Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: Under the Influence by L.B. Simmons!


**I received an ARC of this book in return for my honest opinion**

It's time for yet another book review! I was super excited when I received an email about ARCs for Under the Influence. I loved The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller. It was one of the best books that I read last year. So, I had high hopes for Under the Influence. Can I just say, it didn't disappoint!


Dalton, 

I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me. 
Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again. 
I loved you. 
I raged for you. 
I wept for you. 
And now, I’m letting you go. 






Author’s Note: Under the Influence is the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives. It is a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption.




This book was so phenomenally written. I would just get lost in the beauty of the words L.B. Simmons wrote. She has this way for making everything sound pretty. I mean come on with that synopsis. "Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination." That's poetry right there. Her characters too! They're so well thought out and have such particular personalities. They're not carbon copies of every other character we read about. Spencer was such a hard headed, strong female lead and it was refreshing to read about. Sure, she had her moments there in the middle, but she overcame her insecurities pretty quickly. Dalton, though a little heavy hearted, was also great main male character. All of his actions had a purpose and everything he did was for Spencer. He loved her with all his heart and never wanted anything or anyone to hurt her, which made me respect Dalton and his decisions. 


The secondary characters in Under the Influence were also really good. Dalton's best friend Rat, was so funny as well as Spencer's BFF Cassie. They had me laughing on more than one occasion. Spencer's mom was also one of favorite characters, she was so understanding and loving, she made me smile a lot (a good mother-daughter relationship always does). There was also a little girl named Penny, who was staying at a group home for families trying to get out of bad situations. She was so sweet and cute. This excerpt really encompasses who Penny was and why I loved her so much. 


- Dalton - 

And that’s when I see it. The faded bruising high on the little girl’s cheek and the red welts that line it. A slap mark.

I force a deep breath through my nose and crack my neck, my natural response when stricken with memories from my own past. The rage I feed upon, the anger that fuels me to perform on a regular basis, skims dangerously close to the surface as my fingers tighten around the crayon in my hand.

Her blue eyes remain locked with mine. She watches closely for a moment, studying me intently, then rises and leans her tiny body across the table to place her palm on my cheek.

Normally I would strongly object to anyone I don’t know putting their hands on me, but I remain frozen as the warmth from her hand seeps into my skin. Huge tears sprout, coating her eyes before she finally speaks.

“You’re one of us. I can tell.”

She removes her hand and places it on my chest, the burning beneath my ribcage strangely anesthetized by the contact. “I know. “ She nods as she focuses on her touch. “It hurts here. Where they break your heart.”

When I’m barely able to nod my response, she offers me a defeated smile. My throat clogs with emotion I haven’t felt in years, and I’m forced to swallow it deeply. Her eyes fall to my throat and then rise once again to meet mine.

“Yeah, I feel it too.”



The twist in the middle of this book had me crying so hard and wanting to yell at L.B. Simmons for doing such an awful and sad thing to these people! You'll never see it coming and all I'm gonna say is bring the tissues. I can't really go into much more detail because it could really spoil the book itself, but as I mentioned I really enjoyed the writing in this book. So, I do have two quotes that I would like to share with you. There are more, but these two were the ones that made me really fall in love with this book and left me wanting more, by the time I reached the end. 

and...


Overall, I think you will all love this book, it's an emotional journey that you can't get enough of! L.B. Simmons hit out of the park on this one!


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.


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