Release Day Review and Giveaway! TRYING IT ALL by Christi Barth (Naked Men #4)

Riley’s brain tells him she’s a ticking time bomb—but his body doesn’t want to play by the rules.

TRYING IT ALL
Naked Men #4
Christi Barth
Releasing May 16, 2017
Loveswept
Order. Attention to detail. Never leaving anything to chance. These are the qualities that make Riley Ness such a terrific federal agent . . . and a pain in the ass to everyone else. The only time Riley lets loose is when he’s hanging out with his closest pals. So when he’s thrown together with gorgeous, flighty Summer Sheridan, Riley’s brain tells him she’s a ticking time bomb—but his body doesn’t want to play by the rules.
Riley has to be the most irritating man Summer has ever met. The brooding hunk thinks he needs to teach her a few lessons about real life, while she’d rather show him how to enjoy it. But her BFF’s all but engaged to Riley’s best friend, and besides, their intense physical chemistry is all too real. Summer just needs Riley to try to meet her halfway and take a chance with the one thing that matters: his heart.

“Living forever’s only fun if you truly live.”

That jab stung. Because it was the same riff the guys threw at him, over and over again. “I live. I just follow the rules. Obey the speed limit. Turn off my phone before the plane starts to taxi.”

Summer tossed her cloud of hair back. Gave him a knowing look. No, a knowing smirk. “Oh, I get it now.”

“What?”

“You’re not uptight. You’re chicken.”

The woman had crossed a line. He’d gone through wilderness training and survival training. He’d climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Become a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’d pushed himself to physical and mental limits most men wouldn’t be able to attain. Being sensible? In no fucking way was it comparable to being scared.

Riley’s long strides ate up the distance between them. Furious, he spat out, “You want me to try something risky?”

“Yes. Just once. But I don’t think you’ve got the balls,” she taunted.

Riley grabbed her face with both hands. Her lips parted in surprise. And he swooped right onto them.

Her lips were soft. So soft and pliable it almost deterred him. But then . . . they were so soft and pliable that he couldn’t possibly stop. Instead of holding her still, his hands curved to cup the back of her head, his thumbs caressing those impossibly high cheekbones that gave her the look of someone made to walk a runway.

Riley nipped at her wide bottom lip. Soothed it with a stroke of his tongue that savored the sweet, lingering tang of the orange cream cheese icing on the cinnamon rolls from brunch. He wanted to keep going. To nip and bite and lick down her neck, over the side of the breasts she flashed at him all day. To gobble down her sweetness and spice just like he had those rolls.

Her moan refocused him. This wasn’t just following through on a dare anymore. This was a real kiss. A real moment of pure, physical pleasure. So he dropped his hands to the small of her back and hauled Summer tight against him.

Thanks to her ridiculous—and ridiculously sexy—high heels, everything lined up right. The notch between her thighs ground right against his dick behind the suddenly too-tight fly of his shorts. Breasts plumped against his chest. Breasts he was pretty sure he could fit entirely into his mouth . . . since he might have pictured them a time or ten since meeting her in the spring. Tight nipples insistently poked at his pecs.

The kiss kept going. Ry slipped his tongue in as she let out a kittenish purr. God, it was the sexiest sound he’d ever heard. The soft, tiny mewl fired through his blood. Fired him up. His tongue tangled with hers. Like they were two swords, fencing for the win. Because there would damn sure be a winner. The way they were grappling at each other? It wasn’t just fun. It was about proving something.

Her mouth—made for kissing. And more. His tongue slid deep. Felt her wetness. And Riley couldn’t help imagining how all that warm wetness would feel locked around another part of his body. Summer’s hands came up to fist in his shirt. Shit—for a second, he worried she’d push him away. But then those fists pulled him even closer. One smooth calf twined around his. He wanted to walk her back ten steps to the nearest tree and just sink into her.

Which was crazy. Riley didn’t even like this woman. He’d kissed her to save his pride. To defend his honor. To get her off his back. And now he wanted to put Summer on hers, spread her thighs, and—

That was it. Riley let go. Let go of the sweet ass he didn’t even remember moving down to squeeze. Let go of those luscious lips. Yanked his head back and deliberately stepped out of the semicircle of her curved leg.

“You and I both know that was the riskiest damn thing I could possibly do today.” Riley looked at her still unfocused eyes, her kiss-swollen lips. Proof that she’d enjoyed it every bit as much as he had. “Oh, and you also know now that I’ve got the balls. I’ve got the whole package.”

 Yes! Summer’s book! I’ve been waiting for this one since book one, Wanting It All , when her bestie Chloe fell for Griffin. Fortunately, it did not at all disappoint.

Summer and Riley represented everything that is awesome about enemies-to-lovers stories. Their initial antagonism, mixed in with inexplicable attraction, confused with tow-curling kisses–just fantastic. The fact that he’s the (overly anal, it must be said) prepares-for-everything guy and she’s the woman who thinks getting a puppy is too much of a commitment and smacks of future plans? Just adds to the deliciousness of the story. Add in the fact that the rest of the Naked Men are around, poking their noses into Ry’s business from start to finish? Pretty much ensures the story’s awesomeness from start to finish.

(Plus, for those who’ve been reading the series since the beginning, something FREAKING AWESOME happens with an earlier hero and heroine. I very nearly stood up and cheered at that point.)

The one odd aspect of this book, though, is that a lot of the scenes that get a lot of buildup in the narrative don’t actually end up happening on the page (a stressful Naked Men podcast first, a meet-the-parents moment, just to name two). It’s not a huge issue, but it did give the story a somewhat choppy feeling. At the same time, it kept the story moving along at a good clip, but…still felt a bit odd.

Overall, Trying it All was a fun and sexy read with two characters who both did their own share of work to get to their eventual HEA. The fact that they both realized their own issues, owned up to them, and put in equal effort going forward might make this one my favorite of the series (so far–Josh, you’re on notice!). It could work as a standalone, but really, do yourself a favor and read them all. You won’t be sorry!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


USA Today
 bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!)
or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the
world.

 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! GIVING IT ALL by Christi Barth (Naked Men #3)

Giving It All
by Christi Barth
Series: Naked Men, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2017

Logan Marsh never stays in one place for long. Through his family’s foundation, Logan spends his days traveling to the world’s most dangerous places to deliver disaster relief, which really puts a damper on his sex life—until he reconnects with his high-school crush. Stranded together in the Caribbean, they enjoy a steamy fling that awakens feelings Logan has ignored for too long. But family drama calls him away from her sweet embrace . . . or so he thinks.

Brooke Gallagher loved being a home economics teacher and cheerleading coach. Then an unexpected tragedy forced her to take some time off. Now she’s back in D.C. and despite the intensity of her tropical encounter with Logan, she’s shocked to bump into him again. Logan’s dealing with his own issues (including a newly discovered half-sister) and he’s itching to get back on the road. More than anything, Brooke wants to be there for him. But first, he has to decide if love is enough to keep him in one place.

 

 

Logan’s book!

Ms. Barth has been driving me crazy with the idea of Logan–we’ve only seen him so far in the books either in flashbacks to their Italy adventure (which, as he was the one who didn’t make the bus that day, he was barely in either, until the one in this book), conversations about him, or in a small handful of sat phone calls in book two ( Wanting It All ). I’ve been more than ready to finally get to see him in person!

In a lot of ways, Logan’s book does not disappoint. It was awesome seeing all of the ACSs together again at last–finally!–and about time Logan joined in on both their soccer games and the radio podcast. Logan and Brooke together are a great couple–(high school) friends-to-lovers–and it was clear to everyone but them for about 85% of the book (okay, maybe 75% for Brooke, 95% for Logan–that average works out, yes?) that they should be together. But…there’s issues. Of course.

I think it’s pretty clear from the beginning that Logan’s been carrying some heavy-duty baggage from the accident/rescue in the Alps days, and it’s still driving him in the present. Early in the book he pooh-poohs the idea that he’s suffering from PTSD or similar, but I think he really is–and worry that the “realizations” he comes to toward the end of the book are too quick and not built on a solid enough foundation. Yes, he gets to where readers and his fellow characters want him to be, but it doesn’t quite seem like he’s done enough to really get there on his own.

But, hey–it’s fiction. It could work. And really, I do like both Logan and Brooke and enjoyed their story on the whole, easy resolution aside. It’s always fun to see one of my favorite cities from the viewpoint of a group of locals, and imagining those ACS soccer games makes for some nice mental eye candy moments.

Two more “Naked Men” to go!

Rating: 4 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

 

 

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.

A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series. Christi can always be found whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release Review! WANTING IT ALL by Christi Barth (Naked Men #2)

Wanting It All
by Christi Barth

Synopsis:

In the follow-up to Risking It All, hailed by Lauren Layne as “the perfect escapist read,” the heartthrobs of the Naked Men blog and podcast get a little too real about friendship, love, and sex. For one wealthy bachelor, the trouble starts when all three collide. . . .

After narrowly surviving a bus crash in high school with his best friends, science geek Knox Davis resolved to become so successful that he could have anything and everything he wants. Now he’s über-wealthy, a huge business success, and a notorious ladies’ man. Knox refuses to limit himself to one woman, but when his latest conquest—a blond beauty from the Alaskan bush—challenges his superficial ways, Knox begins to see the world through her eyes, and finds he likes what he sees.

A nurturer at heart, Madison Abbott wants to put down roots. She left Alaska to meet Mr. Right—and to track down Logan, the half-brother she’s never met. Instead, she finds Knox. Although the sexy-as-sin bachelor may not seem like marriage material, Madison’s starting to think that Knox is The One. But Knox refuses to settle down, especially once he learns that Madison is his best friend’s little sister. Now it’s up to her to convince Knox that she’s everything he really wants.

 

Review:

The second Naked Men series book had such a strong start. I really love the ACSs (Italian abbreviation for “American soccer survivors”)–the dynamic between these guys, and the women who intersect their orbit, is great. Former scholarship student/geek turned bazillionaire fashion plate/tech guru Knox and Library of Congress librarian (!) Madison are absolutely adorable together. For 60+% of the book, I was in love.

But…it kinda goes off the rails in the last third or so. While I realize that the person who said yes to a marriage proposal one week into a relationship shouldn’t point fingers (in my defense, I figured he 1) was kidding or 2) was insane, and either way, I could easily get out of it later, since the only witness was fast asleep–and we didn’t make it official for 5 more months and the actual event was 2 years later–that all makes it more sane, yes?), there were so many, many things that happened in that last third that had me shaking my head.

1) Madison’s declaration to all and sundry that she’s in D.C. to get married. Um…okay. Not sure you need to tell everyone that quite so fast, especially the commitment-phobic womanizer you just met and started to date, and hey, you’re only twenty-four. It’s not Regency England, so take a breath, okay? Maybe enjoy living somewhere other than Alaska and your brand new job at the LoC for a few minutes first?

2) Though you could see who her mystery half-brother was going to be about a million miles away, it’s still a pretty convenient coincidence.

3) Expecting that previously-oblivious-to-her-existence half-brother to have an instant sibling love connection? Slightly unrealistic. Springing it on the guy 1) at the crack of dawn 2) on a sat phone call from halfway around the world 3) without any easing into it at all and 4) with said half-sister right there, expecting that instant connection? Not fair. Ripping into the guy for not taking it well? Beyond not fair.

4) Mystery half-brother is yelled at, threatened, and then extends a completely insane email invite to his half-sister, whom he still hasn’t met in person. What the what? And Ms. I-have-my-brand-new-dream-job considers it? What???

5) My brow is still furrowed from Madison’s and Knox’s friends’ pep talks toward the end. Were those really supposed to be helpful and supportive?

Sigh.

Still–such a strong start. Chemistry and cuteness all over the place! Set in one of my favorite places in the world! Madison’s a librarian! Jerry’s the butler I never knew I wanted!

Final verdict? I really do love all of these characters, and Ms. Barth’s writing has some truly funny moments throughout. It shouldn’t be too hard to put the crazy aside and look forward to book three–Logan’s story! (Giving It All: A Naked Men Novel)

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Release Day Review! RISKING IT ALL by Christi Barth (Naked Men #1)

Title: Risking It All
Series: Naked Men #1  
 Author: Christi Barth
 Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release
Date: March 8, 2016

Blurb:

 Who doesn’t love Naked Men? In Christi Barth’s irresistible series, a group of close-knit friends talk out their problems with naked honesty on a popular blog. Bonded by a high-school tragedy, they’re moving on from the past—and fighting for the future with strong and sassy women.

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.

 

Review:

This was such a fun read–I can’t wait for the rest of the series!

I wasn’t too sure about this one initially–the series name gave me pause–but I read the blurb and took a chance, and now I’m so glad I asked to review it. I loved the relationship between Griff and his four best friends (though we only see three of them in the bulk of the novel); just about every time they showed up en masse on the page, it was a riot. I’m really looking forward to seeing each and every one of them get their own HEA (and if Summer, Chloe’s BFF, gets an HEA with one of them too, then–bonus!)

Chloe and Griff are a great couple–the reclusive letter writer and the risk-taking Coast Guard rescue pilot–even though they look like they wouldn’t be at all compatible at first, they end up totally working, and even end up having a lot more in common than it originally seemed. I have to admit, that at first Griff’s reaction to Chloe’s big “news” 

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 made me more than a little annoyed with him, but when he talked it out with his posse, it made more sense. (It was still a aggravating, but I could at least see their POV on the issue.) By the time the two of them took care of the “problem”, though, all was good–because Griff was so gosh darn sweet about it.

Letter writing, Who knew? 😉

Even though Chloe had issues galore, I still had to love her for this line alone:

working a literary reference into real life always perked her up

because who doesn’t love a good literary reference? It takes mad skills to work them into everyday conversation. Plus she gets to work in yoga pants and hoodies. She’s practically my idol…and then she got Griff. Slightly nerdy girls for the win!

So…where exactly in DC do I need to hang out to get to watch these guys play soccer? 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
AMAZON US / UK
Author Bio:

Christi Barth
earned a master’s degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance. Barth lives in Maryland with her husband.
Author Links:
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