A VVivacious 2 Review in 1: Dare To (Dare #1) by A.K.M. Miles +Dare’s Christmas Gift (Dare #2) by A.K.M. Miles – Bonus short story

dare-to-dare-1-by-a-k-m-milesDare To by A.K.M. Miles
Rating – 3.5 Stars out of 5
Dare works as a youth counsellor, a vocation he is very passionate about. He and Ryan meet at a time of loss for both of them but they are unable to deny their intense chemistry. But just as Dare is finding his footing in his life with Ryan and Ryan’s nephew JC, he ends up as front page news for a heroic act of his which also ends up outing him as gay. What follows is an upheaval in his professional life that tests the bonds between Ryan and Dare.
I believe this story would have been so much better if just a few details were tinkered with till they were perfect.
It is a slice-of-life fiction, so basically a lot of things happen but the events don’t culminate into a climax, it’s just life as usual. At a few, very few, times I was hesitant at believing that such calamities would befall one person in such a short span of time but I have made peace with that aspect of this story. Overall the plot and the story make for a fairly interesting read.
There are a lot of side characters in this one but having read the story in its entirety I don’t feel like I know these characters well enough like Melanie, Jackie, Brandon, Linc and JC. I particularly felt this lack of development for JC’s character because no matter how you slice it he was always going to be a big part of Ryan and Dare’s life together and I would have loved more scenes with the trio of Ryan, Dare and JC. While we are on the topic of side characters, I would like to mention Ben Tyler who had just such an amazing personality.
This book is entirely from Dare’s perspective which kind of made the story very one-sided almost everything that happens, happens in Dare’s life it’s about his problems, his troubles and in the bargain we miss out on a lot of backstory on Ryan and his life and his friends.
The single most amazing thing about this book that pretty much carried this book for me was Ryan and Dare and their chemistry. It was sizzling hot. It really has me believing that if Ryan and Dare were real people they would be perfect for each other because oh my God! It was actually unbelievable how well these two characters played off of each other.
Personally this book is an interesting read with an awesome couple and it holds a lot of potential to be better.
Dare’s Christmas Gift by A.K.M. Miles
Rating – 3.75 to 4 Stars out of 5
Dare and Ryan are ready to celebrate their first Christmas together. But things get complicated when both JC and Brandon report spotting the mean guy. Now Christmas feels like a minefield for Dare, Ryan and Jackie to traverse, keeping the boys safety and happiness in mind at all times.
First of all I must confess that this story would have read much better if I wasn’t reading it right at the end of “Dare To” and that is reason for my variable rating. I feel like I didn’t enjoy it as much because I had just met these characters and I already knew their story and in some ways this felt like a rehash of “Dare To” but I’m pretty sure I would have liked it much better had there been a gap.
Okay so the ‘mean guy’ turns out to be Mitch not Phil and don’t worry this isn’t much of a spoiler because apparently all the characters knew who ‘mean guy’ referred to. I don’t know why I was expecting Phil, maybe because Dare To was very Dare-centric and I kind of thought this story would be too but in hindsight how would the kids know about Phil, that truly doesn’t seem like information to share with kids.
Okay yeah so the whole Mitch – thing felt like a rehash, I kept getting the ‘been there, done that’ feeling all throughout that story-line playing out and I was kind of expecting a sweet-Christmas story not a catch-the-bad-guy story. So yeah that was a bit repetitive.
But there are a lot of things to like about “Dare’s Christmas Gift” with the first thing being Dare’s Christmas Gift. It was truly inspired and I loved the gift so much and it just proved to me that Dare and Ryan were going to go long-term. I mean seriously I couldn’t wait for Ryan to see it.
Also this story has Ryan’s and JC’s perspectives the lack of which I felt very acutely in “Dare To”, so I loved their POVs and I loved that we got to spend time in their heads. Ditto scenes between Ryan, Dare and JC, we got a nice sweet helping of those too.
It was a great short story, I loved how we got to meet everyone and I am positive I would have enjoyed this story a lot more had I been reading it after a little break between reading “Dare To” and reading this. So everyone who loved the book be sure to pick up this short because “Dare’s Christmas Gift” is truly inspired, literally.
Cover Art by Kris Jacen. I love the cover with its background of blue at the top and the snowflakes at the bottom and how they transform from one into the other. Also I loved Dare’s expression on the cover; it feels very Dare-ish and like something he would actually do.
Sales Links
Book Details:
Kindle Edition
Published December 16th 2016 by MLR Press (first published July 1st 2008)
Original TitleDare To
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDare #1
CharactersDare Wilson, Ryan Spencer
Bonus story included 



Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: All in the Details by A.K.M. Miles


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

All In The Details coverAs this sweet romance opens we meet Beau Garner , a 31 year old man who has put his OCD into making a profit by running an event organizing company called Details. “It’s all in the details” claims Beau over and over again throughout the book. (Though meant to be humorous, it falls short after a while.) A last minute detail takes him to a rural convenience store to buy balloons, and besides being nearly sideswiped by a speeding vehicle roaring out of the parking lot as he enters, he’s also blindsided by finding a gun under a display case and then finding himself at the mercy of the police who’ve been called to “disarm” him. He only grabbed the gun when he heard two young children debating whether or not to pick it up, and as he tells the officers, “Do I look like the type of man who would have a gun?”, he catches the eye of the young good-looking cop.

Nash Tyler is a 31 year old cop in this rural town. He’s gay, and though his captain is aware, it’s not the type of thing he advertises to the rest of his co-workers. He’s a good cop, however, and he gives the cute guy with the gun a break and listens to his full story at the store, rather than haul him to the station as his homophobic partner wants to do. Since the situation is easily resolved, Beau is released but not before he notices Nash’s blushes as he hands Beau his card in case Beau needs to get in touch with him.

This is a sweet, slow-building romance that’s very family focused. Beau lives with Alberta, his grandmother’s friend and companion, a black woman who would prefer not to live with her own family and who cares for Beau as if he were her own child. The main excitement and undercurrent to the story is an apparent stalker who is randomly harassing Beau. That starts with phone calls then goes to being shot at with rock salt as he and Nash are soaking in his hot tub, to having faggot painted on his car then escalating to acts which could result in injury or death. Readers know who the likely stalker is from the beginning, but the action doesn’t culminate until the end of the book.

Another odd thing that happens, which is totally non-reality based, is that Beau helps a young woman at the airport as she’s trying to decide what to do about her fatherless infant, and she ends up leaving the infant in the restroom with a note turning him over to Beau. He then gets through the foster process and is given the baby that night—a baby that he will ultimately adopt as his and Nash’s at some point in the future. Most of the second half of the story was about the baby and integrating the baby into their lives as he and Nash became closer romantically, and their stalker became increasingly more dangerous.

There was little in this story to make it outstanding for me in any way, yet it was well-written and was a sweet romance so I’d recommend it to those who are looking for something simple and family-oriented with not a lot of sex but a lot of love.

Cover Art by Winterheart Design features two men representing the characters. The cop is superimposed over the cute guy who depicts Beau in such a way that it’s evident the cover was cropped together and looks amateurish. It’s not as appealing as one that would have blended the two characters without the overlap like the cover used in the previous edition.

Sales Links:    MLR Press           All Romance (ARe)       Amazon          <a href=”Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by ManLove Romance
(first published April 27th 2013 by Silver Press)
edition languageEnglish