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review 2018-02-27 21:35
Roomies - Christina Lauren

After the trying-to-do -too-much-and-not-quite-executing Dating You/Hating You, I wondered if my run with Christina Lauren was over. I typically REALLY enjoy their books. In Roomies, they return to the straight-up romance that kept me coming back to their books.


So I just went ahead and read this in one sitting. The book's about a couple of sweethearts, surrounded by supportive people, struggling in New York. After reading a book with a similar set up yesterday, someone pining after a stranger and therefore going out of their way to see said stranger and having it not only not do it for me, but fail spectacularly, this was like a revival for the fire burning from that experience. 


I really just think this book is about sweet people. Ultimately, I'm not sure I feel as strongly about this match as I did Hannah/Will for example or Oliver/Lola (fans self) to name just two couples, but I thought it was realistic in communication and lack thereof, how they were woven into the tapestry of each other's lives, and - this is important - it had that ingredient that I think "alpha" heroes often lack which is acting as the person who "rescues" the other by helping them see themselves clearly, by propping them up, by acting as a mirror. I'm not sure I'd call Calvin an alpha, but he was an intense, focused, sweet, and fun hero. Holland was on a journey to find herself, the pure certainty of everyone around her having their life figured out acting as the backdrop to her uncertainty.


Again, this wasn't my favorite, but it was a relief to see that I can probably count on them to continue to deliver me characters and relationships I can root for. 


Side note, I don't know what color his eyes and hair were. Consistently described as green and light brown respectively, there was one point it turned to "amber" and "russet"


I was just confused. 


Another side note, I think they do dual POV better than this.

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review 2018-01-25 05:25
Autoboyography (Audiobook)
Autoboyography - Christina Lauren,Kyle Mason,Richard Deacon

I was raised in the Mormon church, in what we referred to as the Samoan ward since many of the members were of that nationality. I never had a very good relationship with the church. Unlike Sebastian and the folks in Provo, UT, the seaside town in SoCal that I grew up in was not overrun with Mormons and they remain in the minority of worshippers even today. It's also very diverse, so you run across a lot of different nationalities and beliefs on any given day. So I didn't have Mormon friends at school, and my brother and I pretty much rebelled (as much as we were allowed to) against not spending time outside the house on Sunday (other than church of course) and having to participate in Monday home evening. Youth group activities on Wednesday nights were at least fun, and we didn't have to do too many weekend or service activities. We did summer camp a few times, and Scouts, but it was camping and selling cookies - it's hard to make that suck. And while I wouldn't call myself a feminist, per se, I never liked the assumption that I would grow up to have babies and bake cookies for Relief Society and I hated wearing dresses with a passion - though I didn't envy my brother his button-down shirts and slacks either.


Basically, I liked the people and was comfortable around them - and still am - in a way I'm not comfortable with most people. Even though it's been years since I've attended services regularly or cracked open a Book of Mormon and I'm against the things the church promotes in regards to gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights, I still identify as Mormon. It's a complicated relationship I have with my church (can I even still call it "mine"?) and there were no easy answers for me, a girl with no interest in marriage or kids, other than to leave the church.


And yet, I miss it. I miss the comfort it used to bring me and the peace I used to feel inside those doors. I miss the innocent trust I used to place on the church's teachings of "families are forever" and "love thy neighbor" and "do good works" because in the years since I left the church I've learned many things that I disagree with them about, and even if they believe in the depths of their hearts that they're doing God's works, that's no God I want any part of when He excludes people simply for loving the "wrong" person.


Like Tanner and Sebastian, I too keep hoping for the day when the prophet has a revelation and declares being LGBTQ+ to be a-okay and right with God, and you know what? Women are allowed to hold the gospel too. Until then, I stay away and a part of me will never be whole again.


What I loved about this book though is that it doesn't demonize Mormons or Sebastian or his family. Not all Mormons are anti-gay or turn their family away for being gay. The authors definitely did their research and got the input of people who know the church, and it shows, and it all speaks very true to what I saw and experienced growing up. But they don't beat the reader over the head with religion. As Tanner learns, the reader learns.


Tanner wasn't raised with religion, though his mom is ex-Mormon and his dad is a non-practicing Jew. He grew up in San Francisco, where being bisexual was no big deal, and he had the support and love of his parents from day one. It takes him a long time to open his eyes and realize that not all parents are like his parents, but that doesn't mean they love their kids any less. As he gets to know Sebastian and understand more about what makes up his psyche and why, he's able to see a larger picture and world than he was raised in, and it's not always pretty.


There is a hint of insta-love between Tanner and Sebastian, but given they're young men, and Tanner is quite impulsive, it rang true to me that things would move as fast as they do, even with Sebastian's reservations and need to keep things secret. They face plenty of challenges, enough to test their feelings for each other and make me believe those feelings were real and true. 


I have two very minor nitpicks and I'm not sure how much they'll even bother me if/when I reread this. The first is the narrator. Don't get me wrong, he did a fantastic job with the story and the characters. But he's not eighteen. Honestly though, that bothered me less and less as I listened and got into the story. Some of the female characters were a little strained in the higher octaves though.


The other thing was the sudden switch in the last fifth of the book. I didn't realize that everything I'd listened to up to that point was the actual book that Tanner wrote for his seminar class, so it went from first-person POV to third-person POV for both Sebastian and Tanner after the "book" ended and we caught up with the narrative. It was jarring, tonally, but again that could just be because I wasn't expecting it and it's possible that it'll flow better on reread.

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review 2017-12-04 17:10
Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren
Roomies - Christina Lauren

Holland, born in a cab and the youngest of six kids, lives in Manhattan on the support of her doting uncles, who are more like fathers. She has a masters degree in fine arts - an aspiring writing, who isn’t writing. She’s got little direction in her life, but when an accident puts her in contact with the subway busker she’s been crushing on for six months, Holland’s life turns upside down.


With a little bit of the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie, While You Were Sleeping, and a little bit of the 1991 film, Green Card, Roomies is a delightful romance about self-discovery and making dreams come true. When Holland finds a way to help her Uncle Robert with his broadway musical by marrying classical guitarist Calvin so he can stay in country, she decides to go for it. It’s a turning point for Holland who realizes she wants to marry Calvin because she never takes risks, and at twenty-five years old, is bored with life. She recognizes that maybe the reason she can’t write is because she’s not really living. 


Through Holland’s eyes we get to know Calvin, who is charming, sexy, sweet, and kind. He’s humble and gracious, and readers can tell that it’s not just Holland’s rose-colored, lustful glasses that filter how we see Calvin. There are stumbles, and yet, he continues to shine. Holland always puts the needs of others before her own. It’s through the getting-to-know each other process (for the green card application), that Holland recognizes some things about herself; that she’s a supporting character in her own life. And this is what eventually drives Holland to become more than a supporting character. 


Additionally, Holland doesn’t feel worthy of Calvin’s affection, and as they get to know one another, we experience the range of Holland’s feelings, most of all her uncertainty. The wondering if Calvin’s flirtatious actions are true or for show... my heart was pounding along side of Holland’s. Her flaws make her real and on some level, all of her insecurities are familiar: that piece of Holland that is always trying to help others. Who is unsure of where to go with life. Who doubts she can find true meaning and love in her life. 


Honestly, my only complaint is I wanted more. Although we get to see a lot of the pair as a couple and falling in love, it’s always tarnished a bit by the pressure of the fake marriage and getting a green card. Once things are real and after the pain, I wanted more. To know they are going to make it. It ended too quickly for me, but at the same time, I can appreciate that the story was over. 


In the end, Roomies isn’t overly complicated or complex, but it is rich in detail and has all the feels. Deep feels. The descriptions of the music, of Holland listening to Calvin play, it is more than just an appreciation for beautiful things. It is life-changing—reaching into Holland’s soul. Seeing the world through Holland’s eyes, readers get their heart broken by and fall in love with Calvin. It’s a beautiful journey, one that I highly recommend.


My Rating:  A, Loved It

Review copy provided by Netgalley

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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text 2017-12-02 02:11
16 Festive Tasks - Square 8 - Hanukkah
Autoboyography - Christina Lauren

The main character of Autoboyography is only half-Jewish, but I'm still counting that for square 8.



Book themes for Hanukkah: Any book whose main character is Jewish, any story about the Jewish people –OR– where the miracle of light plays a significant part in the stories plot. 

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review 2017-11-10 20:20
Roomies - Christina Lauren

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Title: Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"Roomies" by Christina Lauren

My Thoughts....

What a interesting read of "Roomies" where I found myself not being able to put this one down until the very end wanting to know what was going to happen to Holland and Calvin next. I like how this author was able to deliver such a good read that involved the 'musical aspects and the Broadway musical' that was so important to the read. Truly this marriage of convenience due to immigration was delivered so very well in this well written story. The two main characters Holland and Calvin were simply off the chart being to incredible and even somewhat realistic with each having some issues of their own. It was even great as the reader will see Holland finally finding herself by figuring herself out which was so very important in this story. It was also interesting seeing how this story wasn't just about romance but of...well this is where I will stop and say you will have to pick this novel up and see how well this author gives it to the reader. Even though I felt this some of this story was somewhat predictable it was still a good read where I enjoyed the journey. Be ready for a marriage of convenience that will grow into something much more with 'emotion, drama and even sexual tension.'

Even though this story may have had a good ending it would have been even greater if this story had a epilogue but yet I guess the reader can assume it was all good in the end. Would I recommend? Yes!


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