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Friday, June 13, 2014

REVIEW: "Love Game" by Elise Sax

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Type: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance-y, Book 3, Small Town, Matchmaking and Murder

About the BookPerfect for fans of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, and Katie MacAlister, Elise Sax’s wickedly funny Matchmaker series proves that the road to love comes with a few dead ends.

Five months have passed since Gladie Burger came to Cannes, California, to join her eccentric Grandma Zelda in the family matchmaking business, and Gladie is quickly mastering the rules of attraction. Her latest fix-up is still going strong and Gladie’s bank account is back in the black—until a rival matchmaker arrives in town and has both Gladie and Zelda seeing red.

Not only is self-proclaimed psychic Luanda Laughing-Eagle stealing Grandma Zelda’s clients, but Zelda is convinced that Luanda’s ESP is total BS. She tasks Gladie with exposing Luanda as a fraud, but Gladie’s attention is diverted when murder comes a-calling. Spencer Bolton, the gorgeous chief of police and Gladie’s on-again, off-again flame, wants her to stay out of the investigation—and away from the deliciously chiseled detective who also aims to win Gladie’s heart. But the one thing Gladie’s learned is that in business, love and murder . . . it’s always personal.

My Review: When I added this book to my Goodreads' "currently reading" shelf, I happened to glance at other reviews mentioning the fact that this book is more mystery than romance, so I was prepared. I think I would have felt let down if I hadn't prepared myself for a mystery. Don't get me wrong, the book is good, and I enjoyed it immensely, but despite what the book itself and the cover might tell you, this is no fun romp of a romance. 

I always thought the highest praise you could give an author's characterization is that their characters feel real - and "Love Game" fits that bill. I've known some seriously grumpy old ladies, and I can imagine Ruth fitting right in with them. Heck, I've known a few Spencer and Luandas in my time, for that matter. Each character had their flaws and problems, and I loved them for it. I already want more of the series and more of the characters, but there is no notion of a fourth book in our future.

While mystery is not my top genre, I thought the mystery in "Love Game" was solid, and worked out well. Gladie clearly has a gift for getting into trouble, but she also has a gift for getting them all out of it. She may stumble into the mess, but she's bright and plucky, and she can figure out how to solve whatever problem is looming. 

Cover Lovin': I like this cover. I think this would be a great cover... for a different book. This cover implies a fun, contemporary romance. And while Gladie has her share of romantic feelings in this book, "Love Game" is essentially a mystery novel with some relationship issues thrown in. The rest of the covers in the series are about the same - more love than mystery.

Recommendation: For fans of Stephanie Plum that want a bit more of a modern take. For mystery lovers that love that small-town dynamic, with a bit of spicy romance included. For readers who understand that love is complicated and sometimes you just can't figure out what you want. 

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars (4/5). I couldn't put it down, I'm eagerly looking up the first two books in the series to read, and I instantly searched for any news about another book.. all signs of a 4/5 level book.

My plea to the author: Please please please write more of this series! I want to know what happens now with that little ending snafu. Release it e-book only, email me possible spoilers, whatever it takes - I just need to know!

Find the author at her website for more information.

The Series So Far:
Book 1: An Affair to Dismember
Book 2: Matchpoint
Book 3: Love Game