Under the Influence

Under the InfluenceUnder the Influence (Chosen Paths, #1) by L.B. Simmons, Joe Arden, Maxine Mitchell
Published by Tantor Audio on February 16th 2016
ISBN: 1515900630
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“Because the truth is, there’s nothing more frightening in my world than those who know you -who really know you. The ones who know your deepest, darkest secrets. The ones who know what your’re going to do before you do it. The ones who know not only what buttons to push when they seek your attention but also the cones that can be used to completely incapacitate you.”

I really enjoyed this book. It has the troubled angst riddled bad guy who really wants to be good but got led down the wrong path and the innocent yet strong young woman who loves him unconditionally story-line going on.

Dalton Greer has been raised in the foster care system. He has been subjected to years of abuse and neglect. He accepts kindness from a stranger who turns out to be a dangerous crime boss, and accepts his protection in return for a life of crime. It seemed like a good idea at the time as he was being badly beaten on a daily basis and just wanted the pain to stop.

Then he meets Spencer Locke and he suddenly no longer feels alone. He has someone who is kind and accepting and he vows to always protect her. Spencer looks at Dalton and sees his pain. She knows he has demons which he cannot hide form her no matter how hard her tries. She loves him and sees through his tough guy exterior.

After having feelings for each other they decide to take their relationship into the romantic area but after one night of violence, Dalton has to make a choice which affects them both.

This book has young love, sex, abuse, drugs, child abuse and domestic violence which may be triggers for some. This book has the feel of being a YA novel but it really isn’t. It is for a more mature crowd. The description says 17 and above and that sounds about right.

I enjoyed the storytelling and the character development. This is a book where I wanted to shake, or at least give a stern talking to, both Dalton and Spencer as they both acted impulsively. Theirs is a kind of coming of age tale for the both of them as the grow and try to take charge of their lives as they become young adults. This book sucked me in and didn’t let go until the last page.

I am a sucker for a bad boy meets nice girl type story. Cliched but true. I also liked that Dalton is portrayed as smart and loving. He keeps as rough exterior as he needed to in order to survive and protect himself (and others). This was a well written fast read. The story deals with many tough subjects which I mentioned, but it also touches on love, friendship, acceptance, second chances, hope and redemption.

Thank you to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.