Disclaimer: Nina Perez was holding my cats hostage while I composed this review. Who am I kidding; she doesn’t even like cats. All jokes aside, I am a regular contributor for Project Fandom, which is run by Nina Perez, but I promise an honest and candid review of the series.
Sharing Space was originally released as a 6-part series: Roommate Wanted; Family Ties; Slow Burn; Taking Chances; Winter Wishes and Before Forever; following the budding romance between Chloe Brooks and Patrick Murphy. Chloe has a lot of plates in the air, currently working for a New York marketing firm and vying for a promotion, recent loss of significant income when her roommate moves out unannounced and fresh off of an abruptly ended relationship. Patrick, a part-time actor looking for his big break, wants to make the move from his parents place in Long Island to the City that Doesn’t Sleep, closer proximity to auditions and potential acting gigs is his goal. First, he needs a place to live… see where this is going?
Wait don’t leave!
This is not your usual boy-meets-girl tale spun into a neat package with the perfect meet-cute, easy love, and resolution. Chloe and Patrick have to not only get out of their own way, but decide whether dating your roommate and being in an interracial relationship is worth the effort. With naysayers on both sides, Chloe and Patrick have a decision to make, follow their hearts or go their separate ways.
I breezed through book one (Roommate Wanted) and made quick work of book two (Family Ties). I was interested in Chloe and Patrick, but I did not become invested until the middle of book three (Slow Burn). Chloe shows vulnerability and uncertainty in her new relationship with Patrick. She is questioning whether the feelings she has for him are real and reciprocated. I’ve felt that way and you can see Chloe trying to talk herself out of falling for Patrick. Throughout the series I saw myself in Chloe and a lot of my own mom with the introduction of Adrian Brooks (Chloe’s mom) in book four (Taking Chances). Patrick has an unfortunate realization during pre-Thanksgiving dinner and Adrian takes a few moments to console him. The situation is very realistic and more likely to occur at family dinners, not everything is throwing plates and Cousin Ray cursing out Aunt Pam over the potato salad.
One of the points that authors miss in romance novels is intimacy. I don’t just mean sex. Sex is always present; there are love buttons to be pushed and voluptuous mounds to kiss, rising members and quickening seed all over the damn place. However, intimacy is different, the easy silence between a couple that isn’t often observed by those on the outside. There are quiet moments between Chloe and Patrick; Nina does a fine job of capturing them.
Patrick has a point of view all his own, it is obvious and distinct from Chloe’s, which is very refreshing. Even though Nina never makes mention of Patrick having an accent, he is from Long Island and even if he had vocal coaching to lessen it, I always felt it was present. I wonder if she consulted men on how they might describe a woman when doing anything. I feel like for some guys it would be all ZOINKS and JINKIES any time Chloe took her shirt off. Patrick is definitely more eloquent about his thoughts on Chloe’s physique.
The supporting cast of characters are well written and adds depth to this love story; oftentimes in romantic-dramedy, whether it is in written form or on screen, the writer spends so much time with the couple, we do not know who influences the characters personalities. Both Chloe and Patrick have friends and family to turn to when they can’t find solace in each other and that is very true-to-life
It was delightful to read a story with a black female lead that is not snapping her neck, popping gum or worried about a singing career. Chloe is a young professional focused firmly on her career and if love comes along, she is open to that too. She does not come across as a caricature of what the media would like you to believe is the 20-something black woman in America. She also did not turn her nose up at dating someone who happened to be white. Or “a white boy” as her good friend Myra would say. As someone who has dated men of varying ethnicities, the only people who ever really pay attention to the race of your partner are those not in the relationship and Nina addresses that well throughout the Sharing Space series. There is a part when Patrick introduces Chloe to a fan; the fan assumes a middle-aged white woman is the more likely partner than cocoa-colored Chloe. That is a reality. I know that feeling and it stings. People in interracial relationships do not go around proclaiming they are going to bring world peace with their babies. They just want you to stop the staring and get out of the way when in line at Trader Joe’s.
Okay I am off my “ I’m Black and I’m proud” soapbox, but as you can see, Sharing Space hits home.
The only qualms I have with the series is I would like to see another book or even if the individual books were a tad bit longer to wrap up some of the other storylines. Patrick is a little too perfect at times, but honestly that is okay because he isn’t flawless and she never decides to turn him into a raging asshole just to tarnish his armor.
Overall the series is addictive, (like meth, minus the bad skin and low self-esteem) sexy and fun. Because I don’t like to be teased, I waited until the first 3 books had been released before I started the series. Each novella comes in at a little under 100 pages, this is a series for you reading commitment-phobes. Sharing Space is filled with love, laughter and tears, a great ride from start to finish. Not ready to dive into 400-page novel a pick up Sharing Space part one and you will find yourself coming back for more.
You can purchase each individual novella for the Kindle below (book one is currently free):
You can purchase the full series as one Kindle download and it includes an excerpt from Nina’s next contemporary romance novel, Lily in the Middle:
The book is also available in paperback: