Dare To Love, Book Review (Published 2013)
By Carly Phillips
LP's Rating : 5/5 Stars
Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been. When it comes to his relatives, he gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. But one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts and Ian is entranced. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.
Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully. Relationships have never been a priority and she believes herself hardened to domineering men – until she meets charismatic Ian Dare. He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and when he takes control in the bedroom, she’s stunned to discover she likes it. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything.
This to me was one of Carly's best novels. I wasn't convinced I'd fall in love with Ian and Riley, but I did. Let me explain. I initially got hooked on Carly's books when I picked up one of The Hot Zone series books. I LOVED IT and demolished the series in a matter of days. As I continued reading more of her books and different series, I liked them, but they didn't leave me with any lasting impressions. HOWEVER...Dare To Love is a book I won't soon forget. It's one of those rare romances that has a little bit of everything I love in a book.
What I liked.
The Characters. Ian and Riley are real to me. Their dynamic is clever and complex and beautifully written. Their tormented and haunted pasts come to life for me because they're believable. These characters are realistic and relateable, and they're...human.
Riley. She's what you like to see in a female lead. She's compassionate, emotional, hard working, driven, both strong and vulnerable...everything that makes for an endearing leading lady. There were of course times when I wanted to smack her upside the head and tell her to swallow her pride and think with her head, but of course the more involved you want to get, the better and more riveting the story.
Ian. He's a man's man and he's not ashamed of it. He's a perfect match for Riley, even though he doesn't know it because they're both scarred, they're both scared, and they're both as vulnerable as they are strong. Their compatibility and lack of awareness that they're perfect for one another is what makes them so interesting to read.
The Romance. This book's got the romance (oh boy does it have some romance, more than I was expecting even). Even though I was initially taken aback by the amount and explicitness, it worked for Ian and Riley, and I got sucked in. Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy an erotica story just like most romance readers, but I was just surprised by how raw and gritty their story way. Pleasantly surprised, I'll add.
What I didn't like.
If there was anything that rubbed me the wrong way (aside from the amount of explicit sex that was a surprise to me), none of it bothered me enough to recall or mention.
If you love Carly Phillips and enjoy a lot of sex in your contemporary romances, this is the book for you. If you like complexity and intricate story arcs, then you'll love this. If you don't appreciate erotica and romance novels are borderline too much for you, this is NOT the book for you. However, I personally have a great feeling about her new Dare series and can't wait to see which characters Carly allows us to follow and how different her writing is going to be now that she's gone Indie. It's SOOOO exciting! Welcome to the "dark" side, Carly. We're so lucky to have you!
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