Cover Image: Must Love Books

Must Love Books

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Member Reviews

Another cure for my anxious, nervous mind with its effective healing powers: such a lovely feel good novel!

I love books about books theme: the romance part of the story perfectly balanced with self worth-self discovery-finding yourself and purpose in the world parts. The author’s respective and realistic approach of mental health issues also blended well with the entire premise.
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Absolutely not the rom-com chick-lit piece of fluff I was expecting or hoping for. It was pretty slow and pretty stressful and I have enough of that in my normal life. I think I'll go back to pirates and ghosts and murder.
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I really thought this book would be a good match for me. I really enjoy reading books about the publishing/writing world, and add a bit of romance in as suggested in the synopsis and I thought this would be a great read. However, unfortunately this one fell flat for me and I ended up DNFing it. 

The synopsis made me feel like it was going to be a more uplifting story about a woman finding her path and a romance along the way. I didn’t find this story at all uplifting and found it to be quite depressing. Paired with it being very slow, I had to force myself to pick it up and get back into the story. 

I am giving this book two stars because I do feel like it will work for readers who enjoy a slow burn story and aren’t deterred by the depressing tone of the story. If you are not looking for a fun, romance, bookish read and know what you are going into you could enjoy this book. It just was not for me. 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Booklover Nora Hughes is having quite a midlife crisis at 26 when she finds herself unable to escape the sinking ship that is her first job in publishing. She's an editorial assistant at Parsons Press, a business-oriented publisher that is dead set on publishing only the tried-and-true business books of old and on increasing profits to the point of laying off most of the high-ranking employees and dropping the work of three people onto poor Nora. She's falling deeper and deeper into depression with no end in sight and no escape from Parsons Press when she meets bestselling author Andrew Santos and warm friendship blossoms into more. 
This sounds like it would make a great rom-com, right? Well, it doesn't. Robinson goes deep into the feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness that Nora is mired in. Even with fun and cute moments between Nora and Andrew or Nora and her friends and coworkers, the overall feeling of the book is a heavy fog of depression and deep anxiety. What may be a testament to Robinson creating a character that one can empathize with turns into a book that I needed breaks from because it was making me feel almost as bad as Nora. 
In the end, even knowing that Nora ends up finding a way out of her sad situation didn't leave me with much love for this book. I'm positive it's just that my world, and the world in general, are not in the ideal place at the moment for such an introspective book.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the thought-provoking early read!
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This book solidifies my new rule that I don’t want to read any more books about writers, editors, people who professionally read or work with authors because… too close, man. too close. 

This book was heavy on the detail about the world of publishing, which I am sure some readers find interesting. I, quite honestly was uninterested throughout most of it and found myself skipping through until something looked like the story was moving. 

There was a smattering of a romance which… I cringed. I couldn’t get over how it unfolded, the trajectory of said relationship and the development between these characters. Her resolution on how to fix her life was… meh. There’s so much I don’t see happening and if I can’t get myself to buy into the story, it doesn’t have much hope. 

This book features a main character who has some dark feelings (this book really need a trigger warning for suicidal ideation) and then we make the steps with the MC in working through that. She makes some idiotic choices, and we watch those choices play out. I think I am simply too…. Seasoned… to be entertained by these characters and their situations. 

It was OK. Not terrible, but I am not shouting from the rooftops about ut.
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Must Love Books was quite unexpected. I think I’m some ways I really loved it, but my issues with the book overpowered everything and there were so many times when I wanted to DNF it. However, I persevered, mostly in hopes of discovering a happy ending.

It’s hard for me to write negatively about Nora, because much of what I disliked about her stemmed from her struggling with depression. Unfortunately, I was unable to connect with her and most of the time, really disliked her. Besides her unwillingness to actually do something about her unhappiness, her ethics really rubbed me wrong. Now obviously, I am not an expert in the publishing field. However, her actions were most definitely unethical, if not illegal. Additionally, she constantly lied to everyone who cared even a little about her.

Andrew and Beth were the two characters that redeemed this story for me. Beth gave her companionship and help when Nora refused to ask. And Andrew? He was the catalyst to Nora actually taking control of her life. I really appreciated all that he did for her and the many ways he tried to empower her.
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“I was giving a ARC by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark to provide an honest review. “


4.5 🌟

Our protagonist Nora Hughes has worked in the publishing industry for five years. Still, lately, she hates working with ungrateful bosses and authors while being underpaid and overworked. She feel that she needs a change in her career but the only thing that she knows for sure it’s that she wants to keep working with books. 

This book feels like a love letter for all the young people out there, that are feeling lost. Sometimes you don't have everything figured out, and you need to keep living while trying to find your path of happiness, even when it can be seen as not a traditional way of living. I saw myself in Nora's shoes entirely because I feel lost and don’t know what to do with my life sometimes. 

And don’t even get me started with Daddy Andrew Santos. He was lovely and wholesome; I loved him entirely because he was a complete gentleman.  He was living his life but respectfully trying to help Nora in any way he could. 

I will recommend this book to anyone that I
I know because it was so good. It was more of a character driving book, and I love it.
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In Must Love books we follow Nora who dreamed of working in publishing growing up but is finding the reality of working at Parsons Press doesn’t match the dream.

When a pay cut leads Nora to a second job moonlighting for another publisher and she starts to fall for Andrew Santos one of the authors Parsons Press cannot afford to lose she must decide where her loyalties lie.

I really enjoyed this book. I was rooting for Nora from the start and felt the representation of mental health and the way in which depression can effect all aspects of your life was handled really well.

I would recommend.
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Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson is an engaging contemporary story about a young woman whose life becomes unsettled when she realizes that what once was her dream job as a publishing assistant has now become untenable. It’s a timely book that seems especially prescient as it debuts in the midst of The Great Resignation. 

Even though I’m considerably older than the protagonist, Nora, I found her to be both relatable and likable, and I was rooting for her all the way. I also greatly appreciated the ways this book didn’t shy away from honest, compassionate conversations and depictions surrounding mental health, financial stability, and racial dynamics in publishing.

For a book about the publishing industry I think it’s unfortunate that this book seems to be somewhat marketed incorrectly. The cover and the description led me to think this was going to be a rom com, but it quickly became clear this was not the case. Once my expectations were adjusted appropriately, however,  I thoroughly enjoyed this book. And there IS a delightful romantic subplot, however, made even better by the fact that the love interest’s name, Santos, instantly had me picturing a young Jimmy Smits, thanks to the West Wing.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy of this book for review.
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This book follows a young woman who has been working in publishing for 5 years now. This is her first real job and she's sort of lost and directionless. Like so many of us she's hit the point where the company is experiencing pay cuts and her work friends are all gone. So not only is she barely surviving but she has no one around to keep her going. Her dream job isn't what she thought it was and she's feeling jaded. She's also struggling to find a new job. 

It's a little dreary at some points because so much of the story is set in the office and even when they're outside of the office the focus is constantly work. But I felt Nora's emotions. This is a very relatable story for someone who is at that crossroads in life and unsure what their next step will be.
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Nora’s job in publishing is not as dreamy as she expected. Once her office bestie leaves, Nora definitely no longer sees the joy in it. She takes on a second freelance gig with a competing publishing house, all in secret of course. Working two jobs, she befriends the handsome author Andrew, and he eventually becomes key to whatever career move she decides to take next. Of course this complicates things. 

There’s a lot of technicalities about working in publishing, and 99% is set in the office. When the characters are out of office, they’re definitely still talking about work. It becomes a little bit dreary after a while, but also incredibly relatable. 

Nora clearly isn’t doing too well, there’s definitely some trigger warnings to be given out and she’s kind of depressed. What will be her next move? What does she even like anymore? Highly relatable and current issues in this time of ‘The Big Quit’.
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So, I don't know where I got the idea from - but I expected a romance novel. So I'm a bit dissapointed right now...
But the story was fine, the characters were fine - all in all I am left with a "fine" feeling, but it was not what I had expected.
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When I saw this book, with that gorgeous bright cover, and then read the blurb, I was intrigued. It sounded right in my wheelhouse. 

Don't judge a book by its cover.

I should have read the early reviews first. This book has loneliness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and a charming hero who is far too good to be put into this story.

I DNF. I've never done that with a Netgalley book before. I always feel obligated to finish and review, but I just couldn't. I need light and levity in my life and this was not it.
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Must Love Books
by: Shauna Robinson
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark

This book will spark the interest of those who love a book that has a theme tied in about books. In this case, main character Nora is an editorial assistant at Parsons Press. Themes of the book include mental health struggles, the publishing industry, career, and finding one's way in life. Robinson's debut novel is written with tenderness and sensitivity. 
Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark for the advance reader's copy and opportunity to provide my review.
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I’m always drawn to books about books and book lovers so I couldn’t resist requesting Shauna Robinson’s debut novel, Must Love Books.  I’m so glad I did too because I think the journey of self- discovery the protagonist Nora Hughes embarks on is one that will resonate with many readers, especially anyone who is searching for their “dream” job or anyone who thought they had their “dream” job until it became more of a nightmare than a dream.

Nora loves books and all she knows when she starts looking for her ideal job is that it has to somehow involve books.  When she lands an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, she is in heaven because what could be better than working for someone who actually puts books out in the world.  Nora’s job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, however, and after a series of layoffs and corporate restructuring, she finds herself bogged down in administrative tasks like ordering lunches and office supplies rather than doing much that is directly involved with the books themselves.  It’s a bit disheartening for Nora as is but then things take an even worse turn and she is asked to take a 15% cut in her pay.  Nora can barely make ends meet with her existing salary, so when her pay is cut, she is forced to take drastic measures and secretly takes on part-time freelance work at a rival publishing company.

About the only thing that makes her happy at all these days is Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parson author who has taken an interest in Nora after they exchange some flirty banter involving avocados, of all random things.  As the two of them grow closer, Nora finds herself uncertain of where her loyalties should lie – the full-time job she has but hates or the freelance job that has the possibility of becoming permanent if she could score a big author like Andrew for them even though it involves manipulating Andrew. All Nora knows is that she is so unhappy that her mental health is suffering, so something has got to give.

Even though there is the possibility of a budding romance there with Andrew, Must Love Books is really all about Nora and her search for what is going to make her happy both personally and professionally.  Nora is a very likeable and relatable character in the sense that we’ve pretty much all been where she is at some point in our lives, that crossroads where you have to make some tough choices if you’re ever going to change your life.  I was rooting hard for her to find the happiness and sense of fulfillment she deserves.  I also liked that the author presents what Nora did with the two rival publishers in a very realistic manner and that the character development is equally realistic.  Nora is not presented as a hero trying to stick it to the company that has wronged her; instead, there are real consequences for what she does, and she really doesn’t like the person she becomes while she’s living this double life of secrets and lies.

If you’re in the mood for a heartfelt, reflective story about finding yourself and your place in the world, definitely check out Must Love Books.
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First of all, this book is blurbed by Taylor Jenkins Reid, the amazing author of one of my favourite books of 2021. Secondly, it’s pitched as the Bookish Life of Nina Hill meets Younger and I am 100% here for another book about books. There’s something about reading about a shared love of books that never fails to make me feel cozy and at home in between the pages. This book was no exception! I found myself relating to the main character in a lot of ways and couldn’t help but picture myself in the publishing industry.

At it’s core, this book is about someone who’s really unhappy with where they are in life. The main character feels stuck in her career and can’t see any other way of making ends meet that she would qualify for and wouldn’t immediately hate. Struggling with depression and possibly anxiety, the main character has a lot of mental hurdles blocking her from seeing a way out of her situation. As much as it can be difficult to read at times, I think this was a realistic representation of something that a lot of people can relate to in one way or another. I liked that the character eventually found a way to ask others for help because it showed that even if you feel completely lost with no way out, there are so many people around you that might know something helpful but you’ll never know unless you talk to them about it.

Tied up in the work plot-line is also a sweet romance that begins to develop with an author at the publishing company. I really liked the chapters that had the love interest in them because he seemed like a genuinely kind and incredibly happy human and it made my heart happy. It was so nice to see how his personality would rub off on the main character every time they saw each other and I was definitely rooting for them to succeed the whole time.

Pick this book up if you think you might be interested in reading a reflective book about self-growth sprinkled with a little office romance to keep things light!
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Overall, this was a cute read. There were a few places I was very uncomfortable (my field of work is very different - healthcare - and some of the workplace ethics that come up in the book would have much larger consequences, including legal action, possible loss of licensing, etc - it's hard to read about unethical professional behavior and not imagine the outcome in your own field. Some of the scenarios were a bit too glossed over for me). Once I had a talk with myself about keeping in mind this is a Rom-Com and not taking it so seriously, I enjoyed it much more. I loved the characters and the wit. I loved reading about the publishing world, which is such a foreign entity to me. But this one comes with a few heavy Trigger Warnings, in my opinion, that can't be overlooked. And I felt these were maybe treated a little too lightly, or rather maybe not treated with as much seriousness as they deserve and too cleanly and unrealistically resolved. Especially today. But I do hope Shauna Robinson gives us more in the future. I'll definitely read it if she does. She's a great writer. 
TW: workplace romance with power differential; suicidal ideation, depression
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This book started off really strongly. For the first 15% or so, I couldn’t put it down. Then, until about the 50% mark, I couldn’t stop finding excuses to put it down or I kept dozing off. I was bored. Then I was mildly disinterested until about the 75% mark when my interest was piqued again and it carried me through to a mildly satisfying ending. 

What I’m saying is: this novel is really uneven, but the premise is great. 

For a debut novel in the romance and women’s fiction genre, it isn’t bad. But it isn’t spectacular, either. It has a promising premise, fully-realized characters, and–if it hadn’t suffered from a really uneven middle section–really great overarching themes that wove through the story seamlessly. 

Some might have less issues with this book than I did. I’m not known for being the most patient of readers. I like my books to have tighter editing and to maintain a natural pacing that keeps people reading in the manner intended. To me, this book need not suffer a soggy middle section like it did. It could have been better.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC. 

🌟🌟🌟 3/5 stars 

A touching story that is perfect for book lovers. Nora is an overworked, disillusioned editorial assistant at Parsons Press. When a pay cut forces her to take a moonlighting gig for a rival publisher, she meets Andrew Santos. Andrew is a bestselling author that can cause all sorts of complications for Nora. 

This was a heartfelt book that touches on many themes. It definitely leans more towards women’s fiction vs. romance. It was a bit slow at the beginning, but eventually it comes together. I really enjoyed Andrew and all of the bookish elements of the story, but I wish there was a bit more romance. Going in with the right expectations is crucial for this one. This is not a romcom, but it is compelling and heartfelt. 

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review to be posted on release date.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Must Love Books is not the traditional happy, light, fluffy chick lit you’d expect from the cutesy cover and title. This was a really thought-provoking debut novel that spent a lot of time inside the head of our MC, Nora. Nora is going nowhere fast at Parsons Publishing, isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life, and is struggling with her mental health. Shauna Robinson did a great job navigating Nora’s life and showing her struggles with ordinary, real problems that can seem like huge boulders in the road to a successful future. In time, she begins on a path of self-discovery thanks to a few (ex-)co-worker friends and the handsome author Andrew Santos. The image that really stood out to me was Nora’s habit of laying in her bed and staring at the ceiling fan for a long time. It can be overwhelming to get out of a rut or take next steps toward something great. This book did a fantastic job of accurately portraying the life of someone struggling with mental health. I also really enjoyed the romance story line (especially with how it was left in the end) and the portrayal of a biracial woman in the publishing world. Very excited to see what Shauna writes next. 

“ Things would be different this time. She wouldn’t go back to staring listlessly at her ceiling fan. She’d disconnect the damn thing if she had to. Nora knew it wasn’t over. Dark thoughts came to her any time she felt hopeless, and they would keep coming. The creature whispering to her from the corners of her mind would be back. But that didn’t mean she had to listen. She could stop trying to fight it alone.”

Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for the ARC!
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