Title: Hold Me (Cyclone #2)
Author: Courtney Milan
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT
Potential Triggers: past suicide mention, past transphobia mention
POV: dual first-person
My Rating: ❤️ 🍜 👠
My REAL Rating. ★★★★★
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…
“I don’t have a good response. Not in words. Instead, I send her an emoji string: a heart, a bowl of soup, and heels.
Sorry. I typed. Bad at words.
No, she types. I’m pretty sure that’s the emoji for “hold me.”
I have been dying to read Hold Me since I found out about it in Fall of last year. I backtracked and read the first book in the Cyclone series, Trade Me, and fell in love with the glimpses we got of Maria, which made me that much more excited. The premise was right up my alley because it was enemies to lovers, and had the element of the main characters not knowing they were already friends online. Hold Me has a rich cast of main and side characters. Jay is Thai/Chinese and Bisexual (the word is never used, but he has dated men and women), while Maria is a Mexican Transwoman.
Jay and Maria were amazing. For me personally, they were a vast improvement as main characters compared to the previous couple, Blake and Tina, from Trade Me. Courtney Milan did an amazing job crafting them, and making their inner conflicts feel real. Seeing Jay overcome his guilt over a past experience, and Maria overcome her anxieties about loosing people really hit home for me. Maria’s development was very special to me.
I loved Jay and Maria’s relationship. They are the quintessential enemies to lovers, but the twist of them unknowingly being friends through the internet was a great touch. The contrast between their relationship on and offline was interesting. After the inevitable reveal happened, I loved how Milan dealt with them having to reconcile their feelings and the problems their relationship had both on and offline. They are one of my favorite romance couples. Bonus points for the letter scene à la Pride and Prejudice.
Milan often has feminist ideals in her work (and even her historical romances. Just the title of The Suffragette Scandal alone should tell you that). As an Astrophysics major, addressing the sexism that runs rampant in STEM is very important to me. Jay, who is a science professor, has several interactions with Maria and one of his students in which he assumes that pretty/girly girls are vapid and don’t know math/science. He is put in his place by Maria, learns from the experience, and strives to do better.
I would 100% recommend Hold Me to anyone. It is a well written, diverse romance.
“Aren’t we a pair.” She shakes her head. Her hair moves slightly, and I feel a slight breath of air—Em’s molecules—wafting over me. “All this brain power and we can’t close these last inches between us.”
“I’m afraid to let myself believe that I deserve to have someone love me enough to change all his plans because he knew I’d be scared. But maybe, maybe… No, no maybe. I do deserve it.”
“It’s scary,” I tell him. “It’s scary to expect things. It’s going to take me time to get used to it.”
He pulls me toward him. “We have time.”
And that’s a wrap on my first review ever on this blog (super exciting milestone). Thanks so much for reading!!