Title: Against All Odds (Against, #1)
Author: Angie McKeon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 2 2014
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.
I know in this moment that we’re fucked. Our lives are fucked. We’re too tortured to face these problems. Our hearts aren’t just broken—they’re shattered, the splintered pieces never to be whole again.
Angie, as a lot of you probably know, is an established blogger and respected reviewer from Angie's Dreamy Reads. Plenty of bloggers attempt to make the jump from reviewer to author but it’s one thing to write a review of someone else’s work and another thing entirely to come up with something original and captivating and Angie really does achieve this with Against All Odds and seamlessly makes the transition from reviewer to writer.
This is one heck of an angsty ride. Coop and Kylie are blissfully happily married and we join them in a moment of utter despair just as Kylie has just given birth to a stillborn daughter, Kayla, and I swear I was sobbing by the end of the prologue. It’s intensely sad – probably the worst pain anyone can ever expect to endure is the loss of a child and it’s very poignantly handled here.
I know this is killing him as much as it is me. He rubs his big, shaking hand gently over her tiny head. He looks as though he’s being tortured. Sobs rip through his body as he wraps his arms around me and our precious bundle while climbing into bed with us. I feel myself collapse against his chest as we sob over our loss.
We jump forward two years and grief and loss have viciously torn Coop and Kylie apart. They’re still married but only just. They’ve opened up their marriage, are no longer faithful and nothing but bitterness and resentment exists between them. Their happiness, once so all consuming, is now buried in the cold ground with their baby daughter and these are two truly unhappy, grief ravaged individuals. They’re lost, floundering, hardly knowing what to do next – the happiness they once shared is now a distant memory.
This is such a harrowing read – Angie McKeon really does a fantastic job of highlighting how deep their sense of grief and loss is and how they handle this. Not well, it seems. They’ve grown apart but, deep down, still deeply love one another and the emotional agony in this novel is palpable. Pain is etched into every word and bleeds from every paragraph. It’s such an angsty read – I swear I welled up on numerous occasions. The flash backs to their happiness before the loss of the daughter really do showcase how far these two have fallen as a couple and it’s just so incredibly SAD.
The cheating and love triangle in this novel definitely won’t work for everyone but I really do applaud Angie for trying to do something brave and different – and it is refreshingly different. The first 75% or so of this novel were worthy of a 4.5 – 5 star rating just for the stark pain it invoked and, even though I enjoyed the last part of the novel, it just didn’t have the same impact as the angst-filled first part of the story.
BUT, I’d highly recommend this for a book that will really make you ‘feel’ and consume your waking thoughts while you read it. My heart hurts badly for sweet Gray, the remaining third of the love triangle, who we leave truly heartbroken. Thankfully, he is to get his own story – the poor guy really deserves a little happiness.
So, all in all, a highly accomplished debut from Angie with the promise of more to come.
“Look at me, Kylie,” he says.
If I look at him, I’ll die. My heart will crumble, and I won’t make it out of his office. I can’t do it. The pain is unbearable. When I leave here, he’s with her. The thought of him with her, while I’m pining away for him makes me sick.
It destroys me.
“Please, Ky. I need you to look at me. Don’t do this. Don’t play fucking games with me. I need you to look at me now.”
Just do it. Suck it up.
I turn around and look at him with tears in my eyes and distress smeared across my features like paint on a canvas. My body seeps anguish I can’t hide. I can never hide my heart. My feelings are always written on every seam of my face, every angle of my form. My distress penetrates the air around me, pulling him into my suffering, entangling and entrapping him within the storm that rages in me. I’m broken without him and I’ve been without him for so long that I’ve lost pieces of myself along the way. The jar that holds the last of my heart is about to shatter until nothing is left but shards of the woman I used to be.
“I can’t take this anymore,” I whisper, my voice broken. “We need to talk about us over dinner.”
I can’t give a voice to my thoughts. If nothing changes between now and then, our marriage can’t go on. He’s killing me, and I’m killing him. Together, we’re a car wreck heading straight for a cliff. A cliff that spans a mountain. We are on our way to certain emotional death and this ride’s something I don’t want to be a part of anymore. I want off.
His eyes pierce mine, and I know he knows what I’m thinking. He looks stunned, and for a split second, I see fear. Cold, fucking fear. He sees everything I need him to see and more. I hope he gets it. I hope he understands that this might be the end of our road. We need to have something to work for, or we have nothing. I love him, but this love hurts. It hurts in a way I would’ve never dreamed it could.
All rights reserved. Against All Odds © 2014 Copyright, Angie McKeon.
All three aforementioned addictions are detrimental to my sanity.
I have a voracious appetite for dark, painful and twisted reads. I'm enamored with the concept of love and heart break. I believe life is a journey, a tale in its own for each of us. The road to happiness is sometimes paved with stones from hell, or glitters of satisfaction graced from the heavens above.
In my upcoming debut novel, 'Against All Odds,' I strive to make you feel. I believe any emotion—whether painful or happy—is good. To me, the key to living is to go through life feeling its ups and downs. Love is dark and it can be painful but, at the end of the day, it can save the most lost of souls and the most broken of hearts
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