Carly Phillips: Dare to Surrender

Dare to SurrenderDare to Surrender is the third book of the Dare to Love series, and so far it is the best! It reminds me of a better written, more mature 50 Shades of Grey. The book is a great, very short read with really well developed characters that are likeable from the very beginning.

When the book starts the lead female, Isabelle Masters, is just leaving her relationship to a cheating, manipulating man. She gets arrested that same night for stealing her own car. Who is to come to her rescue but Gabe Dare, a man who has been watching her from afar? Gabe, sensing that this could be his chance, invites Isabelle to stay with him as long as she needs.

While Gabe works on claiming Isabelle, all she wants is to be independent and be able to stand on her own. When Isabelle’s ex come and shakes up her building relationship with Gabe, Isabelle decides that it is time for her to really be on her own.

Eventually, Gabe manages to get Isabelle back, but that doesn’t end their problems.

Even though I liked this book, the premise was unoriginal and clichéd. Basically there is a girl whose confidence is very easily shaken, and a guy who is dominating and confident. I had no issue with Gabe because he is just the kind of guy I like, but Isabelle sort of got on my nerves a bit.

I still think that this book is worth a read. While it is part of a series, it stands well on its own. It is a feel good story that you can read in one sitting without being disappointed.

Go over to Carly Phillip’s website to learn more about the Dare to Love series.

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Carly Phillips: Dare to Desire

CarlyPhillips_DareToDesireAfter reading the first of the Dare to Love Series I was a lot hesitant to continue on with the series. Even though I did not like the first book, I have this need to finish series’ and I am glad I went on to this book.

Alex Dare is the typical playboy quarterback for the Tampa Breakers. Madison Evans is a social worker with abandonment issues. This unlikely couple is brought together through a mutual friend. When an injury permanently sidelines Alex’s career, his relationship with Madison falls apart. Months later a unique business opportunity comes along for Alex – except there is a catch. He and Madison must come together to work a project that means a lot to both of them. Alex realizes Madison is the only woman for him, but she is determined to keep him away as to protect herself.

This second books was a great improvement over the first. We met Alex and Madison in Dare to Love (Book 1). When we join them again they are already a few months into their relationship. I did not like that once again we were dropped into the middle of the situation. I would have liked to see how Alex picked Madison up and how their relationship developed from there. I felt a little robbed in that respect.

Well-developed characters made up for the lack of relationship building in the beginning. Madison and Alex were relatable and likeable. I especially liked how they resolved their issues early on in the book so that we had the majority of the novel to like them as individuals and as a couple.

Overall, this is a good easy book for when you want something light to read. It probably won’t be a book you come to again and again, but one you will not regret having read.

Check out more about the book here!

Carly Phillips: Dare to Love

carly phillips dare to loveOkay. A little disclaimer first: negative reviews are hard to write because I do not want to be negative, but I do feel like I need to be honest. I really respect and appreciate authors because they do something that not a lot of people can do. They have the ability to create entire worlds in their head and put it down on paper for the rest of us to come visit.

It is even harder for me to write a negative review about Carly Phillips because I usually like her books. This has been the first and only time – so far – that I have not liked something that she has written.

This was a short read that took me a lot longer to finish than it should have.

He noticed her, across the room and couldn’t keep her eyes off her, but she arrived with his estranged half brother (blah, blah, blah), very clichéd and not too much of a plot. The writing seemed a bit amateurish for Carly Phillips, but she is delving into a new area of romance than what she usually writes. She usually writes contemporary – very well I might add.

Riley is hesitant about Ian because he seems too dominant. Carly alludes to something in Riley’s past with her dad and before we find out what that issue is and it gets resolved (as it usually does in romance novels), she decides that despite all her concerns she is ready to jump into bed with him.

Even though this is the first book in the Dare to Love Series, I felt like I was being dropped right in the middles of an established series with a few books ahead of it.

The characters are not well developed. I didn’t really feel like I ‘knew’ them. Other authors have written erotica in short story form and still managed to make you feel connected with the characters because they were well developed. Because I wasn’t connected, I found myself thinking and drifting off about other things during the sex scenes (which felt like they were about every other page).

It was too dramatic and cheesy. It was at the same time too much and not enough.

Poor Ian couldn’t do anything right. I understand that Riley had some trauma in her past, but I just didn’t like the way she kept projecting onto Ian for absolutely no reason. I was not attractive of likeable. When he was being dominating she didn’t like it. When he wasn’t she wanted him to. I just wanted to yell, “MAKE UP YOUR MIND, LADY!”

Here are some of the thoughts that I had as I was reading the book:

  • Painful
  • Not much detail/descriptions of the surrounding which takes away from the story
  • The dialogue was kind of horrible. I understand that with the family dynamic there is meant to be a sense of awkwardness between the members, but awkwardness in the story seemed to go beyond that.

One the plus side I really liked the character of Ian’s mother, Emma. She seemed to be one of the few ‘normal’ people in this novel. I really hope that we get a story about her. If I had to choose a part of the novel that I like the best… it would have to be the end. Not because it meant that the novel was over, but because I believe that the book really started to come together at the point.

What do you guys feel about negative reviews? Do you appreciate them? Hate them? Or think that they are a necessary evil? Post your thoughts in the comment section!

Head here for an excerpt!