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The Kissing Game

2.93  ·  Rating details ·  313 ratings  ·  146 reviews
"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."

Game on

Rena Jackson is ready. She's worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she's almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena's also a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He's got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he's got that buttoned-up
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
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Average rating 2.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  313 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I literally danced, screamed and somersaulted (at least five times) with the positive energy to get an Arc Copy of romance story. But as soon as I gave a second glimpse to the blurb and read loudly about the definition of our hero: tall-dark-handsome with pale skin and blonde hair German, I rubbed my eyes several times and I thought maybe I over exaggerated my wine o’clock time but no it is still 5 p.m and I was still nursing my sixth cup of coffee (Yes! Sooner I was about to tear my clothes and ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
DNF @ 20%: Unfortunately, this was a DNF for me. I really didn't like either of the characters and I found the writing to be extremely cringey and unrealistic. This was just very much not for me.
Aug 20, 2019 marked it as to-read
I can't BELIEVE this book synopsis called this dude "tall dark and handsome" with pale skin and blonde hair. Where is this dark you speak of? Where is it??
Nov 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book tries to jump on the “diversity” bandwagon and fails in every sense. It’s a textbook case of white people trying to write POC and flailing. This book needed a sensitivity reader.
And the award for the most falsely advertised novel of the year goes to... The Kissing Game!

The cover says chick lit and implies diversity so, I'll tackle those two things first.

This is not chick lit. If you want a better idea of the type of ‘romance’ the book is, check out Harte’s other title covers. They all suit. This book doesn’t say it’s part of Body Shop Bad Boy or Power Up! series (oh dear) but, apparently, the same characters appear and they’re all the series are connected somewhere
Mindy Lou's Book Review
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I've been following along with these families and friends for a while now. I'm the kind of reader who loves when characters constantly show up in book after book, so I can easily say that I really enjoyed seeing everyone again.

I've gotten to know both Rena and Axel as side characters. I'm always amazed how different a side character from a previous book can be once they become a main character. Axel was a very good surprise. I adored him in this book.

You get a lot of Axel's pov. The way he
DNF at 36%

I got sucked in by that adorable cover and the synopsis promising a fun sounding, banter filled story. Sadly it didn’t come close to delivering.

I didn’t care for either of the characters. Rena and Axel both waiver so much and often to the extreme. She will be enjoying a conversation with him and then immediately think about how she wants kids and decides he’s not The One. This was on the first date. He’s prone to saying random words in German and storming off. Together there’s
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)
3.5 stars

If you have read Marie Harte’s McCauley Brothers and Body Shop Bad Boys series, then you know that this book is a long time coming. Readers have been begging for Rena to get a book and now that she finally got one, I couldn’t be happier.

I had some high expectations with this book because I was such a big fan of the original McCauley Brothers series. I really felt like Harte was able to capture a lot of the same elements of that series, but also give Rena her own story that was unique
Amber Medley
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This really wasn't it for me. I didn't like the set up or way they went into this relationship. I really couldn't get with the writing. The diversity seemed forced, inauthentic, and clearly written by someone that isn't actually ... aware of the represented communities. I found this utterly forgettable which is unfortunate
'The Kissing Game' just didn't work out for me at all, made all the more so disappointing because of a lively blurb and a promising plot of two pining individuals who just couldn't quite get their game up.

But it was precisely this that got the ball rolling too slowly, with German phrases tucked neatly into every conversation Axel had with people and we're talking a hell lot of supporting cast members, their names and their relations and their quirks to grace the pages from the very start.

It was
Feb 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literally no one
TW: Rape (briefly mentioned), sexual harassment, and racism.

Sometimes clown energy catches up to me and I read books without checking out GR ratings. I wish I had known about this book before being lead astray by the cute cover.

My main issue with this book (and there are plenty) is that it was deemed appropriate to include white supremacists as the main issue involving a Black woman and a German man!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT????? Rena is Black and has to deal with a white supremacist coming into her
Ivy Deluca
Feb 10, 2020 marked it as dnf
Unfortunately, this is a tale of a blurb gone wrong. I'm all for the nerdylove vibes. I'm all for awkward hero crushing on heroine. But the book that I actually read? Did not match this at all. Between the physical descriptions being off (way off) and a story that centers on racism yet advertised as a rom-com, and doing it all poorly, it just fell flat.

I had heard that the blurb didn't match the book, but in the interest of due diligence and looking into it myself, I did read to about 30% or
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, quick-reads
"I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.”

I really adored the start of this! It was super cute, but the second half kinda let me down. I was expecting more to the actual kissing game, but it was such a tiny part of the book.

Our heroine, Rena is a romance lover and is dreaming of her happily ever after, so she pushes Axel away because she doesn't think he's serious about her. Axel is this big, scary german guy who is not great at comminicating and has been crushing on Rena for nearly a year, so he
Tiffany PSquared
Have you ever just wanted to write a one-word review? I often wonder if my conscience would allow me to do it. If it did, my review for The Kissing Game would be: meh.

I had no preconceived notions going into this cute-covered romance. It's my first by this author, so I had no idea what to expect or what I'd be getting into.

Turns out, although the premise was entirely appealing, the actual story was less than it had the potential to be. However, if you are looking for a quick, VDay-themed,
Jan 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is advertized as being a standalone, but I quickly realized it had to be a sequel of sorts, because it referred to a whole cast of characters as if they'd already been introduced. This was very confusing at first and it made it a little difficult to get into the book. As a rule, I try not to read series out of order, so I didn't appreciate this.

While there were aspects of this book that I enjoyed, the interactions between the two MCs just filled me with secondhand embarrassment, they
Bonnie Wells
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
the stray cat and dog were the best part of this book

i don't even know where to start. first of all, this came with zero indication, until i started it, that this was set in the same world as other books by this author, because it was immediately clear upon the many, many, (so many i could not keep up) family/friends of the main characters we are introduced to that these are characters already met in other books. it didn't make the book unreadable, just the sense of missing out on something and
Nour Mazen
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I read a book that portrays family bonds soooo well. I love the fact that this book wasn't just simply a 'romance', and not 100% centered around our two MCs. The secondary characters were amazing, the friendships in here were so enjoyable, the romance itself was so cute.

Though my only problem was the whole Valentine's day thing. It was kind of throwing me off a little bit. I just didn't feel it was a necessity in the book and it was just there for the sole purpose of
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Rena Jackson and Axel Heller have been dancing around there attraction for close to a year but during that time Axel lost his beloved mother and Rena has been working to over her own hair salon, but Axel is back and determined to win Rena over. Problem is Rena has decided she wants a man who is in it for the long haul; she wants marriage, babies, and a happily ever after and she doesn’t think Axel wants that in his life.

I’ll admit as one of Ms. Harte’s long time readers I’ve wanted this story to
Crazy for Books (Stephanie)
After reading the McCauley Brothers and the Donnigans series, I'd been looking forward to Rena and Axel's story. Though it was a little anti climactic, it wasn't terrible. I enjoyed of it what it was, thoug I think it could be better.

I definitely understood why Alex did what he did with his family, but still think he was nuts and wasn't thinking about his future children, etc. Though I get why he didn't take it, I think the sacrifice his mother made for him to have it should have been honored.
Thi Winn
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I honestly am having a hard time with my review for this book. While the Kissing Game managed to make me laugh, I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters. They all appeared very one dimensional, and because of that- it essentially fell a bit flat for me. The author also dabbled in POCs and racism. I didn't like how it was written, but I can appreciate the thought the author put in for that. Overall, a super quick steamy romance read.
Pelusa Rivera
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, however I have a lot of reviews that readers were not happy about the secondary characters, and yes this is written as a standalone however we do have a lot of again the secondary characters were characters of previous book, and since I read those and enjoyed those I liked touching base with them. We have Rena which I remembered here from Donavan's book and was wondering when she would get hers and she finally got. Rena is a romance reader and lover of the genre so she dreams ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lost-interest
DNF. Obsessed with Valentine’s Day?? Mmmm can’t relate.
Jinghay (TheSecretNoceur)
[ I received an arc on Netgalley in return for an honest review.]

'The kissing game' is a cute, and fluffy contemporary that follows Rena Jackson and Axel Heller as they navigate their relationship whilst also dealing with issues thrown their way.

I really enjoyed seeing Rena and Axel's relationship grow as the book progressed, and I thought they were absolutely perfect for each other. Rena was a really relatable character, and I loved how close she was with her family.

The author tries to tackle
Vanessa (bookscallmyheart)
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
If you are looking for an adorable and funny Valentine’s Day romance, then look no further. {Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the gifted copy}

Rena Jackson is a waitress turned hair salon owner that is on the lookout for love. Axel Heller is a rugged German who only has eyes for Rena, but is afraid to make a move. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Rena gives Axel the chance to win her heart.

This was a solid rom-com and I loved every minute of it. Honestly, Axel was my
Sophie (slovenianbookworm)
I have to admit, I read this book in December, exactly a month ago but wasn't exactly feeling the need to review. So on that note, I must say I don't remember the book that much and apparently I didn't make many notes.


I do remember two things.

One was that the hero was German. I don't know how German turned American do sound but I feel like the portrait of them in this book was very stereotypical. I just felt like the author used ''Ja?'' (Yes?) in every sentence, insinuating this is
Emily ~ breatheeasybooks
Special thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I really enjoyed the characters for the most part, especially the male MC. He was super sweet and awkward and there were definite language/cultural barriers occasionally which lead to really funny awkward moments that showed he had a good heart. But the story could’ve been so much better - it had a lot of potential but just fell a little flat for me. It was mainly told from his and
Sara Oxton
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Kissing Game by Marie Harte a five-star read that will find wunderbar. This started and I nearly DNF’d I would have given it a two star at most, but it got so good. I adored Rena Minerva Jackson and the strength of fight she has, she took some time to warm to but honestly once I did, I would fight the world for her, much like the Viking Ice-man. Axel Heller is that Ice-man, and I can see why some people have issues around him, he is an enigma in himself, but as you read into him and try to ...more
Sandy S
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars--

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 4, 2020

"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."

Game on.

Rena Jackson is ready. She's worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she's almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena's also a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He's got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he's got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine's Day just
4.5 Stars, Rounded

Rena has a bunch of friends, a loud, comical and very protective extended family, a dream and shelves FULL of romance books. She wants the “dream” of a Prince Charming and his white steed, sharing and loving one another until the end of time. In addition to that, she’s working at a dive bar where fights and beers are doled out regularly, along with a dash of “white power” wanna-bes and their associated crap. But the bare is simply a stepping stone to opening her own salon, and
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Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around