Cover Image: The Beach Reads Bookshop

The Beach Reads Bookshop

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Member Reviews

I want to thank Netgalley, the author and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book.

This was a sweet story, but I felt that the story was slow to come to its conclusion. It is a good lighthearted summer read if that is what someone is looking for.

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~~~ I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~~~

This is the first book I've read by Lee Tobin McClain. Overall, I was impressed. Her characters were written in a way that I felt connected with them- though they were annoying sometimes (like real people!). This is a sweet romance set in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. It follows the story of Deena and Luis who find themselves connected through Luis' baby daughter Willow- and a bookshop. There is also a secondary story of Carol who is recovering from a divorce and finds herself moving to the same town as Deena and working at her bookshop. This character is a little immature and annoying, but she adds some drama. Overall, this is a story of healing, trust, family, and love. It's a HEA, good beach read! I recommend tossing a copy of The Beach Reads Bookshop in your beach bag!

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This is a good book. The two main characters in this book are Deanna and Luis. Deanna best friend has a toddler, when the best friend dies, Deanna is her guardian. Deanna seeks the help of the toddler’s father, Luis. He decides to open a bookstore and have Deanna run it. They each have their issues but together they work them out and fall in love.

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This is a beautiful beach romance that brings emotions, energy and tension to the pages. I love how they turned a sleepy beach town into a scene of romance and love.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I think this book is 3.5 stars, a sweet verging on saccharine romance. Third in a series which I haven’t read. It was fine, a nice story and romance, but not one I loved.

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This was a sweet story. I guess there are two more in the series, but I started reading this as a standalone and I had no problems jumping right in.

This story is about Luis, a self-made millionaire and Deena Clark, the caregiver of his toddler age daughter Willow. Willow is the product of a short lived fling, but when her free-spirited mother passes away in an accident, Deena, her roommate and best friend is left with the care of Willow. Deena seeks Luis out in the hopes he can support Willow financially, and instead he moves both of them to his family home on Teaberry Island.

I enjoyed this book and the characters, but some of the sub -plots were not interesting to me. Also, I felt that the story was slow to come to its conclusion but then in the span of a few pages was over.

I would recommend to someone looking for a lighthearted summer read.

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This was an enchanting and heartwarming story. I loved the dual perspectives and watching the growth of the relationships. It's my normal genre but I wasn't able to put this down.

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I like Teaberry Island. I love the name of the newly rejuvenated bookshop.
Carol and Deena both face a mountain of personal problems, mostly stemming from relationships.
Books can and do help with the healing.
Also the islanders are on hand to assist.
It’s a fast read and totally appropriate to tuck into a beach bag and head for a day of surf and reading.

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The Beach Reads Bookshop was a book I immediately wanted as I have reviewed a previous book by Lee Tobin McClain.

Chesapeake Island is somewhere I've never been, and I enjoyed the setting.

Deena Carke has a task she didn't expect when her friend passes away. She takes care of her toddler age daughter. There's another challenge: Can she help the little girl's relationship with her birth father?

Luis Dominguez has a lot to learn and priorities to decide on if he's going to make this work.

I loved Deena's bookstore.

Lee Tobin McClaiin's books are always a winner for me. I definitely want more books by this author. The book has the prefect blend of family dynamics, romance and island atmosphere.

5 stars

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The Beach Reads Bookshop is the final book in the Hometown Brothers trilogy. I suppose you could read them as standalone stories because each is about a different foster brother, but there would be spoilers if you read this one and wanted to read the previous two. This one is Luis Dominguez’s story. Luis is your typical self-made man. He is excellent at business and is quite wealthy. He has no desire to marry, but enjoys having some dalliances along the way. One of those, Deena Clark's now deceased roommate resulted in a daughter, Willow. After a positive DNA test, Luis is ready to take over and become a dad. Moving Willow and Deena (to be her nanny) out to Teaberry Island, he plans to work all week in DC and come home on the weekends. Meanwhile, there is a secondary story involving, Carol, a woman in her 50s who loses her job at the University because they are putting their tutoring program online and she is no longer needed. As well, she finds out her husband is cheating on her, so she packs up and moves to Teaberry Island to stay in her family's summer home. As she tries to begin a new life on the island with her sister and nephew, her story and Deena's come together.

This is a wonderful story about new beginnings, finding your happiness and place in the world, following your dreams, life balance and family. Luis is a tough businessman with a soft heart. Even though he was skeptical about Willow, he stepped right up to be her father, and she quickly wrapped him around her finger. He didn't know how to be a father though, especially as he didn't have one as a child, so that was a real curveball for him. Deena was such a wonderful character as well. Willow wasn't her child, but she had stepped up when her mother was killed and now she was a mama bear where Willow was concerned. A major plot point in the story is that Willow has suspected FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) which means she needs special care and interventions. The secondary characters, especially those that befriended Carol were a hoot. They were lifers on Teaberry Island and remembered the bookstore when it was an historical store with classics as well. What they do to bring that back was the comic relief in the story. I don't want to give anymore away, but suffice it to say, there is a happily ever after for all the main characters. I also loved how these two storylines complimented each other and meshed for the complete story. Yes, this is a romance, but it also deals with childhood trauma and how it affects adults, taking care of yourself physically, responsible dating, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, family, friendship, infidelity, starting over and more. I recommend this book to those who enjoy women's fiction, uplit and romance.

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Deena Clark made a promise to her best friend, Tammalee, that she would always be there for her daughter, Willow. Tammalee died unexpectedly and Deena is struggling trying to keep up. She comes up with a plan to speak to Willow’s father, Luis. The only problem with that is Luis doesn’t know that he is a father and of course, doesn’t believe Deena. Oh yeah, here we go. After a bit of time Luis comes to realize that the best thing he can do for his daughter is to move her to where he was the happiest, Teaberry Island. Now he just needs to convince Deena to move there with Willow and be her nanny. THE BEACH READS BOOKSHOP is the perfect way to spend the afternoon relaxing with caring people who only want to help each other.

THE BEACH READS BOOKSHOP is filled with struggling with the choices we have to make and once you start reading, it will be impossible to put down. The story also deals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is something I didn’t know too much about. Keep the tissues close by because this will be one heck of an emotional journey. Will Deena and Luis ever overcome their grief and their differences and be happy once again? Lee Tobin McClain does a wonderful job of teaching the reader what Deena, Luis, and Willow are going through. Ms. McClain really knows how to write about family drama, heartbreak, and forgiveness. I can not wait to read more by this wonderful and heart tugging author.

I totally enjoyed THE BEACH READS BOOKSHOP. I just wanted to continue reading about these wonderful people. I’m going to try and squeeze in the second book of this series ASAP. I read the first book but somehow missed the second one. I have to return to Chesapeake very soon. Lee Tobin McClain is such a wonderful author and I love how her stories make it seem as if she is writing just for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin through Netgalley . All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given

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“When one door closes another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” At least according to Alexander Graham Bell. But what if, as occurs in – and at – The Beach Reads Bookstore, it’s not the looking forward and back that does you in, but rather looking next to you at the person who needs to walk through that new door with you – and not trusting them well enough – or at all – when it comes to crossing that next threshold with them at your side.

Two doors have shut behind 50something Carol Fisher. She lost her job and her husband on the same day to the same cause, stupidity. Institutional stupidity on the part of the college where she is suddenly no longer employed in the tutoring center – which is slated to go online. Testosterone-induced middle-age midlife crisis stupidity on the part of her soon-to-be ex-husband, who she caught carrying his nurse through the house on the way to some hanky-panky. A piece of stupidity he’s going to pay for in more ways than one, as he’s currently collecting disability that is going to stop the minute his duplicity is revealed.

An entirely different set of doors has closed for Deena Clark. Her best friend and roommate has died, leaving Deena with custody of her friend’s baby girl, who shows signs of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Deena loves Willow, and wants more than anything to be her mother. But she’s also at the end of her rope. She was barely scraping by financially when she was sharing the apartment, but now that she’s on her own and responsible for a baby who needs extra care, she knows that she doesn’t have the resources to get Willow the help she needs. And that’s just not good enough for little Willow.

Deena sees only one option – to take Willow to her sperm donor and hope that the rich entrepreneur will provide the child support he didn’t know he was responsible for. But Luis Dominguez, once he accepts that Willow is incontrovertibly his, has no plans to pay Deena to make the baby and her caregiver go away.

He intends to be Willow’s father – and he’s willing to cajole or connive in order to make that happen. With all the best intentions – because he’s that kind of Type-A steamroller who believes he always knows best.

His plan is to buy the old, dilapidated bookstore on Teaberry Island, the place where he grew up and where his family still lives, and pay Deena an exorbitant amount of money to manage the bookstore and take care of his daughter – with the able and conveniently nearby assistance of his mother, his two brothers and their wives. His plan keeps Deena with him, gives him something to do on Teaberry Island, and most importantly, gives him time to be a real father to his little girl. All he has to do is tear himself away from his high stakes, high pressure, big time consulting firm in DC.

That his plan to open a door for Willow, Deena and himself runs headlong into Carol’s plan to reopen that same dilapidated bookstore that her family still owns isn’t even on his radar – and he wouldn’t care if it was and doesn’t care when he finds out.

But Teaberry Island is a small town, and everybody pitches in to get the bookstore open again under Luis’ plan for Deena. Except for Carol and her new-found friends, who have plans to take things in an entirely different situation.

Let the games begin!

Escape Rating B: At first it seems as if Carol – along with her friends – is being set up as the villain of this story. Which is entirely unfair, as she’s in every bit as big of a mess when the story begins as Deena is.

But the “A” plot in The Beach Reads Bookshop is Deena’s slow-burn romance with Luis and their pretty inevitable shift from being strangers to becoming a family. It’s cute and it’s sweet and they each have some lessons to learn along the way – but where they’re going to end up is obvious from the beginning so it’s not exactly a surprise when they get there.

Carol’s story, that “B” plot, on the other hand, had a few more twists and turns. (It also went into one nasty corner that I’ll get to in a minute). Carol is the character who is doing a lot of that “regretting the closed door” at least at the beginning, that the quote is talking about. It’s not just that she misses her job and is mourning the end of her marriage, but she’s looking back even further, all the way back to when her grandfather owned the bookstore and the world was just a bit different.

But her sister sold the bookstore out from under her before she even knew Carol wanted it. Which is the point where Carol barged into Deena’s life.

At first it’s that long ago nostalgia that Carol is really trying to recapture – no matter how badly she goes about it. And no matter how much trouble it gets her into. It’s only as she embraces the new life she’s creating on Teaberry Island that her situation really gets interesting – even as it nearly takes a sharp left turn into “grand theft bookstore”.

Once she starts looking forward instead of back she realizes what a fantastic opportunity all of the doors that slammed behind her really were. And while it wasn’t a surprise that her soon-to-be-ex tried – badly – to get her back, it was great that she did not let herself get sucked back into that boring, unfulfilled and unsatisfactory life.

That her journey brings her around to a point where she and Deena are running that bookstore together – and enjoying it and each other’s company – brought everything full circle and tied the story up with a pretty – and somewhat unexpected – bow.

Reviewer’s Note: There was one fly in the sweet-smelling potpourri of this story, at least for this reader, that lies in the way the conflict over the bookstore played out. As ironic as this may sound, in the beginning, both Carol and the local librarian indulged in more than a bit of reader-shaming over the idea that the bookstore would focus on light, fluffy, “beach read” type books. There is a debate, even in library circles, over the question of whether libraries should push people to read “better” books, or if it’s just terrific that people are reading and enjoying it no matter what they choose to read. It’s a debate that was resolved long ago in favor of being happy that people are reading and that it is REALLY bad karma to shame people for what they read. So it left a really bad taste in this reader’s – and librarian’s – to see that debate played out in a rather snide fashion in the earlier parts of this book, especially the way the local librarian was reader-shaming her own patrons. Your reading mileage, of course, may vary. But I hope that whatever you read and love, that we all stop trying to shame other readers for their choices.

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The Beach Reads Bookshop is a small town romance set on a Chesapeake Island. Deena Clark is taking care of her late friend's toddler daughter and trying to help the child reconnect with her birth father. The birth father, Luis Dominguez, is surprised by parenthood and totally unprepared. This unlikely trio ends up spending time together as Deena manages an old bookshop on the island, and Luis learns about fatherhood. And of course, there is also a romantic connection between the two!

I wanted to read this novel because I have enjoyed earlier small town fiction from Lee Tobin McClain. Her books are so cozy and comforting and sure to have a sweet romance to enjoy. This book was heartwarming and Hallmark ready! I enjoyed it and recommend it for other small town fiction fans.

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The Beach Reads Bookshop is the third book in the Hometown Brothers series. Each book in the series focuses on one of the foster brothers, and as such it could certainly be read as a standalone. However, you'll definitely find a few spoilers from previous books if read out of order (and it's a great series so I'd definitely recommend the other books too!)

I loved how this story started out. It focussed on the history and the life of the bookshop, which really made it such an important aspect of the story more than just a setting. It was unique and drew me into the story. This book focuses on Luis... who let's just be honest, made a lot of bad decisions throughout this story. Still, it was through those decisions that we really got to see his growth throughout, which was great. There was a side story with Carol, the granddaughter of the bookstore's previous owner that I wasn't a huge fan of at first, but came to appreciate as the story went on. Overall, this was a cute story with small-town charm and found family. I think I personally preferred the other books in the series over this one, but it was still an enjoyable, heartwarming read.

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

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Unfortunately this was a DNF for me. I didn't find the hero appealing, but I may give it another shot at a later date.

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The Beach Reads Bookshop is a heartfelt romance about found family and learning to open your heart to new possibilities.

Y’all know how much I love a romance book that takes place in or around a bookstore. When I stumbled upon this book on NetGalley, I knew I needed to read it. I hate to admit this, but this wasn’t my most favourite bookish love story to read. It just missed the mark for me. That isn’t to say that this wasn’t a well-written or well-plotted book, but I didn’t connect with the characters, which was disappointing. Let’s start with the positive stuff first. I think fans of the Hometown Brothers series will enjoy its latest installment. But if you are like me and haven’t read the previous books, that is ok. You will still be able to understand what is going on. The author does a great job of bringing readers up to speed with what has happened in the series.

The overall story is interesting and heartfelt. I felt engaged enough with the story and I didn’t find my mind wandering while reading it. A lot that happens in this book would only happen in romance land or for romance reasons, which I was ok with. I don’t read romance books and expect them to be realistic. What I hope for when I read a romance book is to connect with its characters, laugh, swoon, and get that delightful HEA ending. This is a more serious romance book, and while there are a few light and happy moments in this book, the overall tone is more subdued, which I wasn’t expecting. I was anticipating something more fluffy. I was surprised at the depth of the story and loved how the author tackled more serious issues around Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, assault, and infidelity.

My biggest problem with this story was Luis’s character. I usually don’t mind an alpha, bossy male main character because I love watching them come undone by the heroine. But that didn’t happen here. Luis is a hard character to love. His heart is often in the right place, but his actions often come off as insensitive and overbearing. I think what turned me against him was when he threatened to take Willow away from Deena at the beginning of the book. Deena has taken care of Willow since she was born and loved the little girl. I hated the fact that Luis made her feel like she wasn’t doing a good job. I also didn’t love how he bulldozed over Deena when she was trying to run the bookshop. His actions just didn’t sit right with me.

The romance between Deena and Luis has this slight slow-burn feel to it. The physical attraction between these two is there right from the beginning. But they just don’t click for me as a couple. They slowly get to know each other as they take care of Willow and work on opening the bookshop. I wished there were more deeper conversations between them. Maybe that would have helped me see them more as a couple.

Thank you, Harlequin Trade Publishing, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Hometown Brothers, Book 3
ISBN: 978-1335427441
April 25, 2023
Contemporary Romance

Teaberry Island, Maryland – Present Day

After Willow’s mother died in an accident, Deena Clark was left raising the toddler she has grown to love. But she needs financial support to help raise the girl, so she locates the father, Luis Dominguez, to ask for child support. To her surprise, he wants to be a part of his daughter’s life and plans to move to Teaberry Island with Willow. Luis asks Deena to temporarily come with them because Willow is so attached to her. Deena agrees but wonders if she’s making a mistake.

Luis is a workaholic and didn’t know about Willow. He plans to go all in on raising her but needs help. Teaberry Island is where his foster mother and brothers currently live, so they can help out. But Deena is an important part of Willow’s life, so having her as the nanny will help with the transition. Once they arrive and start to settle in, he has an idea to buy and open a bookshop on the island. Luis is all gung-ho to dive in, but Deena isn’t sure. After all, she isn’t supposed to be there forever. Meanwhile, it appears that Willow has fetal alcohol syndrome.

Carol just left her disabled husband after she found out he was having an affair with his nurse. She has also just lost her job and, with no place to go, ends up living in her family’s vacation home on Teaberry Island. She has fond memories of her late grandfather’s bookshop and is devastated when she learns that her sister sold it to Luis. The plan by Luis is to make it a beachy reads bookshop. Carol would rather it carry the classics—and makes plans to sabotage the new bookshop.

THE BEACH READS BOOKSHOP is the final book in the Hometown Brothers series by Lee Tobin McClain. Luis had a tough childhood until he ended up with Betty and her late husband on Teaberry Island. While Ryan and Cody are not his brothers by blood, they are brothers united in their love for Betty and Teaberry Island. Luis has had some recent medical episodes and his doctor has told him to slow down, but he has too much to do in his company. Then, Deena shows up with Willow. A quick DNA test confirms that the little girl is his. Willow is attached to Deena, and vice versa, so it is an easy decision to ask Deena to continue to be a part of his daughter’s life. But is moving them to Teaberry Island a good plan? Luis still has to work hard at his company, plus he has plans to open the bookshop to help Deena have something else to do. Will he overextend himself?

Deena is skeptical of the bookshop idea, but admits that it does intrigue her. Luis dives right in by hiring people to fix and renovate the building—without much input from Deena. She does convince him about where to put shelves, etc., and then Carol is hired. What neither of them knows is that Carol not only disagrees with the idea of making it a beach reads bookshop, but she plans to sabotage the business to prove that tourists would be more interested in the classic reads than “fluffy” books. Meanwhile, Deena starts to fight her feelings for Luis. She doesn’t consider herself the type to fall in love, yet Luis is charming and appears to want a romance with her. Will she push him away?

THE BEACH READS BOOKSHOP is a sweet romance with lots of emotion to appeal to readers. I found it interesting and warmhearted. It’s clear that Luis and Deena are perfect for each other, yet they are afraid to love. Will they finally realize that they deserve love? Find out by picking up a copy of this wonderful tale.

Patti Fischer
Romance Reviews Today

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It's a perfect read if you want to relax and escape to a small island and enjoy a sweet romance.
A well plotted story with a cast of interesting characters, second chances and finding what you really want.
I enjoyed Luis and Deena's story and how they evolve.
Deena ia well plotted and strong character, ready to change for love of a child and finding happiness.
Carol is a woman who is being mistreated by life as she lost her job and discovered that her husband wanted to divorce in the same week. I can say she was very lucky to divorce as the husband was an old guy who was faking illness.
The plot is well developed and flows keeping you turning pages.
It's a bit predictable but I loved the island and enjoyed the story.
Many thanks to HQN for this arc, all opinions are mine

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The two storylines in this book mesh perfectly and create a wholesome and unique story about starting over and building a new life. Deena Clark has the task of caring for her best friend’s toddler daughter when Tammalee dies unexpectedly. She seeks the help of billionaire entrepreneur Luis Dominguez, a self-made man who also happens to be the baby’s father. Luis has the brilliant idea to open a bookshop on Teaberry Island and to put Deena in charge of it. Thus, she becomes the baby’s caregiver and a shop manager at the same time, changing all that is familiar to her for a totally new life. The second story centers around an older woman named Carol who loses her tutoring job and is at a loss as to where to turn for new employment at her age. She goes to the family home on the island and expects to open her grandfather’s old bookstore, only to find that Luis has purchased it already. Thus, the two plot lines intersect beautifully. I must say that at first I didn’t really like Carol because she seemed manipulative and too needy. But as the story progressed and I got to know her better, I did enjoy her flaws as well as her strengths. The romance is a central part of the story, too, and although it is totally predictable, there are a few surprises along the way that made it entertaining and a fun read. With dynamic characters who grow along with the story and a plot that moves along at a good clip, this was an enjoyable and quick read that I can highly recommend. It warmed my heart that each character discovered their place in the world and how they could support each other through their many challenges.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

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I received an arc from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

Deena finds herself caring for her friends child after her friend passes. Willow appears to have some FAS issue and Deena finds Luis, the father, and asks for child support to help the dear child.

Little did Deena know Luis would persuade her to leave the place she new and travel to live on Teaberry island with Willow and sometime parent Luis. She didn’t know the feelings she would develop for Luis either.

These two definitely have some issues to sort out and I felt like Luis bulldozed Deena at times. Will they sort things out and have a Happy ending?

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