18 Oct 2016

ARC #Review: NO HOLDING BACK by Kate Evangelista


Author: Kate Evangelista
Series: Dodge Cove #2 (But can be read as a standalone)
Source: ARC via Raincoast
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in this highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista. 

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had? 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This one was really cute. Most of my issues with it stem from the writing itself and the little bit of lag in the middle. I definitely recommend checking it out though! The relationship is really well written and I found myself rooting for Nathan and Preston the entire time. Also, this is basically what I wanted Free! to be, so there's that.

I liked that both Nathan and Preston had dreams and goals that they wanted to achieve and didn't let anything get in the way of that. I also liked that they were able to put aside the things they wanted to do while on vacation (i.e. check their phones) so they could spend time together. I liked seeing how they interacted because they were such good representation of best friends and I really liked it.

I thought that the writing was a bit weak tbh. There were times that I felt like I was reading fanfiction rather than a published novel. Whenever authors start phrases with "The swimmer" or "The DJ" I always feel really awkward and am taken out of the story immediately. I feel like there are better ways to describe people and start sentences (and that isn't it, trust me). I also thought that there were some awkwardly phrased sentences and conversations.

I have a love-hate relationship with for these types of contemporary novels where the stories are standalone but the setting stays the same and we see some characters creep up all the time for a couple different reasons. First of all, large casts means not as much development for side characters -- which isn't the case here, thankfully. However, it also means a lot of inclusion of whomever the previous and next novel will be about. In this case, there was an awkward inclusion of Nathan's twin sister Natasha that felt unnatural (and uncomfortable). 

I think if the focus had stayed with Nathan and Preston, it would have been a much better book. However, with the detours to show off other couples and relationships, it ended up feeling like a soap opera (and one that wasn't the best written. Also I watch a lot of soap operas so I have knowledge about these things). I will for sure be checking out NO LOVE ALLOWED (because Fake Relationship!!) and whatever other stories Evanglista brings out for this series. But mostly because the characters all fit into Frank Ocean's "Super Rich Kids" so perfectly and that is my WEAKNESS.

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