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That's What I'm Talking About

I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent. 


Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.


A+  Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A    Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A-   Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+  Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B    Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B-   Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+  Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C    Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C-   Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D    Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E    Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish


updated July 9, 2015

Currently reading

Operation: Endgame (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 6) (English Edition)
Philippa Ballantine, Jeanne H. Ballantine, William Morris
Just You and Me (A Contemporary Romance Collection)
Fiona Miers, Caitlyn Lynch, Liz Durano, Deelylah Mullin, Cate Farren, Jacquie Biggar, Vicki Batman, Kate Richards, Brenna Zinn, Dalton Diaz, Tierney O'Malley, Desiree Holt, Nicole Morgan, Ashlyn Chase
Bitter Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 14
Audible Studios, Jennifer Estep, Lauren Fortgang
Progress: 27 %

Review: Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin

Dare to Lie (The Sons of Steel Row) - Jen McLaughlin

Scotty, a Fed for the DEA, is deep undercover and a member of the ruthless Sons of Steel Row gang. Scotty is pulled aside by head of gang, Tate, and told a huge secret... Tate has a sister who knows NOTHING about his gang life. He wants Scotty to attend a charity bachelor auction his sister Skylar is hosting, but if he touches her, his life is forfeit.


Skylar, a hard-working, independent 23-year old medical school student, is holding a charity bachelor auction. When she meets Scotty, she knows it’s a destined-to-be arrangement and bids on Scotty for herself. Even though he tells her he’s no good, Sky cannot stay away. 


Dare to Lie was a mixed bag for me. Honestly, the first quarter of the book irritated me. There were too many issues and eyerolling moments. Yet, I stuck with it, and after the halfway mark, I couldn’t put down the book. Scotty and Sky do make a good couple, despite their dishonest start. The couple keeps secrets within secrets, neither being 100 percent upfront, so of course, there are major issues once the truth slowly works its way into the light. I didn’t mind the secret-keeping parts because it was all part of the bigger story, but I did have issues with other aspects of the book.


First of all, Sky is portrayed as a woman who has an amazing gift of seeing people for exactly who they are on the inside. Yet, she supposedly has no clue her brother is the head of a ruthless gang. While this is eventually addressed, it comes of as an inconsistency in the character development and bothered me more than once. Also, this… 


"because even though I hadn't looked at him yet... Something about him brought me to life."


Sky literally bumps into Scotty for the first time, and without even looking at him or hearing his voice, they have a connection? Just no. This did not work for me at all.


One other thing that bothered me up front was the humanizing of Tate, the head of SoSR. This is a Southie (Boston) gang known for utter violence. Yet here is Tate, suddenly a softy in many ways. It didn’t sit well with me. One cannot be the leader of a gang like this without being cutthroat and amoral. I need my bad guys to be bad.


Even with these upfront issues, I kept reading the book, and suddenly found myself glued to my Kindle. The layers of subterfuge unraveled, keeping me on the edge of my seat. The back and forth between Scotty and Sky worked, and even broke my heart a bit. And although everything tied up a bit too neatly for me, I liked the ending and was glad I read the story.


In the end, Dare to Lie was a fairly engaging story. There were definitely some eyeroll-moments, and it was a bit too shiny for a gang book. However, I liked Scotty and Sky together, despite the hokey "we are destined to be" opening. It was tough watching them seesaw through their issues, but it gave me an emotional connection to the pair. It was a rough start for me, but about 50% on, I couldn't put down the book.


My Rating:  B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues

Originally posted on That's What I'm Talking About

Review copy provided by publisher