Hold On (The 'Burg, #6) by Kristen Ashley
Published by Self-published on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
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Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn't in the cards for her.
In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.
The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.
Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.
We adore buddy reads, and get positively giddy if it’s for a new KA book. Hold on was greatly anticipated, and we were not disappointed. From the minute it downloaded, we were drawn in and got totally bummed when life got in the way of our reading. Comments started rolling in like “Is this Trent f*&cker real?” (Sparkles), and “Oh Jeez. Another ‘custody dispute by a douchebag’ book. This is going to rip my heart out.” (Spice) We laughed, cried and although this is the last of The ‘Burg, adored the time spent with old friends. The bad news – it’s over, the good news – thank goodness for re-reads so we can visit anytime we want to.
What a way to say goodbye to The ‘Burg. I wasn’t sure I was going to like a book about Merry and Cher. Merry because he was a dumbass in his sister’s book even though he loved her. Cheryl/Cher because although I like my heroines badass but with a heart of gold (like her), in the past she had done some seriously TSTL shit. I should have known KA was going to come through for me. I ended up adoring them both.
You got good, you don’t let it go. It lets you go, you hold on. It slips through your fingers, you pull out all the stops to get it back. You got something worth fighting for, you fight for it.
This was an amazing friends to lovers story. I loved that she took two seriously broken people, people who were holding on as best they could all by themselves, and brought them to a point where they started holding on to each other. I also loved how they were always straight with each other – no lack of communication causing unnecessary angst to be seen. They both had some pretty nasty demons to fight, yet no matter how hard the battle, they were determined to help the other vanquish them.
It is a KA book, so there were times I wanted to slap both of them upside the head but at the same time, I got why they were struggling. Merry went from being near the bottom of my ‘Burg hero list, to right on up there with Joe. Once he got his head on straight about his ex, he was bound and determined to get his woman. He was sheer alpha hotness from top to bottom. It felt like we got more of his POV in this book, which meant we knew where his head was, even when he pulled an alpha-hole move. Cher went from me thinking she was a cool person to have as a friend but an idiot, to my favorite h in the series. She made bad choices (haven’t we all), but she owned up to them and made the decision to keep on keeping on, no matter what. She lived for her son and everything she did was with him in mind. She was who she was, and she didn’t give a damn what others thought. Definitely a lot to love about Cher.
In true KA fashion, the other characters in the book were freaking awesome. Ryker almost stole the show. I really liked him in the other books, but he absolutely shined in this one. Cher’s son Ethan was just a delight to read. His Mom lived for him, and he knew it and wanted to make her life better. We got lots of time with the rest of the gang from the ‘Burg which I greatly appreciated since this was the last book.
Then we got the epilogue. It was long, but I didn’t want it to end. In fact, that was my biggest problem with this book – it was the last one. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, no matter how great that ending was. I laughed, I cried, I hate that it’s over.
Spice’s Rating: 5 Can’t believe it’s over Stars
I held on and got rewarded with words that you know have been learnt from beauty witnessed first hand. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you reach the final scene and read it for yourself.
Well now to answer the big question…What did I think of KA’s latest? It was a KA read with familiar characters in a familiar town and it had a tone that I have come to expect. Overall I enjoyed it, it made me smile, roll my eyes and skim a little sometimes, but in general it kept me entertained over a busy few days. It was easy to pick up and come back to. If it hadn’t been for that final scene, I may have rated it a little lower because usually my preference leans towards a faster moving story than this. It’s typical KA, that is heavy on dialogue as well as spanning the story over a short period of time.
Basically where the story starts is with two friends (a barmaid who dreams of more and a police officer who’s been on a bender that has lasted years) who find themselves in a compromising situation after one too many whiskeys. Cher and Merry find out that an awkward morning beats a boring night, after having crossed over the fragile line of friendship. It’s complicated with Merry’s ex moving on, Cher needing to be mindful of her young son and of course, the thought of losing the friendship they both value.
Looking on are their friends, family and well, basically the whole town. What transpires next is how they move on from THAT night including overcoming their histories and the fallout that comes from being a survivor. Once the obvious is accepted, then comes the easy kick back part of the book. It was good but in sections days felt like they were being narrated in real time and although there were sections I thought dragged a little, I was still enjoying it.
Ethan, Cher’s son, was a man in a child’s body. I had to do a back take and double check whether he was 10 or 11 years old because honestly he spoke beyond his years. Some of the dialogue between him and his mother were way beyond what you’d expect but I get that he had to grow up fast. Ethan trying to step up and talk man to man with Merry was cute and sad at the same time. It was as if he missed being a kid, yet there were other times when you could see that was far from the truth.
So where does the drama mainly come from? There were a few sources, ex wife, ex partner, and a few other characters as well as personal demons Merry and Cher harboured all raised their ugly presence from time to time. The majority of the story focused on the build up (as in the days / weeks) that established another solid relationship in this series.
Apart from the story being a little slow at times, it was the epilogue that threw me. It’s more of an epilogue for the series rather than Merry and Cher’s story. I thought that felt rushed, like loose ends were being tidied up and not pertinent to the story I was reading. They would have been better to read as bonus chapters individually for each book rather than all crammed into this epilogue IMO.
Hold On was another KA fix for me. It was a predictable and value for money romance / suspense book. Definitely a level above sweet leaning more to an entertaining catch up with old friends, hence my high rating.
Lily’s rating: 4 Stars
Do I dare say it? I think KA is finally getting her groove back. After Ride Steady I was quietly optimistic, and this time my optimism was rewarded in the best way!
I l-o-v-e-d Hold On. It finally somewhat had the feel of her old books, I’m not saying it’s a Golden Dynasty or a Sweet Dreams, but it was really good for me.
We got to see all of our old friends, find some new ones to love, hate new asshole exes and watch three people become a family.
I can admit that in the last few books the title being repeated over and over and over starts to bug me a bit, though hold on was not as bad as, let’s say… wild and free. I will be completely honest here: that phrase has been ruined forever for me.
But I digress, I guess “Merrick the Badge Flashing Cop” wasn’t a catchy title after all *snickering*
In all seriousness, I enjoyed this book very much. Merrick had some serious crap to get over, and when he finally starts to process it, you feel his pain, his fear of not being able to conquer his trauma, even his guilt over effing up his first marriage… though this is very quickly overcome when forced to deal with that twat Mia and her subsequent behavior. Does our KA know how to write a shitty ex or what?
And speaking of exes, wow, Ethan’s genetic material donor (I refuse to call that weasel a father) that guy was just… I don’t think I have word, and then the crazy church savior lady? A complete whack. I so loved to see all these different characters that made this story so complete.
Cher has had some really bad karma to compensate for, because we know things have never been too easy for her, especially considering her more than terrifying luck in the romance department. Fortunately, she must have done something right because she has the best boy in the history of the world. Though I’d like to point here to Ms. Ashley, there are lots of great names to choose from… let’s strive for more variety in the future, what do you say?
Cher had no choice but to build walls around herself, after being pummeled by life, she had no other choice: to go through all she went through and still be standing, still being able to smile and find things to celebrate in life.
It’s just fantastic how KA has the power to show us the resilience of the human spirit. I think that is what makes Kristen Ashley one of my absolute favorite authors of all time and I will keep reading her books for always. Because she has this gift to make you feel for her characters and with her characters. Because you get to experience their journey along with them, and no matter how many hardships get thrown at them, love will prevail at the end.
Does it sound like I’m fan-girling to you? I don’t care. I am a fan. And I’m ecstatic that I’m getting all of KA’s goodness again in these new books.
Now, let’s talk epilogue. Hold On had a fantastic epilogue… but, as Cher said somewhere in this book, when you have something good you always want more. I would have loved it so much more if we had the chance to get a quick, little, tiny, itty-bitty look at Cher and Merrick together and with their growing family (I mean the babies, I wanted to get to see the babies). I still loved to hear from all the couples of this great series, and the last part had me practically weeping it was so sweet.
So yeah, I freakin’ loved this book.
Sparkles’ Rating: 5 Loved-Merry-the-Badge-Flashing-Cop Stars
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