by Christina Lauren
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Roomies by Christina Lauren

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so compulsively readable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.

Marriages of convenience are so...inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501165832
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 31,145
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)

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,, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.

Read an Excerpt



According to family legend, I was born on the floor of a taxi.

I’m the youngest of six, and apparently Mom went from “I have a bit of a cramp, but let me finish making lunch” to “Hello, Holland Lina Bakker” in the span of about forty minutes.

It’s always the first thing I think about when I climb into a cab. I note how I have to shimmy with effort across the tacky seat, how there are millions of neglected fingerprints and unidentifiable smudges clouding the windows and Plexiglas barrier—and how the floor of a cab is a really terrible place for a baby to meet the world.

I slam the taxi door behind me to block out the howling Brooklyn wind. “Fiftieth Street station, Manhattan.”

The driver’s eyes meet mine in the rearview mirror and I can imagine what he’s thinking: You want to take a cab to the subway in Manhattan? Lady, you could take the C train all the way there for three bucks.

“Eighth Ave. and Forty-Ninth Street,” I add, ignoring the clawing flush of awareness that I am absurd. Instead of taking the cab all the way home, I’m having the driver take me from Park Slope to a subway stop in Hell’s Kitchen, roughly two blocks from my building. It’s not that I’m particularly safety minded and don’t want this cabbie to know where I live.

It’s that it’s Monday, approximately eleven thirty, and Jack will be there.

At least, he should be. Since I first saw him busking at the Fiftieth Street station nearly six months ago, he’s been there every Monday night, along with Wednesday and Thursday mornings before work, and Friday at lunchtime. Tuesday he’s gone, and I’ve never seen him there on the weekend.

Mondays are my favorite, though, because there’s an intensity in the way he crouches over his guitar, cradling it, seducing it. Music that seems to have been trapped inside all weekend long is freed, broken only by the occasional metallic tumble of pocket change dropped into the open guitar case at his feet, or the roar of an approaching train.

I don’t know what he does in the hours he’s not there. I’m also fairly certain his name isn’t Jack, but I needed to call him something other than “the busker,” and giving him a name made my obsession seem less pathetic.

Sort of.

The cabbie is quiet; he isn’t even listening to talk radio or any of the other cacophonous car-filler every New Yorker gets used to. I blink away from my phone and the Instagram feed full of books and makeup tutorials, to the mess of sleet and slush on the roads. My cocktail buzz doesn’t seem to be evaporating as quickly as I’d hoped, and by the time we pull up to the curb and I pay the fare, I still have its giddy effervescence simmering in my blood.

I’ve never come to see Jack while drunk before, and it’s either a terrible or a fantastic idea. I guess we’re about to find out which.

Hitting the bottom of the stairs, I catch him tuning his guitar and stop a few feet away, studying him. With his head bowed, and in the beam of the streetlight shooting down the stairs, his light brown hair seems almost silver.

He’s suitably scruffy for our generation, but he looks clean, so I like to think he has a nice apartment and a regular, well-paying job, and does this because he loves it. He has the type of hair I can’t resist, neat and trimmed along the sides but wild and untamed on top. It looks soft, too, shiny under the lights and the kind of hair you want to curl a fist around. I don’t know what color his eyes are because he never looks up at anyone while he plays, but I like to imagine they’re brown or dark green, a color deep enough to get lost in.

I’ve never seen him arrive or leave, because I always walk past him, drop a dollar bill in his case, and keep moving. Then, covertly from the platform, I look over—as do many of us—to where he sits on his stool near the base of the stairs, his fingers flying up and down the neck of the instrument. His left hand pulls out the notes as if it’s as simple as breathing.

Breathing. As an aspiring writer, it’s my least favorite cliché, but it’s the only one that suits. I’ve never seen someone’s fingers move like that, as if he doesn’t even have to think about it. In some ways, it seems like he gives the guitar an actual human voice.

He looks up as I drop a bill into his case, squinting at me, and gives me a quiet “Thanks very much.”

He’s never done that before—looked up when someone dropped money in his case—and I’m caught completely off guard when our eyes meet.

Green, his are green. And he doesn’t immediately look away. The hold of his gaze is mesmerizing.

So instead of saying, “Yeah,” or “Sure”—or nothing at all, like any other New Yorker would—I blurt, “Iloveyourmusicsomuch.” A string of words breathlessly said as one.

I’m gifted with the humblest flicker of a smile, and my tipsy brain nearly shorts out. He does this thing where he chews on his bottom lip for a second before saying, “Do you reckon so? Well, you’re very kind. I love to play it.”

His accent is heavily Irish, and the sound of it makes my fingers tingle.

“What’s your name?”

Three mortifying seconds pass before he answers with a surprised grin. “Calvin. And yours?”

This is a conversation. Holy shit, I’m having a conversation with the stranger I’ve had a crush on for months.

“Holland,” I say. “Like the province in the Netherlands. Everyone thinks it’s synonymous with the Netherlands, but it’s not.”


Tonight, I’ve concluded two things about gin: it tastes like pinecones and is clearly the devil’s sauce.

Calvin smiles up at me, saying cheekily, “Holland. A province and a scholar,” before he adds something quietly under his breath that I don’t quite make out. I can’t tell if the amused light in his eyes is because I’m an entertaining idiot, or because there’s a person directly behind me doing something awesome.

Having not been on a date in what feels like a millennium, I also don’t know where a conversation should go after this, so I bolt, practically sprinting the twenty feet to the platform. When I come to a halt, I dig in my purse with the practiced urgency of a woman who is used to pretending she has something critical she must obtain immediately.

The word he whispered—lovely—registers about thirty seconds too late.

He meant my name, I’m sure. I’m not saying that in a false-modesty kind of way. My best friend, Lulu, and I agree that, objectively, we’re middle-of-the-pack women in Manhattan—which is pretty great as soon as we leave New York. But Jack—Calvin—gets ogled by every manner of man and woman passing through the station—from the Madison Avenue trustafarians slumming it on the subway to the scrappy students from Bay Ridge; honestly, he could have his pick of bed partners if he ever took the time to look up at our faces.

To confirm my theory, a quick glance in my compact mirror reveals the clownish bleed of my mascara below my eyes and a particularly ghoulish lack of color in the bottom half of my face. I reach up and attempt to smooth the tangle of brown strands that every other moment of my life are straight and lifeless, but have presently escaped the confines of my ponytail and defy gravity around my head.

Lovely, at present, I am not.

Calvin’s music returns, and it fills the quiet station in this echoing, haunting way that actually makes me feel even drunker than I thought I was. Why did I come here tonight? Why did I speak to him? Now I have to realign all these things in my brain, like his name not being Jack and his eyes having a defined color. The knowledge that he is Irish just about makes me feel crazy enough to go climb on his lap.

Ugh. Crushes are the worst, but in hindsight a crush from afar seems so much easier than this. I should stick to making up stories in my head and watching from a distance like a reasonable creeper. Now I’ve broken the fourth wall and if he’s as friendly as his eyes tell me he is, he may notice me when I drop money in his case the next time, and I will be forced to interact smoothly or run in the opposite direction. I may be middle-of-the-pack when my mouth is closed, but as soon as I start talking to men, Lulu calls me Appalland, for how appallingly unappealing I become. Obviously, she’s not wrong. And now I’m sweating under my pink wool coat, my face is melting, and I’m hit with an almost uncontrollable urge to hike my tights up to my armpits because they have slowly crept down beneath my skirt and are starting to feel like form-fitting harem pants.

I should really go for it and just shimmy them up my waist, because other than one comatose gentleman sleeping on a nearby bench, it’s just me and Calvin down here, and he’s not paying attention to me anymore.

But then the sleeping gentleman rises, zombielike, and takes one shuffling step toward me. Subway stations are awful when they’re empty like this. They’re caves for the leches, the harassers, the flashers. It isn’t that late—not even midnight on a Monday—but I’ve clearly just missed a train.

I move to my left, farther down the platform, and pull out my phone to look busy. Alas, I should know that drunk and persistent men are often not swayed by the industrious presence of an iPhone, and the zombie comes closer.

I don’t know if it’s the tiny spike of fear in my chest or a draft passing through the station, but I’m hit with the cloying, briny smell of mucus; the sour rot of spilled soda sitting for months at the bottom of a trash bin.

He lifts a hand, pointing. “You have my phone.”

Turning, I give him a wide berth as I circle back toward the stairs and Calvin. My thumb hovers over Robert’s phone number.

He follows. “You. Come here. You have my phone.”

Without bothering to look up, I say as calmly as possible, “Get the hell away from me.”

I push Robert’s name and hold the phone to my ear. It rings hollowly, one ring for every five of my pounding heartbeats.

Calvin’s music swells, aggressively now. Does he not see this person following me around the station? I have the absurd thought that it really is remarkable how deeply he gets in the zone while playing.

The man starts this shuffling, lurching run in my direction and the notes tearing out of Calvin’s guitar become a soundtrack for the lunatic chasing me down the platform. My tights keep me from running with any amount of speed or grace, but his clunky run speeds up, turns more fluid with confidence.

Through the phone, I hear the tinny sound of Robert answering. “Hey, Buttercup.”

“Holy crap, Robert. I’m at the—”

The man reaches out, his hand wrapping around the sleeve of my coat, jerking my phone away from my ear.


“Holls?” Robert yells. “Honey, where are you?”

I grapple, trying to hold on because I have the sickening sense that I’m off balance. Dread sends a cold, sobering rush along my skin: the man is not helping me stay upright—he’s shoving me.

In the distance, I hear a deep shout: “Hey!”

My phone skitters along the concrete. “Holland?”

It happens so fast—and I guess things like this always happen fast; if they happened slowly I’d like to think I’d do something, anything—but one second I’m on the nubby yellow warning line, and the next I’m falling onto the tracks.

Customer Reviews

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Roomies 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
gaele 8 months ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4 I adore the tensions and narrative voices in a Christina Lauren book, and Roomies is no exception. Smart characters, humor and a touch of sparkle that makes them feel oh so absolutely right together, each one of her books makes me happy. In Roomies, the setting is New York and the influences of Broadway, buskers, coffee shops and the hustle and bustle of the “city that never sleeps” are tactile and present in the story – always waiting stage left to make an entrance. Holland is an aspiring writer, working for her uncle on Broadway. She loves music and the city, and a well-turned phrase. A bit at loose ends, the opportunity to be in the middle of the New York scene is too good to resist – and then she spots him. A busker, playing his guitar on the platform, gentle melodies that speak to the heart. Calvin is a talented musician with an Irish accent that is beyond adorable and a heart of gold. He just wants to stay in the city for opportunity – but with his visa set to run out, his only chance may be a marriage. Together these two are off the charts adorable – a flirtation and crush on Holland’s part lead to an offer of marriage so Calvin can stay. But there’s so much more here: Calvin is sweet and gentle, challenging Holland to take those chances and grow in ways unexpected. For her part, Holland’s feelings for Calvin are developing, but there are obstacles to cross and secrets to reveal. The development of their relationship, with plenty of input and interference from secondary characters with sharp comments and questions reveal more layers and moments for both Calvin and Holland to grow, together and separately. Each moment of their relationship – full of firsts and revelations drags listeners along through the relationship as it grows and changes: allowing the emotions and firsts to feel plausible and possible – and the relationship and romance grow to be real and tangible as the story progresses. Narration for this story is provided by K. C. Sheridan, and the gentle performance clearly allows the text to speak to readers, while giving moments of additional emotional impact with pauses, hesitations, breathy releases and even a bit of bubbly smiles. Holland is clearly presented as someone searching for a purpose and attempting to do the best for all in her circle along the way: Calvin has that touch of Irishness that clearly presents in his phrasing and approach to telling a story, smooth and graceful. A lovely listen and hopefully just the first of many with this narrator. If you (like me) enjoy a Christina Lauren book – you won’t go wrong here. If you’ve not tried one – go for a trope that is rare in contemporary romance and take a chance with this marriage of convenience story: you won’t be disappointed. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
JWright57 More than 1 year ago
Christina Lauren are amongst my favourite authors and I really don’t think they are capable of giving us a bad book, Roomies is a sweet romantic read with great lovable characters. How far would you go to help your roommate out ? If you love modern day love stories full of romance and laughter this is the book for you and I’m sure it will be a book you won’t be able to put down. A marriage of convenience has been done many times before but once this writing due puts their stamp on it the whole story jumps to another level, the chemistry is is sizzling and the banter was perfect. Great book that I couldn’t put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am never dissapointed when it comes to a CLO book and this book is no different. First, lets start off with Holland is now my favorite book character out of all of the CLO books and that's saying something because I love Sara and Hanna. Anywho, Holland I feel is me. Quirky, loves her family, and feels lost through this crazy thing we call life. I love how she gradually changes and grows to love herself and Calvin through an unexpected way. One of the other things that always impresses me about the CLO books is the supporting characters. Jeff and Robert are wonderful characters that help Holland through everything and are just the loveliest people. Ahhh yes and the piece de resistance, Calvin. Beautiful and wonderfully flawed and the music that he creates with his guitar that I can somehow hear without actually having heard it before. He is kind, and sweet and if I already didn't have a book boyfriend in Max he would definitely be runner up. I had a really hard time putting this book down(even at work ?) and as always I am impressed with the characters, description, and of course, the intimate scenes ? Thank you CLO for another fantastic book!!
Julie Ringenbach 16 days ago
“I’ve never done this before. I just know I’m falling for the girl I married.” Christina Lauren always writes the best feel good romances. Roomies had me laughing, swooning, and kept a huge smile on my face the entire time I was reading !!! I finish this book in less than a day, which say alot about how much i enjoy it!!! This was maybe the sweetest book I’ve read all year. It was heartwarming, adorable, and just a joy to read. I loved this and I hope if you guys are looking for a romantic contemporary I think there’s going to be a sequel? I mean, I very hope so, because I wouldn’t mind reading more about my favorite pink-loving writer and her unbearded knight in hipster armor.
AboutThatStory 29 days ago
This was such a fun, entertaining read. From Holland’s quirky self to Calvin's sweetness, and the bits of drama and angst mixed in, I thought this was a really great story and I totally enjoyed it! I liked Holland a lot and really enjoyed her journey of figuring out who she was in the midst of this crazy situation. Calvin was wonderful and I loved his sweet looks and the building chemistry between them. I loved the fun and flirty, and the ease between them. There were a lot of fun scenes that had me laughing and some emotional ones too. There was a nice amount of drama at the end stressing me out. It was filled with angst and I couldn't wait for them to get to their HEA. I really liked the writing. It took me until about 20% for everything to click for me and then I was all in. This was first person, single POV and I thought it was done really well. I thought Holland had a great voice, I understood the struggle she was going through trying to find herself. I also felt like I really got to know Calvin even though I wasn't in his head. The story flowed nicely and I enjoyed the details and descriptions. I was just so entertained and had a good time losing myself in the story. There were some stressful moments for sure but but between the fun and the angst it was well balanced. All in all this was a great, entertaining read with just a touch of heat and a bit of drama!
StephG72 6 months ago
I absolutely love Christina Lauren books - they're a great combination of sexy and swoony, filled with great characters and stories. Roomies is no exception. I loved reading about how Holland's and Calvin's relationship evolved from being strangers in the subway station to being a real couple. The marriage of convenience factor added to the lovely slow burn surrounding the development of their relationship. In addition to that growth, I also thought that Holland's evolution as a character, going from someone who was somewhat lost to someone who finally found her voice, was equally compelling. This was as much a romance as it was a story about Holland's personal growth. Roomies was one of my favorite reads of the year!
ReadingFrenzyBookBlog 6 months ago
My first love has always been musical theatre, and I’ve now read two books in a row centering around the lives and loves of Broadway performers. It could be that I’m in a sentimental mood, but reading Roomies released mega endorphins and, quite simply, it made my heart happy. It was so easy for me to connect with Holland and her struggle to find passion in her stagnant life. With the support of her uncles—one a famous Broadway composer—she is able to live a comfortable life in Manhattan. Comfortable doesn’t mean happy or even satisfied, though. With her Masters degree gathering dust, she feels like an uninspired spectator to the achievements of those around her. Calvin is a street—or in this case, subway—performer as well as Holland’s longtime secret crush. He’s Irish—bonus sexy points for the accent—and musically gifted, but he’s also in the United States illegally. Holland is normally very cautious; however, there are several motives behind her impulsive decision to marry Calvin so that he can get a Green Card. I loved all the different angles. Holland is extremely giving and patient, and Calvin is artistically passionate with an overall easygoing nature. The humor, the camaraderie, and the peek at life behind the velvet curtains really help sell the story. I simply adored Holland’s two uncles. I wanted them to adopt me. This book re-affirmed my affection for Christina Lauren’s storytelling. Filled with tenderness, delicious tension, wit, and impeccable timing, Roomies is a highly charming romance that kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning.
moohnshine 6 months ago
I won this book on Goodreads.  I have not read anything from this author previously and found that I quite enjoyed this book very much.  It was such a sweet story.   In this story Holland (interesting name) is a New Yorker aspiring to be a writer.  With her MFA she has the means, but her head is empty of ideas.  She has writers block before she even becomes a writer.  She works with her famous Broadway Uncle to make ends meet.  She feels as if her life is going nowhere. Holland has a crush on a street musician, Calvin who plays the guitar in front of the train station.  She takes the train everyday, even though it is out-of-the-way, so she can hear him play.  His music is so captivating.  One problem.  He is in the country illegally.  When her uncle is put in a position where his whole show can go under, Holland does the only thing she knows will work.  She proposes to Calvin.  Can these two pull off a fake marriage and fool immigration without Holland's heart breaking? This book was an amazing story.  So sweet and enduring.  A marriage of convenience story that is not like all the rest.  It has some steamy scenes, but they are mild in comparison to most books on this subject.  It is so romantic and innocent.  I fell in love from the very first page.  I could not put it down. The characters were so wonderful.  Did I mention Calvin is an Irish bloke.  That's right ladies, ACCENT!!!  I love a man with an Irish accent.  Yummy!  Calvin is no different.  I can just imagine him.  Tall, dark and handsome.  The banter between him and Holland will crack you up.  I found myself laughing out loud several times during the book.  These two characters really make a great pair and have a charismatic chemistry.  Truly awe-inspiring.   A sweet romantic tale of two people struggling to discover themselves and fall in love.  It will pull on your heartstrings and make you fall head over heels in love.  I highly recommend this for those who love a good romance.  Think The Proposal starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, but with an accent.  ;)
Stephanie_Kaye 6 months ago
This book was super adorable and was definitely what I needed at the time of reading it! It was about a fake relationship between a New Yorker and an adorably sexy Irishman. I loved getting to know Holland and Calvin and their story is super cute. Calvin is a musician who gets a chance of a lifetime to perform on Broadway but he unfortunately is an illegal and has been living in New York past his school visa. Enter in the fake relationship set up by Holland. There are twists and turns, some I saw coming a mile away and some that snuck up on me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am highly anticipating more books written by this duo. I highly recommend this one to anyone who wants to read a comically romantic fake relationship turned real.
The Eclectic Review 7 months ago
Holland Bakker was a stalker. Not the scary type, but the music enthusiast type. She took the long way to work every day just to see the subway musician play his guitar with lovely abandon until a homeless man pushes Holland onto the subway tracks and changes her life forever. Calvin McLoughlin is a Julliard graduate from Ireland with an expired visa playing guitar in the subway and in various unknown bands in New York. He is in America illegally and calls the police anonymously to help the beautiful young woman who fell on the tracks. Fate brings Holland and Calvin together to help Holland’s uncle, Robert, who needs a musician fast to save his show. What can be done to keep Calvin in America legally for the job of his dreams? Holland owes Robert for giving her a job and how bad would it be to be married to Calvin, the man in her dreams? This is not just another romance novel for me and believe me, I have read my share of them. The story is unique, the characters are diverse and believable, and it is told without the saccharin and obnoxious love words found in other romances. And I would like to add that the humor is subtle, but very effective.
Anonymous 8 months ago
LEH0644 10 months ago
Holland is mesmerized by the music of the guitar played by a street musician in the subway station. She has a crush on the good-looking musician but is too shy to say anything to him. This all changes when a soloist in her uncle’s Broadway play quits and Holland doesn’t want the play to close down. She has a great idea. Calvin is the musician’s name and he agrees to go and play for her uncle. He does and everyone who listens is entranced. He is offered the part but regretfully turns it down. He is in the country illegally as his visa expired four years ago. But could he stay if he was married to a US citizen? Holland gets this insane idea to marry Calvin in order for him to stay and play in her uncle’s play. It would work, wouldn’t it?
Krittie28 11 months ago
I loved this book so much. Christina Lauren has become a favorite duo of mine through the last three years or so. I was intrigued to read a book that was different than some of the others I have picked up from them. I took this one on a flight with me from Nashville to Miami and was almost disappointed when the plane landed and I couldn't read the next sentence. Mind you, I was afraid at the start of the journey then didn't want it to end thanks to this book. I love the characters. I can relate to the heroine and it's easy to see why this duo is a bestselling "author". Every emotion that I could feel was definitely felt right along with this pair; happiness, anger, flirty, dirty, mystery, or even that second of pit despair. I definitely recommend anyone who wants a good read to pick this one up!
ReadingCornerforAll 11 months ago
Found it the perfect, light read suitable for any time of day. I liked plot and development of "Roomies"; it reminded me of the classic Rom-Com movies of the 90's and I could easily image it as a film. Christina Lauren writes Hollands character in the same manner as Mia from "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot. By this I mean "Roomies" has a light hearted writing style that makes it an easy read. On the other hand, I wish there had been more depth to the characters other than the principle electric attraction and witty interactions between Holland and Calvin between them. However, such is the style of the Rom-Com genre. Overall, this is a very funny, charming, laugh out loud book perfect for its genre. Would also recommend this for book clubs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story of Calvin and Holland, I wanted more!!
Amester6 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! It was everything I look for in a romance, cute, fun, and fast. Hate-to-love relationships and relationships of convenience are some of my favorite tropes, and the relationship of convenience featured in this novel is one of my favorites that I've read about in a while. The characters were great, the setting was so fun, and I loved the relationship. The only thing that I didn't completely love about this book was Lulu. I jut felt like it was really unnecessary for the main character's only female friend to be the worst. Most of the drama that Lulu caused would have made just as much sense coming from other characters, and I think this book would have benefitted from the portrayal of healthy female friendship.
Pasciuti More than 1 year ago
Wow. I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. There is a very fluffy air about Roomies by Christina Lauren that initially shouts out guilty pleasure read, making you picture the sort of books that are just okay but somehow rather addicting. To fully understand my stance on books like this, I must admit that I don't typically read romance novels on account of the fact that it's rare that I find myself enjoying them. With Roomies, I was pleasantly surprised. Roomies tells the tale of a young woman, Holland Bakker, several years after recieving her MFA in Creative Writing sort of stuck in her own self-comfort who develops a crush on a subway musician. She later marries the young street-musician, Calvin, in order to provide her Uncle Robert with a much needed opportunity to save his broadway production as it turns out the only way Calvin can perform is if his status in the country is made legal. Though romance might not be my favorite genre, the sex is tasteful and not excessive at all. I think often times the reason I avoid the genre is mainly due to the fact that I am not reading a book for sex scenes. I think Christina Lauren does an amazing job of setting up a good ratio between story, which includes character development and plot, and the intimacy shown between the two main characters. The plot is admittedly similar to ones I've seen before as this is certainly not the first time a story about a marriage in order to provide a green card has come under my radar. I recall initially being struck by the similarities the book's premise had to a movie I watched on Netflix a few months ago called High Strung. And yet, despite the similarities, Roomies captures the theme in a beautiful and creative way. I think this is the first time I have ever read a story about a character who was or wanted to be a writer and didn't feel as though it was contrived and annoying. What struck me most about Christina Lauren's novel was the writing. While most often when I read novels of the romance genre I feel let down by the skill of the author, I was nothing but impressed where Roomies was concerned. I eagerly devoured page after page, enjoying the well developed and unique characters. The dialogue and development was perfect, leaving me with a sense that the people in this story could actually be real, which I think is something that can at times be difficult to achieve. I also felt a deep appreciation for the added diversity, though admittedly there could have been more. At the end of the day, Roomies is a fast paced, delightful novel that you just can't put down. I finished the book within a day of recieving it and was even a little sad when I'd finished. While the plot isn't exactly what I would call original, the incredible writing and characters more than make up for it. Roomies is definitely the sort of book I can see myself re-reading in the future.
LightningCityBookReview More than 1 year ago
"Roomies" is not only a super-sexy and sweet Romance but it's a beautiful Love Letter to Musical Theater and Broadway. The dynamic writing duo that is known as Christina Lauren concocts a world filled with charming and likable characters. These characters fairly walk and breathe right off the page; and those are just the secondary characters. The Heroine, Holland's an extremely intriguing. She's a "people pleaser" described as being a supporting player in her own life story. Her actions are ultimately selfish, to get close to Calvin and perhaps have a relationship with him. But primarily she does it to save her uncle's show and give Calvin a shot at a Broadway career. Calvin's more straight-forward. He's an illegal, alien by-way-of Ireland, insanely talented, charismatic, with a sexy accent. The sexual tension and chemistry is through-the-roof with the main characters and their story is riveting. "Roomies" is a book I can see myself re-reading - and soon. I'm a theater-geek from way back and there's just something so magical about this book. Calvin and Holland are likable and engaging. Holland's obsession with the way Calvin says, "think" - "tink" is adorable. All the way around. The characters are richly vulnerable, sublimely sexy, there's a smidge of angst and a delightful dollop of romp. Christina Lauren have written a well-rounded wonderfully enchanting romance that will leave you with a smile on your face. To read the entire review please visit: This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such a sexy, heart wrenching, beautiful love story that can only happen in New York. It was everything I expected from Christina Lauren though the sex was toned down a little (not a bad thing!). The way Holland's story unfolds is beautiful, it's not just about finding love, but it's about finding herself, her place in the world and finally being the "star" of her own life. This book is perfect for the New Adult age group, just setting off from graduating college and wondering what comes next. How do you stop being the supporting actress? Not to mention Calvin is the perfect sexy musician hunk, who can resist that?! His loyalty and pure passion for music wrap him up into the perfect man for Holland. This is a story of love, finding one's passion, and finding oneself.
voraciousreaderKB More than 1 year ago
Enchanting!!! I loved this enchanting, funny, feel good story. The characters are endearing, unforgettable, have great dynamics between the them and I was immediately transported into their lives. Calvin and Holland have a chance meeting and it changes their lives. Calvin is a gifted musician from Ireland and his green card has expired. From the moment Holland hears Calvin play his guitar, she is blown away with his musical talent and she also develops a huge crush on him. Holland tries to help Calvin out by marrying him, so he can stay in the county and finally achieve his dreams. I really liked Calvin. He is a nice guy with a sexy Irish accent and although he is a highly talented classical guitarist, he is not pretentious. He is charming, affectionate, honest and once he meets Holland, he never looks at another woman. Calvin finds himself unable to resist Holland’s sweetness and fun personality. Holland has a hard time believing Calvin has feelings for her. While Calvin is talented and has always known what he wants, things are not as clear for Holland. She is smart, has her MBA and would like to write, but she has no ideas and can’t seem to get started. She is frustrated with herself and feels like a loser at twenty five. Holland is too hard on herself and doesn’t realize her worth. She goes through a lot of changes in this story and learns how to be the person she is meant to be. I liked both Calvin and Holland and felt invested in them. The story is smoothly written and the plot interesting. There are also engaging secondary characters adding to the story. Calvin and Holland have a lot chemistry bouncing between them. Even though they are married and live together, they take things slow as they get get to know each other. Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book vIa Cocktails and Books and Netgalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
HEABookNerd More than 1 year ago
A wonderful rom-com that kept me laughing! This was my first book by Christina Lauren and I was definitely impressed and certainly enjoyed this romantic comedy. The beginning felt a little slow but once things got started I enjoyed the pace and the writing was very enjoyable. I loved Holland as a narrator and found her incredibly relatable and funny; there were many times I had to stop myself from laughing out loud in the break room at work. I would have killed to know what Calvin was thinking during some of the scenes but Holland's POV was so enjoyable and I never got tired of listening to her voice. I also really enjoyed the growth that Holland experiences over the course of the book. Starting out, Holland is living in New York, her uncle's pay a large chunk of her rent, and she's working for her uncle at the theater helping with his play, but she admits this is not what she wants for her life. Instead, she wants to be a writer but she's struggling to get anything on the page. Holland was definitely in a rut and I could really relate to her struggles and found a strong emotional connection to the story. As time goes by we get to see Holland's growth as she rediscovers her passion for writing, learns to stand up for herself a bit, and learns to let go of toxic relationships and bad choices. She makes a lot of improvements in the end but there are still some issues and her lack of communication caused some problems in the end that drove me crazy. It's obvious that Holland does not like confrontation and she avoids it at all costs, even to the detriment of creating problems that aren't really there. Overall, this story is as much about Holland finally becoming the person she wants to be, as it is about her and Calvin falling in love. As for our hero, Calvin, I enjoyed him and completely get why Holland was so fascinated by his Irish accent. Again, I wish we could have a POV for Calvin, but Christina Lauren does a good job of expressing his thoughts and emotions through his actions and Holland's observations. He's surprised by Holland's offer of marriage but he jumps in and goes along; I can only assume that Calvin had some immediate attraction to Holland that helped him make that decision. Once their relationship starts to move from friends to actual lovers, I liked that Calvin was pretty open with his feelings. Holland often doubted them because she was concerned about his motivations but as the reader, I could clearly see how Calvin was falling more and more for Holland. He makes some interesting mistakes along the way that created some drama in the relationship but for the most part, Calvin was a great romantic lead. Holland's uncles were amazing and they stole the scene any time they were on the page. Her relationship to them is extremely close and more like father and daughter so she's often seeking their advice and approval. I loved how much they supported Holland and encouraged her to pursue her dreams, but also gave it to her straight when she needed it. I am a little bit jealous that I don't have uncles like this.
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’m a huge Christina Lauren fan and have loved everything they’ve written. I find their books to be both laugh out loud hilarious and swoon worthy. While this one was no exception, I didn’t gravitate towards it as much as I thought I would. I loved the idea that Holland has a crush on a subway street performer. She’s built up his story over the last six months and has named him Jack. After one too many drinks, she gets the courage to talk to him and finds out that his name is not in fact Jack, but Calvin. Long story short, she talks her uncle, who just so happens to be the composer of a massive Broadway musical, to give Calvin a listen, and pretty soon he’s ushered in for an audition. The only problem is, he’s in the States illegally and is unable to take the job. A job that would not only save her uncle, but be her crushes lifelong dream. So, what does any sane, single, female in her 20’s do? She marries the guy. Yup, she marries a street performer in order to save her uncle’s Broadway show and her crush. My problem wasn’t with the story itself, but rather with the lack of communication and intelligence between these two. Actually, more so on Holland’s part than Calvin’s. Obviously their relationship starts off as a fake relationship but soon they find themselves living their happily ever after. Except, there has to be drama. More drama than the immigration department looming over their head. I just felt like a lot of it could have been resolved, if not completely avoided, if Holland had not only talked to Calvin, but took a step back and assessed what was going on with the actions Calvin had displayed leading up to that moment. While some of her ire is justified, I just felt like a simple talk would have cleared the air. Which brings me to the fact that I felt like this story lagged a little big. I found myself getting a teeny bit bored in the middle. Which is really rare when I’m reading a Christina Lauren novel. I usually love everything they write but there was just something about this one that didn’t quite jive with me. Now that’s not saying that I didn’t laugh my butt off or swoon heavily over Calvin. It’s just that I found myself wishing for more and less. Less random stuff that took up way too much time in the novel, and more progression into everything that was happening. There were a lot of loose ends that never get resolved. Do the cops ever find the homeless dude who pushed Holland onto the train tracks? Do her parents ever get clued in that their daughter is married? What about Calvin’s family who was there one moment and then just left without a word? I just felt like a lot was brought to the table, but then just sort of got pushed aside and forgotten in order to further their romance and angst. While Roomies wasn’t my favorite novel by this amazing duo, I didn’t hate it. I suppose I just expected more from them and I felt let down when I didn’t get it. I honestly was hoping that in the end they would make it a unhappily ever after, like The Breakup with Jen Aniston and Vince Vaughn, but that wasn’t the case.
BoundlessBookaholic More than 1 year ago
My first read of 2018 and it was soooooo good! I highly recommend this one to music lovers, romance lovers, theater lovers, and pretty much everyone else too. This is definitely 5 out of 5 stars for me. I adored the characters in this one: Holland, Calvin, Robert, and Jeff. Although some of the supporting cast (haha) was nice to get a glimpse of too. I felt a kinship with Holland. It was kind of like she was speaking to my soul. We've all had a crazy crush, but most of the time it doesn't turn into anything. Well this girl makes it turn into something. As for Calvin, he's delicious. Definitely an addition to my book boyfriend list. Robert was an absolute pleasure to read about, and Jeff was fantastic too with all his protectiveness. I just can't gush enough about this book. I like theater, but I wouldn't say I'm a huge drama person. But reading about this Broadway book was amazing. Everything was fantastic for me. The emotions, the banter, the overall arc of the story, etc. READ THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to keep reading!
DoveArt More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sweet, charming love story. Holland is such a relatable character: a young woman trying to find her way and her voice. At the beginning we see Holland defined by the strength and talent of the people she loves: a spectator to the musician she has admired from afar, Calvin; a supporting character to her talented uncle; and a bit of a doormat to her friend Lulu. All of this is portrayed in a way that rings true, not pushed so far as to be annoying. I felt happy to see Holland grow and discover herself, charmed by her uncles, and endeared by Calvin. Add in moments were I snort-laughed, a few gasps here and there, this book had no extreme highs or extreme lows, but was an enjoyable ride.