on April 2, 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
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Our lives shattered... Our hearts broken... Our souls torn to pieces...
He was my world, my whole life. My reason for breathing. I had a perfect marriage, a baby on the way, and I felt fulfilled—almost invincible.
Until the day life hit, leaving me broken, vulnerable, and alone.
She was my life. My ray of hope on the cloudiest day. With her, I thought I had the ultimate safety. A love that would never hurt or betray me. I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul.
Until she broke me, destroying every dream and illusion I had about life, love, and marriage.
In our grief, we made a mistake. A mistake I'm not sure we can come back from.
*A Contemporary Adult Romance novel*
It took me several days to process this book. I have to admit I’m always wary when a blogger turns author. I’m not saying that bloggers can’t write. Obviously we can write, we spend a lot of time reading and writing reviews. We have experience that maybe some authors don’t in that we know what our followers are looking for. We know what’s current, what’s popular and we know how to engage the reader. We have a bit of an advantage. But that doesn’t mean we can be successful authors. Writing a book is not an easy task. Writing a good book is even harder. So I was a little worried, not for myself but for Angie McKeon. Not only was she stepping into another realm she had to prove she could write more than a review. Color me shocked. Angie McKeon is a writer! And a great one!!
Back to my processing….I needed time after reading Against All Odds. This plot was something I wasn’t prepared for. A story about an open marriage. Huh…yea…I wasn’t too sure I could handle it. What’s okay for one isn’t necessarily okay for another and all that. It’s really difficult sometimes when reading a book, to set aside your own personal beliefs. Morals and values come into play regardless. We pass judgment not only on the story but the author. This is a challenge I think that all bloggers face. Can we set aside those things and write reviews based on merit alone? Unfortunately, I read a ton of reviews that are based on an emotional response to characters and plots. While that’s not necessarily bad, it’s also not always fair.
But I digressed again…okay so Against All Odds is about a married couple trying to navigate through the minefield of life. Something horrific happens to them very early in in their marriage and they’re left to pick up the pieces, together, alone and otherwise. Marriage on a good day isn’t always easy. We encounter obstacles at every step. It’s hard work to stay happy, passionate, and in love. For this couple, Cooper and Kylie, they face what may seem like insurmountable odds and it becomes impossible to see a happy ending. I am not one to judge anyone else’s relationship. I can only judge my own. I know what works for me and for us. Cooper and Kylie muddle through the best they can, until they realize that what they’re doing isn’t enough. They’re in pain, they’re broken, they’re facing a reality they never imagined. Neither of them expected to go from blissfully happy to horribly tragic and miserable. They both want and need different things. My mind screamed at these two and for these two. I wanted them to get counseling and wondered why no one was mentioning it. I wanted them to walk away temporarily or for good until they sorted themselves out. I wanted them to communicate with each other. I would have been okay with them fighting as long as they were getting all that stuff out and in the open. But they don’t do any of this. Instead they agree on an open marriage while they try to deal with this huge cloud of grief that hangs over them. An open marriage is the solution for them. An open marriage. OMG an open marriage. How did they get here?
“The state of your house is a direct reflection of the state of your heart.”
That quote caused me to pause for a quite a while. I sat and contemplated it and you know what? I agree. When my home is in chaos usually so is my heart. When I allow my house to become cluttered, it’s usually because I’m feeling overwhelmed or uncertain. When a couple decides that sleeping with others is for the best, what kind of turmoil is in their heart? I’ve learned the hard way, as I’m sure many of you have that grief is a process. No two people feel the same way at the same time. There are stages and those stages can happen in any order and last any amount of time. I know this, you know this, Cooper and Kylie know this but it doesn’t help. Kylie is in a completely different stage than Cooper and when she realizes she can’t reach him she makes a foolish decision. I understood what she needed from him. Women are highly emotional and we seek comfort in the arms of our husbands/boyfriends/significant others. We want to talk and cry and scream and then we want to hug and cuddle. Men aren’t built that way. They retreat. They need time on their own to sort through their feelings and emotions. They put so much pressure on themselves that once overwhelmed, their fortress becomes impenetrable. Sadly, they do this to protect us. The often think it’s what we need, to be protected from them. I was so angry with Kylie when reading this book. I wanted to shake her and say “NO DON’T DO IT!” But she does and once the damage is done both husband and wife go into this mode of protecting their hearts. I understood Cooper and even though I didn’t want to I understood Kylie. They were both lashing out and demanding they attention of each other in any way they could.
These two broken people are still reeling from tragedy and instead of looking for help, they hide from each other in the comfort of other arms. It’s hard to find fault in that. In a perfect world we’d want them to come together and help each other. Sometimes though we can’t see past our own feelings in order to see what our partner may be thinking or feeling. Instead of going to them we may turn to a friend or relative. For Cooper and Kylie I honestly think they chose what they thought was best for them. Even though they were both obviously struggling and hurting each other. We hurt those that are closest to us all the time. We do it with our words, sometimes unfortunately it’s with our fists, and sometimes it’s giving ourselves intimately to another person. Those things cannot be undone and that damage is often time irreparable.
I enjoyed the roles that every character played in this story. Calia is the best friend that Kylie needed. She’s her non-judging best friend brings some levity and fun to her life. Grayson is the best friend of Cooper and has stepped up to help Kylie when Cooper can’t. He’s now the best friend to both of them. His role is more complicated and I think I connected with him the most out of all of them. He loves them, he grew up with them, now he’s watching their marriage implode and he’s trying to help them both without losing either of them. It’s a tricky and tough situation. But he becomes the catalyst and I fell in love with him as the story progressed. I wasn’t sure I would at first. I wasn’t sure if his intentions were good or not. At end though I really felt for him maybe even more than I did for Cooper and Kylie. Mainly because he was in the middle and he becomes a victim of circumstance.
This story is so highly emotional but I didn’t cry all throughout like I normally would. I”m sappy I know. The end got to me though. I don’t think anyone can read the end of this story without shedding a tear to two. For what this marriage goes through all the way to the end…it really does a number on your heart. It will leave you thinking for sure. There is a particular scene that takes place between Cooper and Kylie that was just a big WOW for me. It’s a pivotal moment between the two and I think Cooper comes across in such a way that it sums up the entire story perfectly. The hair on my arms stood, my heart raced and I cried reading that scene. I could seriously feel Cooper’s words and his emotions, they just jab into your heart and settle there like desperate little statements begging for a home. Probably my favorite part of the entire book.
I”m giving Against All Odds 5 stars. I was hesitant at first because it’s not perfect. There were a few times I rolled my eyes, a few words were used repeatedly like “primal” and “raw” but at the end of the day I had to wonder if that even mattered. Angie’s debut is well written, well thought out, and well delivered. It’s a story unlike any other I’ve read and one that’s stayed with me days later. For me that deserves 5 stars.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*