Out of Focus was released last Friday. On that day I posted a Release Day Launch with an excerpt, you can read here. Today, it’s time for my review. Go grab your own copy of this amazing Contemporary Romance novel today (check the end of this article for the purchase links).
Out of Focus by L.B. Simmons
Series: Chosen Paths, #2
Published: February 19, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Mending Hearts series, The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller
Other books in the series: Under the Influence
Hosted by InkSlinger PR
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
What drew me to Out of Focus in the first place, were actually two things: its cover and the summary. The cover is exceptionally dazzling. No, it doesn’t reveal anything about its plot, but it’s a magnificent piece of art. The summary captivated me, because it tells you just enough about the story to lure you in without actually showing what it’s about. While reading the prologue, I was immediately enamored. From that moment on, I knew Out of Focus wouldn’t be an ordinary romance novel I would read just because I had some time to spare. I became aware that it would be a meaningful book that would teach me a lesson. That would break me down. Shatter my heart. I could only hope that it would also glue all those pieces of my broken heart back together.
Cassie Cooper is 23 years old. Due to her terrible past (starting when she was 8 years old) she pretends to be someone she isn’t. She reads romance novels to escape her reality and to find love and happily ever afters. She uses humor to mask her pain. She has meaningless sex to prove to herself that she still has control over het body. Cassie’s friendship with Spencer Locke is the most essential thing in her life. It’s what kept her going all these years and she hopes deep down that one of these days Spencer’s immeasurable strength will be contagious to her. But she’s also convinced that she will lose Spencer. Cassie hasn’t really been living. Most days she spends in a drunken haze, other days she spends with all those voices in her head. (“You’re dirty and disgusting. Your entire existence is vile.”) She is severely depressed and doesn’t know how to come out of it. She is numb. Always out of focus.
And then Cassie meets Grady Bennett. The 29-year-old cop makes her feel things after all those emotionless years. His clear blue irises becoming her safe haven. Grady wants nothing more than helping Cassie to land strong. He helps her to overcome her fears. He is kind, persistent and patient. He does’t let her push him away. (“I know what you’re doing, and this shit isn’t going to work on me. You can push me as hard as you like, but I’m not going anywhere. And neither are you.”) He tells her everyday how beautiful she is and he does his absolute best to coax genuine smiles out of her. (“You refuse to smile for yourself, but you smile for her. With everyone else, including me, it’s forced, but with her, it’s real. And it’s beautiful.”)
What happened to Cassie when she was 8 years old is truly heartbreaking (as is the rest of her life). I suspected it, but I didn’t know for sure. Together with Grady. From the way she reacted to Grady the first time they met and all her awful thoughts. I just really prayed that it didn’t happen to her. Throughout the book I felt my connection with Cassie grow. I really felt for her and I hoped wholeheartedly that she would find the light and that she would get her happily ever after. Cassie, I see you. All of you. You’re beautiful and extremely strong. (“I love you too, Cass. All of you. I need you to know that. Understand that. Hear you, broken or not. Can you trust me in that, sweetheart?”) And Grady was a perfect hero in this story. I really rooted for him. Wanted him to break down all Cassie’s walls. I wanted them both to get their happily ever after, together. The way these two communicated, the way Grady made Cassie feel happiness, the heat between them. All that was extraordinarily fascinating and wonderful.
The story builds slowly. It first describes Cassie’s feelings, thoughts and her state of mind. It also shows the beginning of her friendship with Spencer and how close they are and why. From the very beginning you identify that Cassie has some major secrets and while reading you come to grasp how devastating and terrible those actually are for her life. Reading about it makes you very curious to what exactly happened to her. That just keeps you reading. The ending is also impeccable. The last chapters and the epilogue. It’s just a sublime end to Cassie’s poignant, gripping and raw tale. Bravo to Ms. Simmons for the excellent way she established this story.
Ms. Simmons writing is in a whole league itself. I actually don’t know what book to compare it to. It is something special. It’s not simple English, it is literally poignant and captivating prose. Cassie’s story is entirely told from Cassie’s point of view. Most chapters play in the present, but some of the chapters are in the past. To explain the entirety of her tale. Those past chapters aren’t in chronological order, but they make outright sense. I heard not only Cassie, but also this amazing author. There is certainly a message in this story. A message you feel throughout the entire book, because it is described in an enthralling way. No matter how awful your past or current life, everyday is a new day, a new chance. A chance to stop the falling and to land safely. The choice is yours. (“Sometimes even the smallest bit of light can lead you through the darkness. All you need is a spark.”) A nice extra: the chapters aren’t just called Chapter One and so on. They have actual names, such as Bonded, Comfortable, Weightless. That conveys this multilayered story another layer.
Out of Focus captivated, intrigued and spell-binded me. Cassie’s tragic, poignant and heart-rending story made tiny cracks in my heart, until it completely shattered it in a million tiny pieces. To gradually mend all those pieces back together to get it beating again. Finally, ending with a burst of happiness. All the feelings for the love and friendship in this novel. I haven’t read the first book in this series yet. But I will absolutely run to the bookshop right now, to purchase Under the Influence. And also The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller (Aubrey also plays a role in this book). My first L.B. Simmons’ romance was a huge succes. If you are looking for a romance novel with a strong profoundness about the healing powers of love and devotion, you should definitely read Out of Focus!
5 OUT OF FOCUS STARS (★★★★★)
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