“You got good, you don’t let it go. It lets you go, you hold on. It slips though your fingers, you pull out all the stops to get it back. You got somethin’ worth fighting for, you fight for it. You do not sit on your ass waitin’ for it to come back to you.”
LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
Kristen Ashley is well known as one of the best romance authors and she’s also one of my personal go-to favorites. With Hold On, she once again delivered an absolutely gorgeous love story I adored from the first page until the last!! This book was badass, heart-felt, smokin’ hot, and loaded with the deepest, strongest, most powerful emotions you can imagine. By the end, I had happy tears streaming down my face. Without a doubt, it had THE. BEST. EPILOGUE. EVER!!!! Many readers think of KA as the Queen of Epilogues and the Queen of Badass, but she really outdid herself with this book. It was pure perfection!! 5 STARS!!
From the first few pages, my heart was racing. I’d literally dropped everything to read it the moment it was released. I cancelled plans, and cleared my schedule, because lets be honest, who can be getting groceries or sitting out at dinner with a KA book back home?? Not me! I just had to read it.
I’ve loved this series since I first started it in 2012. I know I say this about almost all of KA’s books, but honestly, this particular series is one of my favorites. There’s a real depth and maturity to the stories in this series that really just gets to me. I love them so much. These are characters and couples who have been around the block a few times, maybe made mistakes, or had life deal them a bad hand of cards the first time, but within this series, they’ve each finally had a chance to find the happiness they deserve, and Merry was the last guy in the ‘Burg to have his story told.
If you haven’t read the previous 5 books in this series, I strongly recommend reading them first and in order (as listed below). Why? Well a) because they’re all genuinely out-of-this-world amazing, and b) because you’ll get so much more out of the series that way. Just trust me. Each book may be about a different couple, but they’re quite interconnected and the layers of each couple’s stories build on each other in such a way that I guarantee you’ll have a better reading experience that way.
This book was Merry and Cher’s story — the final ‘Burg series book. Merry was the last of the ‘Burg’s bachelors — a rough, sexy badass Alpha cop who’d sadly spent years thinking that Mia, the woman he’d divorced was the right one for him. Cher worked at the local bar, secretly in love with him for years, but content to just be his friend, to be there for him however she could, all the while knowing he was in love with another woman and knowing he’d never feel the same way about her as she did for him. Painful as it was, she was willing to take it because life had tought her that girls like her didn’t get happily ever afters.
She’d gone through life getting the short end of every single stick. As a single mom who’d been left by her no-good druggie boyfriend to raise a child alone with no help and no money, she’d done anything she had to to put food in her child’s belly and a roof over his head.
I ate shit because that was life.
But in all that, I’d done something right. Something so right, it was the anchor of my life that kept me steady and whole… I’d made [my son]. I’d kept [my son]. And I made sure my boy knew he was loved right down to my soul. Which meant he loved me that way right back.
“You know I love you, baby?” I whispered.
She was a survivor, willing to sacrifice anything for her son to have a good life, and had absolutely earned her place as the Burg’s resident tough chick. But then one night between her and Merry changed everything and brought them together in a way neither of them could ever have imagined …
“I don’t think I gotta convince you that you mean something’ to me. What I want you to know right now is, no mater the future, that’ll never change.”
Can I just say that I. LOVED. CHER!!!! This girl had been kicked down by life, then kicked again while she was down but she didn’t let anything stop her from getting up again. She was just such an incredibly strong woman and mother. She’s the kind of person you can’t help but wish the world had more of.
And I can’t say that without also saying that I. LOVED. MERRY!!!! I loved the way he took care of her, protected her, treated her son, and never gave up on them. He was a good guy by profession, but that goodness started in his heart. For the first time in her life, he showed her what it was like to have someone she could depend on to have her back, and who also loved her in a way she never imagined possible.
After surviving everything life had thrown at her, the walls Cher had built around her were strong and nearly impenetrable. She’d learned the hard way that it was safer that way. Safer for her, better for her son. But Merry came right along and wouldn’t give up — utterly determined to make it through those walls and prove to her that he wasn’t going to be another person who did her wrong.
“Got a lotta people who mean a lot to me, but only one took my back… What I want is more good times with you. I wanna fuck wild and I wanna laugh hard, and while we’re doin’ that, I’m gonna look out for you.”
And I can’t review this book without sending a big shout-out to Cher’s amazing son Ethan. This guy stole the show! He was such an amazing little badass, Alpha male protector in the making. Brave, strong, smart, loyal, caring… I promise he’ll melt your heart! Seeing him and Cher’s mother-son relationship was so endearing. I loved the way she was firm and strong, but kind and gently. Allowing him to be a kid, but teaching him how to be a man. Gah. SO MANY FEELS!!
There are just such STRONG relationship in this series. And not just romantic ones — it’s also friendships, brotherhoods, families, all kinds of deep, unwavering bonds of love. There was this one scene for example, with all the gals helping Cher pick out a dress that was such a simple scene but it brought me to tears with the depth of the LOVE that was shown in it. That’s the kind of heart a KA book has.
But it’s also balanced out by great banter. Ha! There was even glorious man-banter between heroes:
“You should be a therapist, Mike. Open your own clinic. Call it ‘Don’t Be A Dumb Fuck Treatment Centre.”
Mike grinned back, returning, “You bein’ my first client, thinkin’ of adding, ‘How Not To Be A Smartass.’”
I pretty much loved every single aspect of this book — the gorgeous dynamics between Cher and Merry, between Cher and her son, between Merry and her son, and between all of them together as they slowly but surely came together as a family unit just made me feel gooey inside.
Even though mistakes were made, I loved how functinal they were both together and separately. They both realized quickly how precious what they had between them was and both tried as hard as they could to allow those bonds of love and trust to grow.
“We got a lot to talk about… But I don’t want you dreading it, because, honest as fuck, we’re gonna get through it and we’re gonna get past it. I won’t make you promises again that I can’t keep. Swear that, babe. So when I promise right now that I know where my head is at with you and I want us both to give this the best shot we can give it, you can believe that.”
“You gonna give this the best shot you can give, sweetheart?” he asked…
He took in my nod, smiled a small smile, but pushed, “Promise me.”
… “I promise, honey.”
I know I say this in almost every review but I swear to God, KA has carved out for herself her very own dialect of the English language and I LOVE it. Like really, if you were to show me a series of quotes, I could instantly pick out the ones that she wrote — its that distinctive and it just manages to give an extra measure of depth to the already badass feeling her stories are infused it. It just makes them feel REAL!
When you commit to reading a KA book, it’s kind of equivalent to committing to binge-watch the entire season of the most badass show you can imagine in one sitting. Her books are literally like 2-4 times as long as most. This one was 11,700 Kindle Locations long (most full length books hover around the 4000-5000 mark) so it’s almost as though she gives you a short series within one book. It’s a journey, an adventure, a non-stop romantic thrill ride that is absolutely unparalleled in the romance world.
KA not only knows how to write a gorgeous story, but she knows how to end them in the absolute best way. She gives her readers everything they’d hoped to see and leaves no loose ends. Everything that needs to be shown is shown allowing you to not only have experienced these characters stories in the book, but also to have a clear idea of where they ended up after years after their book was over. It’s a powerful and very cathartic experience to read them. They just fill your heart to the brim with emotions. Naturally, her reader-given title of Queen of Epilogues is very well-earned, but I think everyone who has read this book will agree with me when I say that it had one of THE. BEST. EPILOGUES. EVER!!!!! It covered not only Merry and Cher’s story but gave a final wrap up and beautiful send off to all of the amazing couples we’ve fallen in love with over the course of this series. I was pretty much happy sobbing by the end. Tears were pouring down my face as my heart overflowed with happiness.
You don’t just read Kristen Ashley’s stories, you FEEL them deep in your heart and soul. You live them. And Hold On was truly the most perfect end to one of the best series I’ve ever read.
Rating: 5 stars!! Contemporary Adult romance.
THE ‘BURG SERIES: READING ORDER
Series of interconnected standalones. Best to read in order.