Review: Double Dare by R.L. Mathewson
Release Date: 04/24/2015
Series: Neighbor from Hell Series #6
Pages: 241 (ebook)
I texted my sister the other night (yes, I texted her even though she was just sitting in the other room) exclaiming "OMG the newest Neighbor from Hell novel came out in April??!!! How did we not know that??!" She then proceeded to purchase Double Dare (because all of the NFH novels are on her ereader), and as soon as she finished it, I dropped the other books I was reading and had a total binge-reading session. No disrespect to the book friends I dropped.
Now, I know I owe you all some more Irish Born trilogy reviews, and I promise they will be up this week! But until then, let's delve into the wonderfully hysterical world of the Bradford men and the female neighbors that drive them crazy.
The Neighbor from Hell series follows a proven to be successful formula. Bradford man and female neighbor drive each other crazy, Bradford man charms female neighbor, female neighbor is a little terrified of the Bradford man's obsession with food, Bradford man messes up big time, female neighbor forgives him, female neighbor wears the pants in the relationship, and the relationship is totally cute, funny, and lovey-dovey. I promise the stories are better then I make them sound!
However, Double Dare strays a bit from this formula, and I'm not so sure that it was successful. This novel follows the relationship between Darrin Bradford and Marybeth. They have been best friends since they were seven years old and Darrin double dared Marybeth to come over and play at his house even though she was already in trouble and instructed to stay away from the Bradford boys. You know, I really did enjoy how the story began--with little snippets of Darrin and Marybeth's "double dare" game continuing over the years. Also, it was cute to see a seven-year-old Darrin tell Marybeth that he called dibs on her.
The opening scene in present time is quite funny (in usual Bradford style). But what was completely unexpected for me was the fact that Darrin and Marybeth were kind of already in a relationship--an under the sheets let's have great sex relationship. Here's the real kicker though, they've been in this secret sexual relationship for six years. SIX FREAKING YEARS. And they still manage to remain best friends. This disappointed me because my favorite part of these stories is watching the characters go from enemies to lovers to I can never live without you. Darrin and Marybeth were never really neighbors from "hell" (if you exclude the double dares). I mean yeah, they weren't enemies. So, it makes sense why their story is different, but I imagine going from BFFs to Friends with benefits isn't an easy hurdle. I would have liked to see the initial scene where they chose to take their relationship to another level because there is no doubt that I would have enjoyed that endearing awkwardness.
Much like the other books in the series, the constant bickering and driving each other crazy part is there. And you know, it's fun for a little while. But ultimately, Darrin and Marybeth keep hurting each other. Without giving away spoilers, I just want to say that I sympathized with Marybeth's situation, but after a while, I just wanted to shake the ever living daylights out of her. Normally, the Bradford men do something to F**k it up, but Darrin was always honest and sweet (in my irrelevant opinion).
I almost wish a third and/or fourth party was thrown into their relationship to rock the boat so to speak, which is crazy because I always HATE when some other dude or chick comes in to mess with the relationship. I guess I just enjoy seeing the Bradfords' cavemen reactions and the ladies' "I'm just going to laugh and make you squirm reactions."
GAHH. Okay, so I make it sound like a super unsatisfying read, which is wrong. It's definitely not the best of the series, but I had a few worthwhile giggles. Plus, it's important to point out that Double Dare coincides with the previous book (The Game Plan) in terms of events. So, you can see other characters perspectives during the certain events like when Danny brings Jodi home to meet the family, which BTW there is some exclusive Danny and Jodi content at the end of the book. If you love the series even a little bit, I suggest you read Double Dare because I have high hopes for the next one (Reese's story) based on the sneak peak in the back of the book. Mr. Yummy has the potential to knock Trevor and Zoe out of first place in my book!