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  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Roomie story + Roomies Survival Kit Giveaway!

This is probably one of the most fun ways to do a giveaway. The giveaway is in conjunction with the lovely book Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando, which went on sale Christmas Eve last year.

About the book:

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
December 24, 2013

The countdown to college has begun.

When Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can't wait to escape her New Jersey beach town, and her mom, and start life over in California.

The first note to Lauren in San Francisco comes as a surprise; she had requested a single. But if Lauren's learned anything from being the oldest of six, it's that you can't always get what you want, especially when what you want is privacy.

Soon the girls are emailing back and forth, sharing secrets even though they've never met. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives...and each other.

With humor and heart, Sara Zarr, National Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl, and Tara Altebrando, acclaimed author of The Pursuit of Happiness, join forces for a novel about that time after high school, when everything feels like it's ending just as it's beginning.


For this giveaway/sweepstakes, we were asked to share a "Roomie story" of our own. So here goes mine:

I worked in Japan for six months, and I've been sharing an apartment in Yokohama with my friend Kat. She's been doing all the chores (take the proper trash on the right days, buying groceries, etc) for us both while I settled in since she had been staying in the apartment for more than a month before I did, so I thought I'd cook something that closely resembles food from home.

So we went out and tried to find fish that looks almost the same as the ones we eat back in Manila. I'm a pretty decent cook, but if there's one thing I hate to do before cooking fish is cleaning and removing the guts off it, and they don't offer to clean your fish for you in Japanese supermarkets.

"So how do we clean this?" Kat asked me. That's what I got for telling her that I CAN cook. I didn't say I can clean fish!
"I... don't know. Wanna try?" I told her, and then I raised the knife.

We were standing in front of the sink for at least five minutes before I decided to just hack away parts of the belly. Needless to say at the end of it, we looked like we murdered someone.

And then comes the frying part. I, for one, am not used to using an electric stove since we have a gas stove at home and I almost always end up burning whatever is in the pan for the days I've tried frying using an electric stove, but that's all we have in the apartment, so I gave it a go anyway. When smoke started rising from the pan until it entered our living room, Kat panicked and we both forgot which button we need to press (everything's in Japanese!) to turn the stove off.

"What's that sound?" This was me, eyes wide because I was hearing something loud.
"Hala! (Oh!) The fire alarm!"

We forgot that the landlord had a new fire alarm installed in the kitchen and we were so surprised when it went off because of the smoke.

I don't know how Kat was able to turn the stove off without wrecking that evil thing, and I was trying my best to get the fire alarm to stop ringing because it was really loud. I got it off the ceiling a few minutes later and just when I was removing the batteries from the thing, the landlord was already ringing our doorbell. I don't really remember what he said because he was speaking in rapid Japanese and I just stood there beside Kat, hiding the fire alarm and batteries behind me while she attempted to explain that we were just frying fish.

After that, whenever when we're at home during the weekends, we just go out and eat at our favorite Ramen place. It was much safer.


Sara and Tara will also be on tour, and here's where and when you can catch them:

January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson [venue link]
January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King's English [venue link]
January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library [venue link]
February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza [venue link]
February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield's Books [venue link]


Here's what you can win:

A Roomie survival kit/gift pack including earplugs, home spa essentials, a signed copy of the book, a special note from the authors, and other fun things—all packed in a shower caddy! (I want one, really!)

Giveaway rules:

US Only (Sorry!)
Winner will be picked January 20th
Feel free to share a roomie story of your own! I'd love to discuss with you!


  1. I've had lots of roomies. Usually it was great and some of them are still my best friends. One guy had a friend who crashed with us and stole a bunch of my CDs but what are you gonna do? Mostly it was fine.

  2. One of my roomies was from Japan and she cultured her own yogurt. I stumbled upon a good deal for an automatic yogurt maker so I surprised her with it. She was really pleased and I was happy that she liked it and used it.

  3. (This is Darith L.)

    It’s my first year of college, so I’m still making memories! Anyways, I remember one day my roommate and some of our friends decided to followed the source of this ice-cream truck music at night! It was like 9 pm or something. It was pretty spontaneous and hilarious. We gave up when we went a bit too far off campus. :D

  4. The only room mate I've ever had was my sister. We shared a room for 15 years! It had its pros and cons, but it kept us close :) We're only 3 years apart, so we could talk about a lot of things. Thanks for this!


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