Monday, May 13, 2013

Review—Matchplay by Dakota Madison

by Dakota Madison
Publication: March 17th 2013 by Short on Time Books
Genre: New Adult Romance

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A Girl, a Guy, a Tournament and a Challenge

The Girl: At a time when most girls obsess about homecoming and high school prom, Rainy Dey spent her senior year caring for her dying mother. So when her father drops her off at college to start her freshman year, his words of advice to his bookish daughter are to start acting like a young person and finally have some fun.

The Guy: College senior, Aaron Donavan, aka Mr. Hot-and-Knows-It, is President of the Clubhouse, a social club for the college’s most wealthy and popular guys. Aaron can have any girl on campus except the one who challenges and excites him the most—Rainy Dey.

The Tournament: Every year, the senior members of The Clubhouse engage in a golf-inspired tournament to see who can sleep with the most freshman girls. When Rainy finds out about the tournament, she believes Aaron’s only interest in her is to score points by taking her V-Card.

The Challenge: Can Aaron convince Rainy that his feelings for her are true and that she won’t be just another notch on his tournament scorecard?

Although Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Epic Fantasy are my favorite genres, I get in moods and have to switch up what I read. Historical Romance is one of my go-to breathers. Fun, light contemporary romances with cliché plots and an almost guaranteed HEA are another. Matchplay  seemed to fit the bill, and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't.

The book started off well enough. Rainey Day not only has a funny name that she embraces but also a good head on her shoulders. She's smart, caring, and sensical, has a great relationship with her dad, and can call shots as she sees them without feeling a bit of remorse. So when she confronts Aaron Donavan, during their first study date, about his clubhouse's tournament of sleeping with as many freshman girls as possible, I instantly liked her and thought this book would be a little different than the other "bet" books. Aaron Donavan also seemed more than the pretty, rich boy because of his quiet, playful demeanor with a determined streak.

Then somewhere around the middle of the book, between study date number one and two, Rainey is no longer the upfront, self-assured girl who knows what she wants and kindly brushes off other people's assumptions and the lines of cliques. She becomes needy and doesn't stand up for herself, even after she gives up her v-card—pretty darn quickly, I might add. She questions everything but Aaron's involvement and status in the tournament when he supposedly quit but hasn't. She becomes the girl who bites her tongue when her boyfriend obviously lies and treats her like shit in front of everyone, which is too darn often.

Don't get me started on Aaron. The boy needs to grow a pair, and all of his wonderful character building and tidbits in the beginning lead to nowhere. They had no point. They were included for nothing, and the only word that comes to mind when I think of him now is: WEAK.

That's just it. I love character flaws, but there has to be some growth. In Matchplay, there is none. And I mean none. I swear these characters went backwards, only getting worse and worse, eventually leading to the worst.

The ending certainly didn't help. Nothing is concluded, eluded to, or even delved into. The tournament—what tournament? How does golf play into it, the book, or the characters' lives? Aaron's parents have a lot weight on him and his decisions but never make an appearance. All the relationships Rainey has and made—did they have a reason to be in the story other than mere filler? And this challenge of Aaron trying to get Rainey to believe he likes her ... it's not prominent in the book, and he wasn't trying very hard when he lets his childhood friend, who's a girl and utter bitch, grope and hang on him with everyone watching, Rainey included.

When I think Rainey and Aaron have finally hit rock bottom, and I was glad because I didn't want them together any longer, they do something so jacked up that I was left stunned. There were no words, because when a relationship is only full of mistrust, the best thing to do is get engaged, right? Right ...

Matchplay had potential in the backswing and direction. But with a rushed second half, characters too stupid to live after completing a 180, and an ending that made no sense whatsoever, the book didn't simply fall short of the fun, shallow hole—it missed the green by miles.

Paperback provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you! (And I'm sorry I didn't like it more.)

Dakota Madison

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Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she's not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.


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