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New Release Review! THE UPTOWN COLLECTION by Ruby Lang

The Uptown Collection cover

Love, real estate and adulting in three contemporary romance novellas from critically acclaimed author Ruby Lang. Available together for the first time.

A fake relationship becomes a little too real…

A heated rivalry blurs into love…

A temporary reunion might not be so temporary…

Set against the vibrant backdrop of Harlem, these charming, irresistible stories look at the many different ways couples find each other and what it means to fall in love.

Included in this 3-in-1 are:
Playing House
Open House
House Rules

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Playing House cover

Romance blossoms between two city planners posing as newlyweds in this first in a bright new series by acclaimed author Ruby Lang

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. For Oliver and Fay, home truly is where their hearts are.

Review:

What a sweet little novella!

I loved the premise–watching Oliver and Fay almost fall into their quirky little habit of sort-of posing as newlyweds to tour open houses was a delight, not to mention a highly unusual form of courtship. Their story was a gentle slide from acquaintances to friends to…more, and somehow it managed to be easy going one minute and urgent the next, both sweet and steamy. Of course I would have liked to have seen more from both of the characters, but even at its shorter length it still felt like a complete story. I especially liked how Ms Lang had them resolve their relationship issue; it was realistic and didn’t make it seem like either one of them had to give anything up, either to become their best self or to get to an HEA.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Open House cover

Love can take root where you least expect it.

Tyson Yang never imagined that one day he’d be the de facto spokesperson for an illegal community garden. But when the once-rat-infested-but-now-thriving Harlem lot goes up for sale, Ty can’t just let all their hard work get plowed under.

Even if he is irresistibly drawn to the lovely but infuriatingly stubborn real estate associate.

Magda Ferrer’s family is already convinced this new job will be yet another flop in her small but growing list of career path failures. But her student debt isn’t going anywhere, and selling her uncle’s historic town house and the lot nearby means a chance to get some breathing room.

Ty is her charming rival, her incorrigible nemesis, the handsome roadblock to her success.

Until one hot Harlem night blurs the hard line drawn between them, and the seeds of possibility in this rocky garden blossom into love…

Review:

Magda’s book! (She gave Oliver and Fay–AKA Ollie and Darling Wife a tour of her uncle’s townhouse in book one–I LOLed when the subject of people touring houses and ruining shower curtains came up, because that was Ollie and Darling! Really, it can be read as a standalone, though–it was a little throwaway comment that was easily missed and not at all important to the plot.)

I enjoyed Magda and Ty’s story–an enemies to lovers story, of sorts. A lot like Oliver and Fay in the first book, both Magda and Ty had plenty of personal issues to work out before they could really commit to working on their relationships. Poor Ty wasn’t even ready to admit for 80+% of the story that he had a relationship with the people in the community garden, so…as a result, the romance was definitely a slow burn one. Delicious, but slow.

My only real complaint is that the ending felt a bit abrupt–since I was reading this as part of a novella collection ( The Uptown Collection ) it was a real surprise when I realized I was on the last page of the story. It was a cute ending and a complete story, I just wanted a teensy bit more there at the end.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

House Rules cover

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.

Review:

Ms Lang immediately drew me into Simon and Lana’s story. I loved that they are both in their forties, which IMO increased the possibility that their second chance romance could actually work. It’s been seventeen years since their divorce, after all–who isn’t going to change in seventeen years?–and they’re not the same people whose misunderstandings and miscommunications made them choose to be apart then.

Of course they’re going to have new misunderstandings and miscommunications now–it’s a romance novel, and we need conflict!–but now that they both now what they were missing when they were apart and how good they can be together again, they’ll work even harder to stay together…right?

You’ll have to read House Rules to find out for sure. Except spoiler alert: the publisher tells you right in the blurb that they guarantee an HEA or HFN, so yeah, this time these crazy kids are going to make it. Which means you’re going to have to read House Rules instead for the loveliness that is their second chance romance, to see the pleasure that Simon takes in his concerts and his teaching, and to witness the strength that Lana hadn’t realized she had in her, to meet Muffin the cat, and to confirm that no, smoking hot sex scenes aren’t just for the twenty- and thirty-year olds in romancelandia.

(Thank god.)

Rating: 4 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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