not feel. You know what I mean?

I love Aurora. She's a wonderful main character, even if sometimes she's too reckless for her own good.
Her good heart, bubbliness and easy smiles make up for it, though, and the connection she has with her dead mom touched me deeply, because their relationship reminded me of the one I had with my grandma, who raised me and who felt more like a mom to me than my own mother ever will.
I felt Aurora's grief as my own and I guess that, along with Ora's infinite positivism towards life and her constant drooling over the handsomest and kindest fictional man that's ever been created, made me relate to her in a way I didn't think was possible.
I saw a lot of myself in her character, especially in her flaws.

Speaking of said very fine man.
Dear lord, it's been a while since a non-fantasy book character's made me feel the way Rhodes did.
Every time he opened his mouth, said or did something, I felt the urge to pull him out the book and go sit on his lap.
He literally took my daddy issues and kicked us both in the ass so hard it'll take me years to sit down properly again.

And mind it that this is a super slow burn, which means he did all this just by...existing, for the most part.
It takes real talent to turn someone on just by breathing and having salt-and-pepper hair.
Rhodes is the epitome of a man written by a woman who knows what other women with a kin orientation may want and need.

Like I said, this is a slow burn, so expect a lot of tension and a good frienship, before anything else.
It felt good, for once, to jump into a story, and simply enjoy the journey, waiting for the fireworks to go off.
I really appreciated the whole small town setting. Palosa Springs sounds like a place I'd love to live, work and do excursions in.
I also really liked Amos, Rhodes's son, and how big of a role he had in all this. Especially loved that he wasn't one of those annoying and unrealistically smart and quirky kids, but a teenager with hopes, dreams and fears.
Him and the little group of side characters we get to know through the novel really made a difference.

Last but not least, the story.
Everything about this book felt impossibly heart-warming. I already said Aurora and Rhodes's Palosa Springs is a universe I'd love to hide away in, but it wouldn't have been the same without the talks about nature and animals, and how Aurora initially did her excursion to be closer to her mom and gain her life back.
As someone who loves hiking and trekking and basically doing anything outdoor despite being clumsy as fuck, I found in this an additional thing to love about the book.
However, I definitely expected a little more drama from this, to be honest. I'm glad there was just a rightful amount of it, though. I don't know if I could have handled a lot of angst, and I'm pretty sure the book wouldn't have benefitted from it, anyway.

Thank you so much for buddy reading this with me, my baby otter. I know you think this book is amazing, and now I can say I agree.
Although, as amazing as it is, it'll never as amazing as I think you are.
Profile Image for Kezia Duah.
376 reviews306 followers
May 5, 2022

My. Heart. Hurts. Slowburns really do be burning huh. You know what Zapata does well in her books, at least the ones I’ve read so far? The characters transition from “enemies” to friends before becoming lovers, and that always helps in feeling the chemistry that the author intended for us to feel.

Aurora moves back to her hometown after ending a really long shitty relationship. She is renting a space that is provided by Tobias Rhodes. It was his son, Amos, who actually rented her the space without his permission and he was really pissed. He gave in after she offered higher pay and promised to stay in her own lane. What are the circumstances that bring this family together?

We learn a lot about Aurora throughout the book and the things that have made her who she is today. Her mom went missing a while ago and no one knows what happened to her. The plot about her mom was really heartbreaking. Does she get closure about this part of her life?
Another big thing in this book was her past of songwriting. I thought this was really cool especially when we get to understand what her songs mean to her. Honestly, this character was amazing. A character who is actually really interesting is hard to come by okay. And she was soooooo funny!!!

Tobias and Amos Rhodes were obviously a big part of this story and I also enjoyed learning more about them and their interesting family. In particular, I love how Zapata shows the growing relationship with both of them individually. We get a lot of scenes with just Aurora and Amos, just Aurora and Tobias, and Aurora with both of them. I really want to stress how important that was for me. Her falling in love with both of them in different ways made this a really wholesome story. Nothing felt forced in this book!! I died a little the first time Tobias called her “sweetheart.”

I loved loved loved the growth we see in all these characters, especially Aurora. You just come to a point in your life where you really just tell people to fuck off. I’m still personally processing this in my own life, so reading stuff like that always feels like a sign of some sort.

Overall, this was really worth it. I sometimes forget how good books can be!!
Profile Image for Arini.
772 reviews1,614 followers
September 7, 2021

4.5 stars

i wanted more swoons and more... tingles, and for a good chunk of the inner monologues to be cut down. also, maybe for Rhodes to feel more like THE hero alongside Aurora as the heroine, yknow what i mean??? as a main character, he wasnt quite on the same level as Aurora with less character depth.

but since those concerns are nothing new when it comes to MZs brand of romance, so ok i can live with this. mostly because,

1. it wasnt a sports romance. (thank you, Lord!) for that alone, this has become my favorite MZ book.

2. Rhodes was a DILF without him even having to ~tRy~ or be married first and conceive baby Amos conventionally. can you guess how that was possible?? this... what should i call it... creative “modification” of the single dad trope is my new favorite thing. 👏👏

3. the relationship between Rhodes and Aurora felt sooo real, open, and honest. the fact that they became friends first and that Rhodes actually waited for Aurora to get settled and feel comfortable with herself?? yes Rhodes, you couldnt be more perfect.

4. there may be too much slow and not nearly enough burn and steam as i wouldve liked, but i was absolutely a sucker for the growing intimacy and all the tender moments between the MCs.

like when Rhodes started calling Aurora angel face, or when he told her she was beautiful, or when he tended to her wounds after her failed hike?? oorrr when they hugged for the first time and every time after that??? 😭😭

5. this life right here (except the part about dealing with grief and having a mamas boy who was a complete loser for an ex-husband) is the stuff of dreams. i KENNOT tell you enough how much i love mountain man/outdoorsy small town romance.

after finishing the book, my immediate reaction was to give it four stars. but upon writing this review, there was really no reason that bothered me too much to not throw in the five stars. so, here you go. thank you MZ for finally serving me with my favorite kind of story with all of my favorite tropes.

ps. btw is MZ a self-published author?? i hate that her audiobooks dont get released on the same day as her other formats.

Similar recommendation:
The Simple Wild
Profile Image for Júlia.
214 reviews3,110 followers
May 1, 2023
May 1st, 2023

Just reread this for the first time since my first read and it’s still amazing.

original review below:

When all of you were raving about this book about a year ago, I was traumatized. I wanted to tell all of you to shut the fuck up and leave me alone. Especially because I don't trust a single raving review that comes from tiktok.

I am so glad I waited this long, because once all the buzz was over, I decided to pick this up. I did it on audible too, and oh-my-sweet-landlord-age-gap-loving-jesus-fuck. The hype was real and DESERVED.

I already fell in love with Mariana Zapata after reading The Wall of Winnipeg and I knew I was going to enjoy this. However, I thought I was going to enjoy this like a normal person, and not let it consume my body, mind and soul the way it did. This book is soul-crushing in the best way. This book will make you question if your husband loves you enough.

I honestly will never be able to put into words what this book did to me. A classic Mariana Zapata, slow-as-slow-fuck burn, where the wait was worth every single second, I honesty wouldn't have changed a single thing about this book, that's a rare thing for me to say.

Again, her stories appeal to my poor Earth Sign heart. Down to earth, loveable real characters, simplistic writing, the most incredible grumpy-sunshine story I have ever read. I honestly recommend this on audible SO MUCH because we get this male narrator for MR RHODES and I swear to God, I get goosebumps just thinking about his voice.

A masterpiece. That's all I have to say. Just read this. This should be everyone's first Mariana Z. book. Just make sure you really like slow burns. This was incredible.

Profile Image for G.
456 reviews129 followers
June 23, 2021
4 stars
This book was EVERYTHING!!!
I've always loved reading anything Mariana Zapata has written and this book probably sits at the top. It had everything I loved; a slow-burn, small-town romance. I can not even begin to express the joy I felt in this book. Aurora's personality alone was really refreshing to see.
A huge factor as to why I really enjoyed this book was the friendship she developed first with Amos and Rhodes; it really was what had sold me from the beginning.
As the story progressed, I felt more attached and had to finish reading it all in one go.

The last 3 chapters were by far my favourite in the whole book. I definitely see myself having All Rhodes Lead Here as a comfort read. Marina Zapata has continued time and time again to produce amazing stories that I will always read.
Profile Image for SK.
248 reviews1,310 followers
February 3, 2023
Honestly, that was enjoyable. I liked the simplicity and how naturally the characters and the romance were set up. It's been a long time since I read a proper slow burn romance and it delivered.

I know I know, I rated it 3 stars but there are some reasons for it. Firstly, I personally would've preferred it if it was paced a tad faster. I had no problem with the inner monologue but Aurora was slightly immature for someone in her 30s. I liked her personality and her sense of humour but sometimes I just needed it to be toned down. The book could've been 100 pages shorter, easily.

But it's all good, I loved the ending which was satisfying. I loved Rhodes and Amos. Those two along with Aurora made things so fun. Their dynamic and chemistry was absolutely on point. And oh boy, how I loved the slow burn ☺️ I was swooning.

It's in no way a bad book, but I wish I could've loved it more. Looking forward to reading more of her works. The author definitely has the talent.
Profile Image for Aviva’s Library.
255 reviews2,847 followers
December 20, 2022
THIRD RE-READ (December’22) - Every time I re-read an MZ book, I think that specific one is my number one favorite… but I’m pretty sure I really mean it when I say it about this one

SECOND READ REVIEW (September’22) - This was the first book I ever read by MZ and I always knew that I loved it - but now that I’ve read all of her books (and a few of them more than once already) I think this one might actually be my favorite.

I always felt like this one had a slower start than some of her other ones and therefore I always put different ones on top of this one on my favorites list —- but now that I reread it, I realized that I was so wrong about thinking that and it actually has more or less the same pacing as all of her other books that I love - I think I just felt that way because this was the first one I read, so at the time I wasn’t used to her style yet.

But either way… I’m so happy I decided to re-read it. For so many reasons I absolutely loved it - but I think one thing that stood out to me this time was how unrushed the ending felt in comparison to a lot of her other books where I’m always begging for just one or two more chapters. I think this one was very well rounded and all of the plot points felt like they were nicely closed off by the end… plus we actually got more than half a second to enjoy the couple together which is something we don’t really ever get with her other stories… so I especially loved that.

I also think something I love about MZ slow burns in general is how realistic they feel. Just the progression of letting someone into your life, slowly learning about them over time and getting close to them - the way MZ portrays that is one of my favorite things about her writing style... and specifically in this book I think that idea was done really well.

FIRST READ REVIEW (July ‘21) - I would give it more than 5 stars if it was an option
Profile Image for gigi hadidn’t.
212 reviews3,367 followers
April 8, 2021
✨3.5 stars✨

Ok so a bitch was really excited for this. the uk was doing it's thing, giving me sunshine so i could enjoy this in the garden & the tropes were troping i mean:

☆ age gap (a true silver fox yum😍)
★ slowburn
☆ witty/sunshine heroine and a grumpy hero
★ single dad (a dilf to end all dilfs)
☆ small-town vibes
★ thematic focus (music/adventure from hiking)

✨The plot:✨

Aurora De La Torre (h) is newly divorced from her famous ex who she used to write songs for but was hidden from the public as his gf as his family thought it was best for his image to come off as single. Tired of being the last choice she left and put herself first, going back to the small town she grew up in where her mother went missing 20 years ago.

She rents out a house for her stay however when she gets there turns out the son Amos, rented the room out to her behind his dad Tobias Rhodes (H) back. He was angry and at first said no, but Aurora agreed to pay triple to stay.

From there, her new adventure started where she went on hikes to feel closer to her mum, worked with her school best friend at her shop, whilst lowkey crushing on Rhodes who gave off very much "you're annoying stay away from me" vibes to her when in reality he was also crushing right back on her as time went on.

✨My thoughts✨

all of those tropes kind of worked, rhodes gave of that rip (Luna and the Lie)/dallas (Wait for It) vibes with his grumpiness, the slow burn here was actually one of the fastest in terms of Mariana books, usually there's more angst but here between the couple i felt things moved at an okay pace, the sex scene for once wasn't the very last chapter lol.

BUT i felt like the book was still too long? don't get me wrong i love when authors put a heavy focus surrounding themes within a book for example, loved the football (I'm english soccer isn't real) stuff in Kulti and ice skating in From Lukov with Love, however the hiking stuff here may have dragged on a bit too much and i was bored by the time aurora went on her 632384749th hike.

i loved amos he was a star for me in this book i wish we got more of the domestic homey scenes, rather than the hiking. as for aurora i really wanted to love her like i did sal and diana, but she was a bit of a cry baby and acted more like she was 25 not 33. her personality didn't really add up to her age, sometimes she was truly cringey. as for rhodes i wish we got a bit more personality from him?? he was so dry in the first half, the ending really helped me like him, esp after the mini drama of them saying rora lied about her ex when she really didn't lie she just didn't mention that her ex was some rich and famous douche. buttttttttt can we talk about the nicknames pls because buddy and angel face are NOT it 💀 they just came outta nowhere and it gave me the ick!!!

the epilogue was cute and it gave me the family vibes i wanted, loved the way rora confronted her ex kaiden, esp how rhodes stood up for her like kaiden really thought 14 years of being a 11th choice was gonna win over a few months of being someones no 1 priority. quality over quantity ladies.

anyways, i'm sad because i wanted this to be a banger like Kulti/Wait for It, but atleast it wasn't as bad as Dear Aaron lmao (god i will NEVER get back the 5 hours i spent reading that borefest, sorry to any ruby and aaron stans, mariana did not do their story justice!!!).

I was hoping this would give me the feels that The Simple Wild gave me but unfortunately the good stuff in this book could've been condensed to maybe 375/400 pages, even tho I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good 500+ page book esp if it's from mariana.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,185 followers
September 6, 2022
5 stars!

After breaking up with her partner of fourteen years, Aurora De La Torre heads back to the only place she ever considered home: Pagosa, Colorado. But when she arrives at the above garage apartment she rented for a month, she finds she’s an unexpected and unwanted tenant due to a misunderstanding. Always optimistic, Aurora works on charming her new, handsome landlord and while he doesn’t seem to be thawing to her, she has no plans on leaving the town.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a 5-star read (over a month to be exact) and I went into this book skeptical and with low expectations. I didn’t like Zapata’s last release, I found it extremely repetitive and dull, and I actually wasn’t planning on reading this book because if that. I am so glad I decided to read this book, it was the perfect story at the perfect time.

I don’t even know where to start. I loved this book so much! From the grump hero, the optimistic heroine with a mysterious past, the teenager who brought them together. Her journey connecting with her mother via the hikes her mom used to go on. It was all so good! I spent two days reading this book and I never wanted to put it down, I was busting out the kindle app on my phone every chance I could get. Zapata knocked it out of the park with this book and it made me really excited about her as an author again. I’m so glad to know one of my favorite authors has still got it.

I will say, this book is the closest I have ever come to wanting to hike. Just kidding, I hate hiking. But I still enjoyed those parts of the book more than I expected to and that’s a testament to the authors writing. She made me interested in something that I already know I hate. But now I really do want to move to a small down in the Colorado mountains after reading this book.
Profile Image for shush.
840 reviews256 followers
January 12, 2022

'Resentment, bitter and twisted, rose up over the back of my neck and shoulders like it had daily since things had fallen apart. And like every other time, I didn’t brush it off. I tucked it into my body, real close to my chest, and babied it. I didn’t want to forget it. I wanted to learn from it and keep the lesson for myself, even if it was uncomfortable.
Because you had to remember the shitty parts of life to appreciate the good.'

did I want more from this? sure
am I dissatisfied? ummmm
disappointed tho? no. I knew what to expect going in

even though MZ is one of my most go to + fav author ever (still is, nothing will ever change that), I’ve learned not to expect too much going in on her books

did enjoy this, but I thought there weren’t enough sexual tension like a slow burn usually have (not explicit scenes per se, but just the tension). Even though this was a slow burn, I still wanted more (an even slower burn but ik thats not possible coz even w aurora-tobias’ slow burn, where imo was just normal pacing, not a slow burn, yall weak bitches were barely hanging there). In a way, rhodes felt like a side character, rather than the main. i needed to spend more time w him to feel his depth and stuff

and buddy. kid/friend/pup/gownassdog sure but not ur loml kay? but that aside, i thought the characters were lovely

🦐 auror

1. 'I kept on watching the majestic bird as he just waited around, crazy sharp eyes looking from side to side with those insane neck movements of his kind.
Getting a good look at him… he was huge. Like literally massive. Was that normal? Was he on steroids?' (she ab hawk)

2. “Telling your car to fuck itself didn’t make it turn on?” he asked in that same level, hard voice from a week ago, both of his thick eyebrows still up.
Was he… joking?
I blinked. “No, she doesn’t like being bullied,” I told him, deadpan

3. 'Then I went for it, laying it on real thick because killing people with kindness was so satisfying. I threw my arms around his shoulders and hugged him.'

she kinda reminded me of luna and/or Sal w/ the whole killing w/ kindness, which r one of my fav type of characters

🦐 rhodes

”That’s the difference between guys like you and me. If she needed something, you’d give her a hundred dollars from your wallet even if you had more and think that was good enough. I’d give her everything that was in mine.” His voice went hard. “The only person you can blame is yourself, dumbass.”

finally, after the previous H from her last book, Zac, who wasn’t my type at all, we got some grumpy Aiden / Reiner/Rip -esque (maybe even Dallas), and I was all for it, woohoo *heart cartoon googly eyes

🦐 amos

”I’m good!” I yelled back. “Are you?”
“Scarred for life watching you grab Dad’s butt like that, but I’ll get over it. Thanks for wondering!” he hollered sarcastically before shaking his head and closing the door

sal’s dad’s still the best mz side character fight me. but amos… uve got potential

🦐 so

after the disaster/bore that was Hands Down, this was a hell of an improvement. really atmospheric, I was hoping it would be more like The Simple Wild, and in a way it was, but I liked that one better (the romance especially)

not as top-tier as Kulti, Winnipeg or Lukov (in my heart), nor did i love it as much as Luna , Locke or Malykhin either, maybe on par w/ Wait for It, but i still liked it better than Aaron, The Best Thing and Lingus
Profile Image for ❦ jazmin.
512 reviews733 followers
July 8, 2022
"You didn’t know what it was like to be alone until you didn’t have people who could or would notice if you went missing."

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

Reread #2 Update:

GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK. The hold this quote has on me...

“Because… I’ve been watching you grow for months. I don’t want to be something you grow around. You were with someone who gave you too much shade before, right? I’d rather us take our time than me stunt where you’re going, who you’re becoming.”

Reread #1 Update:

This was just as amazing as the first time. I think part of the reason why I love this book so much is because it focuses so heavily on character dynamics and relationships. Character-focused books are my favourite things ever, and that also probably explains why some plot preferring people loved this novel a little less than me.

Original Review:

I’m honestly convinced that Mariana Zapata has no idea how to write anything other than a masterpiece. Because just like all of her other books, I adored this book and fell absolutely in love with the main characters.

⇢The Plot

I really liked the idea behind this book, how the main character Aurora was looking for a fresh start and decided to move back to a small town where she grew up. Books set in small towns are always super heartwarming just because of the sense of community and I don’t know, nature is nice I guess, and the setting definitely contributed to the healing part of this book.

Since this is a MZ book there were a few plot twists/ plot lines I didn’t see coming, like the single dad trope (sort of), and how the music and songwriting tied into the book, and I loved that! All in all, this book had the perfect blend of actual events and scenes where the characters were just doing domestic things.


I think Aurora might actually be in my top 3 MZ female protagonists, because wow she was HILARIOUS! I didn’t expect to like her nearly as much as I did. I honestly don’t know what it was, but she was just so likeable and fun. All the scenes with her friends (Thank you Mariana Zapata for actually portraying healthy female friendships in your books) were the best things ever, and it was amazing following Ora on her journey.

When you lose enough, you learn to take happiness where you can find it. You don’t wait for it to be handed to you. You don’t expect it in big firework-like displays. You take it in small moments.


I also really liked Rhodes, but definitely not as much as Aurora. Maybe it’s just me but I find MZ’s female characters so much more distinct than her male ones, so I never get particularly attached to any of them. (Ivan is the exception). The thing that definitely set Rhodes apart was his relationship with Amo, which I ADORED. SO CUTE. I would literally read a book of just them interacting.

⇢Aurora and Rhodes

Somehow, even though this book was a slow burn just like most of this author’s books, I felt like their relationship developed at exactly the right pace. I would literally still have loved this book even if it had taken another 100 or 200 pages for them to get together, and I hope that explains just how in love I am with this book.

“I’m fine not being the first man she’s ever loved because I know I’m going to be the last.”

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧


Profile Image for aileen | ✾.
324 reviews202 followers
February 7, 2023
“I don’t know how anybody would let you walk away, and it isn’t going to be me. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Are we clear?”

That's the kind of love that everybody deserves.

2nd read 02/06/2023: Thank you, for letting me share one of my favorite books with you, honeycake ❤ I'm glad you loved this one as much as I did.

Update 10/01/22: Five days later, and I'm still thinking about this book. My heart tells me to re-read it asap, but my head knows I'll enjoy it even more if I let a few weeks pass first.

🎵: Wanna Be That Song - Brett Eldredge
184 reviews112 followers
March 23, 2023
1st read: 10/10/2022
2nd read: 21/02/2023

1st read

So, here's a thought. I read so many books this past few months I forgot the reason why I read books. But this book? This book reminds me why after I finished it. I read book because I want to feel things and I want to feel good for the most time I read.

Now, this book? Made me feel sooooo fucking good. Like pleasantly good and I have no more words to explain how this book worth your time to read. Please have some time to read it!

Last but not the least, I love it. This is my top 1 mz's book :)


2nd read

Honestly, I don't remember this book being tis sad and heartbreaking. I really cried when Amos and Rhodes ignored Ora after finding out her ex and when Rhodes told Ora they have found her mom's remaining. I fucking bawled.

This book remained to be my most favorite small town romance book. 2nd read and this book still got the magic I once felt when I first read it. 2nd read and I still undoubtedly in love with Tobias John Rhodes' character. Do I even need to review the whole technical things on this book? No, I don't think so. Because look at how perfect Rhodes and Ora is.

But most importantly, 2nd read and this book still making me feels a lot of different feelings throughout the book. It's just amazing. Perfect. I have no other words. I love this book so much and with my mushy heart I proudly announce that this book is my official comfort read and I swear with all of me to read this book yearly.

That's it. And if you happened to stumbled upon this review and the button besides the cover is still green, what are you waiting for? Press that shit and add this to your tbr list then pick this up right now.
Profile Image for Catherine Russell.
109 reviews218 followers
April 10, 2021

Book: All Rhodes Lead Here
Author: Mariana Zapata
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
POV: First Person - Aurora

Name/Age: Aurora De La Torre : 33 ┃ Tobias Rhodes : 42
Setting: Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Published: April 1, 2021
Date Read: April 5, 2021

ME: OOoOo new MZ book!
BRAIN: but your exams are here, shouldn't u study?
ME: oh right. . . exams, important exams. But maybe only one chapter?
BRAIN: no. NO. don't do it. you won't recover.
ME: But one chapter couldn't hurt, right? i'll stop after that.
BRAIN: NO! DON'T YOU DARE PICK IT UP! i'm warning you. . .
ME: *warning respectfully ignored*
ALSO ME: proceeds to read the whole book and ignore my very imp exams

FULL RTC. Eventually.

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