My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kele Moon’s “Defying the Odds” surprised me. Usually when I say that a book can make me laugh and enjoy the journey enough to think well of it, despite common themes and progressions, I give it the benefit of the doubt. This book made me like Clay and Melody enough to watch where they would go in the course of this novel. The story revolves around a UFC fighter (who is actually shown training in this work, as opposed to other novels that sort of gloss over it) named Clay who meets a sweet waitress named Melody. The two meet on a Thanksgiving night and Melody gives him a pie on the house. Clay’s totally taken by the gesture (even if he hates the pie) and the two begin a rather charming process of getting to know each other. However, Melody’s in hot water because an abusive ex searches for her and that threatens her livelihood and tentative, meager residence in the town. Clay does the usual “Protective lover want to crush abuser” assertion when he finds out about Melody’s past, but surprisingly, I didn’t find it as offensive or duly formulaic here as it’s been presented in other novels. The characters were actually interesting to get to know and it does the humor well in spurts. Plus, there’s enough dynamics here to keep the ball rolling up until the final page. Is it the best read I’ve perused in this particular genre and of its type? Not necessarily, but it made me enjoy the ride. I appreciated Kele Moon’s prose and presentation enough to check into her other novels, as well as anticipate the next book in this series.
Overall score: 3/5
Note: I received this as an ARC on NetGalley, from the publisher Loose ID.