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