For Love or Music

After enjoying a couple of romance novellas in February, I was in the mood for another quick and cute love story. I picked out For Love or Music by Julie Lipson, in part because of my deep love for music. It’s such a different romance than I’m used to reading, and I really enjoyed the full cast audiobook version.


Max and Sadie have been together for years and just got engaged. But they’ve also both been accepted into the same piano competition, putting not just their piano skills to the test, but also their relationship. Is their love strong enough to withstand them being pitted against each other? Will their careers win out, or will love emerge victorious?


For Love or Music is the first romance I’ve ever read in which the couple is already together and happily so. When we first meet Max and Sadie, they’re a cute couple who is just getting engaged. But their celebration quickly devolves into worry about how their relationship can withstand this new hurdle: They’ve both been accepted as finalists in a prestigious piano competition. Both of their music careers are on the line… and so is their love for each other. Competing against each other may be more strain than their relationship can handle.

I personally love music, maybe more than most. In For Love or Music, music takes center stage. I love hearing about how passionate both Sadie and Max are about music, piano, and playing. And in this audiobook version, I love getting to hear snippets of Sadie and Max playing piano, from practicing to their final performances in the competition. It brings their story feel that much more palpable. (This audiobook also features other sounds, like of cell phone ringtones and heels clicking on a stage in a quiet auditorium.)

Both Sadie and Max are likable characters, even in the midst of their frustration during the competition. I also enjoyed the supporting characters, from their respective piano coaches to their family members to the persistent radio interviewer. (Danny may actually be my favorite character!) They each have their own lives, personalities, and hurdles to overcome, adding extra dimension to the book, even with its short duration. All of the voice actors did a wonderful job in bringing their respective characters to life.

Although I could have done without the brief makeup and immediate renewal of anger later on in the book, this is an enjoyable story of a couple working through a trying scenario.

Final Thoughts

For Love or Music is a sweet and realistic love story between two likable people thrown into an unusual test. I love the music and appreciate how the characters navigate the competition and their relationship. It’s only an hour and 42 minutes, but it packs in a vivid and memorable romance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Get the Book

You can buy For Love or Music here – it’s available as as an audiobook.

For Love or Music by Julie Lipson
Audiobook NarratorFull Cast
SettingSeattle, WA; Austin, TX
Audio Length1 hour, 42 minutes
Format I ReadAudiobook
Original Publication Date2020

Official Summary

They’ll discover the key to love in this scripted multi-cast romance with an immersive soundscape.  

Sadie and Max fell in love while training to be classical pianists in music school, and they’ve been chasing their dreams together ever since. Now they’ve gotten engaged and are on the verge of a bright future—until an unexpected twist throws them out of harmony. When they’re both finalists in the prestigious Van Cage piano competition, they go from being each other’s biggest fans to fierce rivals. The winner will be launched into a meteoric career as a concert pianist, but only one can take first place. 

Now Max and Sadie face the ultimate test. What will come first—love or their dreams?

About the Author

Julie Lipson

Julie Lipson is an award-winning TV and film writer. Her feature film Rust Creek has spent many days on the Top Ten list on Netflix, and she was nominated for Best Screenplay on the Women In Film Oscars Ballot in 2019. Julie has been a California Junior Miss (Talent), an American Scholarship Winner for piano performance at the Chopin Institute in Warsaw, and is a graduate of the USC Film and Television writing program.

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