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Book Review-Rhythm, Chord, and Malykhin by Mariana Zapata

by | Jan 22, 2022 | Audio Book Reviews, Book Reviews | 1 comment

This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

Twenty-six-year-old Gaby Barreto might be a lot of things (loyal, sarcastic, one of the guys and a pain in the butt depending on which family member you ask), but dumb isn’t one of them. When her twin brother invites her to go on tour as his band’s merch girl, she isn’t exactly screaming at the top of her lungs with joy.

With no job opportunities pounding on her door, an ex-boyfriend she would still like to castrate, and no end in sight to moving out of her parents’ house in Dallas… it would be dumb to say no to the chance of a lifetime. Two bands, three continents, one tour. Spending the next ninety-plus days with three beloved idiots and eight complete strangers shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

If only the singer of the headlining band didn’t have tattoos… a great personality… a fantastic body… and if he wasn’t so funny….

Let’s be real: Gaby never had a chance against Sacha Malykhin.

My Review

First Impressions

This is a novel that I have been wanting to get to for quite some time now. I will say that at the first glance is that this is a sweet slow-built contemporary romance that will work for anyone that can appreciate a well-written slow-burn romance. This is what the author is so talented at and I loved the intricate layering that allows this romance to build within its intimacy in those small moments that make the wait of that “burn” so well worth it. I was highly impressed as I was highly curious to see how this author would be able to handle a rock star romance and I am impressed. I definitely think that even if rock star romances aren’t your jive, you would still want to “rock on” with this story. It definitely is more back seat when it comes to the rock star type of authenticity and is focused more on the close-knit group who we are introduced to here. I also really enjoyed the bond of friendships that we see form within this story.


Gaby Barreto, while smart and sarcastic, and tends to be one of those that gets viewed as “one of the guys”, is also a woman that has many hidden depths including keeping a closed-off heart as protection. She has been burned by her brother and the band, but those ties are healing and when they invite her to be on their tour and be a part of them again, she can’t resist tagging along because while they drive her crazy, she also loves them fiercely. That is until she meets her heart desire and a man that puts her in the “friend zone” Sacha Malykhin, whose band has joined with her own on this tour journey. Gaby and Sasha form an instant bond of friendship, and there is a connection that Gaby forms with Sasha, one that she doesn’t feel with the others in the band. She has a strong attraction to Sasha, but he is in a relationship with another woman when they first meet and she keeps it in the “friend zone” but as time flows by, Sasha lets go of his ex, something deeper builds between Gaby and Sasha. But she wonders if this relationship will always be one-sided and if the man she loves could ever choose her ….always.

What I Loved

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin was a fantastic story that I instantly fell in love with and I actually breezed through this one at work one day, I was so hooked on it, and I just couldn’t stop listening to this one. I love those audiobooks that just instantly pull you so quickly into the story and keep your interest solely into the story especially with all the feels that are built within this story. Slow burn romances aren’t always my thing, I like to have quicker feels and I like more couple-page time than what most slow-burn romances deliver. However, I was so pleased to see that Mariana Zapata completely delivered on this story. She is the queen of the slow burn and for a reason. I found this romance to be so sweet and endearing. The friendship that we see form between Sasha and Gaby was so worth the journey. I loved how well they go on together, from the very beginning, they form a platonic attachment to each other. I admired how Sasha always seemed to have Gaby’s back especially in front of the others. He could be so protective in the moments when it mattered, but also understood Gaby, in ways that her brother and the others weren’t capable of comprehending. I really wanted these two to just GET it together because they were so perfect for each other. I also appreciated the softer-toned approach to the rock star/band theme in this one. The culture of it really took a backseat and it delivered a more refreshing feel to the story than one would expect.

What I Struggled With

There were a couple of aspects to the story that I wasn’t a big fan of. One of them is probably why I need to space out the time that I read this author. The humor she puts in these books is NOT for me. I do not respond well to slapstick/sarcastic humor and really took the fun out of this book for me. I didn’t care for how Gaby’s brother and the band treated her and the humor about it just was NOT humorous for me or even likable. It actually got me so depressed because at times they really treat her horribly. Also the ending, I really didn’t like the epilogue at all, it kinda took the fun out of the romance for me. I didn’t understand why Gaby wasn’t with Sasha, and they were living separate lives in a way, it just didn’t work for me. I mean she was doing a job she could do anywhere so I didn’t get why she couldn’t be traveling with Sasha. I mean yeah she loves her brother, but I don’t know I guess I am old-fashioned in thinking your partner supersedes the sibling bond.

The Narration

This was the HIGHLIGHT of the book and I am so happy I listened to this book. I have found that this narrator does such a tremendous job in showcasing these aspects of the story so well and she really handled the various levels of emotion and personalities quite well. So bravo.

Overall View

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin is a slowly built romance that shows such depths of friendship and intimacy that satisfy the heart in every way. Its a romance that will showcase the beauty of falling in love with the best friend who gets your quirks and unique personality. Guaranteed to deliver in all the ways you expect a deep slow burn to be capable of and Mariana Zapata ROCKED this book on.

Book Details

Title: Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin

Author: Mariana Zapata

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Audiobook

Source: Hoopla Digital

Length: 9 Hours

About the Narrators

Carly Robins is an actress and voice-over artist. She can be heard on commercials, video games, and promos. Carly comes to narration with a passion for performance along with the capability to span several genres, from romance to children’s literature and thrillers.

Book Links

Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Kobo| Goodreads| LibraryThing| Storygraph| Literal Club| Audible| Anyplay

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4

Story Itself: 4.25

Character Development: 4

Writing Style: 4

World Building 4

Feels + The Romantic Heart 3.5

Pacing 4

Plot 3.5

Narration= 5

Cover Art 4

Ending 5

Book Ratings

Rating of the Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering cup of tea—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warmin’ by the fire- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

About The Author

Mariana Zapata began writing love stories soon after she learned how to spell. She probably shouldn’t admit that she started sneaking romance novels from her aunt’s bookshelves way before she was old enough to even understand what it meant when a man flipped up a woman’s skirt… don’t tell her mom. Luckily, she stuck to stories about princesses and princes for a while. In her teens, she wrote boy band fanfiction (there’s still a website up somewhere on the internet with those masterpieces), and in her early twenties, she picked it back up again with Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight. Eventually, her significant other finally told her to do what she wanted to do and she began working on her original work. Her novels tend to include potty humor, bodily functions, and bad words. Mariana lives in a small town called Pagosa Springs, Colorado with her husband/best friend, Chris Letchford, and their two well-beloved (and emotionally manipulative) Great Dane children, Dorian and Kaiser. When she’s not pretending to write, she’s reading sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk or historical romance novels. You can usually find her harassing her dogs, being a hermit at home or cracking jokes at the expense of her family members.

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1 Comment

  1. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I’ve had a paperback of this book sitting on my shelf for so long. I received it in one of Colleen Hoover’s Bookwork Boxes and have never got to it. I like the sound of the relationships and the plot but your comments about the humor definitely give me pause. I don’t mind sarcasm, but slapstick humor is not my thing. I might have to try a snippet before I decide to commit to it.


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