Novelly Upon a Time by Sarah Monzon

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Novelly Upon a Time by Sarah Monzon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

When reviewers complain about the inauthentic feel of the romance in Harper Jones’s latest novel, Harper’s editor suggests that the author go out and get some actual romantic experience. Harper isn’t too keen on doing so, especially not with the guy who constantly infuriated her back in high school, Kyo Tanaka, in Novelly Upon a Time by author Sarah Monzon.

Skipping the book blurb beforehand, I jumped right into this novella, enjoying Harper’s voice from the get-go.

Now, the enemy phase of enemies-to-lovers scenarios can wear on me if “the lady [or gent] doth protest too much,” if a romantic character seems to be overplaying their disgust. Also, considering the real-life societal climate around, timing may have been a key reason why certain jokes in the book concerning Pearl Harbor, forceful arrest by police, and Nazis didn’t strike me as funny.

I actually started breathing easier as the story became more serious, particularly during Harper’s reflections on Japanese internment in the US and her unsettling feeling that “we seemed not to learn from our historical mistakes and were headed once again in the same direction.” Not at all a happy thought, but a sentiment shared by this reader.

Don’t get me wrong—I did smile and even laugh aloud at times during the read, and nothing beats a writerly heroine who rides a bike and takes public transportation. I do wish Kyo could have had a little more time to be present onstage, and though it’s a romance, the romantic relationship doesn’t seem to own the story’s climax so much as it leads up to it, or shares it with another relationship.

Nevertheless, lots of folks who can appreciate a good mix of light and heavy in a short and sweet romance should enjoy this one.


This novella is a part of the Book Nerds and Boyfriends Collection.


Winner: Christmas Book Picks 2018 Giveaway (and Some Free Reads!)

I’d like to thank everyone who entered the Christmas Book Picks 2018 giveaway!

I’m happy to announce that Perrianne won the paperback copy of The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller. Congratulations!

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Christmas Book Picks.
And don’t forget to pick up free copies of these great reads! (I’m adding a Christmas Pick from 2016 here. Why not?)


And check out this romantic comedy that ties right into the holidays: The “She” Stands Alone. It’s available as a standalone (😀 ) and also as part of a collection, Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads.


Christmas Romance Sale!

With the holidays coming up, now is a great time to stock up on Christmas romance reads! More than 60 clean romances are on sale for $0.99 each, now through November 18, 2018.
Enter the sale here!


The Love Clause by Liwen Y. Ho

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Love Clause by Liwen Y. Ho

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Philip Wong isn’t a love or marriage enthusiast, what with all the cases he’s handled as a stellar divorce lawyer. Vanessa Lim was once obliged to give up her dream and is now a receptionist at a law office, where she isn’t too keen on a certain divorce lawyer. But desperate times lead Philip and Vanessa to strike up a short-term, Christmastime dating contract in The Love Clause by author Liwen Y. Ho.

So, no, this isn’t the first time I’ve read a romance by this author that includes a fake date during the holidays, but as I quite enjoyed one, I figured I could enjoy another.

I was pulled right into the first chapter, feeling like no stranger to Philip and his boss. Their funny interaction is an ideal setup for the tale that follows. Self-satisfied Philip is a pretty outrageous dude with a good dose of vulnerability under his self-satisfaction. It’s cool how Vanessa can both empathize with him and stand up to him when she has to. Get it, girl!

Admittedly, the development of the story got a little odd to me after a while, and I wasn’t sure if one or two of its points made the most sense. Also, considering where (and how) Philip and Vanessa are at the start, the distance they cover seems to be an unnatural stretch to get them to a certain point by the end of the story. I think the idea of the plot would have worked well even without so big a leap.

Still, it’s a fun holiday read that I found both amusing and touching.