Book Review of The Roommate by Rosie Danan

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

336 pages

IBSN: 9780593101605

Publication: 9/15/20 by Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

B&N | Book Depository

*click photos for original source

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.


Even if Clara had broken his heart. Even if she continued to baffle him, continued to infuriate him with how much she made him want her. If she wanted to go to war with a porn monolith, well, the least he could do was ride in beside her.

› A rom-com about the porn industry? Sign me up! You don’t read about that…ever. I love that there’s a book that normalizes it, but also discusses how toxic it can be/is. It tackles both perspectives, male and female, and how sexual assault is sexual assault no matter the gender. I think it would be an important romance to read just in those regards.

› Moving on to the characters—they didn’t impress me by the end of the novel. Josh and Clara start out being two interesting main characters. They are in the same place for two completely different reasons, and they make it work because it’s in their best interest. They get to know each other, for the most part, and there’s sexual tension, of course. It wouldn’t be a romance novel without it. I respect what they tried to do after Josh didn’t want to work for the big porn company anymore—making their own sex-ed type of company, Shameless. I just couldn’t pinpoint why they hit every nerve. The drama just seemed childish (as is most drama).

› I’m really excited to read The Intimacy Experiment by Danan. I actually have the early digital copy from NetGalley, so I’m hoping I’ll get to that sooner rather than later. Thanks Berkley/NetGalley! I think the writing, the potential of the characters, and the intriguing plot has me coming back for more. I’m pretty sure this a series because a character that’s in this book is in the next one, but there’s no series title.

› Would I recommend this to you? Yes! It’s so much fun to read. If you can handle pain-in-the-ass characters, then you’re golden. It might drag a little bit toward the end, but I think you’d be able to push through.

Rosie Danan writes steamy, big-hearted books, articles, and tweets about the trials and triumphs of modern love. When not writing, Rosie enjoys jogging slowly to fast music, petting other people’s dogs, and competing against herself in rounds of Chopped using the miscellaneous ingredients occupying her fridge. To receive first look updates on Rosie’s books as well as infrequent—but cultivated with care—odes to swoon-worthy celebs, useful writing tools, and recommendations for everything from books to bold lipsticks, subscribe to her newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/rosiedanan


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New Release Tuesday (10/6/20)

Hello, friends! I’ve recently discovered “New Release Tuesday” from other blogs I’ve been following. It seems like it would help me keep up with what’s new in the world of books. I don’t know who created this otherwise I would tell you. If you know, then definitely tell me in the comments.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget. France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get my hands on this one. I might be able to snag it from my library. This sounds really interesting, and I cannot wait to read it. I’ve never read anything from Schwab before, so hopefully it doesn’t disappoint. Release date: Today.


The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist. It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

I did manage to read The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in December of 2018. I was pretty confused most of the time, but I remember really enjoying his writing style. This one just sounds odd and much different than his previous novel. Release date: Today.


In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions. But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy. The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this author duo. Their most recent novels have not hit the spot, but I keep coming back in hopes the next book will be better. I’m hoping that this one doesn’t make me want to stop reading their books. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the early digital copy. Release date: Today.


The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith

In the second installment of this richly imagined fantasy adventure series, a new threat from within the Library could destroy those who depend upon it the most. The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell–and from its own librarians. Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.

I’m laughing because I haven’t even read the first book in this series. I’ve heard so many good things, and I’m an impulsive person, so of course I immediately requested this on NetGalley. *slaps forehead* Thank you NetGalley and Ace Publishing for the early digital copy. Release date: Today.

What are some of your most anticipated releases?


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Book Review of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

374 pages

ISBN: 9780316421997

Published: 9/10/19 by Redhook

Genre: Portal Fantasy

Rating: 3 out of 5.

B&N | Book Depository

*click on photos to view original sources*

“In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.”


Doors, he told her, are change, and change is a dangerous necessity. Doors are revolutions and upheavals, uncertainties and mysteries, axis points around which entire worlds can be turned. They are the beginnings and endings of every true story, the passages between that lead to adventures and madness and—here he smiled—even love. Without doors the worlds would grow stagnant, calcified, storyless.

Whew, I actually finished this an entire month later. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much for me except prove to me how much I’m not a fan of portal fantasies. An example of another portal fantasy would be Seanan McGuire’s The Wayward Children Series, which I tend to not enjoy as the novels are published. This one, however, is more whimsical, so I figured I would enjoy it a little more. And I did, but not by a landslide.

› The story itself is very creative and original. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. January finds a book that leads her to other worlds on the other side of doors. It slowly takes you through her discoveries as she reads this book, and they even involve her. I won’t spoil the how and the why. There are a lot of intricacies that I can definitely appreciate. I can tell that a lot of time and thought went into the book.

› However, the writing isn’t balanced. Too much whimsy within long passages. I want even amounts of character development and dialogue, description, and action. There’s not enough description of the worlds that the characters travel to through the doorways. They enter and they’re immediately speaking to another character. There is a brief description of the first door she steps through, but even then it was a short paragraph. I’d say it would make for an even longer book, but there are other parts that could be cut out to make room.

› I wanted to share a line in the novel that actually made me stop for a minute. It’s a quote that I’ll remember for a long time. It’s one of the few lines that I still think of, even though I started this a month ago.

Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges.

Tell me that’s not a well-crafted sentence. It paints a weird picture in my head of a door. I loved this so much, and I searched the rest of the book for that. Nothing else wowed me like this single line. It’s beautiful. It’s what makes me not want to give up on this author.

› Would I recommend this book? I would recommend it to a certain group of people, but I know it won’t be for everyone. I think if you enjoy portals, the search for family, secrets, and beautiful / whimsical writing, then you’ll probably like this. It just didn’t all mesh together for me.

› I ended up needing the audiobook to get me through this, and I ended up becoming a member of Libro.fm—an audiobook company that supports indie bookstores. I’m obviously not sponsored, but I wanted to give them love and support. When you become a member, you get a 30% discount on the audiobooks, you get a credit each month for the same price as audible, and you can refer friends so they can get a free audiobook. If any of you are interested, here is my referral code lfm215615.

Let me know down in the comments what you thought about this book! If you haven’t read, then is it on your tbr?

“I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. I have library cards in at least five states. Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.”


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Recently Acquired Library Books

Hello, friends! How’s your Friday going?

I work at my local library and I’m on vacation this week, so I didn’t think I’d pick up any physical books. I decided yesterday to see if I had anything waiting for me, and I did!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – “This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.” Published by Atria Books – 9/8/20

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding – “Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, The Arrangement delves into the sordid, all-too-real world of shadowy relationships between wealthy, powerful men and the young women who are caught in their web.” Published by Scout Press – 7/30/2019


Do you use your library very often? If so, what books do you have checked out currently?


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Finally Fall Book Tag

Hello, friends! I haven’t participated in a book tag recently, so here’s a festive one to start the season off with. I stumbled upon it over at @ Becky’s Book Blog

**Not sure who the creator is, so if you know, please tell me in the comments. I obviously want to give credit where it’s due.**

In Fall, the air is crisp and clear: Name a book with a vivid setting.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

The setting in here is what makes this book, this book. I find that Sager does that very well, and if you don’t like this one, then pick up Home Before Dark.

Nature is beautiful…but also dying: Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

I’m sure a lot of people found this book boring, but I absolutely loved it. I thought McLain’s writing was beautiful. The story does deal with war and a bit of oppression. I’m sure we all know about the type of person Hemingway was, after all.

Fall is back to school season: Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It was between this and Letters From An Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which is also an incredible non-fiction book. There’s one part that almost made me cry. Anyway, this book is more of my style. I love psychology, and I think that people who don’t read non-fiction would also really enjoy this.

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: Name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be part of.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The Marsyas orphanage from The House in the Cerulean Sea is definitely the group I’d want to be part of. I’d love to meet all the kids, and help out with anything they might need. I’d also love to become friends with Linus and Arthur. Oh, what a wonderful world that would be.

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

I’m pretty sure the beginning is of a storyteller who is about to tell a story—which obviously ends up being the book. This is one of my all-time favorite novels. It’s so much fun!

The nights are getting darker: Share a dark, creepy read.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

I don’t read a lot of dark and creepy. I would say It by Stephen King, but that’s extremely long. I found The Vegetarian by Han Kang to be weirdly creepy…and dark. It’s not a book for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it. It’s definitely one with a deeper meaning behind it.

The days are getting colder: Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

I don’t read a lot of short, heartwarming novels, so here’s a heartwarming graphic novel for you.

Fall returns every year: Name an old favorite you’d like to return to soon.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This is another all-time favorite book of mine. I’d like to reread it to see if it still holds up. I watched the show, and I didn’t end up liking it as much as I thought I would have. It made me want to reread this, but there are so many novels I need to get to. How do you find time for rereads?


I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I really thought it was fitting since tomorrow is the first day of Autumn for the northern hemisphere. Even if you don’t live where it’s Autumn, participate in this anyway! I tag anyone who wants to do it.


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Book Review: The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

Thank you to NetGalley / Harper for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

450 pages

Published on 9/10/19 by Harper

ISBN: 9780062946935

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.

There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.

Review:

Trigger Warnings: Miscarriage, death of a baby, murder, suicide.

It was true after all: we are never more easily deceived than when we are ourselves in the act of deception.

This book pulled me out of a month long reading slump. Historical fiction will always be a superior genre in my reading life—if it’s done correctly.

The story takes place from December 1936 to 1940 and an epilogue that just wraps up what happened to everyone beyond 1940. It’s told in third-person omniscient, which I have learned is my favorite perspective. I love seeing all the characters from a bird’s-eye point of view, but also getting to understand how they feel. First person just seems so inauthentic unless it’s a thriller.


Geertruida Wijsmuller—Tante Truus—is a motherless Dutchwoman who rescues Jewish children from Nazi Germany and takes them to a safe country—Netherlands / England. She ends up making a deal with Eichmann (who I will mention later) to manage 600 children on a train—no babies / no 18-year-olds—during Sabbath. Not one child more or less. They all have numbers they have to go by. This is how Geertruida comes into contact with Stephan, Zofie, and Walter.

The reader also meets Geertruida’s husband, Joop. He doesn’t play a huge role in the novel, but they have been dealing with some infertility issues as well as the struggle with transferring the children from country to country. He understands why she does it, but his main goal is to protect his beloved wife.

I get where Joop is coming from, but I don’t always agree with how he communicates with Truus. He wants her to believe that having her own child is more important than SAVING the ones that are in imminent danger. I wouldn’t want to bring another baby into a horrifying situation such as pre-WWII / WWII. There was a quote from Truus that made me really connect with her. There is always so much pressure to have a kid, and this quote is extremely accurate—even in today’s world.

I’m a woman who can’t bear children in a world that values nothing else from me.

Geertruida Wijsmuller

Stephan Neuman starts out as a 15-year-old Jewish boy who wants to become a playwright. His idol is a well known playwright—Stefan Zweig. Stephan’s main goal is to get a typewriter for Christmas. Stephen lives in a mansion surrounded by quite a bit of family—Aunt Lisl, Uncle Michael, little brother Walter, Walter’s stuffed rabbit Peter, Papa and his ill mother.

He runs out to the barbershop to get his hair cut by Otto. Stephan doesn’t have the funds to pay for the haircut, so Otto pretends to cut it. Then Stephan meets Zofie-Helene—Otto’s granddaughter. Zofie’s mother—Kathe Perger—is the editor of Vienna Independent. Zofie’s father used to be the editor, but he was claimed to have committed suicide in a Berlin hotel in 1934. Zofie is an unfiltered math prodigy. Numbers are everything to her!

But one is always greater than zero, Grandpapa, even if zero is more interesting mathematically.

Zofie-Helene

I will add that Stephan talks a lot about Zofie’s breasts. He is a 15-year-old boy, after all. I just didn’t get the reason for it other than that. It isn’t mentioned a lot, but it’s definitely there.

Adolf Eichmann works at the Jewish Department—SD II/112—and was denied a promotion. Instead, he has to show around his new Prussian boss, Obersturmfuhrer Wisliceny. They discuss what should happen to the Jews, and Eichmann suggested they send them to countries that won’t benefit from Germany’s detriment. This ends up being the man that Truus talks to about the train to England.

It’s the problems you fail to anticipate that defeat you.

Geertruida Wijsmuller

The focus on family and the effect of giving up small children can have on them is incredibly well done. It also proves just how strong children are—mentally and physically—when they have to be. I loved the friendships that are formed, the love Truus has for each individual child, the risks that are taken by everyone. I loved every bit of it.


I don’t want to go into extreme detail about everything. There are a lot of plot points I left out (Stephan’s father, Stephan’s aunt and uncle, how Zofie, Walter, and Stephan all end up on the train, what happens when they all get to England, etc.) because I don’t want to ruin the enjoyment of the book. There are so many pieces of treasure you get to discover while reading this. The writing is also pretty incredible. I highly recommend this one to y’all!


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