Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Love Game by Emma Hart ~ Review

Source:  Received eBook copy as a gift.
Book Description:

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 realizes Braden and Pearce aren't so alike anymore.

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

My Thoughts:


3 stars -  Both sides start playing but real hits pretty fast

I was drawn to this book because of the game but that's not what held me in it's pages.  I found it interesting that both sides of it were playing the other.  Maddie's friends set her up to play the game and Braden's friends to the same for him.  You know that's gonna end badly.  And while I was initially drawn to the game, I ended up being annoyed by the game.  I wanted to yell at both of them to drop the game, confess it all and get real.  Of course, they didn't listen.  Probably for the best in the end but it did frustrate me.  The lying made me unhappy, especially on Maddie's side.  She claimed to hate all that and yet she was right there in the middle of it.

That brings me to my feelings for Maddie.  I struggled to like her.  I think I felt sorry for her.  I was frustrated with her.  I was disappointed in her.  I may have finally liked her in the end.  It was her attitude about how horrible she thought Braden was but she acted just as bad.  She felt justified because she was gonna teach him a lesson.  I call bullshit.

Braden, I liked.  Yeah, I know - you're so surprised.  I do tend to like the boys better, hehe.  Here's the deal with Braden.  He's a player.  He doesn't pretend he's not.  He plays Maddie from the beginning but it blows up in his face and becomes real.  At least he was true to who he was.  I do wish we had gotten to know him better.  There's this little comment about how no one knows why he's so close to Megan (his best friend that he grew up with) and we never find out what it is.  That bugs me.  I wanted to know why money didn't seem to be an issue for him.  Why is mom thought he should have a suite in Vegas instead of just a room.  He spent most of his time listening to Maddie's problems, kissing away her tears and holding her that we never learned what was up with him.  I missed that.

And Megan, Braden's best friend.  There's more there too.  I kept thinking she knew what she was doing with Braden.  I thought she set him up for Maddie to play but she felt like they were perfect for each other, that her motivations wasn't to teach him a lesson but to bring him love.  Instead, she hurts her best friend, hard.  Hmmmm...didn't like that part.

Now don't be me wrong, I enjoyed this book.  Read it in a couple of evenings.  Sleep was the only thing that stopped it from being a single sitting book.  The story flowed well and the writing was good.  I saw a few editing issues but nothing huge.  It was satisfying.  

This book has A LOT of steamy scenes too.  You saw that yesterday in my Teaser Tuesday.  I love the yummy things that go through Braden's mind when he has Maddie in his arms.  Yes, it is duel POV, switching back and forth every other chapter.  And yes, I did love reading from Braden's POV more than Maddie's.

This is new adult.  It's pleasantly steamy.  It's fast.  If that's something you like, then pick it up.


  1. I've seen this one around and it sounds like something I could possibly like, but not rush to grab.

  2. Thanks for your review, I have not seen this yet. I will have to add to my tbr list.

  3. Great review. It's so hard when we want to fall in love with characters and a story, but there's something nibbling at the back of our minds, preventing us from doing so.

  4. Cool review! The story sounds pretty good. The game sounds quite interesting.

  5. I have this one, and hope to get to it soon. Love that cover!

  6. Cool...I've been waffling about whether to add this to my TBR, but your review covered all my concerns. I appreciate that you included the negatives and didn't just gush about it--sometimes it's hard to discern the honest reviews and those that are catering to the author's ego. This one rings true, and the story sounds good, so I'll be adding The Love Game to my "rainy day" wishlist :)

  7. Thanks for the review, Val! I also appreciate your honesty, sometimes, these 3* reviews are better than a 5* because of that :)
    A lot of people had the same issue with Megan so I rewrote the first chapter from her POV - if you're interested it's here on my blog:

  8. I recently read this one and I have to agree I was wondering what was up with Megan and Braden's relationship. I didn't mind Maddie as much, though I think her issues with her brother clouded her judgment when it came to her feelings for Braden.

    I'm definitely interested in book 2, Playing for Keeps.