Cover Image: Don't You Dare

Don't You Dare

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Member Reviews

Excellent, solid thriller. This had all the makings of a great read - well done character development, solid twists and the right amount of suspense to keep me engaged.
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"Don't You Dare" by Jessica Hamilton is an electrifying, rollercoaster of a psychological thriller that left me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. This captivating novel is an absolute gem that deserves all the praise it can get.

Hamilton's storytelling prowess is evident throughout the book. Her writing style is crisp, descriptive, and masterful, making it effortless for readers to immerse themselves in the dark and suspenseful world she has created. The pacing is perfect, with just the right balance of tension, twists, and revelations that kept me guessing at every turn.

The characters in "Don't You Dare" are exceptionally well-drawn, complex, and multi-dimensional. I found myself deeply invested in their fates, and Hamilton's ability to create such relatable and believable characters in such a chilling and surreal setting is truly commendable.

The plot is a heart-pounding exploration of fear, trust, and the depths of the human psyche. With every chapter, I was drawn deeper into the mystery, unable to put the book down as I sought to uncover the truth behind the gripping events that unfolded.

Jessica Hamilton has managed to craft a thriller that not only keeps you glued to the pages but also leaves you reflecting long after you've finished the book. "Don't You Dare" is a gripping and unforgettable read, and I can't recommend it enough to fans of the psychological thriller genre. It's a masterclass in suspense and storytelling, and I eagerly anticipate more from this talented author in the future.
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Let me begin by saying:
I had so much fun with this book!

Hannah is a lonely and unhappy mother of two who is bored with her mundane routine lifestyle when she receives a letter inviting her to renew the 'daring game,' a game well known to her in college. The game goes like this: Make a dare. the dares get more dangerous as they come, and in college it ends in disaster. Fast forward 16 years later, and Hannah is more than ready to begin again. Boredom can totally cause bad decision making...

All in all I really enjoyed this title! I though the dare game was super exciting, which was the whole reason for me picking this book in the first place. The characters were so enjoyable. I have a special place in my heart for books that involve possibly deadly and dangerous games, and this hit the spot.

The only criticism I could even possibly have is that I do wish it were a bit darker. 

I'm a disturbed soul, what can I say?
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This was an ok book! I felt the concept a little immature for grown adults to be playing, but it wasn't a bad book to read!
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Rating: 3.3/5 
Author Read Alikes: Jennifer Fawcett, C.J. Cooke, Rachel Harrison
In Short: Slow crawl of intrigue, but unlikeable characters. 

This one took me a while to review, because I honestly didn't know how to feel about this book. It offers some early intrigue, but my biggest issue is I didn't feel connected to these characters, nor feel any of them were likeable. I wasn't into the idea that a grown woman with a family would play "the daring game", despite her considerable issues. 
I feel like one read closer to a YA and I was searching to find a deeper connection to Hannah and I personally didn't find it. In saying all of this, there was enough intrigue and hints to make me want to get to the end. Hannah's husband comes off as controlling and annoying, so that's the one thing that made me want to root for her! 
I can see others really enjoying this book, but it wasn't my thing (hence the middle rating).
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This was a DNF for me at about 50%. I really did try to like it but it felt ridiculously juvenile. A story about grown adults playing a dare game had potential but this was like two teenagers picking up where they left off, having not grown one iota over the years, seriously stunted humans. What little storyline there was between the nonstop sex scenes (I mean, seriously, we get it)  just highlighted how unlikable the characters were and I lost interest in even finding out what the twist was..
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Book Review: “Don’t You Dare” by Jessica Hamilton

⭐⭐⭐.5 of of 5 stars


When Hannah and Scarlett meet Thomas in college, the chemistry between them is immediate. They become closer as they engage in the Daring Game, a series of escalating dares. However, their bond is tested when jealousy arises, and Scarlett dares Thomas one last time, leading to a tragic outcome. Thomas is expelled from school and disappears without a trace, seemingly putting an end to the Daring Game.

Sixteen years later, Hannah finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage and a dissatisfying life. Then, out of the blue, she receives a mysterious email from Thomas himself about the Daring Game. With Scarlett no longer in the picture, the spark between Hannah and Thomas reignites. They decide to return to where it all began, only to be confronted with a single dare: to tell the truth.

But there’s a twist. Someone else is playing the game too, someone who knows about Hannah and Thomas’s affair. A cryptic message left in Hannah’s house warns her: “Don’t You Dare.” With a long list of potential suspects, including her nosy neighbor Libby and her vengeful husband, Hannah must risk everything she holds dear to uncover the truth.


First off, let’s appreciate the captivating cover of “Don’t You Dare” by Jessica Hamilton. It draws you in and sets the tone for an intriguing mystery. Now, let’s delve into my thoughts on the book.

1. Engaging Writing Style

Hamilton’s writing style is highly readable and keeps you turning the pages. The narrative flows smoothly, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story. The fast pace adds to the overall tension and excitement, making it difficult to put the book down.

2. Intriguing Plot

The plot of “Don’t You Dare” is undoubtedly intriguing. The concept of the Daring Game adds a thrilling twist, as each dare becomes riskier than the last. The mystery surrounding Thomas’ sudden disappearance and his reappearance years later pulls readers into a web of suspense and anticipation.

3. Juvenile Elements

One aspect that may divide readers is the perception of the Daring Game coming off as juvenile for middle-aged adults. While some may find it adds a unique layer to the story, others might feel that it detracts from the seriousness of the overall plot.

4. Underdeveloped Characters

In terms of character development, “Don’t You Dare” falls slightly short of expectations. While the plot takes center stage, the characters could have been more fleshed out. None of them come across as particularly likable, which may be intentional for the purpose of creating a sense of suspicion and mistrust.

5. Overall Entertainment Value

Despite its minor flaws, “Don’t You Dare” manages to entertain readers throughout its entirety. The combination of a gripping plot, fast-paced writing, and mysterious elements keeps readers engaged until the very end. While it may not blow you away, it certainly delivers an enjoyable reading experience.


In conclusion, “Don’t You Dare” by Jessica Hamilton presents an intriguing mystery that will keep readers hooked until the final page. With a fast-paced writing style and an engaging plot, it successfully captures the essence of suspense and anticipation. While some elements may come off as slightly juvenile and the characters could have been more developed, it ultimately provides an entertaining reading experience.

If you’re seeking a thrilling mystery that will keep you guessing until the end, “Don’t You Dare” is definitely worth adding to your reading list. So dare to uncover the truth and immerse yourself in this captivating tale by Jessica Hamilton.

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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I did not finish this due to how "steamy" it was, but I knew that going in. What I did read was intriguing and I'll probably skip to the end to see what happens. I did enjoy the writing and the mystery and wish I wasn't convicted to stop reading!
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I have tried and tried to finish this one and I don’t know what it is honestly but I just can not get into it.
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2.5/5 stars
A thriller that was just not too special. I wouldn’t recommend it, there was nothing spectacular about it. But I mostly disliked ALL the characters, our main character Hannah was irritable and delusional, her Husband was a manipulating asshole who belittled her at every moment he had way too many red flag, and then her bestie/lover Thomas just plain obsessive and gave me all the ick. Truthfully this whole book was full of toxic characters, so if that’s your jam then maybe pick this one up. I don’t shy away from a book with toxic characters but there are much better out there in my opinion, my suggestion would be to try Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering.
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Hannah is struggling in her marriage and hiding from her problems behind books and alcohol. Her life takes a turn when her old college friend, Thomas, rolls back into her life.

I struggled to get into this one. I have trouble with unreliable MC’s that get lost with alcohol. Life is hard, marriage is harder, but I found it hard to root for her with the choices she made knowing she had children.

The game was eerie, twisty, and wrong in so many interesting ways! Then all of the sudden the game is brought back, but who is sending Hannah and Thomas the dares? Maybe you can’t leave the past behind you.
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Sometimes your past can come back to haunt you. The mystery was good with clever twists here and there. 
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Don’t You Dare is a phenomenal read. It’s very twisty and I did not see the ending coming.  I am now a Jessica Hamilton fan.
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I got two notifications from my watch detailing that my stress was high & encouraging me to take a deep breath. I’d say that’s the sign of a good suspense/thriller. *Realistic* twists that make sense & 🌶️🌶️. Well done! 

Thank you Net Galley & to the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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If you love a book full of mystery, betrayl, dual timelines,, and suspense then you have chosen the right book. Right away I got engrossed in this story. Hannah and Thomas fall in love in college,  but their world gets ripped apart after playing The Daring Game. Years later in an unhappy marriage Hannah receives a letter from Thomas. These two come back together hard. Then someone starts threatening them. The past and present collide but who makes it through? This story left me on my toes!!!
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2.5 stars.

"Don't You Dare" by Jessica Hamilton is an ok mystery-but-not-really-thriller but lacks a lot of conviction and grit. It's full of unlikable characters (so if you're not into that, you probably won't like this book). The main character, Hannah, is yet another unhappy married woman who drinks herself into laziness, stubbornness, bitterness, and an early grave. Can we STOP with this trope already?! It's been beaten within an inch of its life and I am sick of it. Instead of being a complex, damaged character, she's just sort of a jerk. She and her childhood friends, Thomas and Scarlett, had a penchant for playing "the dare game" where they took turns back and forth daring each other to do increasingly dumb and dangerous things until the game went south and the stakes were raised to unimaginable levels. Thomas and Hannah were in love at one point, but Scarlett was always there as a third wheel, waiting to put the kibosh on their growing relationship. Through the years, they grew apart, until Thomas suddenly reappears in Hannah's life. They restart the dare game, just the two of them, and they also rekindle their relationship even though Hannah is still married with kids. Hannah, Thomas, and Scarlett's entire dynamic felt childish and silly to me, and so did their dares. I had a really difficult time believing that a mother who was so dedicated to her children would potentially sacrifice custody of her kids over an old fling. In fact, all of the characters in this book feel cartoonish, like Hannah's husband Evan and their neighbor Libby. I laughed because of how silly and villainous they were. Even though there is a romantic aspect to this story, none of the characters had any chemistry with one another, even the married couples. I was engaged by the story in the beginning, but the longer went on, the less I liked it. I especially didn't care for the ending, and it definitely doesn't stick the landing. It felt like it came out of nowhere. It's one of those "long game" kinds of endings that will leave you like, "Okay... I guess that makes sense, but there were virtually no clues about this so...????" The timeline also felt muddled and didn't add to the reading experience or the story. It only added to my confusion. Skip this one.

Thank you to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books, and Jessica Hamilton for the complimentary ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my review.
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Back in college, Hannah, Scarlett, and Thomas played a little game to pass the time. It was all fun and games until someone got hurt.

In present day, Hannah's life is lacking. So when Thomas walks back into it, she finds herself falling back into her old ways as if time hasn't passed them by.

This thriller is all sorts of fun, with differing timelines and a twist you're just not going to see coming. I found myself unable to put this read down, and I think I found a new author to be obsessed with. Definitely a fun summer read.
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Thank you to the publisher, author and netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book before release. 

Unfortunately this was not it for me. I wasn't enthralled by it and it started out slow for me and never seemed to go anywhere.
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In college, three friends, Hannah, Scarlett, and Thomas played a game, called the daring game. They would write down a dare for one of the other people, and they would have to complete it. The stakes continually got higher. If a dare was not completed, there would be punishment of some sort.  Hannah and Thomas had a very strong connection, and Scarlet always came between them.

In the present day, Hannah is an alcoholic stay at home mom in an unhappy marriage. She is bored with her life until Thomas shows up one day and reignites a spark in her. They decide that it would be harmless to start up the Baran game again, especially now that Scarlett is out of the way and living in Australia.  

It is clear, though, that one thing has not changed, the stakes appear to be getting higher when an anonymous third player joined the game. Who is this person and how do they know about the daring game? What are they trying to accomplish? Are they in danger or is someone just messing with them? 

The story is told in dual timelines bouncing from past to present, which I normally like.  I just felt it lacked an execution.

The characters were all completely unlikable. Hannah was very annoying, and was hard to feel any kind of empathy for her at any point in the book. She seemed to have a victim mentality, and did not take any accountability for her own actions. She seemed very immature.   Scarlett seems like a narcissist, and her part in the ending of the book just made no sense to me. It made her seem like a completely different person and glossed all over all of the bad things that she had done in the past.  Thomas was also not a good man.  He was a liar and completely unstable.  Don’t even get me started on the characters in the periphery.

This book just did not do it for me. I wouldn’t even consider this a psychological thriller. The “twist” was not earth shattering.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for letting me read a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was a really good read! I wanted to know what would happen. I became very invested!
The book had a great concept with the dare game, but as you read it , you see it is far more than the dare game alone. It tells the story of Hannah a 36-year-old stay at home mother of two kids. Hannah has become bored with her life as she is in a runt and every day is the same routine again and again; thus, when her ex-boyfriend comes to town and spices it up with the dare game, a game she played with him and Scarlet in college, Hannah is quick to jump aboard. The story is told in two timelines. One is in the present, and the other is when Hannah, Thomas and Scarlett were in college. I really enjoyed the college storyline and hearing about everything that happened! it was so intriguing! I also liked listening to the storyline between Hannah and her husband Evan, who I think is too good for Hannah. I loved the line where Hannah called her neighbor a lurker. It was so funny! That whole interaction between them was very entertaining!

I went through many emotions with Hannah. At times I felt sorry for her, not having a career and being stuck in the house with no prospects, in between four walls and kids to attend to all day along with daily household chores.
However, Hannah often neglected her household chores and preferred to spend all day reading and lounging around while dishes and household chores went undone. She was lazy and often neglected her motherly duties. I found her very annoying, and an unfit mother and found Evan's words about her to be true. She is the kind of person to complain about her lot in life without taking accountability. I just couldn't feel sorry for her, although I really did love reading about her. I also liked Evan a lot. He seems like a good father. a much better parent than Hannah is.

I was not particularly crazy about the narrator. I found it hard to identify with Tom's character because not enough was provided about him in the beginning, such as what he had been up to in the years after college; this made the reader have to rely on the narrator who was awful as Thomas's voice. It didn't feel like a real person but more like a voice that was a bit unnatural. And yes, I do realize I am reading about fictional characters, but that's what brings fictional characters to life, the feel of realistic qualities and personalities. It took me a little while to warm up to him and the narrator as well.

I do like that the book had twists and a turn I didn't expect. It was great and enjoyable read that I did not want to put down and I recommend it to anyone who is interested or on the fence about getting it. It is so good! and it kept moving right to the end. The book has great characters, great story telling, intrigue, turns, mystery, spice and humor whilst making you feel emotions throughout the book.
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