Sophia Rose is here with a review of The Boy With the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and find out about our bad boy bookstore owner and bashful baker.
by Sarah Echavarre Smith
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
When a baker meets the bookshop owner of her dreams, and he turns into her nemesis, they’ll both have to read between the lines to avoid a career-ending recipe for disaster.
Max Boyson looks good...from a distance. But up close and personal, the tattooed hottie Joelle Prima has been crushing on for the past year and half has turned into the prime example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by his delectable cover.
When she first learned about the massive renovation to the building they share, Joelle imagined that temporarily combining her Filipino bakery with Max’s neighboring bookstore would be the perfect opening chapter to their happily ever after. In her fantasies they fed each other bibingka and pandesal while discussing Jane Austen and cooing over her pet hamster, Pumpkin. Reality, however...is quite different. Her gallant prince turned out to be a stubborn toad who snaps at her in front of customers, dries his wet clothes in her oven, and helps himself to the yummy pastries in her display case without asking.
But beneath Max’s grumpy glares, Joelle senses a rising heat—and a softening heart. And when they discover the real reason for the renovation, they’ll have to put both their business senses and their feelings for each other to the test.
Sophia Rose’s Review
A bad boy bookstore owner and a bashful sweetheart baker find that mixing business with budding romance result in more than burned cookies or botched book orders. A new to me author and a tempting book and baking romance had me salivating even before page one.
The Boy With the Bookstore was as cute as its cover in many ways. I’ve heard it touted as an enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, bad boy and good girl, or even cranky vs. sunshine. And, the story would be a little of each actually rather than strongly one or another.
Joelle Prima has been to Paris and had dreams, but her deeply connected Filipino family needed her back home in Portland. There are compensations though beyond the joy of baking- there’s the hottie bad boy running the indie book shop next door. She loves his easy smiles and way with people when he comes into the shop and turns out they’ve both been secretly crushing on each other.
Right when they move from secret crush to doing something about it with an encounter that leaves her tingling, the building owner announces renovations are in order so the pair must share a smaller space. Max loses his suave cool and says words that he regrets, but the damage is done. They go from romantic to hostile to romantic to hostile to… in their close proximity shop world.
I noticed a previous book by the author and thought it sounded fun, but then this one really caught my eye. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the cute presentation of the pair who are gradually falling in love though I’d say they were well on their way during their ‘secret crush’ time since they saw each other all the time and were neighboring shop owners. The story felt very intimate because it is told first person and alternated between Joelle and Max.
Joelle is a generous, warm-hearted woman who naturally was a nurturer whether it was family, friends, customers, or even someone who hurt her. Max is friendly, but his personality is very different because he’d been abandoned and mistreated from a young age by his own parents. He has built a new rewarding life for himself, but it is a thin veneer over the roiling emotions that lash out at times and particularly on the woman he least wants to hurt.
I confess to struggling through the painful swings of the relationship blowing hot and cold because they were in a forced proximity situation and they both did their fair share of sabotage to the relationship. Max said the most cutting things and Joelle acted out. There was misunderstanding and miscommunications to really fuel the drama.
However, the fun, sexy, and tender moments were there as well. Delicious baking, fabulous family on Joelle’s end, a charming bookshop guy who is book boyfriend material when he’s not dealing with inner demons, and a pair that learn to be stronger together and connected when they were able to form an understanding.
So, it was a qualified success for me and I would definitely reach for more of the author’s books particularly if food and Asian heritage are present. A hard-fought relationship and a struggle to keep their small shops alive made for an engaging contemporary romance premise.The Boy With the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith delivered a foodie, Asian heritage, contemporary romance. #bookreview #SophiaRose Click To Tweet
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