Book Review

The Dating Dare

The Dating Dare

  • Author: Jayci Lee
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publication Date: August 3, 2021
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Series: A Sweet Mess #2

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.

CONTENT WARNING: brief mention of abusive relationship

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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?

I have officially found a new favorite romance author! After reading this, I’m definitely going to be browsing through her backlist, because I fell in love with her witty, hilarious, and sexy writing style.

The very first thing that I noticed was that the main character, Tara, is awesome. She’s smart and sexy, but also kind of dorky and hilarious. In addition, she’s got some insecurity resulting from a horrible experience with a past relationship, which she manages by refusing to get into serious relationships. Seth is another character that I loved, with a similar streak of hilarious dorkiness, buried under layers of incredible sexiness. He’s got a rough backstory too, and sells the sexy playboy persona well enough to fool everyone around him. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these two MCs and seeing what was going on inside their heads. Don’t think for a second that the other characters are ignored though, because the author creates well-rounded side characters too. I loved seeing how they all interacted, and especially the little use of Korean words and how the culture is interspersed throughout the story.

The sexual chemistry between Tara and Seth was incredible. I loved watching the connection between them grow, especially since it started out as lust-at-first-sight and then slowly changed into something more. I particularly liked that even though they created a dare, they didn’t hop right into hooking up. The sexual tension between these two practically leapt off the pages, and kept me reading until way past my bedtime. It managed to be insanely hot and not raunchy, while still managing to remain clean.

I absolutely loved this story and the world that Jayci Lee built. Although I didn’t realize that this was the second book in a series, I definitely want to check out the first book. The world that she’s built is so amazing, and I’m not quite ready to leave it behind just yet.

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