Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hold on Tight by Serena Bell
Series: Returning Home #1
Published by Loveswept on June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Fighting for his country gave Jake Taylor’s life shape and meaning. Now as an injured war hero he struggles to find purpose, until he runs into the gorgeous woman he dated briefly—and disastrously—before being deployed eight years ago. Turns out Jake doesn’t just need to figure out how to be a civilian . . . he also needs to learn how to be a dad.
Eighteen, pregnant, and totally lost, Mira Shipley couldn’t track down the soldier who fathered her child, so she put college on hold and focused on making a good life for her son. Now she’s determined to be something more than Sam’s mom, her parents’ daughter, or Jake’s girl—as hot as she finds her old flame’s take-charge attitude in and out of bed. Soon Mira and Jake realize that their passion didn’t disappear when Sam was conceived—and that instead of running away, sometimes it’s better to hold on tight.
ICYMI is a post from my early days of blogging at Yummy Men & KickAss Chicks. You can see the original review here.
Yummy Man – Jake Taylor
Kick Ass Chick – Mira Shipley
I picked this book by Serena Bell to read and review because I knew Ruthie Knox recommended it. I absolutely love these new kinds of romance novels which are more realistic and real life. They can still be sweet and sexy and have happy endings but somehow they are raw with emotion and so real. I’m not sure how to explain the difference other than this. Perhaps it is the writing is so excellent. Or it is the characters are painted with such clear descriptions with vulnerabilities and a wide range of feelings.
Hold On Tight starts with the premise of a girl who falls for a soldier, soon to be deployed, sort of to rebel against her controlling father. Her father means well. He just wants to make all the decisions. She only sort of has sex and gets pregnant.
Mira does look for Jake but doesn’t know quite enough about him to find him. Now as an aside, when I first started dating, I decided if I didn’t know their full name and birth date, I didn’t know them well enough to have sex with them. This would have solved Mira’s problem.
Jake, the soldier, is strong and set in his plan to not ever marry or have children. He has seen his alcoholic father and weak mother and wants none of it. He finds being a soldier a perfect fit. He is good at it. It feels right… until he gets hurt by an IED and loses his closest friend. He comes back to Seattle and runs into Mira and … da da da … his seven year old son, Sam.
Jake is a wonderful man. He had a crappy childhood and he is doing his best to be a good man and do the right things. He thinks that means he should not marry or have children. Even when he is injured and doesn’t know what he will do with his life now, he doesn’t lose control. He manages himself and decides to stay away from Mira since he feels he is not good enough for her and Sam.
Mira has battled for years to make her own life. First, she lived with her parents in Florida, so she could keep her child and be more comfortable with their support and free childcare. She did manage to hold her ground on making decisions on Sam’s care and discipline. Now, she’s finally on her own, with a new, exciting job, back in Seattle. She is making all her own decisions.
I love Mira. She is so strong and real and brave. She risks stating real thoughts and feelings. She gives a complete effort to be on her own, no matter how hard it is sometimes. Her honesty makes me laugh. It’s so rare in life and so delightful. She knows Jake may hurt her and also Sam, but she takes the chance to spend time together.
I’m disappointed Jake didn’t give himself credit sooner. He knew others believed in him when he sent his “references” to Mira. But he did figure things out and make his new life in the end. I am so proud of Mira and Sam. They were so brave and I loved them.
Hold On Tight is an endearing story with a beautiful ending. I recommend this for those who like realistic characters, sex, emotional growth of the characters and a satisfying conclusion.
Giggle-worthy quote –
“Just because it was bad sex doesn’t mean it wasn’t sex.”
“’Sam and I will pick up dinner’” he said.
‘I’m out anyway,’ Mira protested.
‘We need the exercise. We haven’t done anything for hours except play Ticket to Ride and bowl with your lipsticks.’
‘We needed pins. Sam said the only thing he could think of that were all the same size was your lipsticks.’”
- Sunday Post –4 June 2023 @kimbacaffeinate @readingreality - June 4, 2023
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This does sound like a good one. I always hope for a happy ending:)
I’m always impressed with characters who are honest even when it makes them vulnerable.
Wonderful review. Glad you published it again on your blog here. Sounds like a great read.
It was really well done with the realistic emotions and character growth. But also her honesty.
I have never read this author. This sounds like a great romance with some really great characters.
I really appreciated the character honesty. It is NOT the book which would be over if they just talked about how they really feel, and I love that so much.
This one sounds good. I am guessing she didn’t know much about him before he left. Yeah, last name and date of birth would have been good! I like a great romance with a good story and HEA.
They had some real growth to reach their HEA but I loved her honesty.