Risking It All by Christi Barth

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 10th February 2016
Risking It All by Christi BarthRisking It All by Christi Barth
Series: Naked Men #1
Published by Loveswept on March 8th 2016
Pages: 305
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two-stars

Griffin Montgomery helps people. As a teenager, he kept his best friends alive after their soccer team’s bus crashed in the Alps. Now, as a Coast Guard search and rescue pilot, he saves lives with reckless abandon—until he goes too far and earns a lengthy suspension. Working on the Naked Men projects keeps his mind busy, but Griff’s itching to get back in the action. That’s when he finds his latest rescue mission: a pretty wallflower who’s stuck in her comfort zone.
Chloe Widmore doesn’t take risks. As a professional letter writer, she gets enough excitement out of expressing other people’s emotions. So when the hottest man she’s ever seen invades her coffee shop, Chloe surprises herself with how much she wants to be with him. Routines make her feel safe. Griff makes her deliciously unsafe, in so many ways. But falling for him is one risk she might just have to take . . . whether she’s ready or not.

A freak accident down the Italian mountainside years ago made Griffin Montgomery and his gang of soccer boys famous in ways that continued to affect their lives today. And that had been both a blessing and a burden, especially in a career that now involves calculated risks. Meeting Chloe Widmore is akin meeting his antithesis and like every other rescue attempt, his budding relationship with her stems from that deep-seated need to fix and patch. But Chloe’s particular resistance unearths what he has glossed over in his own life as well: his own risk-averse nature when it comes to commitments and what it really means to put his (not just professional) own self out there.

Chloe and Griffin seemed an unlikely pairing, coming together without reason after a chance meeting at a coffee shop. But I liked the subtext present there: that their relationship was really a reassessment about risk taking and the various valid definitions of it – and rightly so. Both Chloe and Griff have their own acceptable standards of what it means to live life on their own terms and yet I hated how Griff made Chloe’s chosen closeted life seem less than adequate after having gone through her own form of tragedy a decade ago. I thought her brave in her own way, just a little risk-averse, and completely underserving of the judgemental lectures and patronising putting down that her so-called best friend and Griff put her through.

I couldn’t shake the feeling though, that Griff and his buddies simply retained the frat-boy mentality in the way they spoke about women. I was frankly irked when they spoke about virginity like it was a commodity, not because it was precious but because taking it signalled commitment and other ties which they didn’t want. Which naturally made me think that the women Christi Barth has yet to reveal for all of them already deserved way better than these idiots. This prizing of a brotherhood-above-all bound by tragedy? Don’t quite count me in just yet.

‘Risking It All’ has been a mixed-bag for me. Characters and several questionable behaviour-arcs aside, I thought the book tended towards going off tangents and some odd dialogue/descriptive moments that broke the ease of the narrative. The series is promising however; but I’d appreciate more depth (and integrity) to these guys who suspiciously look like they have a lot more growing up to do for their ages.

two-stars

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