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Roomies Paperback – December 5, 2017
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"This book has everything that makes romance novels great: a heroine's journey to self-discovery, a leading man worthy of a woman's love, and plenty of misty tears and full-on belly laughs along the way. Another knockout by Lauren." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Lauren’s standalone brims with authentic characters and a captivating plot." (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“For decades, the tale of a marriage of convenience that becomes something more has inspired countless romances. With Roomies, Christina Lauren put a fresh, modern spin on the trope with their completely un-put-down-able green card romp…. Lauren masters rom-com banter and plotting, while also reminding us that the best entries in the genre are all about recognizing our own value regardless of relationship status. One of our 10 best romances of 2017. A+.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Lauren brings her characteristic charm to the story. Holland’s tale is more than an unrequited crush; it’s about self-expectations, problematic friendships, unconventional family, and the strange power of love.” (Booklist)
"Smart, sexy, and satisfying . . . destined to become a romance classic." (Tara Sue Me on Beautiful Bastard)
“Funny, feminist, and a great example of a modern romance . . . Evie is amazing and will go down in history as one of the best heroines I’ve read.” (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books on Dating You / Hating You)
“Smart and sexy . . . Lola can’t believe that someone as wonderful as Oliver (he is rather wonderful) would ever love her, and Lauren captures her insecurities in a powerful way that will hit close to home for many.” (The Washington Post on Dark Wild Night)
“A sexy, sweet treasure of a story. I loved every word.” (Sylvia Day on Sweet Filthy Boy)
“Christina Lauren is back in top form in this light, funny, and unflinchingly honest stand-alone novel about growing up, standing up, and falling in love.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick) on Dating You / Hating You)
“Deliciously steamy.” (Entertainment Weekly on Beautiful Bastard)
About the Author
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners/besties/soulmates and brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 international bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You / Hating You, Roomies, Sublime, The House, and Autoboyography. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, Facebook.com/ChristinaLaurenBooks, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.
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The last quarter of the book was touching, heartbreaking and lovely. There's a twist - which I always love - and you will cry for Holland as she experiences her first adult heartache. From there, the book finishes flawlessly - but suddenly. I felt like I was pushed off the cliff with no warning signs. It just STOPS. So I wouldn't catagorize this as one of their Top 5, or even their Top 10, but it's still a lovely book with impeccable writing.
Holland Bakker had no idea she’d go from admiring the uber-handsome and talented busker she dubbed as Jack at the subway to actually talking to him and getting to know him, let alone marrying him, but that’s what happens. She wants to do something to help her uncle Robert, the man who gave her a job in Broadway—all backstage since she’s not as musically talented as her uncle—and when an incident happens that might leave his play hanging, she knows she’s found a way to actually do something.
Calvin McLoughlin has been staying illegally in the US since he graduated from music school, hoping he’d reach his dreams in New York. Four years later, an opportunity finally comes knocking on his door. Unfortunately, his decision to stay illegally bites him in the a** and he can’t accept the part to play in one of his favorite plays on Broadway. But then the pretty girl he kind of saved at the subway, who is coincidentally related to the man behind the play, offers to marry him, and the rest is history.
I love Calvin and Holland, both as individuals and as a couple! Holland is a twenty-five-year-old woman who hasn’t figured out how to do what she wants to do in life. She put everyone in her life first and did everything she can to help them. She did a lot of growing up in this book, and I’m so happy she did! Calvin knows what he wants from the very start and is passionate about his dreams and music. While it looks like Holland gave more to help Calvin reach his dreams, I think Calvin helped her just as much. He pushed her to step out of her comfort zone and encouraged her to pursue writing, her real passion.
I love that the whole applying for a visa thing did not go on the back burner like some marriage of convenience novels of this nature tend to do. We saw how nerve-wracking it is, saw what Holland and Calvin needed to do—the forms, the interviews, everything. And most importantly, we saw how difficult and emotionally taxing it is for the couple. Because of that, I felt more connected to them as a couple and as people.
It’s pretty light throughout the story, but there were a few angsty scenes here that made my heart ache. Fauxmances and marriages of convenience tend to become messy when lines are blurred and people involved in the arrangement aren’t sure if it’s still just a purely business deal or a gateway to happily ever after. Since Calvin and Holland are practically strangers, there are a lot of things they don’t know about each other, things they might not understand at first.
It’s not as steamy as this duo’s previous works, but it’s still filled with sexual tension and its fair share of bedroom antics, if not sweeter than the others. The feel of this book is more similar to Dating You/Hating You, the book they released before Roomies, than Beautiful Bastard, but the humor, great flow and character dynamic, and a writing style that’s entertaining and addictive is still very present.
Roomies is a sweet, fun, and romantic read that was perfect to end the year on a high note. I know there are still a few days to go before we say goodbye to 2017, but this book definitely made my year in book blogging a more fun one.
Special mention to Robert and Jeff Okai for being amazing uncles to Holland. I love their family dynamic, Holland and Robert’s especially.
Tropes: Marriage of Convenience, Celebrities—Broadway
POV: First Person, Female POV
On her way home after a fun night out, a little-too-drunk Holland Bakker is somewhat-attacked by a homeless man while waiting for the subway. She's rescued by the very talented street musician who may or may not be the reason she takes this particular way home everyday.
When Holland's uncle's extremely popular Broadway musical is left without its lead musician, Holland immediately thinks of her savior, Calvin McLoughlin. The problem: Calvin is in the States illegally. Wanting to help out her uncle, and recognizing Calvin's talents for what they are, Holland proposes a marriage of convenience in order to get Calvin eligible to stay. The plan seems simple enough, they'll stay married for at least a year, convince immigration of their "love match", all while Calvin is garnering success doing the thing he loves most in the world, make music. But what happens when the feelings between Holland and Calvin move from convenience to true? Can either believe the other's motivations when their relationship started on a lie?
I really loved this take on the marriage of convenience trope. It wasn't difficult to see that, yes, eventually Holland and Calvin would form feelings for one another. But what was great about this particular romance was the idea of being in the relationship for all the wrong reasons, and trying to figure out if those are the only reasons why Calvin and Holland are together. Would Calvin have given Holland another glance if he didn't need this in order for his dreams to come true?
Filled with a lot of fun and zany antics, I loved the heart of this story. Since it's told from Holland's point of view, her side of the story takes more weight than Calvin's does. Holland has a MFA in creative writing, but after graduation, she's hit major writers' block and has barely been able to power on her computer, not wanting to be faced with her lack of work progression. So instead Holland has been kind of meandering throughout life for the past couple of years. She affords her apartment because her loving uncles help pay for it. She has a job working in the theater that houses her uncle's production because....well, her uncle. One of the first decisions she's actively made has been a whirlwind marriage. And as her feelings for Calvin deepen she questions what it is she truly wants. What direction she wants her life to take. It's a very relatable storyline for anyone who has struggle with the "what next" scenario after high school and / or college which I would guess is many people.
Calvin's situation is a direct contrast with Holland's. Holland who has the opportunity and the means to achieve her goals, she just can't find the words or the inspiration. Calvin, though, has the inspiration and the talent to achieve his goals, but he doesn't have the means and if opportunity doesn't present itself soon he'll be deported. The true weight of Calvin's dilemma is probably more than Holland's but it doesn't really come across as such since we only get Holland's point of view. I would have liked to see just a bit from Calvin's point of view seeing as how the life he's built for himself hinges on the idea of he and Holland's union appearing realistic.
Probably one of my favorite things about the story was the relationship Holland has with her uncles, who, since she was the youngest of six, all but raised Holland as their own. The love and affection they have for Holland (and vice versa) is sweet. And I love how supportive they are of her during her time of feeling aimless.
Roomies is a perfect read as we start to wind down this year and begin moving into a new year. Its messages of trying new things and not giving up on your dreams work well with upcoming resolutions. It was a book that I didn't want to end, but just couldn't put down. One of my favorite romantic reads this year.