Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

On Dublin Street: Jocelyn Butler and Braden Carmichael

(On Dublin Street #1)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1)

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

I love a story where one of the main characters has suffered a tragic past and survives despite their past. In this book Jocelyn is our heroine that has suffered the tragic losses of her entire family at a young age and then not a year later her best friend. She blames herself for her friend’s death and has been suppressing all feeling in regards to her family’s death. It was too painful for her to deal with as a teenager and now as an adult the feeling has been so suppressed that she continues to be stunted emotionally. All that begins to change when she moves in with Ellie. Ellie is everything that Joss is not: open, friendly, high energy and comes from a loving home with a great family which includes her half brother Braden. Ellie is determined to pull Joss out of her shell and little by little Joss starts to open herself up. This causes Joss to start getting panic attacks; which makes her realize that maybe it’s time to deal with the deaths of her family.

In the middle of trying to deal with her grief she has Braden pushing at her. Emotionally she can’t deal with him right now, but her body is not letting her back away. The attraction between Braden and Jocelyn is instant and intense. They practically set the pages on fire with their smoldering heat. Braden convinces Jocelyn to agree to a “Friends w/ Bene’s” situation. I could smell a set up from Braden from a mile away, but it was fun to watch Braden maneuver Jocelyn where he wants her. He’s smarter than your average cookie. He knows that Joss spooks easily so he proposes a situation that he thinks that she would actually agree to while secretly getting her used to being in a relationship without putting a label on it. I’d have to say he did a pretty good job. Before she knew it, she had started considering him hers.

Joss still has her insecurities and everything she had been working for, for months falls apart when someone close to her falls ill. All her past feelings of loss and overwhelming grief come flooding back and of course predictably she panics and runs. Yes, I did like Joss. I liked that she is trying to get help for her issues. Some of my favorite parts of the book were her conversations with her therapist. Joss has a quick wit and humor. She does not let people push her around, yet has a softer side. You especially see it as her friendship with Ellie grows.

Ellie, is a cutie pie. You cannot help but love her. She accepts Joss as she is and does not try to change her, in doing so, she actually helps Joss grow and develop. Her unwavering acceptance is also admirable and Joss can’t help but respond. Ellie has her own romance in this book, for years she has been in love with her big brothers best friend, so this plot line definitely adds another fun aspect to this book. It is seamlessly woven in with Joss and Braden’s story.

Braden is exactly who and what Jocelyn needs. He works through all her freak outs, he never gives up on her and he accepts her for all of her issues. Even when she is trying to protect him from herself, he doesn’t let her. He is a great match for Jocelyn. He is an unwavering presence and little by little breaks down her defenses. We don’t know Braden as well as we know Joss, he isn’t a mystery but we are never really in his mind so he remains a bit of a mystery. His past is not quite as fluffy as you would think and I wanted to know more. He is very much likeable and sexy as hell. He is confident and owns his sexuality and it comes across. He is kind of a tamer, less intense, Scottish Gideon Cross. Speaking of Scottish, he has a very sexy accent and knows how to use it! You can’t help but love Braden; I want one just like him! LOL

One thing with this book and I usually hate to compare books, but it just so happened that I read this book and Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning back to back. In each book one of the main characters came from a similar tragic childhood. Granted Jace from Hot Ticket was a bit more tragic, but overall they were very similar. The reason I even bring this up is because with Jocelyn, yes I felt her grief but it wasn’t as tangible or believable as it could have been. The pain didn’t truly translate and I had a hard time connecting with her issue due to this. Now with Jace and his pain from losing his family at a young age it was tangible and it came through loud and clear. His pain became your pain and my heart bleed for him. I read Dublin Street first and then Hot Ticket, I noticed that I wasn’t really connecting with Jocelyn’s tragic past before I read Hot Ticket; however, that disconnect became so much more obvious once I started reading Jace’s story. I’m of the frame of mind that if you are going to give your character a tragic past you really really need to make that past come through and make the reader feel it, if it’s going to be affective; otherwise, when the character starts acting out because of their past it becomes somewhat annoying rather than making you feel the tragedy instead. Now, I didn’t get annoyed with Jocelyn, it wasn’t quite to that level, but it got close a couple of times. So I think Samantha Young could have been a bit better with this, but overall, it was a good effort.

I did quite enjoy this book, it was a fun, hot and steamy, passionate read. The characters are quite likeable and you are likely to fall in love with at least one of them. Is it as memorable as similar books of this ilk such as Hot Ticket or Bared to You, not quite but it was almost there and you will want to read more by this author. I would definitely recommend this as a read to romance lovers everywhere. I think it has mass appeal and is tame enough for those who don’t quite want to get as intense as other books similar to this one are.

*This book was provided thru NetGalley for an honest review. No other compensation was provided.

**This book is also reviewed on my other blog "Let's Get Romantical"

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