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Playing House

(Uptown #1)

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,189 ratings  ·  304 reviews
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 a
ebook, 113 pages
Published August 12th 2019 by Carina Press
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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,189 ratings  ·  304 reviews

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Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
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) a
Janet Newport
Dull and flat... for all the blurb made it seem intriguing. Part of The Uptown Collection. I will not bother with the other 2 novellas included.
Talia Hibbert
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 after

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 O
K.J. Charles
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. ...more
Sam (AMNReader)
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. ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
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’
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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 in
Yna the Mood Reader
"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
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
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 c
Leigh Kramer
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 a ...more
Short and sweet!
Lea (drumsofautumn)
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 th
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 yo ...more
Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This reminds me of how much i want to find a new house for myself and live alone
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
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 ...more
Kay (aka) Miss Bates
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- ...more

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 s
Steph's Romance Book Talk
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 cha
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
Samantha (WLABB)
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Maria Rose
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
This was such a charming and sweet novella!

3.5 rounded to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I utterly enjoyed this book!! My second read from Ruby Lang and I’m just enjoying her more and more with each book❤️ her writing has this really fascination quality— it isn’t particularly flowery, it’s crisp and clean and without gilding. But it packs quite a punch! The depth of emotion and human experience her prose conveys is simply jaw dropping, and I’m SO glad my sister told me to read Ruby’s books!! She’s awesome plz go forth and read🙏🏻
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
A delicious surprise of a novella about ‘long term acquaintances’ Oliver Huang and Fay Liu. The pair both work as city planners and have known each other professionally and through shared friends for years. Now in their mid-30s they find themselves not entirely where they expected to be: Fay is a partner in a successful firm but has recently completed a painful divorce, while Oliver has been made redundant and is sleeping on his younger brother’s couch because he can’t make rent.

When they rando
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Playing House by Ruby Lang is a short novella about two Chinese American urban planners fake dating and yeah you can guess it falling for each other. I didn't know that this would be a novella and it definitely felt way too short and just breezing through a bunch of topics. Which can really go both ways. It reads fast and easy. I wasn't familiar with this author writing style but I have to say I like it. I liked side characters especially brother Nate and hopefully, the author will write about h ...more
Eve Pendle
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love novellas at the moment and this absolutely hit the spot. Not too much drama, sexy but not pages of exposition, great characters with genuine feels.
And I adored the premise. I really want to read an epilogue, as it's more of a HFN and there's no "I love you", which I kind of wanted to see in the future.
Also, please can we have a spin-off cosy mystery series with Oli and Darling solving low stakes crimes?
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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.

Other books in the series

Uptown (3 books)
  • Open House (Uptown, #2)
  • House Rules (Uptown, #3)

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