Book Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

I’m a pretty picky reader.  I don’t read just anything.  I’m sure my tastes are particular to me but in general I’ll read just about any genre as long as it fulfills these basic needs: good writing, engaging storytelling, doesn’t waste time with unneccessary crap, characters are dynamic, and themes are universal.  Finding books that manage even half of that list are few and very far between (in my experience.  Or maybe I just don’t know where to look.).  So I start a lot of books I don’t finish.  I have the equivalent of three book shelves full of books that have been given to me for free that I will not touch.

Why? They were free, you say?  I just can’t.  When writing is bad or storytelling is contrived I can’t stop cringing.  And it gives me a headache.  I can’t work through it, not even for free.

But, that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate a damn good story with bad writing.  Story is king, to me.  I can overlook weak writing skills as long as everything else is there.  And vice versa.  But if we are going to overlook one of those elements then one of the others has to take over in a BIG way.  If the writing is weak the story telling better knock me on my ass.  If there is a lotta crap in the story and it wanders around for a few chapters I need the characters to be enthralling and the story to be relatable.  You see what I mean?

So all that being said, its hard for me to find books I want to read, let alone recommend to someone else.

I read On Dublin Street by Samantha Young last week on the enthusiastic recommendation of a few friends.  When that many people are flipping cartwheels over a book I start getting pretty excited.  I downloaded the sample to my kindle and started reading over dinner.

The prologue was well written and I was curious to see where the author was going to take the story.  It could go the ever cheesy, cliché, eye rolling easy way OR it could take some very useful elements and tell a good story.  So I read on to Chapter One to see where Samantha Young was taking me.

I couldn’t hit the ‘Buy’ button fast enough.  By the end of the sample I was completely and utterly sucked into Young’s world.  I connected with Joss and I was intrigued by Braden.  And I was dying to see what happened next.

This is probably the number one thing most writers are missing the boat on.  You get two chances to sell your book.  1) With your presentation. Your cover art, your title, and your pitch.  Readers can tell from that combination if they are even remotely intrigued by what is inside the cover.  2) The sample.  If in the first chapter or two you haven’t drawn the reader hopelessly into your world, YOU”RE DOING IT WRONG!

Samantha Young, however, is doing it all RIGHT.  And the rest of the book is more of the same.  Every single character is dynamic and interesting.  And, crazy idea here, RELEVANT to the story.  There really weren’t any characters introduced that didn’t play a role that made sense to the overall story line.  I could picture every one of them and found myself having passionate feelings about how their lives were progressing.

I couldn’t stop turning the e-pages.

Joss isn’t portrayed as the damsel in distress, nor is she reduced to needing a man to complete her.  It is a wonderful love story.  It is interesting and captivating from beginning to end.  Braden is hot, successful, and commanding.  But he’s also sweet, normal, and loyal.  He’s a dream-guy without being over the top or playing to the extreme stereotypes so popular in romance (and erotic romance) these days.

It was a breath of fresh air for the romance world.  I hope Down London Road captures the same essence as On Dublin Street.  If it does, Samantha Young has a huge fan base that will only continue to grow.

Posted on February 22, 2013, in Book Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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