Monday, November 27, 2017

Holding On by Sarah Hadley Brook - Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 96,300 words approx

Publisher: JMS Books


Eighteen-year-old Aaron Pickard is dealing with a lot: he’s falling for his straight best friend, his mother has ended up in the hospital after a violent assault by his father, and he’s trying to decide when to come out. Tack on the stress of an upcoming prom and graduation, a part-time job, and the possibility he could lose his best friend, and he’s an emotional wreck.

Aaron’s best friend Jeff Leaton provides a soft place for him to fall when his life is thrown into chaos, literally holding him each night as they fall asleep. As Jeff helps Aaron navigate through the mess that has become his new normal, Aaron’s feelings for Jeff intensify.

Aaron’s pretty sure it’s all going to end badly, but he’s holding on to hope.

3.75 out of 4 stars

Holding On is a contemporary new adult m/m friends to lovers romance. This is more of a slow burn for the couple to finally connect, so be prepared for a lot (70%) of UST.  Also I will give warning for anyone that if domestic violence is a trigger for you, there is a relatively graphic scene about 30-40% into the story. 

Holding On was a very readable story, the pacing was good, the storyline was engaging, and the characters displayed a lot of emotions. At some points it was a little too much emotion but that's what the story called for in this case. That being said.. the romance part of the story is where I had some trouble. Not that I didn't believe Aaron and Jeff weren't falling for each other, all the signs were there and were a large part of the story. It's just the length of time it took for the two boys to finally tell each other how they felt and even begin a relationship. That portion of the story was really only the last 30% of the book, and felt a little bit rushed with all the other things that Aaron was going through at the time. 

This story is still well worth the read as long as you don't mind teenage angst, the boys are both 18 and seniors in high school. So while I consider this more of a new adult romance technically based on their ages and that they still have parental guidance, this could be labeled a young adult romance. I would caution that this reads more like a new adult with all the situations that occur, along with the sexual tension and finally the sex scenes between Aaron and Jeff. So I don't recommend this for true young adult readers unless they're really advanced readers and can handle the scene of domestic violence that happens early in the book. 

I honestly would like to see a follow up book on Aaron and Jeff after they are away at college and a little further into their romance. Just to see how they're handling their new relationship along with their college lives. Also give them time to be removed from the events that happen in this first book and allow them to mature a little more. But as I always say to readers, we all have differing opinions on what works and doesn't work for us in a book... I recommend that you pick up Holding On and read for yourself since what didn't work for me may not be an issue for other readers. 

November 27 - Bonkers About Books, Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews, Reading Is Our Satisfaction, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, BooksLaidBareBoys, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Millsy Loves Books

November 29 - OptimuMM, OMG Reads, Dog-Eared Daydreams

December 4 - MM Good Book Reviews

December 6 - Bayou Book Junkie, Jim's Reading Room, Wicked Reads, Words Of Wisdom From The Scarf Princess, Boy Meets Boy Reviews 

Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

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