Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sloppy Seconds #11: Castle Hill (On Dublin Street #2.5) by Samantha Young

Welcome to Sloppy Seconds,  a monthly feature hosted by myself and Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives. Sloppy Seconds is a feature in which Teresa and I buddy re-read some of our very favorite books and then post our thoughts and feels. So sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine, and re-live some great reads with us!

Title:  Castle Hill (On Dublin Street #2.5)
Author: Samantha Young
Publisher: Intermix
Published: December 3, 2013
Purchase:  Amazon | B&N

A Joss and Braden Novella

Braden Carmichael never imagined he’d fall as hard and as fast as he did for Jocelyn Butler. He also could not have anticipated how difficult it would be to convince her to give in to love. But now that he has her, he’s never letting go. He’s got it all planned—the passionate proposal, the dream wedding, the sexy Hawaiian honeymoon—even the perfect family they’ll start.

After trying to flee from her painful past, Joss is finally allowing herself to embrace the future. But when things start moving faster than she anticipated, she finds herself panicking over something Braden can’t understand. After everything they’ve been through, Joss is sure that their love can survive even her worst fears. But, this time, she may push Braden too far—and risk losing everything all over again…


**spoilers ahead**

Teresa Mary Rose
So Wifey... I think it is fitting that Braden would be the first SS where we visit characters a second time!

Michele Belle
Absolutely fitting! We talk (gush) a lot about our book boyfriends in these discussions, but we always come back to Braden. I think he is our book husband -- our forever guy. I feel confident that this won't be our last SS with characters from our beloved Dublin Street series. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Braden really is the one we ALWAYS come back to and I am pretty sure all other book boyfriends are compared to him. I am positive this will not be the last SS from this series. We still have so many other books we can visit again!

Michele Belle
And again and again... lol. So, I really loved this little novella even more the second time around. We will never be able to get enough Braden and Joss.  Those two are meant for one another, and I love them! I also adore the way Samantha Young writes this series and makes each character feel so special to the reader. Don't you just love the little cameos from other characters in this short story? 

Teresa Mary Rose
The second time around really was better somehow. Joss and Braden will always be a favorite of mine and there is no such thing as too much. Wifey I remember how excited I was when I heard about this novella... it was such an amazing surprise! I adore the little cameos! There is one cameo in particular I want to talk about with this one and that is Liv's. 

The moment in Castle Hill where Liv shows up and is the first person to FINALLY listen to Joss and hear her out is one of my favorites and it is the moment I fell in love with Liv and knew she was going to be a special one.

Michele Belle
Oh, yes! This novella was such a gift!! And Liv!! I absolutely adore her!! She is so wise beyond her years, and I love the nurturing quality she has. Joss needed her so much in that moment, and that interaction between the two of them is absolutely endearing. My heart broke for Joss and Braden in this novella; and I found that whereas I was more on Braden's side of things in ODS, I had Joss's back in Castle Hill. That caveman of ours -- he can be a stubborn brute! Did you find yourself leaning more towards one than the other in each book? 

Teresa Mary Rose
I just really loved that moment with Liv because she did exactly what I wanted everyone else to do!

I'm not surprised we are on the same page with this one. Get ready.... I have a rant coming... I adore Braden, we all know I do. He is my very favorite. But Wifey, he tried my patience in this one. I was on his side in On Dublin Street but with Castle Hill I had Joss' back one hundred percent. First, he did push Jocelyn a bit with the kids thing. I know he didn't mean to, but he did. He knew she wanted kids eventually but that she really needed the time to work up to it and while he tried to respect that he didn't fully succeed. Maybe he didn't do so with words, but he did with actions. Second he reacted very badly when Jocelyn told him she was pregnant. I understand why he got upset, what I don't understand is how he couldn't even talk to Jocelyn. He completely shut her out. He knows Jocelyn better than anyone and he couldn't see that she was struggling to put her feelings into words. What really gets me is that he didn't even give her a chance to talk it out with him. That was where I was so disappointed in him. 

That rant now brings me to Ellie.... why does it seem like whenever Ellie gets involved she causes problems between Joss and Braden? I love the girl but damn.

Michele Belle
Hahaha! I just knew we'd see eye to eye on that, and I was ready for you to get ranty!!  I wholeheartedly agree. And yeah, the pushing kids thing -- that bothered me. And then? Well, he messed up. Plain and simple. And I know exactly why: fear. Which is pretty interesting considering that in On Dublin Street, he helped Jocelyn conquer most of hers. But as strong as Braden is and as dedicated to Joss as he is, he was absolutely terrified of what he perceived the situation to be. I think it really took him back to his childhood and growing up the way he did. All he had to do was listen... but if he had, we wouldn't have had this book. lol I agree that it was disappointing, and I wanted to shake him. And though it did send Joss reeling, it didn't send her into the downward spiral that it could have. That made me proud of her and showed us just how far she's come since we first met her. As frustrating as Braden's actions were, I think he learned a very important lesson and it made their relationship even stronger. 

Ellie. Dear, sweet, lovely, TROUBLE-MAKING Ellie. Sigh. She just did not come through for our favorite couple. She was clearly dazzled by Adam. BUT, Liv made up for Ellie's shortcomings, and that's the best thing about this group of friends. They are absolutely the best 'mates' to have! 

Teresa Mary Rose
Agreed. He messed up big BUT in the end they worked it out. Thank you Liv! And I do understand why Braden reacted the way he did. He was terrified and just did not know how to handle it. It was very interesting seeing their roles reversed a bit in this one and it showed that nobody is perfect; not even our lovable caveman. And you are so right about Joss. I was proud of her too! She stayed strong despite her rock crumbling. 

Oh Ellie... I know she was worried... BUT if she didn't call Braden that day when Joss freaked out everything would have been fine. Jocelyn would have calmed down and went home and talked to Braden and that would have been that. I love Ellie, but I was a little upset at her for not respecting Jocelyn's request to be alone for a bit. 

I agree though. This is such a wonderful group of friends and they are so special.

Michele Belle
It was the ultimate role reversal; and it was pretty fascinating, although heartbreaking to watch. 

So true. She's a little Nosy Rosy. She was frightened for Joss, but her actions put the whole horrid thing in motion. I do feel for her, though, because it's a terrible place to be in -- torn between your best friend who is your sister-in-law and the big brother you adore. One thing is certain, Wifey -- it made for some damn fine reading!!! 

Teresa Mary Rose
Oh I agree with you... definitely made for some amazing reading and it is a tough situation. Maybe I would have been more forgiving if it was the first time she did something like this but it's not so..... 

Okay let us talk about happier things. What is your favorite swoony moment from this novella?

Michele Belle
Are you calling Ellie a repeat offender?? 'Cause I think I might just have to agree with you! LMAO

There are SO many swoony moments! For such a short story, you wouldn't think I'd have so much highlighted, but I do! Well, there's tons of steamy with extra heapings of hot swoons, but I think the ones that had me blinking back tears were the ones that came at the most unexpected moments. When Joss comes back to bed after doing some writing and she watches Braden sleep, she's just overcome with love for him. She wonders if he knows just how much he means to her. Joss doesn't like to admit these things out loud. Our girl is not the mushy gushy extra feely type. But when Braden wakes and she whispers "You're my everything.  You know that right?" Oh. My. Heart. I sobbed. That was such a big moment for them. And then Braden's response?? Stick a fork in me 'cause I was DONE. Gaahhhhh. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Yes *nods head* that is exactly what she is!

Right? So much swoon in one little package and I loves it! The unexpected ones are always the best. That moment you described is a wonderful one. It makes my heart all happy. Those two! I think my favorite moment was Braden's speech at the wedding ceremony. Brought tears to my eyes and it made me laugh! 

Michele Belle
That's another one!! That speech! And before that -- at the altar? Same reaction -- tears immediately followed by laughter. That's why I love them so much!! And only Braden would drop the f-bomb in front of the minister. Mercy. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Ohh I almost forgot about the altar! That was wonderful. He just knows her so well and can practically read her mind. I loved it. You know what other moment I absolutely loved? When Clark walks Joss down the aisle and the moments leading up to it. I just thought it was so sweet. OH and Clark's speech. I'm done Wifey just done.

Michele Belle
Clark!!!! And his speech after!!!! YESSSSSSSS!!!!!! I was just a blubbering mess at that point. It's such a bittersweet moment -- it's devastating that Joss's family isn't with her on such a special day. But to realize that after all those years, she has found a family again and they love her so very much. Even the little things like not having a groom's and bride's side shows how they care for her. I love them all. 

Teresa Mary Rose
So much love for them! They truly just brought her into their family and I love that. I love that Jocelyn finally found somewhere to belong again after losing her family. 

Okay is there anything else you want to discuss or is it quote time?

Michele Belle
You are going to make me cry again!!! Aaaah, that is so beautifully put! 

The main thing I want to do is just read it all over again because discussing them just makes me want to be with them. I may have a problem. Hello, my name is Michele, and I suffer from Bradenitis, and I'm okay with that. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this delicious novella: 

"But Braden knew I loved him. Sometimes I wondered, though, if he knew how much. I wondered if he knew that just watching him sleep made me scary happy, breathless even. I wondered if he knew that he was absolutely, without a doubt, everything to me." 

"A minute or so passed and just as Braden was drifting back off I whispered, 'You’re my everything. You know that right?'" 

"'Jocelyn,' his voice was rough, like he was struggling to get the words out. 'You’re my best friend. My everything. I love you and I want to be with you always. Marry me. I promise to try not to f*** it up if you promise to try not to f*** it up.'" 

"'Everything but the ring..." (rawr!) 

"'Why didn’t you say anything?' 'Because you seemed happy. It’s sort of my life mission to make sure you stay that way...'" 

"'There will be times,' he murmured against my lips, 'when we don't like each other very much, but I need you to know that I will never stop loving you.'" 

I can't wait for your quotes! Hit me! 

Teresa Mary Rose
Well then... I think I suffer from Bradenitis as well... 

Oh Wifey I love those... especially the "happy" one *swoons*

“Over two and a half years ago,” he began, his voice deep, his tone serious, “I shared a taxi with a complete stranger. A young woman with a smart mouth and”—he smirked down at me—“a great pair of legs.” The guests chuckled as I shook my head slightly at him, a small smile playing on my lips. “I knew then,” Braden spoke loudly to the guests, but his eyes remained on my face, “my life had changed. I just wouldn’t know until you walked out of Ellie’s bathroom without a towel on how happy I was with that coming change.” I rolled my eyes, feeling my cheeks burn as everyone laughed. “I’m not joking.” Braden turned back to them. “The second time we met, Jocelyn was starkers. Up to that point it was the best day of my life. “Even after being caught in the buff she gave me attitude.” He grinned down at me again, and I felt the warmth inside my chest turn into a burn of overwhelming emotion. “You’ve challenged me since the day I met you. No woman has ever challenged me more. Nor made me laugh harder. There is not a moment that passes where you don’t make me feel more alive than I ever thought I could, and today you gave me something I thought was lost a long time ago for the both of us. You’ve given me peace, babe. You’ve given me everything.” The timber of his voice had deepened with emotion and I swear to God I was close to bawling my eyes out as he lifted a glass of champagne from the table and raised it in the air. “To my wife, Mrs. Jocelyn Carmichael.”

"I held on tighter. Braden shook against me, his tone rumbling with laughter as he asked, “Am I not allowed out of bed this morning?” “Nope,” I mumbled against his skin. “If you move, I’ll have to move. If I have to move it means facing the fact that we’re no longer in Hawaii. I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with that.”"

"I smoothed my hand over my stomach thinking how weird it was that there was a little person inside of me whom I already loved beyond reason. Now if only my husband would give me a chance to tell him that."

Michele Belle
Well, it's a good thing we have each other. This can be a debilitating illess. It can cause loss of hours in the day, low Kindle battery, hot flashes, and smexy dreams. We'll manage. *snort* 

Those are perfect picks!! I love them -- especially the first one. *dies* 

Wifey, you are the one who nudged aka forcibly pushed me to read On Dublin Street two years ago, and I cannot thank you enough. I have loved sharing this entire series with you and especially our re-reads and discussions of our favorite caveman. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Yeah we will survive somehow... 

I am just so glad you loved this series as much as I did and I have loved sharing this series with you. I love that we can discuss and flail over this series to no end and neither one of us gets tired of it! I cannot even begin to express how much that means to me!


  1. *wipes tear* Awe ya made me all miss Branden :) oh and Liv too

  2. Wifey I love how this discussion came out. It was sooo great visiting BRADEN and joss again. They are such great characters and we can never get enough of them. Love you.


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