Book Review by El: Hold Me, by Courtney Milan

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Hold Me, by Courtney Milan
Series: Cyclones, Book 2
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 25, 2016

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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…


M/F Pairing
Transgender Character
Bisexual Character
People of Color (POC)
Secret Identity (Online)
Enemies to Lovers


Can I confess a thing?

This is the first ever Courtney Milan book I’ve read.

I know, I know! After hearing so much about her, and having her books on so many “to read” lists, I finally had a chance to pick one up.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I’d hoped.

Let’s start with what I did like: Maria. Oh Maria Lopez of the kick-ass fuck me shoes and the perfect hair, who is also witty and charming and very, very smart. Her “take no shit” attitude made me grin every time she opened her mouth, and I loved that she was brilliant and recognized for her brilliance by various people.

But unfortunately Maria was not enough to save this book. It wasn’t a bad read… it was just full of inconsistent characters, plots that came out of nowhere, and a romance that I sadly did not buy into.

I’ll start with Jay, our love interest who goes from being a workaholic with a stick up his ass and zero interest in a relationship to distract him from his work, to being a loving and devoted boyfriend who chooses Maria over everything else. Awesome… but there’s zero transition. It’s like someone flips a switch and Jay’s entire personality changes in the blink of an eye when he discovers that Maria is actually the blogger he’s been flirting with. Uhhhh….

I did like that both characters were super nerdy, and that they flirted with math and other geeky references:

My sexuality has always been people who aren’t afraid of differential equations.


Nice velociraptor invasion. Wanna fuck?

But that doesn’t change the fact that these are two characters who went from genuinely hating each other to loving each other, and that wasn’t addressed as much as it needed to be.  I get that they had a relationship online, but the animosity in real life basically vanished as soon as they discovered the other’s identity.

Another thing: the drama in this book was so superficial that it mostly made me roll my eyes. Instead of building tension over the course of the book, Milan sort of throws a dozen potential drama plots at the wall and waits to see which one sticks. The winner? Maria’s parental issues, which are barely touched on until they BAM suddenly appear to create a ton of drama that felt 100% fabricated.

In the end, this book just felt like a mess. It was fantastic to read romance this diverse, and Milan did a great job with that diversity, but the writing itself fell short.


Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat.

Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.

Find her online at

You can purchase Hold Me from:

Barnes & Noble

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I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


2 thoughts on “Book Review by El: Hold Me, by Courtney Milan

  1. Enemies to lovers can be such a fun trope. But if it’s done poorly it makes me sadface. Glad you got a chance to read a Courtney Milan book but wish it was better for you. I haven’t read one either and I’m wondering if a different story would be better. Hmmm…

    Liked by 1 person

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