Monday, February 3, 2020

Melinda's Review: House Rules

House Rules by Ruby Lang
Publisher: Carina Press (February 10, 2020)
Series: Uptown, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance (M/F)

ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.

Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kuo apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.

A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.

Three months. With strict boundaries.

Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.

Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.

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Melinda's Review:

This is the third and final book in Lang’s Uptown series and while second chance is not my trope of choice, I was thoroughly charmed by this book. Probably because it *also* kind of, sort of, includes marriage in trouble. Simon and Lana were married 17 years ago and got a divorce, so yes technically not a marriage in trouble. But for reasons that may only exist in a romance novel the two end up being roommates and begin to examine why their marriage did not work. I love marriage in trouble because I love seeing couples fight for their HEA.

One of the things I love about this books is that these two are adults in their 40s who’ve grown into who they are and know what they want from life. I always find that refreshing and just beautiful to see characters who are able to express that. When Lana says to Simon:

“I told myself after—after we separated I would always ask for what I needed, no matter how hard it was, no matter how long it took to work up to it, no matter how afraid I was of the answer. I’m still trying to do that.”

I was just about in tears at how much I could relate to this and how many women I know who struggle with asking for what they need. I LOVED seeing that on page from someone. I also really loved seeing Lana’s connection to food and how emotional that was for her and observations like Lana taking into consideration if she would be the only Asian woman when she moved into a neighborhood. Things like that made the story feel very poignant and relevant at times. There’s a point when Simon finally *sees* the changes that Lana has made and Lang does this via Lana’s food since she’s a chef and it’s beautifully done.

I really liked the complicated and messy characters in this whole series. When I talk about realistic storylines or characters I’m talking about vulnerabilities or complexities in characters and Ruby Lang really shines with that.

Oh and there’s an asshole cat named Muffin so I was obviously going to love this no matter what, I can’t help it, give me an asshole pet and I AM IN.

4 1/2 STARS! 

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Source: eARC

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! Who doesn't love an asshole cat??


Until Next Time,

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