Book Review · Fiction · Review Copy

Book Review: Love on the Second Read by Mica De Leon

Title: Love on the Second Read

Author: Mica De Leon

Genre: Romance ; Asian Literature

Pages: 220

I received this Review Copy from Penguin Random House SEA in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you Penguin Random House and Chaitanya Srivastava for this amazing opportunity!!

Book cover of Love on second read by the nerdy bookarazzi


As soon as Penguin started posting and marketing about Love on the Second Read I was completely intrigued by the title, cover and the blurb. I wanted to read it right away. Come on, which booklover doesn’t love a bookish book set up at the backdrop of a publishing house? This book was actually a dream come true moment for me. I was mentally screaming, sign me up, already! Just when I thought my chance to read and review this book I association with Penguin SEA is gone, Chai‘s email came as an antidote to my broken heart. I jumped in at the first opportunity to get my hands on this book. Thanks again Chai!

As someone with a considerable amount of experience from the publishing industry I was able to relate to this book at so many levels, right from signing a deal with the authors, making the book and finally publishing it. On top of it, reading South East Asian fictions has always been tremendous experience and all the Asian fictions I have ready by Penguin SEA hasn’t let me dow. So, as a matter of fact, even before starting this book, I had a gut feeling I will be enjoying this read. I was hoping this book would serve as a door to witness Filipino lifestyle and culture.

The journey of this book is something not only booklovers but also all the individuals from the publishing industry should absolutely experience it.


Love on the Second Read is the story of Emma Morales who is romance fiction editor at one of the biggest publishing houses in Philippines. Emma is recovering from her mother’s death and a breakup of her long term relationship. The declining sales rate of books on whole due to the pandemic and upraise in digital consumption of content, Emma’s dream job and her beloved company is at stake.

Like an answer to all of Emma’s prayers, one of the bestselling authors of Emma comes out of her prolonged writer’s block and provide the bestest manuscript of her career. This book has the potential to change the fate of their publishing house but the only problem is, Emma’s author has written a Sci-Fi romance fiction instead of her regular romance genre.

Kip, the Sci-fi editor is the archnemesis of Emma at work. This book forces both Emma and Kip to work together. The forced proximity gradually leads to harmless flirting which deepens into something more which either of them signed up for. Will they ace in both their personal and professional life or will they let their personal life sabotage their career? That’s the story of Love on the second read.


First of all, this book has all the hit romance tropes, starting from workplace romance, enemy to love interest, forced proximity, second chances, handsome ex waiting to patch-up and what not? Do you think a book can not be good with these tropes?

Love on the Second Read is a like a Taylor Swift song lyric, you cannot miss the Taylor Swift reference and the poetic writing style of the author. All the chapters’ names also sounds a little bit like Ms.Swift‘s song title. The author has also mentioned a playlist to set up the mood of the book, do check out this author curator playlist, you will be grateful.

This book speaks elaborately speaks about the functionings of the publishing house. Only someone who has closely worked in the industry will be able to provide such an authentic note on the publishing industry. The everyday work routine of Emma and Kip has been beautifully captured. Through this book, the readers will get to know how much in advance, the publishing houses plan their book releases and how the editors fight the world to protect their author’s work and do the best thing for the authors and the books. I absolutely loved every single part about their work.

The nerdy book references, literary banter and smackdown that runs between the lead characters throughout the book is something that will make the book nerds laugh and blush internally while reading this awesome book.

The storyline was pretty straight-forward and the pace of the book was also fast. Kip‘s character has built and developed meticulously, loved Emma‘s POV on Kip. Loved seeing Kip through Emma‘s eye. Emma‘s best friend is the voice of the readers, whenever Emma does something unfathomable, she give a hard reality check. We all need a friend like that. These two best friends’ idea of spending a quality time together is going to the gym and doing heavy workouts, that’s something I totally adored and at the same time would die if my best friend makes me do it. Lolz.

The only drawback of this book was there was only little representation about the Filipino side. Once of the major reasons why I picked up this book was I wanted to mentally travel to Philippines through this book and understand the culture and food over there but unfortunately that wasn’t covered much in this book. At most instance I felt like I was reading a book based in US or UK. Additionally, certain instances were too cheesy to handle.

Most of the chapters ended with a cliffhanger unreasonably. Let’s say if the lead characters go on a date, the author completed the chapter there with a cliffhanger and never talks about it in the next chapter. She would totally skip this date and move on with the plot. It was like turning someone on and leaving to die. Why, Mica? Why? Why would you do that to us? This was heartbreaking! I would’ve love to read these parts in much more detail.

The editing process, how both the lead characters fight to eliminate or add the important plotlines with regards to their respective genres was totally interesting to read. The way both of them try to teach each other about their genres was extremely technical and informative. If you are someone who would like to know about the underlines depths of romance or Sci-fi and fantasy, you would definitely love these parts.

The preparation for the bookfair was interesting to read. As a booklover, seeing the behind scenes of book fair prep was like experiencing Alice’s excitement in wonderland.

We all know how an author feels while seeing their book getting published and placed in a stall on a bookfair for the first time. It is like they are proudly showing off their baby on which they’ve put in all their efforts and time. When someone purchase the book and appreciate it, they will be extremely exhilarated. This is common knowledge, but this book makes you understand, that’s how an editor also feels when they see their authors’ book get published and reaches heights. Both the author and editor put in the same amount of effort and love in a book. It is the authors who takes the centre stage and the editor would happily stay behind the screen and feel equally happy and proud of the book.

On the whole, this book is a treat to all the book lovers and you would get to know a great deal about the publishing house and their processes. This book has everything that is expected out of a rom-com.

My rating for this book would be 3 out of 5 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buy the book here!

Happy Reading folks!

Do share your views on this amazing book!

~ Meenu


  • Meenu Annadurai

    Meenu Annadurai is the founder & editor of The Nerdy Bookarazzi. Meenu is a Customer Specialist by day and a writer by night. She published her debut novel 'A Place called Home' with Half-Baked Beans which is now available on Amazon. She is insanely addicted to her bookshelf and super possessive about them. She is in a serious relationship with her current Book Boyfriend. [email protected] Annadurai Meenu