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Uptown #1

Playing House

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The last thing Oliver Huang expects to see on the historic Mount Morris home tour is longtime acquaintance Fay Liu bustling up and kissing him hello. He's happy to playact being a couple to save her from a pushy admirer. Fay's beautiful, successful and smart, and if he's being honest, Oliver has always had a bit of a thing for her.

Maybe more than a bit.

Geeking out over architectural details is Oliver and Fay's shared love language, and soon they're touring pricey real estate across Upper Manhattan as the terribly faux but terribly charming couple Darling and Olly.

For the first time since being laid off from the job he loved, Oliver has something to look forward to. And for the first time since her divorce, Fay's having fun.

Somewhere between the light-filled living rooms and spacious closets they've explored, this faux relationship just may have sparked some very real feelings.

206 pages, ebook

First published August 12, 2019

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About the author

Ruby Lang

23 books188 followers
Ruby Lang is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, essayist Mindy Hung, has written for The New York Times, The Toast, and Salon, among others. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.

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5 stars
117 (7%)
4 stars
397 (26%)
3 stars
660 (44%)
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262 (17%)
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51 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 338 reviews
Profile Image for Talia Hibbert.
Author 31 books29.4k followers
August 23, 2019
This book was a whirlwind of excellence and I absolutely adored it.

I love books with emotional conflicts that aren’t super dramatic, but ARE deeply-rooted and speak to most people’s life experiences. This is one of those books. It gripped me from the first page, but with, like, a marshmallow hand. Reading it felt like taking a spa day. A funny, sexy spa day. I wholeheartedly recommend.

Fay and Oliver are acquaintances because they both work in urban planning in NYC. Fay is dealing with the aftermath of a marriage that really knocked her confidence, and Oliver is dealing with stigma and family pressures after losing his job. They’re both wonderful, thoughtful characters who I fell in love with. Fay is ambitious and powerful and aware that society dislikes those qualities in women. None of that stops her from having confidence wobbles and uncertainties. Oliver is gentle and strong and caring, also known as COMPLETELY SWOONY.

As for plot - basically, Oliver proves handy as a momentary fake boyfriend when Fay is harassed while viewing a house. From that moment on they discover an attraction and shared sense of humour that makes it way too easy for them to fake a relationship - which they continue to do while viewing various amazing houses (I really enjoyed the houses, LOL) for professional reasons.

And then, of course, the line between their fake and real romance begins to blur. Oof, we love a good blur.

All in all, Playing House is an amazing comfort read!
Profile Image for jenny✨.
578 reviews833 followers
August 10, 2020

Playing House is fluffy and funny and heartwarming and ALL THE GOOD THINGS. The reason I've given this 5 stars is because I went in expecting nothing more than these things (a pick-me-up with charming characters, a novella that makes me grin) and it certainly delivered.

There's urban-planning geekage on every other page and I'm bursting with affection for Oliver and Fay, who are just so endearingly imperfect. Let it also be known that my fave character is hands down Oliver's brother Nat, who's hilarious and wicked smart and gay as all hell—

“In love again?” Oliver asked.
“Of course. The boy of my dreams. He’s got dimples. And a cleft chin. He’s just bulges and depressions in all the right places.”
“Is he a man or is he a topographical map?”
“He’s the valleys and the mountains, and I’m going on a long hike along the trails—all the trails, baby.”

I loved Ruby Lang's capturing of Manhattan and the nuances of Chinese parent-child relationships. I loved that it touches on themes of being okay with uncertainty and vulnerability, even when they feel like the hardest things to be.

First Nia Forrester's Not That Kind of Girl, and now this?? I think I’ve found my new favourite thing ever: romance novellas by and about women of colour, featuring love interests who are self-aware and compassionate and all the hotter for it. :')))))
Profile Image for Laura.
471 reviews558 followers
July 18, 2019
I really wanted to like this story, but it was way too simple to develop any sort of attachment to the characters.

The book does a poor job at building up everything. Not only did I feel like I was reading book 2 in a series or a flashback kind of novella. I felt like I already should’ve known the characters and their backstory. That’s how little the book explored them.

It was cute, don’t get me wrong but it was so short (like under 10 chapters short and the chapters are not full packed either) and that really took a lot from the story. I cannot pinpoint any characteristic, nor I can say I remember a lot of the plot.

It’s such a pity this ended up being this meh because I was very excited to read a cute and sexy contemporary romance.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,582 followers
January 14, 2020
A very sweet and hot friends to lovers novella. Unusual in its depiction of the hero, who is 36 but a bit adrift and has quite low self esteem around job and family. It's real-feeling, and the house-hunting aspect is very well done. Short so the conflict is easily resolved but very satisfying for its length.
Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,320 reviews283 followers
November 26, 2019
Lang is clever and a fine author but this was mediocre as hell. There was no tension, it was cute. Everything was rushed, and it didn't ignite any spark of interest in me. A shame really bc I thought what little we see of the characters was very endearing and would've happily read another 200 pages. But the short form left me with little to cheer about, other than a pair of urban planning MCs.
Profile Image for Emma.
930 reviews887 followers
September 15, 2019
Even though it was a short read, it definitely was a nice one! I was surprised to find a cute romance with nice characters and no unnecessary drama in the relationship. Oliver and Fay were both lovely and I liked how they came to be together and the passion that they shared for their jobs and old buildings/houses in general.
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
472 reviews14.4k followers
August 28, 2019
A sweet story and a quick read, Ruby Lang’s novella Playing House is a fun spin on romance. Centering around two characters who are both Chinese-American and both Urban Planners, I had a lot of fun with the theme of this book around architecture and pretending becoming reality!

Out-of-work urban planner Oliver Huang is on a tour of the historic Mount Morris home when he finds himself the recipient of a snuggle and a kiss from long-time acquaintance but NOT long-time lover Fay Liu. Much to Oliver’s confusion, fellow-urban planner Fay gazes adoringly at him, calling him her boyfriend Olly to deflect the attention of another man on the tour who is clearly pursuing her.

Oliver is happy to play along with Fay. She feels good snuggled up against him. But it is complicated, Oliver doesn’t know what this means. He’s up for a job at Fay’s firm and he doesn’t want to cross any lines. But then again, Fay is beautiful, smart, interesting, and funny. How is he supposed to turn that down?

Newly divorced Fay isn’t sure if she is ready to put herself back out there. She hasn’t even unpacked in her new place yet since she became single. But she can’t get Oliver out of her head… A girl needs friends, right?

As the two begin scheduling non-dates to tour luxury real estate all over Manhattan, they find themselves playing at being a couple so often that suddenly it’s not clear whether they are playing house or falling in love. Bonding over their love of old architecture, strategically-placed windows, and large closets (good for making out in), Fay and Oliver begin to fall for one another. Perhaps they aren’t playing house after all…

This one is a mix of sweet and steamy!!! There were a few scenes that made me blush on the train as I wondered if the man next to me was reading over my shoulder! This is a super fast read—more novella than novel I would guess (not sure what the exact definition is to categorize this). I didn’t worry about the length though because this is already billed as book 1, so it promises to have more to follow. I don’t think we are quite done with the theme of love and architecture….

I will say that this book could have actually been a bit longer. Not only because I was enjoying it and wanted more, but also because I did find it to be a tad jarring the way it leapt straight into the meat of the story. I like a bit of literary foreplay in my romance books! The ending is adorable but also a bit rushed. I did think we jumped straight to the HEA and I wanted a bit more depth as we wrapped up their love story!

One of my favorite parts of the book was actually getting to read about the homes they were touring. There’s a lot of descriptive architectural language in here and I was quite tickled at the idea of touring a beautiful home as foreplay!

All in all a cute book that is a fun read-in-an-evening pick!

Thank you to Harlequin Publicity for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,654 followers
August 25, 2019
If I had to describe Playing House in one word, the word would be "awkward." Everything about this novella pretty much was awkward.

The writing includes many strange turns of phrase. Neither POV feels authentic, and the two sound very similar. The attempts at banter are clunky and occasionally cringe-inducing. The plotting and emotional development are predictable and uncomfortable in turn. Nothing feels organic; you can feel the writer at every step, rather than falling into the world of these characters.

In theory, I love the idea of two urban planners falling in love over shared nerdery, but the execution didn't work for me. On the plus side, it's short and mildly entertaining.

Sample quote:
" But his personal lust ocean had already started walking west." <- see what I mean???
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,789 reviews960 followers
August 2, 2019
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So this one was a very short book but I loved the characters that were introduced, Oliver Huang and Fay Liu. I just thought that the book should have been longer since you don't get a lot of time to see fully developed characters. We had a lot going on with both Oliver and Fay and think that it would have been a more cohesive book if we allowed the secondary characters to shine and we had more insight into Fay and Oliver's past. We just glimpses and remarks here and there.

"Playing House" by Ruby Lang follows urban planners Oliver Huang and Fay Liu. The two run into each other at an open house where Fay is being harassed by a guy that won't leave her alone until she tells him that she's waiting on her boyfriend. Luckily Oliver and Fay know each other because of past get togethers and friendships. However, during the open house they both start thinking of each other in a more romantic way and they both wonder about the other. There's an added complication that Oliver has applied to work at Fay's firm where she is a partner.

I loved Fay's backstory. She's been divorced for about a year and is finally realizing her ex husband resented her success and she really didn't know what to do anymore to make him happy and vice versa. She remembers Oliver and flashes a lot to moments they had over the years. She doesn't want to be with someone not serious, but she keeps calling up Oliver to tour open houses with her.

Oliver is working freelance after his firm went under. He's living with his younger brother and dealing with the fact that his mother and sister see him as being too similar to his supposed feckless father. I honestly wish that Lang had developed that more since I didn't get what happened with Oliver's father. He ran off? Does anyone know where he is? I mean I was so confused.

I loved the idea of focusing on a romance between urban planners. The characters know their stuff and I loved reading about the homes they were touring and the architectural details they had. And I could have enjoyed a heck of a lot more of that, but alas, this book is only a little over 100 pages.

The flow of the book gets a bit stuck towards the end. We have Fay and Oliver come to an impasse and it just seems beyond silly and I don't know we just woosh to a HEA. I just needed more steps in between I guess for me to rate this higher than 3 stars.
Profile Image for Yna from Books and Boybands.
756 reviews345 followers
June 5, 2020
"But somehow this was different— maybe because he’d poured more hope into this brief moment they’d had— because hope meant more to him nowadays— and because she had seemed to do so, too."

📚 Series? Yes, first of a series.
📚 Genre? Adult Romance.
📚 POV? Dual.
📚 Cliffhanger? No.

⚠ Content Warnings:  Hot, hot scenes. Divorce. Social stigma.
⚠ Book Tags :  Urban planners. Fake dating. Established acquaintances. East Asian rep.
⚠ This Book In Emojis: 🏙🏚🏘👫🏻❤🥰

The book is about:
Playing House is about two Chinese-American urban planners that bumped into each other in one of the home tours in their neighborhood. Surprisingly, this bumping actually involved them locking lips so early in the story. This book, like many other romances, is the story of how these two, Fay and Oliver, fell in love.

What drew me in:
This book is a part of a series with 3 titles. I read the first two before this one and I could not resist going back because of how I enjoyed the other two. I also loved seeing more Asians in the romance genre, writing beautiful pieces highlighting Asians as well.

Characters & connections:
Unfortunately, this book is a very quick read, and at the onset, it felt like being pushed into the middle of the story when you feel a little lost. Because of this, I felt like it was hard for me to connect more with the two leads.

Everything I liked:
I liked that this book showed a good combination of sweet and steamy. Unfortunately, I felt like this book was a little too slow in the pacing but still lacking on the storytelling front.

Overall thoughts:
Playing House, overall, is a little lacking in the magic that the other two books in the series presented. It was cute learning about architecture and urban planning, but sometimes it showed more of that instead of the cute and sexy romances that readers expect when they are turning the pages.


🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐☆☆/b>
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

☁FINAL VERDICT: 3.09/5 ☁

Much thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for this complimentary copy. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may be different in the final published copy.

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Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,204 followers
August 12, 2019
If you enjoy house tours, you’ve ever been curious about what urban planners do, or you like heroes who wear glasses, this is the novella for you! Fay and Oliver knew each other back in the day but when their paths cross on a house tour, Fay ropes Oliver into pretending he’s her boyfriend to fend off the advances from a creep. Soon, they’re visiting more apartments pretending to be a married couple, focusing more on the game and geeking out over their love for their jobs as urban planners than anything else.

And they have good reason to want to hide from reality a bit. Fay is adjusting after divorce and figuring out how to balance work and life. Oliver has been freelancing after his job went under and wondering if he’s like his loser dad after all. As someone who is self-employed but didn’t plan on it becoming my full-time job, I intensely related to Oliver’s arc (minus the dad issues) and found it refreshing to see a character with the same concerns as anyone who has freelanced.

For all Oliver and Fay have in common, there are major things they don’t discuss. Chief among them: Oliver applied for a job at Fay’s firm. He never asks for an update about the interview, assuming he won’t be asked and she doesn’t want to embarrass him. But she doesn’t ever ask him where he’s working, even though she knows his last company folded. I found this to be strange, while recognizing the way their paths crossed again left little room for the questions people normally ask when they run into someone they used to know. Of course, there’s an eventual reckoning and I really liked how this resolved.

This is otherwise a low conflict story and I breezed through it. Oliver and Fay have great chemistry and I’m full of hope for their relationship. But it was their work as urban planners that was the real star of this story for me. They view apartment tours with such a different lens and I loved hearing the way they think about neighborhoods and what can make a community great. Plus, Oliver has a great moment with his mom finally understanding what it is that he does that made me smile.

CW: divorce, parental abandonment, unemployment

Disclosure: I received an advance copy from Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kimberly Carrington-Fox.
736 reviews166 followers
August 5, 2019
2'5 estrellitas
Siguiendo mi teoría de los colorinchis, pedí este libro en Netgalley porque tenía pinta de ser algo sencillo y entretenido, de esos de mono con platillos. Y sí, lo es, pero también es un libro muy breve donde todo se desarrolla muy apresuradamente, no llegamos a conocer realmente a los personajes y no llegamos a entender bien el desarrollo de su relación. A veces me daba la impresión de estar leyendo un libro de dos personajes monos que iban a ver casas. Bien desarrollado y con más extensión podría hbaer sido una novela entretenida. Así, se ha quedado en algo ligero para echar la tarde pero poco más
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
622 reviews624 followers
August 12, 2019
There's honestly not a lot for me to say about this book. This is a short romance novella (which I didn't know before requesting the ARC but thankfully found out before I started reading) with two Chinese-American protagonists.

It is an enjoyable and fun little novella if you need something light for an afternoon read. Both characters are interesting and have a surprising amount of development in this small novella.

I liked their relationship a lot, even though you should definitely not go into this one expecting much of a fake relationship trope. It is there in the very beginning but it gets pretty real rather quickly, which I appreciated simply because of the length of this book. This didn't really have much time for a fake relationship if you want to build an actual relationship in only 100 pages but it was a fun start to the story.
And just a heads up for all the smut fans out there – this isn't a very smutty read. There's one small sex scene but it's not very explicit and fades to black after the oral sex.

As with most novellas, I just find it hard to be invested in the characters, if I don't already know them from another series or book, which is why I ultimately could not give this more than 3 stars. And in all honestly, had I known that this would only be a novella, I probably would not have requested the ARC in the first place.
In the end I enjoyed the reading experience but will probably not return to this series.

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I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Sarah.
810 reviews
August 22, 2019
2.5 stars. This was nice, and cute, but it wasn't much more than that. It's hard to fit a compelling romance into a novella length book, and I didn't really feel like this was successful. The fake relationship trope discussed in the blurb is hardly more than a blip, and while these are nice characters, and they have some good moments moments, ultimately there wasn't enough for me to care about their romance. Additionally, there is almost no plot to speak of. This might hit the spot for you if your looking for a romance that's quick, breezy, and not very complicated, but personally I will not go out of my way to read any more novella length books by this author.

*Used for PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt "A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title."
Profile Image for Nour.
142 reviews23 followers
July 31, 2020
This reminds me of how much i want to find a new house for myself and live alone
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,305 reviews724 followers
July 30, 2019
Novella-length - This starts out really well but it's too short for their to be a true build-up/romance. Or maybe it goes from showing us to eventually just telling us. I have enjoyed this author in the past. This one didn't work as well for me. Review to come
Profile Image for Kay.
590 reviews1 follower
December 29, 2019
I love Ruby Lang’s voice: fresh, original, droll, sophisticated. “Playing House” is first in a series set amidst NYC-based real-estate-involved characters, whether urban planners, brokers, etc. In “Playing House,” unemployed, gig-economy-victim, urban-planner Oliver Huang is touring houses in Harlem when he meet-cute runs into recently-divorced, college-mate Fay Liu. He helps her avoid “Clompy Brent”, a dude coming on to her who can’t hear, or understand the word “no”. It’s obvious from the get-go that Oliver has harbored an attraction for Fay and Fay reciprocates. They fall into a pattern of pretending to be newly-weds, Olly and Darling, for the chance to urban-plan geek out on beautiful NYC properties. They enjoy their pretend dates and become lovers. In the meanwhile, a potential conflict rears its mild head because Oliver has applied for a job at the urban-planning firm, Milieu, where Fay is partner. Neither Oliver, nor Fay take their affair too seriously and they have a lot of stuff to figure out, given they’re both in transitional life-spaces. But it is serious because feelings are involved, the acquaintance too short-lived to result in anything but misunderstanding, doubts, and hurt feelings.

“Playing House” was too slight for me to say I loved it, but I can easily say I liked it. It had a few bugaboos. Oliver and Fay go from meet-cute bumping-into-each-other to this elaborate pretending to be newly-weds. This happened out of the blue and I honestly thought I must have blanked out an entire chapter while this was arranged. But nope … I kindle-back-tracked and the disjointedness wasn’t “it’s not you, it’s me”. As a couple, Oliver and Fay aren’t together a whole lot and even though their potential HEA is possible, I’m not thoroughly convinced it’ll gel. If you’re okay with that, then my HFN-dislike shouldn’t deter your enjoyment.

What I loved best about “Playing House” was Oliver’s relationship with his family. As a second-generation Canadian, the child of immigrants, I totally understand the expectations, chasms of non-communication, and feelings of obligation, guilt, and love. I loved Oliver’s brother and his relationship with his mother. Their near-mute understanding at the end was the better HEA of the two. Case in point, this wonderful exchange between mother and son:

“Yes, Oliver was right,” Ma said. She flicked a glance at her middle son, “Don’t let it go to your head.”

“When am I ever allowed to let anything go to my head?”

I smiled and smiled. They were funny, dissimilar, and real. “Playing House” wasn’t as perfect as the last Lang I read, Clean Breaks (don’t you dare miss it!), but there was enough of her signature poignancy, humour, and sharp insight into character to see me return for the rest of this series and what she can do with a meatier length. With Miss Austen, we deem “Playing House”offers “real comfort,” Emma.

Ruby Lang’s “Playing House” is published by Carina Press. It was released on August 12. I received an e-galley from Carina Press via Netgalley.
Profile Image for Charlotte (Romansdegare).
112 reviews71 followers
April 4, 2022
This is an assured and competent novella, though it definitely engaged my head more than it did my heart.

The setup is fun: Oliver and Fay run in the same professional circles, but we first encounter them during a historic house tour in NYC. A random man in the tour group has been bothering Fay, and when she sees Oliver arrive, she seizes the opportunity to pretend Oliver is her boyfriend, and thus rebuff the other man's advances. I really enjoy when bite-sized novellas take bite-sized approaches to beloved tropes, and Oliver and Fay pretending to be a couple while they tour houses together is the perfect "fake dating" snack.

This novella shoots for a lot of complex characterization in a short span, and mostly succeeds. Fay is recently divorced and struggling to get back out into the dating scene while she balances a demanding job and a move to a new apartment. Oliver is recently out of a job and freelancing. He seems to enjoy the work, but he has a lot of insecurity around his perceived failure to have a "typical" job, the fact that he's living with his brother, and pressure from his mother about his career. He's applied for a job with Fay's firm, a fact that he (somewhat contrivedly, I think) fails to mention to her, and provides the eventual conflict between them.

I kept coming across these incredibly rich single sentences that highlighted just how much thought the author had put into the characters: like a moment where Fay realizes that she struggles to verbalize praise to people she cares about, or when Oliver worries that his career uncertainty will intersect with Fay's drive and ambition to turn him into one of Fay's "projects." There's an entire passage, at the end, where Fay muses that the way she and Oliver got together - by putting on borrowed identities in strangers' houses - let them experience the fun of being in a liminal state, as opposed to the very real stress of being in the liminal states of post-divorce and job-seeking in their late 30s. To be able to sell that level of thematic complexity in an < 2 hour read is truly impressive.

That being said, the balance of authorial reflection vs the on-page experience is also where the book lost me a bit, emotionally. There were times when the emotions felt like they'd been pre-processed for me, developed and thought through with care by the author but then placed carefully on the surface of the text for me to consume with ease. Whereas most of the time, I want to work for it. For me to get really emotionally involved in a story, the themes and the character beats need time and space to emerge, and there just wasn't enough of either here. (That's not to say it *can't* be done in a novella - it certainly can - but I do think there's an added level of difficulty). Though that's a very subjective and individual reading experience, and I think anyone looking for good writing, keen observation, a bit of steam, and carefully-treated characters would be glad they picked this up.
Profile Image for Emmy.
925 reviews147 followers
July 16, 2019

For the first few pages I was like “this is going to be awesome!” And then it started to lose me when there were no directives in the dialogues. And then everything started happening really quickly. Which is when I figured out that this is somewhere between a short story and a novella. Probably only about a hundred pages. And by then I was feeling like way too much time was being spent on the description of the houses they were visiting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good HGTV remodeling show as much as the next person, but I don’t want to read about one.

I loved that the cast of characters was so diverse. You have asian leads, gay siblings, ethnic coworkers, it was great. A realistic mix of people. But that was kind of the shining moment for me. Unfortunately, at times it felt like this had been some sort of writing exercise.
Profile Image for Steph's Romance Book Talk.
2,707 reviews1,285 followers
August 19, 2019
4 Stars / 2 Steam Fans

This was a quick funny, sexy, and sweet fake coupling story. Fay and Oliver were friends during college but went their separate ways until they are both on a house tour in New York. As urban planners they are both interested in the communities they live in. When a guy becomes overly pushy with Fay, she sees Oliver as a way out of the creepy situation. Oliver plays along and this starts the two of them off on a fun adventure of make believe. But what happens when things change and people catch feelings? I look forward to reading more Ruby Lang.

This specific video review will be included in the August 2019 wrap-up.

For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
Profile Image for Tia.
784 reviews261 followers
August 13, 2019
2.5 stars

A cute short story that I couldn't quite connect with. You never get to truly understand the characters. Oliver and Faye both are discovering new things about themselves from difficult situations from their past. When they meet and start touring apartments, as a pretend couple, they both start to learn and grow. I think at the books close I'd begun to understand Oliver's struggles with his career and Mom, but Fay not so much and, for me, it distracted from the love connection.

I would be interested in reading the second book Open House that releases in November.

I was provided an eARC from Carina Press via Netgalley.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,535 reviews234 followers
July 27, 2019
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Fay and Oliver had been running in the same circles for over a decade, but his buried feelings for her emerge, when she unexpectedly kisses him in an attempt to put off another suitor. Their afternoon together blossoms into more, but their insecurities may keep this relationship from taking root.

I really enjoyed meeting Fay and Oliver, and thought the set up for this story was great. Two urban planners, living in NYC, who were both experiencing some sort of transition in their lives. The shared career gave them lots to talk about, and the fact that they had already known each other for so long, allowed the chance meeting to plausibly progress to more, quickly, without all that awkwardness associated with getting to know the basics about someone.

I actually enjoyed taking the architectural tours of the city, and I thought the moments shared with Oliver's family were great. I appreciated the little bits about urban planning, that Lang peppered the story with, and I found both Oliver and Ruby to be interesting and fully formed characters.

I think the only problem I had with this book, which kept my rating in the "good" zone, was that I needed more of their story. What was there was great, and I enjoyed seeing these two wade through their personal baggage and to each other, but I needed a little more.

That said, I am happy with my first Ruby Lang experience, and would love to read a full-length by her. She created characters I was able to embrace, incorporated things that were new and interesting to me, and I would love to read more of her stories.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Jess.
2,969 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2019
I very much enjoyed reading this, but be warned that this is a novella and it felt like a pretty short one? I don't know if that's actually true, though. But the relationship development we got was excellent, I liked where in their relationship it ended, I am just sad we won't get more of them directly, because I really liked them as main characters!

Curious to see if this entire series is going to be short, the word count on book two is also pretty low.
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,484 reviews246 followers
August 12, 2019
What a great story! Loved the career choices of Oliver and Fay and their brief spate of playing house and 'fake dating' while they figure out they want the real thing. Setting of Brooklyn makes for a cast of diverse characters that truly shows the multi-cultural background of the area. Makes me want to put ' visit open houses for fun' on my to-do list. Low angst, lots of laughs, some sexy scenes all make for a delightful romance novella! I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

A copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.
Profile Image for Cc.
1,025 reviews129 followers
January 15, 2020
3.5 but good enough to round up. I like novellas though, so if you need a HEA instead of a HFN, this might not be your book.
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