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Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review - No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista

 Book review

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Review by Suze

Nathan has been in love with his best friend Preston for years, only Preston is oblivious to everything that happens around him, because he's so focused on his swimming career. His dream is to be a successful Olympic swimmer. He's tried out for his dream team, but he has to wait a month for the results to come in. Nathan thinks he needs a distraction and he's determined to take Preston away from his sorrows during their last few weeks of freedom.

Nathan has always been supportive of Preston's dreams and is cheering from the sidelines. He has a busy life, but he makes sure he has plenty of time for his best friend. Nathan loves parties and likes nothing more than planning them for other people, so he's setting up his own business. Preston's mother is his first prestigious client and she can give Nathan's career an enormous boost. Before her terribly important event Nathan takes Preston to Europe though. Will he finally have the chance to tell Preston how he feels and does he dare to risk their friendship?

No Holding Back is an incredibly sweet love story. Nathan is very easy to like. He's enthusiastic, he has good taste, he's cheerful and he's kind to everyone around him. He's a fabulous whirlwind and his animated chatter kept putting a smile on my face. Preston's main focus is swimming and he needs the water to make sense of his feelings. He's pretty single-minded and focuses mainly on two things,  swimming and spending time with his best friend Nathan. He's a caring guy with a lot of talent and promise. Nathan and Preston are endearing together and they treat each other with so much tenderness, love and sympathy that it's obvious they're meant for each other. I couldn't wait to find out if their journey through Europe would bring them what they both need the most.

Kate Evangelista has a wonderful sensitive way of looking at the world. It's what I like most about her books. She writes about true love in all forms. She also makes the imperfections in the personalities of her characters their most adorable characteristics, which is something else I like a lot about her stories. Her writing has a nice natural flow and she writes books I just have to read in one sitting. I can never put them down and am always spellbound by the way she describes emotions. There's so much going on between Nathan and Preston and most of it is cute, but there's an underlying layer of depth in the form of insecurities about the future and the consequences of risking a childhood friendship as well. Nathan is the outgoing one and while Preston is quiet he has plenty of lovely hidden qualities. I fell in love with both of them, they're absolutely amazing and they have great chemistry. I highly recommend No Holding Back, it's such a charming fast-paced romantic story.

1) Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I'm Kate Evangelista. I've been writing professionally for about seven years and have nine books published with another one on the way in 2017. I love watching movies and have an irrational love for the show Gilmore Girls. Oh, and I also teach creative writing four days a week.

2) In No Holding Back Nathan falls in love with his best friend Preston. What inspired you to write a love story about two best friends?

I've always been fascinated with the dynamic between best friends and how platonic feelings can easily turn into so much more. And we all know how awkward it can get when you fall for your best friend, which Nathan experiences first hand in No Holding Back.

3) Could you describe what you like the most about both Nathan and Preston’s personalities in five words each?

Nathan knows what he wants.

Preston is determined and loyal.

4) Was it difficult to write from the perspective of boys and how did you prepare for that?

Nathan I got right away. He and I connected on a level that I totally enjoyed. In many ways we share many of the same traits. Preston, on the other hand, was harder to reach because he's usually the silent type. I needed some help to tap into him, but when I did the words flowed nicely.
5) What’s the connection between No Holding Back and No Love Allowed and why should everyone read them both?
The great thing about both books is that they can stand alone, but the experience is so much better if you read both books because you get to see other characters from the eyes of the main characters narrating the story and how everyone interacts.

6) In No Holding Back the main characters are going on a trip to Europe. What inspired you to write about this journey?

Since a gap year was mentioned in No Love Allowed, my editor suggested the European adventure for Nathan and Preston. The more the idea grew on me the more I knew having the boys country hopping was the right scenario for them to discover each other beyond just being friends.

7) What does the word romantic mean to you?

The word romantic to me is synonimus to selflessness. When someone is being romantic it means that they are thinking of someone else other than themselves.

8) You’ve written books in multiple genres, what do you like about that variety?

Hopping genres challenges me to be better. Write better. Plus there are stories that work better as a contemporary novel while there are others that you can only write as a paranormal or a fantasy.

9) What does a normal writing day look like for you?

Procrastinating all morning and getting to work in the afternoon. Sometimes when the inspiration strikes I go with it whatever time of day it is.

10) What’s your favorite writing space and what is your favorite reading space?

My desk is my favorite writing space, but if I need an extra boost of concentration I drive to the nearest Starbucks. My favorite reading space is my bed, right before I go to sleep.

11) What’s the best advice someone has given you about your writing and what is the best advice you can give to another writer?

The best advice I was given is the same advice I will give: Finish your novel. If you don't then there is nothing to edit and publish. You don't have to strive for perfection the first time around. You just have to get it done.
12) What kind of achievement in your writing career do you dream about?

Two things:

1. Being on the New York Times Best Seller list. 2. Seeing my work adapted to the silverscreen.

13) You write for Swoon Reads, what makes you swoon?

Bright, piercing eyes.

14) What are your plans for the future?

Keep writing and keep teaching. I take things a day at a time, a book at a time. If I think of anything more than that I just stress myself out.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today. I really enjoyed the questions. Please go and grab a copy of No Holding Back. And if you already have your copy, thank you! Happy reading!
About Kate Evangelista

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with an Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full time and is based in the Philippines. To learn more about Kate, please visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @KateEvangelista

Find out more at

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?
US/Canada only giveaway
One very lucky winner from the US or Canada will win a print copy of No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista.

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  1. I like Nathan already from the reviews I've read! This sounds like such a sweet love story and right up my alley! Great review, Suze! :)

  2. Friends-to-lovers m/m is my favorite, so I need to check this out!


  3. Sounds sweet. Although I haven't read a book like this before.