Under Locke by Mariana Zapata – #BookReview

Goodreads: Under Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.
… she should have chosen the strip club. 

It’s official: I’m a big Mariana Zapata fan and I think she’ll be an auto-read (maybe even auto-buy) author from now on. I’m so glad that Jen recommended this to me because I absolutely loved it! I was waiting for the right time to start reading this because past experience has shown me that once I start a Zapata book I won’t want to put it down.

Under Locke was surprisingly not as much of a slow burn compared to her other books; although compared to most other romances, it was still very much a slow burn. I don’t think there’s anyone who does slow burns as well as Zapata and it’s always so damn satisfying when the MCs finally get together. I can safely say that it’s absolutely always worth the wait and this one was no different. Although Dex did grate on my nerves a little bit with his extremely volatile temper and asshole-ish behavior, I pretty much fell in lovelust with him at the same pace as Iris did. Although his attitude does soften as the story goes on (especially towards her), he’s unapologetically himself and while I can see how that can rub people the wrong way, I appreciated that about his character. Can I also say that tattoos + men + me = (almost) guaranteed win? They’re kind of like my Achilles heel? Especially when they’re tall, brooding and totally inked (mega bonus points to Dex for owning his own parlor)!

Unsurprisingly, Iris is the total opposite of Dex. She’s sweet, shy, very innocent and it doesn’t take much to make her blush. She’s a pretty strong and resilient character, and did I mention that she’s also bookish and smart? Iris has been through some pretty tough shit in life that made her have to grow up faster than usual. While she’s only in her early twenties, she comes off as pretty mature and I really admired her character! Is the dynamic between Iris and Dex sounding a little too cliché and tropey right now? Well, maybe it is…but Zapata really does it so well and I wasn’t mad about it! Their chemistry was FIRE and those steamy scenes… Damn, those steamy scenes! 😏 I was doing a lot of swooning while reading this book (lmao).

What I also really loved about Under Locke were the side characters. The friendships that form between Iris and the rest of the artists at the parlor really gave me ‘found family’ vibes and I was here for it! The banter (oh, the banter) between everyone that worked at the store had me genuinely bent with laughter and the scenes that showed Dex relaxing/laughing with the group were also some of my favorites! Iris’ half-brother was another character that really grew on me and I really hope that we get his story because he’s such marshmallow/cinnamon roll and I want to know more ASAP!

Overall, I clearly loved this book and it definitely is a contender for my top Zapata book next to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Wait For It. I took off half a star because of some repetitive things some characters did which I found slightly eye-roll inducing. I’ve definitely noticed this repetitive trait in Zapata’s characters in other books too though; so by now it’s not unexpected, it’s just a little eh. But that won’t stop me from reading her books because LOVE 😍

Have you read Under Locke? Are you a Mariana Zapata fan?
Let’s chat in the comments!

October Monthly Wrap Up!

Friends! Can you believe? Two months until 2019 is over and I honestly still can’t believe it. I have no idea where this year has gone but it’s definitely gone in a blink! October was such a hectic month that I don’t even know where the days went because time moved so quickly. That said, I’m surprised that I managed to read 19 books this month, which brings my Goodreads reading challenge up to 175/90.


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (review coming)
Serpent & Dove (review coming)


Last Time I Lied (review)
The Dugout (review)
Wait for It (review coming)


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (review)
House of Salt and Sorrows (review coming)
Rules for Vanishing (review)
Frankly In Love (review coming)


These Witches Don’t Burn (review coming)


(eARC Graphic Novel) Fair Lady Vol. 1 (review coming)
Dear Aaron (review coming)
Faker (review coming)
(eARC) The Sea of Lost Girls (review coming)


(eARC) My Life as Marlee (review)
Birthday Girl (review coming)


Falling for My Brother’s Best Friend (review coming)
Park Avenue Player (review coming)
To Have and Hate (review coming)

Thinking about it again, I’m not surprised I read 19 books this month because I read a ton of romances which I always speed through (at most it takes me 2 days to read one). While I took a little step outside of my comfort zone this month with Rules for Vanishing, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t read any other spooky read, although being a mood reader I know that forcing myself to read something I’m not feeling just wouldn’t work.

I’m clearly still very much on that romance vibe, although I can also start to feel myself becoming a little jaded with some of these romances (maybe as evidenced by the lower ratings because I just wanted to roll-my-eyes-so-hard). But I think I’ve been hitting the romance so hard because my brain is just… TIRED? Like… I have no mental energy left on most days and that means I love reading romances that not only give me swoony feelings but I also don’t have to think very hard about. Let’s see if the romancing mood will continue in November!

Just like last time, you can find all my weekly memes in my menu bar since I’ve organized that a bit more. You can find the rest of the posts that I’ve made this month below. I actually didn’t write a whole lot of reviews this month, I’ve just been ‘too busy reading’ and that’s okay because I know I’m not obligated to write a review for every book I read (unless it’s an eARC) but I’ve come to realize just how much writing reviews really helps my memory! So… I’m on a mission (maybe tomorrow) to sit down and write some reviews before I forget even more than I already have!

ALSO I’ve been toying with the idea of giving my blog a bit of revamped look but I don’t know if I should do it right now (it’s not even been a year but playing with blog layouts has always been a fun time for me! LOL 😅). Might give it a go this weekend but will play it by ear! What do you think? Do you like changing up your (blog) look or is that just confusing?

Reviews

eARC Graphic Novel Review: The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes & DJ Kirkland
eARC Review: On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga #1) by Andrew Petersen
Cover Reveal: His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey
eARC Graphic Novel Review: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Wu

I hope you all had a great reading month in October and I hope that November continues to be awesome! What was your favorite read this month? Come let me know in the comments & let’s chat!

September Monthly Wrap Up!

I still can’t believe that September is already over! This year is going by way too quickly and I’m wondering if the rest of 2019 is going to speed by in the exact same way? September was a pretty mediocre reading month for me. I think I started off pretty strong but once I tucked into Priory of the Orange Tree, my reads slowed down considerably. I still managed to read 15 books though, so it wasn’t all bad! I am now sitting at 156/90 reads (this number still shocks me; being part of the book community has really increased my reading this year)!


⁍ Pumpkinheads (review)
⁍ Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) (review)
⁍ Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) (review)
⁍ The Hating Game (review coming)


⁍ Two Weeks Notice (review)


⁍ The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) (review)
⁍ The Priory of the Orange Tree (review coming)


⁍ A Different Time (TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review)
⁍ Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve
Done Better (review)
⁍ The Ingredients of Us (review)
⁍ The Perfect Moment (review coming)
⁍ On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Wingfeather Saga #1) (review coming)


⁍ Fake Date (Dating #2) (review)
⁍ The Stopover (The Miles High Club #1) (review)


⁍ The Love Solution (review)

My favorites out of all of these were Nevernight and Godsgrave. After finishing Nevernight (my mind was totally blown) at the start of the month, I just couldn’t resist reading the sequel as soon as possible. Kristoff is a man who does not hold back on screwing with your feelings. After the ending of Godsgrave, I’m so excited but equally terrified of finishing this series. But I know I won’t be able to resist Darkdawn so it’s gonna be happening this October!

I was planning to read a lot more sequels for Sequel September but also a few more standalone’s for Standalone September (focusing on hyped standalone’s) but both of these endeavors ended up failing pretty badly. I think I can only count one book towards the former and two books towards the latter. I think I’m going to give challenges a break for now? I’m obviously not very good at them 😂

Last time I listed a full recap of all the posts that I did for the month, but since I now have a more organized menu bar, you can find all my weekly memes, challenges, tags and thoughts in the drop down menus! I still have to fix some things up, but I think I’ve done the sorting right and hopefully all my posts will continue to be updated each time I make them! For now, I’ve still listed the other reviews that I did this month (the reviews for this months’ reads are above in the recap), just so it’s easier for you to read them, in case you missed out! I’m still trying to tweak how I do my wrap up posts–I’m sure you’ll notice that from the start they’re all quite different–but I think I’m happy with this? I don’t want to make it too long and boring for people to read! Any tips or comments? Please let me know!

Reviews

eARC Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Review: Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver
Review: Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab
Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Review: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

I hope you all had a great reading month in September and I hope that October continues to be awesome for all of us! What was your favorite read this month? Come let me know in the comments & let’s chat!