Series Review: The Game by Emma Hart

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

 book2 book3 book4


Synopsis for The Love Game (from Goodreads):

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he’s everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn’t she say no? She doesn’t know either.

Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her – and he’d do anything to have her, hence why he’s agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it’s the only way he’ll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there’s more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined – and he can’t help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn’t just a walking erection – he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don’t exactly hurt. That means trouble – but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren’t so alike anymore.

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


Series: The Game
Author: Emma Hart
# of Books: 4 (The Love Game, Playing for Keeps, The Right Moves, Worth the Risk)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2013 – May 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook


**This post was originally posted as a Toonie Tuesday review of the first book (The Love Game) of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Review of The Love Game:

Given the facts that it is a romance novel and the main protagonists are trying to get the other to fall in love with them, you pretty much know how it is going to go–they are going to fall in love with each other for real. But that shouldn’t stop you from reading this book because there is more to it.

I found this novel very refreshing. Despite the fact that it has characteristics of New Adult novels (ex. at least one protagonist has a tragic past which results in their inability to trust and love others) it also puts its own spin on the genre. The whole premise of the game was very Shakespearian (in theory) which I love; especially when you add in the supporting characters.

I also love the fact that Maddie and Braden don’t have an “insta-love” connection (a major turn-off for my reading) and I appreciate that this is talked about in the book as well. It made it very realistic and believable. Another plus is that you actually watch them fall in love with each other and you can see why they do. I find that some novels fail to provide the backbone to a relationship and just focus on the “physical connection” between two characters.

Maddie is great at telling Braden to calm the “caveman” act down. I think a lot of New Adult novels promote the idea that a man who claims you as “his” at every turn is sexy when it is not always the case (this isn’t to say that they present an abusive relationship in anyway–because they don’t–I just think it can border on an unhealthy relationship in the real world and I fear it will give girls the wrong impression). And this isn’t to say that Braden is always caveman like that, he does have really cute moments throughout and is genuinely a nice guy.

My only negatives about are more pet-peeves of mine. Sometimes when Maddie talked it was a little too metaphor-y for me. Given the fact that she is 18 it just was a little “too deep” for me at times (especially the whole comparison to various board games at one point in the last few chapters) but I guess I see how she might be a little wiser beyond her years considering her backstory. Still, she’s only 18!

But to end on a bright note: the story of Maddie and Braden concludes within this book. So yay for not dragging on a story! From what I can see the second book is about two different characters we meet in this book and there are enough hints throughout that I am excited to see what happens next!

>>Bonus: Here is the epilogue for The Love Game (WARNING: It contains spoilers!)


–January 15, 2014– Book #2: Playing for Keeps

I just finished Playing for Keeps after having it sit on my Kobo for months and I have to say another great book in the series! While I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Love Game, it definitely had its enjoyable moments throughout. I’m happy with the way the story went though at times I felt like it was a little over the top considering everyone’s ages. I think if the characters were, say 4-5 years older, I would have an easier time believing their maturity and some of the things they say. I’m not saying you can’t be mature at that age, it just seemed a little odd to me when I was reading.

One thing I didn’t like about this book was that it just jumped into things without much background. Considering Meagan is a secondary character in the previous book, we don’t know a whole lot about her and while I knew there was tension between her and Aston, I just wished it was elaborated more at the start of this book. It’s been a long time since I read The Love Game so I forgot about their interaction in that book–I guess I just wanted to see more of why they liked each other in the first place. But to be fair, the rest of the book is about them finding love in each other so it does make up for it in a way.

These books aren’t like typical New Adult reads. The hot romance really takes a back seat to the building up of a relationship and love and using love to heal broken pasts. So if you are looking for a crazy steamy read, these aren’t the books for you!

I’m interested to see where the next book, The Right Moves, goes from here. From what I have read of the synopsis it has nothing to do with the cast of characters we met in the last two books which I think is a good thing because I don’t know if I could handle another story about this group (I just think all their stories have been exhausted and I wouldn’t want everything to be dragged out). I guess we will see what happens.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Love Game 4/5| Playing for Keeps 3.5/5 | The Right Moves TBA | Worth the Risk TBA


I really enjoyed reading this book. It had me turning pages and was such an easy read (writing-wise). If you enjoy books about love healing tormented past and changing playboy ways, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: NA romances, love heals stories
Avoid if You: like when characters act more their age


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