Friday, April 6, 2018

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

In one word - AWESOME. But clearly it's not enough for this lengthy novel. I loved EVERYTHING about this novel, especially how kick-ass our MC (and sole POV) Salome Casillas is! Not that Reiner Kulti isn't, but she knows how to put him in his place which was mostly HILARIOUS, the names she calls him! I DIED laughing. "Sauerkraut" definitely suits our grumpy German hehe 

Sal is a professional soccer player, she has worked the past 20 years of her life to be the absolute best she can get. Her first inspiration was Reiner Kulti who took the world of Soccer in a storm when she was only 7 years old. Naturally she developed a HUGE crush on him, a crush that died first when he got married (even if only for a short while) and the second when he faced her brother (a soccer player as well) on the field. She isn't the kid she used to be anymore, but hearing the retired German player is on his way to coach her team - the Pipers - DOES rattle her.

The man she meets isn't the one she expects. Kulti is known for his foul temper but also for giving his best which he hasn't been doing.. he stares while giving nasty faces to everyone but he doesn't do what they all expect him to do - coach!  Having enough of his temper, and mostly how he treated her father when he came to ask for an autograph she steps up and gives him a piece of her mind! First, it doesn't make a difference, but as the days goes by and Sal ups her game - making it clear it's not about him or her, it's about doing the job he came to do, things somehow change when Kulti, without actually saying the words, starts building a strange sort of passive aggressive friendship with her. Sal finds the whole this totally surreal, but she DOES enjoy his company when he is not being a total ass! Yet Sal is the one who tells Kulti - we fight the most with the people we most care about. Kulti takes it as a good sign with the amount of fighting they go through throughout the book... hehe 

Sal is a good girl. She won't do anything "wrong" or something she isn't suppose to do and jeopardize her place in the team. She worked too hard for anything to stand in her way, but she is frustrated that the management of the team is totally against her relationship with Kulti even if it's totally and absolutely platonic. Kulti even says clearly to the management that Sal is his best friend and he WON'T date her (especially not for appearances only) he also won't give up on her no matter what. 

Though Kulti can get on her nerves like no one else he is actually becoming a good friend to her. When he wants, or for the person he cares for, he can be the sweetest guy, even if giving a hug seems to be beyond his capacities.. They play together, Soccer as well as Soft ball with her friends, he helps her out in a summer camp with kids from low income families, he spends time with her family, he spends time with HER, takes care of her in his gruff way. Everything he does shows how much he cares. He is a determined guy, he knows what he wants and when it's finally time for them to have "the talk", he surprises her with how so very clear he sees her and mostly them. He isn't the perfect guy, far from it, but I could totally see how the two of them simply WORKED and though Kulti is (13 years) older and in his own words - too old to change - with her in a way he DOES change. It's more like accommodate to what she wants or expects from him, because Kulti will be Kulti, not the nicest person you've met.. Bad temper, cold and distant behavior, fights to win and lets not forget Alpha and possessive, two traits which tend to leave me in hives. Yet with him, or rather with THEM it was simply perfect. He was a MATCH for her, and she was a CHALLENGE for him. I LOVED that. 

There's much more to this book than Sal and Kulti. The special relationship with her family members, her friends on the team and the ones who makes it hard on her. I really enjoyed getting the feel of the team, with all those little forces from inside and outside which affected Sal's world. I loved seeing her grow and expand her horizons, learn to take what she is due and truly fight for what she believes in and to have a better faith in herself. It wasn't all Kulti but he does have a good affect on her.  

This book is a "slow burn" like all of Mariana's books. I'm not usually a fan yet Mariana makes it work for me every time, surprising me when I enjoy a book about things I mostly turn from in novels. I can't even believe the way this book kept me on the edge of my seat. I literally read for HOURS non-stop going to sleep at 5.45 a.m. when I realized sleep is a necessity..  This is the 4th book I've read by Mariana and NOT the last. I have all of her books on my list for this years' list. 

In case I wasn't clear HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 

Read on:
5-6 April 2018

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