Book Review: The Dating Dare

Hello! Long time, no see. I have been so busy this summer, I have hardly had time to think, much less write on my blog. However, I have found some time to read, especially a slew of rom coms and historical romances. One that I finished recently and thoroughly enjoyed is The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee (on Goodreads here). Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with access to an e-galley of this one. It was released on August 3. Read on for more info and my spoiler-free review. If you like steamy rom coms, I think you’ll want to check this one out!

Synopsis

Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after? 

My Review

This book wasn’t flawless, but it kept me reading and I loved the characters, so it was definitely a great choice for a light summer beach read. It made me swoon several times, and smile even more. I loved Tara’s tough and independent exterior and feisty snark, but that inside, she was really just a big soft teddy bear looking for some love. And I absolutely loved how sweet Seth was with her (that’s where a lot of the swooning came in).

These characters weren’t innocent babies fresh in love–they each came with a past and some emotional baggage to deal with before a real relationship could ever work. I liked that, but I also kind of hated it. Let me explain. I really like that there were layers to the characters, and even though you might say the attraction was insta- the love part took real work. I liked that. What I didn’t like was that most of the conflict between them involved lack of communication, which wasn’t always realistic from my perspective. It seemed contrived in order to create conflict, which I get is needed for there to be a book at all, but I got a little irritated when one character was mad at the other for not communicating, but then hypocritically also wasn’t communicating openly him/herself. You see what I mean? It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s probably why an otherwise 4.5 star read was brought down to 3.5 stars.

Now back to things I loved: the romance was so sweet and also spicy. There was this one scene involving desserts in the park, and let me just say, ooh la la. I enjoyed it! And if you prefer your sexy scenes in the fade-to-black variety, this author has you covered. The quips and banter, and the small town setting, and description of the different scenes was all really good. I will definitely read any further installments in this series! (And if you haven’t read the first, A Sweet Mess, I also recommend that one. Though you don’t need to read it before reading this one, by any means.)

So go out and get a copy for yourself, and enjoy some sweet romantic summer reading in the sunshine!

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