“Love isn’t an obligation. In fact, it’s when you find it so willingly offered in the most unexpected places that you should hold on to it and never let go, because that love is real, unconditional.”
Just when I thought I couldn’t love Cassie more, L.B. Simmons gave her a chance to share a part of herself as well. I felt from Under the Influence that she has her own story to tell but I didn’t imagine for it to be as painful as inspiring as hers.
Cassie’s story shook me and made me re-evaluate how much I have in this life. It made me realize that most often, what’s most painful cannot be seen and are fully covered. It was painful to read because I felt helpless but I didn’t stop because it was my way of sharing her pain.
We knew of Cassie and Grady’s relationship in Under the Influence but what we didn’t realize is that there’s so much more to them. Reading this gave me hope that everyone can be pulled back out from a black hole. Most of the time, we just have to have that much needed kick to set healing in motion. And in doing this, we all ultimately need to surround ourselves with the right people to get out of an ordeal with minimal abrasions.
This story offers so much love and depth. It will tear you apart but it will also assemble your broken pieces back together. I loved and admired Cassie’s character even more. She is a survivor through and through. I cannot imagine her torment, her silent suffering and the courageous attempt to make the choice of happiness and that giant leap of faith.
Again, Simmons was able to peel off layer after layer of her characters’ persona. If there’s one thing I can commend is that she doesn’t have dull characters. But then again, I want to commend everything, EVERYTHING about this book. The plot, the backstory, the command, the writing, the characters, the ending. What a storyteller. What a heart breaker. What a healer.
If you loved Under the Influence and still haven’t read this, it’s high time to know Cassie (and Grady!) even more. And if you haven’t read either books, then I hope you know what your next read will be.
Thank you L.B. Simmons for celebrating flaws and showing the beauty of being broken, for showing that weaknesses can be reborn into strengths.
Have your heart broken. Have your faith renewed. Have your soul mended.
FIVE F*CKING PHENOMENAL STARS
“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.