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MinnChica from The Book Pushers

I'm MinnChica, from The Book Pushers. I love reading all things romance. Come chat books with me!
Down London Road - Samantha Young Full review posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/05/07/review-down-london-road-by-samantha-young/

MinnChica: I was a little anxious and excited to see what would happen with Johanna’s story, especially given the way she was depicted in the first book in the series. However, I absolutely adored this story, Johanna, and Cameron. I loved that Jo had so many layers to her, that her backstory was so much more involved that I ever expected. And Cam was the total opposite of Jo’s normal guy, and yet I loved him all the more because of it.

Has: I totally felt the same way! When I initially found out that the heroine was going to be Jo, I wasn’t that keen because she was pretty unlikeable in the first book because she was portrayed to be shallow and a gold-digger. Yet, I have to say that Samantha Young turned this around and we delve so much further into Jo’s past and her family life which explains why she was being mercenary towards her choices of boyfriends and even then she wasn’t that cold-blooded. I wished the author, explained this because it would have made more sense for me because I felt Jo was a totally different character from the first book.

I liked that the book opens up with Jo in the midst of a relationship when she meets Cam, and I am not keen on the main character being involved with someone else. But it worked because it showed Jo’s motives, and feelings especially her sense of self worth and identity which is a huge theme in the book.

MinnChica: I thought Young did a really good job of portraying why Jo acted the way she did, why she made some of the choices that she did in the first book. I wasn’t at all disappointed or felt as if her history wasn’t explained. I agree that stories that usually start with the hero or heroine in another relationship are not my cuppa tea. But with Jo, I thought it fit so well within the confines of the book and her personal development. That was probably my favorite aspect of this book: Jo’s personal development. I thought it was incredible to see her grow from this somewhat obnoxious and self-absorbed woman to seeing that all her decisions were made for the betterment of her younger brother, and then watching as she realized that her own happiness was just as important as her brothers. It was a wonderful journey to go on with her, and I commend Young for the way she had it play out.

Has: I definitely agree! I found Jo’s characterisation and how she developed throughout the book to be believable and so well fleshed out. I loved how she soon realised that she was modelling herself to be the ‘perfect’ girlfriend who put the needs of those close to her above hers because she wanted to be safe and secure. And that was interesting because it made her more relatable and as a reader empathise so much especially when we learn about her past with her dysfunctional family and the abuse she suffered. I also loved how protective she was towards her baby brother and he was the main reason why she entered relationships that was based on money and security rather than love and passion.

I loved the scene when she first encounters Cam at the art gallery because, ohhh wow, the tension between them was palpable and very striking. So even though she was in a relationship with Malcolm her rich boyfriend, I was so rooting for her to finally hook up with Cam although I was on tenterhooks on how Young will deal with situation. Because I don’t like cheating but it was handled very well and very realistic and I found the romance between them so sweet and loving as well as very sexy. I also liked that even though her feelings towards Malcolm wasn’t passionate, he was likeable and very affectionate towards her. But I liked that this wasn’t drawn out angst which can be forced.

MinnChica: It took me awhile to jump on the Cam bandwagon, mostly because he was such a judgemental jerk to Johanna in the beginning. He took one look at her and Malcolm and he made some pretty nasty assumptions about her, and wasn’t afraid to throw it in her face either. It wasn’t until he did some amazing grovelling that I started to enjoy him more. But once Cam really showed just how much he wanted to make it up to Jo, he really went all out to win her over, and I loved him for it. Also, the way that Cam helped Jo with her younger brother was wonderful to watch. The way that they both integrated into each other’s lives was so wonderful. I just adored their romance, it felt like a very “epic romance.” Also, given the way that Young dealt with the ongoing issues with Jo’s mother… Wow. Just Wow. Such incredible drama.

Has: Oh yes – the emotional and drama angst was fantastic! I loved that Cam helped to break through Jo’s walls and got her to face herself and the way she would diminish her personality to fit with someone. And when they were together they really shined. Although I wished there was more to Cam, although he was flawed and his faults especially about being too judgemental. I wished his character was explored a bit more because I felt he was slightly underdeveloped but then again, I really liked the focus on Jo and on her struggles with her home-life especially dealing with an alcoholic mother and raising her brother.

But I think Samantha Young really channelled the themes of the NA genre and the themes of discovering yourself and embracing independence with Jo’s story. Although there were still problems and issues at the end of the book, it ended at a very good place and I really liked how Young tied those plot-lines well.

MinnChica: All in all I really liked this book, maybe even more than the first one! And you are right, it did have a bit of an NA feel to it. I thought it ended perfectly, with all ends wrapped up nicely. I loved that Jo was given the chance to develop as a character, and that we got to see what drove her to make some of the decisions she did. I liked Cam’s devotion to show Jo how important it was to live for herself, and how far he was willing to go to grovel to win her trust. I can’t wait to see what Young comes up with next!

I give Down London Road a B+

Has: I enjoyed On Dublin Street, but I really think Samantha Young hit the ball out of the park, with Down London Road because it was full of depth and emotions and I was immersed into the story. I especially loved Jo’s character and how she evolved throughout the book, and how she learned to embrace her true self and independence. The romance she shares with Cam was filled with fun sexual tension and humour and the love scenes were truly smouldering. I think Samantha Young has really cemented herself in this genre with great style and depth!

I also give Down London Road a B+