Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Review ~ Guarded Hearts Series by Alexis Noelle

Guarded Hearts Series ~ Alexis Noelle
Playing With Fire
Sexy Carter James is the man every girl wants, and he’s used to getting any woman he desires...until he meets the one girl who seems to be just out of his reach.
Beautiful Madison Stevens is trying to adjust to college and being on her own. When she meets Carter there is an instant explosive connection between them that they can’t deny. But Madison already has a boyfriend, Chris, who isn’t willing to share Madison with anyone, not even her friends.
Carter can sense there is something wrong with Madison and Chris’s relationship. But what is it? Carter wants to give Madison the strength to walk away from Chris once and for all, but he’s afraid he will he lose her in the process. Chris will not let her go easily, but Carter is ready to fight for the one woman who could mean everything to him.
"Chris was like fire. It was pretty to look at, but if you got too close you got burnt, and if it wasn’t
controlled it would destroy everything in its path. Doing what I was about to do with Carter was
dangerous, but what can I say? I never had parents to warn me not to play with fire."
Maddy stayed away from me for the next couple months. Every time I tried to get close to her, she'd run or duck into one of the classrooms. I tried to go out and have fun with my friends, but I couldn't shake this feeling. Even they noticed that something was up with me. I didn't understand why I couldn't shake her from my system.
"Carter, listen, we get that you like this girl, but it's like November; time to move on." Shawn was looking at me, but he just didn't get it.None of us were really the relationship kind. We went out, had a good time and sometimes went home with girls, but hadn't ever been with someone long-term. It was killing me to know in my heart what was going on with her and not be able to help. The first day I met Maddy, she was smiling and had that adorable sundress on. But since then, all she wore were jeans and long sleeves, even when it was warm out. I knew that asshole was hurting her, but she wouldn't talk to me.
"Listen, I get what you're saying, but I know something isn't right and I'm not gonna give up on her. I
know you guys don't get it, but she's the one. I've never felt this for any girl I met. She's been ignoring me for almost two months, but I still find myself looking for her everywhere. I find excuses in class to talk to her. You know me and I'm not one to chase girls, but even that one day of being around her changed that. She's different and I feel different whenever I'm around her, even when she's ignoring me."
Jason laughed at me. "Carter, you just met this girl! You don't even know her that well. Maybe you just need to get laid and get her out of your system."That was what I would've done before, but it wasn't going to work this time. I'd tried to forget Maddy. I
went home with girls, but I just wasn't interested.I didn't know how to explain it to them, but in the couple hours I spent with Maddy, she got to me. I'd never met a girl like her, and I didn't want to let her go. I had a feeling that she wanted me too, but something was holding her back.
Review by: Sharon_M745
Ratings: 4 stars
I was given and ARC of this book for a fair and honest review.
Madison Stevens went through the foster system after her mother died at 4 and her father, an alcoholic blamed Madison for her mother’s death.   She had very little love in her life including her current boyfriend Chris who is abusive and jealousy.  Madison won a scholarship to Duke and attended to be with her boyfriend Chris.  Her first day at college she meets Carter James who is kind and generous.  Before long Madison wants to have a relationship with Carter but Chris won’t let her go and threatens Madison and Carter.   

In this first part of the trilogy we see Madison grow and start to take control of her life.  In the beginning of the book I often yelled at Madison because she was so broken and didn’t think she deserved anything good to happen to her.  Carter is attracted to Madison but he has commitment issues.  He wants to know her better but he isn’t sure about his feelings.  However, as they spend time together working on a project he gets to know a little about her and starts to think that a commitment isn’t so bad.   

Carter is a great character/book boyfriend.  He is kind, generous and accepting.  The more time they spend together the more Madison starts to believe that someone can really care for her and treat her right. 

Madison cultivates a friendship with her new roommate, Nicole. This is a first for Madison.  In the past she keeps everyone at a distance for fear of being hurt.  Nicole sees through Chris right away and supports Madison by giving her a shoulder to cry on and a sounding board when she needs to talk. 

Carter has a couple close friends that he grew up with, Shawn and Jason.  They are fun and add to the story.  There is a very touching scene when Carter takes Madison to his house for the holidays.   Their acceptance and kindness showed Madison another side of life that she never knew.

While this book focuses on Madison and Carter there are a couple subplots that are interesting.  Nicole is interested in Jason but Jason isn’t ready to be in a relationship.  He wants to focus on being a player and limits himself to one-night stands.  There isn’t too much time spent on Shawn but he is hiding something from his friends.  It will be interesting when these subplots are explored more in the next book.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs a fast read and likes a good love story.  There is a cliff-hanger but book 2 is out now so even if you aren’t a fan of cliff-hangers you don’t have to wait for the next chapter in the story.
Breaking Through the Wall
Jason Smith hates the whole idea of relationships and commitment. He
gets what he needs from women, but that's where it ends. At least that's the way it's
supposed to be.
After a traumatic event, Jason becomes involved with the one girl who could possibly
force him to change his ways. Will he be able to commit to her, or will he drive her away before he ever has the chance to claim her?
Madison and Carter have finally found happiness, until their lives are suddenly turned
upside down by someone who refuses to go away. Justice doesn't always prevail,
sometimes the bad guys win.
Can their relationship survive the tragedy and pain?
What do you do when your whole world is turned upside down?
When everything comes crumbling down around you, will you have the will to fight and
break down the wall?
Lying here with him holding me felt so right that I never wanted him to let go. I wanted so much more than just sex from him, but he was so reluctant to give it to me. However, I didn’t think his willpower would last very long. I was making it my mission to make him mine. If I had to get a little dirty to do it, then so be it.He was staring at me with those chocolate eyes, and I was emotionally spent right now as it was.
When he called me earlier tonight, I was beside myself. I thought that we had been done with Chris and all of his bullshit. That asshole was like a bad rash. He just kept coming back until you wanted to rip off your skin just to get rid of him. “How is Mads?”
“Carter told me that he would call me if he found out anything, so I’m assuming that she is still in
surgery.”“I can’t believe that this is all happening.” One minute I was driving home from the store, and the next Jason called to tell me my best friend’s life was in danger. I shivered at the thought of what Mads must have gone through tonight. All I could do now was pray to God that she was okay.
Jason’s hold on me tightened. “Hey, I’m sure she will be okay. Maddy is a fighter, and there is no way that she is going to give up now.”
“I know that. I’m just scared that this will be the
thing that finally breaks her, J. I mean, she is so strong for even dealing with half of the shit that she
did, but I’m scared what version of her will be around after the dust has cleared. Do you know anything about Chris?”
I saw his face harden and his eyes went cold. “When I was talking to the paramedics, I heard someone yell that they found the driver. I told them his name and that he was the person to blame for everything. With any luck, he won’t make it through the night.” My whole body shook at the thought that he might be okay and we might lose Madison. He tightened his arms around me, making me feel like everything might actually be okay.
I wished he was like this all the time. He put on such a front for people, that sometimes I felt like he
forgot to drop the act. I’d always been able to see right through it and called him on his bullshit. I looked back up at him and he was still staring at me. I did the only thing that felt right at the moment and leaned up to kisshim.At first, he stilled and I began to regret my decision. Then, he kissed me back and the sweet little peck I had started caught fire.
Reviewed by: Sharon_M745
Ratings: 4 Stars
I received an ARC for an honest review.

This is the second book the Guarded Hearts series and it is better than book 1. You won’t be disappointed.I really like the continuation of the story of this loveable, and sometimes damaged, group of friends. These young people grow closer together as relationships develop and new friends come into their circle.

Breaking Through The Wall continues with Madison and Carter’s story. Their love life is solid but they are still dealing with Madison’s crazy ex-boyfriend. Chris (the ex) is stalking Madison and determined to make her life miserable. Chris wants her to come back to him. Carter is a true protector and worries about Madison whenever he isn’t with her. They are so cute together.

At the same time Jason is getting bored with his many one night stands. Nicole is on his mind whenever he goes out on a date. For a man like Jason who doesn’t believe in permanent relationships Nicole’s pull on his heart strings is driving him crazy. Jason knows he has to make a decision about moving forward with Nicole.

Nicole wants a relationship with Jason. Who wouldn’t he is fun, hot and a good guy. However, Nicole knows she has to start dating someone else or Jason will continue to take her for granted. The scene when Jason, Nicole and her new “friend” are at Carter’s house is really fun. I love how this whole relationship plays out. It is great and I can see this event actually happening as written.

Shawn is still acting weird. Shawn is Carter and Jason’s high school friend. The group is worried about the double life that he appears to be living. I can see this playing out many different ways so good and some not so good. I hope Shawn doesn’t make me cry. I can’t really go into the story in depth. There are so many twists and unexpected events presented that add to the angst of the story. It is better for the reader to come in fresh and be as shocked as I am.

While the book is a short quick read the plot is solid and packed full of love and unexpected twists and turns. I love the way the characters are developed and grow in each book. It is very easy to fall into their life and feel their love, pain, joy, disappointment, etc. The support characters (family mostly) add to the story and the readers’ knowledge of the characters. Each person in the group is easy to love and the villains are the type you just love to hate.

I held off writing this review because I was concerned when I saw on Amazon that book 3 is out of print. I am happy to report that Ms. Noelle contacted me and let me know that her publisher is re-releasing book 3 soon. I really need to know what happens next with this group. I really, really want more of the story.
Alexis Noelle lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. On top a writing career, she is a full-time student and a full-time mom. She loves spending time with her kids, although she has to hide the computer from them when she is writing! She loves being active and being outdoors, especially if it involves any kind of shopping.
She has always been passionate about writing. She loves to read romance books and feels like being
able to lose yourself in a book is one of the more exciting aspects. The books she loves to read and write will be ones that make you feel for the characters. Alexis believes that you should have an opinion on every character in a book whether you love them, hate them, or think they are up to something.
She also believes that the most important critic is your reader, so she loves to hear from the readers.
She want her fans to be open & talk to her about what they want for the characters in the story, and
what they would like to see happen.

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