Review: Under the Influence (Chosen Paths #2) by L.B. Simmons

USA Today Bestselling Novel.

"I have always belonged to you. I will always belong to you. Regardless of what you've done, what you do, or what you will do, I will forever be yours. And that's my choice to make, whether you choose me or not."

By the age of thirteen, Dalton Greer had already experienced abuse unfathomable to most. So by the time he was finally rescued from the latest of his long string of foster homes, he was already traveling down a very dangerous path. Indebted to a known drug lord as a means of protection, he chose the life of the streets thinking that's all his life had to offer...until he met her. 

Five years later, she's the only bright spot in his very bleak existence. There isn't anything he won't do to shield her from the evil he's experienced and he wants nothing more than to protect her from the life he's chosen, as well as from himself. 

The day Spencer Locke found Dalton sitting on her porch, she felt his pain and understood his rage. They were bonded by both, though he would never know understand why. He had been lost while she was found, and in that moment, she vowed to help him find his way too. 

As the years pass by, that initial bond forms into something deeper. Spencer loves Dalton regardless of his past, in spite of his choices. And when all secrets are unleashed between the two, that love becomes binding. 

One night is all they have before fate makes its own decision. Dalton is forced to choose the path he will travel, and Spencer is left unknowing as to why. 

A journey about the discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, the experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption, two lost souls find solace... 

Under the Influence of love. 

*******NA Contemporary Romance that can be read as a STANDALONE******

*****Due to themes of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual situations and explicit language, recommended for readers 17+*****

I'm going to steal a quote from the book to describe my feelings about Dalton and Spencer...

“So. Fucking. Beautiful.”

It seems no matter what LB Simmons writes, she seriously slays me. Her voice moving me in ways other voices have not been able to, lately. With each word written, each page turned, there was no escaping all the damn feels. Buckets of tears were imminent, paused on standby, ready to fall at any given moment. Boxes of tissues never too far from my reach.

"I can’t imagine a more perfect book from this author. Nor can I imagine any of her other characters being better than these." (From my Into the Light review.)

Looking back at my previous review, I'm shaking my head at the fact that I thought no one would be able to measure up to Audrey and Kaeleb (Into the Light). I was pretty sure they were the end all to be all, but I excitedly stand corrected! Simmons brought her A+ game with Dalton and Spencer. Proving she is definitely a master of vivid, emotional word play. With her complex labyrinth of compelling obstacles, she has you hanging on for dear life. Praying this journey won't wreck you in the worst ways. And if I am to be honest, in the end, I felt this book held a contrasting type of agony and turmoil; however, it was no less deep-seated.

Spencer and Dalton may have been so very different from our first couple, but they were just as dynamic and absolute. I'll warn you now, don't go in with any expectations. These two stories are not alike. They are, in fact, polar opposites. Which, in my humble opinion, was the best part. I felt as though I was discovering this author and her characters all over again for the first time. I can't remember the last time an author left me feeling that way.

With Into the Light, I related on a person basis with Aubrey. In this one, I related more on a personal basis to Dalton. However, surprising to me, it was Spencer who totally snagged every nook and cranny of my heart. She was Dalton's balance. His PERSON. His peace of mind. His light at the end of the tunnel. His forever. She, without even knowing it, kept him aiming to be a better person. Her personality emulated an immense layer of strength and fortitude. All in all, she was hands down one of the best heroines I've ever read.

It is easy to see Ms. Simmons pours her heart and soul into her writing, giving us rich characters that are raw, gritty, and authentic in definition. Breathing life into each person’s journey and personality, allowing for them to take on a life of their own, consuming you. Under the Influence was no exception.

And last but not least, let's not forget L.B.'s plot themes, which are always intricate in detail, touching on heavy subjects that most authors won't tackle. While these subjects may not technically be of the forbidden kind, they are based off of real life reality. Realities that most prefer to keep quiet and in the background.

And to end this review, I'll leave you with just a few of my thoughts/comments while I read:

**Move over Kellan Kyle, Dalton Greer is headed straight for your spot. Full speed ahead.

**"Teach Me." While my highlighter and I had an extremely close love affair, this was by far my favorite line in the whole book. Just two words, yet so poignant and powerful. Just two measly words that spoke volumes.

** I seriously feel another 6 star read coming. Every time I read one of L.B.'s books, my thoughts immediately go to one of my favorite quotes: "I'm beautifully broken, perfectly imperfect, and beautiful in my flaws. All together, I am a beautiful disaster." ~Author Unknown

P.s. Next up is Cassie and Grady’s book, Out of Focus. I just know they will give me and my emotions a run for my money.
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.

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