Sunday, June 23, 2013


A New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he's everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn't she say no? She doesn't know either.

Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her - and he'd do anything to have her, hence why he's agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it's the only way he'll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there's more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined - and he can't help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn't just a walking erection - he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don't exactly hurt. That means trouble - but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren't so alike anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, they're exactly what each other needs.

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition
Published March 29th 2013 by Emma Hart
*Copy received from author for honest review*

Where to Find The Love Game:

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Our Review
This was a fun one--no earth shattering revelations, no deep soul searching--nope, just plain escapist fun. The title tells us from the start that this love affair is all about playing games and true to its title--games are played. Unbeknownst to the two major players involved, Maddie and Braden, they BOTH are playing games. 

Right! It is true that the premise could be seen as predictable, but how it was done was not boring. It was fun and I liked both of the main characters and was hoping there wouldn't be a terrible amount of angst that screwed things up. I actually had this for a really long time, but never made time to read it! I liked the cover and blurb, so I regret it a bit that I let it get swept under all of my other one-clicks! 

At first they are both laser focused on making just the correct strategic move to help make the other one fall in love. Maddie's 'team' of friends even makes a checklist of sorts to help keep her on her game. I'm not sure she really even needs them, at first, because she seems to have a personal vendetta against Braden..or guys like him. Her motives, while flawed and misplaced, are borne out of a need to teach a lesson and maybe save other girls from being burned by guys like Braden. Braden, on the other hand, does not have a written plan but he does have a bunch of friends egging on his every move. His motives are really not altruistic at all. He sees her as a challenge and he knows that she's not a one night stand kind of girl, so he's going to do what it takes to capture the prize--with no intention of keeping it once he has it.

There is apparently a lot to Maddie's past that makes Braden's plight not so easy to be obtained. Maddie has completely switched coasts to escape her past and build herself a new life, so that definitely puts a wrench in all of their plans. She has a lot of friends but hasn't really opened up to any of them so I saw this as being a major plot point...her dealing with her demons that is, that would take this novel where I needed it to go to love it...and it definitely did.

As the 'game' progresses and they get to know each other, things change and both are surprised by the feelings they begin to have. Braden's chapters are laughable--googling date ideas, questioning what emotions feel like, being clueless about how to be a boyfriend.  I paused for a moment to consider this--could a hot guy like Braden really go to college never having had a girlfriend? I guess if he was always a slut, then yeah...probably so. Maddie's chapters feel darker and edgier for me and maybe that's because her intentions seemed to be more about righting a wrong than to fulfill a personal desire (at least at first). 

Braden's POV chapters were entertaining! Like you said he even had to google how to be a good boyfriend. That was so cute...although I'm sure the Braden at the beginning would be mortified by anyone thinking he did cute things for a girl. While his guy friends don't necessarily work him over for the game like Maddie's do, they definitely bring up the whole don't be pussy whipped lines that makes guy be assholes. Bring in Megan, his best friend from high school and Maddie's good friend. Megan's intentions had me skeptical the entire time...It was mainly her idea...was she trying to hurt Braden? Then she was giving him advice and getting the scoop on how he felt for Maddie. What kind of friend does that? Luckily this is resolved...eventually..but a lot of mixed feelings for her...I will be interested to see how things go for her in Playing for Keeps!

Of course, we all know that playing games in a relationship does not work because inevitably someone gets hurt. This relationship game is no exception and when the time for that part (you know...THAT PART where things hit the fan) happen in the book, I had to take a deep breath before I kept reading. I knew it was going to could it not?!...and even knowing it was coming I was a little ticked that either of them let it get to that point. But, alas, it is fiction and these things happen. Thankfully it's wrapped up without a cliffhanger AND! something to look forward to when the next book in this series comes out.

It's all very How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: College Edition, and I loved it. I find it hilarious that he had less than honorable intentions and was still so upset and hurt by how things turned Kettle. Their conclusion was still very hard fought because of emotions and pride and insecurity, and so kept me on my toes until the very end! Very enjoyable read and definitely perfect for summer. 

Shelley: 4 Stars
Courtney: 4 Stars

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