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.
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Rolé @ Hooked By That Book
Great review. This does sound like a lot of fun. And I like the cover.
Thanks, Role’! Yes, the cover is cute and matches the characters so well.
Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)
This one is up at the top of my TBR, and your review just makes me more eager to get to it! Great review!
Glad to nudge it higher, Lisa. 🙂
I can definitely see why this one caught your eye. This sounds like a very cute read and I like that she’s a baker and he own a bookshop. Those hot and cold swings in their romance would bother me too. Luckily it sounds like there are enough tender and sweet moments as well. Great review!
Oh yes, totally hooked me. I was glad that there was a balance of good stuff and irritating in their romance.
Carole @ Carole's Random Life
This sounds like it would definitely be worth a read even if it has a few issues.
Exactly! So much good that the bit of irritation was worth it.
This involves a baker and a bookstore owner?? This sounds like the perfect combination and definitely a book I need to read!
My thinking exactly when I snagged it. 🙂
I can tell why you liked this and why you’d read more by her. She’s new to me and I would definitely give her a try.
The other one was set in an area of UT where I’ve camped and visited with family plus it was a TV set so I was intrigued. I will definitely go back for it. Yep, bakery and bookstore- how could I resist? 🙂
Lover of Romance
What a fab review darling! The title is so intriguing. I am in love with the sound of the heroine, I just love nurturing heroines, and I need more of those. Glad it was such a solid experience delving into this one.
You’re right about her personality being a strong pull toward really liking her and wanting her to get through all this.
Yay to finding a new author. Although not a fan of the cover, I am intrigued by the story.
I was glad to finally get the chance to try her books. The one released last year caught my attention, but I couldn’t fit it in. Hope you like it if you get the chance at it, Nadene!
Sounds like a good one, Sophia Rose. I do get frustrating when there is self-sabotage of a relationship though. Nice review.
Yeah, that part was tough to read when they didn’t communicate well and did or said provoking things. Thanks, Carla!
This sounds like my kind of book. I love the combination of Filipino food and a bookstore as I love both.
Oh yeah that was a huge draw for me, too, Wendy!
Angela @ Simply Angela
You had me at bad boy bookstore owner. This one sounds like my cup of tea. Thanks for a great review, Sophia!
Glad to put you onto it, Angela. 🙂
I must admit that this book intrigues me a lot, especially as it also deals with food and Asian heritage, which is something I particularly love! So, thanks for reviewing this one 🙂
It definitely had me hungry reading about what she and her family made in the bakery and the Asian heritage glimpses when the family got together were very welcome, Sylvia.
I apologize ‘Silvia’. 🙂