Cover Image: Don't You Dare

Don't You Dare

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Member Reviews

Don't You Dare spend another second not reading this suspenseful thriller! It was amazing! I had a pit in my stomach awaiting the outcome. I simply could not put it down without finding out how things were going to transpire. It was wonderfully written and totally suspenseful. I loved every word. 

Hannah & Scarlett are best friends. They do everything together and no one comes between them. When they meet Thomas he seems to seamlessly fit into their friendship and they quickly become a trio. To keep things interesting they begin playing The Daring Game where each dare becomes riskier than the last and the punishments for not completing a dare can be quite damaging. Thomas' last dare ends in tragedy and he is expelled from school and disappears without a trace. 
Sixteen years later Hannah is stuck in the midst of a failing marriage and Scarlett is galavanting across Australia living her best life. When Hannah receives a mysterious email from Thomas inviting her to the Daring Tree she jumps at the chance to see him again and add a little more excitement to her boring days.  Sparks quickly fly between them, but someone has been watching them and has other ideas about the secrets they keep and dares them to tell the truth.  As they try to keep their secret, the stakes grow higher as the unknown watcher leaves messages inside of Hannah's house and photographs their exploits. Hannah has no idea who she can trust and anyone could be the culprit.

A special thank you to the author, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for my ARC of this exciting upcoming thriller!
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This successfully created a discombobulated, heady atmosphere as Hannah reconnects with an old college friend and they bring back the dangerous game they played. Hannah's drinking makes her unreliable at times, but readers also get the stress of her depression, her failing marriage, and what that means when Thomas, who she's always had a strong connection to, returns. Solid.
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I could not finish enough of this book to be able to leave a comprehensive review, but I hope it finds its audience and I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy.
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I don’t even know what to say about this other than I gave it every chance and I just didn’t like it. 

This book is trying hard to be a thriller but then there’s just sex all the time whether it fits within that part of the storyline or not - I mean, if you wanna put out a romance then just say that?? Like I’m here for it, but not in the middle of a thriller when it doesn’t make sense. It was distracting and honestly made it feel like it was all over the place but in reality it wasn’t?? I don’t know. I feel like this just wasn’t for me. 

Now when I say I gave it every chance I mean it. I received an ebook quite some time ago through NetGalley (as in I got it in 2022) and I started it then but wasn’t feeling it so I left it for later. I started it again and wasn’t feeling it but saw the audiobook was available on NetGalley and was granted access. So I started the audiobook instead thinking maybe I needed the narrator to help me out. This was not the case for this book. I will say I don’t think I’d have finished the ebook, but this was the longest 9hrs 40mins of my life. I mean that’s not true, but it FELT like it so that’s something. 

Overall I think this was a promising story that didn’t hit the mark for me. Which is fine - it happens. I definitely did like the narrator and I think she did a great job with it. 

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This is a steamy psychological thriller.  I wasn't expecting the sexy time as that is not normally in the thrillers I read. I love the dual timeline.  It is a fast paced read that had me on the edge of my seat.

Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the digital arc.
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Don’t You Dare by Jessica Hamilton is a very daring story!  It is told in dual timelines and has characters you will love and some you may not.  This is a steamy psychological thriller that is so twisted you will not believe what you are reading.  It is filled with mystery, suspense, betrayals, obsessions and deceit.  You will be on the edge of your seat through out the entire book, right up to that jaw dropping ending.  This is such a crazy suspenseful book and I highly recommend it.

Thank you NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and Jessica Hamilton for this fantastic book to read and review.  The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
#netgalley  #crookedlanebooks. #jessicahamilton  #dontyoudare.  #arc.  #psychologicalthriller
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This fast-paced thriller was so unique and steamy that I could not put it down. The mystery had me on the edge of my seat and my mind was blown on the final plot twist. 

Hannah and Scarlett were best friends from the moment the met. Inseparable. Then, in college, they meet Thomas and the duo becomes a trio. The three make up their own, more dangerous, version of Truth of Dare. Removing the option to choose truth, and dishing out punishments for unfulfilled dares. Simply called, The Daring Game. With each round, the dares grow more and more risky until irreparable damage is done.
Now 16 years later Hannah is unhappily married with two daughters. She hears from Thomas and he wants to restart the game. Why, after 16 years Hannah wonders? Trouble quickly arises and secrets and lies are revealed.

This was a fast read. Full of family drama, rivalry between friends and old flames reignited. I couldn’t stop reading as I needed to see where this story took me. The plot twists just kept coming, making the reader keep reading to see what happens next. 

I gave this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the twists and turns in it. Don’t You Dare by Jessica Hamilton will be released on May 16th, and I would highly recommend you check it out!
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Jessica Hamilton's sophomore novel, DON'T YOU DARE, is an intense, daring psychological thriller of friendship, revenge, and obsession — a darkly twisted romantic suspense — featuring a woman with a past of dark secrets and a dangerous, DARING GAME.

"Good people can do bad things, and in doing so, you dare to lose everything."

Hannah is married to Evan— a bored stay-at-home mom with two children who drinks too much. She receives a letter with a simple message: Daring Tree tomorrow at 12 pm—if you dare. Signed Thomas.

Sixteen years ago. The message has shifted Hannah into no-mans-land between the past and present. What would Thomas think of her now?

Hannah and Scarlett were BFFs in college. They met Thomas, and the three became friends and more. Scarlett came up with The Daring Game, where each would have to complete a dare with certain rules.

All the dares would be logged in a notebook that was to be kept in a hollowed-out tree at St. James Cemetery, the Daring Tree.

They started out simple, and then the dares became tougher, with more at stake.

Then one dare went TOO FAR.

Scarlett is an influencer, and Hannah stalks her social media now. She and Hannah were to travel to Australia together. Instead, there was Evan, the loss of her dad, and she became pregnant. Scarlett left without her.

In response to the letter, tempted—she goes for it. Soon they are playing THE DARING GAME again.

Things get out of control. Someone knows. Making them continue the game. They are in DANGER.

Who is the new person? Someone is watching and knows their secret past and the present. High stakes. Who has the most to lose?

From then to now, dark and twisty with adults behaving badly. This is more of a YA book with a Desperate Housewives-vibe and dysfunctional marriages. A cautionary tale—a dangerous game of obsession when the past refuses to remain buried. Not a favorite, but sure there will be a target audience who will enjoy it.

"Three's no such thing as a harmless dare. If you're not careful, you could lose everything."

Thanks to #CrookedLaneBooks for a gifted e-ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes.

Blog review posted @
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
Pub Date: May 16, 2023
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
May 2023 Must-Read Books
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In college, Hannah, Scarlett, and Thomas were inseparable, bonded by "The Daring Game." But after one of their dares went too far and Thomas was expelled, they went their separate ways. Fifteen years later, Hannah is a mother of two, unhappy in her marriage and her life, and drowning her sorrows with wine as she cyber stalks Scarlett's globetrotting adventures on social media. But then Thomas reappears suddenly, drawing her back into The Daring Game and into his orbit, which she never could resist. As Hannah and Thomas grows closer, they don't know that someone is watching them, just waiting to unleash a dare of their own.

Don't You Dare is a book that suffers from a bit of an identity crisis; it's part domestic drama, part psychological-thriller-with-damaged-alcoholic-heroine, and part erotica, and I'm not sure how well all those pieces fit together. The pacing is a bit off, with a "now" and "then" structure that takes a long time to get where it's going, and the ending feels incredibly rushed and leaves some things unresolved.

The characters lack nuance, with some of them (specifically Hannah's husband, Evan) coming across as almost cartoonish in their portrayals. The sex scenes are well written and appropriately steamy -- but there are too many of them for a thriller, and they mostly just end up detracting from the plot. I wish Jessica Hamilton had delved more deeply into Hannah and Scarlett's relationship, rather than spending so much time writing about Thomas delving deeply into...well, you know. Scarlett was by far the most interesting character to me, and I wanted to understand her motivations more. Hannah herself is a frustrating protagonist because she is self-destructive and indecisive, and being in her head was kind of exhausting.

All that said, though, I did find it difficult to put this book down; I was eager to know how everything played out, as improbable as it all was. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the early reading opportunity.
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Holy cow! I just finished this book and wow, what an engaging read. What started as a psychological thriller in some ways morphed into a romantic horror. Hannah has her past from college resurface and with that comes the Daring Game. Playing the game again with her old beau. What starts as a nod to their college days and a means to reignite the flames quickly starts a dangerous motion of events, putting Hannah’s family, marriage and mental health at stake when a new player enters the game. As the plot started to come together towards its climax there were several twists that left you guessing who Hannah could trust. For anyone who enjoys a good thriller with a side of romance then pick this up!
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Jessica Hamilton's Don't You Dare takes the childhood game that nearly everyone has played to a whole new level, with adult-sized consequences. The dual timelines of Hannah and Thomas' relationship works perfectly to build the story of not only tragic events of the past, but how they're also affecting their current lives. At times I thought "the lurker" was almost every character in the book, which is the sign of a truly great thriller, when you even start to doubt the things you think you know. Thanks so much for the opportunity to review!
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Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! 
Hannah, Scarlet, and Thomas are best friends who love to play the Daring Game where they up the risks with each dare.  With each dare though, they grow closer and closer until boundaries are starting to become crossed but the stakes continue to grow.  The game finally ends with the last dare gets Thomas expelled from school, to never be heard of again.  Until 16 years later.  Thomas is back in town and the game starts back up between him and Hannah.  Until someone they don’t know enters the game with their own dare, for Thomas and Hannah to “tell the truth.”  
I really enjoyed this book and it kept my attention throughout the entire book! While this book did make you dislike some of the characters throughout it, it was still enjoyable to read about them getting themselves into the situations and trying to figure out how they are going to get out of them.  I also wasn’t expecting the ending and loved the twists. I also loved how the author wrote this book from Hannah’s POV in the current time and when she was in college.  I felt like the college years definitely helped the readers understand why she makes the decisions she makes in the current years.  Not sure if it helps me like her character a bit better, but the storyline was so unique and the writing was so good that it helped me get past her character LOL. 
This review will be posted to my Instagram blog (read_betweenthecovers) in the near future!
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"Just like that, the three of us slid from the friend zone into one of blurred lines and potential disaster."

Hannah and Scarlett were best friends in college until they met Thomas and he joined their inner circle. Three people who made their own rules and pushed boundaries, they shared everything as they created the Daring Game, a spin on truth or dare with increasingly more risky dares. The premise sounded captivating and I expected to find a story about the toxicity of friendships with hidden secrets but instead I got a juvenile domestic drama full of liars and cheaters along with a cast of completely unlikable characters with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

Hannah played the part of a bored, lonely housewife trapped in a marriage to a man who was cold and condescending and emotionally abusive but she was so whiny and insufferable and truly pathetic. Her excessive drinking kept her removed from reality as she longed for her youth with regrets and desperation. Sixteen years later, she was still obsessed with her desire for Thomas and filled with jealousy and deep insecurities. She had zero self confidence so I found it difficult to empathize with her struggles. And nothing she did made any sense. I also didn't trust Thomas and his intentions. He was really shady and it felt like he had his own hidden motives for his actions. And Scarlett was probably the worst, the ringmaster of everyone else, manipulative and without a conscience.

I initially thought the idea of a thriller combined with steamy scenes was the best of two of my favorite genres but the salacious relationships proved to be anything but. There was no illicit romance, no undeniable attraction, simply obsession and adultery. As for the Daring Game itself, some of the dares were ridiculously immature like stealing candy bars and egging houses on Halloween. They were filled with stupid childish games, making Hannah and Thomas seem so much younger than characters approaching forty. The story seemed very YA to me.

I struggled to continue reading this book and was so frustrated with these exasperating characters as well as bored with the endlessly stagnant plot. I thought the story might get better and start to engage my interest but that seemed futile at this point so I decided to end my misery and stop at 37%.

** Special thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Available May 16, 2023. **
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Hannah and Scarlett met Thomas in college, and the chemistry was instantaneous. They start to play the Daring Game, where each dare is riskier riskier than the last... Until something goes horribly wrong. Now, 16 years later, Hannah is unhappy with her husband, Evan, and Thomas shows back up in her life. And now that Scarlett is out of the picture, the sparks are flying between them. But soon the Daring Game starts again.
This is a mystery thriller but it never really grabbed me. I thought it would be a bit darker and a bit more thrilling than it really was. It was more focused on the love story than it was on the actual thrilling part. It is told in dual timeline, where every chapter alternates with what happened then and what's going on now, so the story slowly unfurls until we figure out what really happened back then and how it truly relates to what is really happening now. I just couldn't relate to any of the characters. There were a lot of convenient things happening and it was sometimes too easy. But if you are ready to suspend disbelief, this one may just be for you. The last 10% of the book was really fun and interesting, and I would have liked to see that applied to the rest of the book.
I received an advance review copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure where this book was going when I first started it. The dual timeline was easy to follow along with and the flashbacks to the past did a great job tying everything together. The twist wasn’t one that I saw coming and I love when that happens! This is a good book if you’re looking for a quick read with an unexpected twist.

I haven’t read many thrillers with spice in them and now I want to read more of them. However, I do think the spice did take up more of the story than the actual plot. The plot is centered around the relationship between Hannah and Thomas. Yet,  it seemed to focus mostly on their physical relationship and made their relationship seem immature. This made me question whether or not I really wanted to like their characters. That being said, I really didn’t find many of the characters enjoyable. The characters honestly frustrated me in the sense that I really didn’t want to root for any of them. Which is the reason I rated this book 3.5 stars instead of 4 stars. 

*This is more of a note to publishers and had no standing on my review. This is a book I wish would’ve had some content or trigger warnings going in. TW/CW infertility and pregnancy loss are mention several times thought out the book. I almost DNF’d this book, because I wasn’t expecting it and at the time of reading this book, I was not in the headspace to read about it. While this might not be a problem for all readers, it was an issue for me and think it’s worth mentioning for anyone else that might need the heads up.
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This one was addictive! It kept me on my toes & kept me needing to know what was going to happen. The twists were wild - it was just a total wild ride!
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ebook was provided by Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

what a disappointing read...

Hannah, Scarlett, and Thomas were inseparable during college, including in their Daring Game. When one game went too far, they were separated until 20 years later. Hannah was a mom of two daughters in an unhappy marriage, Thomas came out of nowhere trying his best to steal Hannah back, and Scarlett was far away travelling around the world. When someone blackmailing Hannah and Thomas, both were panicked to find who might want them to confess for a mistake that happened years ago.

What I like
Honestly, I couldn't find any? It had a decent writing tho.

What I don't like
Let's list them!

• unlikable characters: from Hannah the drunk, Evan the 'good' husband, Scarlett the possessive best friend, Libby the busybody, to Thomas the love interest, NONE of them was likable to defend to. I rooted for none because I didn't care about them enough. Especially Hannah, man, she was annoying, claiming she loved her children but made no effort to get better, blaming everyone but herself and Thomas. I hate her. I hate her infidelity most.

• the plot: I came by to read a mystery thriller and playing the guessing whodunit game. But what I got was a messy family drama with cheating and alluded cheating and weird threesomes. Good bye.

• nothing was enough to warrant the plot. No backstory was convincing enough for anyone to commit anything.

Final thought
eh, don't waste your time on this
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An innocent game of dares is all fun, until it gets taken too far…

Don’t You Dare follows Hannah, whose favourite pastime used to be the dare game, that she played with her two friends Scarlett and Thomas. After one dare too many, the trio disbands. Now they’ve all grown up and have gone their separate ways, leaving the game in their past. Until one day, Hannah receives a mysterious text, bringing the game back to life.

Overall it is a fast paced read, that was enjoyable. I liked the storyline, however I did feel that it felt a bit juvenile at points, and would have been better marketed as a young adult thriller. I was hoping for more of a darker theme, instead of cheating partners. Despite this, I found that the last 30% of the book was very gripping and well written. It is a perfect popcorn thriller.
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Hannah, Scarlett and Thomas were a trio- a trio which did dares and had a, umm, relationship.  But then Scarlett went to Australia, Hannah got married, and Thomas disappeared.  Hannah's unhappy now- 16 years later- and then a note arrives and pow we're off.  This is all about how we struggle to free ourselves from the past and that no secret is secret once it's shared.  No spoilers for this twisty one,  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A page turner.
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Thank you to the author. Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

The premise of this story about three college friends whose past comes back to haunt them sounded interesting, but the reality was more of an adolescent drama centering on dares that escalate as time goes by. Warming this up 10 (?) years later when all have moved on did not really work for me. Apart from the fact that the trope of the bored, sad, housewife who drinks too much, with a controlling, derisive husband is done to death, there were way too many moments where all credible belief had to be suspended to keep the story moving forward.
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