For What It's Worth

Monday, October 17, 2016

review: no holding back (Dodge Cove #2) by Kate evangelista

27414412A 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? ~

Source: arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


BFF’s to more – European vacation…No holding Back checks all the cute romance boxes and yet I was totally let down by this one.

Nathan is in love with his best friend Preston but is too afraid to admit it, in fear of losing their friendship. Preston is completely absorbed with swimming and his dreams of going to the Olympics. While Preston is anxiously waiting to find out if he’s made it into an elite swim camp, Nathan whisks him away on a European vacation so he can’t obsess about it.

For the most part, I never felt Nathan and Preston’s chemistry – as either best friends or more. There are cute moments between the two and they obviously have relied on each other throughout life but they’re both so caught up in other drama – Nathan’s big break as a party planner and Preston’s obsession over his swimming – that they’re mostly in their own heads throughout the book. We don't get to see it. When they do communicate it’s mostly fighting.

Nathan hopes this trip is just the thing to push him to declare his love while Preston is completely clueless and keeps inadvertently hurting Nathan’s feelings. When Preston finally gets a clue the story rushes to a quick, sappy end. I’m not totally against sappy endings or grand gestures but it was all fluff and little substance.

I probably could have dealt with most of that if it wasn’t for one other thing. This is book #2 in the Dodge Cove series. I haven’t read book one, No Love Allowed, and there is so much carry over from that book that I was lost. I got that there was the previous couple but it was also setting up the next couple and apparently there was some drama in book #1 and tensions are still running high between several characters and I didn’t get it at all.

If you read and enjoyed the first book then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one but I felt pretty detached to everyone. And apparently they’re all rich 18 year old's that can snap their fingers and get a private jet at a moments notice? I seriously had no clue what was going on here and I can’t say that I care enough to go back and read book #1 to find out.

Sorry to say this was a dud for me.


  1. I have not been first in ages...fiiiiirst

    Rich 18 year olds, yeah, no my crowd either

    1. They didn't act entitled or anything - they were hard workers but I don't know about any of them because I didn't read the first book and here they are just summoning private jets lol It was weird.

  2. Sorry it didn't work out for you. I have a feeling I would see it in the same light. I'm not a fan of sappy endings but can deal with it if there is substance in the romance prior to it. Hope the next one is good for you.

  3. Sorry to hear you didn't like this one. I was really hoping it would be good, and that's a bummer you have to read the first to really understand things in the second. I like when companion novels CAN be read as stand-alones.

  4. I love the friends to lovers trope but this one sounds like a bit of a dud to me too:(

  5. Oh man. It stinks when it has all the elements of a woohoo and then delivery is less than woohoo :/

  6. I was getting a MPDG vibe from the first book so I skipped it. And yeah, for some reason stories about wildly rich teenagers work for me on screen (Gossip Girl - yay!) but on the page those characters kind of fall flat for me.
    P.S. Also ... an 18 year old party planner? What kind of parties is he planning??
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  7. Oh man I saw this and glad I didn't request. I thought it was more of a stand alone/companion in the series. This definitely sounded like it would have been a dud for me too!

  8. Oh that's too bad. Reading the summary I thought it'd be a book in my comfort zone, but seeing as all they did was bicker, I don't think so. Sounded great though.

  9. Oh, wow. This sounds good! Love the friends to lovers, M/M romance this book offers.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Must be nice to be that frickin' rich!

    Happy weekend!

  11. It sounds like this one definitely can't be read as a standalone and that typically turns me off contemporaries. I enjoy crossover characters, but not storyline continuations. Was it a bit short on the storyline? I've found bickering characters are typically filler sadly. I might try book one and save it for a rainy day. Wonderful review Karen, so sorry this was a bit of a let down for you <3