Series: Chosen Paths, #2
Author: L.B. Simmons
Publication Date: February 19, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Mental Health
*** Upper New Adult Spinoff Standalone to the USA Today Bestselling Novel, Under the Influence***
“Shhhh, Cassandra, it’s our little secret.”
Secrets are stubborn things when they refuse to remain hidden. They tear through your soul, clawing and lashing until the pain becomes so unbearable, you’re left no choice but to silently scream your agony. No one hears you, of course. You smile on the outside and drift through life as though your mind is at peace, but all the while, you remain your own tortured prisoner. Sealed inside the darkened, soundproof room of your conscience, deafening cries echo as you plead for someone to unlock the door and release you from your nightmares. And eventually, when no one comes, you find ways to cope. To dull the suffering the only way you know how.
But what happens when you’ve become so numb, when everything around you has become so blurred, that you begin to lose focus on the saving grace standing directly in front of you? When you’ve anesthetized yourself to the point of losing consciousness, forced to watch as his once solid image fades away, lost to your reach in the haze as it smothers you?
What do you do then?
You fight. You heal. Then you bring him back.
Well, my name is Cassie Cooper, and it’s time.
No more secrets.
This is my story.
***WARNING – The subject matter of this novel centers around the psychological effects due to sexual abuse experienced during childhood. For this reason, as well as sexual situations, language, and adult themes, suggested reading age is 17+.***
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I have to admit that I hesitated a minute before purchasing Out of Focus. It’s the second book in the Chosen Paths series and, while I liked the first book Under the Influence, I didn’t love it. There was something about the pace and structure of the book I didn’t like. But when I saw Out of Focus was going to be Cassie’s story I was intrigued. I always wondered while reading Under the Influence what Cassie’s story was. I’m so happy I decided to read it.
Cassie Cooper is no angel. She prides herself on being the wild child. Cassie’s perfectly happy avoiding her thoughts by drowning them in alcohol and men. Her reasons are buried deep down within herself. So deep, no one knows them — not even her best friend Spencer.
Cassie’s doing what she can to make it through each day when she meets Grady, a martial arts instructor. The connection she feels to Grady scares her. She feels like he gets her without even really knowing her, a feeling she’s only had once before.
As Cassie gets to know Grady, her walls begin to drop. Life is suddenly much brighter than it was before. Then, her past comes back to haunt her, threatening everything she’s built with Grady.
I loved, loved, loved Out of Focus. I couldn’t put it down. L.B. Simmons did an amazing job portraying a victim of child sexual abuse. Cassie’s story was heartbreaking, but also uplifting. Her actions felt real and honest. Her cocky, bad attitude was funny, but sad at the same time.
Grady is now one of my favorite book boyfriends. The way he stood by Cassie through her journey was awesome. He understood what she needed and was there for her when it mattered most. The thoughtfulness and care he used with Cassie was super sexy.
Out of Focus is one of those rare sequels that is actually better than first book in the series. It was witty, devastating and hopeful. It’s a book I would highly recommend. But first, read Under the Influence. Out of Focus overlaps the last section of time in Under the Influence and sets up Cassie and Grady’s story. Without reading it, you’ll be missing some very big pieces.