Friday, January 2, 2015
Book Review: On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1) by Samantha Young
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Age group: Adult
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
Oh On Dublin Street, I really wanted to like you. I really wanted to fall in love with you and your characters and take the book with me to visit its locations in Edinburgh. But unfortunately you can't always fall in love with things you would like to. The idea of you was beautiful, but once I got to know you better, I realized that your love will never become reality.
There are so many things I want to write about in relation to this book that I don't even know from where to start. The dissapointment I felt after seeing how little Edinburgh was actually used as a setting? The annoying lovers? The quite horrible writing and the sex scenes that made me wince? The overall feeling of disappointment after I read the last page?
I was SO excited about the fact that this book is set in Edinburgh. I moved to the city in 2011 from my hometown in Finland to attend university and during the past three years or so I have really learned to embrace the beauty and history of the city. I was hoping for romantic scenes set around Edinburgh and its beautiful parks, gardens and historic locations. Instead I got a couple of mentions of the castle, Dublin Street and some bars on George Street. How I wish the city would have been used more in this novel to build up the story - the potential of it is incredible, but unfortunately Young does not take advantage of it.
Jocelyn... Oh Joss. I did not like you. I did not like you AT ALL. At first I tried to feel for Joss and I understood why she was so withdrawn and tried to avoid getting herself in situations where she has to let her emotions run free. I totally got her fear for falling in love because of previous losses and I cheered for her when she decided to go to therapy. But after a while her bitchiness and her tendency to make everything that happens somehow exclusively about her. Her friend in London has problems - YES IT MUST BE HER FAULT! Her roommate gets sick - TOTALLY HER FAULT! Also, I did not really like the whole "I have a huge inheritance but I don't use it" aspect of the novel, because pretty much from the first chapter onwards that theory is kind of proven to be wrong - she rents a place that is super expensive, she shops at the most expensive shops in Edinburgh, she buys elaborate gifts etc. Nothing against using money if you have it, but if you do use it, I don't think it needs to be established that she does not use it - trying to seem like she is not rich and privileged just makes her look like a hypocrite.
I love to fall in love with fictional guys. You all should know that by now. Braden really made me question whether fictional guys really are all that. HE IS AN ASSHOLE. There's no nicer way to put it. Yeah, he is supposedly a good brother and son, but that does not really triumph over the fact that he is possessive, manipulative and kind of scary to be completely honest. Yeah, he does own the apartment Joss and Eline live in, but I don't think that gives him a right just to walk in to the apartment whenever he feels like it. He has serious issues with accepting any sort of boundaries and despite the fact Joss repeatedly tells him to get out and leave her alone, he does not seem to listen to her at all. I get the whole "ego being a hot thing" aspect, because I do like cocky (fictional) guys as well, but when it gets kind of stalkerish and just not appreciative, I start to get really angry. He is also extremely temperamental and his possessiveness towards Joss is scary - he is ready to get violent to show that Joss is "his", which is something I never see as acceptable. It is okay to get involved if someone is in danger, but it is not okay to just hit someone if you see him talking to the woman you think you own somehow. Braden is also extremely manipulative and clearly likes to play games - he lies, teases and plain bullies Joss just to get what he wants.
The issues I had with the writing are very much connected to how these characters speak to each other. I have to admit that I somewhat enjoyed the book to the moment the first sex scene takes place, but after that I just wanted it to be over. I have written about this before in some other review as well, but oh man, DO I HATE WHEN MALE CHARACTERS CONTINUOUSLY CALL THE FEMALE CHARACTERS 'BABE'. Seeing that just lights up something in me and makes me SO PISSED. Also, in reference to sex scenes, WE GET THAT BRADEN IS HARD AND JOSS IS WET! We do not need to read about that over and over again. I feel like every single sex scene in this novel was the same - Braden does not give up even when Joss says that they should not do it because she has issues, she ends up ignoring her worries because her "sex" is getting excited and they end up having sex that makes her orgasm multiple times. I don't know what I was expecting from the sex scenes, but it definitely wasn't this.
Throughout this book I had a nagging feeling about Joss's back story and the lack of it. Yes, her family dies in an accident and she starts to party and have sex after she is put into the foster system. She does not really establish what kind of experience the foster system was for Joss and I kind of started to question why? Did Young just not want to address this in her novel, either because she did not see it as relevant to her story or either because she did not really have much knowledge about system that takes place in America after an under-aged child is orphaned? Her family is established as this wonderful, loving unit with close neighbors (there is a flashback to a scene where it is told to the reader that the neighbor couple used to have dinner with Joss's family extremely often) and I had a hard time believing these people would have just left Joss to the hands of the foster system that is described here as one of the reasons for Joss's wild years. Also, Joss has this big inheritance and all, but no family, except a horrible uncle, who I feel like sounds exactly like the type of guy who would take someone in just for the inheritance just due to the description of him being "horrible".
The more I read this book, the more annoyed I started to feel and I think by the end I started to over-analyze everything and pick out things that I really hated, eventually turning the overall book into something that just could not stand. I know I am really in minority with these opinions in comparison to the highly praising reviews and ratings on Goodreads and other outlets, but I feel like I wanted to be honest about my opinions. I hope they won't necessarily keep you out of reading the book if you haven't already done so, but at the same time I hope they work as a warning about the fact that not everyone is going to love this book. I identified issues with it, but I know that among other readers, those issues might be something that they actually like reading about, or issues that they just don't want to over-analyze like I did. We all form our opinions, and this time, this happened to be the one I formed.