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review 2016-05-09 22:36
The Roommate Situation by Zoe X. Ryder
The Roommate Situation - Zoe X. Rider

Here's to unexpected surprises, people! Because this one was absolutely not what I thought it would be!



So, this one kinda came out of nowhere. I had the sample sitting on my Kindle for ages, before finally having the funds & desire to really pick it up. What I expected was a rather light read, no angst, maybe a little kinky college romance between two young guys falling into lust. What I got was... not that. But I'm glad to say it was BETTER!


Let's start with Shane. The blurb tells us that he gets shuffled to another dorm room. I'm not sure if this is a spoiler or not, so you're warned, but the reason for Shane changing dorms is not a funny, light mishap. It's because his former roommate killed himself in their room and Shane found him. Boom. This is what the opening of this book felt like to me, and honestly? It kind of set the tone for the rest of the book. Things just... jumped up in my face and surprised the crap out of me. But never in a bad way, never too angsty, or too dark. Just not... as light or easy as I thought it would be. Derek, Shane's new roommate stays an enigma for quite some time, but I absolutely loved how we got to know him over time - just like Shane.


The relationship building was a-mazing. I loved the pace, the honesty and the lack of "Oh, there is this big misunderstanding that will keep us apart for an appropriate time period". I did have a harder time with Shane's growth and fight for independence, mostly because I'm not that big on YA/NA and MCs struggling with overbearing parents. BUT, it worked for me here somehow, and in a way that made me very happy. The more the story developed, the more I fell for these guys. Seeing them change, evolve and grow, together and individually, was a real treat. This author was completely new to me, but it's safe to say that the writing convinced me to look for more of her work.


The only thing that actually bugged me was that the most important women in this book - especially the mothers - were evil, messed up bitches. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. And it's not that I'm that opposed to the portrayal of awful/difficult mothers - I have one, I'm familiar with the problem. I'm just getting more and more AND MORE tired of women being the spawn of the devil in my romance books. It would have been so nice to see the important female roles in the story to have a lick of sense and a conscience.


Alas, I can't have everything.


Other than that, I enjoyed this book immensely! Definitely recommended for everyone who likes a great college YA full-lenght-novel with beautiful relationship building and great MCs.

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review 2016-04-11 00:00
The Roommate Situation
The Roommate Situation - Zoe X. Rider
**** 4 roommate stars ****

This book was a surprise to me! It was my first book of this author, and I really liked it!

The blurb tells you everything you need to know about the story. It's about Shane moving in to a new dorm room, sharing room with Derek. Shane quickly shows interest in the a bit mysterious Derek. Shane has lived a pretty sheltered life, or at least controlled life, thanks to his overbearing parents, especially his mother. They tell him how things are going to go, and Shane has pretty much gone along with their opinions. Like where he should go to school, which classes to take, what sort of hobbies he should have (or don't have) and almost what food he should eat. Moving in with Derek is an eye opener for Shane. He starts to discover that he want more control of his life, and that he's starting to be an adult, and wants to make his own decisions.

So this story is about self-discovery. The time between being a kid and being an adult. Where you want to make your own decisions, but is still kinda dependent on your parents. It's about that youth's "push and pull". I felt young when reading this story. It took me back to my school years, and I could relate to Shane (except with bondage with the roommate in the dorm room. That would have been something. LOL). 

I think this was a very good young adult story. Shane is 18 and Derek is 21. Nothing really "big" happens. It just tells the story of Shane meeting Derek, their mutual interest in each other, their day to day interaction, and Shane's interactions with his parents. Shane discovers he has a bondage kink, when he offers to model Derek's work with leather bondage which he sells on eBay. It starts out innocently, but quickly morphs into play between the two guys. I would say that this is not a BDSM story at all, no domming or rules or anything like that. Shane just likes the feel of being cuffed, he gets turned on by it. Like really turned on. Derek discovers it too. They like it together, the two of them. So it's more of them doing something that turns both of them on, than hardcore BDSM.

I loved the scenes where Shane discovers his feelings and kink towards the cuffs and bondage. The descriptions were great! And they weren't erotic or porny at all. He is just a guy discovering he has a kink. He also discovers that he is attracted to guys, more precisely Derek. There is no penetrative sex in this story, but there is still sex. Even though I would have liked it to be (because, duh), I found that it wasn't needed. Sex without penetration is still sex, and intimate, and these guys had it. As I said, they weren't porny or cheesy at all, the were just there. Two young people discovering sexuality and finding pleasure in each other.

A lot of the story is conversation. They actually talk. Not always about something important, just everyday conversation. So learning about their character is a lot through conversation between Shane and Derek, Shane and his friends, and Shane and his parents. Not everything is told to me, the author shows me through conversation. And I really liked that! This translate into pages. This book is 330 pages long, and it could easily have been cut down a bit, just to tighten the story line. Some readers might find the story droned on a bit, and I can see that. Especially the parts with his parents during the holidays. For me, though, I think it was good. I liked seeing Shane (trying) to interact with his parents. It just goes to show him struggling between being their kid and being his own man. His mother was a piece or work. She really got on my nerves. Also, what happens with his parents is not told, but shown. Looking back, all the signs where there. 

Shane dealing with his parents aren't really dissolved at the end of the book. There is some solution, but I would have liked to have been more. I was left wanting. Shane and Derek tentatively discuss the future. I don't know if I should call the ending HEA or HFN. I would have loved an epilogue. Things were left kinda loose, but still hopeful! I wish Shane and Derek the best! 

Overall, I'm surprised how much I loved Shane's story and his road to self discovery. It's a slow build. The author doesn't tell you everything you need to know, she just shows you through dialogue and interaction. Shane discovering his bondage kink was awesome. He wasn't ashamed or afraid about it. He just wanted. I loved reading about that. I loved Shane and Derek finding, and falling for each other.

I would definitely recommend this book! I highly enjoyed it, but I recognize that some might find it boring, especially the part with his parents towards the end. Give it ago, if you want to.

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review 2015-11-13 21:14
The Roommate Situation - Zoe X. Rider

I am up to read more books from Zoe Rider. I really liked this one, it was light, a bit fluffy, more like a slice of life... a coming of age. There isn't any misunderstandings, any miscommunications, any love triangle, any angst.. it was refreshing.

Starts a bit gloomy. Shane has to move out from his dorm because his roommate committed suicide. His new roommate is Derek. They become friends rather fast. In fact, Shane likes to hang out more with Derek than with his two former friends. Later on, Shane hears from his friend that Derek sells leather stuff online: wallets, belts... and also cuffs and harnesses. When Shane needs some cash to buy a guitar, he offers to model these leather things to improve the image online. Once he wears these cuffs, he realizes he is into this kind of thing (like, really really into) so he makes the first move.

It took longer for me to warm towards Derek. Shane was a likable character, very boyish but with a easy going personality and also very honest. He was a bit weak when it was related to his parents, but since he just finished school, it was understandable (also, being only son and having such parents). His mother was so suffocating. This book is like, 80% dialogue, and the rest is narration. Well, his mother talks and talks and talks. And she is constantly there. As in, Shane is in college and living in dorms, but his mother insists to be part of his life, thru many visits and phone calls. A few times, when Shane was with Derek inside the room, I was afraid his mother would burst in and catch them on action (it doesn't happen, thank heavens).

Like I pointed out, I did not like Derek so much until after the first half of the book. Or maybe towards the end. He is nice, he is cool, he cares for Shane and you can tell. When Shane makes the first move, I wasn't convinced of why Derek would let it happen. Why Derek was so willing to continue. Since the book is told from Shane's POV, and Derek was a bit aloof, I wasn't so convinced of his attraction to Shane. And besides, Derek loves to smoke. Honestly, he was like a chimney. Shane loved it, loved to smell the tobacco in him, but I hated it. I much rather have him with that annoying toothpick than a cigarette.

On Derek's side, it is a g4u thing. On Shane's side, I am not sure. He says that he never felt this horny/happy/excited with a girl before, so he may just be a "late" out-of-the-closet guy. There weren't any inner struggles, any anxiety to realize he liked a guy, and instead of bothering me that (cuz I love to read them in my g4u books) I liked it and consider it to be part of Shane's personality. Derek doesn't have any issues about liking a guy for the first time, but that was also part of his aloof personality.

In fact, I did not mind the lack of drama in their coming out (to family and friends). It was all easy and quick (although in Shane's case, his mother was more difficult to handle), but I was OK with all of that. It just felt like a rom-com or something.

Despite Shane and Derek living together, and testing the bondage kinks Derek made, this wasn't a PWP at all. Most of all, they liked to snog (I am not British but I like this expression ;) ). They snog and talk, or talk and have phone sex, and talk and hang out, or talk with lots of touching involve. They make the reader sure they are friends, buddies, that they trust each other and like each others company. That is one of the highlights of the book: that it is more talk than action. The BDSM is super light, more like, nada. Shane likes to be cuffed, and is absolutely thrilled when he uses the harness, and he also uses the cuffs once on Derek, but that's it.

The conclusion to Shane's dilemma was rushed, and I would have preferred to have AT LEAST, 10 pages more. I could not believe it when I was on 97% on my Kindle and there wasn't a solution to his problem yet. So yeah, it ended pretty quickly. I wish there was a novella or something :(.. that is my only concern.

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review 2015-10-03 00:00
The Roommate Situation
The Roommate Situation - Zoe X. Rider I really enjoyed this book. Shane's mom annoyed me but I loved Derek. He was so laid back but he had a good head of his shoulders. Despite what Shane's mom said, Derek and his family were a good influence on him, I think.

Pretty low angst. I liked the BDSM element. Low-key, just two guys sort of experimenting with bondage. It was the right way to deal with it in that setting.
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review 2015-02-02 00:00
The Roommate Situation
The Roommate Situation - Zoe X. Rider Low conflict. Actually. The conflict stems from some really terrible parental units. There are all kinds of ways to be a bad parent, and this book gives a few good examples of how not to deal with your adult children.

I enjoyed this story. It's an uncomplicated and sweet love story. There's some kink but it's kink-light. They're experimenting and learning and it's really great.
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