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572 pages, Kindle Edition
First published April 1, 2021
⤷ 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.
"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."
✧ WandaVision(yes, this is from that marvel show)↳ "What is grief, if not love persevering?"
"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.”
“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.”
“you are a part of us”
”i’m fine not being the first person she’s ever loved because i know i’m going to be the last.”
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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.
I smiled at him. He didn't smile back, but that was alright.
"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.
"Nobody in their right mind would let you walk away from them. Not once and no way in hell twice, angel."
“You gotta come back.”
“Come back?” I echoed like I’d never heard those words before.
“Home,” they said at the same time.
People cried over endings, but sometimes you had to cry over new beginnings.
Rhodes really was the hottest forty-two-year-old on the planet. He had to be. At least, I thought so.
“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?”
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.”
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.”
“You don’t ever have to hide it—your grief. Not from 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.”
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.
“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?”
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.
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.
'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.'
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.'
”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.”
”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
"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✧
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’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✧
“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?”