After hearing nothing but praise for this hero-centric series, I knew that I had to give it a try – and I’m glad that I did! Not only did the tone feel rich and authentic, but it’s also rare to find a romance that is exclusively told from the male perspective. It was quick and very spicy (let’s add another VERY), with a focus on the hero’s personal journey and the heat that brings this couple together. I really liked the fact that it follows a guy who is not the traditional hero; not only is he an ex-con and a tatted up Latino gang member, but he’s completely broke and running out of options while trying to stay on the straight and narrow. He’s also a sweetheart and a genuinely lovable man who is easy to empathize with, which is what makes this such an enjoyable read. It lost some points for me because the romance itself was not developed well – these two are clearly thirsty for each other, but it didn’t feel like it went much deeper. They have shared history and a lot in common, which provides a foundation, but the process of falling isn’t obvious. Beyond that, this was a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.
The story follows Salvador, a gang member who was released from prison six months ago. Sal was locked up at 19 and involved in gang life even younger, but the last five years have shown him that he’d like to make a change – if only it were that simple. Broke and now without a place to live, Sal finds himself making a deal with one of the elderly women in the neighborhood. He gets to live in her rundown garage in exchange for cleaning up the place. Unfortunately, Vanessa – a single mom, widow of another gang member, and the former good girl from Sal’s high school days – has something to say about the situation.
I was drawn in by the writing and unique vibe immediately. This felt so distinct, and I fell for Sal almost instantly. I also loved the setup – him working hard to make a new life, only to get distracted by a single mom who he believes is way too good for him. There’s a playful feel mixed with the bittersweet undertones, and it was all working for me. I actually think most of my complaints could’ve been resolved with a longer length – more time to focus on the relationship development, exploring Sal’s anxiety, and the brewery. It all felt a little rushed and sex-focused to me. The romance is secondary. There’s a LOT of heat, which I only have a problem with when the emotional connection is lost in the mix. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the other books in the series though, as the romance is all wrapped up but some of the loose ends run into Sal’s brother’s story.
The audio is awesome! The story is told exclusively from Sal’s point of view, so we get a single male narrator. He infused so much humor and personality into the character, with a stellar performance. His deep voice and sexy accent brought Sal’s character to life, and truly enhanced the experience. I also appreciate that the narrator sounded just like I pictured Sal, so the casting was perfect. The runtime is also short enough to binge in a single day, and it will fly by. The high heat level means this is absolutely not recommended as a workday listen. All in all, a great audio experience.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST • A gangster hiding from his past. A single mom fighting for her future. Can she show this bad boy the man he’s meant to be?
“A powerful, honest look at love as both a motivation and a risk.”—The Washington Post
“Heartrending, raw and beautiful.”—USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.
Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.
I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.
About the Author:
Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. Her award-winning books have been featured by many publications including The Washington Post, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
For more information, please visit www.miahopkinsauthor.com or follow @miahopkinsxoxo on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases