Something to Talk About & The Roommate – Similarly frustrating for completely different reasons

I was considering doing individual reviews for both these books but the more I sat with my feelings the more I realized both these books incited similar reactions in me while reading them and that although I could rant about them for days, maybe making “mini” reviews will force me to keep my thoughts concise and the ranting to a necessary minimum, so here we go.

Title: Something to Talk AboutMeryl Wilsner - Something to Talk About

Author: Meryl Wilsner

Publication date : May 26th, 2020 

Publisher : Berkley | Penguin Random House

Genre : Adult | Romance

Page Count: 336goodreads

Synopsis : A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.
As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames? (from goodreads)

*I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

CW: Work place sexual harassment, homophobia.

(No Spoilers)

I had so many high hopes and expectations for Something to Talk About, it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it sounded so very promising to me as someone who enjoys celebrity type romances. Unfortunately, this ended up being both one of my biggest disappointments of the year and one the books that I disliked the most. Now this might sound harsh, but I genuinely was so frustrated with this book, I had a physical reaction to it, which was a first for me.

Now, I can hear you ask: but why was this book so frustrating to you, Fadwa? And all my reasons can be summed up in one single sentence: All the wasted potential. This book genuinely had every single element to become a new favorite of mine. A sapphic romance (between a lesbian Chinese woman and a bisexual Jewish woman). Age gap. Hollywood setting. Criticism and discussions about all the ways Hollywood is rotten to the core. But I can say with certainty that only the latter was remotely satisfying to read about.

I had two major problems that pretty much ruined the book for me. The first being that the two main characters do. not. communicate. Never. Not once do they tell each other anything they’re thinking about or anything happening that involves the two of them. Instead they talk to other people about each other, talk circles around each other and let minor issues fester until they become these huge blown out arguments that had no place to be to begin with. And I would be okay with this if it happened once or twice because it happens in real life so why would fiction be immune to it? But instead this was the basis of every single conflict which made the story both repetitive and tiring for the reader who had to witness the characters never learning from their mistakes.

My second problem was that although this story happened over the better part of a year, which I would have loved in normal circumstances because it would have made for a satisfying slowburn, I felt like the author chose all the wrong scenes and moments to showcase, a lot of the scenes were either useless for the romance development or cut too short to be of any real significance, which made the romance feel like it all happened off-page and that fueled my frustration further. Because I could see all the wasted moments, all the conversations we don’t get to read, the missed chances for both emotional and physical intimacy. And that was too bad.

Now, like I said in the beginning, what I did enjoy is the discussion around how bad hollywood is. Especially for women and more specifically women of color. From how award shows are rigged, to the way Jo, the Chinese MC, was treated in her work environment as well as well as sexual harassment. The latter specifically gave way to this whole subplot that was extremely interesting to read about but unfortunately, here too, I felt like the author wasted a very good opportunity and didn’t see it all the way through.

Do I recommend?

Truthfully? no. I’ve read many sapphic romances that were better developed.

Title: The RoommateRosie Danan - The Roommate

Author: Rosie Danan

Publication date : September 15th, 2020 

Publisher : Berkley | Penguin Random House

Genre : Adult | Romance

Page Count: 336goodreads

Synopsis : 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. (from goodreads)

*I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

CW: on-page car accident with no casualties or major injuries, driving anxiety, sex works stigma, threats & blackmail, discussion of leaked nude photos in the past.

(No Spoilers)

The Roommate wasn’t quite as frustrating as the previous title. In fact I was enjoying this one up until around the 80% mark where the direction the story took wasn’t one I agreed with for the simple reason that it didn’t make sense in the narrative and felt unnecessary to me, but I digress. Let’s start from the beginning.

I really liked the concept of this book. A socialite type woman who goes chasing her lifelong crush cross-country just to end up being left in dust and rooming with a guy she doesn’t know who also happens to be a porn-star. This sets up for an opposites attract type scenario where she is very uptight, a bit stuck up too and he’s a very laid back type person who’s open about pretty much…all things, but instead of clashing, the two of the them found a way to compromise and work well as roommates first, then friends and eventually lovers.

The romance between Clara and Josh felt well paced, there was a good balance between both cute and hilarious dialogue, domestic scenes and hot smut which was EXTREMELY well written, this genuinely has one of the most memorable oral sex scene I’ve ever read about and I gotta give credit to the author where it’s due. The story didn’t grip me and wasn’t set up to be a new favorite but not every single book has to be, I was enjoying it and having fun with everything it was doing up until around the 80% mark. Now where the story missed the mark for me is the final conflict, or what is commonly called the third act break-up.

I want to preface by saying that I do not have any issues with the actual story breakdown, it’s a formula that works in romance but the conflict that results in a breakup has to be convincing enough for me to buy into it, it has to bring something to the relationship, but sadly here, it didn’t. It was overly dramatic and instead of focusing on a single conflict, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong and it was all over the place and over the top. Especially since there was an external conflict that was big enough to completely disregard the possibility of a break up and still give the story some pretty high stakes to develop on and that’s what made the break up unnecessary and quite frankly annoying to me. It wasn’t needed for some good character and relationship development, especially since not every single thing that was done and said to provoke the conflict was properly addressed at the end.

What I genuinely loved about The Roommate though is the discussion around two things.

  1. Sex work and the negative brush it’s always painted with. The way sex workers, including porn stars are always seen as lesser than while the same people who judge them still benefit from and enjoy their services. With a special focus on the porn industry and how corrupt it is as well, since that’s what Josh does for a living.
  2. Albeit a bit binary, it opens the discussion on the focus on male pleasure in the porn industry and how most of what is made there is made with that in mind while putting unrealistic expectations on women and not taking into consideration what they might enjoy etc… and thus resulting in giving a false image to everyone involved in the equation.

Do I recommend?

This was a bit of a mixed bag for me so…a mild yes? until the last 20%?

That’s it until next time.

Did you read either of these books? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.


5 thoughts on “Something to Talk About & The Roommate – Similarly frustrating for completely different reasons

  1. Yikes! I was considering Something to Talk About, but I hate it when romantic comedies drag out the conflicts with cheap anti-communication techniques. I agree, it is realistic to throw in *some* miscommunication, but not for the whole story!


  2. Pingback: To sum-up: July & August 2020 wrap-up + September TBR | Word Wonders
  3. Something to Talk About was an anticipated release of mine too, and I haven’t read yet, because of all the mixed/disappointed reviews I read since it came out… I just don’t know what to do anymore lmao, a friend told me it wasn’t that bad but?? So many mixed reviews?? I just don’t want to waste my time on something that isn’t worth it…


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