Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

A while back, I started hearing about the book On Dublin Street.  Kept showing up in mentions and recommendations from the people I follow on social networks.  A lot of people were saying it was the next big thing, the book to read after 50 Shades of Grey. 
I like to know what everyone is talking about.  I thought it sounded interesting, takes place in Scotland, so that was a plus, and the cover art looked really beautiful – sexy and romantic, rather than trashy.  (I’ve since seen this exact same cover on a few other books, so guessing it’s a stock photo of some sort.) The e-book was only a few dollars on amazon, so I bought it.
With regard to romances, I tend to prefer those of the paranormal sort – you know, the ones that include vampires or witches or demons, or some sort of supernatural element.  People, regular people, they kind of bore me.  Usually.
Not the case with On Dublin Street.  Not bored, at all.  And let me say, this book is so much better than 50 Shades of Grey.  Of course, I didn’t really 50 Shades, thought it was more a story of abuse than romance, but that’s just me, wasn’t my thing.

On Dublin Street though -- I really, really liked this book.  For hot and sexy, this is the book everyone should be reading. 
These characters were likable and interesting.  Jocelyn is an American who went to school in Edinburgh.  She lost her family in a car accident when she was a teenager and she’s been struggling to bury her memories of them for eight years.  She’s learned to take care of herself in the best way she knows how.  Maybe not the healthiest way, but she’s safe and she’s careful.  I liked this about her.  She’s tough and she’s independent.  She’s not weak or whiny or annoyingly innocent.  She’s not seeking someone to take care of her.
Even though she can afford to get her own place, she’s looking for a roommate to maintain some sort of social contact.  This roommate is how she ends up getting to know Braden – who happens to be her roommate’s very protective and very handsome and successful older half brother.
There’s clearly an attraction between the two from the beginning.  But Braden has a girlfriend, and Jocelyn has no interest in getting involved with anyone.  She’s spent the last few years making sure she doesn’t care about anyone too much.  She’s had enough hurt to last a lifetime and has no desire to put herself in a position to feel any more. 
But Braden is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Jocelyn.  This could have gone a few different ways.  This could have turned into one of those books I hate where the guy is a complete jerk and the girl just swoons for him anyway because “oh my god, rich, hot guy wants me.”  There are too many books out there like that right now.  That didn’t happen though.  Jocelyn agrees to a sex only relationship with Braden, because, hey, she’s an adult, and yes, he’s hot and why not?  She’s still going to keep her guard up emotionally, so no harm done, right?
I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that despite their initial arrangement; the two end up falling for each other, and falling hard.  I liked the way their romance built over time.  In the beginning, it was just physical, but as they got to know each other they grew to like each other and care about each other.  It wasn’t the typical, “Oh, he/she’s the one,” five minutes after they met.  This felt like a real romance – with a lot of hot, explicit sex – so if that bothers you, probably not a book you should read.  As I’m reading more romance novels, I’m finding that it’s rare to find books that have what I consider to be the right combination of steam and story.
One thing I didn’t like about the story though was too much of the friends and family getting in their business.  I got tired of people lecturing Jocelyn about being too reserved and not letting people get to know her – this was from Braden’s sister and the former step-mom, she barely knew these people and they were acting like she’s a villain because she doesn’t walk around telling everyone about her innermost feelings all the time?  Maybe that annoyed me because I tend to be reserved and I resent people thinking I owe them some window into my soul without doing anything to earn the view.  I didn't think Jocelyn was so wrong in being reserved, I thought the other people were wrong in thinking she needed to be more like them, and less herself. 
Also, the version I had of this book had so many typos.  This was not a review copy; I paid for this ebook.  I would assume an editor at some point had read it.  A few times “your” was used when it should have been “you’re”.   This may not bother everyone like it bothers me, but it bothers me quite a bit.  For nine years of my life, I was a copyeditor for an international news distribution service, so no matter how into a book I am, that kind of mistake will throw me out of a story momentarily because my first impulse is to correct the mistake. 

I bought this ebook back in September and I’ve also noticed the version I have is no longer available when I go to the “manage my kindle” site.  Maybe a copyeditor read through the version that is available now.
Also, this is the second book I’ve read in the last few months that takes place in Scotland.  Both stories, an American who falls for an unbelievably hot Scotsman.  Well, this American will be visiting Scotland in June, men of Scotland, you’ve been warned.  My expectations are high.

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