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…
First line: “I looked upon the piece of art and wondered what the heck I was looking at.”
I loved On Dublin Street, so I had a lot of expectations for this book. Unfortunately, this book was a complete letdown. It wasn’t quite memorable in comparison to On Dublin Street. I was disappointed by some of the character’s actions like Cam’s ugly comments to Jo and Jo’s inability to stand up for herself because her insecurities. The only thing I enjoyed in this book was the friendships among the characters. I felt the love they had for Jo. If this book was just about that, I would’ve enjoyed the book a lot more.
- Siblings! (Jo + Cole)
I don’t know what I can say about these siblings without squealing about how much I enjoyed their mutual protectiveness over each other. It’s really refreshing to see Cole not shying away too much away from his sister despite being a teenager. They love each other so much. Every moment reminded me of how much I love having a sibling who will always be there for me.
What made me like this book was the friendships. Everybody came together in times of need, no questions asked. I love the dynamic between all the characters, especially Jo and Joss. It came as a surprise to me that Jo considers Joss her best friend, but reading this book helped me understand why. Joss is…an amazing friend. I felt a bit like Joss when I got to know Jo. Her speech to Jo about Jo puts up with false assumptions and having no respect for herself was everything I wanted to say to Jo. Joss was blunt; she may have not gone the right way to address her concerns, but she was right. Friends will always have your back no matter what. I love it.
- Cam + his comments
He might be hot, but the words that comes out of his mouth…I was disgusted by it. He says the worst things to her and I’m suppose to like him because he apologizes and has this “incredibly” chemistry with Jo that lets him into her life? Um, no. His excuse of why he made those judgmental comments does not justify the hurt that Jo must’ve felt when he made comments about her as a gold digger or a cheater. I understand that a lot of people will jump to conclusions about what they perceive a person is like by their appearance and their actions or say something they didn’t mean in the heat of the moment, but Cam’s comments about Jo rubbed me the wrong way. There are much better ways to distance yourself from someone you are attracted to but don’t want to be. I know people love the asshole, but I feel like I only enjoy that type when the female character can stand up for herself.
- Jo + her inability to stand up for herself
I understand her insecurities and her belittling of herself stem from her issues brought on by her parents and her situation. However, when she lets Cam assume the worst about her, that made me so frustrated. I wanted to shake her and tell her, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” She can set the record straight without revealing too much about her home life. How hard is it to snap at him and say, “I’m actually texting my brother. For your information.” I feel like we spend 1/3 of the book in this state. And I was completely unsatisfied with how the dad issue resolved. I wanted Jo to go with Uncle Mick to confront her dad, but nope, she doesn’t. She lets the guys do it for her, which kind of makes me angry. Stand up for yourself, Jo.
- The portrayal of Parents
I am uncomfortable with the portrayal of Jo’s parents. To me, nothing was solved. At least, not by Jo, who I wanted to grow a backbone. I wanted her to confront her parents for the shitty things they’ve done to her. Yes, she confronted her mother, but it should’ve happened earlier in the book. And she should’ve went with her Uncle Mick to confront her dad. What also bothered me about this book (and the previous book, On Dublin Street) was that the main female characters’ parents are practically nonexistent growing up. It’s only the main male characters who have a seemingly stable parental figure all their life. What is up with that?
- The romance
Eh? I was not invested in their relationship and didn’t really care about the progression of it. You can blame Cam and his comments because that was seriously a deal breaker for me. And both characters were in a relationship with other people for half of the book. I kept thinking – can they just get together? (Because it was rather annoying seeing Cam being an ass.)
- Too many characters!
This is just me being nit picky. What kind of bothered me was the number of people who came back into Jo’s/Cam’s life. We have Uncle Mick and Olivia (which I liked), and then Jo’s father, and Cam’s ex-girlfriend. I feel like the book has reached a point where there were too many names entering Jo’s lives that I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. And some characters seemed unnecessary to include since they didn’t feel like they added much to the progression of the plot.
Despite this grade and issues I had with the portrayal of certain individuals, Samantha Young is a fabulous writer and created well-rounded characters that I would enjoy having as a family. You can see that I feel strongly about the characters from my reactions and dislikes, and that is a testimony that I did enjoy the book…with a few reservations, of course.