December 1, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Do You Or Don’t You Dare Read? Depends… Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- Review

Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- Summary

Goodreads Summary Of Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton Goodreads Summary (Review Below): When Hannah and Scarlett meet Thomas in college—the chemistry is instantaneous. They grow closer while playing the Daring Game, where each dare is riskier than the last. As the trio grows closer and jealousy develops, Scarlett dares Thomas one final time—a dare that ends in tragedy. When Thomas gets expelled from school and leaves without a trace, it seems like the Daring Game has finally ended.

Sixteen years later, Hannah is unhappy in marriage and in life. That is, of course, until she gets a mysterious email about the Daring Game from none other than Thomas himself. With Scarlett out of the picture, the sparks begin to fly between them once more. When Hannah and Thomas are called back to the place where they first played the game, they are welcomed by a single dare—”to tell the truth.”

Someone else is playing the game and knows about their affair, going as far as leaving a cryptic message in Hannah’s house: Don’t You Dare. Hannah’s list of suspects is long: Could it be her noisy neighbor, Libby, who has a few secrets of her own? Or did her husband plan this as revenge for the torrid affair? Is Scarlett back and ready to play again?

The truth may set Hannah free—but only if she dares to risk everything she knows and loves.

Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- Review

I need to be honest. This might not be my best review. However, this is because Don’t You Dare is a challenging book to review. It has things I loved about it and things (one big thing?) that dropped Jessica Hamilton’s Don’t You Dare very close to the great salt lake. But not quite. See my problem? Let me try it this way.


Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- What I Liked

To begin with, the idea of the plot is unique and palpable. Jessica Hamilton writes Don’t You Dare with a quick pace, wasting no time. There isn’t any time for your mind to wander or boredom to set in. Instead, it just takes off and moves.

Second, the characters are all well-written. You may like them, and you might hate them, but they serve an essential purpose. They create more gray areas than I knew existed. Each main character and some side characters are neither good nor bad. It is like watching Game of Thrones. There are minimal cut-and-dry good or evil characters. Most of them either are morally gray or completely change from beginning to end. That is undoubtedly true for Don’t You Dare.


For instance, the main character Hannah is a hot mess. On one side, it seems like she’s an alcoholic that can’t take care of her family. On the hand, you have her husband. Evan outright treats her like crap, right up to threatening her with divorce and taking the kids, all so he doesn’t “fail.” Then again, Hannah is having an affair. So there’s that.

Thomas comes across as a nice guy. He seems to be the knight on a white horse coming to save Hannah from everything. The thing is, I never bought it, and that is because of how well Thomas is written. I didn’t quite know why or how, but I just didn’t trust him. Just under the surface, something kept niggling at me.

And then there is Scarlet, who spends most of the book halfway across the world. Yet, you know, you just know that something is coming from her. But is it a bad something or a good something? Good luck with that one.

Next, the timeline flashbacks work brilliantly. I loved them. They fit in seamlessly and upped the what the hell is coming level. But see, there is where the problem lies…



Thank you to Crooked Lane and Dreamscape Audio for the advanced audio copy. DoDon’tou Dare releases May 16, 2023


Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- What Went Wrong

Remember when I just said that the timeline flashbacks upped the what the hell is coming factor? It is the only thing that does so. Don’t You Dare was entirely predictable for me. YMMV. However, I started putting a few of the puzzle pieces together at about 25%.

Moreover, by the 50% mark? I pretty much had it nailed. This wasn’t one of those exceptional reads where you figure out small things, but a more considerable reveal is coming that knocks you out. I had the whole thing. And that killed all the great things Jessica Hamilton has to offer. I can’t say more on this front without spoiling everything.

But again, it is only fair I point out that this part was my experience. Everyone reads differently, and sometimes we all put together different pieces at different times.

Don’t You Dare By Jessica Hamilton- Audiobook

This is an excellent production with one of the best narrators going. Hillary Huber knocks it out of the park. Whether she is bringing Hannah’s messy, sarcastic, frazzled personality to life, or the busybody neighbor, Libby, to the main men: Thomas and Evan (who have distinctly different personalities), Huber kills it. Additionally, Dreamscape produces it fantastically. The timelines (past and present) are labeled perfectly.

And that is what I’ve got. So take it all and make your decision. Do you or Don’t You dare?

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