Hard to Hold (Hard to Hold #1) - Stephanie Tyler
Note to Contemporary Authors: LEARN BASIC GRAMMAR. That's how one writes comprehensible sentences that allow your readers to understand what they're reading. It looks like Tyler was trying to emulate Nora Roberts's inability to write intelligible sentences, but she does it with none of the charm. For example, "'It wasn’t the kiss,' she said, hated the way her face flushed.""'Markham, you’re safe. We’re with the U.S. Navy, and we’re going to get you out of here,' he said, placed his hand lightly on her shoulder.Jake nodded, managed to do all right while the doctor had the stethoscope against his chest."'I’m all right. I’m still with Jake. But Uncle Cal’s missing,' she said, heard the sharp intake of breath come across the line.""She pushed him against the wall while her mouth took his, let her hold his wrists for a few seconds, until he broke free from her grip and put his arms around her." These are just a scant few examples of the grammar fail throughout the book. At least when Roberts does it I'm reading a well written story otherwise.Overall, the story didn't make sense. And not just because of crazy nonsense like Jake forging papers and enlisting in the Navy at fifteen, and was then sent into SEAL training right out of Bootcamp. Or that two of the characters are supposedly psychic. It was mostly because Tyler attempted to dole out a little bit of information on several different storylines over time, but the information we were given didn't make sense when it was all put together later on (the worst being the build up to the reveal of Jake's big, secret night of horror – and in the end it didn't deliver on any of what was said throughout the book). There were too many flashbacks and sometimes the only way you could tell you were going into or coming out of a flashback was the italics, there was no other transitioning. It all felt and read like it was incomplete. The timeline seemed all over the place (this was primarily the story of Jake as a teenager, from when he was left parentless, to being theoretically adopted by this family, to enlisting in the Navy – for which he forged papers but then somehow needed his dad to sign papers? Though he actually had no legal guardian at the time – it didn't track. Did an editor even read this?). It was like Tyler couldn't make up her mind about exactly what story she was going to go with or about who these characters were, and that came through because all of the characters appeared to be confused about their feelings, beliefs and motivations. And it never became clear. It was all a spectacular failure of mystery, suspense and characterization.On top of that, nearly half the book was taken up with the story of these minor peripheral characters, Sarah and Clutch. They really only partially intersected with the main story at all. Their in-depth back stories and love story were completely irrelevant to the book and to the endgame. I started skimming quickly over these sections looking for anything of relevance to the story – there was very little. Meanwhile, we were only given half-ass information on Nick and Chris, obviously because we're going to get their full stories in their installments of the trilogy, but it made for half-ass storytelling.Finally, the climax was lame. It was all way too easy, and even though everything was supposed to have been revealed/come together at this point it was so stilted and jumped around so manically it was difficult to get the full picture. Some authors can write in a way to leave intrigue, or only give partial information for a later reveal – Tyler is not one of them.