“Out Of Focus” Book Review

February 26, 2016 / 0 comments

“Out Of Focus” Book ReviewOut Of Focus by L.B. Simmons
Series: Chosen Paths #2
Published by Self-Published on February 19th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: ARC, Borrowed, Purchased
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“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.

Q&A Review With Micah, Angie and Liezel

What do you enjoy most about L.B. Simmons and this duet of books?

Micah: I think that L.B. Simmons is a very talented writer.  Her talent for eliciting emotions and skillful use of character building make you believe in the story, and the characters themselves. These are two beautifully told stories about 4 beautiful characters.  Out of Focus was a shining star in this series, though, in my opinion.

Angie: I agree with Micah. L.B. Simmons is a very talented writer and this book definitely showed how talented she is. I absolutely love Under The Influence but Out of Focus showed how much L.B.’s writing has grown.

Liezel: I will be honest and say that I haven’t read a lot of L.B. Simmons yet after reading “Out of Focus”, it made me question why I skipped over most of her books because this story in one word was …. phenomenal.

What did you think about Dalton and Spencer vs Cassie and Grady as couples?

Micah: Both couples, I felt, belonged together.  Given the stories, I believe this leaves no question.  Dalton and Spencer were childhood friends that grew into lovers.  Cassie and Grady had an instant connection that was almost creepy.  But we’re kind of used to those immediate connections in books.  Oh, how I wish it happened in real life!  That isn’t to say it was insta-love.  Far from it.  Cassie had so many walls built up around her, it would take a mac-truck to break them.  And that truck is Grady with his ever patient presence in her life.

Angie: Dalton and Spencer- you knew they were made for each right off the bat. There are no questions. When Dalton first saw Spencer when he was on her porch, you just knew they were going to be together. Their relationship was real and raw.

Cassie and Grady- Like Micah said you knew because of their instant connection that’s only in books that you just knew Grady was Cassie’s match. No matter what she did to try to deny what she felt for him or the voices told her he was determined to break through and make her trust him. I love their relationship. Fuck or fight?

Liezel: I can not really compare the two couples since I have yet to read the second book but since my closest bookish friends (with whom I value their opinions dearly) are  even willing to compare the two  has me wishing that I could just drop everything and learn about the first couple. Cassie and Grady to me were beyond perfect together.

What was the strongest part of the story, in your opinion?

 Micah:  The strongest part of Out of Focus is the character development.  In Under the Influence, we knew Cassie as the fun-loving, but ever loyal, best friend.  Now, we get to know the real Cassie.  I felt that the first 2 parts of Under the Influence were great, but the last part felt disjointed from the rest of the book.  Simmons writing is beautiful and the characters come alive, but the large time break kind of took me out of it.  However, we don’t have that in Out of Focus.  We have a damaged girl just trying to survive day-to-day.  The characters in this story are great.  You get to see Spencer and Dalton, but only glimpses of them, as they are still in Cassie’s life.
Angie: Again I agree with Micah. The writing in Out of Focus is just phenomenal. I was so easily lost in the story and Cassie and Grady that time got away from me that before I knew it I was done. I don’t know if it was because L.B. just focused on Cassie’s story in this book but it didn’t feel rushed and in Under the Influence I felt the story was rushed at times. The strongest part of the story is Cassie finally being able to trust after everything she endured. She may have been broken but Grady stitched her back together one thread at a time.  “Sometimes even the smallest bit of light can lead you through the darkness. All you need is a spark.”
Liezel: The strongest point of this story was the authenticity in L.B. Simmons words. The way she was able was able to describe every detail, every emotion had me pulled in and had my heart reeling. It was as if I was in Cassie’s shoes – feeling the heartache and pain and eventually the love and acceptance. How the author was able to put so much emotion into words was remarkable .

How did Out of Focus compare to Under the Influence?

Micah:  I felt it was far and away a better story.  Maybe it was because I connected to Cassie better, but I read it all in one sitting.  The last section of Under the Influence took me a while to get through.  I simply loved this book.  It was astonishing how much these characters could come alive in such a short amount of time.
Angie: This is hard for me to say since I absolutely loved Under the Influence but Out of Focus was so much better. I really think it’s because L.B.’s writing has grown and Out of Focus shows that. I love Cassie and as heartbreaking as her story was, it was raw and emotional and I could connect to her on so many levels.

Would you recommend this book?

Micah:  A million times, yes.  I loved it.
Angie: Yes!! I absolutely loved it! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars, that’s how great Out of Focus is!
Liezel: If you are looking for well-written,  emotionally charged love story then yes I would. I am certain that you will love it as much as we did.

The Verdict:



Only twenty-three years old, and I’m so goddamn tired.
I used to be so much stronger. I somehow kept the voices at bay, the memories locked away safely, contained within the confines of my mind. But with each passing day, I feel the glow of my once-luminous strength fading. Darkness encases me now, bowing the walls of protection I put into place years ago. My past is an ever-present nightmare, repeatedly tapping, slowly fracturing the window of my sanity.
I have no doubt that it’s only a matter of time before the glass finally breaks. Blackness will eventually seep through its cracks and deliver me from the safety of my façade into a reality that will destroy me.
My reality.
I’ve done my part. I’ve kept the secrets thrust upon me with dedicated believability. My portrayal of who I am has become a blurred, hazy version of the once very distinct Cassie Cooper.
I read an ungodly amount of trashy romance novels.
I’m the overtly sexual and foul-mouthed friend who will say anything to get a laugh.
And I have exactly zero fucks to give to what anyone else thinks about my actions.
But the reality, the actuality, is this:
I read obsessively to escape my own world. To live the dreams of others when, for so long, the reoccurrence of my nightmares has been my reality. I read to fall in love and find a happily ever after, even if it is purely imagined. With each story I read, I’m able to live and love vicariously through the characters in my books. It’s the only plausible way for me to survive.
I threw away my virginity at the age of thirteen just to prove something. And when I found that proof, that vindication I was looking for, I sought it every chance I could. Sex is about control for me. Nothing more. The act will never be about making love, like it is for the heroines in my books. I will never be granted the beauty of that gift.
I use humor as a form of avoidance. I draw upon laughter to block the pain. And I smile to mask the agony of the eight-year-old soul who weeps within me.
And the fucks . . . well, that’s not entirely accurate either.
I have given two to be exact: One to my best friend of seventeen years. She knows nothing of my past, and although she so willingly disclosed the horrors of hers, mine remains hidden for no other reason than to avoid the pity she would undoubtedly cast my way if I were to ever tell her. I don’t want her pity. I would sooner die than have her look at me in any other way than with pride.
The other died with the person to whom it was given. Anthony “Rat” Marchione. He was my one allowance of naïveté. The one person I actually wanted to touch me, to hold me, to love me. He was going to rescue me from my brokenness as though I were a character in one of my books. Young and senseless, I thought he was to be my eventual happily ever after, but tragically, he was murdered five years ago.
Black coldness waits in vain to leech the void where his once beautiful existence filled the pieces of my irrevocably shattered heart. Where he temporarily healed the hurt of the innocent child and quieted the voices that tormented her.
He’s gone now. I’ve accepted that. And in turn, I have relinquished all dreams associated with finding the light at the end of this miserable tunnel.
I will keep trudging through this life . . . this sentence handed to me for someone else’s crime, my payment shackled by secrets and weighted with lies. I will continue to do so with the same fraudulent smile on my lips and play the part of the strong heroine so convincingly, that even I believe it.
It’s only a matter of time before my fictional strength wears out—when I’m no longer hidden safely inside my protective blur—and I have to face the very real and lucid image of my past.
But until that time comes, I’ll do all I can do.
All I have ever done.
I will pretend.


About L.B. Simmons

L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.

My Review At A Glance
Writing Style
Story Flow and Pacing
Overall Impact
Character Development
Heat/ Sexual Tension
Overall: 4.7 / 5

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