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Kulti by Mariana Zapata, narrated by Callie Dalton

female soccer player in mid kick against dark backgroundWhy I read it:  Lots of my friends enjoyed this one so I bought it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  “Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Kulti is a slow burn, enemies to friends (well, at least one enemy anyway), then friends to lovers story and it is fabulous. Sal Casillas is a professional soccer player. She’s a woman so of course, she doesn’t get paid as much money as her male counterparts and her team doesn’t draw huge crowds but she’s as talented and skilled and dedicated to her sport as any man. Sal has a job doing gardening and landscaping work as well as playing soccer.

Scoring Wilder by RS Grey, narrated by Jessica Almasy

scoring wilderWhy I read it:  I was provided with a review copy by Audible Studios.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I have the print version of this book on my TBR but my TBL is far shorter so I find it easier to listen when I have the opportunity.  Kinsley is a little… hyperactive on occasion and new-to-me narrator Jessica Almasy depicted that well.  I couldn’t fault the way she portrayed the character.  While there were times Kinsley felt very young (and therefore me old) the narration was true to the text.  I also thought Ms. Almasy had a great “hero voice” and I liked the way she delivered Liam’s dialogue.

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