Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: Risking it All by Jennifer Schmidt

To sum it up: Kennedy Monroe barely got her foot in her college dorm her freshman year before she was being warned about a certain dark-haired, blue-eyed self-proclaimed Casanova. There were only so many tales of heartache – and incredibly steamy nights – she could listen to before she started to believe them. But after a run in with the most sought after college womanizer, her ill feelings toward him change and soon a friendship forms that surprises everyone.

Twelve years later Kennedy and Memphis Adams are closer than ever - and only friends despite what those around them think, including Kennedy’s boyfriend Ian Brooks. When Kennedy accepts an invitation to vacation in Alaska from Memphis, her relationship with Brooks is tested as is her restraint when it comes to the desire she has always had for her best friend.

Alone with Memphis in Alaska, Kennedy finds it increasingly harder to ignore temptation and wants nothing more than to give into her secret desires with the one man that has always been off limits. But is one night of passion worth the possible risk of losing their friendship over?

Feeling torn between doing the right thing and doing what she wants, Kennedy fears losing her best friend. She knows she needs to sort out her feelings for the two men in her life and deal with the consequences of her actions, but how can she when everything seems to be falling apart so fast? And how much can Memphis take before he’s pushed too far and can no longer take Kennedy’s inability to make a decision about what and who she wants?

Kennedy discovers the harsh reality of how one night can change everything and leave her risking it all…

David Gandy definitely fits the bill for my personal Memphis ♥ 

There are no words.


I really don’t think I’m going to be able to write this review without gushing- it just won’t be possible. And I apologize in advance for the length of this review... This book just affected me in ways not many books have, and I just had so much to say about the story. First of all, let me just go ahead and throw this out there: 

I love you Jennifer Schmidt. 

Thank you for finally writing another book revolving around a “love triangle” theme, that brought me to my knees to grovel at your feet in appreciation. I was initially really hesitant to start this book- I had read so many mixed reviews about the story, and after reading tons of books revolving around this theme I thought for sure it would end up being crap. 
Thoughtless spoiled any and all books revolving around love triangles for me- since the day I finished that book, I have yet to find another story that had me in awe as much as that book did… until Risking It All. This review is in no way a comparison between the two stories- Risking It All was a unique masterpiece all on its own. My point is, for the first time ever. I have officially found a book involving love triangles that rivals one of my favorite books of all time.

That takes freaking talent ladies and gentleman.

This is a story about two people who have an unbreakable relationship- Nothing and no one has ever gotten in the way of their bond, until an unexpected love found its way into their hearts. Memphis… Memphis… Memphis… *sigh* ...Just hearing that name and thinking about how flawless perfect he was makes me think of only one thing…


On a more serious note though, he truly is a new and favorite hero of mine- It’s hard to come across a story that features a character that holds a special place in your heart, and has you thinking about them long after you've finished the book- it takes incredible depth to make that happen. Known as the Campus Casanova, he was the guy who’s name came out of everyone’s lips- It was his “bad boy” facade that he used to pick up women, have a good time, and keep people from knowing the real Memphis Adams- But there was something special about one woman, who made him see that she was different from anyone he had been with, both physically and emotionally. Every other woman who came and went through his life were just another notch on his bed post; a means to an end. But with Kennedy it was different- He didn't want to sleep with her… he wanted to be her friend. And he knew if he took her to his bed, she wouldn't be. 

Kennedy on the other hand, knew things about Memphis that no one else knew. He trusted her in ways he never trusted anyone. And to her, that was worth more than sleeping with her number one forbidden desire. He had taught her so many things about herself- He showed her that it was okay to lose control sometimes, and that she needed to do things that made her happy, not her parents or anyone else for that matter. The friendship that she had grown with Memphis completed them both- He was still the carefree spirit commitment-free man he had always been, but that didn't make them any less inseparable. It was because of him that she no longer settled for less than what she wanted. He had been a part of her life for twelve years, and the relationship they had was unbreakable. 

The love that these two had for each other knows no bounds… It’s a friendship that anyone would be envious of. The thing I appreciated the most about this story, is the pace in which their relationship grew from friendship to something deeper. For once, I’m able to really get to know my characters on such an emotional level- As a reader, we get to see the strength of their friendship first, which was such a breath of fresh air from so many books now-a-days. Memphis was extremely protective of Kennedy, and not only was it swoon-worthy, but it really showed the depth of his feelings for her. He let no one treat her unkindly, or make her feel any less than what he felt like she was in his eyes. Kennedy let nothing or no one take his place in her heart- If you were a part of her life, then Memphis being her best friend was a package deal… If anyone had a problem with that, then they weren't worth her time. They had so much faith in each other, and getting to see their relationship as strictly friends before taking a step in a different direction really made it impossible not to develop such an emotional connection with these two. 

I’m not going to go into much detail when it comes to this story- I don’t want to give anything away and take away from the sheer enjoyment and experience that I got from reading this book from start to finish. I know that for a lot of readers, Kennedy’s indecisiveness, stupid behavior, and dumb decisions made them extremely frustrated- And I can definitely understand where they’re coming from. But before starting this book, I was prepared for it. After reading so many other books revolving around a love triangle, I've learned and accepted that more than likely the heroine is going to act like… well… an idiot at times. But for me, it just comes with the territory when reading books with this type of theme. I honestly really liked Kennedy, and her behavior and actions never affected the story for me. Sure, she may have said and did many things that gave me the urge to throw my kindle against a brick wall… but she was real. It’s so easy for us readers to read a story and see for ourselves that someone is making a bad decision and to know what the obvious and right choice is- But I understood Kennedy’s struggle… that didn't mean that I agreed with some of the things that she did or said, but I could understand her reasoning. Kennedy and Memphis had been the best of friends for twelve years.

Twelve Years. 

Throughout all of that time, never once did any kind of sexual thing happen between the two of them. They both didn't want to ever risk their friendship by crossing the line, because they knew that once that happened things would never be the same. Their relationship with each other was the most important relationship of both of their lives- It completed them, and they completed each other. They trusted each other in ways they've never trusted anyone else- Nothing had ever come in between them, which is why I understood Kennedy’s reasoning and confusion when it came to the feelings she was experiencing for Memphis. She knew that if she lost him, she would have lost everything that was ever important or meant something to her. That’s how strong their friendship was. She not only had that to consider, but she was also involved with a man she had been with for over two years- It was easy to read the story and watch her and Brooks’ relationship unfold, and see how much he paled in comparison to the way Memphis treated her- But nevertheless, he was still an important factor in her life. Ultimately, she had a very important decision to make when it came to what happily-ever-after she felt would be best not only for everyone involved, but for herself as well. I just knew to expect feelings of frustration and annoyance- And in the end, it never ended up affecting the way I felt about the story. 

Risking It All was full of angst and emotion- Going from best friends to lovers isn’t a smooth journey, by any means. Taking their relationship down an unknown path was scary for both Memphis and Kennedy. Kennedy knew Memphis wasn’t the hearts and flowers, until death do us part type of guy. And to make matters even more complicated, Kennedy had a boyfriend who had been a part of her life for two years- But the further along she got in her relationship with him, the more she realized that he wasn’t there for her like Memphis had been, and if she was wasting her time on a man who wouldn’t be there for her, then why not pick up with the man who already was? However, just because she had these thoughts didn’t mean that she should act on them- She knew that wouldn’t solve any of her problems, it would just create more… and the last thing she wanted to do was risk losing both men in the end because of her stupidity…

I loved how this story was told in Kennedy’s POV- I’m getting a little worn out reading books that feature both the hero and the heroine’s thoughts… time and time again, when a book gets told in the man’s perspective, the only thing he seems to think about is how beautiful the heroine is, or how much he wants to take her to bed- Very rarely is there any depth in the hero’s train of thought which is why this book had such a different effect on me than the others I seem to be picking up lately. I’ve also rarely read a book revolving around two people who had such a powerful connection like both Kennedy and Memphis shared. They put each other first always, and the author really expressed that through her writing. I truly can’t express how much I loved this story- Not many books make it to my “favorites” shelf, but I’m proud to say that I can now add another one to my collection. I’m sure a lot of you out there are hesitant to buy this book because of the expensive price- Trust me, I had my mouse hovering over the “Buy Now” button for a solid five minutes before being brave enough to give it a shot… It’s a decision that I couldn’t be happier about having made, and one that I definitely don’t regret.


Erika said...

I think i'll give this book a try as i've never read a book about love triangles before (i suppose the hunger games doesn't count in that category)

Maria D. said...

I'll add this book to my list - I've never ready anything by this author but this sounds really interesting.

Alyssa said...

Erika- Definitely give this book a try! It's so good! Although, if you've never read a book revolving around love triangles, then read Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens first! That book is pure GENIUS and the author does that theme flawlessly!

Maria- It's a really good book! Give it a go for sure! :)


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