Starting a new book by this author is always such a joyful feeling. Whether it’s a book in an already existing series or a first book in a new series like Fighting for Everything is. She has amazing writing skill and always knows how to ‘get to me’ on an emotional level not many authors know how to do to me and she always delivers such great reading experiences. So I definitely had some major expectations for this first book in a new series about army-vets and their story after they return from war and become a part of this Fighter Club.
And let me tell you; Laura Kaye delivered yet again! This book exceeded my expectations! What an emotional, heart-wrenching rollercoaster of a reading experience I just had, my god. This book is so much more than a romance story. This story is important and real and so, so beautiful
Let me start by talking some more about Noah – our male protagonist – first, because Noah.. my god, what a phenomenally written character he is. I fell for him hard. He’s this vet guy, who came back from war when he was injured badly and he lost a lot of friends. So aside from having to deal with his physical injuries – he has a TBI, traumatic brain injury – he’s suffering from severe PTSD as well. And in his case, depression plays a huge part of his life now. So when a romance is blooming between him and his life-long best friend Kristina, it’s the best thing happening to him, but his demons are slaying him and causing disaster for the two of them.
Since I’m suffering from depression myself for a couple of years now, it was so easy to put myself in Noah’s position and feel relatable to how Noah felt. Sure, I didn’t experience the exact things he did while he was at war since I’m not a soldier, but his thoughts and feelings regarding himself and how he felt and how he got worse, felt all so real and relatable and made this book a really emotional read to me. It split my heart wide open and I was completely lost in this story right from the beginning.
Despite agreeing to the best man at his brother’s wedding, Noah was rocking some not-so-healthy feelings about the whole thing. Resentment that his brother’s life seemed to be falling into place so easily. Jealousy that the guy had things Noah wasn’t sure he’d ever find, now. Because what woman would want a man so twisted up inside that on some level he resented his own brother’s happiness?
And Kristina was a really beautiful addition to this story, I think. I love friends-to-lovers-romances and this one was really special. Noah is this amazing, broken, character and Kristina remains hopeful, hoping she can get through to her friend while falling deeper in love with him. She’s funny, she’s loyal, she’s strong. She’s everything Noah needs and I loved reading her pov, loved reading how she thinks and feels regarding everything happening.
This story was such an intense and emotional read to me. Experiencing this beautiful romance developing, when at the same time Noah’s depression/PTSD is getting worse which definitely stirs up trouble for these two main characters. Noah remains in denial about his developing romantic feelings towards Kristina because he doesn’t think he deserves anything good anymore and Kristina tries so hard for herself and Noah to be there for him and help him and be the glue that holds him and their developing relationship together. But depression is a monster, lurking in the shadows to hit you when you’re at your lowest and really; you’re on your own when it comes to that point – Noah is definitely at that point in his life, that he feels like that and It’s so hard to come back from that.. In the end, YOU’re the one who has to DO something about it and it’s so hard seeing this beautiful romance developing and Kristina doing her best but her not 100% ‘reaching’ him. It’s hard reading from Kristina’s pov when all of this happens and there isn’t a thing she can really do for him except loving him while he pushes her away and it’s hard reading from his POV, knowing he’s at this point in his life.
“Depression does that. Makes everything seem worse than what it is. I know that first-hand.” Noah dropped his gaze to the floor again, and he fought against the know suddenly in his throat and the sting at the backs of his eyes for all he was worth. Because his depression had never been this bad, not even right after his injury. And deep down he hated himself for not being stronger, for not just willing himself to get the fuck over it already.
It’s thanks to Laura’s phenomenal writing that this book is yet again such an intense, emotional, heart-wrenching read from the beginning ‘till the end. Her writing about vets and PTSD and them suffering from mental and physical issues has been written down so beautiful and sad at the same time. It’s terrible, knowing how many vets are suffering each day like Noah does and how many don’t get the right help and/or never get to come back from this suffering, work on themselves and end up committing suicide. Every book/story Laura writes feels so palpable and real, but this book hit me the hardest in the best and worst way possible. Maybe because of the depression in this book and how it hits so close to home, but her way of writing about vets and them suffering from PTSD and such, is so incredibly touching and emotional and it hit me right in the feels.
He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen her expression as devastated as it’d been after those words spilled from his lips. Sure, she’d schooled her reaction pretty damn fast, but after nearly twenty years as her best friend, even when she didn’t want him to know what was going on in that pretty head, he could read her like an open book.
It was just that, he was devastated, too. Devastated to realize how much he wanted someone that he had no damn right to want – not when he didn’t have the ability to take care of her the way she deserved.
This book was such a beautiful, heart-wrenching, emotional, sad and realistic reading experience and one of the most impressive reads I’ve read so far. It’s a Laura Kaye read like no other I think, but at the same time, it’s everything I’d expected of this author, in the best way possible. This story really got to me and it made me cry, ache, love, laugh and cry some more. My heart was being ripped apart and I couldn’t do anything other than hoping Laura would put it back together again while experiencing it all alongside Noah and Kristina, two amazing characters who stole my heart in the process. I came to care for them SO much and they’ll be in my thoughts long after finishing this read, that’s for sure. The romance is so addictive and perfectly well developed, the sexiness is off the charts hot – as something Laura knows how to write so well. The chemistry between these characters sparks off the pages. The storyline development and most of all the amazing character development are all in perfect balance with one another. There isn’t one remark I could find to talk about, just none.
There’s so much to rant and fangirl about though, so much to love about this book. I can keep on gushing about this book forever, lol. I couldn’t stop reading, even though I was falling apart at the seams. This book is beautiful and special and the writing is just phenomenal. After this extremely extended review, I still feel like I haven’t nearly expressed enough how amazing the book is. I just can’t put into words how beautiful I think this book is and how huge of an impact it made on me. What a phenomenal first book in a new series and I already can’t wait to read the next books. If they’re anything near as good as this one is, I’m bound to buy a LOT of tissues and armor my heart, lol.
To Laura: THANK YOU SO MUCH for Fighting for Everything. With this story, you gave me something to hang on to when I’m experiencing my own darkness. I can’t put into words how much you made me feel thanks to reading Noah and Kristina’s story but I just had to put in a special note for you, thanking you for sharing this beautiful story. – “IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU”