Cover Image: Don't You Dare

Don't You Dare

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Member Reviews

Hannah and Scarlett have been best friends since their youth. They went to the same college and in their sophomore year, they met Thomas. He was the only person able to break into their circle of friendship - and pushed it even further and deeper. They played a dangerous game, The Daring Game, that ended their friendship and something even worst.

Now, years later, Hannah is a stay at home mom, in a terrible marriage, whose only pleasure is her nightly bottle of wine and a good book. She and Scarlett are 'friends' but really online only. When Thomas returns, The Daring Game starts again, until is goes further than before.

This is a good, quick thriller - about the dangers of youth and the power of revenge. Jessica Hamilton was able to write an exciting plot, with a mystery and a line of romance that keeps things spicy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review.
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Don't You Dare is the first book I read by this author and I do see she has another one out too which I am 100% going to read now. I literally could not put this book down. As events unfolded, the main character's anxiety was palpable and I felt immersed in the story. Sure, the main character is flawed but you can't help rooting for her. I also enjoyed the past/present set up in this book which allowed the reader to slowly piece together how all the characters are connected. I wouldn't say the ending was completely predictable but I didn't get that crazy twist ending which is fine by me because I think it ended on a very interesting note. I rarely give books 5 stars but I think this one deserved it.
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Don't You Dare
by Jessica Hamilton
Pub Date 16 May 2023 
Crooked Lane Books
General Fiction (Adult) | Mystery & Thrillers
Rating 4/5

In "Don't You Dare," you're constantly asking yourself questions and trying to figure out who is at fault? There are plenty of plot twists and red herrings to keep the reader on their toes.   

 It's been 16 years since Hannah has heard from or seen her ex-boyfriend Thomas, until she receives a mysterious letter from him. In the letter, Hannah recalls a dangerous daring game she played with Thomas and her friend Scarlett during their college days.  When Thomas returns to town, a spark immediately ignites between him and Hannah, and they decide to renew their daring game. However, an unknown player has joined the game and is ready to reveal secrets. Is there a limit to how much people will sacrifice for friendship? 

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for sharing this suspenseful novel with me. Your kindness is appreciated.
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I liked this book. It was a really good thriller it was pretty spicy at times, I didn’t expect that to be honest but it made the book that much more interesting. I had no problem staying interested in what I was reading. I hooked after the first 2 chapters.
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I struggled to maintain interest in finishing this novel.  In the beginning, I had a lot of sympathy for Hannah and what she was going through, especially with Evan as her husband.  As the book and the relationship with Thomas continued, I started to connect with her less and less, wondering how someone who took so much pride in her title as mother could be so reckless completing all of the "dares" - also, they are in their late 30s, why are they daring each other as a way to connect? It just seemed off. 

I also had a hard time reconciling past Scarlett with the current version, they seemed like completely different people.  Not to say one could not change, but it was really different without sufficient explanation to maintain interest.
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None of the main characters were likeable, none. The FMC was just a shitty human being throughout the entire book with absolutely 0 redeeming qualities; & the same could be said for the MMC. 0/10 would not recommend either of these people, & same will be said for recommending this book. The plot was what? Trying to not be caught being a shitty person? Trying to “keep the girls” while being a shitty person? Or trying to convince the reader that the neighbour across the street was also a shitty person trying to reveal you as a shitty person. Why were the things that happened with Scarlett even mentioned if NOTHING was going to happen in the book with them!? You could have cut the book in half with all the useless information stated throughout!
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If you know me Im always attracted to stories with reunions of old classmates or people reuniting. How I loved this book. Loved her writing style, connected with the characters and what an ending. !
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Don’t You Dare is a dual timeline thriller by Jessica Hamilton which explores the lengths people will go in the name of friendship, to points dangerous and toxic. The thriller centres around Hannah, an unhappy housewife who feels stuck in her life until she receives a mysterious letter from her former boyfriend Thomas who she has not seen or heard from in 16 years. The letter brings back memories of college and the turbulent, dangerous times when Scarlett, Hannah and Thomas played The Daring Game until the last tragic dare. Thomas returns to Hannah’s unfulfilled life and sparks instantly fly and they decide to renew the Daring Game. However, an unknown person has joined the game and is ready to reveal their secrets to dire consequences. 

What I liked about the book:
-past (college era) and present (married with children) timelines
-dark academia 
-fall season featured in book especially Halloween references 
-little nuggets of information that were revealed in each chapter which made me intrigued and wanting more
-questions raised that Hannah struggled with- can you be a good mother but a bad irresponsible person/wife
-nothing is what it seems and do you really know people
-Thomas and Hannah’s sexy, dark and toxic relationship
-loved that Hannah was a bibliophile and hated the domestic duties of maintaining a home, which was very relatable 
-the twists and turns throughout, as well as the explosive ending

What I didn’t like:
-Hannah frustrated me with her drinking and selfishness but I think it added to the story
-Scarlett was such a toxic, manipulative friend that I had trouble believing that both Hannah and Thomas could stay friends with
-Hannah’s horrible husband, Evan, a gaslighter and manipulator 

My rating 4 out of 5

My final takeaway: This was a fun twisty book that fans of dark academia, and psychological domestic thrillers would enjoy.

Trigger warnings: gaslighting, heavy drinking, drug use, and rape

Many thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane books for this eARC.
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I really liked this book! I was sucked in within the first few pages and could not put this down! Jessica Hamiltons books are great reads and makes you want more! Definitely recommend this story.
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Three college students….
Truth or Dare game….
Things go terribly wrong….
Jump forward 16 years….who is manipulating who?  Who can be trusted?
This is a pretty spicy 🌶️ read so be prepared.
Definitely a psychological thriller that will keep you engaged with all the twisted and shocking things going on.
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I could not get into this one. I know I'm in the minority with this but I just had to put it back down after reading about a fourth of it. I'll try again eventually but right now it's a no for me. 

Thank you NetGalley for this arc..
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Don't You Dare is a sexy thriller that will have you turning the pages all night long. Told in dual timelines, the past when Hannah is in college and the present when she finds herself in a loveless marriage. Hannah and Scarlett meet Thomas in college and play truth or dare. The three friends grow very close and jealousy of course ensues. Their final dare ends in tragedy and the game is over. Sixteen years later, Hannah (Henry) is married mother when Thomas reaches out again, sparks fly and the two are called back to where they originally played the game for one final dare. Will Hannah be able to tell the truth?
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Don’t You Dare, by Jessica Hamilton

Short Take: Try to put this book down. I triple dog dare you.

(*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*)

Duckies, we are in the almost-spring time of year, and I don’t know if I’m a little high from the return of sunshine and daffodils, or if this book is just that darn good, but WHOA were my gibbets flibbered!

Sixteen years ago, Hannah, Scarlett, and Thomas were college best friends and beyond - a tight little threesome, with their own rules and secrets, the biggest of which was The Daring Game. The game itself was simple: they would dare each other to do increasingly outrageous or dangerous things, and if someone failed or declined, there would be a punishment. As these things do, the game Spiraled Out Of Control and ended in a tragedy that sent them all on separate paths.

Now, sixteen years later, Hannah is a bored and depressed stay-at-home mom, Scarlett is a globe-trotting business mogul, and Thomas is back in town, with some edgy new dares in mind.

Duckies, do you need me to tell you that Nothing Is As It Seems, or that Secrets Will Be Revealed?

I’m going to back away from describing the plot of this book any further, because the joy is in the discovery, and oh my sweet nerdlings, what a joy it is! I’m going to say something that I don’t know if I’ve ever said out loud (oh stop you know what I mean) before: I had no idea where this story was going. Seriously. 

I mean, Hannah makes so many bad decisions that if we were to turn it into a drinking game, I’d need a new liver. But where that would normally annoy me, for some reason, it just works here. And while I had some ideas along the lines of “Such-and-so is lying”, and although the clues were mostly there all along (if very subtle), I just couldn’t put it together. Until I could. And then OH HOLY WOW. 

And that’s not even getting into all the other elements that work so well - the claustrophobia of the suburban setting, the steamy scenes that were genuinely hot, the prison of an unhappy marriage.

Take it from your old Aunty Nerdy, you don’t want to miss this one.

The Nerd’s Rating:  FIVE HAPPY NEURONS (and a Manhattan, it does sound sophisticated.)
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This one is just okay. I wasn't invested in the characters or the mystery. I felt like I was going through the motions. And I felt like the ending was a big let down. This one will probably appeal to a lot of readers. It just wasn't for me.
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I wanted to like this book so much but in the end the characters were so unlikable and selfish and overall awful. Plus it was predictable. And the ending was not satisfying whatsoever. I'd read more from the author because the premise was brilliant just wasn't sure about the execution.
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I recommend this book for anyone that likes physiological thrillers and want to have a quick read that keeps you guessing until the very end.  Jessica Hamilton is a wonderful author and I will be looking up more books from her now.
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I could not put this one down!  I love dark academia, and I love dual timelines, so this book was perfect for me.  I was so invested in Hannah and Thomas' toxic, twisty relationship - to the point that I was questioning my taste in men.  I was constantly thinking I had this story figured out, and I kept getting proven wrong!  Pick this one up if you love sexy, mind-blowing psychological thrillers with dark academia settings.
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I really liked this book - there was a lot going on and I thought the suspense was great throughout. It held my interest the whole way through and left me wanting more. 

There was lots of twists and turns. The characters were interesting and the pacing was really quick. The main plot was strong and I liked how it ended. 

Good read.
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Don’t You Dare by Jessica Hamilton is a story of dysfunctional friendships, secrets, lies, and the fallout of all of this. Scarlett and Hannah are best friends, but are way too dependent on one another. Then Thomas enters the picture in college and the three of them have a hot mess of a relationship filled with desire, jealousy, and even more dysfunction. They create and play The Daring Game, which results in hurting one another and others. 10 years after the three were all in the same place, Thomas is back and The Daring Game is started again. Who will be hurt this time around?!

It was an interesting premise. However, this one would be more for readers who enjoy dark romance books.

Thank you @crookedlanebooks and @netgalley for allowing me to read this book ahead of publication in exchange for my honest review.
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A suspenseful, romantic thriller that keeps you guessing. I loved this unique premise with dual timelines and very morally grey characters so you never know who to trust. The mystery ad me hooked and I really loved seeing how the characters changed from the past to the present and throughout the progression of the story more of their personalities and secrets get revealed by giving this small flashbacks. Generally the writing, fast pace and mystery was amazing it kept me on the edge of my seat and I was left guessing so nothing felt predictable. I would definitely recommend.
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