Author: Samantha Young

Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young

Posted July 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Goodreads
four-stars

I am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

The Fragile Ordinary is the second YA book that Samantha Young has released and it was just as enjoyable as the first book was. This book follows Comet Caldwell as she starts the new school year sitting next to the cute American transfer. She is a bit of a loner though she has two best friends and things at home are a little tough on her because her parents aren’t the supportive kind of parents that all young kids should have.

Comet was one of those main characters that quietly shined throughout her entire story. She was shy and avoided the spotlight at every turn but she was also caring and loving to those she held close to her heart. She worried that her personality didn’t fit with her friends and that it would make her friends realize that they didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She worried that the heartbreak she felt at home with her parents being so indifferent to her would do her in and she very much looked forward to escaping her town and her home to find her own place in the big world.

Comet was an interesting protagonist and I connected with her character, quite a bit. The way that she connected with the characters in her books more than her friends in real life, the way that she hurt at her parent’s distance and then seeing her develop and then nourish a crush on Tobias King made reading this book zip right through.

Everything that Comet felt was so intense and seeing her fall in love with Tobias and then come to care for Stevie despite how different his crowd was from hers made Comet grow up and come out of her shell. There was a lot of stuff happening in Comet’s life and the way that she dealt with the bullying, the shit from her parents, the new relationship with Tobias that came with its own complications, and then there were the insecurities she was dealing with surrounding her friends.

This wasn’t an easy book to read but boy does Samantha Young pack the goodness in this one. The romance between Tobias and Comet was sweet and seeing Comet really come into her own with the Stevie stuff, the friend’s issues and then all of the stuff that goes down with Tobias had me glued to the book. I couldn’t get enough and though there were times that I wanted to strangle Tobias and even Comet, in the end, I loved them both. I loved the resolutions that come forth with her parents and then her friends. I enjoyed Comet’s story and I loved the way that this book ended. Samantha Young is doing the contemporary YA thing right. Lots of feels and strong young characters that are smart and feel real. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
On Hart's Boardwalk by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Published by Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 128
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Goodreads
four-stars

One of New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young's most beloved couples returns for the first time in a brand new novella set ten years after her blockbuster bestseller Before Jamaica Lane...

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

On Hart’s Boardwalk takes us back into the lives of one of my favorite couples from Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series. Nate and Liv have been together for fourteen years and are close to celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and as couples do from time to time, they go through rough periods in their relationship and Nate and Liv are right in the middle of theirs.

Things between Nate and Liv aren’t quite right and it is starting to get to Liv. She’s in a relationship that is different from the one that she’s been in from the beginning and things went south when one of Nate’s best friends dies. When that happens, instead of leaning on Liv in his grief, Nate pulls away and each day that passes, Liv worries the worries of a neglected wife. She starts to second guess every single thing in their lives and it hurts her over and over again. When Liv turns 40 years old, Nate plans a getaway for the two of them. That getaway takes them to Hartwell, Delaware. The setting that will connect Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street and Hart’s Boardwalk worlds and this short story brought both worlds together in such a nice way that I was super happy with the entire thing.

It was great to see everyone again. From Josh and Braden to Cam and Jo, Marco and Hannah, everyone was here and I was here for that. I love these characters and my heart hurt for both Liv and Nate and what they were going through together. Samantha Young has created a bunch of special characters and Nate and Liv are a part of that bunch. I really enjoyed seeing them together again and seeing them work through their issues…together.

Nate is one of my favorite men in the On Dublin Streets series and seeing him hurt made me sad but Samantha Young did him a solid by writing this awesome short story that helped heal him from some very deep stuff that he was dealing with. It was great to see Nate, older and not yet wiser and still hopelessly in love with his wife. I loved seeing what comes after the happily ever after and I especially loved seeing two people fight to keep their happily ever after. That’s what Nate and Liv did and I loved them just as much now as I did then.

This was a good one. I definitely recommend.

On Dublin Street Series

Hart’s Boardwalk Series

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 22, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Tracy
On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk, The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Published by Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

Nate and Liv have been together for 14 years, and married for 10 of those.  They have two beautiful children and Liv is just as in love with Nate now as she was when they first got together.  The problem is that Nate seems to have lost his love for Liv.  Since one of his friends died suddenly Nate has pushed Liv away and when Nate finds out how Liv is truly feeling he plans a trip to Delaware.  At one time, Liv had told Nate of vacations taken near Hartwell, Delaware and Nate wanted to recreate that joy for her.  He wanted to make his own memories, however, so he chose Hartwell.  They have a great location and it’s just the two of them, but can they work through the issues that have been haunting Liv for the past six months?

This was a pretty great novella.  I’ve been reading the Hart’s Boardwalk series so when I saw a novella for that series I was excited.  I had no idea I’d get the wonderful double whammy by getting the On Dublin Street series cast of characters as well as Hart’s Boardwalk characters.

Nate and Liv got their HEA in the novel Before Jamaica Lane, and if you read that you know that these two are incredibly hot together.  Their sex play in this book was no different but the even better than that was watching two people in love communicate and find the core issue to their problems.  It was well written, and Young didn’t slack on giving us the nitty gritty of their relationship – arguments and all.

On top of the greatness of that part of the book we also got to see, as I said, all of the characters from On Dublin Street as well as Hart’s Boardwalk.  I loved reading about the ODS crew and hearing a little about their families now that it’s been years since their HEA’s. HB is a newer series but it was still fun to catch up with those characters as well.

Overall I thought this was really good.  The love, friendship and feeling of contentment it left me with was incredible and I definitely recommend this one.

On Dublin Street Series

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

The Impossible Vastness of Us is the first contemporary YA that Samantha Young has written and at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. Any of her younger stories gives me pause because of my rage after reading Out of the Shallows. I’m scared to try any other NA books by Young because of my experience with Jake and Charlie.

I’m still not quite sure why I picked this book up, other than it’s a Samantha Young and I enjoy most of her books so I caved and boy am I glad that I did because I enjoyed getting to know India, Finn and even Eloise.

India Maxwell is moving across the country, away from her friends and everything she’s ever known because her mother met someone and got engaged. She moved away from her California suburban home to the upper crust of Boston society. She went from being the popular poor girl to a rich newbie that nobody knew and then thanks to her soon to be step-sister, the rich newbie that nobody wanted to get to know. India hasn’t had an easy life. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff from her past and having to build defenses against a new school and a new life isn’t easy for her. Her mother is happy with her new love and he’s got a daughter that is India’s age but she’s made it very clear that they won’t be besties. So India does what any normal person would do. She keeps her head down and gets on with life.

She has no interest in becoming a part of the family that her Mom is trying to blend. She’s got issues with male figures of authority and her step-sister isn’t an easy person to be around, especially since she’s got a boyfriend that India is way attracted to.

Against India’s better judgement, she becomes entangled in a friendship that can’t go anywhere and she’s put in a situation that she can’t get out of and there’s so much going on in her new life that she starts to flounder a bit and the reader is treated to some real character growth in India. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of showing us just how much India, Finn and Eloise grew from the beginning of the book to the end. They became a unit that I wasn’t prepared for and the secrets they kept were some pretty big secrets.

I came to learn that not everything is as it seems and pain hits everyone, no matter how poor or rich you are. India had her issues that she was working through and so did Finn and Eloise. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of portraying India’s mothers struggles to fix her relationship with India. I loved seeing India really come into her own and accept her new life and deal with her issues with Theo and separating him from her past. India was a great protagonist that wasn’t perfect but was relatable.

Finn and Eloise were great characters in their own right. Sure, they frustrated me from time to time, especially Finn’s hot and cold attitude but once everything is out in the open and they warm up to India (who never deserved their scorn), my attitude toward them changed. Eloise’s situation was a hard one to read about because I just wanted to hug her close and keep her safe from everything but I was really glad with the way that her story wrapped up.

Overall, this was great addition to Samantha Young’s backlist. I really connected with all of the characters, even bitch ass Bryce and I was cheering them all on to get their happy endings. This was an entertaining read from beginning to end and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun contemporary YA with characters that are put through the wringer and come out on top in the end. It’s good, I promise!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

Posted March 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Every Little Thing by Samantha YoungReviewer: Tracy
Every Little Thing by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #2
Also in this series: The One Real Thing, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

Bailey Hartwell and Vaughn Tremaine have been at odds since the man walked into town.  Bailey had tried to move mountains in order to stop the man from building his hotel on the boardwalk.  She failed but she had to try.  It seems that everyone is happy with Vaughn and he seems to be friends with quite a few people but he treats Bailey…not so well. She fights back verbally – the only way she knows how.

The thing is that Bailey is highly attracted to Vaughn and him to her.  The more they feel that attraction the more antagonistic they are to each other.  Vaughn doesn’t feel like he deserves to be happy and Bailey’s such a happy go lucky person.  When her inn is broken in to and Vaughn saves her from the thief they end up in bed together.  Of course Bailey wants more and Vaughn pushes her away in the worst possible way. When Bailey’s sister rolls into town and says she’s there to help run the inn Bailey freaks out but with Vaughn’s help they can work it all out.

I really liked this story.  Bailey seemed like a bit of a crazy girl in book one of this series but I really liked her anyway and of course Vaughn with his dark broodiness was intriguing in book one.  I was so happy they were going to get together because I could tell from their personalities that it would be a pretty epic thing to bring them together.

While I didn’t like that they spent a good portion of the book apart it was all worth it in the end.  We got more background on both Bailey and Vaughn and why they felt like they did about relationships.  It was pretty eye-opening.  Once they got together it was explosive and I was truly happy they got their HEA.

The book brings back characters from the previous book and that was wonderful.  We got to see the characters from book one get married and got to know the others a bit better.  I’ve liked this series so far and I’m anxious to see where it goes next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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