Review of How Not to Let Go


How Not to Let Go

Emily Foster

Kensington Books


From the author of How Not to Fall comes an electrifying, powerful new story about love, trust, and emotional surrender.

Once upon a time, med student Annie Coffey set out to have a purely physical fling with Charles Douglas, a gorgeous British doctor in her lab. It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, secrets—and desires—were bared, hearts were broken, and Annie knew she had to leave this complicated, compelling man who remains convinced he can never give her what she needs.

Walking away is one thing. Staying away is another. Annie and Charles reunite at a London conference, rekindling a friendship they struggle to protect from their intense physical connection. Little by little, Annie gets a glimpse into Charles’s dark past and his wealthy, dysfunctional family. Soon, she’s discovering what it means to have someone claim her, body and soul. And she’s learning that once in a lifetime you find a love that can make you do anything…except let go.


Backstory: I read the blurb for this novel and thought, oh, well that sounds like a good book to read. I like the premise. And, just to prove that I am, if nothing, consistent, I didn’t realize until I started reading that it was the sequel to a book I read and reviewed about a year ago. I must have liked the premise of that one as well. Wink. Wink.

However story: The first book was How Not to Fall (you can read that review here, if you want). As I started to read How Not to Let Go, I realized that I had read and felt frustrated by the first book. (Disclosure: I did not go back and look at my review because I did not want to be in any way influenced by it.) But How Not to Let Go was different. It felt more thoughtful, more cerebral. It brought in the backstory of Charles’ life so that I could have some empathy for him. The writing was beautiful and, again, thoughtful. For me, this was an entirely different experience, one which I enjoyed.

These felt like real people to me. While there may have been a few angsty moments, I never felt like they went over-the-top. It may be because I have known extremely dysfunctional families and, frankly, the average person just has no idea what coming from a situation like that can do to a person’s psyche.

How Not to Let Go delved into more psychology than I remember from the first so I found this fascinating. I have always been intrigued by people’s motivations and their reactions.

The Your Mileage May Vary Story: So I don’t often do this, but I peeked at some of the other reviews on Goodreads and found that people who loved the first novel hated this one, which is in complete contrast to me. See, this is why I am going to make it my reviewing motto: Your Mileage May Vary. Just because you love a book doesn’t mean everyone will and vice versa. It’s the differences that make the world great.

Last disclaimer: How Not to Let Go has been on my currently reading list for a while (mid-January until today). That has nothing to do with the novel and everything to do with yours truly who signed up for far too many review tours and has only now gotten to a place where she/me can semi-breathe and start pulling her act together.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

rating: 4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies




Review of How Not to Fall


When you read a lot and really try to avoid “did-not-finish” (DNF) outcomes, you depend a great deal on a book’s synopsis and genre listing. For instance, for review purposes, there are certain genres that I don’t want to read and review, and erotica is one of them. Why? Well, it’s not that I have an issue with erotica; I don’t. I feel about book genres the same way I do about music genres: I will always find something I like in any genre. But how do you really review erotica knowing that it’s purpose is to titillate, or, should I say, how do I review it?

There was a plot and that led to lots o’ sex and er….a smattering of gratuitous dialogue followed by lots o’ sex, very analytically described this time, and then they went for a walk because three times they moaned that they had to get out of the apartment and then they came back and had more sex…er…lots o’ sex.

So, you see, I avoid taking on erotica and depend fully on a book’s description, which leads me to How Not to Fall by Emily Foster.

The novel’s synopsis describes a seemingly quirky new adult romance between brilliant and socially awkward, Annie, and her lab supervisor and post doc, Charles. The genre is categorized as: romance/new adult. I’m pretty sure that what I read should have been: erotica/new adult. So maybe you can understand my quandary as I try to provide a review.

Let me try this:

You should read this book if you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, but would like your female protagonist to be verbally immature. (Yes, I had issues with a character who drops f-bombs in front of her supervisor and calls the man she’s having sex with–during sex: “dude.” Note: I have no personal problems with the f-bomb; I think I even forgot to mention its existence in my review of Break Up Club –my bad. But I work in an academic setting and while the f-bomb flourishes peer-to-peer, a student saying it to a professor in everyday conversation would not score many points for the student.)

You should read this book if you hated the subjugation of women in Fifty Shades of Grey, but still appreciate good BSDM? (Shrug.)

You should read this book if you love to read erotica and know that’s what you’re getting with a bit of a story attached.

You should read this book if you want to read a smidgen about rock wall climbing.

You should avoid this book if none of the “shoulds” interest you.

You should avoid this book if inconsistencies in characterization at all matter to you and, unfortunately, to mention a huge and particular one means spoiler.

You should avoid this book if you really want to read a book with a well-thought-out plot. If you are interested in the “taboo”-nature of student/teacher, check out recently published Waking Olivia instead, which is sexy and well-written and is a better representative of the genre.

I had one “lol” moment near the beginning during Annie’s first rock climbing experience and that gave me false hope for the remainder of the novel.

So do my reservations in recommending this book to you come from my disappointment that it was masquerading as a quirky love story? Much of it does, I own up to that. Yep, I would love to read the book I thought the synopsis was describing, if anyone cares to write it. Oh, and please, make it quirky and fun. Please? And some heat is always nice, but let’s have the plot and characterization be just as important. Please?

Heat scale: 5 out of 5.

How Not to Fall will be published on June 28, 2016. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From AmazonHow Not to Fall (The Belhaven Series)


rating: butterflybutterfly (2 butterflies out of 5)