Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
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Stephen Hise is the founder and with K.S. Brooks administers the “multi-author multi-national super blog," IndiesUnlimited. Together (along with JD Mader) Hise and Brooks previously co-authored the “multi-genre satire,” Bad Book. Both have written or contributed to numerous other books.
“When wealthy champion dog breeder Stu Hockersmith presents prize pup Lord Louis to lovely Bianca Jameson, he hopes to win her heart. Things don’t always go as planned. Bianca, oblivious to Stu’s amorous intentions, takes the adorable pooch back to California where she goes on to become a celebrated author, writing books about little Lo-Lou.
Bianca thinks she’s living the good life with her Norse god of a fiancé, former fashion photographer Lars Lundgren. When she realizes Lars has spent all their money and committed her to a new book with a looming deadline, Bianca pulls out all the stops to get the job done. But she doesn’t know about all of Lars’ deals.
To make matters worse, Stu is informed that gifting Lord Louis broke the kennel club bylaws and he now must get the pup back before his father’s legal team takes action against the woman he still loves.
Stu needs Lo-Lou to satisfy his father. Bianca needs Lo-Lou to finish her book. Lars needs Lo-Lou to work out a secret deal with a movie producer. Lo-Lou can’t be in three places at the same time. Or can he?”
Triple Dog Dare is all about threes. Three dogs is only the obvious. Another is three characters in love. Stu loves Bianca, although she has no idea. Bianca loves Stu. Bianca also loves Lars (or at least would say she does). Lars loves himself. I’ll call it a non-traditional love triangle because that will help me sneak in another three-ish word.
But the biggest three is the genre. Taken as a whole, the story best fits the chick-lit genre. In a blog post on the differences between chick-lit and romance, author Donna Fasano defined the genre this way:
Chick lit books focus on a female protagonist and her personal (and usually foible-filled) journey toward self-understanding and self-acceptance. In these books, the plot devices are the story. Whether the protagonist ends up with a man is not as relevant as the learning process she experiences through various situations that culminate in her resolving her issues, be they emotional, professional, etc. Chick lit is as famous for its upbeat, emotionally satisfying ending as romance fiction is for its HEA [Happily Ever After].
This definition fits Triple Dog Dare to a tee. But that foible-filled part, which gives a bit of comic relief, also applies to the other characters, especially Stu (who could have swapped gender with Bianca and kept this chick-lit) and Lars. There is enough humor beyond the norm for chick-lit to tag it with a secondary genre, maybe romantic comedy. Last, there is enough conflict and suspense here with no clue how that is going to resolve that I’m tempted to tag it with suspense, too. The suspense is diluted somewhat by the humor, but I’ve got to stay with this tortured three thing now, so suspense is it.
Okay. I’ve pushed the three thing far enough. Maybe I’ll do a two. As in two genders. This might be chick-lit (normally aimed a women), but boys, guys, uh (why isn’t there a good male equivalent to chick?) people of that other gender might like it too. I did.
And I got off of that three thing just in time for the rating.
Rating: **** Four stars