Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B
Since Castle Hill didn’t really work for me, I was a little wary going into Before Jamaica Lane but I ended up enjoying it much more than expected. I loved the character of Olivia and, aside from the sex lessons being a bit of a MacGuffin, I thought this was a strong book overall.
I haven’t yet read Down London Road so it was a bit of a shock to see how friendly Joss and Ellie were with Jo in this book. I was thinking she wasn’t more than a throw away character in the first book and even ragged on a little bit for being a gold digger if I remember correctly. I’m assuming that the changes must have happened in the previous book and to just take her integration at face value. It didn’t detract from the story, especially since we got the wonderful character of Olivia because of her.
I loved that Olivia was a librarian; it was a fantastic choice for her personality. She was book smart and witty, but still a bit self-conscious and awkward at times. Olivia asks her friend Nate, a consummate playboy, to help her become more comfortable with guys and especially in sexual situations. Olivia and Nate have always had a spark and soon the flirting lessons turn into full-blown sex lessons. They both say no strings attached, but the “lessons” continue on for six weeks and are interspersed with them hanging out, eating dinner, watching movies, and basically being a couple. When Olivia finally calls it like she see it, Nate runs. He’s scared of opening himself up to someone else and being hurt. They both try to move on with their lives, but it is obvious to everyone that they belong together. The only question is whether Olivia and Nate can see they belong together.
Nate was funny and sweet at times, but he could be kind of mean and inconsiderate. It was nice to see him acknowledge the hurt his laissez-faire sexual attitude has caused others though. I thought Olivia helped to make him a better person or maybe just helped to bring his inner person to the surface. They were sweet together and just a little nerdy; I loved it. While it as hard to watch them try to “keep it casual,” the sex scenes between the two were smoking hot.
Before Jamaica Lane also gave us a different perspective into the story that was told in Castle Hill. We finally saw what happened the night before Joss and Braden made up and what Olivia’s actual role was in it. Braden Carmichael should be kissing the ground Olivia walks on because she probably saved his relationship.
This was a great installment in the On Dublin Street series and though I don’t know if I will go back to Down London Road or not, I do have Until Fountain Bridge handy and am looking forward to Fall From India Place. Hannah had a few hilarious moments in this book and I am eager to see her carry a story on her own. Before Jamaica Lane is a terrific read for fans of the series and should not be missed!
Thank you to Netgalley and NAL for providing an ARC copy of this book!
Series Reading Order:
0.1. On Dublin Street
1.5. Until Fountain Bridge
0.2. Down London Road
2.5. Castle Hill
0.3. Before Jamaica Lane
0.4. Fall From India Place (Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by NAL)
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