Friday, May 23, 2014

REVIEW: Take My Hand Series by Nicola Haken

Twenty-four year old Dexter Michaels has arrived in the UK for a fresh start - leaving everything and everyone he knows behind in the states. Determined to put right some of the wrongs he’ll never be able to forgive himself for making and make his Aunt Sarah – the only person left who still believes in him - proud, he lands in London with the intention of working hard, getting his degree and keeping himself to himself. He can’t destroy anybody else that way…

His heart and his body have other ideas however when he finds himself sitting next to nineteen year old Emily Barton in his Psychology class. Moving down south to find her own New Life, Emily is shy, smart and beautiful – everything Dexter knows he should stay away from… everything he knows would be too easy for him to break.

But she makes him feel things he’d forgotten even existed. She makes him laugh, smile, care… forget. Without her trying, and without him realizing, Emily has wound her way into the one place he swore to keep locked away forever – his heart. But can she stay there when she discovers the dark past he’s so determined to keep hidden from her? Or will he destroy her too, just like he always expected?

A figure from Dexter’s past has uprooted all the memories he has tried so desperately to bury… to forget. The terrible events of his past have been blown wide open once again, immersing him a pool of guilt deeper than he’s even experienced before.

Dexter feels powerless. The future he foolishly allowed himself to conceive is falling apart around him and there’s nothing he can do about it. But there’s one thing he can control – one thing he’s an expert at… blocking everything out. Losing all control, Dexter copes the only way he knows how – he dives so far into the well of addiction, the only thing that matters anymore is where his next fix is coming from.

Mission accomplished – there’s no one left. He’s successfully pushed everyone away. Nobody left to care about means no more guilt, right? You can’t hurt people who aren’t there…

But has he really pushed Emily as far away as he thinks he has? She’s given up everything for him – her home, her friends… her whole life. And she doesn’t regret a single thing. But can she save him from drowning, or has he finally sunk too far?

Rachel Mason oozes confidence. She’s outgoing, adventurous and would chop off her right arm before caring what other people think of her or her disability.


Jared Mattheson on the other hand, is more than a little goofy and a whole lot of carefree. He’s happy living the bachelor life on his father’s credit card, takes nothing seriously and wouldn’t know difficulty if it slapped him in the face.


With Emily and Dexter away in the States, Rachel and Jared are left behind to keep each other company. They share the same sense of fun, their personalities bounce off one another perfectly and perhaps inevitably, they become best friends. But what happens when the lines of friendship start to blur? How will they cope when the sides of themselves they’ve kept hidden from the world for so long begin to show?

Their journey together may have started with fun, games and alcohol – but it seems the future has other ideas.

Turns out, even the strongest of people need someone to lean on sometimes.

In the final book of the Take My Hand Series, Emily and Dexter are finally on course to a happy future. Arriving back in the UK with Aunt Sarah in tow, everything seems to be slotting into place. For the first time in his life, Dexter has found his purpose. Surrounded by family, friends and the woman he adores, he has at long last made peace with his demons and is determined to fight for the life he now knows he deserves.

With best friend Rachel back by her side and a resolve to work things out with her parents once and for all, Emily’s life is also on the right track. Or so she thinks…

When a tragic revelation threatens to destroy Emily’s world, it sends her spiraling down a path leading to more secrets, lies and heartache – leaving her questioning her whole life and everyone in it. To top it off, Emily almost lost one of the most important men in her life once before, is it about to happen again?

“This is it, doll. Our future. I need you to hold on to it and never let go.”

~Take My Hand~

Take My Hand was a story about tragedy and heartbreak for two souls who haven’t yet healed. Emily and Dexter have both had really troubled past neither of them can seem to run away from no matter how far from home they go. Emily was sheltered very much as a child and because of that she becomes shy and awkward in social settings. Her best friend Rachel is the total opposite of her and has a plan to get Emily out of her shell by providing her a list of “normal” things people do; It is because of this list that Emily meets Dexter. After trying to knock out a few things on her list Emily meets Jared first, who is a friend and coworker of Dexter at The Blue Apple and although Dexter thinks she cute, he has no plans of trying to get anywhere near her. Dexter has the saddest past out of the two and I won’t tell you why but you’ll find out; brace yourself because I definitely did not see that one coming. Emily starts to date Jared for a little while; however, she is drawn to Dexter but doesn’t quite know what the feelings mean so she continues with Jared. After giving it a shot with Jared she finally calls it quits and decides that friends is all they can be and what do you know, Emily has classes with Dexter and this is how it starts. At first, Emily and Dexter become best friends sharing things with each other that no one else knows, but while their friendship grows so does their attraction and while Dexter tries to fight it, Emily can’t. When she tries to make a move he gets scared and she breaks off their friendship for about a month before neither can stay away.  Friends first and then lovers these two seem to have it all figured out, until the past comes to haunt them both and things are revealed that will shock Emily to her core and Dexter will hopefully be able to deal with it before he loses Emily or worse, himself.

 ~Hold On Tight~

This story was way sadder and way more intense than the last one so brace yourself when reading! If you haven’t read the first one do because I don’t want to spoil ANYTHING! Ready? Okay, so in this story we follow Emily and Dexter right where the last book left off and if you’re like me you’re pretty shocked by some events that started to take place. Dexter is taking his mother’s death really hard and starts to revert back to his bad habits. Emily, never having dealt with this kind of thing, has no idea what do and is happy that she’s at least not alone. Never having seen the signs she has no idea that the dark path Dexter is going down is one that will cost them their relationship and Dexter is in no state of mind to think about what’s going on between the two; at this point, he only cares about one thing. Not only is Dexter reverting, but more things from his past come into light and by the time Emily and his Aunt Sarah figure out what’s going on, it’s too late to save him. Emily must make one of the biggest decisions of her life; does she stay and help or does she leave in hopes that it will wake him up enough to see what’s going on? Emily has not only stopped talking to her family but also Rachel and because of the stress she’s going through she can’t seem to get back to Rachel or be there for anyone else.  I can’t really say much more about this book because what I’ve said has probably given enough away but read this book you will not be disappointed. It is better than the first! 

~Lean on Me~
I was happy that this story was about Rachel and Jared because just based off the little hints we read in the last two books, I was hoping they would get together. Rachel knows she attracted to Jared but she’s afraid to ruin the friendship so she fights it until her parents give him the perfect segue into the “relationship” talk. Jared finally realizes that the feelings his feeling about Rachel are more than friendly and he knows he has to have her, but with her being stubborn, he knows it’s going to be a challenge. Rachel just doesn’t think anything will work between them, besides the obvious of her being in a wheel chair; she just can’t lose him as a friend, especially because she feels she’s losing Emily. Jared is one of the sweetest guys (which is shocking if you’ve read the other two) and is pulling out all the stops to get her to give him her heart and after two weeks she finally gives in and agrees to give it a shot. Rachel has many insecurities and it doesn’t help that Jared calls her out on it and constantly is trying to get her to fully trust him and little by little, he breaks her walls until love is no longer a choice. Jared however is hiding something and as soon as Rachel finds out what it is, she finds out some news that is a game changer for both of their lives; Jared can no longer hide his secret and now must make a choice: be in Rachel’s and live happily ever after only if he takes care of himself or have her wheel away forever? His decision is decided for him and with no choice, his secret is revealed and now he must learn to live with it while Rachel is by his side supporting him. Rachel is also adjusting to the news she receives and knows that no matter what happens, Jared is it for her and although she’s sad to lose Emily she knows she’s just as guilty by not picking up the phone. Jared and Dexter plan to finally get these two reunited and boy is it a doozy when all of the secrets are revealed! The next book Never Let Go is now available and I highly recommend it!! 

~Never Let Go~

This was a bittersweet way to end the series. I really enjoyed these characters and did shed a tear once or twice. I can say that I was a little shocked with this one because a lot of things happened that I did not expect at all. Never Let Go continues on right after the third one left off. Emily and Rachel are finally going to see each other and talk which she will need because it will take the help of their new family and friends to pick up the pieces. Dexter is so close to his dream he can take it but the secret that will affect Emily will affect him just as much and test his new found sobriety.  Rachel and Jared are finally realizing that soon they will be parents of their own babies and with the hope that Emily will be back in her life, she can finally feel complete. I can’t write too much about this book because so much happens that any little thing will ruin it so I will say just pack some tissue ; everyone finally does get their happily ever after’s though it is bittersweet. I really enjoyed this series and was happy that I had the chance read. Although the first book wasn’t my favorite, the rest of the books in the series made up for it and I do recommend it.



Author of the New Adult/Contemporary novels Missing Pieces, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series, and cuurently working on m/m erotic romance - Being Sawyer Knight, due for release June 30th 2014.

I live in Rochdale, England with my wonderful family and when I'm not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found looking after my four adorable (sometimes!) children (six if you include the dogs, seven if you include the hubby!) or studying towards my English Literature degree.

All in all I'm just an ordinary mum with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask... I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger ;-)


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