Review: Hold on Tight by Serena Bell

hold on tightReviewed by Carrie

Serena Bell is a new to me author.  I was on twitter when someone tweeted out that ARCs were up for a second chance secret baby book with a wounded warrior.  Of course, those words are like crack for me and I immediately went to request it.  I know many do not care for the secret baby trope, and generally I agree, but I think you should take a chance on this one.

Jake and Mira met up on one of those perfect summer nights when you are young and everything is possible.  It was the worst possible timing as Jake was on military leave and Mira was about to move cross country to attend art school, but young love has its demands.  They spend a few passionate weeks head over heels into each other.  It’s only after they say goodbye that Mira discovers that Jake left her with a little present that permanently alters her life.

Fast forward eight years later when fate throws Jake and Mira back together in a physical therapy office.  Jake is there because an IED explosion took his leg.  To her credit, Mira immediately tells his that the little boy with her is her son.  She gives Jake their information and leaves the door open for him to get to know his son.  Although Jake follows up, it’s clear that he’s got one foot out the door.

I did think the characters were incredibly developed.  Despite the unplanned pregnancy, Mira owned her actions.  Her life wasn’t pretty.  Her parents were a double edged sword, helpful, yet overbearing.  I liked that Mira knew the onus on herself to move to be free from the constraints of home and stand on her own two shaky feet.  She didn’t try to snow Jake over or jerk him around.  She didn’t expect him to be her knight in shining armor, even if she wanted him to be.

As you might expect, Jake was a whole ball of mess.  I thought the author did a good job conveying how a warrior might feel after losing something so vital, like a leg.  Mira was patient and kind in helping Jake to remember that he wasn’t less of a man because of the amputation.  Jake’s struggles with PTSD were just as heart wrenching.  Watching him slowly come back to life was very rewarding.

The tone of the book is generally a bit somber.  Jake is dealing with heavy issues regarding his amputation and PTSD.  Mira is a struggling single mother who barely affords to keep a roof over her and her son’s head.  They are both worn down by life and spend a good amount of time circling each other.  At times, this made for some slow reading.  I often wished that something would just happen instead of reading Jake and Mira’s internal laments.  The sexy times were fun but, again, were on the melancholy side.

I very much enjoyed Bell’s writing.  I like to read about everyday characters with faults and regrets.  The author’s characters and story are intriguing, even if the pacing was just a bit off.  This novel won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy stories with heartfelt emotions and struggles, this should be on your TBR.  I’ll be checking out the author’s backlist.

Grade: C+/B-

*ARC provided by Loveswept

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hold on Tight
by Serena Bell
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept

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