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REVIEW: Charade by Barri Bryan

Dear Mr and Mrs Houston,

The description of “Charade” at Fictionwise leaves a little bit to be desired. It lead me to believe this would be a fun, happy book about two people cooking up a zany plan to keep the hero’s father (for heart healthy reasons) from overdoing the physical aspect of his relationship with the heroine’s mother. I’ve read some of your books before and they were a lot more fun than this one.

“Charade” features some very rude people saying lots of hurtful and insulting things to each other. Trace is doing Lynn lots of favors by helping her get the building housing her bakery business up to code (in a very short time) and acting as her pseudo boyfriend for her 10th high school reunion. And Lynn repays him by bristling and snapping at him over the most nitpicking things. But then Trace doesn’t hesitate to tell her that he doesn’t think she’s sexy and then snarl at her over anything at all. And their parents aren’t much better. Ralph and Lillie treat their grown children like squalling babies and don’t bother to hide it from the whole town. And why did Lynn’s ex-husband show up? I guess just to make Trace jealous but it was dropped into the story and as just as quickly over.

So, unfortunately with a story whose lead and secondary characters I don’t like and a love story that’s hard to believe could change from nasty swipes at each other to true love, I have to give this one a D.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

5 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Oct 05, 2006 @ 02:40:03

    Jayne, with the exception of perhaps Jaci Burton, and that HQN husband and wife writing team, I find that whenever I read romances that have been co-written by men, the masculine voices seem to take over the female. One example of this would be Sahara Kelly, and Scott Carpenter from EC. I like Sahara’s books, but whenever she writes with Scott, I can totally tell, because the ‘humorous’ situations that the characters find themselves in could never be written by a woman. They are almost to Jack-ass-like in terms of humour and tone. Not my cuppa at all.

    This is one of the reasons why I’ve avoided reading Crusie’s and Mayer’s book.

    Erm, Does that make me sexist?

  2. Jayne
    Oct 05, 2006 @ 03:24:33

    I’ve read two other Bryan books and enjoyed them but “The Prince with a Hole in His Heart” is an erotic fantasy while “Another Time, Another Place” is a paranormal. Maybe their style will only work for me outside of a contemporary setting.

    We’ll see since I’ve already bought quite a few of their books based on my response to the first two and as we all know, you can’t take ebooks back. Le Sigh, as Sybil says.

  3. Jane
    Oct 05, 2006 @ 08:05:11

    Erm, Does that make me sexist?

    I must be sexist too because I rarely read male authors for exactly the statement that you made. Their voices are too masculine for me. I read one statement by Mayer in response to a sex scene that he included early on in the Crusie/Mayer collaboration featuring the hero having sex with the starlet shortly before having sex with the heroine. Mayer said that a single guy with no emotional entanglements would always take an offer of a starlet up and to refuse her would be a feminine way of writing the scene. For me, that is exactly why I read women authors. I like the men in books to sound authentic, up to a point, It is fantasy because in real life, all the alpha males I know are complete assholes.

  4. Karen Scott
    Oct 05, 2006 @ 08:41:53

    For me, that is exactly why I read women authors. I like the men in books to sound authentic, up to a point, It is fantasy because in real life, all the alpha males I know are complete assholes.

    Exactly Jane, and I think that the problems with men writing romance lies in the fact that the majority of them don’t think like us, so they write from a male perspective. I know this is a little sexist, but I truly don’t believe that men know what women want when it comes to fantasising about the pefect man. Well, not the straight ones anyway. (g)

  5. Keishon
    Oct 05, 2006 @ 16:38:22

    I’d like to think that there are men out there who can get it right. The closest I’ve come to an author being close was David Payne. Who is David Payne? Exactly. He writes southern fiction. Early From the Dance is one of my keepers written by him.

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