Book Reviews

THE WALL OF WINNIPEG AND ME BY MARIANA ZAPATA // spoiler-free book review: new cover alert for this perfect oh-so-slow-burn sports marriage of convenience romance

Ahhh this one has been a long time coming but so excited to finally talk about this book! The review has been sitting unwritten for absolutely far too long considering how much I think about this book.

Enough rambling, just buckle up because I have a lot to say *wink wink*

Title: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Author: Mariana Zapata
Page count: 608
Date published: 28 February 2016
Genre: Adult contemporary romance



Vanessa Mazur refuses to feel bad for quitting—she knows she’s doing the right thing. The thankless job of personal assistant to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans for her life, and none of them include washing extra-large underwear one more day for a man who could never find it in him to tell her good morning, congratulate her on a job well done, or wish her a happy birthday—even when she was spending it working for him.

The legendary “Wall of Winnipeg” may be adored by thousands, but after two years Van has had enough.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door begging her to come back, she’s beyond shocked. Mr. Walled-Off Emotions is actually letting his guard down for once. And she’s even more dumbstruck when he explains that her job description is about to become even more outrageous: something that takes the “personal” in personal assistant to a whole new level.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?




Big thanks to William Morrow Books for the eARC via Netgalley! All thoughts and opinions are my own.


STAR RATING: (4 out of 5 stars)

Gosh, it’s been a minute since I’ve talked about one of my favourite authors and it’s good to be back yelling about her. Because look at this adorable new cover!!! They’re so cute!!!! Definitely in love. And if you haven’t read this one, now is literally LITERALLY the perfect time!

I read this one a while ago now but I have some funny stories to share in this regard BECAUSE ngl I was neither here nor there the first time around. But then somehow I kept rereading bits over and over again and now I’m obsessed. So let’s let get into my very much updated review like 3 years in the making lol

I have a couple of points, if you will, that I just so admire whenever I think about this book so welcome to my more structured review than usual or a presentation idk what I’m doing. Enough rambling Ruby *hides*


Alright, one of the things I love most about (and of) Mariana Zapata’s books is the sports element. Me? Obsessed with figure skating? Could not imagine why haha. But our male main character Aiden is a big-shot American football player, which I didn’t know a lot about anyways, so immensely enjoyed that part of this book. He has a couple of player friends (not really ifykyk) and it was really fun to hear about what they did. I feel underequipped to talk about this and suddenly can’t remember anything about football and MZ does a much better job of keeping you invested in this sport than I did,,,

Speaking of writing, I’ve mentioned this before but I’m doing so again because UGH I LOVE MARIANA ZAPATA’S WRITING SO MUCH!!! I know a lot of people struggle because a) I mean these books are LONG but b) her past tense first-person narrative is sometimes seen as “whiny”. I personally have never felt that, I’ve always connected to each of the main characters I think because of the writing. You become so immersed in their thoughts and emotions and connect to them so closely and it’s great.

Another small thing I always notice but it’s something I so admire about her writing is these very subtle romance moments in the writing. I never know how to explain it but MZ will briefly mention like the absence of a touch in the character’s mind, but she’s literally saying that the main character is literally getting a massage. No idea if that made sense but I guess you’ll have to read to understand *wink wink*

Let’s talk tropes for a second. This book is commonly known as the OG  marriage of convenience that beats all others. And she does. Sorry to have to tell you. You also need an enemies to lovers? You’ve come to the right place. The romantic tension is almost non-existent for a good half of this book. We’ll get into it later but don’t underestimate that slow in slow burn. But MZ handles these tropes with absolute grace and their dynamic developed with such ease. Did I mention I love her? *insert heart eyes*

Aiden is a tough cookie. Gosh, I hated him at the beginning. That slow burn took its time. But when we get the real Aiden, I died dead passed out on the floor! As soon as they FIT, I was head over heels for them and I want to cry in a hole,,,,

Moment of appreciation for Vanessa ladies and gentle-ones. God, she’s the best. I wish I could say I relate to her but I definitely do not because I just want to be her. Not exaggerating. I want to have cool hair like her, be gutsy like her and if I’m even half as brave, then that’d be enough. Honestly maybe Zapata’s best-written character? Neck and neck with Jasmine. But ugh Vanessa Mazur was EVERYTHING and I love her so so so so much xoxoxoxo

This is both my favourite and least favourite about this book: THE ANGST. Punch us in the gut why don’t you? I think the biggest emphasis on slow-burn to ever exist and that’s not an exaggeration. When I say slow, I mean SLOW. And it’s wonderful. I eat it up every time and I can’t read a romance if there isn’t a slow burn which is why Mariana and I are soulmates.

And lemme tell you a secret about her particular brand of slow-burn: it’s PERFECTION. MZ honestly has magic in her fingers and the ending always blows me into outerspace!!! You know why? Because by the time the big confession climax has appeared itself, there is absolutely no doubt between these two characters are going to be anything but together. And I’ve never read anything like it *cries in single*


If you haven’t already, which is unlikely because it’s Mariana Zapata, but if so, then you MUST read this masterpiece of a sports romance. Mariana Zapata is here to knock your socks off with her effortless writing that lures you into her world like no other, the unexpected romantic chemistry you never saw coming but fall head over heels in love with and characters that feel so real they become your friends. And of course, the obvious: an enemies to lovers marriage of convenience between a football player and his ex-assistant <3<3<3

“Because every relationship will end up one of two ways: you’ll end up breaking up, or you end up marrying the person. And I don’t like wasting my time.”


“I’m starting to understand that you can always make time for the things that matter.”


“What no one tells you is that the road to accomplishing your goals isn’t a straight line; it looks more like a corn maze. You stopped, you went, you backed up, and took a few wrong turns along the way, but the important thing you had to remember was that there was an exit. Somewhere.”


“When life gives you lemons, you get to choose what you make out of them; it doesn’t always have to be lemonade.”


“Home is where you are. I would go anywhere for you if you wanted me there.”


“I would have done just about anything for you back then, even when you got on my nerves. I might have just waited until the last minute to push you out of oncoming traffic, but I’d still push you out of the way.”


His forehead tipped forward, and before I could react, before he said another word to me, he leaned forward, forward, forward and pressed his mouth just to the side of my mouth. A peck. A shot better than tequila, made up of friendship and affection and organic sugar.”


“Touch my wife again, and I’ll break every bone in your goddamn body.”


“In that moment, I don’t think I had ever loved anything half as much as I loved Aiden.”


“I don’t know anything about relationships, Van, but I know I love you. I know I’ve waited my entire life to love you, and I’ll do whatever I have to, to make this work.”


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