Saturday, September 5, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Samantha Young - Echoes of Scotland Street

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.
Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.
As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…

Comment: I've been a fan of this author's Dublin Street series since the first book. I think she has the perfect blend of contemporary realistic story and sweet romance. I was very curious about this next installment and thankfully I liked it too.
This title was also handy for the Alphabet Soup Challenge for the letter E.
This is Shannon and Cole's story. They met as teenagers one night and were captivated by the other but a few minutes after their talk they go different ways and only meet again when Shannon applies to a receptionist job in the tattoo shop where Cole works.
However, life has taught certain rules about men to Shannon and she feels guys like Cole, with the looks and the tattoos are all the same, meaning bad for her. Although they feel attracted to each other, miscommunications start to put the apart until Shannon realizes she might have done a mistake. But is she the only one who needs to apologize?
Again, I had a great time reading a story by this author. I think she does have talent to pick a simple story and to make it develop in a way and style I really appreciate. I understand how some readers might not share this opinion, but for me it did work well.
The plot was quite interesting and I liked seeing everyone show up. It's always such a pleasure to see characters I like returning even if not for long, but it helps the romantic in me too see how their HEAs did work. The plot is quite simple but the characters make it come alive and be special. I liked the details about their work because this allow us to see them in more scenarios than just the romance or attraction situations.
What really makes the story is the main couple, in particular Shannon. I've read how some readers don't like her much but the way I saw it, she was very close to what a likable heroine should be like. Shannon has had bad luck with guys and I kind of wish she could have learned her lesson sooner, but her 4 or 5 ex boyfriends didn't have as much impact in my appreciation of her personality as I could have imagined. In fact, I was impressed by her attitude, her quitter side and her desire to pay her bills, to just have a job and start settling in life. Her past makes her that way but I was glad to see how pleasant she was as a character.
Her attraction to Cole is mutual and they have some scenes where they battle sexual tension and even Shannon's fears but somehow the fact they didn't jump into sex right away won me over.
The majority of the story was something I liked. Towards the end something happens that increases the conflict and adds up to the drama - which, in turn, makes the HEA look better - but I wasn't convinced by how it happened. Let's just say Cole, who is a wonderful character by the way, a sweet guy and someone others kept telling Shannon wasn't as bad as she thought, reacts rather harshly to a certain conversation in a way I found exaggerated and unnecessary. I don't mind the conflict, it is a different way for us to see them act and react, but I thought is was so against what we have been told about him as person...I really think his reaction was over the top. I won't spoiler but he knows Shannon pretty well at that point so...not clear why he did that unless it suits the drama appeal.
Following Cole's reaction, some other characters that were Cole's friends before being Shannon's also reacted rather strongly to the problem and while not as exaggerated, it was still noticeable to make me think it was wrong. What about not judging others?
Apart from this short incident (it does get solved fast in terms of plot and in a rather exaggerated way if I may say so), the story ran smoothly and was hard to put it down. I managed to read it in one day.
I know there's one more story and I just hope it's as good as the ones I've read. It will be interesting to see Shannon and Cole as an established couple then, as well.
Grade: 8/10

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