Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: Dare to Risk
SERIES: Dare #1
AUTHOR: Kara Nash & Caitlin Ricci
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 266 Pages
RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2016
For successful businessman Bran Wilson, selling the large Montana dairy farm that has been in his family for generations is an easy decision. He hates the farm, the land, even the cows, and wants nothing to do with any of it. But there’s a glitch in his plan: a stubborn cowboy from New Zealand who is as sexy as he is aggravating.
Kaden Barker loves the Wilson farm, and respected Bran’s grandfather up until the day he died. With his two best friends, he’s taken over working the farm and caring for the cows, and he’d happily spend the rest of his days doing it.
When Bran charges into his life, telling him he’s selling the farm and there’s nothing Kaden, or his friends, can do about it, the animosity between them is instant. But so is the attraction, and only one extreme can win out.
I discovered today just how very, very hard it is to read and enjoy a book when you absolutely despise the main character. I liked the book. I liked the premise. I loathed the main character, Bran Wilson. I understand that he is broken, and has issues in his past, but we didn’t find out much about those until the very end of the book, and then only a brief paragraph about the Dad. I really wasn’t satisfied at all with it.
Bran Wilson is a horror. He is one of those plastic Manhattan superficial money grubbing egotistical beings that the rest of the world doesn’t understand at all. Honestly, all I could picture when I was reading this book was one of those dreadful realtors on those Selling New York real estate shows on Bravo. He has zero charm. He is nasty and bitter to everyone, and he is probably one of the worst, if not the worst character that I’ve read lately!
The book was OK. I really liked the Kiwi’s. I wasn’t a fan of Bran’s best friend Chris. The teaser in the end of this book might draw me into his story in book two, but I’m not sure yet. I was intrigued by Chris’ brother Misha, so I hope we have his story somewhere down the road as well.
One content warning. There were a few references to Bran’s ex, named Richard. He was an abusive man and physically abused Bran. Because Bran never told Chris about the abuse, we have an off screen non-consensual/physical abuse incident between Richard and Chris which could be a trigger to some readers. It was handled well though, and had very few details, so shouldn’t bother most readers.
Let’s talk about the story. Bran left home at sixteen after a tragedy on the farm. He never spoke to his grandfather again, but the grandfather thought about him the entire time and left his estate all to Bran. Bran’s immediate response is to sign a contract to sell the property to a developer to build a casino on it. Who needs family memories, right? One huge problem. The will says he has to live on the farm and work the farm for 30 days before he can sell it.
Kaden Barker, along with two of his friends, has been on the farm working for Bran’s grandfather for quite some time, and they knew and loved the man. The three are from New Zealand, and are all successful on their own back home. But Bran doesn’t know that, and assumes they are your common run of the mill hired hands. Honestly that was one of the hardest things for me to ‘buy’ in this story. They were all well to do in their own country. Why were they on Bran’s grandfather’s farm in the first place? And why would they stay and put up with the crap handed out by the spoiled brat from Manhattan?
Overall, I guess I would say that I enjoyed the book. As I’ve made clear, I loathed the main character, but I’ll get over it. There are a lot of things going on, and Bran is an absolute little puke. Things seemed to have a way of working out, but I was sometimes left wondering how, or even why. For example, when Bran’s friend Chris and Chris’ brother Misha show up at the farm and sparks start to fly not only for Bran and Kaden, but also for Chris and his brother with the other two hired hands, it really kind of bugged me. Why? A hint…there was some insta-love…way too much insta-love considering how unlovable some of the characters were written. I felt some things were rushed, and that there weren’t a lot of explanations along the way. And my biggest complaint. One of my pet peeves is setting a story in one locale and using terminology from another. In this case, the story was set in Montana. Yes, half the characters were Kiwis, but we don’t have a “lounge” in our homes in this country. We don’t keep ointment in a “pot” beside the bed. Those words were used in chapters told in Bran’s POV and were incorrect where they were used.
In conclusion, I’d have to say the book left me teetering somewhere between dissatisfied and satisfied and therefore I’m going to split it in the middle and give it a 3.0 rating which means it was good/average in my opinion.