Series : Cyclone #2
Publisher : Courtney Milan
Genre : New Adult | Romance
Page Count: 303
Synopsis : Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.
But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love… (From Goodreads)
Content warnings: Mentions of past transmisia, anxiety, panic attacks.
I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I finished the first one, Trade Me, 3 months ago, 3 MONTHS. So imagine how excited I was when I finally could pick it up and read it, especially how much good I’d heard about it from my friends. And it blew me away. Seriously. I am now ruined for any and all romance books til the end of times because of how good this one was, it’s now my favourite romance books of all times and lord knows how many of those I’ve read in my lifetime.
Hold Me is so beautifully written, even more than the previous one and I had already adored it in that one. It’s gorgeous, flows smoothly and has so many quotable bits (that might also be because I related a lot with the content). Also, it was so emotionally charged, every doubt, every fear seeped through it and into my bones. It’s written from the two MCs POVs and although the two felt similar, they were easily distinguishable. The only thing that made them similar was how filled with doubt they both were. Their voices were very different.
Their relationship is my favourite to ever exist. Ever. IT’S SO SLOW BURN. And those are my favourite kind especially when as well executed as it is here. Their cautioness and hesitation throughout most of the novel -for good reason- killed me, it made me root for them so much and I just wanted to protect them and make everything right for them and between them. Saying this is Hate to Love is overly simplistic in my opinion because it’s way more complex than that and that’s what makes it work so well. Jay and Maria are basically in love online but hate each other IRL and seeing how that plays out before AND after they find out the truth was highly entertaining.
What I love about Hold Me (and Milan’s books in general) is that they go beyond the romance, she crafts a wholesome story that makes the immersion so easy. Not only by involving friends, families, job and career struggles, etc… but also by making the characters’ reactions to what happens true to what would happen in real life. For example, when they first realized who they were, the way everything went down was 1/ Not how I expected it would happen (as it was completely random) and 2/ Complicated, which made it all the more realistic.
Once things kick up though, the two of them are the most precious couple ever, there’s sexy flirting sweet flirting and also…. NERDY FLIRTING!!! How cool is that? They use science to lfirt with each other and those moments are such a highlight in this book.
Maria is honestly the greatest. She’s a Mexican-American trans woman. She is so kickass and doesn’t take shit from anybody and stands up for herself, what she believes in. She’s also funny, sassy and loves to push Jay’s buttons (and he deserved every bit of it). Her love and trust issues were all too real considering how much she’s been through in her life and seeing her work through them and try to overcome them was such a raw arc. Maria also has anxiety which she thought she was doing well with but not anymore and how she handled that was great as well.
Jay was the greatest asshole I’ve ever has the pleasure to read about, I absolutely hated his guts at first and was sure Nothing could change that for me. I WAS WRONG. By the end of the book, he had won me over completely. He’s Vietnamese-Chinese American and bisexual, with a buddhist father and a muslim mother. He start off being the most sexist towards Maria, passing unwarranted judgements because of “past issues”. And Yikes. But when he realizes his mistakes and works towards unpacking everything and doing better, he turns into such a soft, patient guy. He gives Maria all the space she needs, never pushes her no matter how hard that was on his on insecurities. And I really appreciated that.
Aside from these two, I loved both motherly figures in their lives. Maria’s grandmother is such a strong woman and I felt like her and Maria were similar in many ways, I loved how protective of her she was and how much she genuinely loved her. Jay’s mom is another hella strong woman (do you see a pattern?) she breaks every stereotype muslim women are subject to and has an imposing borderline intimidating personality.
I think that will be it for this review. I rambled a lot and I’m not even sorry for it. This book deserves all the love in the world and I NEED YOU ALL TO READ IT. The next book isn’t published yet and *cries* I need it desperately because it goes back to following Tina and Blake (from book one).
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Trade Me? If so, what did you think?
Did you like it more or less than the first book?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.