Dared (The Boneyard Bad Boy Series- Book 1)Dared by Kristina Borden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Dared (The Boneyard Bad Boys Series-Book1) by Author Kristina Borden is a standalone in The Boneyard Bad Boys Series and my very first read by this author. I was really looking forward to this book and as much as I liked it, I found that I just couldn’t love it. I am a very picky reader, I like what I like and I do have reading preferences and boundaries that from time to time I don’t mind crossing as long as it is done in a mature way. Most of the boundaries that were crossed, unfortunately for me, were done in the most immature way and for that I found that I couldn’t fully connect nor invest with the main characters at times.

It is very rare for me to dislike both of the main characters. At times, I may have a clear winner from the start and a dark horse, who ends up shining in the end. Damien and Summer were both hard to truly love and yet, as much as I disliked them at times, they did grow on me. Unfortunately, by the end, I did like them but wasn’t in love with them if that makes sense. I am hoping to get a glimpse and/or catch-up with them in the next book because as much as they had grown by the end, I would love to see them continue to grow as well as see where life has taken them. What makes me sad and disappointed is that this book truly did have a lot of potential with the storyline as well as the characters. I could see and understand the underlying story, I could understand both characters and why they were the way they were but what I couldn’t relate to was the execution of the storyline and the characters by this author. I believe with the right amount of tweaking here and there throughout, this could have had the makings of a GREAT story.

Damien, oh Damien, he was a very hard character to fall in love with. The very start of this book had my heart breaking for him and he really had a very rough childhood. I could understand why he felt the way he did and why he chose the wild lifestyle BUT to a point. Damien and Summer really had the best and most beautiful, sincere friendship and I was so taken in by their “love” for one another. As graduation is nearing, Damien finds himself in a “predicament” and in order to “save” the girl he cares for, he makes a pretty tough decision that will impact the both of them for the next 8 years.

Damien had some really good qualities but unfortunately for him and for me as well, he continued his wild lifestyle for far too long. For a man in his late 20’s, he behaved like an irresponsible and selfish teenager and I was almost ready to give up on him completely until about halfway through the book. There is a pivotal moment that resonates with him, thank goodness, and it’s then that he starts to redeem himself. He starts on a self-discovery path that truly made my heart full of joy. Damien deserved life’s best and yet he was his own worst enemy and sadly, he needed to hit rock bottom before making his way into the light. I loved watching his character mature and grow, it was heartfelt.

Now Summer, hmmmm, she was equally as hard to like. She came across overly confident, crass and very immature. She was tough, badass as some readers have referred to her as, me, I say she was cocky, crude and behaved like a young teen at times. At 26 years old, I did expect much more maturity from her character. Some of the things that came out of her mouth made me cringe and yet she definitely had a good side to her as well. She had a great childhood and her friendship with Damien was so genuine and so sweet that I understood her apprehension to let herself feel again for him. She, like Damien, made some really bad and immature decisions and neither one of them acted their age. On the other hand, I did enjoy seeing them both see the error in their ways and I was rooting for them to finally see what everyone else could see and that was the sincere love they felt for one another. I was rooting for them to let go of their insecurities and embrace what was staring them in the face.

The latter half of the book was far better for me than the first half but I felt the ending was too rushed considering some of the circumstance they had endured. For me, I felt that there was a lot of “foolishness” taking up much of the book and I would have liked to see more of a slow, build-up between Damien and Summer and in a more mature way than how it was done. The ending left me with a huge smile but it was not an easy ride for me to take with them and at times, I wanted to give up. I am so glad that I stayed on course with Damien and Summer because it definitely was worth the long and bumpy road.

I am hoping that there will be a book on Cash and assume there will be because the ending of this story really had me intrigued. Cash’s life appeared to be ready to take on a major detour in the way of love and I would definitely look forward to seeing how the author will execute her storyline, how much her writing “matures”, and most importantly how she handles her characters in the future!

Author Kristina Borden, I can see potential growth in your books to come because the storyline is there and I wish you the best. I feel the road has now been paved for you and with time, I can see a beautiful future with your books to come.
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