Author: Jenny Holiday
What I’m Talking About:
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
About the Book:
Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.
Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Forever Publishing
Series: Matchmaker Bay #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (432 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)