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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Audiobook Review: Lead Me Not by A. Meredith Walters, Narrated by Shayna Thibodeaoux and Sebastian York

After reading Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters, I jumped at the chance to get Lead Me Not. I really loved her writing style, and I felt like Walters was really able to capture the true nature of the characters and made them seem so real. That story was raw and emotional, so I really wanted to see what she would do with a good girl that falls for a bad boy in the underground club scene. I expected this one to be really emotional and raw, and Walters definitely delivered. This story was more than I ever could have expected, and I really felt like she captured the addiction and struggles with drugs well. But while I did love the story and can't wait for more, I had some problems with the narration of this audiobook.

Aubrey Duncan is determined to help others in a way that she didn't help her sister. She is attending Longwood University and has been assigned a support group that she will help co-facilitate in order to continue her education. She meets Maxx Demelo in the group, and is instantly drawn to him. While Maxx may be captivating in group and draw the attention of those around him, Aubrey can tell that there is much more beneath the surface with him. Maxx is supporting his little brother by working the underground club scene, and selling pills to those looking for an escape. But he has also been using the pills to self medicate from dealing with his troubles. When Aubrey comes along, Maxx realizes that Aubrey could be the one to save him, and he is just as drawn to her as she is to him. They quickly form a connection and find themselves unable to stay away from one another. But despite the feelings between them, Maxx sinks further into the dangerous world of drugs and addiction. As Aubrey struggles with her feelings for Maxx and the complication they provide in regards to her future, she must also figure out a way to help him out of the dangerous situation he has found himself in. But in order for Aubrey to really help Maxx, he has to want to be saved. Aubrey knows that the longer she continues to let things go on between them, that they more likely she is to end up with a broken heart and a shattered future.

I really felt that Maxx was a good guy. He was in a bad situation and had been struggling with all of the responsibility he was forced to take on at such a young age. Maxx was such a different person when sober and I really loved seeing that side of him. It was hard to watch him spiral out of control and I kept hoping that he would be able to pull himself out of he destructive patterns. I think that Aubrey meant well, but she didn't really go about helping him in the right ways. Aubrey was pretty hard for me to connect with and I didn't understand her much of the time. For someone that had suffered the loss of her sister from drugs, I would have expected for her to do more than just barely try to convince Maxx to leave the drugs behind. At one point she literally just walks away and leaves him behind when it becomes too much for her to handle. I felt like she could have done so much more for him and I just didn't get it. She did save his life, and I was glad when she finally was able to stand up and say enough was enough. I think that she made the right choice in the end and did what was right for both her and Maxx, even if it was hard on both of them. I really felt the chemistry and emotions between them, and I could see that they both clearly loved each other.

While I felt like Sebastian York did an excellent job narrating Maxx's character, I did not care for Shayna Thibodeaux's narration at all. This is the second story that I have listened to her as the narrator for the female character, and not only does she sound way too young for the character but she also sounded exactly the same. She didn't do the character justice, and her voice was not right for the story in my opinion. I feel like she reads everything the same, and she also has a tendency to speak in crescendos. It gets very irritating, and really distracts from the story. Sebastian York however was the exact opposite. I felt like he brought Maxx to life and really portrayed the raw and gritty emotions that Maxx was experiencing. His voice was easy to listen to and was very engaging. I found myself enthralled with the story and didn't want to stop listening when he was speaking. I would definitely be interesting in listening to more stories with Sebastian York as a narrator, and I thought that his portions were by far the highlights of this audiobook. Despite Shayna Thibodeaux's narration, I really felt like the story was so good that I wanted to keep listening. I really can't wait to get more about Maxx and Aubrey and I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in this story. While this one does not end with a huge cliffhanger, A. Meredith Walters does leave us wanting more and with things unresolved. I think that this book is definitely worth the read/listen if you are looking for something real and raw. This story might not be all hearts and flowers, but I think that is what makes this one worth the time. I can't wait to read more from A. Meredith Walters in the future and I would love to listen to more narrated by Sebastian York.

**Audiobook Provided by Simon and Schuster**

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