Cover Image: Sandcastle Beach

Sandcastle Beach

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Member Reviews

I loved the first two books in Jenny Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. They were funny, emotional, and sexy, plus I love that they were set in my home province of Ontario. I was excited to read the final installment in the series and while I was happy to return to Moonflower Bay and see familiar characters, I was sad to discover early on that this book just didn’t work for me. I powered through, hoping it was just a slow/awkward beginning, but the entire book fell really flat for me, which breaks my heart!
 
The book started out with snippets of time that overlapped with previous books before jumping ahead several months. It was kind of jarring and confusing and almost felt like the author wasn’t quite sure how to begin the book, which felt especially strange because the other two books launched right into the story. Even when the story became more linear, the odd pacing continued and contributed to my disconnect with the story.
 
The main cause of my disconnect was that I was indifferent to the characters. I have to admit, I didn’t particularly like Maya in the other books. We didn’t get to know her well, but what we saw often rubbed me the wrong way. Her feud with Law made me curious in the previous books, and I was interested to see where the animosity came from. Maya had a reason - something that happened ages ago - but instead of dealing with it, she held a grudge, let the animosity grow, and acted like a petty child toward Law. She was cold and harsh most of the time and was only nice to him when it suited her (basically when she could use him). I found myself skimming through a lot of the book because I wasn’t enjoying their interactions and I didn’t feel any chemistry between them.
 
Things I did like (besides the small-town Ontario beach setting): Maya’s business struggles felt very realistic; we often see characters content or settled in their careers, or working a job they don’t enjoy just to pay the bills, but Maya was passionate about her work and was doing everything she could to keep the theatre open. Law’s respect of his family and their traditions while also wanting to branch out and make the business his own, plus expand. He was also really sweet and thoughtful, and while he did things to get under Maya's skin - because it was so easy - he treated her well. I also appreciated that the romance was interracial.


2.5 stars
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HJ Top Pick!

Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday is the third book in the Matchmaker Bay series. I really enjoyed how the author used the enemies to lover’s plot and slowly built up the shift in the main character’s relationship. At times I find books in this troupe too rushed because the change in the main character’s relationship seems to happen overnight. The pacing was perfect, and the writing flowed effortlessly. The story takes place in the small town of Moonflower Bay which is a small town with plenty of meddlers and traditions.

The entire town knew of the animosity between Maya Mehta and Benjamin Lawson. Annoying each other was their “thing” and became more of a hobby over the years. Maya owned the town’s theater, but she was struggling to keep it open. The town council announcing they would be funding a grant for one of Mooneyflower Bay’s business owners who contributes to the economy and culture of the town was good news for Maya. Winning the grant would help keep her theater open and having the famous Holden Hampshire, an actor and previous boy band, play a role in her Much Ado about Nothing show would help also.

Lawson’s Lager House had been started by Benjamin’s grandfather and he wanted to continue the legacy, but he also wanted to open a restaurant. He had found the perfect building but did not want to use the bar as collateral. Winning the grant would help him acquire the building without taking such a risk. He knew it would require hard work starting a restaurant and running the bar, but it was his dream.

This was such an amazing book, and I adored the characters. I could not stop laughing from all the snarky banter and barbed interactions between Benjamin and Maya. The chemistry between them was so strong and could be felt from the beginning. Benjamin’s feelings for Maya were complicated as he felt attracted to her but really enjoyed annoying her also. Stocking her favorite wine just for her and all the other small things he did for her was just so sweet. Even though their relationship as enemies ended, they still continued with their snarky exchanges because it was just their “thing.” I loved how they kept adding to the “their thing” list. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to future books by this author.
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Thank you NetGalley, Forever Grand Central Publishing and Jenny Holiday for gifting me an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! 
	In June I read book # 2 in Jenny Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series, Paradise Cove, and I LOVED it! I’m such a sucker for good enemies to lovers / friends to lovers romance, throw in a fun cast of side characters and unique main characters and I’m sold! You can read any of the books in this series as stand alones but the story timelines are woven together a bit and it would help to read them in order for no spoilers. I loved Jake and Nora so much and I enjoyed getting little hints of them throughout Maya and Law’s story!.
	I was looking forward to reading their story after watching them bicker throughout the first two books, but I was a little bored after a while. This was a very slow burn and the chemistry just never quite got there for me. They just felt like good friends trying to convince themselves their sexual attraction was also love. Meh. I also didn’t love Maya here. Her attitude got old after a while, especially after being proven wrong over and over.
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I love Jenny Holiday and after getting hints and snippets of Maya and Law's relationship in the first two books, I have been eagerly waiting for Sandcastle Beach.  I love Matchmaker Bay and the world that Jenny has created there.  As a small town girl, small town romances usually hit me right in the heart.  However, enemies to lovers either works for me or it hurts my feelings.  I need to like both characters so that I can enjoy the banter and hijinks, but Maya felt just a little too mean for my taste.  When we could see Law's love for her  - while pretending to hate her - it made her harshness come off even stronger.  If you are a reader who loves small towns, connecting characters, great friendships, and so much community, read this series.
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This was a great enemies to lovers storyline! I love the small town setting of Matchmaker Bay and the chemistry between them was sizzling! It started off a tad slow, so that's the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
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This series just gets better with every book!  I absolutely LOVED Law and Maya, so so much. Their snark and sass really worked for me, and I couldn't help but cheer for them from page one.  Also, UGH to Holden, he was terrible!
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This is the next story in the Matchmaker Bay series by Jenny Holiday. Both of the main characters are well established from the earlier books and it’s no surprise that they are a perfect match. This is a great quick read for this summer.
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This book was as fantastic as the first 2! Actually I think this might have been my favorite! 10/10 recommend grabbing it, if you have read the other matchmaker bay stories. You won’t regret it! Perfect weekend read!
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So, I really ended up enjoying this installment in the series! I loved the talk of theater, and I love that we finally got th story with this couple. 
With that said, I did find it to be on the slow burn side, and wishing that the couple had more on page time together. Outside of that, I thought this book was solid, and a lot of fun.
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This was a hard book to get into.  I don't know if it is the story line, the characters, or what..  Generally, I read a book cover to cover in a few days, not so with this one.   I did enjoy parts of the book, but I tend to think that it was just too long to keep me interested.  I was very confused with the name of the book, it has nothing really to do with the storyline.  It should be something more to the tune of Moonflower Bay.  They did have a sandcastle building contest, but that literally was one chapter and it was not really depicted very well.  I am a firm believer that most if not all books are well written, this one is, and it isn't.  I just can't figure out what the disconnect is for me, so I can't really give it a fair review.   Let me know what you think!
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Thank you so much to Forever and Netgalley for a copy of Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday!
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Maya Mehta and Ben “Law” Lawson are two characters that I really loved from past books in this series. Maya owns the community theatre and Law owns the local bar. They
have been at odds with each other ever since...well, for as long as Law can remember, he just doesn’t really know why. When a new grant is announced for local businesses in Moonflower Bay, Maya and Law both want to win.
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Sandcastle Beach is the third book in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series and I loved being back in Moonflower Bay. I love  all of the characters in this series and it was so nice to see them again. I also loved that this novel is set in Canada! I liked both Maya and Law and loved their banter. I do wish Maya had communicated about the misunderstanding that led to their love/hate dynamic earlier. I loved the meddling townsfolk and the fun festivals and I hope we get to read more from this wonderful group of characters!
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Content: mentions of alcoholism, drug use and death of a child
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In this small-town romance, we return to Moonflower Bay, Ontario to see hate turning to love for Maya and Law. These two enemies continually bicker as Maya’s theatre and Law’s bar are right next door to each other. When the town announces an upcoming grant that will be awarded to the most community centred business, they both believe they deserve it. As they go head-to-head by getting under each other’s skin, they don’t realize the undeniable chemistry that is fizzling between them.
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After reading and loving the other two books in this series, I was thrilled to be able to return to Moonflower Bay to read about Maya and Law. These two and their feud have made appearances in the previous books, so I was already super intrigued by their love story. It was also neat to see Eve, Sawyer, Jake, and Nora again and to see how their storylines overlapped with Maya and Law’s. The enemies-to-lovers trope in this one was brilliantly written by Jenny — it was full of banter, wit, and humour — through this it was simple enough for the reader to join the townspeople in seeing that in actuality there was not a sliver of hate between Maya and Law. I loved how the community played such a large role, not only through Maya and Law trying to keep businesses active there, but also through the citizens all coming together for the betterment of Maya and Law. Some may call it meddling but I thought it was beautiful to see how the community continued to care for its people throughout the entire series. I thought that the romance was going to have immediate sparks but it was more of a slow-burn. Maya was stubborn but Law was persistent. He didn’t give up on his feelings and once he cracked Maya’s shell, the romance was fire! This series will always be a fave of mine!
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This was such a sweet story! I was immediately transported to the beach - which is great with the crappy weather we've been having! I love Jenny Holiday's writing and can't wait to read more.
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In the third book of Jenny Holiday's Matchmaker Bay series, the hero and heroine are familiar figures that were introduced in the previous books, as was their dislike of each other. Maya is close friends with Eve and Nora, the previous heroines, while Law is close friends with Sawyer and Jake, the previous heroes. Well, obviously, it's a close-knit small town so of course they all know each other. Although they were introduced in previous books, though, I don't think it's necessary to have read those books before reading this one. 

This book was my least favorite of the series, mainly, because I'm not really a fan of the enemies to lovers trope that is at the heart of this book, especially when the reason for Maya's dislike was triggered by an incident that happened years before, when she was 15. Meanwhile, Law, who is really quite a sweet caretaker alpha type, has absolutely no idea what he ever did to cause Maya to constantly snark and pick at him. In fact, he's actually quite attracted to her, admires her, and wishes that he could get just a few of her smiles sent his way.  Ultimately, they do work it out, but I never really warmed up to Maya. I'm not sure if the series is over, but I'm kind of hoping it isn't. Maya's brother was introduced in the book, as well as Law's new bar manager and I think they'd make a great couple, but would also be happy to see them separately star in their own romances.
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It’s always such a good weird feeling seeing your home represented in novels! Especially since Ontario is a rare setting for a novel. I think that’s why I love Jenny Holiday’s books so much. And this one is no exception. 

I loved the first two books in her Matchmaker Bay series but I was waiting for this one even more. Maya and Law’s story was set up from the beginning, you could feel it brewing in the background and the build up was worth it!! I adored how Jenny started from the beginning and elaborated on some things that we had seen happen between them in earlier books. 

The chemistry between Maya and Law was off the charts, they have the perfect witty banter and the frenemies-to-lover aspect made their eventual fall so much better. I loved this book with all its secret football (soccer) games, grilled cheese sandwiches, mermaid queens, Shakespeare plays and all.
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Sandcastle Beach is the third standalone romance story in Ms. Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. This time around, the story focuses on lifelong residents, Maya, the owner of the local theatre, and Benjamin Lawson (Law), owner of the local tavern. The pair has a long history of bickering and petty squabbles, yet occupy the same group of friends. The book opens in the recent past, concurrent with second book and moves to present day within a few chapters. Maya and Law are both applying for the same community grant; however, no one knows that Maya needs the money or she’ll have to close the theatre. In true frenemies to lovers fashion, Law and Maya banter their way to love. 

After adoring the first two titles in the Matchmaker Bay series, I had high hopes for Sandcastle Beach. Unfortunately, the title fell a bit flat for me. While the premise is solid and I enjoyed spending time back in the fictional town of Moonflower Bay, the story is very slow moving and there aren’t any sparks between Law and Maya until well into the title. The pair doesn’t really spend a lot of quality time together. Sure they watch a soccer match or two together, but weeks stream by, and I wasn’t sold on their chemistry. At the 60% mark, the pair are barely friends, and neither expresses (even internally) a strong desire for the other. Additionally, I can’t believe that neither Law nor Maya, knowing the reputation of the town’s elder matchmakers, sees through their obvious manipulation.

Once the pair final hooks up, their friends institute some juvenile junior high techniques to try and get them together, and even then, they still insist they don’t like one another. I did enjoy finding out more about their shared history and why Maya dislikes Law so much. Finally around the 80% mark, things really started to come together, and I honestly enjoyed the rest of the book. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the first 80%, it’s just that it was slow and more “women’s fiction” than “romance.” I wanted more spark and love from the beginning, and I just didn’t feel it. 

In the end, I liked Sandcastle Beach, but didn’t love it like I wanted to. It took too long to get to the point where I felt Maya and Law not only liked one another but had a deep and lasting connection. 

My Rating:  B- Liked it but had a few issues
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I've mentally packed my bags and drove all the way to Moonflower Bay, Ontario. Which is where this book takes place. 

Love love love when a book is set in Canada! Especially in the province that I live in. This town may be fictional and it's still winter here but mentally it's summer time, I'm at Law's bar grabbing a drink watching Law and Maya bicker and loving every minute of it. 

I love a good small town haters to lovers book and this one was exactly what I needed to escape from my life for awhile. I loved the banter between the characters and I just wanted them to jump each other half the time! This book totally had friendship goals which I'm looking forward to reading the first and second book of this series to know more about them! Overall a great read!

Thanks for the ARC @readforeverpub and @netgalley
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There is nothing better than an enemies to lovers story. Sandcastle Beach is a fun and witty slow burn romance. 

If you have read any of the previous books in the series or even if you are a  newcomer, you will soon find that the witty banter and the enemies to no end are just the steppingstones to the beginnings of this romance. 

Maya and Law have been going back-and-forth with each other for years. Their witty banter and constant rivalry makes you truly wonder what emotions they have for each other underneath.  When a competition for a large amount of money happens within their small town to help out a small business it’s game on for both of them.  It’s a fine line between love and hate and these two may have just stepped over the line.

Jenny Holiday will make you laugh and fall in love all of the same time.  Maya and Law are riot together. Their constant going at each other built so much tension in so many ways. Crossing that line just maybe the best thing for them. Maya and Law find their way together in a way that only they could do. Jenny Holiday gives readers another entertaining visit to Matchmaker Bay
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This installment of the Matchmaker Bay series focuses on Maya and Ben and this was definitely the couple I was waiting to read about. Though initially, I was annoyed with Maya for being ridiculous and unnecessarily mean with Ben, thankfully she changes her behavior pretty soon. I liked Ben a lot more I guess. It is perfect for a fun, cozy read!

Kind of enemies to lovers
Small town romance and meddling matchmakers
Friends like family - strong friendships
Witty banter
Cute and cheesy moments
Steamy in the second half

It was refreshing to see an Indian origin heroine, Maya Mehta being treated just like any other person without bringing the background constantly. There is no right or wrong about it but it felt accurate for someone who was entirely brought up in the same town, the background wouldn't make them too different other than the preferred cuisine may be.
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Sandcastle Beach is the third installment in the Matchmaker Bay series by Jenny Holiday. Although this book can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the first two - I loved them both! Previous thoughts/reviews can be found here and here for Mermaid Inn and Paradise Cove. I do think this book is helpful for readers who didn’t read the first two in the series. The beginning jumps around in time a bit; starting with specific moments from previous books to get a glimpse of the relationship between Law and Maya, and dynamic between the two of them and their group of friends as a whole. 

This book is a slow burn, with witty banter and my all-time favorite trope: enemies-to-lovers. These books can best be dscribed as: Hallmark, but with steam! I did feel like the conflict between Law and Maya was a bit…childish (which the other characters in this book also noted). I think I appreciate a book with a bit more angst and the drama between the two MC’s just didn’t feel big enough for them to be in conflict for as long as they were. But Law was such a sweet guy, and I really enjoyed seeing him fall in love with Maya, take steps in his own career, and go after what he always wanted (cheesy grand gestures included). 

"Because this is what you do when you love someone. You hold them up when they need you."

We were introduced to a couple new characters in this book, so my fingers are crossed for one more (surprise) book in this series. Please, Jenny,  please??! Overall, I was just really happy to be back in this small town with this sweet cast of characters. This series would be perfect for a beach vacation (or a stay-cation these days)!
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