Cover Image: The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks

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Member Reviews

What a pleasant surprise!! I was expecting a rom-com filled with all the romance tropes and completely predictable with a "happily ever after" ending. Well -- it is a rom-com and it is somewhat predictable, but it's also touching, surprising, tense, funny, and pretty believable. PLUS I came away with a nice, long "to read" list.

Maggie is in a slump -- she's unemployed, living with her parents, and there seems no way out of the situation. When her college friend, Rochelle, begs her to take a temp job in her bookstore to cover Rochelle's maternity leave, Maggie jumps at the chance to help out a friend and take some time to regroup and re-evaluate her life. The small town of Bell River is dedicated to an author who lived and wrote a best seller in the town. The specter of Edward Bell overshadows everything. Then Maggie comes along and wreaks havoc.

Yes, there's a romance (they hate each other - then they get together - then they hate each other again, etc) . Yes, everything turns out OK at the end. Yes, Maggie's presence makes a difference in the lives of the town's citizens (even the old curmudgeon that hates everyone). Hence, the "predictable" comment above, but the book is surprisingly fun to read and enjoyable. There are very few moments of real surprise, but there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep me reading. A nice diversion. Well done!

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I really enjoyed this book - there were so many great things happening in it. I obviously loved the bookish aspect to it, as well as seeing Maggie and Malcom's relationship develop. I find Shauna Robinson's heroine's very relatable, and actually loved that Maggie was not a reader when the book started. I definitely recommend this one if you like books about books and reading.

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Shauna Robinson delights with her latest, The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks. I enjoyed moving through the pages and rooting for Maggie's self discovery journey. I know that readers of women's fiction will also share the same thought!

Maggie Banks feels like a failure to her family. She's unable to hold down a job, her mind consistently moving a mile a minute. When her college best friend invites her to run the bookstore while she's on maternity leave, Maggie cannot resist and heads down to Bell River. Maggie's dreams are instantly crushed however; when she realizes she cannot sell books besides the classics. It's the Edward Bell way. Yet, Maggie is about to show the town her way: one romance novel book at a time.

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I’m rating this book 4/5 because who doesn’t love reading books about books!

After reading this book:
1. I want to be as outgoing as Maggie (she had so many friends in such a short time!)
2. I want to work in a bookstore (reading & recommending books alllll day!!)
3. I want to live in a small town! (Where everybody knows your name🎶)

I would definitely read another book by Shauna Robinson!

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I love books about books and bookstore and I loved this one. It deals with a serious topic as a lot of books are being censored or banned and it's never preachy but always to the point.
The small town atmosphere, the quirky characters, and the plot are well done and i thoroughly enjoyed this story.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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This was such a quick, cute, and fun read. I was so pleased to see Maggie turn into a reader and find her love for books and that she found her true calling through selling the banned books and her wonderful book events. I also liked the way the whole town decided to band together. I love that there is history here, bookish name dropping, and friendship in unlikely places.

All in all, I really enjoyed the story, the journey of self discovery, the author's writing style and even this odd bunch. There was mystery, scandal, secret meetings and romance. Just what this reader needed!

This is my first time reading Shauna Robinson. I will be back for more.

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Shauna Robinson
Romantic Comedy

Maggie is helping a friend out by running her bookstore while her friend is on maternity leave. What she doesn’t expect trying to run a bookstore that is stuck in the past.

This was a fun witty look into the running of a bookstore. It has some spice to it and a lot of ups and downs. I would give it a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

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Maggie Banks has been floating through life, not quite sure where she fits in. When her friend Rochelle asks her to fill in at Cobblestone Books while Rochelle is on maternity leave Maggie jumps at the chance to make a little money and get out her parents' house - even if it's only for a couple of months. Bell River is dedicated to all things Edward Bell - a famous author who wrote a book at the bookstore. There are a lot of rules to protect the image of Edward Bell. Unfortunately, Maggie isn't very good at following rules.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks was a fun book that I would call a light rom-com/women's fiction mashup.

It wasn't what I thought it would be about. From the title, I thought Maggie ran a bookstore that was dedicated to selling banned books. Instead, you get an almost cultish town dedicated to a turn-of-the-century author. A white male author who published during a time when women and definitely people of color were hard-pressed to get their work published.

Maggie is trying to find her path in life and while there are some silly romance tropes that are typical of a rom-com, there is also a deeper thread that is more of what you find in women's fiction.

I liked Maggie and the other characters. I enjoyed the fun moments like her attendance at a book conference. You should also know that Maggie doesn't really read so you can probably see the set-up for some of the bookstore antics she gets into.

The only thing that irked me about the book is that it is obvious pretty really on the kind of job Maggie is best suited for. I don't know why her friends and family hadn't pointed it out. I won't tell you the career I think Maggie should be doing because that would spoil some of the things Maggie gets up to and as they comprise some of the best moments in the book I don't want to ruin it for you.

If you are looking to diversify your reading with books featuring people of color, this is a fun novel. It would also make a great book club book as there are a number of issues raised that would lend itself to an awesome discussion.

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Sunday -

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The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks: The bookshop setting was divine; the storyline was such a delicious RomCom. Just enough twistiness to keep me turning the pages. Recommended.

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Very enjoyable read with a dose of book and bookshop connections, romance, and a woman finding herself and her path. Mix in some small town atmosphere and you have a fun pageturner. I enjoyed this author a lot.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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One Sentence Summary: Maggie doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life, so it’s easy to pick up and go across the country to help out her friend Rochelle run her family’s bookstore while Rochelle is on maternity leave, but the town has a strange fascination with a late author that has Maggie getting creative to keep the bookstore afloat and avoid the cultish Bell Society.

My thoughts:

I wanted to love The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks because it features a bookstore. Unfortunately, while there were a lot of things I liked about this book, there were also a lot of things I really did not like. Overall, it was quite balanced between the two so I was able to enjoy it despite my frowning. Mostly.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks is set in a small town called Bell River near Washington, D.C. Years before, it was the home of a famous author, Edward Bell, to the extent where the Bell family still holds a great deal of influence, what with many of the business actually being, more or less, owned by their Bell Society. It felt very much like a charming small town, but it was nice that it was still close to large cities. The people were also a lot of fun to get to know, though the Bell Society people sometimes felt bizarrely obsessed with Bell (though I think it must be because of their boss, Ralph, who felt like he worshiped his grandfather). In some ways, it felt like Bell River was encapsulated in its own bubble, but it was still a lot of fun to hang out there.

This book is all about the bookstore. Owned by her best friend Rochelle, Maggie heads over to Bell River to run the store while Rochelle is out on maternity leave. But the bookstore is stuck in the past as the Bell Society refuses to let them sell modern books, sending anyone looking for current books to a nearby city. Of course, this has an impact on the store’s sales, especially when Maggie lets Ralph and his right hand man Malcolm think she can’t handle the tourists’ questions about Edward Bell and the table he wrote his novels at so it’s removed from the bookstore to the museum until Maggie can show her competence. And that’s where things start to take good and bad turns.

Maggie herself is quite a bubbly, friendly, awkward young woman with a lot of life and zest to her. She’s bouncy and fun with a lot of interesting ideas, and she’ll do anything to help her friend’s store stay open, including keeping secrets from said friend. I did love Maggie, mostly. She really was a lot of fun to read, but she started doing things she shouldn’t have and kept a whole lot of secrets from the people she should have been honest with, and then those people just turn around and forgive her. As bright and bubbly as she is, I didn’t like that she basically got a free pass out of trouble, and she did cause a lot of trouble.

Then there’s the romance, because of course Maggie has to have one. Falling for Malcolm probably wasn’t in her plans, and I sometimes wonder if it was supposed to be in the book’s plans to develop that way. It’s clear from the beginning who the love interest is supposed to be, and I did quite like Malcolm. But then he seemed to make an about face when faced with Maggie’s charms so the romance just zoomed off with none of the slower getting to know each other and starting to feel a connection. But I did love how Maggie isn’t a reader and Malcolm is a bookworm and their romance eventually started to feel a little more comfortable, though I still took issue with how suddenly it started.

My favorite part of this book was the diversity. The main characters are a mix of black and white, but there is also an Asian character. I loved how they all really came together to form friendships and a cohesive group all bound together by their love and enjoyment of books. The crotchety old man was also a lot of fun, but the crotchetiness felt more a front than anything deeper, so it was hard to take it seriously. I also loved that the author never let me forget Maggie is black. On the other hand, all the secrets, all the getting off easily, all the things that just fall perfectly in place just got annoying after a while so it felt like the conflict really had to be worked in. Even then it was easily solved.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks has a lot of good things in it, but it’s also mixed with a lot of not so great things. I loved the idea of Maggie’s events, I adored the diversity, I liked that it followed a young woman trying to find herself. But I didn’t like how black and white the whole town felt when it came to its namesake, I hated the secrets, I felt let down by Rochelle’s reactions to Maggie, I felt lukewarm for most of the romance, and I really didn’t like how everything just perfectly slotted together.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Shauna Robinson writes a very quirky character with lots of humor in a small town. The story is very predictable including the romance. The story moves quickly, and readers will enjoy the story. All in all the story isn't something to write home about just another cute romance for readers needing to escape life.

Thank you to Netgalley for a Copy of The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson

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Hooray for a book about books. I loved the story of self discovery for Maggie. The character develop was fun to follow. It had romance, rebellion and a little revenge - you can't go wrong with that!

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Maggie has a hard time keeping and enjoying a job until she helps her friend run a bookstore. Maggie thinks outside the box and doesn't like the restrictions placed on the bookstore so she secretly starts to break the rules. There is a bit of romance and backroom plotting but the story doesn't ring true and some characters read flat. An entertaining read to fill in some time, but not one i would go back to again.

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When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend's struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn't easy. Bell River's literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat. And in Maggie's world, book rules are made to be broken. To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything, and especially when she starts developing a promising relationship with the watchdog to the head of the Bell River literary society.

The was such a good story that it is hard to believe it is only the author's second book! She describes the main characters as well as the secondary characters so well that you start to feel like their friends, too. I am always drawn to books about books as I was a librarian for 42 years and love books and love to encourage readers. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting my request to read this book. Now, I want to go back and read her first book, also with a "bookish" theme. I highly recommend.

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This was such a cute story. I loved the characters so much. The plot was great and the chemistry between characters was right on point. Shauna Robinson is a great author and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I loved Vernon so so much. The ending was perfect.

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The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks was a really cute, quick read. The humor was perfect, and I love a good grumpy x sunshine trope, which this book has in both romantic and platonic varieties.

It was a little frustrating to watch Maggie keep digging her hole of deceit while acknowledging to herself that it was the wrong thing to do and then justifying it in the same breath. I know it would have been a much less entertaining story without the threat of getting caught, but it didn't feel like there was any genuine remorse for her wrongdoing. However, all good books have characters that are three-dimensional and inherently flawed, so I suppose that's kind of the point.

Overall, I really enjoyed the characters and the atmosphere of Bell River. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, fun romance!

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A great fiction feel-good contemporary fiction story. The plot was well developed and genuinely likeable main characters. I’m a sucker for any story that defends books and bookstores.

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I picked this book up thinking it would be an exploration of the kinds of controversies that are leading to the book banning we are seeing today. It’s not that, but it’s still an entertaining read.
Turns out that the main character, Maggie Banks, works in this book shop that mostly sells old books written by a famous author who is associated with the town and all the tourism businesses that support the town. They also sell books that would have been in print back in the day that this author was alive. The books that are banned are anything written in this century, because they don’t fit the theme of book centered on the author.
Maggie is a twentysomething who still trying to find her way in life and agrees to fill in at the bookstore to help out her friend who is having a baby. She soon gets cross ways of the fellow who basically runs the town and and before you know it, the book store is in jeopardy.
She has to use her creativity –and break a lot of rules—to get the bookstore profitable again. And her plan involves getting some forbidden books: current mysteries, romances, and other bestsellers.
Along the way, she becomes part of the community and starts a bit of a romance with the fellow who, unfortunately, is tasked with keeping the bookstore in line.
It’s a fairly lighthearted book that follows Maggie through all of her adventures trying to keep both her secret and her romance alive. At the end, she uncovers a bit of a mystery, and I have to admit that I was very invested in finding out how it would all resolve.
It’s a fun read for people who’ve always wanted to work around books with an added bonus of having a diverse set of characters.
A thank you to Netgalley who provided me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed Robinson’s writing style; she has a light touch that makes reading easy. The light style also means that things never get too deep while you are reading. I really liked the community that Maggie built, but the fact she’s keeping it a secret from everyone she cares about made it less of a community to me. It also took her way to long to track to the fact that was what she was doing. This is a pleasant read that is perfect for fans of bookstore books.

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