The Marriage Game
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

The Marriage Game Details

TitleThe Marriage Game
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 9th, 2020
PublisherBerkley
ISBN-139780593100561
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

The Marriage Game Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    At these depressing, high tension, ill-fated, virus mania days, this kind of LAUGH OUT LOUD novels are the best medicine for our souls!OMG! OMG! My cheeks hurt! My tummy aches! My eyes filled in tears! I haven’t laughed so hard since my husband request me to cook a simple dish for him! I had great time!Witty dialogues-CHECKAmazing, hot, sizzling, earth shattering chemistry- CHECKCreative, unique, awkward, humorous situations that the characters find themselves into-CHECKBest of best supporting c At these depressing, high tension, ill-fated, virus mania days, this kind of LAUGH OUT LOUD novels are the best medicine for our souls!OMG! OMG! My cheeks hurt! My tummy aches! My eyes filled in tears! I haven’t laughed so hard since my husband request me to cook a simple dish for him! I had great time!Witty dialogues-CHECKAmazing, hot, sizzling, earth shattering chemistry- CHECKCreative, unique, awkward, humorous situations that the characters find themselves into-CHECKBest of best supporting characters: Those aunties, their children and DAISY (she already earned her own book and I think we should see that hot firefighter and big hose for the next book!)- CHECKAngst, drama, discovering your true self and awakening parts with lots of family dramas-CHECK!Lots of references to Hollywood and Bollywood’s famous products (As a movie geek I watched all of them so I enjoyed the references so much more than a regular reader. Yes, even I watched Salman Khan’s Dabang! I cannot believe in myself either!)- CHECKI have to warn you there are so many under belly and naughty jokes, especially Daisy has a real dirty mouth! And our heroine Layla has Fifty Shades of Brown slash Fatal Attraction fantasies take place in the elevator. So you gotta prepare yourself before starting this book. Here’s our plot: Layla returns back to San Francisco to her family’s house, jobless, evicted, humiliated by social media with her viral video on youtube, being cheated by her scumbag boyfriend. And as soon as she tells her family about her job and house situation and her plans about opening a new business for her recruiting job and asks for using the office located upstairs of their family restaurant, his father gets excited way toooo much! Yes, he just collapses on the floor because he’s having heart attack and last thing he told his daughter, he made a lease agreement for the place but he would call and cancel it. Yeap, father is in hospital, he didn’t make the call he mentioned and charming, sexy, over confident, narcissistic and partly douchebag Sam Mehta appears at the office as Layla starts to throw her entire office equipment to his face and scream! Yes, our MCs meet and they start to feel the undeniable sexual chemistry as soon as they lay eyes on each other. Wow! Yes the room, the room, the room is on fire! (Normally it should be roof but you got what I meant.) You just patiently wait them tear each other’s clothes and wait for the genre’s changing into erotic romance. There are so many hotness and naughtiness in this story but it is sooo much fun! Sam says he has his contract and she gotta leave the place. Layla says he should show some respect! Her father is in coma at the hospital, she has nowhere else to go and family comes first. Well, Sam’s family, especially his sister comes first, too. He still blames himself what has happened to her at the hospital (he also quits his residency and dreams of being doctor and starts working at downsizing business management, yes instead of saving lives now he is ending people’s career dreams but he has a reason: her sister got married with drunk and abuser scumbag/ a famous doctor in the hospital he works. The worst thing is: he was the one who introduced them and that human waste doctor might have hurt her sister and been the reason that she will never walk again!!!) And when they continue to their shouting contest, a guy comes to their office asking for Layla and he tells her he is the one she is going to marry. WHAT? Yes, I didn’t mention the book starts with the letter, written by Layla’s father, added to the dating site, indicating that Layla looks for husband and the candidates will be evaluated by him. As Layla enters his father’s email account she finds out he evaluated the guys and chose 10 special candidates and 10 blind dates for her daughter. Layla wants to cancel the meetings but then she realizes those blind dates can be her father’s last wish. And she makes an offer to Sam to join her dates with her. If she finds the ideal groom, she will leave the office for him. But if she cannot find, Sam will look another place. They shake hands and MARRIAGE GAMES begin. But both of them know neither Layla nor Sam wants to find the perfect candidate because they’re head over heels in love with each other. By the way my favorite candidate was CIA agent! When I’m reading his parts, I laughed too hard and fell down the couch. It was HILARIOUS!I enjoyed this whirlwind and entertaining book so much but last parts and too much angst and Sam’s obnoxious attitudes made me so much pissed ( I even thought to lower my points) but OVERALL this is unique, hot, funny, vivid reading and I cannot deny how much fun I had so I’m giving 4.5 and rounding them up 5 stars! But I still want to punch hero and I’m big fan of brave, sassy, smart, ball of fire, impulsive, witty, sexy Layla! Atta girl! Those stars come for you!Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazingly funny ARC in exchange my honest review. I personally congratulate Sara Desai for her fantastic debut and I cannot wait to read her future works. ( P.S. Please right about Daisy and her adorable dog!)bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars The Marriage Game is Sara Desai’s debut novel, and what a delight it is! I had so much fun reading this book. Layla comes back home to California from NYC after her current relationship ends and she loses her job. She’s in her mid twenties and starting fresh again. She’s ready for a new job and a new start, and her father is ready for her to find a husband. He sets up an on-line dating profile for her and picks 10 guys for her to meet. 

Sam is renting the office above Layla’s fami 3.5 stars The Marriage Game is Sara Desai’s debut novel, and what a delight it is! I had so much fun reading this book. Layla comes back home to California from NYC after her current relationship ends and she loses her job. She’s in her mid twenties and starting fresh again. She’s ready for a new job and a new start, and her father is ready for her to find a husband. He sets up an on-line dating profile for her and picks 10 guys for her to meet. 

Sam is renting the office above Layla’s family’s restaurant, and Layla is also planning on using the space to start her new business. These two are not a good match, and couldn’t be more different, but with time, they start to grow on each other. Sam even insists on coming on Layla’s blind dates. These were some of my favorite scenes of the book. “It also says here that you’re a good girl.” His voice dropped to a sensual purr and he leaned toward her. “Are you a good girl, Layla? You seem very bad to me. If you need a husband who can keep you in line, you’ll have to up your game.” Sam and Layla’s banter was so much fun. I loved watching them go on the ‘dates’ together. Layla was independent and fiery and I loved her character. Sam was great… for most of the book. I also adored so many of the side characters. Layla’s dad was my absolute favorite. I also loved Sam’s sister, friend John, and Layla’s cousin, Daisy.Honestly, I loved the first 75% of this book so much. I had such a huge smile on my face and the banter and storytelling was fantastic. The last 25% though… there were some parts I didn’t love. The very end was great, but getting there was rough for me. Overall, this was good for me and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future. If you’re looking for a sweet and fun rom-com that’s a good time, pick up The Marriage Game!
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  • Chris C - A Midlife Wife
    January 1, 1970
    Quirky, crazy, and sexy too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I love the premise of the story which was one of the reasons why I chose to review it.One of the cool things about this story is that we get a lot of East Indian culture. The descriptions and detail of foods, clothing, and mannerisms is quite complex. You can almost smell the cooking as you’re reading.Because of that detail of cultural influence we also get a high number of characters in the story that can sometimes be tough to keep up with. P Quirky, crazy, and sexy too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I love the premise of the story which was one of the reasons why I chose to review it.One of the cool things about this story is that we get a lot of East Indian culture. The descriptions and detail of foods, clothing, and mannerisms is quite complex. You can almost smell the cooking as you’re reading.Because of that detail of cultural influence we also get a high number of characters in the story that can sometimes be tough to keep up with. Plus, we have a high strung main character who’s mannerisms and characteristics in the story was a bit much for me.This book was a reminiscent of a young adult story where there is tons of bantering and excessive chaos. At one point, it was a bit much for me and I had to take a break.The story itself is high energy, quirky and fun to read. There’s some very humorous parts and the author does a beautiful job keeping the flow of the story moving forward at a nice pace.I love the connection between Sam and Layla but the constant conversation and constant bantering got to me, especially during some heated moments.The Marriage Game is fun and delightful story that will be hard to top. Quirky, crazy, and sexy too. It’s a cultural experience with a happily ever after you can hardly wait to get to.* copy received for review considerationFull Review - https://amidlifewife.com/the-marriage...
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  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    There's nothing more I hate than not liking a book that I had so badly wanted to love.RTC.***I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***
  • Lily Herman
    January 1, 1970
    What an absolutely delightful debut from Sara Desai. The premise of a dark 'n' twisty corporate downsizing consultant and a hopelessly romantic HR recruiter battling for office space—and each other's affections—could warm even the most late-stage of capitalist hearts.Unsurprising to literally anyone who's put themselves through the torture of reading one of my romance novel reviews, I loved this book in large part because of the well-done enemies-to-lovers trope. The fight for the office space w What an absolutely delightful debut from Sara Desai. The premise of a dark 'n' twisty corporate downsizing consultant and a hopelessly romantic HR recruiter battling for office space—and each other's affections—could warm even the most late-stage of capitalist hearts.Unsurprising to literally anyone who's put themselves through the torture of reading one of my romance novel reviews, I loved this book in large part because of the well-done enemies-to-lovers trope. The fight for the office space was actually pretty inconsequential a lot of the time, but it didn't even really matter to me because of how strong the rest of the storytelling was.And for those of you who look for a lil between-the-sheets action in your romance reading: Dr. Mark Sloan had better move aside, because this book is McSteamy AF.
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  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    Oh I just loved this!! The beautiful intimacy of Indian culture, food, familyand tradition- delightfully complimented with finding a partner through classic arranged marriage ideals ~ with a twist 😏.Totally appealing to Any rom-com reader, this love story shows how we’re all same, skin deep! Galley borrowed from the publisher.
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  • nick
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5I was really enjoying this one until about the last 75% of the book. I wasn't a big fan of the conflict and how it was handled. There was also usage of some ableist language in the book.Full review to come!
  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book so much! The banter, the food, the family, the friends, and mostly Sam. Until near the end of the book, he was the perfect book boyfriend. After mentally slapping him in my head, I still love him. Layla is smart, funny, compassionate, and I just loved her so much too! This was simply a great book with awesome characters, and a story that was so well done, I need more books from this author now!
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  • Farhina ↯↯ The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures
    January 1, 1970
    Oh say hello to my new favorite south asian- american lead, own voices story.  Honestly this such a breath of fresh air, seeing my culture, language, food featured in a really well written romance.Meet Layla Patel, our main character, she is fiesty, and proudly brown. With a huge extended family of aunties and uncles and cousins all hailing in their roots  from Pakistan to India.Her life is falling apart, and she is returning home to her family in San Francisco. To just patch her life Oh say hello to my new favorite south asian- american lead, own voices story.  Honestly this such a breath of fresh air, seeing my culture, language, food featured in a really well written romance.Meet Layla Patel, our main character, she is fiesty, and proudly brown. With a huge extended family of aunties and uncles and cousins all hailing in their roots  from Pakistan to India.Her life is falling apart, and she is returning home to her family in San Francisco. To just patch her life and have a fresh start. And  open a new business for her recruiting job.Meet Sam Mehta, CEO of a corporate downsizing company, In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. And that's where things get conflicting because lost in communication Layla's dad has offered the place to both her and Sam to run their office. And as they are forced to share the office space ............... arguments happens, things(literally xD) and sparks both fly in between them. Also along with all this drama there is a woven mix of Layla finding his father’s email account her finding out he evaluated the guys and chose 10 special candidates and 10 blind dates for her daughter . And due to her constant bad history of relationships, she decides to honour him, because who can think the best for her than her dad??  Ah this story is so close to my heart, i mean all the talk about marriage, arranged marriage and how the institution works in south asian families. From abusive marriages, to dowry to marrying for a green card, to marrying so than they can find someone to cook, clean their house , take care of their parents, to wanting a virgin wife, tbh it in its humorous way discussed it all. It handled such a sensitive topic so well. Like it delivered the impact, but also had a light tone woven on how it was narrated. I MEAN SO BRILLIANT.   Some of the candidates were really hilarious, one was literally a CIA agent!?!?eowdjfnkuwckjfdjf like all he did was tell her its Classified about every question she asked it was hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH THEE BROWN-NESS OF THIS BOOKS. ALL THE UNCLE AUNTIES, CHACHIES. THE WHOLE EXTENDED FAMILY WITH EVERYONE HAVING SUCH QUIRKY PERSONALITIES. THE FOOD OMG THE DAAL, SAMOSAS, DOSAS, AND CHAI AND GULAB JAMAN. HELLO HUNGER GAMES.  this book although a romance, has so wonderfully handled dark side of arranged marriages in south asian culture. It  discusses the bads, but also the goods, juxtaposing the two sides of the same coins.   it talks about self worth issues, its talk about forgiving and moving on. its uplifting and moving. it tells you yes you can do better. yes you can move on from dark past of you lives and carry on. Please please do give it a read, more so if you are south asian!  One of MY FAVORITES>  Thankyou so much for prh international and net galley for the arc.My Blog | Instagram | Twitter |__________________________________________________Oh my word! this was an absolute epic-ly hilarious one. 😂 10/10 brown to it's core. Relateable. Filled with delicious South Asian food. ( you will be hungryyyyyyyyyy) A huge cast of Pakistani and Indian American characters. It was bonkers in a good refreshing way.
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  • Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    Review coming soon!
  • Kari Ann Sweeney
    January 1, 1970
    This contemporary romance/rom-com was so entertaining. I couldn’t get enough of Sam and Layla who start as adversaries but get to know each other as he chaperones dates with her and 10 potential husbands that her father has arranged for her. What could do wrong? Or in this case- what could go so very right?WHAT I LOVED:Strong, independent, fiesty & flawed characters to root for.Fast moving and well written.Sexy, funny banter. I chortled more than once. A strong supporting cast including a loud, This contemporary romance/rom-com was so entertaining. I couldn’t get enough of Sam and Layla who start as adversaries but get to know each other as he chaperones dates with her and 10 potential husbands that her father has arranged for her. What could do wrong? Or in this case- what could go so very right?WHAT I LOVED:Strong, independent, fiesty & flawed characters to root for.Fast moving and well written.Sexy, funny banter. I chortled more than once. A strong supporting cast including a loud, loving set of Aunties.So.much.Indian food. But where are the recipes? I’m hungry here :) It has some sizzle.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Picked this book up because the cover was too cute to pass up and after I read the blurb on the back I couldn't pass this one up. Berkley Romance is quickly becoming one of my favorite imprints and I try really hard not to miss a single book they release. Layla Patel has come home to San Francisco because she has lost everything; her job, her apartment, her boyfriend and she has nothing but her dignity left when she returns home to her parents house. When her father learns of her troubles he off Picked this book up because the cover was too cute to pass up and after I read the blurb on the back I couldn't pass this one up. Berkley Romance is quickly becoming one of my favorite imprints and I try really hard not to miss a single book they release. Layla Patel has come home to San Francisco because she has lost everything; her job, her apartment, her boyfriend and she has nothing but her dignity left when she returns home to her parents house. When her father learns of her troubles he offers the office upstairs, rent free, until Layla can get back on her feet; the only problem is that the office is already rented out and something happens that makes it impossible to let the new tenant know it isn't available anymore. Sam Mehta has given up his dreams, his family and his social life because of a horrible accident that he is positive he could have prevented if he had been more focused on life rather than his job. When he enters his new office to see that a woman has already set up shop, he is confused and upset. But as Sam begins to learn more about Layla he begins to learn that the life he lives currently is empty and maybe he needs to let more people in. When a bet is arranged that could get Layla out of his office for good, one that revolves around pre-arranged dates in order to find a husband for Layla, Sam becomes more involved in her life. As the dates progress, Sam begins to learn that maybe he doesn't want Layla gone and Layla begins to see the real Sam. This book swept me off my feet and I couldn't put it down! Thanks to Berkley for the ARC!
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    - ownvoices Indian-American couple rep- comparable to The Matchmaker's List- protagonists are children of Indian immigrants [POC rep]- arranged marriage trope - ownvoices Indian-American couple rep- comparable to The Matchmaker's List- protagonists are children of Indian immigrants [POC rep]- arranged marriage trope
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  • Sofie
    January 1, 1970
    4.75/5 stars “They all knew?” Sam asked. “I had to tell them. Marriage is a family affair, and everyone had to approve.” Sam huffed. “The man is supposed to make the proposal.” “Are you seriously going to start with that man thing again?” Layla’s smile faded. “I told you; when I decide to get married, I’m going to ask the man myself.” I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review This book was an absolut delight to read! It made me laugh out loud so many times, it w 4.75/5 stars “They all knew?” Sam asked. “I had to tell them. Marriage is a family affair, and everyone had to approve.” Sam huffed. “The man is supposed to make the proposal.” “Are you seriously going to start with that man thing again?” Layla’s smile faded. “I told you; when I decide to get married, I’m going to ask the man myself.” I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review This book was an absolut delight to read! It made me laugh out loud so many times, it was really what I needed in this period when everything is so uncertain. Layla was such a likable character bubbly full of life and I loved her growth throughout the book, a perfect match with Sam's personality. I am a sucker for uptight/grump-sunny bubbly personality and this was just the case. The chemistry and the banter between the character was off the charts from the start and as I kept reading the book it just got better. The only thing that didn't sit well with was the abrupt ending, I flipped the page and it was suddenly over.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    SO GOOD!!!! I swear, I didn't stop smiling the entire time I read this book. And, yes! It's actually a rom-com, and it left me shedding some happy tears too. Full review to follow*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS SO GOOD!!!! I swear, I didn't stop smiling the entire time I read this book. And, yes! It's actually a rom-com, and it left me shedding some happy tears too. Full review to follow*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Cassandra
    January 1, 1970
    Big, big thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.What a READ this was. Quarantine really has ruined my motivation to do anything and this book pulled me right out of my reading rut. Layla and Sam have an interesting set up going on after Layla's father falls ill suddenly, after promising both an office space without letting the other know they were no longer going to be renting the space out to them. While they learn to coexist, Layla's father also had a p Big, big thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.What a READ this was. Quarantine really has ruined my motivation to do anything and this book pulled me right out of my reading rut. Layla and Sam have an interesting set up going on after Layla's father falls ill suddenly, after promising both an office space without letting the other know they were no longer going to be renting the space out to them. While they learn to coexist, Layla's father also had a project up his sleeve in which he was going to find his daughter a suitable husband. When Sam senses the danger, he agrees to accompany her on these date/interviews, and thus begins the forming of a unique and exciting friendship... although they may not know it yet.These two were funny and super entertaining. I was intrigued and delighted the entire time. I hope this book sees all the greatest things and does well because it is wonderful and deserves just as much..
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  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    THE MARRIAGE GAME was sweet, sexy, and a wonderful, diverse contemporary read! I really recommend it for romance lovers because the romance is super sweet and I loved the resilient main characters, as well as their family dynamics. I also adored the Desi representation, and the super yummy food descriptions and fun Bollywood references. Overall, this was a great addition to the contemporary romance genre, with super smart and sexy characters that had amazing character development.“Layla made him THE MARRIAGE GAME was sweet, sexy, and a wonderful, diverse contemporary read! I really recommend it for romance lovers because the romance is super sweet and I loved the resilient main characters, as well as their family dynamics. I also adored the Desi representation, and the super yummy food descriptions and fun Bollywood references. Overall, this was a great addition to the contemporary romance genre, with super smart and sexy characters that had amazing character development.“Layla made him feel things he wasn’t ready to feel. She made him think about things he’d buried years ago. She was redemption made real. But was he worthy of being redeemed?”The story starts with Layla breaking up with her media star bf and getting fired from her job. She goes back to her family’s restaurant where they cook traditional Indian cuisine and starts to work her own recruitment agency upstairs. The problem is, she finds herself having to share an office with another businessman whose job is to FIRE people. Cue sparks, and the marriage game is on. While Layla’s father is recovering from a heart attack, he sets her up with 10 Desi men, which she goes on dates on... with Sam (the hero) as a chaperone, hehe. Sometimes the story seemed a tad silly and unrealistic, but overall it was all-around fun and chaotic good energy. “‘Having you in the office, watching you run your business, is inspiring. And instead of wanting to chase you out …’ Her cheeks heated. “I want to let you in.’”Both Sam and Layla are really sweet characters who are trying to do good in their lives. Layla is trying to start over after seeing her cheating boyfriend and getting fired from her job. This time, she’s ready to embrace her family, whether that’s helping them at their restaurant or going on blind dates per her father’s will, while setting her life to rights. Sam, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like he deserves the love of his family after failing to save his younger sister from an abusive arranged marriage. He’s on a quest for vengeance against his ex-brother in law, which becomes a large point of conflict. I think he should have opened his eyes earlier to his obsession with revenge, as it dragged more than it should have and really halted the relationship development. Nevertheless, readers experience a good grovel as Sam realizes that his life is more than revenge. THE MARRIAGE GAME is sweet, fun, and has the exciting energy of a Bollywood bop! I really recommend this #ownvoices contemporary romance as it explores two lost souls and the culture and shenanigans that bring them together.
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  • Miki ✖siempre romances✖
    January 1, 1970
    I started it a day I was feeling down, I was really sad and I wanted to cry and I needed something to distract me so I started this book.The first 40% of the novel was amazing, I couldn't stop laughing out loud, I loved Layla's and Sam interactions. "Enemies to lovers" is a favourite trope of mine but I think it's hard to write because sometimes the heroes end up being assholes. That wasn't the case here, even if some of Sam comments annoyed me at times, he was respectful and honest with Layla.T I started it a day I was feeling down, I was really sad and I wanted to cry and I needed something to distract me so I started this book.The first 40% of the novel was amazing, I couldn't stop laughing out loud, I loved Layla's and Sam interactions. "Enemies to lovers" is a favourite trope of mine but I think it's hard to write because sometimes the heroes end up being assholes. That wasn't the case here, even if some of Sam comments annoyed me at times, he was respectful and honest with Layla.Their rivalry was fun to read. Their meetings with Layla's suitors made me laugh so much at first but then I got tired of it. The same thing happened to me with Layla's sense of humour and constant movie references. Although I didn't mind the Bollywood movies references (because I want to start seeing more Bollywood movies so I wrote them down on my journal and I'm planning to see them) but the American references annoyed me to no end.I can't say that I liked Layla as a heroine because to me she ended up being like Male fantasy and she was so immature at times that it was hard for me to like her, she was always trying to be so funny and charming and I couldn't stop thinking "stop trying so hard, please".What I loved was the sense of family that Americans (I mean white people) always fail to deliver, I'm not desi myself but their family dynamics makes me think of the ones of have as Latinos (I'm from LatinAmerica).It seems this is Sara's debut book and for being a debut it's pretty good. I didn't love it as much as I wanted but don't get my wrong it wasn't a bad book. I just didn't click with the story.But I would definitely recommend it to fans of enemies to lovers and grumpy/sunshine couples.
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  • Nuha
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!Available June 9th 2020What a fun, sexy and addicting read! I couldn't put down Sara Desai's The Marriage Game, the irrepressible romance between lovelorn Layla Patel and the solemn manly Sam Mehta. When Layla moves back to her family home, she discovers her father has put her bio on "desilovematch.com". Lucky for her, her new office partner, the handsome Sam Mehta, is willing to help her, for a price of course. A Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!Available June 9th 2020What a fun, sexy and addicting read! I couldn't put down Sara Desai's The Marriage Game, the irrepressible romance between lovelorn Layla Patel and the solemn manly Sam Mehta. When Layla moves back to her family home, she discovers her father has put her bio on "desilovematch.com". Lucky for her, her new office partner, the handsome Sam Mehta, is willing to help her, for a price of course. And so unfolds a story of Bollywood-like epicness in its ever expanding roll of comedic caricatures including a pop punk social media detective cousin, a CIA agent and a movie loving gangster, an endless delicious Indian cuisine and witty banter. I don't think I've laughed this much in a while.
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  • Lucile
    January 1, 1970
    This book made me hungry for love and delicious food! I adore a good enemies to lovers story, and this novel did not disappoint! Full of humor and wit, The Marriage Game by Sara Desai follows Layla Patel as she meets the ten suitors her Dad hand-selected for her after she moves home following a disastrous, and unfortunately extremely public, break-up. As she does this, she clashes with Sam Mehta, the man whom she is also fighting for control of their shared office space with, and sparks fly and This book made me hungry for love and delicious food! I adore a good enemies to lovers story, and this novel did not disappoint! Full of humor and wit, The Marriage Game by Sara Desai follows Layla Patel as she meets the ten suitors her Dad hand-selected for her after she moves home following a disastrous, and unfortunately extremely public, break-up. As she does this, she clashes with Sam Mehta, the man whom she is also fighting for control of their shared office space with, and sparks fly and hilarity ensues when they form a bet concerning Layla’s potential suitors (because anyone even remotely familiar with the romance genre knows that a bet between two people NEVER goes as planned). One of my favorite aspects of The Marriage Game was how it articulates how you can’t really know a person until you interact with them, as every one of Layla’s suitors ends up being much different than she anticipates, leading to interactions that run the gamut from fun to weird to downright infuriating. I sympathized with the idea that Layla was disillusioned with the men she kept picking to date, so I thought her impulse to actually meet the men her Dad had picked out for her (without her knowledge), as opposed to dismissing his doing so, was an understandable one. It made me wonder what sort of men my parents would pick out for me if given the chance, and I loved that!.The Marriage Game will be on sale at your local independent bookstore on June 9th, and is available for pre-order now.
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  • Amy Pendergrass
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a fun romantic comedy! I legit LOL'd multiple times throughout the book. Layla was funny and sweet as our heroine while Sam was brooding and serious. I thought they complemented each other really well. I enjoyed the arranged marriage premise as it was quite the wild ride for Layla. The men truly ran the gamut and thankfully it ended just as it should. I wasn't quite as invested in Sam's arc regarding his sister's ex; it was almost a bit distracting at times. And I really hated Royc This was such a fun romantic comedy! I legit LOL'd multiple times throughout the book. Layla was funny and sweet as our heroine while Sam was brooding and serious. I thought they complemented each other really well. I enjoyed the arranged marriage premise as it was quite the wild ride for Layla. The men truly ran the gamut and thankfully it ended just as it should. I wasn't quite as invested in Sam's arc regarding his sister's ex; it was almost a bit distracting at times. And I really hated Royce-which I think was the point. He was awful. This was a delightful debut and I look forward to more from Sara!*I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway - thanks Berkley Publishing!
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  • Rohina
    January 1, 1970
    If the blurb and the cover didn't really pull me in, I would still read this book! You know why? I have two words... INDIAN. CULTURE. *mic drop*
  • Jaime Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This was a perfect example of an enemies-to-lovers, feel good romance. I loved the chemistry between the two leads and the cast of sub-characters were colorful and fun. I laughed out loud many times throughout the course of reading this book and I was sad to see it end.
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  • whatsheread_
    January 1, 1970
    3.6⭐ to this one!!I'm glad I picked this book up. It had so many things I love and always want in a rom-com. A solid debut and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for Sara's next book!!Let me talk a little about the things I loved. I will not spoil any of the events of the book but I will go a little into a character analysis at the end so be careful if you don't want to see any of that before reading it yourself. I'll have a warning before i start :) This is an ownvoice book, the main characters 3.6⭐ to this one!!I'm glad I picked this book up. It had so many things I love and always want in a rom-com. A solid debut and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for Sara's next book!!Let me talk a little about the things I loved. I will not spoil any of the events of the book but I will go a little into a character analysis at the end so be careful if you don't want to see any of that before reading it yourself. I'll have a warning before i start :) This is an ownvoice book, the main characters are children of Indian immigrants and this was full of Indian culture references, traditions, Bollywood references and so many things I absolutely adored.I love the Patel family, especially Nasir, and I'm down for more books about them. Their bond is beautiful and I love the family themes in this book. They've got each other's back and I love these sense of family and community Layla feels.Her Aunties were absolutely hilarious and I loved them!!And oh my god THE FOOOD. Layla is the daughter of two michelin star chefs and a chunk of the book happens in the office right above the restaurant. Layla also has an exceptional sweet tooth so I was hungry all the time while reading this one.The marriage meetings were hilarious and some so ridiculous but Sam, Daisy, and Layla's talk about them all made them fun.Layla is described as curvatous and I can't exactly say she's plus size rep but I liked her body confidence and positivity.It was funny and some scenes, like the body suit scene, were very realistic and you don't see them much in rom-coms so I appreciate that.Now the things that bothered me about it.Layla is gorgeous and passionate and impulsive and growing and I like her, and I get how Sam is smitten and attarcted to her but sometimes he thought like a kid. Or just someone that has never seen a woman before.The second thing I won't really go into much but a sentence or two could've been rephrased as to not offend anyone.Then there's the ending that I feel was wrapped up way too quickly. We know what happens and how part of the conflict was solved but we didn't get a chance to see it play out, just two lines and it was over. I just think it could've been a little longer and we fully got to see everything. The last thing is Sam.(character analysis time, if you want to read and make an impression yourself then you should probably skip this) Sam is a good guy. He's loving and loyal, slightly overprotective of those he loves but I know Nisha and Layla will continue driving him crazy anyways. He can be an idiot and say stupid stuff but again Layla won't just stand there quietly, no 'I'm the man' stuff, and I know he loves her and sees her as an equal.He's an attractive guy, but do we really have to go with the Alpha male thing again and again? Does he really have to think 'oh women throw themselves at me all the time' and be genuinely surprised when Layla doesn't? Does every HR director really have to want to take him home? (I doubt this is realistic)He can be a good looking guy and know it, maybe even annoy Layla with that as in every banter filled ship out there, but does he really have to keep thinking like that?I'm not saying it goes against the good guy thing but I feel we could skip that part? Just let him be a good guy who's sometimes stupid but he's loyal and hardworking and loves his family. Good looking and knows it but he doesn't get so surprised when this one girl isn't instantly throwing herself at him and doesn't imply everyone he works with will eventually want to take him home and think of it as a part of his routine. It may be just a me thing, I don't like the trait and think it fits his stupid friend Evan. If that's the case then thank you for coming all the way all the way down here and sorry for the rant.All in all, I liked it and I'm looking forward to whatever Sara writes next!!Thank you Berkley and Edelweiss for sharing the ARC :)
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  • Gabby
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a cute romantic comedy! It had so many great aspects that I really love to see in a romance novel. It had humor, culture, quirky characters, a little bit of a hate-to-love romance, and a whole lot of family. I don't know if I'm the only person that enjoys seeing family relationships in my romances, but it's one of my favorite things to read. I have a really close relationship with my family, so I think I feel more connected to the story when I see the main characters interacting wi This was such a cute romantic comedy! It had so many great aspects that I really love to see in a romance novel. It had humor, culture, quirky characters, a little bit of a hate-to-love romance, and a whole lot of family. I don't know if I'm the only person that enjoys seeing family relationships in my romances, but it's one of my favorite things to read. I have a really close relationship with my family, so I think I feel more connected to the story when I see the main characters interacting with their families. I feel like a lot of romances focus solely on the main character and their love interest, and the rest of the world is put on the back burner. But that is just not realistic. In real life we have families and jobs and social lives. I enjoy seeing all that in a romance novel. This one definitely hit the mark on realism.A huge part of this book is the family and the culture. The main characters are desi. Which means they are of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi origins. They have huge families that are always around and in each others business. But they are also fiercely protective and supportive of each other. This culture still does arranged marriages today, but it works a bit differently. They put a marriage resume online and match their sons and daughters up with potential suitors who they then meet and see if there is a good match between them. I found it very interesting to read about and I loved learning about their culture and all the different foods and drinks they enjoyed. Aside from the complex families we also get some very complex, but adorable, characters. Layla has been through so many boyfriends that never worked out she is willing to try an arranged marriage to possibly find someone to create a life with, even if she doesn't love them. But when she meets Sam who has seen what arranged marriages can do to a family things start to change for both of them. They are accidentally forced to share an office space and initially hate each other. But after spending a bit of time together they decide to strike a deal. If Sam will be her chaperone on some blind dates set by her father, she will let him have the office. As you can guess, things get crazy from then on. These characters go through a lot of self discovery, and really learn to help each other along the way. They have to deal with things from their past that aren't easy, as well as their growing feelings for each other. I really enjoyed the characters and the romance in this book.Another thing I enjoyed was the banter and the humor. This is a romantic comedy all the way. The characters back and forth banter is hilarious. I caught myself laughing many times and rereading scenes just to enjoy it all again. The characters are witty and sarcastic and I really enjoyed reading their story. The one single thing I didn't absolutely love about this book was the main conflict. I felt like it was a bit forced and the resolution wasn't my favorite. I would have liked to see it happen a bit differently, but the ending was still very cute and I enjoyed it immensely. I would highly recommend this book to any fans of romantic comedies, or just cute romances in general. If you enjoy witty characters, self discovery, and huge families, then this books is for you!
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  • natalie
    January 1, 1970
    CW: parent experiencing heart attack, ableist languageThis rom com actually started off funny, made me snort out loud at certain scenes. I enjoyed Sam and Layla’s banter. I’m always a sucker for a rivals to lovers trope. BUT my enjoyment of this one soon fizzled. I will say I was iffy on Sam a few times before the 75% mark, mainly because of some of the things he said. There’s a scene where he insists he’ll drive because he’s the man like…Sam my guy what century do you live in????? Layla calls h CW: parent experiencing heart attack, ableist languageThis rom com actually started off funny, made me snort out loud at certain scenes. I enjoyed Sam and Layla’s banter. I’m always a sucker for a rivals to lovers trope. BUT my enjoyment of this one soon fizzled. I will say I was iffy on Sam a few times before the 75% mark, mainly because of some of the things he said. There’s a scene where he insists he’ll drive because he’s the man like…Sam my guy what century do you live in????? Layla calls him out on that but yeah it was annoying on many occasions. Which sort of put a damper on my overall enjoyment of the book. AND THEN at the 75% mark things just went downhill. I get that Sam feels like he needs to get this contract to help out his sister but whoo boy did I not like the guy he became at this point.His blatant disregard for Layla’s feelings??? Sam acting like an entire jerk. WOW…that just totally killed any like I was having for this book. Layla was magnificent telling Sam off and frankly he doesn’t deserve her. Even when his one good friend, John (the other friend Evan is also a jerk) tries to make him see the error of his ways, Sam double down and insists he’s right. That Layla and her family brought all this on themselves >.>By the time he realizes that he screwed up, I didn’t even care about him making amends with Layla because I was just pissed off at him. In spite of Sam just ruining this for me I loved Layla’s family. I come from a large, sometimes meddling family, and Layla’s family was hilarious. So many different personalities. The aunties! Especially the scene near the end where Sam was trying to evade the aunties but alas he failed. So funny. Also the marriage interviews Layla goes on, accompanied by Sam, were a riot to read. These guys were literally the worst.Sadly, the things I did like couldn’t even save this one for me after Sam WAS AN ENTIRE JERK! :/ However, I was intrigued by Daisy, Layla's cousin and wouldn't mind reading a book about her. Since there was a hint of her maybe going on a date with one of Layla's rejected prospects.
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  • Ngoc Diep
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 4,5 starsHOLY GUACAMOLE. This book was soooo amazing & so so close to 5 stars. However, there was one part that bothered me quite a lot I couldn‘t ignore it. First off all, Layla is honestly one of THE best female characters I‘ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Her mind is truly fascinating, it’s been a delight reading from her point of view. I‘m just very in awe of her and in awe of the way she managed to pull herself out of the darkest points in her life. I just love eve Actual Rating: 4,5 starsHOLY GUACAMOLE. This book was soooo amazing & so so close to 5 stars. However, there was one part that bothered me quite a lot I couldn‘t ignore it. First off all, Layla is honestly one of THE best female characters I‘ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Her mind is truly fascinating, it’s been a delight reading from her point of view. I‘m just very in awe of her and in awe of the way she managed to pull herself out of the darkest points in her life. I just love everything about her personality: What a fully fleshed out character. That‘s how you do it folks. The romance in this book was top notch. Hate to love in an office space? This just calls for a disaster but most importantly for a very competitive and fun banter which the author without a doubt delivered! The bachelor dates scenes were just *chef‘s kiss*. As I already mentioned, one portion of this book really bothered me. I really really disliked how one character was dealing with the situation which I‘m not going into details right now. Let‘s just say this book was super angsty, it got me fired up and frustrated a bit. Anyways, let‘s get into Layla‘s family. There‘s not one single bad thing that I can say about them. It‘s a big ass family, they‘re so chaotic most of the times especially the aunties (they’re so funny lmao) but their heart is so so big, it‘s truly heartwarming to see the way they‘re supporting Layla. It‘s super rare of parents of colour to openly show their love towards each other the way it was shown in the book which is so refreshing and beautiful to see. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Sam, Nisha and Layla went shopping at her aunt‘s clothing store. THE NEGOTIATIONS IM DYING YES. Can we also talk about Layla and Daisy‘s friendship? Daisy crack me up so much, we need a book about her tbh! I can‘t wait for what the author has in store for us! I‘ll be eating up her future releases if I‘m being honest. 😬**Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.**
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  • Homerun2
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis agreeable rom-com features two desi (families from India) characters who both respect tradition and are hampered by it. Sam has rejected his parents after his sister's arranged marriage goes hideously wrong and leaves her injured after enduring a relationship with an abusive husband. Layla has returned home after the latest in a long series of meaningless and humiliating relationships goes viral on You Tube.Layla's father secretly posts her marriage resume on an online dating site 3.5 starsThis agreeable rom-com features two desi (families from India) characters who both respect tradition and are hampered by it. Sam has rejected his parents after his sister's arranged marriage goes hideously wrong and leaves her injured after enduring a relationship with an abusive husband. Layla has returned home after the latest in a long series of meaningless and humiliating relationships goes viral on You Tube.Layla's father secretly posts her marriage resume on an online dating site for those looking for traditional wives. He has also sublet the office upstairs to Sam, but also promised it to Layla to start her own business.Things don't go well from the start. Sam and Layla make a wager having to do with her finding a successful match and then vacating the office. But they can't predict the attraction they soon feel for each other. Lots of fireworks, banter, humor, over the top situations with a loving but intrusive family and misunderstandings.Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Angela Smith
    January 1, 1970
    This might be my favorite rom-com read of the year. A high stakes wager, an abundance of delightful banter, and a series of blind dates (set up by our leading lady’s father, no less) — this one had me hooked within a few chapters.After life falls apart, Layla moves home to live with her boisterous & shamelessly devoted family to rebuild her career and start fresh. Enter Sam: a ruthless CEO who’s given up on love, has a chip on his shoulder, and now… has been thrown into sharing a small office sp This might be my favorite rom-com read of the year. A high stakes wager, an abundance of delightful banter, and a series of blind dates (set up by our leading lady’s father, no less) — this one had me hooked within a few chapters.After life falls apart, Layla moves home to live with her boisterous & shamelessly devoted family to rebuild her career and start fresh. Enter Sam: a ruthless CEO who’s given up on love, has a chip on his shoulder, and now… has been thrown into sharing a small office space with Layla. From there it’s a beautiful blend of Indian tradition and modern romance.This is the kind of book you stay up late reading while simultaneously not wanting it to end. A feel-good debut, without lacking any depth.
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  • Lala
    January 1, 1970
    The Marriage Game is a modern romance novel. The beginning had a lot of potential, it was a mix of The Hating Game and Josh and Hazel's Guid to not Dating which are two of my favorite books. However, this book lost me in the middle. I feel like Sam made too many mistakes to be forgiven. Without giving away spoilers, his big mistake was absolutely unforgivable to me. I grew very tired of his revenge obsession as well, I just really disliked him by the end. Also, Layla's father was the absolute wo The Marriage Game is a modern romance novel. The beginning had a lot of potential, it was a mix of The Hating Game and Josh and Hazel's Guid to not Dating which are two of my favorite books. However, this book lost me in the middle. I feel like Sam made too many mistakes to be forgiven. Without giving away spoilers, his big mistake was absolutely unforgivable to me. I grew very tired of his revenge obsession as well, I just really disliked him by the end. Also, Layla's father was the absolute worst at picking men. It was entertaining to read about all of her bad set ups, but at least a few of them should have been a pinch normal. I was really bothered by all of the terrible picks, and no one seemed to mention how bad her dad was at setting her up with men. The ending is very sweet, but I just disliked Sam so much I really couldn't cheer for them.
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