Review: Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: April 10, 2018

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

The first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

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Other people have a falling-out. What we had felt like a rupture.

I don’t typically read women’s fiction, unless of course it’s penned by the talented duo that is Christina Lauren. Then I don’t even think twice about jumping into the story. Though truth be told, while the story encompasses friendship, life and loss, the romantic element is very much at the heart of everything. So even though it wasn’t the steamy romance that I’m used to from theses authors, the emotional connection that I developed to these characters and their story was more than enough to make up for it.

Macy Sorensen is a woman that seemingly has her life together with a loving finance and a budding medical career. But then everything comes to a screeching halt when she bumps into the one man that she never forgot or gotten over; Elliot Petropoulos. The boy that was once her everything, her confidant, her best friend, her escape, is now a man. And while it’s clear there’s a reason for their ultimate rift, the reader is left to wander what could possibly happen to tear apart such a strong bond. The story is told in alternate parts past and present, truly engrossing the readers into the connection that these two develop and share from the time they’re just children. You get to experience them becoming friends, to developing feelings, and ultimately falling for one another. Christina Lauren did such a phenomenal job with the development of these characters and their sweet and budding love. You don’t feel like you’re just reading it, you truly feel engrossed in their experience. It’s beautiful, emotional, and so incredibly real. It’s a coming of age sort of feel with the addition of true adult feelings in the aftermath. It was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.

Elliot clearly never got over Macy, and Macy clearly never got over whatever it was that made her turn away from him. Years apart did nothing to heal the wounds or dim the love they had for each other. The story is brimming with emotion and overrunning with the rawness of their love for each other and pain of their past. It was magnificent and almost painful to read at times. It had me riveted to the pages, eager for just one more morsel to truly understand what could possibly go wrong to tear them apart.

This had all the makings of an epic 5 star read for me, until the big reveal happens. Man did I struggle with my feelings about it. And while I can understand how something like that could happen in the circumstances they had, it still felt like a betrayal to everything I had learned about these characters. I’d be lying if I said a part of me didn’t absolutely hate it. Because I did. I hated it and it ripped my heart apart at the same time. But after sitting on my rating and review for over a week, I decided that I can’t discount everything else this book made me feel, including the ultimate reveal of the truth. I may have hated it, but it also made me feel. It made me feel right along with the characters, and even though a part of me can’t help but still feel like it was in part unnecessarily OTT, I get it. I truly do.

Love and Other Words was a beautifully crafted coming of age story and second chance romance. It was emotional and all encompassing. It made you feel everything. So much of it. And it left a bit of a gaping hole in your heart at the end, even while mending bits and pieces of it. I hated it and I loved it, and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Geri’s Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

ROOMIES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: December 5, 2017

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director.

When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him.

As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway.

In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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Come home and kick me in the teeth if you need to, but then kiss me.

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This book isn’t just sweet & cute, it’s also full of charm and wit. It also has fantastic tension and conflict, not to mention a great chemistry between its main protagonists.

Roomies is told entirely in Holland’s point of view, which was great mainly because Holland is a character that you can’t help but love. She doesn’t have her shit together. One could say that she’s privileged, which she is, but the great thing again is that the book acknowledged her privilege. You just can’t help but root for her.  And her painful crush on the hero was not only endearing, it’s also very relatable.

Calvin was a crush-worthy hero that I honestly couldn’t blame Holland for crushing hard on him. What I really like about his character is that he’s not the quintessential ” alpha bad boy musician” hero I’m used to reading nowadays. He’s a theater nerd, and I personally find that refreshing. He’s very flawed, and his backstory is one that immigrants like me could relate to. And even if you’re not a US immigrant, you’d still feel for him.

I loved the marriage-of-convenience set up. Holland and Calvin started out as strangers and then friends until they inevitably became lovers. But things aren’t as straightforward as it may seem. There’s quite a bit of angst in this book. Not too much though, just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and invested in these characters. You want them to work out so bad but since they’re not perfect characters, imperfect decisions were made.

One other thing that makes this book for me are the secondary characters, most especially Holland’s “uncles” Jeff and Robert. Their presence in this book was a grounding force for Holland. They’re her rock and she’d be lost without them. I loved these characters so much I wanted to read more about them, preferably in their own standalone book.

Roomies isn’t a perfect book but the emotion it evoked was undeniable. The romance, the banter, the sexy times…all of it worked. It’s a quick read, too. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was that readable.

So whether you’re a fan of the marriage-of-convenience trope or not, I highly recommend this book. It’s sweet and angsty with characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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