Against the Odds (North Oak: Book 7) by Ann Hunter

Publisher: Rebel House Ink

Date of publication: July 24th, 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Equestrian

Series: North Oak

Born to Run—book 1 (review here)

Yearling—book 2 (review here)

Morning Glory—book 3 (review here)

To Bottle Lightening—book 4 (review here)

Far Turn—book 5 (review here)

Dark Horse—book 6 (review here)

Against the Odds—book 7

Ride for Glory—book 8

Hard Boot—book 9

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alex’s racing career starts with Venus Nights, the filly she helped birth into the world, and a head case mare named Florescent Cheerio who Brooke has claimed.

When things go missing around the North Oak barns, Alex is sure she is being stalked. What’s more is Venus Galaxies has foaled twins, fighting for their lives to survive. Can they beat the odds?

First Line:

Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Anderson zipped her racing silks, tucking the tails into her bright white breeches.

Against the Odds by Ann Hunter

Alex is finally getting her life back in order and is ready to start racing. She is racing again and excitedly waiting for Venus Galaxy to foal. But, when Alex notices that her belongings are going missing, Alex immediately thinks she is being stalked. Then she has an accident while warming up a horse known for being unpredictable and is benched while her arm heals. During that time, Alex is confronted by the past she left behind and her soul horse giving birth to twins. Will Alex be able to face her past? Will the twin foals and Venus Galaxy survive?

When I started to get ready to read this book, I did some brush-up reading about horse racing, horse farms, and jockeys. What I read fascinated me. Women make up 27.2% of jockeys in horse racing (stated in this article), making it a male-dominated sport. So, to have a teenage girl (OK, woman) trying to break into this world was fascinating. What I read aligned with what the author portrayed (the sexist remarks made to Alex at the beginning of the book). That, along with a twist I genuinely didn’t see coming (even though the author warned me), made this book fantastic.

Against the Odds is the 7th book in the North Oak series. While this could be read as a stand-alone book, I recommend reading books 1-6 first. That way, you better understand Alex, her background, and the backstories of the other people in the book.

Against the Odds is a fast-paced book mostly set on a horse farm in Hamlin, Kentucky. I feel that the book’s pacing was perfect for it. It matched Alex’s energy and her whip-fast responses to people and situations. I had no issue following the storyline. There was no backtracking or me going, “Huh, what?” at any point in this book.

The main storyline of Against the Odds is focused on Alex, her continuing recovery from rape, her racing ambitions, her relationships (romantic and otherwise), and her love of horses. Against the Odds was a well-written storyline that kept me glued to the book. There was also a massive twist in the storyline that I didn’t see coming.

I liked Alex, but was she stubborn, like her being mad at her foster mother about something I can’t mention because of spoilers. That went on for more than half the book!! I worried about her health, mainly when she started skipping meals and throwing herself up. I worried about how it would affect her racing (which it did) and how the people in her life would help her. I also worried for her mental well-being and wondered (out loud, which earned a look from my SO). But the author addressed my worries and some in the book. I also loved her interactions with the horses. Her respect and love for these animals shone through the book.

I was thrilled when the author let Brooke have her chapters. It was nice to see Alex through someone else’s eyes. It was also nice to see the races/training of the racehorses through someone else other than Alex. I did laugh when she rescued Fluorescent Cheerio (the name alone made me giggle), but I didn’t laugh when I realized precisely what horse Flo was and how she was treated.

Alex’s relationships were still as messy as in the previous six books. She still had feelings for both Dejado and Carol. But, what was interesting, was that the author threw Brooke into the mix. Brooke had feelings for Dejado, which he didn’t return. While I want a resolution to the jumble, I like figuring out who will end up with whom.

The horses were still the main focus of the book. I was on pins and needles with Venus Galaxies foaling. That whole chapter had me biting my nails. I know that twin foals sometimes don’t survive birthing, and I wondered if that was how the author would go with the storyline. Also, Fluorescent Cheerio was a welcome distraction to the book. I loved her personality. She also came so far in the book. From an abused horse to one that was happy but had quirks. I loved it!!

I didn’t see the twist in this storyline coming. Honestly, I thought it was Brad stalking Alex. I didn’t expect what was revealed. My jaw dropped, and I had to put my Kindle down. After the shock wore off, I got very angry with North. This was something that Alex should have known way before she found out the way she did. But, at the same time, I was pretty excited to see how this twist will affect Alex.

The end of Against the Odds was interesting. It set the stage for book 8. There were no endings of storylines; everything was left in the air.

I recommend Against the Odds to anyone over 16. There is language, mild violence, and no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Ann Hunter for allowing me to read and review Against the Odds. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Against the Odds, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Ann Hunter:

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