Publication Date: 6/18/13
Rating: 4 stars
Ellie Carmichael had a crush on Adam Sutherland, her brother, Braden’s, best friend, for years, and although Adam treated her with proprietary concern he made it clear he thought of her only as a little sister.
Over the years, as Ellie’s crush develops into love, her romantic idealism makes it difficult for her to move on. To make matters worse, as she’s gotten older, Adam’s attitude has changed toward her. His affection for her is now joined by attraction, but his loyalty to Braden, and his fear of losing the only family he has, stops him from claiming Ellie the way she wishes he would.
But one night his attraction is put to the test, and as much as Adam would like things to remain the same everything changes between them in a simple brush of the lips.
Soon lust, love, jealousy and heartbreak combine to force change upon their relationship… and Adam discovers the hard way that life is too damn short to spend it on regret.
Like so many readers of On Dublin Street, I loved Ellie and Adam and hoped book two would be theirs. I was surprised, and a little disappointed, when I learned their story would be a novella. But I was wrong. In hindsight, knowing that Adam and Ellie are together, happy and healthy, I didn't necessarily want the drama and angst a full-length novel would undoubtedly put them through.
Until Fountain Bridge had the potential to be... sweet, yet boring. If Young had simply rehashed events through the couple's perspective, or created a bit of drama to give them a story, I would have liked it because I like Ellie and Adam. But to my happy delight, Until Fountain Bridge is told through Ellie's journal entries, chronicling how her love developed from an innocent crush to crushing love, throughout the years. The story weaves in and out of the present, giving us Adam's reactions to the revelations within the journal. It was poignant and beautiful and just a brilliant novella.
"It's painful to read how my stupidity hurt you at the time, but I like being inside your head. I like knowing that while I was struggling with the fact that I had fallen in love with my best friend's little sister, she loved me back more than I could ever hope to deserve."
"Reading it all just reminded me how much we felt, how much we feel, and how much a part of us it is. It doesn't belong to anyone else and I guess I don't want it to. It's ours. Our history. Our story. And in a way our future too. As much as I love her, you're right. I can't give that to Joss. I can't give these to her."
Series: On Dublin Street #2
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 5/7/13
Rating: 5 stars
Rating: 5 stars
Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.
But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.
Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
I will admit, I wasn't particularly excited to get Johanna's story, and that is probably why I didn't read this book the minute it arrived on my doorstep on release day. Jo was nice enough, but seemed to be a bit of a shallow, yet sweet, gold digger. But therein lies the beauty of Down London Road; it took a story that I wasn't sure I could love, and gave me an achingly beautiful love. Yay!
I'm going to give you the reasons I loved Down London Road. Let's get to it.
- Johanna was a complicated, endearing who is underestimated and looked down upon. She grew up poor and abused, living in the shadow of shame. She has sacrificed her happiness to provide for her younger brother Cole. A true beauty, Johanna has been told - and believes- that her looks are her only assets, and that she will never be more. Johanna's sacrifices, her love for her brother, and her friends, all prove that her outer beauty pales in comparison to what she holds inside.
- Cam McCabe is a sex-on-a-stick Scot. Yeah, he's hot, waaaaay hot. But what makes Cam such a great book guy is that despite his initial wrong assumptions about Johanna, he is not afraid to admit when he's wrong and apologize. He was smart, kind, believes in Johanna, believes in them together, and he loves her brother as his own. Sexy and Sweet.
- Joss and Braden. The sexy and smartass combo are heavily featured in Down London Road, particularly Joss. I had forgotten how much fun she is, especially since she's been slightly tamed by Braden, who FYI, is never hotter than when he's threatening bodily harm to a bad guy. Oh wait, I'm wrong. Braden is never hotter than when he sneaks away from a party to get it on with his lady love and feels no shame. This has made me want to re-read On Dublin Street.
- The Heartache and Drama. Down London Road gave me a hefty dose of The Feels. Ohmylord, did it ever. Between Johanna's insecurity and family issues, an ex who doesn't want to let go, and a bitchy blast from Cam's past, Down London Road had plenty going on.
- The Sex. If you've read any of this series then you know what I mean. *waggles brows* Cam may not have been as much of a super bossy Alpha as Braden, but the dude seriously had it goin' on. I loved the chemistry between these two, and that they couldn't keep their hands off one another. Seriously steamy.
- The Promise. Down London Road was a fantastic story in its own right. I loved it. I easily rate it 5 stars. But what I mean by The Promise is, this book has set off a promising start for the next two books in the series. In Before Jamaica Lane, we get Nate and Olivia, both of whom we meet here, and I am seriously stoked for their book. (Nate was HOT!) And Fall From India Place will be about Hannah, Ellie's younger sister, and the guy she's fallen for. I love nothing more than when a beloved series gives me a severe case of the Wants and Needs for future installments.
Down London Road was steamy, infuriating and addictive. And I loved every single moment.
Adam shot an unimpressed look down the table at his friend. "I think we need to come up with a child-friendly phrase for f-u-c-k off."
"Duck off?" Cole suggested.
"Exactly," Adam gestured with his fork. "Braden, duck off, you sarcastic dastard."
"I love you," he breathed harshly.
I pulled my knees up more, to allow him in deeper, as I cupped his face in my hands. "I love you, too."
I gasped as he rotated his hips, starting to lose focus as the sensations of our lovemaking gained dominance.
"I love to fuck you," he whispered in my ear, his voice gravelly with emotion. "But I love to love you, too."
And I knew then as I was lying on our bed staring up into his familiar and handsome face that I had something that I'd never had before. I had someone who wasn't going to let me spend a single day of my life without knowing how much I was loved.
Series: On Dublin Street #2.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 12/3/13
Rating: 4 stars
A Joss and Braden Novella
Braden Carmichael never imagined he’d fall as hard and as fast as he did for Jocelyn Butler. He also could not have anticipated how difficult it would be to convince her to give in to love. But now that he has her, he’s never letting go. He’s got it all planned—the passionate proposal, the dream wedding, the sexy Hawaiian honeymoon—even the perfect family they’ll start.
After trying to flee from her painful past, Joss is finally allowing herself to embrace the future. But when things start moving faster than she anticipated, she finds herself panicking over something Braden can’t understand. After everything they’ve been through, Joss is sure that their love can survive even her worst fears. But, this time, she may push Braden too far—and risk losing everything all over again…
<happy sigh> Castle Hill is a return to the fabulous Joss and Braden, and I was so happy to revisit this intense and sexy couple. The story begins at their engagement, which is mentioned in Down London Road. I was happy to read it as it happened, which was sexy and funny and totally J&B all the way.
Castle Hill then moved to the planning of the wedding, then the Big Day. Cue the tears, folks, cos I cried my eyes out during their wedding. Samantha Young absolutely nailed CH, this portion in particular. The honeymoon was next, and it got off to a sexy start.
The rest of the story, though, is where I become vague. I did not expect Castle Hill to head in this direction. It hurt, bad. I was shocked by the characters, one in particular, and just how invested I'd become in their story. Once again, Young delivered in bringing a heavily emotional story.
The most beautiful moments sometimes are entwined with the most painful. Castle Hill is a perfect example of that. It hurt, but the payoff was beautiful.
Long live Braden and Joss Carmichael.
But Braden new I loved him. Sometimes I wondered, though, if he knew how much. I wondered if he knew that just watching him sleep made me scary happy, breathless even. I wondered if he knew that he was absolutely, without a doubt, everything to me.
"When he pulled back, Braden's expression was reassuring as he murmured against my lips, "I love you, you love me, our family loves us and they're right here beside us. Nothing else matters. So no fears for the future, no fear that you'll fuck it up beyond repair. Life isn't perfect, we aren't perfect, but I'm telling you now, Jocelyn, we're indestructible. Stop shaking, and just marry me."
Series: On Dublin Street #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 1/7/14
One simple lesson in seduction between two friends can turn into so much more…
Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…
I loved Before Jamaica Lane. And by that I mean...I LOVED BEFORE JAMAICA LANE. (bold cap smash necessary).
Let me tell you why...
- Olivia was an Everywoman. She struggles with self-esteem issues, particularly in regards to body image and self-confidence with men. Olivia knows that she is an attractive woman, but being surrounded by the gorgeous and glamorous women of the On Dublin Street series is hard on the ego when you don't feel like a model. Olivia is smart, a librarian; she is also a pop culture geek; a caring daughter, and a devoted friend. To sum it up, Olivia is relatable.
- Nate is a slightly geeky, smokin' hot Scot. He's funny, alluring, caring, and wants to help Olivia any way he can. Nate comes with some heavy issues in the form of the loss of a loved one, a loss he can't seem to fully shake. This issue does its damage throughout the book, and even when I hated Nate's actions and words, I got it. And I kept the faith.
- The chemistry, and resulting physicality between Nate and Olivia was ridiculously hot. I know several friends who will probably have words with me over this, but I dare say that Before Jamaica Lane was hotter than On Dublin Street and the fabulous dirty man himself, Braden. I don't know what it was about this installment that really got me, perhaps it's that Nate is helping Olivia discover and embrace her sexuality, bringing her out of her shell and showing her what a beautiful and sexy woman she was and how much she affected him. Whatever it is, I dug it.
- The friendships in this series is one of my favorite elements. The women of On Dublin Street are bold, fun, and truly have each other's backs, no matter what. Same for the guys. And when you get the whole gang together, my heart is happy.
- The "hurts so good" angst and drama. I am generally not a big fan of super angst, but the drama between the H/h in this series really works for me. I like to tell myself things will stay cool, and even get myself to believe it, but when the signs start popping up, and the poop hits the fan, I cannot look away. This isn't train wreck drama, this is "Ohmygod it's 3am and I can't put this book down until I get my happy ending" drama. Samantha Young is pretty much the Queen compelling storytelling. I can't get enough even when I'm so sleepy I can barely function.
The On Dublin Street series works for me. Clearly. I'm so happy that I have taken the time to continue this series, else I would be truly missing out on what has become one of my very favorite series.
"Nate is hot." Hannah suddenly spoke up, and when I looked at her I found Ellie's pretty sister frowning at me. "Why don't you go out with him? I mean, he's really, really, really hot. I'd go there."
"Please tell me she did not just say that," Adam pleaded with the table, looking green.
"She has a name." Hannah raised an imperious eyebrow at him.
Joss seemed to be trying not to choke on her food. "Oh, she said it all right."
"My ears are bleeding." Braden looked at Joss for help. "They feel like they're bleeding. Are they bleeding?"
The touch of Nate's hand on my ass caused me to jump about ten feet, but he didn't let go, smoothing his hand over my butt and giving it a gentle squeeze.
Whoa, okay, then.
My skin was prickling and there was a suspicious fullness in my breasts and lower belly that I adamantly tried to ignore.
"Not fat." Nate leaned close to my ear, speaking in a low voice that did nothing to abate the physical response in my body. "Curvy. And I'll let you in on a wee secret: There are still men out there that like a woman to be soft under their hands, to have curves, hips, tits, and arse." He tapped my butt gently with the palm of his hand. "It's a good arse, babe. I don't want to hear you refer to it as anything else.
The truth was I didn't believe I was ever meant to be an insecure person, and that was because for the most part I wasn't. I believed in my own intelligence; I believed in my own common sense; I believed that my personality, albeit quickly, was a good one; I believed that I was capable; I believed that I could do whatever I set my mind to. I wanted to believe that if someone didn't like me, then that someone wasn't worthy of my time.
I believed in me.
"You're not ready to hear this yet," he concluded. "But I do need you to know that I'm going to fight for you. I'm not making the mistake of walking away from you again. The only man in your future is me, Liv. The only kids in your future are mine." ...."I don't need to break into your life. You've put up a locked door between us and I understand why. But I'm going to stand outside it, bugging the absolute shit out of you." He smiled wryly. "Until you let me back in."
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