Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Lead Me Not by A. Meredith Walters - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Lead Me Not by A. Meredith Walters

My Thoughts

Intense, heartbreaking and emotionally charged.
This is a raw and poignant look at addiction and a riveting story about finding love when you need it the most.



lead me notIn this dangerously sexy novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Find You in the Dark, a straight-laced college student meets a handsome but enigmatic stranger who lures her into an underground club scene, where she finds it difficult to resist temptation 

Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.

In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.

As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive…

My Review

“Addiction was messy. It was consuming. Addiction whispered in your ear, telling you that she’s the only one. She’s all you need.”

This book is emotionally intense, sharing the kind of story that makes your heart hurt, your thoughts circle endlessly, your emotions befuddled and impossibly murky. It’s a story of grief and addiction, love and redemption… hope and hopelessness. Aubrey and Maxx’s tale is heartbreaking because we get to see these two people that grow to love each other deeply, fall apart over and over again. We see the ribbons of dependency coil them tighter to their own sin, tethering them to their addiction of choice. It’s a gradual fall to rock bottom and I felt so invested in both, in the experiences that shaped them and the choices that would define their future.

After the tragic death of her sister, Aubrey carried a great deal of guilt. She longed to start fresh. To learn from her mistakes. Hoping that her enrollment in Longwood University’s addiction support group, Aubrey hoped she could make a difference for others, given that she wasn’t able to make a difference to one of the people she loved the most. Unfortunately her roommate and best friend finds herself in an unhealthy relationship, marching down the same path as her sister. And when Aubrey meets enigmatic Maxx Demelo, she is caught up in his one-of-a-kind charisma that consumes everything and everyone in his perimeter.  Before too long, Aubrey is led down a familiar path she worked hard to escape from.

“Maxx was the man your mother warned you about. He was sex and danger and secrets. He was the very worst kind of temptation and the very best kind of distraction.”

Maxx was caught in a downward spiral fueled by guilt, shame, responsibility, addiction and hopelessness. He lived a duplicitous life. On one hand, there was a boy with immense talent, heart, loyalty who wanted to overcome his painful past, to rise above it and be a man he could be proud of. On the other hand, you had X… the Maxx that thrived on feeling wanted, desired among the throngs of the nameless faces, numb to the reality of his struggles, oblivious to what he was doing to himself. With each passing day, with each bitter little pill swallowed, Maxx became more of the latter. More of the Maxx that felt he could conquer the world, fooling himself that he had everything under control. And when he met Aubrey, this girl seemed to make him want to be better again. And perhaps, a new addiction took root.

“The dynamic we fell into seemed to pit anger and distrust against lust and longing. Frustration warred with contentment. Irritation and wariness were at odds with vulnerability and sincerity.”

As Maxx and Aubrey get to know each and begin to fall for each other, their dynamic swings between the good and the healthy, and the deceptive and the ugly. Maxx hides a world so brutal and dark, drawing Aubrey in with a dangerous combination of sincerity and need. Because the more Maxx needs her, the more Aubrey is hooked on being needed. She’s fallen for Maxx and despite the ugly world he lives in, she sees the guy that loves her, needs her, wants to get better. And being needed in that real, raw and profound way, breaks her resolve… muddles the possibility of clear thinking. Because the truth of the matter was that Aubrey was compromising her own future, falling into the abyss right along with Maxx. Her desire to forget her own pain, her desire to be needed, and her desire to be fun, wild and free Aubrey blinded her own reality.

“… he needed me. And I lived for being needed. It was an addiction just as powerful as his. And it had the potential to be just as destructive.”

Lead Me Not is a story told entirely in shades of gray. I felt like I was confronted with decisions that were difficult and monumental for me to process, just as the characters worked through the same issues themselves… especially Aubrey. We got to see how addiction affects everything and everyone. Not only those who are addicted to the actual high of drugs, but the ones who love them. We wondered, through the turbulent ups and downs of this poignant story, could Aubrey be enough to stave Maxx’s addiction to drugs? Could she love him enough to break the cycle? Or would she be swept into the dark oblivion of addiction herself?

This was my first A. Meredith Walters novel and I loved how the characters made me feel so much, how the story unfurled so realistically and raw. There were times where my heart broke and times where I truthfully felt upset, at Aubrey AND Maxx, but I think therein lies the reality of addiction. Behaviors don’t make sense in the grip of dependancy. There will be another book to continue Maxx and Aubrey’s story and I can’t wait to see what happens.

“Love made us stupid. Love made us blind. Love could incapacitate us and leave us powerless. And love could also make everything better.”



Maxx put his hand first in one pocket and then the other. “Where are they?” he asked, getting unsteadily to his feet and digging farther into his pockets.

“Where are what?” I asked, bewildered by the sudden change in his mood.

“I need them!” he yelled, pushing past me and lumbering into the kitchen, where he started taking things out of the cabinets and throwing them on the floor. When he didn’t find what he was looking for there, he let out a howl and practically ran down the hallway to his bedroom.

I followed him at a distance. I thought about trying to stop him, but a desire for self-preservation held me back.

He ripped his room apart, dumping clothes on the floor. He gathered the empty baggies and ripped them open.

“Where are they?” His scream was desperate. He tipped over his bedside table and fell to his knees, looking through the stuff that had fallen out. He picked up a bottle and shook it. It rattled, and the look of euphoria that replaced the hopelessness on his face made me cold. I knew exactly what he had been looking for.

“No, Maxx!” You don’t need that,” I cried, falling down beside him and trying to pry the bottle from his hands. Maxx yanked it away from me and scooted backwards on his knees. He popped the top off, and before I could do anything, he dropped the white pill into his mouth.

He crunched it between his teeth. His mouth went slack, and he leaned back against the wall.

“Maxx,” I said with bone-weary regret. Maxx looked at me, his normally beautiful lips stretching into a lazy smile that was all too familiar. I used to think that smile was sexy and mysterious. Now it was just sad and pathetic. Now I knew exactly why he smiled that way.

I hated that smile. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Subscribe for Updates:

Share This Post

Related Posts


  1. alex robson said:

    i so want this book


  2. Anita Powers said:

    I love this author and would love to win this book, thanks, I liked, shared, and commented on FB


  3. Gina H said:

    Sounds like a great read, thanks for the giveaway!


  4. Erika said:

    I’d love to win this book! Thanks for the giveaway!


  5. Kristy said:

    Love all of her books!!


  6. jessiel62 said:

    Thank you for the giveaway! I’m looking forward to reading this book


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Facebook

SuperWebTricks Loading...

On Twitter

Ever since #mdnaskingiftedme their ROSE MIST, I’ve become utterly addicted to it. Every time I pass by it, I spritz to refresh my skin. mdnaskin THE ROSE MIST is formulated to refresh,…

𝗪𝗔𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗡 𝗪𝗘𝗗𝗡𝗘𝗦𝗗𝗔𝗬: What book are you dying to get your hands on??? I’m starting one of my most anticipated today — DAISY JONES & THE SIX by @tjenkinsreid. I’ve read every one of her…

A heroine who can’t help but fix everything, an IOU from a handsome stranger, a cunning old boyfriend, and thorny family dynamics—it's the perfect setup for another irresistible…

Who else is just about dying for this book??? 🙋🏻‍♀️ I’m a huge, long-time @lisakleypas reader and am so excited for this Ravenels meets Wallflowers book. This is Phoebe and West’s love…

Excerpt: Irresistible by #MelanieHarlow! @jennw23

Excerpt: Devil's Daughter by @lisakleypas!!!! @HarperCollins

Read an excerpt from Overture by @skye_warren!!!

Review: I Owe You One by @KinsellaSophie! @randomhouse

Cover Reveal: Make Me Bad by @AuthorRSGrey!

Double tap this pic if you’re planning on a little sunday self care! 🙋🏻‍♀️ Trying to figure out what to use today and @blissworld has sent me so many wonderful goodies from which I can…

Happy Sunday, you guys!!! So excited to share an awesome giveaway with you!!! I’m partnering with @rebeccayarros to give away two signed paperback ARCs of 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐓…

What is your favorite thing to buy beautywise? The thing you have a weakness for and probably own too many of? ❥
For me, it’s eye shadow palettes. Well, okay... and pretty much all things…

I still can't believe the trailer is here! 😭What do you guys think? Let me know what your favorite parts were!

You can watch it here:

“𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝗼 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁.”
Have you guys read Angie Thomas before? I was late to THE HATE U GIVE (so powerful), and absolutely loved…

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!!!! ♥️ Any plans with friends or loved ones today?! I gave my man and my boys little gifts this morning so they start their day feeling loved, then…

Any lisagardnerbks fans out there?! 🙋🏻‍♀️ You guys, she is one of my favorite authors and she has a new (fabulous) book out: NEVER TELL. I was honored to interview her on the blog, where…

𝗗𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁?
My favorite for skincare and lotions is roses! So when I found out the new mask from @summer__fridays smelled like a whole bouquet of 🌹🌹🌹, I was all in.…

𝗗𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗩𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲’𝘀 𝗗𝗮𝘆???
We typically cook at home, and now love celebrating with our boys. This year, I’m putting together a Valentine’s Day charcuterie board and…

Review: @SummerFridays R+R Mask!

Read an excerpt from Ensnared by @ElisNaughton! @1001darknights

Load More...