Guarding Her, Lexi Whitlow

Guarding Her, [Whitlow, Lexi]

2.5 rounded up. Meh...Maddox is the star, Avery is blech. The steam is great, the romance felt unbalanced and lopsided.

I really loved Maddox. He was sweet, tender, strong, and committed to doing the best he can with what he was given. He doubts himself and what he has to offer. He goes all in with a girl he loved and is willing to protect her from everything she's trying to escape, even at his own peril. And then there's the bonus that he's smokin' hot. There was so much for him to offer even though he isn't sure he's worth it. He does know, however, that once he makes a decision, there's no stopping his determination to see it through. He worries for Avery and knows the part of her that she tries so hard to hide and sees her as worth so much more than she gives herself credit. When things get really rough he calls on the people he knows he can count on, even though their companionship was forced on him in the beginning, he did what he does best and turned straw into gold. He's the ultimate knight in tarnished armor, the one you really want in your corner and in your heart.

And then there's Avery. I didn't like her. There's a line between being feisty and just being a bitch. She crosses that line all the time. So what, a guy left with no word, you've got crappy parents, and your life is planned out for you...yes, those things are all terrible by themselves and even worse when piled on top of each other, but when push comes to shove, she just rolls and then has temper tantrums. Doing something to spite your hateful mother would be different if you were doing it for another, more genuine reason rather than just to piss her off. She chose her major and is excelling with it, awesome! But then when she chooses to follow her mother's demands for Maddox' sake, she goes against everything she says she believes in. That doesn't read as love and self-sacrifice, it reads like a whiny martyr who really had no true convictions in the first place. I saw no moment where she really grew up, she just realized that the world was a lot bigger than her problems. She didn't try to make changes, she just chose the easier road. No, her mom wasn't the easiest, it was just the easier of the two options she saw. No trying to think outside the box or be honest with Maddox, no using the intelligence Maddox praises, no using her own resources, contacts, and convictions to see other possibilities, just giving in in the name of love. But love is more than that.

But enough ranting...

The book was fine and Maddox was really the star of the whole show. Avery was okay, but her redeeming quality was really Maddox. Ella is a great friend to have and she's honest, sure of herself, and asks the hard questions. The villainous parents are suitably awful, and Salvatore is like the best friend and surrogate parent you could ever find. We read about Bebe peripherally and she even becomes a namesake later, but we don't actually meet her so I guess she's as great as everyone says. Overall, we have a relatively quick read with a really hot hero. And that was my takeaway.

Read and willingly reviewed an ARC from Hidden Gems.

*Currently FREE on Amazon!  (Free on 9/20/17)

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