Thursday, August 7, 2014

Charade by Nyrae Dawn: "Tiny Dancer" is Not a Term of Endearment!!

ISBN: 9781480213982
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Purchased
Series: Games #1
Released: October, 2012
Goodreads  |  B&N

Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.

Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom's dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it's what he wants too.

Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.
Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.

I went on this crazy New Adult romance kick after reading a now-favorite series of mine (More Than This by Jay McLean). I was craving more of the emotional high that the More series had left me on so I went off on a quest to find something similar to read. Based on reviews and general buzz around the NA community, apparently Nyrae Dawn was the way to go. Sigh... Maybe I just picked the wrong book?

I can start by telling you the things I did like about this book: I loved the fact that this was an interracial romance. The MC, Cheyenne was a minority, with dark skin and all that, while Colt was white. This might not be important to most people, but being a minority myself, it's just nice to have that happen once in a while without anyone making it a big deal in the story.

I also liked that Colt was a bad boy - not in the brooding bad boy stereotype sense that is flooding YA/NA right now, but a real bad boy. Tattoos, a little bit of a "wannabe gangsta", didn't want to really care for college, doing some shady things on the side. He wasn't perfect and I enjoyed that. Now, let me be clear, I'm totally not okay with drugs and I don't typically date boys who have probably been to jail before, but I liked the fact that Colt was more than just a cliche. He really had some problems.

Unfortunately those things were not enough to make me really like this book. I felt that it moved a bit fast right from the beginning. It's only a 213 page book so I guess I should've expected that but maybe if it had been a bit longer, it would've been a lot less awkward and rushed.

Charade was annoyingly predictable and even with a real bad boy as part of the story, I found myself knowing exactly what those two were about to get up to. The writing was a bit awkward, especially the dialogue. The characters kept referring to their relationship (or lack thereof) as a "charade". Like, always. In any context or situation, instead of using "what's going on with us," or "our relationship," or even simply "you and I/me and you," they always were using the word charade. NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT! It was really annoying and I found myself skimming those passages while rolling my eyes. I didn't feel like I needed to read any more about their charade than I already had.

Oh! Oh! How about the fact that Colt kept calling Cheyenne his "tiny dancer". Okay, fine, it was cute the first few times and funny the next few but when he was referring to her as "tiny dancer" several times during his stream of freaking conciousness like some dramatic inner monologue in which he couldn't repeat her name (she-who-must-not-be-named... the tiny dancer... Cheyenne! *gasp*). It was obnoxious. I couldn't take it. Cue eye-roll and skimming at all of these points.

The only other redeeming quality to this story was the subplot that had to do with Colt's mom. It was touching, surprisingly well done compared to the rest of the book and it definitely had me an emotionally mess for the last few chapters. So kudos to you, Nyrae Dawn, for making me cry. It is literally what kept me from specifically disliking this book.

I thought it would be cool for you guys to see what my reactions were through the book: as you can see, there a grand total of two times that I actually enjoyed something in this one. It was rough.

RATING: ★★★ - It was OK

After a reading a rather fantastic NA romance series, I moved onto this one, hoping it would satisfy my craving for another emotional roller coaster. I suppose since it did make me cry (which is becoming increasingly more difficult as I'm disappointed repeatedly by less than stellar books), it gets points for achieving the goal. But it definitely didn't achieve the goal of making me enjoy it or being one of those books that stays with me for a long time after reading. It was actually pretty annoying and it was hard for me to get past the awkwardness of the dialogue and rushed feeling of the entire story.

I came up with this (asinine) rule ages ago that I'd add half to a whole star if a book could make me cry. This definitely would've been a 2-2.5 star book if not for the pretty decent ending. Thanks to that ending which, while heart-wrenching, was pulled off better in those few pages than the entire rest of the book, I didn't hate it - it was overall just OK.

I don't know that I'd necessarily recommend this one if you're looking for a great NA read, but I've listed some alternate opinions below in case you don't want to take my word for it.

Have you read this one yet? I'm probably just becoming too nitpick-y and jaded to enjoy B+ (and that's being generous) reads like this one. I'd love to know if you also found fault with it or if it was one that you loved?

Also, seriously, maybe I just picked the wrong Nyrae Dawn book to start with - I do hear she's great. If you are a fan, can you recommend something else by her that won't leave me with this bad taste in my mouth?

Get a second opinion!
Book Brats [3 of 5 stars]
Fic Fare [2.5 of 5 stars]


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