The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith

Published: September 6, 2022

Paperback: 352 pages

(Thanks to Netgalley & Berkley Publishing Group, I received an eARC)



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 sweaty gym clothes in her oven, and routinely 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.


I highly enjoyed this book from start to finish. I thought it was an absolutely adorable read with a bit of depth. I was a big fan of the execution of the grumpy/sunshine trope throughout the story. I also loved some other tropes that popped up such as forced proximity and miscommunication.

Joelle was a self proclaimed “mousy shy girl” ands she considered Max a “stereotypical bad boy”. I loved the family dynamics throughout the book. Having such a close knit family must be such a blessing, even if they are in your business a lot of the time.

I enjoyed getting mainly Joelle’s point of view, with a bit of Max’s thrown in. It’s nice to see things from both points of view. Don’t let this cutesy cover fool you, this book has a bit of spice to it!

Boston Book Reader