Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ BEFORE JAMAICA LANE BY SAMANTHA YOUNG

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 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS BOOK!!! It was fun, steamy, had a swoony, to-die for hero, a lovable heroine, and oh my god, the HUMOR!! I had a goofy grin on my face the entire time I read this gem of a story. Samantha Young’s writing is crazy addicting, and she combines just the right amount of angst, humor, and romance to create these passionate, all-consuming stories that hit the right spot. And I have to say, even though On Dublin Street will probably always be my favorite and have a special spot in my heart, this book features the BEST couple – two characters who are so well-matched, well-rounded, and couldn’t be more perfect for each other. It’s truly a beautiful, romantic friends to lovers tale that had my heart RACING and fully invested in this story!
One thing this author absolutely excels at is creating irresistible, one-of-a-kind heroes I can’t help but fall in love with, and Nate Sawyer is no exception. He’s a manwhore – and he knows it well – but beneath that, he’s really such a good guy. Sweet, sensitive, caring and best friends with the heroine Olivia Holloway. They just get each other’s quirks and oddities.
While Nate is self-confident, Olivia is the complete opposite – she’s shy (adorably so), and has fears and body-image insecurities I could really empathize with because I’ve been there myself. When she finally finds a guy she’s interested in, she enlists her best friend Nate’s help to learn to be more comfortable in her own skin. I have to mention that these were the scenes that made me SWOON. Hard. Witnessing Nate’s patience, understanding, and gentleness with the way he treated Olivia made my heart go pitter patter and want a Nate of my own.
The romance here was gradual and built up from the beginning. Of course, the attraction was there, but it was never acted on and Nate and Olivia were comfortable with being friends. Once those seduction lessons took place though, lines were blurred and feelings took place – deep, heartfelt emotions that neither of them realized existed until this point. In friends to lovers romances, I ADORE that self-realization where the characters come to an epiphany and see how much the other means to them…that final fall. And I have to say, the author nailed it in this book! So much swoon!
Another aspect that was done really well in my opinion was the brilliant inclusion of all the other characters I’ve come to love since the start of the series. I think it’s a risky move because there’s always a chance these side characters will take up more book space than the main characters, but it worked well! Part of what shapes Nate and Olivia’s characters is their long-standing friendships with the others, and I’m glad they were part of their story.
I was surprised by the last 10% of the book, meaning I became a big baby and started crying because of how beautiful things were wrapping up. For me, that’s an indicator that this romance novel hit its mark, that things never got too cheesy or too angsty and drama-filled. Even though I tried to read this book as slow as possible to savor everything, I ended up finishing it in just hours. Sigh…this is one of very rare times I can say I genuinely adored EVERY. SINGLE. THING. about this book. And even though it’s only February, I already know this book will be one of my top favorites for this year, and how I wish I read it sooner!!
Before Jamaica Lane is the 3rd book in the On Dublin Street series and can be read as a standalone. It’s been over a year since I last read anything from this series and when I picked this book up, I fell right into it. There is overlap with characters from the first two books, but I didn’t think it was so much they overshadowed the main couple.