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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin

I had fun last week chatting with the author of today's book. In case you missed it you can catch it HERE. And if you can tear your eyes away from the eye candy on the cover you’ll enjoy this one folks.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: February 2, 2016
She knows what he’s like on Boston’s mean streets. Now she’s going to find out if he’s got some heart.

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.

Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

What a cover eh? A cover never dictates whether or not I’ll read a book but a delicious cover like Dare to Run doesn’t hurt in catching my attention. The contrast and coloring combined with the stock image itself just begs for it to be picked up and possibly petted. Repeatedly.

Aside from the super hot cover there’s the story. Lucas Donahue spent time in prison and he’s not ashamed of it or his criminal past but now he wants to live a life free of crime. Unfortunately Lucas can’t just up and leave the gang he belongs to and a hit’s been placed on him. Not to mention the bartender who has caught his attention. Heidi Greene is that bartender and after Lucas saves her from an attack she has no choice but to stay by his side for protection.

Told in dual first person POV, Dare to Run was a little bit surprising for me because for one, I didn’t know it was a first person romance and second, Lucas and Heidi weren’t sunshine and roses characters which for me made their story much more interesting than if they had been two average, everyday characters. Lucas was recently released from prison and he doesn’t shy away from showing how prison and his criminal past shaped him into the man he is when the story began. Of the two characters, I found Lucas to be the more interesting because of his past and the mystery of just who could be trusted among the people he knew and who couldn’t be trusted.

Heidi was something different too. She was the softness and light to Lucas’ steel and darkness but she wasn’t a pushover. She was sass and snark and intelligence. She was a bartender who had to get used to seeing the rough and tumble side of life without flinching or falling to pieces every time. She wasn’t stupid enough to think she could handle herself in every situation but she didn’t expect Lucas to be her superhero and solve everything. She was a pretty good judge of character and flattery didn’t work on her either so like I said, smart gal.

As a couple though I have a rollercoaster opinion of them. They had great chemistry both physical and intellectual, often snarking back and forth and playing off one another in addition to the heated moments that made Dare to Run a blush inducing, swoon worthy romance. But their inner monologue in regards to one another was a bit tiresome after awhile. Lucas and Heidi both shared the “I want, but I can’t have” mentality. Lucas thought his life was too dangerous for Heidi to be with him and Heidi thought Lucas was too dangerous for her emotionally. I got that, I really did but the pull and push away between them was a little too dramatic for my tastes at times.

I’m always a bit harder on first person POV romances because I like to see the whole picture, not just what the character is seeing through their eyes. Sometimes the characters are too dramatic in their views or prone to exaggerations that take away from the real issues of the story. And yes, there were times in Dare to Run where I questioned what Lucas and Heidi were seeing and their opinions on certain situations but given that the book is told in dual POVs I felt I was given a better idea of what was happening in each scene.

As far as a supporting cast goes, Chris was my favorite. He definitely brought something different to the story whenever he popped up and I’m curious to see what Jen McLaughlin has in store for him.

Final Verdict: Overall not a bad time spent. I’m never going to jump for joy at first person POV but when they’re alternating and at least one of the characters has that grit and danger like Lucas does then it all works out nicely.

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