Cover Image: Must Love Books

Must Love Books

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Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson is a novel following Nora, an editorial assistant at a major publisher. While this initially seemed like a dream opportunity five years ago, Nora is now disillusioned after a lack of career growth since joining the organization and only gets worse after her salary is cut. Desperate to scrape by, Nora chooses to work for a rival publisher and works to get some authors to move over to the rival publisher. Her latest target is Andrew, one of the top authors at her initial publisher and now Nora must decide whether she is looking out for herself, Andrew, or the publishers?

When I read the premise, I was fascinated by the premise of working for a rival publisher while still working at your current day job. While this book served that, it also brought lovely characters and plot. Nora is extremely likeable and I was rooting for her the whole book. I truly could feel the desperation and stress in her situation and could relate to similar experiences when I was younger. I really appreciated reading how Nora handled a difficult situation, especially one where you get yourself in a questionable situation due to impossible choices. Nora's character development was fantastic and how she overcame her situation. 

As for the romance, I enjoyed her relationship with Andrew. The two had great banter and the hurdle to their relationship made sense. While this book included a romance, I want to highlight that the romance was more of a sub-plot and instead was focused primarily on Nora's characterization, rather than their relationship. The book was "fade to black" for intimate moments and instead we saw the sweet, caring relationship between the two. 

Overall I enjoyed this debut novel from Shauna Robinson and am looking forward to future work from this author!

Many thanks to the publisher SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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This was an entertaining, well-written book. It had moments of humor, held my interest and I wanted to find out what would happen. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
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We've all experienced in one way or another - not quite fitting in or feeling like we're making all the wrong choices. This book brings a relatable voice that struggles while being equally unsuccessful and on track. You watch with no control as her story unfolds and quickly find yourself pulling for her to get it right. 
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley for my honest opinion.
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I was expecting a lighthearted bookish romcom, and instead what I got was an incredibly real contemporary with sprinkles of romance, sarcastic humour and mental health representation.
This was an amazing debut from Shauna Robinson! I will be desperately waiting for her next project and in the meantime as ordering a copy of this book to hold close to my heart. Nora Hughes struggle hit so close to home and I will be recommending this book to all who read fiction. What an amazing book.
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Original post at @shelved_ramblings (Instagram)

Thanks so much to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for the eARC copy!
—
📖: Must Love Books
🖋: Shauna Robinson
🎧: “The Best of Me” by The Starting Line
⭐️: 3/5 stars
✨: For fans of sweet romances, sassy MCs, mental health discussions, book publishing behind the scenes
‼️: TW for depression, mentions of suicide; small spoilers
—
// 𝑹𝑬𝑽𝑰𝑬𝑾 //

Considering this was supposed to be a rom com, the reason I enjoyed it had little to do with the actual romance.

Don’t get me wrong - our MC, Nora’s interactions with her love interest, Andrew are sweet and at times witty, and he seems like truly a good guy. (Also the fact that Nora’s friend calls him “daddy Santos” makes me giggle because I just think of Matt Santos from the West Wing - but I digress). But they never quite had a lot of steam and their relationship kind of leaves on a question mark at the end of the book.

However, I think what Robinson does incredibly well is capturing the hopelessness many of our generation feeling being “stuck” in jobs they don’t enjoy, and how it can affect their mental health. This is where Robinson’s writing actually shines, in highlighting this vital discussion. As someone currently struggling with her job and anxiety, I really identified with Nora and some of her feelings. I also enjoyed Robinson’s semi dive into the world of publishing as I have no knowledge of it, and I thought some of the processes she had explained or featured were super interesting.

This was a speedy, rather light reading (even considering the heavier focus on mental health and finding your “destiny”), and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a quick romance read!
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Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark got the gifted book.

On boy. I wanted so badly to like this book. The cover is adorable, the synopsis sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, it bored me to tears and I barely made it through. 

It was so predictable - both in Nora’s career path and her relationship with Andrew. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with Weber and for either Rita or Lynn to figure things out. Andrew was a minor part of the story in my mind, and just didn’t seem to fit. 

And spoiler alert slash trigger warning - Nora’s suicidal thoughts? Not cool at all. The girl needed some professional help. You can’t just bring it up and then brush it under the rug. 

I don’t know. Just really disappointed in this one. 2.5 stars.
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✰ BOOK REVIEW ✰
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
Pages: 336
★ ★ ★  (3/5) 

First of all, thank you so much to @bookmarked and @netgalley for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review! 

S Y N O P S I S
When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. Because, honestly, is there anything dreamier than making books for a living? But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.
Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parson's is cutting her already unlivable salary.  Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet.. .and maybe poach some Parson's authors along the way.
But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parsons author no one can afford to lose is thrown into the mix, Nora has to decide where her loyalties lie. 

R E V I E W 
This story wasn't what I expected it to be but I still really enjoyed it! The plot focused on self-discovery, mental health and character growth. Especially for people who are feeling like their current job isn't everything they hoped it would be, this could be a relatable and inspiring read. 
I've discovered that I'm not the biggest fan of reading a book about books/publishing but it was still interesting to dive into this world of Nora. I didn't connect as much with her as I would have wanted to but I could understand her feelings and wanted her to be hopeful about something again. Because this story has so many more layers I didn't mind that there wasn't as much romance as I would have expected going into this, it flowed perfectly this way and I really liked how it all turned out in the end. I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy reading contemporary women's fiction!
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Must Love Books has been described as The Bookish Life of Nina Hill meets Younger. It is about an overworked and underpaid woman, Nora Hughes, who discovers she’ll have to ditch her “dream job” and write her own story to find her happy ending. 

I appreciated the premise of this book about a young woman at a crossroad in her career searching fo happiness. However, for the most part, it did not live up to the synopsis for me. It was incredibly slow... the writing style was too descriptive for me and I lost interest early on. I’m glad it explored more complex mental health issues but I feel it would have benefitted from more research and better character development.

Must Love Books is not as light and fluffy as it suggests. It is a story about self-discovery, overcoming life hurdles and learning from your mistakes. I recommend this for readers who are looking for bolder realistic reads that do not shy away from heavy feelings.
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Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson was just the read I needed. Nora is an editorial assistant for a sinking business book publishing company. Frankly, she is kind of sinking too. She isn't making enough money and gets in a pickle when she tells a lie. Nora faces a lot of anxiety and dark thoughts in this story. She also meets a really cute guy. I love a story with characters that feel real, pages filled with emotion and rawness, a little romance and a few laughs thrown in for good measure. Really enjoyed this story and looking forward to more by this author in the future.
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Dnf @ 60%.

I could not get into this book, I did try, but something did not work for me.  It might have been my own expectations going in as I thought it was a lighter rom-com and it was a bit heavier than I had hoped.
Overall, I did like the writing style and will definitely try reading something from this author in the future.
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I think so many millenial women can relate to Nora Hughes. Thinking you've found a job that will end up with you in your dream career to have it all dashed when your employer just doesn't appreciate you or can't keep up with the times and slowly starts to go under. This was inspiring, relatable, and such a wonderful debut from and author I am excited to read more from.
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Book Review: ****/5

This book was published yesterday, and you need to run and get a copy. I found this book to be such an easy read. However, I do need to disclose up front that the main character has thoughts of depression and suicide.

Nora is an editorial assistant who has lost all her work friends due to layoffs within the company. She is feeling overwhelmed and underpaid after taking on the increased responsibilities left over from her teams' loss. When a very important author walks into her life everything becomes increasingly more complicated. When she decides to take a freelance job with a competing publisher her feelings of anxiety and depression escalated. She begins to question if her dream job is really her dream come true. Will she find her happy ever after or will her feelings of depression take over her life.

When I picked this book up, I thought I was going to read a really cute Rom-com. However, what I found was not what I expected. I got really invested in the characters and become upset listening to Nora explain to us readers the way she felt like her life had no purpose. I felt that it was really easy for everyone at some point in their lives to have similar feelings. Shauna Robinson did an excellent job at character development with this book. Robinsons' ending, though not what I expected, was a very satisfying ending in my opinion.

I would like to thank Sourcebooks and Shauna Robinson for the e-ARC of this book from Net Galley.
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A painfully honest and thought-provoking debut that takes a deeper look inside the publishing world and the inner workings of a depressed girl searching for answers. Rife with thoughts on failure and the ache of loneliness, this is a book about mental illness and the fight to survive.

Nora Hughes is in a rut. Working as an underpaid editorial assistant, Nora doesn’t know what to do with her life and finds herself making questionable decisions to make ends meet. It isn’t until Nora meets the young and impressionable author Andrew Santos that Nora sees a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and tries to find her way into a life she’s happy to live.

While I found myself completely frustrated with Nora at times, the author portrays her struggles with depression and identity in a realistic manner. I identified with a lot of Nora’s moral dilemmas, including her struggle with finances and finding a career. The best part of this book is seeing a different side of the publishing world and, most of all, watching her newly developing relationship with Andrew unfold. This book is equal parts infuriating and surprising. A well written first novel about suicide, discovering oneself, and finding love.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Must Love Books follows editorial assistant Nora, whose dream job isn't feeling so dreamy anymore when all her work friends are moving onto greener pastures and her company cuts her already meager pay. Desperate to be able to still afford to live, Nora secretly gets a part-time freelance position at a rival publishing company. Enter Andrew Santos, author extraordinaire, whose choice to sign a new contract could make waves in Nora's career, although it would mean losing her budding relationship with Andrew.

I went into Must Love Books thinking it was going to skew more adult rom-com, which was a mistake. Ultimately, this book is women's fiction, and centers much more on the main character's personal journey than anything else. Although I did find myself wanting a bit more from the romance due to my own preconceived notions of this book, it was quite refreshing that, since Nora's personal struggles were at the forefront of the conflict, the romance didn't suffer from a poorly fabricated conflict in the third act. Instead, it was easy to understand and empathize with Nora's actions, especially as a working adult with student debt in the modern economy.

Aside from the fact that this book isn't a romance, it's also important to know that part of Nora's emotional struggle is dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. 

While I did generally enjoy my time with this book, there was a point where it went from well-paced to too-slow, somewhere between the 50-75% mark. Although no real-life emotional journey of self discovery actually happens over night, narratively it was difficult to watch Nora still think herself in circles after being given the tools she would ultimately need in order to make choices that would actually move the plot forward. And though I feel like I know Nora personally, I also think that her personality is juuust common/vague enough that it was easy for me to project my own anxieties and insecurities onto her story, which can be a good thing for relating to the narrative but isn't the best news for character construction.

I'd definitely recommend this for anyone interested in Nora's kind of journey, particularly the struggle to find a more-than-survivable career in the modern world.
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This was exactly the book I needed to read right now.  I love books about books theme, they’re some of my favorite books to read because the character in the book is just as obsessed with books as I am.

Nora Hughes has been working the same job title for 5 years while increasingly receiving more and more responsibilities, without the promotion and actually getting a pay reduction instead of a raise.  Not knowing how to make ends meet, Nora takes on a secondary job with another publishing company, a big no-no in the industry.  Nora is trying to simultaneously juggle both jobs while also starting a relationship with an author that if she can get signed onto her publishers, could mean a lot for Nora and her career going forward. 

When Nora gets caught having the two jobs, she must figure out her next step forward and what will truly make her happy in life.  

This was such a feel good novel, I emphasized with Nora so much with everything she was going through.  It was heartbreaking to read her thoughts of suicide but the author portrayed it in such a great way that I was rooting for Nora the whole time she was having her dark thoughts about her internal monsters.  

I loved how this book touched so much on a Black woman working in publishing and the struggles the main character Nora felt with that.  I don’t feel like it’s talked about enough in books, especially in romance books.  

This romance is also one of my favorite types of romance because of the spice level.  There weren’t too many details and it had more of the fade out moments which I love to read.  The romance was more based around support and sweetness and I loved reading it between the two characters.

I cannot wait to see what Shauna Robinson comes up with next, she is now an auto-buy author for me.

*Many thanks to Sourcebooks for the gifted copy for my honest review!*
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I have to say this book left me conflicted. It got me with the cute cover and title but this was anything but cute. It was heavy, it had strong mental health themes, and a cutthroat world of publishing, and finding oneself.

Nora Hughes has been a publishing assistant for five years, she’s seen colleagues come and go. After her last remaining friend leaves, she also receives word she’s getting a pay cut.

Scrambling on how to pay her rent she hears of a consulting writing job, however she isn’t forthcoming with her situation.

She meets Andrew the companies last big author, and she has to get him to sign his contract. However, getting him to sign with her new company could secure her a full time position.

This was all a little underhanded and lead to conflicts and internal struggles. Nora wasn’t expecting actually caring for Andrew or that a relationship could happen between them.

Andrew was by far the highlight of this book for me. It did also highlight that sometimes you have to make your own path, and that there is more than one way to find your dream career.

This has some major trigger warnings, including mental health and suicide ideation. It also is more a happy possibility than an HEA.

Thank you to the publisher for the arc for review, all opinions are my own and given freely.
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Must Love Books is a thought-provoking, well-written debut novel that, even though it made me uncomfortable in places, kept me turning pages. Sometimes, being uncomfortable is a good thing. Readers should be aware that this is not a classic romance though there are romantic elements and the potential for a HEA. I would classify it as contemporary fiction or even women's fiction as it centers on the life, struggles, and evolution of Nora, a twenty-something woman of color, unfulfilled, and underappreciated, searching for her path in life while stuck in what she thought was her dream job. 

In addition to the downward spiral of her career dreams, Nora also struggles with her identity in a predominantly white working world, her self-worth, her ability to financially support herself, and her mental health. These lead her into some dark mental places and questionable decisions. While some of those decisions made me uneasy, and I could see the repercussions coming, I understood why she made them and appreciated the fact that she struggled with the morality of those decisions, both before and after. 
I found Nora to be very realistic in light of her circumstances and also a relatable as well as a sympathetic character. I applaud the author's open, honest look at mental health and the self-sabotaging actions that can follow in the path of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. I also appreciated that she didn't give Nora any easy answers. Instead, we see a realistic portrayal of someone suffering the consequences of their actions, learning from them, and arriving at the point where they are ready to put in the hard work, with professional assistance, to move forward. I have high hopes for Nora and her potential for happiness - and love - moving forward. 

If you're in the mood for an introspective, thought-provoking novel of a young woman's journey of self-discovery, give this one a try. 

*ARC received for fair and unbiased review
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I can’t wait for this book to be out so that I can convince everyone to get it asap. Because it was so beautifully written. I really loved how author has the capability to make us vicariously live through the characters. Especially, I really loved the way their problems have been portrayed.. Along with that, I quite loved how raw and authentic the MCs were. I definitely loved it
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This is Women's Fiction/Romance. The main character, Nora, in this book was very hard for me to love/care about. Nora is in a dead end job, but she does not go out trying to change anything for most of this book. I just wanted to yell at Nora for most of this book. The mental health problems of this book I feel could have been done better. This book was ok, and I did not love the main character. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Sourcebooks) or author (Shauna Robinson) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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I went into this one thinking it would be a sweet romance set in the editorial world, turns out it wasn’t much of a romance, more like a story about self-discovery and the struggles when life gets hard and you don’t seem to have many options to change your situation. So, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I didn’t expect it to be about that.

I did like however, how the author portrayed Nora’s feelings and efforts to make the best out of what she had. Her relationship with Andrew was kind of sweet but I would’ve liked to see more about it.

It was also interesting to see a side of the editorial world that I rarely find in books.

✨Thank you to the author, @netgalley and @sourcebookscasa for a free eARC of this one in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. ✨
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