What would happen if you lost everything? If the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally were no longer there for you, how would your world change?
Madeleine Becker lost everything when her parents died when she was ten years old. Ripped from her home and everything that she has ever loved, she is forced to start all over again. The only way for her to move on is to build walls around her heart and keep everyone at a safe distance. Her logic: she can't get hurt if she doesn't fall in love.
That theory is blown to pieces when she meets Reid Connely during her freshman year at college. He is gorgeous and darkly mysterious. He understands Maddy's pain all too well, but sharing his pain would mean breaking down the walls he put up around his own heart. Conflicted between loving Maddy and hiding his dark past, Reid starts to reevaluate his world. Maddy's inner strength, snarky personality and breath taking beauty help Reid to make peace with his past.
Together they find out what happens when they let love in.
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Wow!! This series is the ultimate, perfect, young love romance for me! I've read them twice and I still loved every moment. Alternating POVs, there are three in the series right now: Let Love In, Let Love Stay, and Let Love Shine (a novella). I'll try to break this into the three books, but truth be told, they pretty much read like one big book, and I didn't even take a breath between each one.
Let Love In:
This is the start of Maddy and Reid's story. Two very damaged souls, and way too young to play the cards they were dealt.
Maddy is a freshman in college who lost her parents at 10 years old, then was shipped off to an older aunt who eventually passed away as well. She has no blood relatives left, but fortunately was taken in by her best friend, Melanie, and Momma. Still, she feels alone and scared to lose anyone else she loves, so she steers clear of it.
Reid is a hot and tattooed senior. Distant and aloof, he hides his own past behind one night stands and attitude.
But when Reid and Maddy meet at a party, something draws them to each other, pain and chemistry. Reid shies away from the attraction immediately, recognizing that Maddy isn't just some hot piece he could do one time. He tries fighting it, but events keep pushing them together and he eventually folds. And those bad boys, when they find that special girl, they go all in.
But just when things start to go their way, and even Maddy starts to believe that she and Reid have possibilities, his past rises up by way of mysterious phone calls. Family drama strains their tenuous trust and all hell breaks loose.
And then...bomb dropped, right at the end. But it's okay because the next book is ready and waiting for you!!!
There is a lot to love about this story. The characters have great chemistry, they're not too young, but they still act young enough to be believable. They're hot (cause I only like to read about hot people). The sex is smokin hot and the love making is incredibly tender. I also love that their reactions to events are appropriate and real and brought all the circumstances to life. Definitely a must read!
Let Love Stay:
So this picks up just where LLI ends. Maddy has pushed Reid away because she can't be with him when he hasn't come to grips with his past. Ironically, it is her fear of her own past that causes her to do this. I partly saw where she was coming from, and partly wanted to bitch slap her. Reid gives a solid go at doing what she asked, but you can feel how very hard it was for him, and it happened with varying degrees of success.
Communication, communication, communication. The lack thereof causes tremendous doubt and anger between Reid and Maddy, BUT, Reid mans up. They are still scared and confused and they are still dealing with the big bombshell from book 1! I'm gonna spoiler free review this. There are surprises in book 1 I don't want to give away if you haven't read it yet, and if you HAVE read it, then you know what I'm talking about anyway! This is really just an extension of the first book. Life moving forward, heartache, loss, pain, forgiveness, redemption, friendship, and making your own family. Reid and Maddy know they love each other, they just have to figure out how real life works into such a magical feeling and emotion. And a LOT of real life is thrown at them, though even at a young age, they come to cope with grace. They cope like you hope you would cope in the same circumstances!
Much of the story is bittersweet. It's very consuming and breath hitching. But it's also a feel good story of true love. It alone would be the perfect end to their story, BUT...
Let Love Shine:
Here is our novella about a few missing pieces, a few significant life events, and closure on the real happily ever after. Revisit these favorite characters, watch them grow and develop as people after the dust settles on the drama. I loved some of the very real life issues they dealt with, some that I have dealt with myself. Their love is so strong and they have a true give and take relationship, with each one propping the other up as needed. At the end there are a few deleted scenes and alternate POVs that were fun and I really enjoyed.
The overwhelming theme and feelings from this series is how REAL it felt. Okay, so maybe they were dealt a rather shitty hand in life, and they're maybe impossibly hot, but their actions, feelings, reactions, and mistakes felt very real and genuine. This is just a story you can lose yourself in and fall in love with!
And I can't wait for more stories about the other characters! Because I love all of them too!
I’ve always been an avid reader. Majoring in English Literature was a no brainer. Becoming a teacher and instilling my love for reading into my students was also a no brainer. I’ve spent the last ten years teaching and I’ve loved (mostly) every minute of it. When I was home on maternity leave for my third son, I discovered a new genre that sparked my creativity. My passion for writing sprang from my love of reading and once I knew I had a story to tell, I couldn’t wait to get it out there. I only hope that my readers enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.