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Rules of the Game

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  461 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Kathryn West has it all – she’s a confident, bestselling author living it up in New York City. Too bad she doesn’t actually exist, and is only timid Maddie Sawyer’s pseudonym. Determined to attend her high school reunion with a man right out of one of her racy romance novels, she plots to find a sexy bad boy who’s up to Kathryn’s standards.

She finds Mr. Perfect shooting po
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by Carina Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  461 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to ♥Rachel♥ by: Smut Monday Club Read
Thirty-Three year old Maddie is facing the prospect of going dateless to her high school reunion. She is a romance novelist and for once she'd like her real life to mirror the fantasies she creates between the pages. She wants to go back to her home town and show them that mousy Maddie got herself a smoking hot, dangerous bad-boy. She wants to "make all those judgmental jaws drop." To accomplish this she starts visiting biker bars and pool halls to search of Mr. Right. Her plan is to proposition ...more
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

Expected Release Date: April 2, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

I was a bit torn on the final rating for this book. As my long-time followers know, I don't typically go for contemporary romances, and I think that I'm probably a little harder on them than their
Apr 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Originally posted at: Romance Around the Corner

Note: this review has two parts, or two different reviews. The first one is spoiler free, the second one spoils the whole plot. If you don't like spoilers there's a mark that separates both reviews. Also, quotes are from uncorrected Galley, they may appear different in final book

The reason I picked this book was because the blurb hit all the right notes. I love Contemporary Romance and this one looked like a cute story about a shy woman trying to ge
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publish date: April 2nd, 2012 Fiction – Adult: Romance: Contemporary
Carina Press

Maddie Sawyer needs an escort to her high school reunion. Her writer pseudonym, the feisty Kathryn West, is enjoying life on the fast lane; New York City in the palms of her hands. No one suspects the bestselling author really is an introvert – shy and not at all ready to face her former classmates. Maddie lucks out when she picks up Mr. Perfect in a
Karla Mae (Reads and Thoughts)
Finding a damned perfect man while trolling bars in New York can be a tough job and next to never. But you never really know what's in store for you, like Maddie, she gets lucky to find one...

Kathryn West. All confident, popular, glamorous and a popular bestselling author. Too bad she doesn't really exist but only a pseudonym used by the ever insecure and timid Maddie Sawyer. When she agrees to attend her Highschool reunion, she is determined to face her old peers and let them see how well she's
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5 out of 5. I would give it a 6 or a 7 if I could. Ms James has "hit it out of the park" with this contemporary story about a writer, of all people, who wants so badly to move beyond the baggage in her life by getting a biker bad ass guy to be her date to her high school reunion. Now we have a number of stories who have used this as their basic story premise, but Ms James takes this and runs with it in an altogether different direction. Maddie really wants to live like her alter-ego--Kathryn Wes ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: smut-monday-esqe
This was such an unexpected gem for me. Though my feelings didn’t necessarily start out that way.

This was another Smut Monday Club find, though I’m on the fence of really defining it as hardcore smut (compared to some of our other reads).

Tragedy struck Maddie’s life at a young age when a drunk driver took the life of her older brother, Jack. Using her grief as a motivator, Maddie throws herself into her work publishing romance novels. On the outside, she creates a pseudo-self, Kathryn West and u
Bj Gaskill
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-bob
The cover for this book in my opinion really doesn't do the story any justice at all. The story ROCKS! It has so many twists that I swear you'll feel as if you're on a roller coaster taken by surprise.
This was beyond a fun read!

I loved how Maddie and Scott met. It's was as if she was shoe shopping :0)
The Story itself goes around the rules that Maddie has made up.....Scott of course changes them .
Soon they're dating... for REAL....
Then the REUNION
Talk about one twist.....(by here I already
Nan Reinhardt
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maddie needs a date to her high school reunion--someone who'll impress her former classmates. Scott needs a woman to pose as his "girlfriend" so his family will get off his back about still being single. They're a perfect match, except for the secrets they're keeping from each other.

Sandy James's RULES OF THE GAME is a treat! I love that she wrote about a romance author and shows us how their lives are not always glamorous. Maddie is real and deals with the same kind angst and fear that we all
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
I'm giving this a 4, since I am thoroughly entertained in the good-natured banter between Scott and Madalyn. Will expound on my thoughts on this soon, but uhm yeah at the moment, I keep thinking how lucky (or lucky is an understatement?) a girl would be to have a macho and smart Scott at her fingertips. Dang! Everyday is surely a total treat.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brandie by: Smut Monday Club
Shelves: read-2012
This was a really cute book and much more then I expected it to be. I was surprised how deep it was and the conflicts the main characters had to face. (view spoiler) I'm glad I read it - very sweet book.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Arlene by: Smut Monday Club
Shelves: adult, read-2012, romance
Rating Clarification
First Half: 4 Stars
Second Half: 2.5 Stars

I was loving this book right until the point where Scott and Maddie get to the Reunion and all hell breaks loose. Overall, it was a fun book that I mildly enjoyed. There were flaws, but it didn’t stop me from racing to the finish line. I enjoyed this one more so at the first half and less at the final hour.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
OMG!! This is a great book i like loved it so much it was extreme good and nice and it is a clever catchy book
Sabine Honig
I love the stories of kids who were scorned at school for whatever reason going back to their high school reunions having made it big or having become famous. Rules of the Game is one such story, but there are a few twists and turns along the way that make it more than just a here I am, look at me now and gaze in awe at who I have become kind of story.
In Rules of the Game by Sandy James, Maddie Sawyer lives in New York City and she has decided to go to her high school reunion, except that she w
Danielle (Bookwhoreblog) Perez
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this book, I wasn't really into to it. In my mind I was thinking Rules of the Game was a cute read and didn't expect much more out of it. I thought maybe judging by the book's synopsis it would be a predictable read, and I would guess everything that was going to happen. Let me just say, holy crap was I wrong. This story was fabulous, and when I wasn't reading this book, I couldn't help but wonder what was going to transpire, and craved time to jump back into the sto ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book surprised me. The title, the cover blurb, and even the opening scene--in which romance-writing heroine Maddie Sawyer gets tipsy and hires a biker/bad-boy (she thinks) to accompany her to her high school reunion--seemed to promise a lighthearted romantic comedy. As the story went on, though, the plot grew darker, more complex, and more emotionally raw. The hero, Scott, discovers that Maddie suffered a traumatic experience in her high school years, an experience that has left her hiding ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: contemporary romance fans
Maddie Sawyer is a successful romance novelist who decides to scope out the clientele of a few biker bars in search of a suitably masculine "bad boy" to hire as her date to her 15-year high school reunion. In one of the most improbably lucky encounters, she meets The Perfect Man, Scott Brady. He's gorgeous, calm, patient, intelligent, sexy, and only seems to have one flaw: he's a slob. Then again, Maddie is no neatnik, so she can hardly complain. Problem is, he doesn't want her money. He wants h ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was alright, but it didn't knock my socks off. I've read my fair share of romance stories, and this one was average compared to some really good ones that I've come across. The plot was just too hard to swallow at many points, even when I was giving it some leeway for creativity. A really good romance novel needs to have at least somewhat believable events, not the "I walked into a bar and my dream Mr. Perfect takes one look at me and it all fits into place". It makes it less believabl ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book expecting a fun, light romance novel. Self-proclaimed boring, mousy woman wants to hire a "bad boy" to help her change her image and show off to old classmates. A plotline that's been done before, but one I still enjoy reading. About 50 pages into it, I was wondering how the author was possibly going to keep this story going for another 150 pages or so. Then BOOM! the twist came - one I was not expecting it at all and one that changed the tone of the book completely. ...more
Romancing the Book
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by: JoAnne
Book provided by: Author
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

Rules of the Game was an unexpectedly quick read that kept me interested from beginning to end. So much so that I read it straight through in one sitting.

Rules of the Game had tears, laughter, heartache, tension, family and friends along with lots of romance and ultimately love. There were so many surprising twists and turns to the story that I didn’t see coming but added multiple layers to the storyline. T
The Sweet Bookshelf
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
The beginning of this books is terribly cliché and predictable. Hold on! Hold on, just wait. I almost stopped reading immediately. I like a little cheese with my romance novels so I decided to stick it out. The cliché stops at the beginning. You'll think you know what this book is about and where it is going, but you don't. Trust me.

Maddie needs a hot date to her reunion and so she spends an evening bar hopping to find 'Mr Perfect'. He's a blue collar biker bad boy. Maddie thinks she can judge
Precious Mae
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
Okay, so... aaah. I am having a hard time thinking on how to start this review. Okay. I love it? Nope, I like it. It went down a step maybe because at the beginning it was too fast for me. But I was glad that after that, everything changed in the story. I ultimately was hooked and it exceeded my expectations.

The story is basically about Maddie hiring an bad boy escort to be her date in her high school reunion. You thought you figured it out, huh? Nope. Maddie found Scott in a biker bar and propo
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ominously cliched opening, with a nerdy heroine looking to hire a handsome escort so that she can survive the trauma of a high school reunion, making herself the envy of all the mean girls and guys who made her life a misery.

This story's been told many times before in books and movies. Inevitably, the strictly-business arrangement gets complicated and the relationship escalates.

Thankfully, Rules of the Game didn't tread the usual path to the happy ending. The teaser and publisher's blurb hint th
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: simpleromance
Sweet story - it had great, great potential for a longer novel, methinks. I loved the characters, though I must admit I'm sick and tired of the "New York Gal/Manhattan Chick" type of character. Blech. Thank Heavens Sandy James didn't make the heroine too obnoxious about it all...I credit it to the character's growing up in smalltown America.

The story is a typical one:

1) woman wants man for reunion so she can rub it in everyone's faces
2) picks up said man in a biker bar
3) mistaken assumptions ens
Autumn Review
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review, arc
I'm not really sure what I expected when I got this book, but how the story actually developed surprised me a bit. I thought it was going to be a light hearted love story, but it turned out that the story went deeper than that. It is a love story, but Maddie's past plays a bit part in how the story develops.

I loved that Maddie had an alter ego. Her writing allowed her to open a part of herself that I think she suppressed. The real Maddie was vulnerable and a bit insecure at times. The writer was
Jim Cangany
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Maddie Sawyer is a best selling romance author living in New York who writes under the name Kathry West. While the persona of Kathryn is flashy and confident, in real life Maddie's kind of a mess. With her fifteen year class reunion back in small town Indiana looming, she goes in search of the perfect alpha male to hire as her "date." The problem is, after she finds Mr. Perfect--Scott Brady, a hunky, leather-clad biker--their business relationship goes out the window when they fall for each othe ...more
The TBR Pile *Book review site*
Contest Here:

Rules of the Game was a delightful romance full of humor, secrets, and good old fashioned sexual tension. I have to say Ms. James, far acceded my expectations. The blurb did not do this book justice. I had no clueI was going to be taken on such an interesting journey. The twist and turns of this story kept me wondering as I devoured one page after another. I did have some issues with the way she choose to handle an issue that happened in her
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have known this author for a very long time but this is the first of her books I have read. I absolutely loved it! :0) Maddie was a fun character and very relatable. And Scott was a pretty awesome alpha with a teddy bear core... my favorite kind! At the beginning I thought it was a little predictable but the reunion threw me for a loop. Didn't see that one coming and thought it was really going to throw off the storey line. But she pulled off flawlessly and I don't think I would have liked the ...more
Nancy Goldberg
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nice guys finish first in this wonderful book! I finished it in one sitting--I just keot reading because it was a great story that held my interest.

The book is a cross between Lolly Winston's "Good Grief" and L.M. Montgomery's "The Blue Castle." Montgomery's hero, Barney, is hiding a past and the fact that he inherited his father's patent medicine fortune. In "Rules of the Game," Scott hides his profession from Maddie after finding out that she hates lawyers. The author handles many difficult su
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great, fast paced romance with a very touching story

This book is written in first person which is not my usual preference but thought I would give it a try since I have loved other books by this same author. I am glad I did as the story drew me in and kept me involved till the very end. The characters are believable and the plot true to life. What I loved the most was that the main characters had their flaws yet were able to make it work while keeping the chemistry between them real. Highly reco
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Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis and is a high school social studies teacher. She is published through Grand Central Forever Yours and Carina Press as well as indie-published. An Amazon #1 Bestseller many times, she has won numerous awards, including two HOLT Medallions.

Please visit her website at for more information or find her on Twitter (