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The Marriage Game

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Marriage Game

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    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-CHECK Amazing, hot, sizzling, earth shattering chemistry- CHECK Creative, unique, awkward, humorous situations that the characters find themselves into-CHECK Best 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-CHECK Amazing, hot, sizzling, earth shattering chemistry- CHECK Creative, unique, awkward, humorous situations that the characters find themselves into-CHECK Best 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!)- CHECK Angst, 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!)- CHECK I 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!) blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Warda

    No bigger catfish than a book that pulls you in with laughter and by the end of it makes you want to hurl. My brain cells have been treated unjustly. I am in no mood to write a rant review, because my brain cells need some self-care right now. And I need to use that energy to read another book that will fill this void this book created. ——————— Buddy-reading with my fav bunch of people! Azrah, Ameerah & May! ✨ No bigger catfish than a book that pulls you in with laughter and by the end of it makes you want to hurl. My brain cells have been treated unjustly. I am in no mood to write a rant review, because my brain cells need some self-care right now. And I need to use that energy to read another book that will fill this void this book created. ——————— Buddy-reading with my fav bunch of people! Azrah, Ameerah & May! ✨

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mrinmayi

    *2.5 Update 2 Decided to lower my rating, even more *facepalms* Cause whenever I think of this book...I just remember how culturally inaccurate it is Add to the fact the the luuuuuurve interest DOES NOT even FEEL like an Indian guy!! Why the heck is he so cocky and arrogant??!! I am not stereotyping Indian guys BUT at least the ones I know are NOTHING like the lurrrrve interest!! They are shy and reserved Most of them won't even LOOK into your eyes!! THAT shy!! Again this is me speaking from my own exper *2.5 Update 2 Decided to lower my rating, even more *facepalms* Cause whenever I think of this book...I just remember how culturally inaccurate it is Add to the fact the the luuuuuurve interest DOES NOT even FEEL like an Indian guy!! Why the heck is he so cocky and arrogant??!! I am not stereotyping Indian guys BUT at least the ones I know are NOTHING like the lurrrrve interest!! They are shy and reserved Most of them won't even LOOK into your eyes!! THAT shy!! Again this is me speaking from my own experience BUT I am still to experience this situation: a guy who LEERS at a girl AND the girl thinks its SEXY Look at this Rahul dude for eg!! Just trying to give you an 'insight' how they are(SPOILER ALERT: They are funny) See what I mean?? Expected someone like this in this book Translation:If you don't get up early in the morning..that's what will happen BUT then I for THIS in this book Highly disappointed in this book Will definitely NOT recommend it Update 1 ME KILLING THE LOVE INTEREST OF THIS BOOK👆👆 Totally random...but this is also one of my favourite scenes from the movie BAHUBALI HOW I WILL FEEL AFTER KILLING HIM Bringing down the rating Cause even though l loved the Indian rep...the last 30 % was way too messy Trust me...being an Indian and seeing positive rep of your culture is always satisfying BUT....the more l think about this book..the more I find the "Love interest "problematic I would rather have our MC Layla stay single than get paired up with this horrible person Sam Mehta is probably hands down one of the worst love interest l have read Disclaimer : These stars are for the accurate and positive Indian rep and the relatable MC The LOVE INTEREST HAS IN NO WAY CONTRIBUTED TO THE STARS Ok not gonna lie ,I did complete this book in a day and half It was entertaining and fun ......till the 75% mark * dramatic sigh* The hero ZERO Spoiled it for me Let's talk about that later..... First, let's talk about what I loved about this book: 1)The Indian rep: I want to applaud the author for giving us the accurate cultural representation we all deserved 2)The supportive family 3)Layla's relation with her dad 4)Layla learning to love herself and getting her life together 6) Layla having curves and loving them 7)Bollywood references 8)The side characters 9)Max the cutest dog you will meet 10)The banter 11)Enemies to lovers trope 12)Also Layla in general She was soooo relatable sans the forgiving part.....( I am petty like that) 11) Imagining Sam as VICKY KAUSHAL On Rachael's demand More of Vicky Kaushal AND SOME MORE And Layla as Huma Qureshi Now the part I hated: Pretty much Sam Mehta I don't even want to waste my words on him I thought we were getting a grumpy hero but Nope............we got a cocky bastard Trust me...l LOVE a grumpy hero but that hero is sweet and shy despite being prickly Basically a gentle giant I HATE...I REPEAT HATE arrogant hero who is just a terrible human being That's what Sam Mehta felt like🤬😡 Like l love Cardan ( The Cruel Prince), Victor ( Vicious), Matthias ( SoC ) and of course the love of my life Wolf ( The lunar chronicles) But Sam did not resemble any of them in any sense He was not a " Gray character " He was just a douchebag * Huffs* If it hadn't been for him..........this would have been a 5-star read

  4. 5 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    Layla Patel's life in New York has fallen apart, so she moves back to San Francisco where she hopes to have a fresh start and to be closer to her family. When her dad offers her the use of the office above the family's successful restaurant, Layla is determined to start her own business. But Layla's father suffers a heartattack just before he's able to inform Sam Mehta, CEO of a corporate downsizing company, that the office is no longer available. After the shock of realising the predicament the Layla Patel's life in New York has fallen apart, so she moves back to San Francisco where she hopes to have a fresh start and to be closer to her family. When her dad offers her the use of the office above the family's successful restaurant, Layla is determined to start her own business. But Layla's father suffers a heartattack just before he's able to inform Sam Mehta, CEO of a corporate downsizing company, that the office is no longer available. After the shock of realising the predicament they're in, they agree to share the office. Both of them are in for a surprise when suitors start knocking on their door looking for Layla. Layla's dad also failed to mention that he set up 10 blind dates for her. She decides to go on these dates with the help of Sam to see if her soul mate might be one of these men. The first half of this book was great! This book is steeped in Indian culture and I loved that! It felt cozy and I was living for every mention of jalebi, garam masala and samosas. I loved Layla and I loved that we both agree that dal is the best comfort food and we both make roti when in need of a stress relief. It was ridiculously funny, dramatic and slightly unrealistic and I was okay with that. What I wasn't okay with was when things took a turn for the worst at about 70% in and just... Stayed like that. Without spoiling, I'll just say that Sam did something shitty and terrible and I don't think he redeemed himself properly. It was brushed over way too easily for my liking. If it was me, I would not have forgiven him. I lost respect for Layla after that. This book could easily have been a 5 star for me. I was having a fun time until Sam messed it all up. I still feel a bit crushed, and my disappointment is huge. Buddy read with Warda, Ameerah and May 🌸

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    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!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Berit Talks Books

    Sweet and sassy! Sara Desai made me laugh, smile, swoon, blush, and giggle with this delightful story. What a fun twist on the enemies to lovers trope. Layla has returned home to San Francisco after a bit of a scandal at her previous job in NYC. Her dad is thrilled and promises her the office above the family restaurant. He also decides to set up a dating profile for Layla and begins to vet potential husband’s for his daughter. Next thing Layla knows she is sharing an office with a stubborn but Sweet and sassy! Sara Desai made me laugh, smile, swoon, blush, and giggle with this delightful story. What a fun twist on the enemies to lovers trope. Layla has returned home to San Francisco after a bit of a scandal at her previous job in NYC. Her dad is thrilled and promises her the office above the family restaurant. He also decides to set up a dating profile for Layla and begins to vet potential husband’s for his daughter. Next thing Layla knows she is sharing an office with a stubborn but handsome Sam who her father failed to tell her had signed a lease for the office space. Then a man shows up telling her he is responding to her desperate need of a husband, another thing her father failed to tell her. All the chaos and miscommunication leads to a bet between Layla and Sam. If Layla find a suitable husband Sam gets the office and if not then Layla does. The kicker is Sam is going to accompany Layla on all her potential husband dates. Throw in a large dose of family and culture and what could possibly go wrong? This was just so much FUN! I love books where I get to learn a little more about a different culture and this book had a lot of the eastern Indian culture thrown into it. There were also a lot of amazing characters! Layla was so smart, strong, and sassy, I just love the girl! Her cousin Daisy stole the show whenever she was in the story (and I’m hoping there’s a future book involving her). Sam, He really was a good guy deep down, it just took a while for him to grow on me. There were lots of laugh out loud moments as Layla was navigating the dates with her potential husbands. There also was a lot of steam, so if that’s not your jam you can maybe skim those parts. An entertaining can’t miss romcom guaranteed to make you laugh, smile, and swoon. This book in emojis ✏️ 📝 🩺 🐶 🍲 🔥 *** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paula M

    Okay, here’s the thing. I really want to like this book, to the point that I begged myself to just let go of the stuff bothering me. But I just couldn’t continue anymore. It was too much!!!  First of all, let me just say how much I like Sara Desai’s writing. Her writing made me continue to read the book until my brain cells exploded from all those unnecessary sexual innuendos. Her writing AND that pretty cover kept me going for a short while, sadly though, they’re not enough. The premise of the b Okay, here’s the thing. I really want to like this book, to the point that I begged myself to just let go of the stuff bothering me. But I just couldn’t continue anymore. It was too much!!!  First of all, let me just say how much I like Sara Desai’s writing. Her writing made me continue to read the book until my brain cells exploded from all those unnecessary sexual innuendos. Her writing AND that pretty cover kept me going for a short while, sadly though, they’re not enough. The premise of the book is not entirely new, however, indian main characters really lured me in.  I don't really wanna drag this anymore so I'll just say it right away: The characters are AWFUL! I can't remember disliking any characters I've read this year until this two came along. Look, I enjoy sexy, playful banter okay? I live for them. But the exchange of these two and even their thought process are just.. Our love interest keeps having sexual and inappropriate thoughts towards our main character, Layla, after seconds of meeting her! “And you are … ?” Beautiful. Stacked. Frightened. Furious. A number of adjectives came to mind, not the least of which described her generous breasts and lush curves." "He tried to think of something intelligent to say. Anything. He was used to being in control of every situation and handling dilemmas quickly and decisively, but the longer he looked at her, the less able he was to command his power of speech. Everything about her was so vivid, so vibrant, from the shine of her knee-high boots to the fire blazing in her eyes." "He willed her to move from the desk so he could see if she had an ass to go with those curves. If he was going to waste time indulging himself in this pointless conversation, he might as well enjoy the view." And these are all in just ONE CHAPTER. Now, our MC, Layla is supposed to be this strong and funny character who thinks like this: "And right now I’m trying to figure out how to get my life back together. The last thing I need is a man to mess things up.” But then thinks this after seeing a guy: "She bit back the retort on the tip of her tongue. He was beautiful; if that was a word she could use to describe a man. His hair was thick, dark, and neatly cut, and his tanned skin made his light brown eyes seem almost caramel. With that strong jaw and full lips, he was the most breathtakingly handsome man she had ever met." The only thing I liked at this story is the family of Layla, they're very entertaining. I enjoyed the references regarding indian culture here and there. But sadly, not enough.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Well, it's been a while since I read this so this review is basically just a general approximation of my feelings that I don't really remember. The Marriage Game started off... okay. It felt kind of cheesy and I wasn't totally attached to any of the characters. But then... in walked one of the most annoying, toxic love interests I've ever seen. Sam was so irritating and rude. It felt like the author was trying to write a bad-boy, misunderstood male character but it did not work at all. He was pos Well, it's been a while since I read this so this review is basically just a general approximation of my feelings that I don't really remember. The Marriage Game started off... okay. It felt kind of cheesy and I wasn't totally attached to any of the characters. But then... in walked one of the most annoying, toxic love interests I've ever seen. Sam was so irritating and rude. It felt like the author was trying to write a bad-boy, misunderstood male character but it did not work at all. He was possessive, unkind and had no empathy for anyone around him. And when the Big Misunderstanding part of the plot, it got so much worse. I don't want to spoil but that part made him completely irredeemable. This book would have been 3 stars but Sam made it 2 stars. | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    This was such a cute, uplifting read! Layla Patel is going home to her family in San Francisco. Life is just not going well. Layla’s father thinks she walks on water and wants her to find happiness again, so he gives her his upstairs office to set up Her new business. And he creates an online dating profile to find a man for Layla. You read that right! Oh, and he arranges the dates for her, and one comes knocking! Sam is also using the upstairs office. He was already there, but Layla is smooshed in This was such a cute, uplifting read! Layla Patel is going home to her family in San Francisco. Life is just not going well. Layla’s father thinks she walks on water and wants her to find happiness again, so he gives her his upstairs office to set up Her new business. And he creates an online dating profile to find a man for Layla. You read that right! Oh, and he arranges the dates for her, and one comes knocking! Sam is also using the upstairs office. He was already there, but Layla is smooshed in too. All the while, he watches as the online dates come knocking. If you love witty banter, it’s here! Banter and sparks and fun, even a little zany! I hope you’ll check this one out if you need your day brightened. I had the best time with Sam and Layla! I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  10. 4 out of 5

    ♛ may

    if i eliminated the word 'Sam' from this book it would have been so much better buddy read with my favs ameerah, azrah, & warda ❤️ if i eliminated the word 'Sam' from this book it would have been so much better buddy read with my favs ameerah, azrah, & warda ❤️

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    DNF at 36% This was a very anticipated read. I love the cover and the synopsis seems like everything I could have wanted. I did like Layla...or I likely would found myself rooting for her if I continued. She’s hurting and smart and has a big heart. I loved her loyalty to her family and friends. Sam is horrible. His entire inner monologue is just sexualizing Layla when she’s in the room. He legit thinks about her “bouncing breasts” constantly and it got so very old. Plot wise, there was so much po DNF at 36% This was a very anticipated read. I love the cover and the synopsis seems like everything I could have wanted. I did like Layla...or I likely would found myself rooting for her if I continued. She’s hurting and smart and has a big heart. I loved her loyalty to her family and friends. Sam is horrible. His entire inner monologue is just sexualizing Layla when she’s in the room. He legit thinks about her “bouncing breasts” constantly and it got so very old. Plot wise, there was so much potential and I loved the idea of Layla’s father trying to set her up. The 3 meetings I read could have been amusing if not for Sam and Layla having weird and inappropriate conversations in front of the other person, like they weren’t even there. Once I decided to DNF, I read through some of the reviews and saw several mentions of something that takes place at 75%, so I skipped to that and yeah...that entire situation is straight up unforgivable. Sam doesn’t seem to be redeemed in any way and I don’t get how Layla and the family are so excited for them to be together at the end. Overall, between Sam’s thoughts and horrible friends, it made me too angry to keep reading and no matter how much I loved Daisy or Layla’s family, I could not continue. **Huge thanks to Berkley for providing the arc free of charge**

  12. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    The writing is zizzy and fun but the book's trying to have its cake and eat it with a bad-tempered bad guy corporate downsizer sexist male lead who is *also* funny, warm, cute, and protective. Didn't come together for me. DNF at 37%. The writing is zizzy and fun but the book's trying to have its cake and eat it with a bad-tempered bad guy corporate downsizer sexist male lead who is *also* funny, warm, cute, and protective. Didn't come together for me. DNF at 37%.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lacey (laceybooklovers)

    I don’t know why I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did but it was great! The audio was fantastic and the romance was fun – lots of love/hate and forced proximity between the main characters. Layla has returned home to San Francisco after losing both her job and boyfriend and she wants to start anew. She was to build her own company helping people find jobs and is offered the space above her parents restaurant as her new office. What she doesn’t know is that her dad has already rented out I don’t know why I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did but it was great! The audio was fantastic and the romance was fun – lots of love/hate and forced proximity between the main characters. Layla has returned home to San Francisco after losing both her job and boyfriend and she wants to start anew. She was to build her own company helping people find jobs and is offered the space above her parents restaurant as her new office. What she doesn’t know is that her dad has already rented out the space to Sam, who co-owns a company that helps fire people. Sam and Layla work completely opposite jobs and they also do NOT get along, mainly because of the office issue. There’s so much good tension and fire between these two! I was laughing over the banter and the antics they get up to trying to take the office for themselves. There’s also a hilarious plot with Layla’s adorable dad putting out a marriage resume for Layla without her knowing, so all these guys keep showing up at the office to get her to marry them. Sam is surprised when he gets jealous over these guys but they make a deal where he’ll help Layla find the right guy in exchange for getting the office for himself. I just had a lot of fun listening to this in audio. It was entertaining how crazy Layla and Sam drove each other. I loved Layla’s family and there’s even some good angst at the end when Sam does something really dumb and has to grovel. I can see why people hated Sam and yes, he’s kind of an idiot at times but I just enjoyed the way the main characters were together.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Antonella

    I feel like we are blessed with so many new romances from a talented women... The Trouble with Hating You Last Tang Standing and now this one... I had so much fun with this book. I recommend it!!! It is definitely a hilarious book and what happened to me with this one is that I want to read it again... which happens so rarely... I am excited about what will Sara Desai write next!! 4,5 stars I feel like we are blessed with so many new romances from a talented women... The Trouble with Hating You Last Tang Standing and now this one... I had so much fun with this book. I recommend it!!! It is definitely a hilarious book and what happened to me with this one is that I want to read it again... which happens so rarely... I am excited about what will Sara Desai write next!! 4,5 stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *** 4.5 STARS *** I’m very happy to say that I absolutely loved The Marriage Game and I definitely can’t wait to read more of Sara Desai’s novels in the future. I loved the main characters Layla and Sam and the chemistry between them. They had such great banter and I was rooting so hard for them. I also really liked Sara Desai’s writing style. This is her debut novel but it absolutely doesn’t feel like it is. Additionall ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *** 4.5 STARS *** I’m very happy to say that I absolutely loved The Marriage Game and I definitely can’t wait to read more of Sara Desai’s novels in the future. I loved the main characters Layla and Sam and the chemistry between them. They had such great banter and I was rooting so hard for them. I also really liked Sara Desai’s writing style. This is her debut novel but it absolutely doesn’t feel like it is. Additionally, I also really enjoyed learning about Indian culture and I loved Layla’s family so much. They were all such great characters and it was always so entertaining when they all spent time together. The most hilarious parts of this book however were the dates Layla’s father had set up for her to find a suitable husband because each guy was for some reason or another an absolute disaster. Furthermore, Layla is a very outgoing person and seeing her interact with some of her more traditional family members or the date partners who still had a very traditional view of women was so funny. However, there’s a reason why I didn’t rate The Marriage Game five stars. Firstly, it took me a few chapters to warm up to Layla and get into the story. Secondly, Sam really messed up at about 75% into the book and I think the whole situation was resolved a bit too easily and he was forgiven a bit too quickly. And lastly, I wish the last chapter would’ve been a little longer because I was left with a couple of questions I wish had still been answered. But overall, after finishing the book, I have to say those were all pretty minor things which didn’t change the fact that I really, really enjoyed The Marriage Game which is why I decided to only deduct half a star and not a full star. So all in all, I loved The Marriage Game and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s an amazing enemies-to-lovers workplace romance which actually made me laugh out loud several times. I’ll definitely check out anything Sara Desai publishes in the future, but I really hope she’ll at some point write a book about Daisy (Layla’s cousin) because I loved her and her dog Max so much. instagram || my blog || twitter

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    This was so funny and cute, but I definitely feel like there were some issues... This book has trigger warnings for domestic violence, alcoholism off the page, specific violence against women. The Marriage Game wasn't a book that I intended to read. I randomly checked it out from my library and decided to give it a chance. Desai introduces the reader to Layla and Sam who in my opinion are complete opposites in terms of personality and appreciation for their cultural identity. There were a lot of This was so funny and cute, but I definitely feel like there were some issues... This book has trigger warnings for domestic violence, alcoholism off the page, specific violence against women. The Marriage Game wasn't a book that I intended to read. I randomly checked it out from my library and decided to give it a chance. Desai introduces the reader to Layla and Sam who in my opinion are complete opposites in terms of personality and appreciation for their cultural identity. There were a lot of things that I appreciated and loved about this novel, but there were a few things that I didn't necessarily enjoy. From the beginning, Sam and Layla have this undeniable sexual attraction and chemistry and I absolutely loved that because I struggle a lot with romances in which the characters seem to have little to no chemistry. From their first encounter it is clear that these two are destined to be together by the end of the novel. When Layla is unable to make it in New York and has another failed relationship she returns home to work in her families restaurant. Her father (I loved the relationship between Layla and her father) attempts to help her succeed in both her love life and work life by setting up her profile on a dating website and sifting through marriage resumes and providing her with an office above the restaurant to help kick start her business. After suffering from a heart attack, he forgets to tell Sam that he would no longer have access to the office which prompts the run in between Sam and Layla. In a ploy to get the office to himself, Sam makes a deal with Layla pushing to help her find a suitor. He takes the opportunity to go with Layla to meet all of the suitors and the conversations and situations that ensue are HILARIOUS. This book was hilarious in a lot of scenes from the time that we meet the suitor that's a CIA agent to the part where Layla's mom walks in her room and screams that she can smell a man hiding. I literally found myself laughing out loud at some parts. And as stated above, there was undeniable chemistry between Layla and Sam; however, there was a point in the book where their stubbornness became a little childish. There were too many assumptions made by both parties that led to disagreements, arguments, and break ups. I understand having miscommunication as a trope; however, this seemed to go on a little too long for my taste. I think the main problem that I had was that there was such great plot development and character development for the first part of the book, but that quickly faded away by the time I started working my way towards the end of the novel. Sam specifically has some issues to work through related to an incident of domestic violence and I wasn't bothered by his need to rectify the issues; however, it was frustrating when he was constantly being told to listen instead of talk. And for some odd reason he didn't even do that at the end of the book. It was almost as though he couldn't leave well enough alone and that frustrated me. I get that extinct that people have to protect the ones that they love; however, I don't think how they feel should overshadow the victim. It just didn't sit right with me. And then there was some violence that occurred between a suitor and someone else that was present for that moment in the book and it was almost as if it was glazed over. I wasn't sure what the author was attempting to capture in that moment. But it seemed kind of awkward considering that domestic violence is discussed in this book. While I found the ending to be a bit clunky, I did enjoy most of this book and found it to be humorous. I loved the Desi representation and all of the cultural references especially to Bollywood films. I don't believe I've ever seen one, but I definitely have found some great places to start. In my opinion Sam and Layla make a great couple when they aren't being immature and I'm hoping that we get the chance to see glimpses of them in Desai's next book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    The Marriage Game was so much fun to dive into. Definitely needed a light and fluffy book during this crazy hectic day. In it, you will meet Layla and Sam. At first, these two started off on the wrong foot. Then things got hectic and hilarious pretty quickly. So when feelings started to develop between the two, well, I couldn't stop myself from shipping them. Now I love a good banter between any character within a book. So I couldn't stop smiling whenever these two were just talking to one anoth The Marriage Game was so much fun to dive into. Definitely needed a light and fluffy book during this crazy hectic day. In it, you will meet Layla and Sam. At first, these two started off on the wrong foot. Then things got hectic and hilarious pretty quickly. So when feelings started to develop between the two, well, I couldn't stop myself from shipping them. Now I love a good banter between any character within a book. So I couldn't stop smiling whenever these two were just talking to one another. Simply talking. Mostly because of their inner dialogue that made me laugh out loud so many times. They just had great chemistry. Heck, even the side characters were great. Well, not all of them. Throughout the book there's tension and drama. Not necessarily together but it's pretty obvious when it's going to come our way. Especially when people make dumb decisions and such. Luckily, for me, I enjoyed the heck out of this and I can't wait to dive into the next book. Definitely need to see who is going to tame Daisy. I'm here for it all!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly⁷

    Okay, bear with me, I haven't written a review in some time and I'm so done with this book that you can tell I'm not even invested in the review. Let's start with the basics, did I enjoy this book? Yes, at some points. Could it be shorter? It SHOULD be shorter. I think the majority of readers that have finished this book have a problem with Sam, and here I come to tell you all that I actually like Sam. I finished this book because of him. It's Layla who I cannot stand. Goddammit, Layla was insuffe Okay, bear with me, I haven't written a review in some time and I'm so done with this book that you can tell I'm not even invested in the review. Let's start with the basics, did I enjoy this book? Yes, at some points. Could it be shorter? It SHOULD be shorter. I think the majority of readers that have finished this book have a problem with Sam, and here I come to tell you all that I actually like Sam. I finished this book because of him. It's Layla who I cannot stand. Goddammit, Layla was insufferable until the end. My problem with Layla is her barely-there arc development in comparison with Sam's. And, literally, don't make me start in the lack of cohesion in the whole book. I know there were a lot of problems and that the 75% mark was mostly Sam's fault, but this book went to hell at the 50% mark for me. The 75% mark was just a trash can on fire. I believe in my fucking heart that the author kept writing miscommunication problems between Sam and Layla just to make this book this long. I see no purpose in the whole second part of the book. And just to match with the lack of cohesion of the book (my review is just a bunch of stupid thoughts, lol) DID SOMEONE EVER READ ABOUT LAYLA "GETTING HER BUSINESS OUT OF THE GROUND"? BECAUSE I DIDN'T, SHE NEVER HAD A BUSINESS AND YOU CAN'T PROVE ME WRONG. In conclusion (I can't think of anything to write because I'm mentally constipated after that book) this book was not it. Sam can get it anytime he wants, tho.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura Tenfingers

    Decent Desi romance, I enjoyed myself, but it wasn't amazing. There were some heavy topics that were interesting and the banter between them was entertaining but seemed a bit out of character, making me think the character development hadn't quite gone to plan. But it's a decent fun read. I liked The Dating Plan more but will still read The Singles Table. Decent Desi romance, I enjoyed myself, but it wasn't amazing. There were some heavy topics that were interesting and the banter between them was entertaining but seemed a bit out of character, making me think the character development hadn't quite gone to plan. But it's a decent fun read. I liked The Dating Plan more but will still read The Singles Table.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kezia Duah

    You know that friend who manages to make everything sexual, Desai is definitely that friend. I thought I would hate how “sexual” this was, but actually, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t know such good banter like this existed because wow. Is it even legal to laugh as much as I did? And when I thought I knew what to expect, I just kept getting the unexpected. Layla’s dad is the real MVP of this story! ‼️SPOILERS ‼️ I’m glad that Sam was able to get justice for his sister at the end! I thought his and You know that friend who manages to make everything sexual, Desai is definitely that friend. I thought I would hate how “sexual” this was, but actually, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t know such good banter like this existed because wow. Is it even legal to laugh as much as I did? And when I thought I knew what to expect, I just kept getting the unexpected. Layla’s dad is the real MVP of this story! ‼️SPOILERS ‼️ I’m glad that Sam was able to get justice for his sister at the end! I thought his and Layla’s marriage was a bit much, but I didn’t mind.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krista Regester

    I love the positive rep of Indian culture. I do not love this "love" story. I love the positive rep of Indian culture. I do not love this "love" story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris C - A Midlife Wife

    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 consideration Full Review - https://amidlifewife.com/the-marriage...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fizah(Books tales by me)

    Urghhh, I always decide to not read these desi-cliche-trashy-romance-chick list. But when I start to see people drooling on somebook. My self-control starts to waver, maybe this one will be good, maybe this one will be different. But again and again, they left me disappointed. I am just going to keep this review short. I liked the cultural representation. They way author showed family bonding and love among the family. But this is only thing I liked in the book. Why everything has to be sexualized? Urghhh, I always decide to not read these desi-cliche-trashy-romance-chick list. But when I start to see people drooling on somebook. My self-control starts to waver, maybe this one will be good, maybe this one will be different. But again and again, they left me disappointed. I am just going to keep this review short. I liked the cultural representation. They way author showed family bonding and love among the family. But this is only thing I liked in the book. Why everything has to be sexualized? Why you can’t just see a women? rather than her body? Why can’t love be sweet, cute and real? Why you have to just talk about the body? what about the other things? And same goes with men, There can be more than body, muscles, jaws and height. And why on earth every other male lead has to be this arrogant, alpha male. I am just done, with this kind of books. I didn’t get it when our these MCs fell in real love? I didn’t find any connection. Everything felt forced, didn’t care about anything. This book was so fill with “Sam” and I hated him.

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Portia Brown The Marriage Game by Sara Desai is an adult contemporary romance filled with drama, wit, and a hilarious enemies-to-lovers romance. This novel follows Layla Patel, a woman in her twenties who returns home to her family in San Francisco after she loses her job as a recruitment consultant and breaks up with her boyfriend. Her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, offers her the office upstairs so she can start her own business Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Portia Brown The Marriage Game by Sara Desai is an adult contemporary romance filled with drama, wit, and a hilarious enemies-to-lovers romance. This novel follows Layla Patel, a woman in her twenties who returns home to her family in San Francisco after she loses her job as a recruitment consultant and breaks up with her boyfriend. Her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, offers her the office upstairs so she can start her own business. He also creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a husband and sets up dates, however she doesn’t know until the first man comes knocking on her door. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  26. 4 out of 5

    ~ prapti

    more like a 3.75 stars what was SO good: •the banter •the father-daughter relationship (literally in the other similar books i’ve read, their relationship with their father is bad or just not there so reading this one was just mesmerizing) •Mehar aunty •the writing •the American-Indian representation •Max (the dog) •John • Sam and Layla at miscommunicating and poor decision-making 😭😭 ——————————————— buddy read with saanvi 🥰 more like a 3.75 stars what was SO good: •the banter •the father-daughter relationship (literally in the other similar books i’ve read, their relationship with their father is bad or just not there so reading this one was just mesmerizing) •Mehar aunty •the writing •the American-Indian representation •Max (the dog) •John • Sam and Layla at miscommunicating and poor decision-making 😭😭 ——————————————— buddy read with saanvi 🥰

  27. 5 out of 5

    ↠Ameerah↞

    *The more I discussed it with my bookclub girls the more I got annoyed and realised 2 ☆ is too generous. This definitely took a turn I wasn't expecting. 📉 I thought this was going to be a 5☆ read. 😭 There were parts I really liked and others I really struggled with. Full review is coming soon. *The more I discussed it with my bookclub girls the more I got annoyed and realised 2 ☆ is too generous. This definitely took a turn I wasn't expecting. 📉 I thought this was going to be a 5☆ read. 😭 There were parts I really liked and others I really struggled with. Full review is coming soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    pauline

    3.9 ⭐️ tons of humor, romcom, kind of chaotic. the family is adorable—it’s my second novel from sara desai so i was familiar with the other characters from the dating game which i read in january. layla is daisy’s cousin. good start to the book, found myself not wanting to put it down. some dull parts, but i pushed through it. the banter was great! i felt their connection, there was a pretty good build up between them. the dialogue made me laugh and the characters were likable (sometimes) BUT there 3.9 ⭐️ tons of humor, romcom, kind of chaotic. the family is adorable—it’s my second novel from sara desai so i was familiar with the other characters from the dating game which i read in january. layla is daisy’s cousin. good start to the book, found myself not wanting to put it down. some dull parts, but i pushed through it. the banter was great! i felt their connection, there was a pretty good build up between them. the dialogue made me laugh and the characters were likable (sometimes) BUT there were parts that i just—🙄 first of all: SAM. described as cocky, arrogant, God’s gift to mankind. personally, i do love arrogant characters like him, especially when they have soft sides. but my issue with him is that he was kind of... annoying? not the entire time, but there were several times i rolled my eyes HARD at him. his whole mission to avenge his sister was touching. i understood why he turned his back on his culture and family because he felt unworthy, but he did seem to have tunnel vision. layla and sam’s relationship was littered with misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions. ALSO sam does something that i literally was like DUDE WHAT THE FUCK. and i hated that layla let him off under the guise of “he tried to do what was best”—i expected him to BEG for her forgiveness. and beg he did not do 😤 overall, i really enjoyed their love story!! the ending was cute, somewhat cringe. the best parts were when he accompanied her on dates (and obviously, they got to know each other that way)—something about wanting someone you can’t have and watching them date other people just really gets me going 🤪

  29. 5 out of 5

    Z - literaryeffect

    “She hadn’t come here just for the game. It was about him.” tw: domestic violence This book is a pleasant surprise! I didn’t expect to love it so much but it’s definitely an addition to my fave romance books. Layla Patel is back home to her family in San Francisco. She is strong-willed, intelligent, snarky, and she wants to rebuild her life. She wants to start her own recruitment agency and decides to use the vacant office above her family restaurant. Sam Mehta is charming (and he knows it), su “She hadn’t come here just for the game. It was about him.” tw: domestic violence This book is a pleasant surprise! I didn’t expect to love it so much but it’s definitely an addition to my fave romance books. Layla Patel is back home to her family in San Francisco. She is strong-willed, intelligent, snarky, and she wants to rebuild her life. She wants to start her own recruitment agency and decides to use the vacant office above her family restaurant. Sam Mehta is charming (and he knows it), successful and confident, but he’s closed off. His sister suffered through domestic abuse, and he carries so much guilt in his heart from what happened. It led him to turn his back on his family because he thinks he had failed them. Sam started to lease the vacant office above Layla’s family restaurant. Due to reasons, they get stuck sharing the office. Their friendly office rivalry led to the marriage game wherein Sam helps Layla find a guy to marry among the list her father had prepared. He goes on these dates with her because he gets the office space to himself if Layla moves out. But besides that: he also wants to make sure she’s safe. Along the way, he starts seeing Layla’s suitors as competition as his own feelings develop. “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.” Their romance was the kind that develops quietly and sneaks up on them both. They have a really good banter which I love. It was so entertaining to read!! They have a lot of funny and swoon moments. I also felt satisfied with their own personal growth — Sam finally found peace and Layla is successful at reinventing herself. The side characters are a delight as well. Daisy’s antics, Layla’s funny stories about her aunts, the days in The Spice Mill (their family business), and Layla’s conversations with her father shows the Patels’ amazing family dynamic. I also appreciate Sam’s best friend, John Lee. He would always put Sam in his place especially when he doesn’t agree with the things Sam does. What stopped me from giving this a full 5-star rating is because I didn’t like how shit went down nearing the end. Sam obviously had too much guilt to work through to the point that it served as motivation to do unjust things. I didn’t like how he handled some stuff and I feel hurt on Layla’s behalf. The good thing is that he did his best to fix things, not just with Layla but also with her family and his best friend, John Lee. Despite that, it's still a really good book overall and I highly recommend this!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    True rating: 3.5 This one is hard to rate because it's was the definition of a romantic comedy. The writing was light and fluffy. The dialogue was sharp and witty. You can feel the chemistry between two characters. The only issue I had with this book was that the characters were hot/cold. They wanted each other but jumped to conclusions. They had miscommunication issues. They hurt each other on purpose. They didn't think a lot of the times. It was frustrating to read a lot of the times. With that True rating: 3.5 This one is hard to rate because it's was the definition of a romantic comedy. The writing was light and fluffy. The dialogue was sharp and witty. You can feel the chemistry between two characters. The only issue I had with this book was that the characters were hot/cold. They wanted each other but jumped to conclusions. They had miscommunication issues. They hurt each other on purpose. They didn't think a lot of the times. It was frustrating to read a lot of the times. With that being said, it was very cute in the end.

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