Member Reviews

An easy, quickish read. I liked it. Nothing about it really stood out enough that I’ll remember it a year from now, but I enjoyed it all the same. I do love books about books though. My favorite part.

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"That's what I meant when I said you float through life. You do what you want, and it's amazing."

Maggie agrees to take over running a book store while her friend is on maternity leave — but this is no ordinary book store; it's one dedicated to a specific author, Edward Bell, and other authors from his time. In essence, the book store only sells classics, and Maggie is not a fan of classics. However, she quickly finds ways to bend and break the rules, starting up secret events and selling contemporary literature under the table! As this grows in popularity, events unfold, and secrets about the great Edward Bell are uncovered!

I found this book to be a fun and easy read. There's humour and a romance sub plot, but mainly it's about Maggie's adventure in the town Bell River. The various minor characters were delightful, and I enjoyed the mystery and the resolution a lot! That being said, I didn't feel like I related much to any of the characters or really connected with them in any way. Still, this gets ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 from me.

Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK for the ARC!

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I will never (hopefully) get sick of a book about books and book lovers. The streak continues with this one!

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Not my usual genre but it wasn't too bad.
I love books about books so that's definitely added extra points.
There was few unexpected twists but nothing too complicated or exciting. Easy read for holidays or to take your mind off things.

Thank you for the chance of reading it

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"The Secret Book Club" by Shauna Robinson, though promising in its premise, falls short of expectations. Maggie Banks, a book enthusiast in a town resistant to modern literature, starts an underground book club to challenge the literary restrictions. While the concept is intriguing, the execution lacks depth. The characters feel one-dimensional, and the narrative often relies on clichés associated with rebellious bookish tales. Despite the potential for tension and drama in breaking literary rules, the story struggles to engage readers. The promised secrets and challenges in maintaining the book club are somewhat predictable, and the plot lacks the depth needed to make it truly compelling. Overall, "The Secret Book Club" may leave readers wanting more substance and originality in its exploration of a book lover's rebellion against literary restrictions.

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I enjoyed reading this book! I got anxiety at some of the main characters choices ( in a good way!) and the author sucked me into reading this book and wanting to know how it all ends. I am definitely picking up other books by this author asap. 4.5/5

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Maggie feels her life has no direction, so when her best friend Rochelle asks her to cover in the the bookshop she part owns she agrees; despite the fact that she's a non reader.
Travelling to a different part of the country, Maggie finds the town is named after a local author. His descendant Ralph controls most places including the book shop; that only sells classic books.
Ralph has spies everywhere and Maggie has to be on guard at all times.
With her new made friends (who help her organise the secret book club) and a budding romance with Malcolm, Maggie begins to find the love of books and possibly her direction in life.

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{3,5}

The Secret Book Club is a very cute book especially for those who love books about books. It's a very nice book, all the characters (apart from the "villains") are cool and the story is interesting. I liked the first 50% more than the rest, but it was still a good read.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review!

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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this! I would give this a solid 3.5 / 5 stars.
In an age where we're dealing with book bannings and men overshadowing women, this felt very on the nose. I loved the 'secret' book club that Maggie set up and would absolutely join a modern day retelling of some of my favorite classics (That Great Gatsby one sounded priceless). I loved the touch of romance with Malcolm and really enjoyed the setup of Maggie finding her place in community.
Overall this was sweet and enjoyable: a good pick for any book lover

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I will start off by saying this book is really cute. It’s cozy. It’s a book about a bookstore. Which I usually eat up and leave no crumbs. However, I think I read this book in the wrong mood. I think I needed something more gritty and dark or something spicier. I do recommend this book. And I’ll definitely be coming back to it at a later date to give it a second chance.

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I recently had the pleasure of delving into this book, and I am beyond impressed with the mesmerizing world that the author has crafted. From start to finish, the intricate plot weaves a tapestry of suspense, emotion, and unexpected twists that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

One of the standout features of this book is undoubtedly its characters. Each one is meticulously developed, breathing life into the narrative with their unique personalities, motivations, and flaws. The protagonists are not just names on paper; they are relatable, complex individuals with whom readers can form a genuine connection. The antagonist, too, is not a mere foil but a multi-dimensional force that adds depth to the story. The author's ability to create such well-rounded characters is a testament to their storytelling prowess.

The plot unfolds seamlessly, drawing the reader into a richly layered narrative that expertly balances tension, drama, and moments of poignant reflection. The pacing is impeccable, maintaining a perfect rhythm that keeps the reader engaged without sacrificing the depth of the story. The author skillfully navigates through various plot arcs, interweaving them with finesse to create a cohesive and satisfying whole.

What sets this book apart is its ability to tackle profound themes while maintaining an accessible and engaging narrative. The book seamlessly combines suspense and emotional depth, making it a truly immersive experience. The author's prose is both elegant and evocative, painting vivid imagery that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page is turned.

As I reached the conclusion, I found myself yearning for more from this talented author. Their ability to craft a gripping plot and bring characters to life is truly commendable. I eagerly anticipate future works and would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader who appreciates a masterfully told tale. If you're searching for a book that seamlessly blends captivating characters with a compelling plot, this is a shining example. I can't wait to explore more literary worlds crafted by this exceptional storyteller.

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Maggie hasn’t found her place in the world yet but when her college roommate offers her an opportunity to run her bookshop for her whilst she takes maternity leave with somewhere free to live, she jumps at it! She wasn’t expecting the town to be a shrine to an old author, and the owner of the building putting restrictions on the bookshop to not sell anything from this century.

Maggie quickly realises that the profits of the shop are tanking when she doesn’t follow the rules of the store owner, so she starts stocking modern day books that she sells out of the back room and develops her own secret bookclub. However, is it worth the risk or is she going to mess up her friend’s livelihood?

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Maggie and I related on so many levels I loved watching her fall in love with reading and life! I am a sucker for anything bookish being a librarian my heart can't stop loving books even when I get to read about other people loving them. Maggie was funny and kind. I would love to read more from this author although I wish the plot was a little more exciting still loved the book.

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"Planning, hiring, and birthing: three things I'd never been adult enough to do." ~ The Secret Book Club

Maggie Banks is a relatably burnout and apathetic protagonist looking to gain her footing after college. Like most of us younger millennials, Maggie feels overwhelmed by adulthood and all that comes with it. When her friend Rochelle goes on maternity leave, Maggie is offered a position managing her bookstore. What follows is a journey of self-discovery, independence, and lots and lots of reading! This is an ideal book for booklovers (especially those who enjoy stories set in bookstores!)

My one critique of this book was the way it was described in the blurbs/summaries. The first sentence I was seeing in all the blurbs was "Maggie Banks loves books.," which was the sentence that immediately hooked me. I was so excited to read about a fellow bookworm, but Maggie isn't one. To be fair, she is experiencing burnout when the novel begins, but the quote that really caught me off guard was: "one of [Rochelle's] impassioned speeches about how I would love reading if I only gave it a chance." This miscommunication didn't deter me from reading - if anything, I kept reading to see what books would end up attracting Maggie's interest - but I do think the blurbs are misleading. I think calling Maggie a "reluctant bookworm" or a "bookworm-in-waiting" would be more apt.

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Maggie moves to a small town to help her best friend run her bookshop while she goes on maternity leave. Maggie isn't really into books but is using the opportunity to gain some space and think about what she wants to do as a career after a series of not-great jobs. The town is pretty well all run in homage to an author who died in the 1960s; Ralph, the chair of the society that runs almost everything won't let them stock anything but classics that were in print when the author was alive, including any Black-authored books being slave narratives. Maggie thinks this is awful and starts an underground book club, gradually realising what she really loves doing in the process. She also comes up against Malcolm, Ralph's enforcer, who has to keep an eye on her work although of course they also fall for each other. I did like their challenge - Maggie is forced to read books and Malcolm has to go outside his comfort zone, and the book jokes are fun. I also liked the variety of characters, older men and women being part of the plot and strong characters themselves.

Review published 11 Feb 2024 https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2024/02/11/three-netgalley-reads-two-diverse-romances-and-a-how-to-guide/

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I’m a total sucker for a book with “book” in the title. So this was such a win when I was accepted on NetGalley to read it. I loved the book but would have liked a bit more romance in it. Have spotted the authors other “book” books so will add them to my list.

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Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins UK: One More Chapter for the ARC of this book in exchange for a review. The premise seemed like a really cute one but unfortunately it really fell flat for me. I kept thinking it would get more interesting and it just never made it there for me. Maggie moves to the small town of Bell River to help her best friend run the "Classics only" bookstore while she is on maternity leave. While running it, she decides to run a secret book club that turns classics into more entertaining books. For me, the characters were not really interesting at all and I was just generally bored. I appreciate the opportunity to review it, even though this one just was not for me.

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this was a really fun bookish book absolutely perfect for any book lover! Maggie was such a loveable character and getting to watch her go through this journey of falling in love with books and reading really enjoyable! Would love to read more from this author! X
Thank you #ShaunaRobinson and #NetGalley for this lovely arc!

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An e-book about books, book clubs and secrets. Maggie moves to a small town of Bell River to help her friend Rochelle run a bookstore. Maggie is left in charge when Rochelle who is pregnant needs to stay at home and rest.

Ralph Bell owns the bookstore and many other businesses in the town. Ralph insists that that the bookstore only sells books that he approves.

When book sales drop off, Maggie starts a secret book club secretly sells books that the customers want.

This was a fun book. I liked the way the characters interacted. There were some interesting twists in the story. This was about reading, secrets and friendships.

Thank you NetGalley and One More Chapter for a chance to read this book.

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I read this as part of a One More Chapter readalong and enjoyed it.
Maggie Banks is asked by her best friend from uni to run her boo store whilst she takes maternity leave. However, this is no ordinary bookstore it’s part of the Bell River community and hosts a shrine to a famous author of the town. The store and many other businesses are part owned by the grandson of the author and he has rules about what can and cannot be sold, in the case of the bookstore this is anything that was published after the life of his grandfather. Maggie is a maverick and hates the rules and what ensues is a result of this. Loved Maggie she was a very likeable character and although not the type of book I normally read I really enjoyed it.

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