Cover Image: The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game

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Member Reviews

The Marriage Game had everything I needed, and want, in a rom com. It was full of witty banter, lovable characters, a proper storyline, a little bit of depth and HIGH TENSION STEAAAAMMM. Sign me up, again and again. 

All of the characters, the main characters and all of the supporting ones, had excellent qualities. Obviously some side characters were questionable, but they all provided a touch to the story that was excellent. I adored our main characters, both hard-headed, stubborn but determined. I loved that this book shed positive light on arranged marriages, as most of the books I read about them are strictly negative, and it was refreshing to read a different direction in regards to how arranged marriages can work. I loved all of the actual laugh out loud moments, all of the heart-wrenching moments and all of the tension building to finally give in moments. My heart is very happy after reading this book. I loved the Indian culture references and all of the delicious recipes being created - and to top it all off - a CANADIAN AUTHOR! A debut, nonetheless! If you haven't read this book, go get it and set aside time to binge it. Off to read the rest of the series now!
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The Marriage Game is the cute debut from Sara Desai. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes, and Desai does a good job of building that tension between Layla and Sam. The story is a little clunky at times, but I have a feeling Desai will get better with each book. This was a fun, cute read! (3.5 stars, rounded up for Goodreads)
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I wanted to like this book more than I did. I'm a sucker for romances of forced proximity. This book was not for me. The hero was aggressive to the point of frustration except when the chips are down and he blindly allows his terrible, amoral business partner to ruin her family and hurt her for...reasons? The heroine is strangely naive and entitled for someone who claims to have a business degree and have been out in the world. Personality of the secondary characters are constantly shifting to suit the plot. The only part I really connected with was when Layla called Sam out for making his sister's abuse all about himself, but only after an entire book of him justifying his asshole behavior with it.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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The Marriage Game was a fun quick read. I loved all the Indian food references. Definitely left the book feeling hungry!! One of my favorite elements of the book was Layla and her family. I particularly loved her relationship with her dad. I wasn't totally sold on Sam, he definitely had his flaws. But overall a fun book!
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*Thanks to Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for the complimentary copy for my honest review*

I was pretty hooked on this book from the beginning, Layla's character especially made me want to continue reading and the amount of times she made me laugh out loud was comical.  It was definitely cheesy but I've come to expect that with a lot of romance books I read.  And then the character Sam was introduced and I got completely turned off by this book.  That was one of the most annoying love interests I've ever read and I really didn't care for the ending.
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After a disastrous breakup, chaotic and passionate Layla Patel has hit rock bottom. She moves back home and starts her own recruitment agency in the office above her parents’ bustling restaurant. Layla's father has a heart attack before he is able to terminate the existing lease on Layla's new office space. He also doesn't have a chance to tell her that he posted her bio data on a desi dating/marriage website and selected 10 candidates for her to meet. 
  Unbeknownst to Layla, Sam Mehta, a CEO of a corporate downsizing company is also sharing the same office space. Sam is the opposite of Layla, organized, reserved, and overly confident. As expected these two clash constantly. They come up with a solution and truce which involves Sam acting as Layla's chaperone on her dates and if she finds a husband, he gets the office to himself. 
  This romantic debut has great characters. Layla and Sam have great chemistry. Their witty banter and chemistry fly off the page and was a joy to read. There is plenty of humor from Layla's horrendous dates and her noisy 'aunties' and family. It is an easy and quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book.
    The book, unfortunately, falls apart in the second half where it addresses the conflict. We are constantly told that Sam has one goal in mind: to avenge his sister who has suffered from domestic abuse which has left her in a wheelchair. The conflict is underdeveloped and what could have been an intriguing and much needed look at disability in the South Asian community, devolves to an ableist plot device. Though Sam's sister is present and has an off the page romance of her own, she is not given a voice and sufficient time to develop. I would have loved to learn more about her and Sam's family.
  A pet peeve of mine is when ethnic names, particularly South Asian ones, are Anglicized. I would have much preferred if Sam was called Samir, his full name (really, is it that difficult to say Samir?). I also left to wonder many times as to Layla's ethnicity and how she identifies as religiously, which were vague. There are times when comments about these aspects of her identity are made during her dates, but it is never clearly addressed.  
 In spite of these issues, Sara Desai shows a lot of potential as a writer and I am curious to see what she has in stored for her second novel which features one of the secondary characters in The Marriage Game.
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I will not lie: it was a bumpy start because of how they described HR Managers (those of you who read this will know what I mean and know I wouldn’t want to be lumped into that category! haha)

A few chapters in I set it aside for a day; then I put my big girl pants back on and went back in. I’m glad I did as <b>I enjoyed Sam and Layla’s witty banter</b> (my fav part of rom-coms). Although some plot points were a bit outlandish at times. It was a solid 3.5 stars, and I enjoyed the build up of the characters stories. I would certainly read this author again.

It would make a really interesting Netflix movie!
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I found the initial descriptions of Layla's body to be off-putting. So much focus on her curves and how attractive Sam found her! Enough already! I get it! But eventually that tapered off and I found myself engaged in the Sam and Layla's story.. Hopefully the next one will be Daisy's story??
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I was unable to connect to the characters in this, and found some of their interactions cringe-inducing. The hero came across as especially unpleasant. Despite the enjoyable writing and the heroine's delightful family and friends, this one just wasn't for me.
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no, i don’t think anyone can understand. i’m OBSESSED. this book is so cheesy but ajdjjajwjwwh i love it. sam was SO FUNNY, i was literally in orbit for 80% of the book. also layla was so 🥰🥰🥰, i love her. also i feel like the other brown romances i’ve read haven’t really allowed me to connect with the mcs, but this book. please. i LOVE IT. all those 4.25 stars are because it just gave me that really ✨🥰😇 feeling and ahshwhwhwus.
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absolutely adored this one!!! it was such a fun romantic comedy enemies to lovers romance with great south asian representation! I didn't like the major problem in the end but hey not books can be perfect?
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This book was funny, emotional and filled with typical desi families. I am going to go ahead and say she gave me vibes with her writing and story telling. Sonali is one of my favorite romance writers and Sara is now right behind her!! 
I loved the banter between the two protagonists and the stereotypical characters. You know they will end up together, you know already what their issues are even before they realize it but it always feels like coming home when I read a desi romance. Yes, they aren’t based in our country, yes they aren’t Muslims but they are still so close to our culture that it does feel home!
If you like romances, desi people, matchmaking (a fun take on it, please don’t get all serious on me!) and some Bollywood tarka, actually let’s make it filmy in general (there are so many Hollywood references😱) then please do me a favour and READ THIS BOOK! 
P.S kindly keep snacks close by as the family owns a restaurant and the female protagonist loves to eat! 
Can’t wait to read your next Sara!
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The Marriage Game is the story of a young woman who loses her boyfriend and job and is forced to return home to San Francisco. Layla plans to start a new business in the office space above her family’s restaurant, but corporate downsizer Sam claims he rented it first and an epic battle of wills ensues. Thinking he can get rid of Layla by helping her find a husband, Sam offers to be a chaperone on blind dates with men her father arranged through a website. Although Sam and Layla drive each other crazy at work and off the clock, they soon learn they have more in common than they thought. Will they realize they belong together before it’s too late or will their emotional baggage prevent them from finding the connection they crave? 

With a strong heroine, a manly yet sensitive hero, hilarious banter, great chemistry, real conflict with high stakes, and a wonderful group of secondary characters, The Marriage Game was an excellent romantic comedy!
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This book started off normal, then cute. I had some expectations merely based off the synopsis, but altogether I figured this wasn't for me. I had some assumptions that didn't happen but I don't think it should deter anyone from enjoying this book.
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The Marriage Game is pure Bollywood rom-com energy, and I had a blast reading it. Since contemporary romances are currently in, there have been some releases purporting to be romances or rom-coms that...were not, but you don't need to worry with this one.

The set up for The Marriage Game, actually maybe the whole plot, is thoroughly silly and over the top. After a bad breakup with a social media influencer, Layla leaves New York to go back home to San Francisco and move back in with her parents. Her father offers her office space above their restaurant before having a heart attack (he's okay! It's not that kind of book.), so he's not around to settle the office space dispute with the guy who rented the space, Sam Mehta.

Sam and Layla immediately butt heads literally and occasionally figuratively. This is absolutely the kind of book where they angry banter and lust and fall on top of each other constantly. I'm not mad at it. The writing's great, snappy and engaging and quippy, which is my thing 100%. And I also love how open Layla is about her sexual adventures and misadventures, and that Sam never ever judges her for that. It's sex positivity for a heroine who has had a lot of casual sex partners, and that's still not something you see much in romance.

Despite their war over the office space, Sam ends up agreeing to a wager to help her meet 10 men her father chose from a Desi dating app. He's to serve as her chaperone and help her judge the guys, since he works as a guy who helps companies downsize (aka he weighs people up and fires them mercilessly). It makes very little sense, but who cares when all of the dates are absolutely hilarious? Sure, the book leans heavily into jealousy, but aside from that I loved this entire aspect.

Aside from that, I really liked the secondary characters too. They're not in the book quite as much as I would like, but they're around enough for me to develop deep affection for them. Enough for me to be super upset that Nisha, Sam's sister, didn't get a whole book for her romance with John. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD HOW DARE. But I will settle for Daisy's dating adventures.

Anyway, this was a four star read for me until near the end. Mostly I just think that Sam's bullshit went on a beat too long, which made it hard for me to forgive him. I'm not necessarily sure I do tbh. However, I get that this is to fit the rom-com plot structure, where one or both parties need to fail hard so they need to stage the grand gesture. It's part of the genre for sure, but it's not my favorite part. I also hated that attempt to make Royce a guy with a secret heart of gold there at the end. Yeah no not buying it. (view spoiler)

If you're looking for a hilarious romantic comedy, complete with some Bollywood dancing, I definitely recommend Desai's debut. I cannot WAIT to see what she does next, because I am sold.
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E se depois de passar por uma grande reviravolta em sua vida, você ter que mudar pro outro lado do país, voltando para a sua casa e deixando o que construiu de lado?

Layla escapa depois de um escândalo em Nova York e retorna para São Francisco para recomeçar, 

do zero. O seu pai é capaz de tudo para fazê-la feliz, então oferece uma pequena sala que fica em 

seu chiquerrimo restaurante, para que Layla recomece a vida. 

O que ela não esperava, era que um perfil seu fosse criado em um  de relacionamento. 

Se não bastasse toda essa mudança em sua vida, ela vai conhecer o Sam, um homem que o pai dela

também tinha feito o acordo para que utilizasse esse escritório que fica no restaurante. 

Sam é seguro de si, assim como Layla, então se preparem para rir enquanto os dois vão se conhecendo

cada vez mais, e, pequenas chamas vão aparecendo. 

The Marriage Game é uma boa escolha para curar uma ressaca literaria. 

No começo, achei que não fosse conseguir me ligar a Laya, mas a autora trabalha bem suas camadas. 

Além disso. Também tive a mesma dificuldade com o Sam, achando que ele seria mais um perfil

 de CEO mais do mesmo, mas não é. 

Sara Dessai consegue trazer esses personagens à vida de forma que é difícil largar o livro.

Ah, e lembram o perfil que o pai da Layla criou? Pois é. 

Ela terá pretendentes para conhecer, mas será que algum deles vai ser bom o suficiente ? 

Se você gosta de livros divertidos e que tragam experiências culturais diferentes,  

Marriage game é uma excelente pedida. Sem contar que o tema de “ casamento arranjado “,

 ainda muito comum em várias culturas é bem trabalhado, trazendo para o leitor, perspectivas positivas, 

negativas e constrangedoras que envolvem a questão. 

O livro ainda não foi lançado no Brasil, mas esperamos que ele chegue em breve.
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Not a bad book, but run of the mill. I found the characters mildly appealing but the storyline moved rather slowly and wasn't interesting or original enough to make me want to read the whole story.
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Layla Patel has returned to her family home after losing her job, her boyfriend, and her apartment all after one humiliating viral moment. She is determined to start again surrounded by the support of her family. Problem is, she has to share her new office space with Sam Mehta, a gorgeous complication Layla didn't predict. 

"The Marriage Game" by Sara Desai is adorable and hilarious. Layla is feisty and wonderfully independent as she tries to find love the traditional way.
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This was a wonderful read! I really enjoyed learning about Indian food and culture, and appreciated the supportive role of family. I liked how the author explored the inner lives of the main characters and how their pasts impacted their present. I appreciated the humor at various points, and of course the happy ending.
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