Daily Archives: 4 April, 2013

The Love Game (The Game #1) by Emma Hart

the love game cover

SYNOPSIS

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.

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OUR REVIEW:

Jenny:  While we both pondered what to read next, we felt we needed something a bit lighter, with a little angst but something quick and fun and this one certainly delivered didn’t it Gitte?

Gitte: Did it ever Jenny! I laughed myself silly and swooned like crazy. It was just what we needed. A light romantic read with a bit of angst thrown in.

Jenny:  The game is simple: For the girls, they challenge Maddie to “play the player”.  Braden is the man about campus, bedding anything in his wake and well, he’s a player. Maddie loathes everything about him so she accepts the challenge to make him fall in love with her, only dump down him down the track to give him a taste of his own medicine. But…the boys also issue Braden a challenge to…well, bed Maddie and dump her. And so begins The Love Game.

This was a quick romp through college life with Braden, Maddie and their crazy, loveable friends Aston, Nick, Lila, Megan and Kay and what a fun bunch they were.  Listening to the girls sit around talking sexual innuendo’s had me in fits and there was just the right measure of emotion and angst to keep everything moving along.

Gitte: This Game of Play the Player was always destined to go wrong though wasn’t it Jenny. Two people with nothing to lose showing the other the ‘error’ of their ways.  Even though I didn’t quite get the reason for why the lads set up the game for Braden I completely got the girls game though. And absolutely Jenny, the friends all had me in hysterics I thought this was a real good group of friends with spot on banter and hilarious humour.

the love game pic 1

Jenny:  Yep Gitte, that game was destined for failure.  One word. Braden.  Geez Gitte, how much did we love egotistical, cocky, possessive, foul mouthed, hot, insatiable player Braden Carter?

“Maddie, if someone says ‘pussy cat’ I instantly think of sex.” Braden

Maddie’s voice really endeared me to her character. She was strong, sassy and held her own against Braden.  She was wise to this guy and threw him for a bit of a loop at times.  She was somewhat brittle in ways brought upon by family issues she has kept hidden.  For me though, Braden was the crux of this story.  His internal monologue was a classic.  He swore like a trouper, had no filter and everything that came out of his mouth was so entertaining. The alternating POV worked so well and brought so much more to the story to hear both voices. What did you think?

Gitte: Absolutely loved Braden. He was everything that should annoy and pee us off but no, instead his cocky attitude, his complete lack of dating skills, his foul mouth and his stumbling through the dating game with the help of everyone’s trusted friend ‘Google’ just floored me with both laughter and girlie sighs…..Definitely Jenny, when we got his POV, his inner monologue….well Braden overall, just made this book what it was for me. He just didn’t care what he said and his thought processes were just addictive. I would get so excited every time we got to his POV!

the love game pic 2

As for Maddie, she was a sweet and funny girl and I completely got why her past brought her to where she was in this story. Though the real issues were not dealt with till later. She gave as good as she got and I loved that about her. As I said, one of my only gripes with this story was her motivation behind this challenge. I don’t want to give spoilers but the references and measurements Maddie held up against Braden just didn’t completely convince me and the in-decisions annoyed me a tiny bit. This is where the fantastic cast of secondary characters along with Braden helped pull this one up for me. No doubt!

“I’m not possessive over you Maddie…I’m protective and there’s a difference. I’d never try to control you or tell you what you can and can’t do….You’re so fucking beautiful….I have you and there’s not a chance I’m gonna risk one of them taking you from me…So yes, you are fucking mine!” – Braden

Jenny:  Unbeknown to each other though, they are both playing a game with and end in sight.  But when Braden starts to see the cracks in Maddie, when he starts to break through the walls she has constructed, he sees the girl underneath and starts to fall for her. He wants to protect her, hold her and comfort her.  He becomes her friend and her confidante and so much more.  When Maddie witnesses this side to Braden she begins to see much more than just the player.

Oh, did I mention the sexual tension between these two skyrockets.

“Upstairs”, I mutter. “Fucking now” Braden

As their relationship develops, Maddie sees the warm, gentle side to Braden she had no idea existed and Braden sees a girl who ignites something in him, something in his heart he himself never expected to feel.

 “You think I’m beautiful?”
“Yeah”, I turn her face to mine. “I do.”

I really did enjoy this one Gitte.  Whilst that ending with Braden …dear god, talk about swoon, satisfied me, I did feel this ended a bit abruptly.  I wanted more, but as there is more to come in this series, I’m hopeful this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Braden and Maddie.  I am so looking forward to catching up with all those crazy guys again, what about you, how did you enjoy it overall?

Gitte: So the players got played and realised that this game for all its intents and purposes reveals so much more about each other. The lessons learnt when you go all in with nothing to lose, walls getting knocked down, true personalities shining through the cracks. A friendship formed that turns into so much more through the understanding, comfort and an open and respectful heart. Such a funny and sweet journey with a bit of heat thrown in, but yes Jenny I agree. It ended way too abruptly. We go through emotional turmoil with them and then are not given enough of the ‘Afters’…An epilogue would have been perfect and sealed the deal for me! I will say though that this is absolutely one of those stories that should be read and enjoyed, with laughter and melting moments in abundance.

“I’m. Not.Yours”
“But I’m yours…..I’ll always be yours”

 

the love game pic 3

Jenny 4 Stars
Gitte 4 Stars 

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Check Out The Love Game here

The Love Game (The Game)

Playing for Keeps Book #2 due out June 2013

NB: The author has now posted an Epilogue to this book and can be found on her website

EPILOGUE FOR THE LOVE GAME

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Filed under 4 Stars, Emma Hart, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny