Opposites attract in this romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her friend’s wedding
After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She's never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.
Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he's thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they're stuck together for the entire wedding season.
So they make a deal. She'll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.
Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos. Visit Sara at www.saradesai.com
Another magical Sara Desai romance is ready to light up your life, giving you full joy, entertainment, fun, warming your heart, making your entire week!
Another exemplary enemies to lovers and sunshine meets the grump troupes make us hooked up with this journey at first sight.
Zara Patel, biggest fan of celebrities, working hard to be an entertainment lawyer in her peculiar and unique terms as if she’s casted as a lawyer in Ally McBeal series ( she may rock with her musical abilities), great fan of Broadway and Lin-Manuel Miranda( who isn’t:) ), is single and she plans to stay that way but now the wedding season already started and the group of aunties act like jackals which smelled the miserable souls of bachelors , chasing around the entire singles to match for getting more bonus points. Game is on!
She attends a wedding of couple( Tarun and Maria) she matched, reserved her permanent place in singles table. But she doesn’t expect to sit with the arrogant, egotistical,sucking the joy out of life like black hole guy ( that’s exactly her words for him) she’s met at their competitive paintball game, at the same table. His name is Jay Donovan, ex military security specialist, owner of his own security company, already pissed the hell of Zara at bachelors paintball game which ended his ass turned into a target!
He thinks she’s wild, unruly,loud, totally out of control. But he also realizes she’s full of joy, bringing happiness to all the people around her, energetic, eccentric, one of a kind…
As they keep bumping into each other during ceremonies, they finally make a deal. Jay’s mother puts pressure on him to find the one and Zara wants to find more celebrity clients to make her place permanent at her new firm. As Zara finds proper candidates to date with Jay, he’ll invite him to the red carpet events to meet with the celebrities.
But what if she doesn’t want to find him the best match. What if she was the best match he truly desires!
This was so much entertaining with lots of traditional pre wedding and wedding ceremonies, humorous Aunties, hot and sexy chemistry of Zara and Jay!
I enjoyed my reading time so much as I did with the other books. Looking forward to next work of Ms. Desai!
Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
Entertaining romance about an exceedingly extroverted and free-spirited lawyer and a very guarded, joyless security consultant. Obviously she brings him out of his shell and teaches him to have fun, etc, but more strikingly, she lavishes him with warmth and care, such that he starts working to improve himself (rather than having her do it for him) which is highly satisfactory. Very high octane romcom silliness abounds throughout, all good fun, with a highly entertaining cast of secondaries and a lovely bubbly feel.
One thing I regret is the third act misunderstanding. It doesn't actually affect the relationship or serve a plot purpose, especially as the hero doesn't immediately leap to the worst possible conclusions about the heroine. Which is refreshing, but invites the question of why bother. But I am exceedingly grumpy about the continued existence of third act misunderstandings in romance, ignore me.
3.5 Samosa Stars (because man was I craving one when they were being passed around)!
My brief summary:
What happens when polar opposites who don’t want commitment are attracted to each other? Apparently one plays matchmaker and tries to find the perfect match for their imperfectly perfect match.
Zara Patel is a child of divorce and has had her share of heartbreak enough to want to keep things light and easy as she chases her dream job of working with celebrities. Jay Donovan has grown up with a single, cancer-surviving mom who raised him, and has his own fair share of trauma from when he was in the air force. Jay is married to his work and can’t fathom anything serious because he doesn’t have the time.
During the wedding season, Jay and Zara butt heads to say the least, but they can’t seem to get enough of each other’s presence. After an agreement is made between them, Zara must find Jay his perfect match. If she succeeds then Jay must introduce her to his celebrity clients.
What happens when jealousy, fate and the aunties who have a match quota to fulfill have a say in things?
Thoughts: Did I read Marriage Game 1 & 2 prior to starting this? No. However, it seems that all of them are stand-alones so yay (truthfully had no idea this was a series when I started it, so oops)! That’ll be my first and last time I go without checking goodreads prior to.
I was in the mood for fluff and sexy times and minor drama, and that’s exactly what I got. Was the humor over the top? Could this have been resolved with better communication and therapy? Was this cliché? Yes, yes and yes. However, I still enjoyed this fun and kooky read!
What I got : -An Opposites attract -A He falls first -A Grumpy/Sunshine pair -A deal (that of course is obviously going to fall through) -A run through the airport ending -A squishy cute epilogue -A Modern day Indian romance (still including aunties and their love of set-ups)
This wasn’t the most special read and could have been shorter, but I got exactly what I asked for! :)
Would I recommend this and to who: Yes - Those looking for a cute and funny romance Paperback/Hardcover/Audiobook/E-book: Audiobook How did I discover this: Libby! Pace: Fast to Medium Cover thoughts: Soooo cute! POV: Multi - Zara & Jay
Quotes: I don't give my secrets away for free." He slid one hand around her waist, pulling her close. Zara melted against him, hands sliding up and over his shoulders. "Will you tell me for a kiss?" "Possibly."
“That’s a lot of margarita,” Jay pointed out. “I’m a lot of woman.”
“What other things do you like about me?” “I like how you fish for compliments when your ego is already so big I have to step around it.” “That’s not the only big thing I have.”
“He'd caught only a few brief glimpses of her without the mask over the course of the day, but he could see her clearly now, an outrageously beautiful woman who vibrated with energy. With her dark hair now an unbound mass of curls falling softly around her shoulders, full mouth curved in a smile, dark eyes sparkling, she was the kind of woman who stirred a man's blood. He couldn't tear his gaze away.”
Triggers: Panic Attacks, Mental Illness, Terminal Illness, Sexual Content, Swearing, Mentions of death and war, Grief, etc.
Neither celebrity-obsessed lawyer, Zara, nor former military security specialist, Jay, are looking for love. Jay is too focused on expanding his security company while Zara's recent breakup, coupled with the trauma from her parent's divorce has her determined to never open her heart again. But that doesn't mean she can't help others find their match.
During this wedding season, Zara and Jay find themselves at the singles table and they make a deal - Zara will find someone special for him and in return, he will introduce her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.
Was this story over the top and a bit ridiculous at times? Yes! 🙈 But did I love it? Heck yes!
This was my first Sara Desai book, and I have to say, she does an amazing job writing about characters finding themselves in some interesting situations where instead of rolling my eyes, I laughed out loud! I mean, Zara's life, in particular, is chaotic and pretty unrealistic but I couldn't help but get swept away by her energy and charm. Pretty sure I'm just as enraptured by Zara as Jay.
I'm a sucker for the grumpy/sunshine trope, and Zara and Jay nailed this dynamic! Zara was wild and unpredictable and Jay is organized and focused. They are opposites in every way, but together they balance each other out.
Also, my favorite nickname in romance novels is 'sweetheart', so I instantly started swooning once that word started coming out to play.
And while this is a rom-com, I liked that there were some deeper elements to the story. For example, Jay's fear of abandonment and PTSD, and Zara's inability to form healthy attachments due to the trauma of her parent's divorce. These things allowed me, as a reader, to connect with Zara and Jay on a much deeper level. And it was nice to see them willing to work through these traumas in an effort to open their hearts to love.
The reason why it’s getting a 3.5-star rating is because I could easily put the book down (took me 3 days to read when something that had my full attention takes me 5 hours) and the pacing was sometimes off (it slows down in the middle and then wraps up quickly at the end).
But overall, I’d 100% recommend it if you’re looking for something that’s light-hearted and will make you laugh.
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing an e-copy in exchange for an honest review! As always, all opinions are my own.
Pick your introduction: 1. The most unbelievable part of this book: no one has filed a legal ethics complaint against the main character. 2. I really need to get some aunties in my life. Or maybe I just am an auntie. 3. Clearly I go to the wrong kind of weddings. The last singles table I sat at involved four guys staring avidly at their phones watching a basketball game.
This was fun, a little cringey, and a lot over the top. References to Lin Manuel Miranda will probably date it fast, but, hey, I wouldn't mind seeing Netflix turn it into a movie.
This multicultural rom-com had me laughing and swooning. She’s a bundle of vibrant energy and he’s a bit of an arrogant grump. But together their chemistry simply sizzles. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion because the shenanigans were infectious. And the secondary cast of meddling Desi aunties boosted the humor and heart. This one was racier than the previous books. (follow up to The Marriage Game and The Dating Game)
Oh, I did not like this one. I found both protagonists off-putting, especially the woman. I believe the author was going for vivacious, but I found her immature and bordering on insane!
I just really did not appreciate the author's humor. I found it excessively broad and kinda stupid. Not even a San Francisco setting was redeeming, as very little was done with it. I'm pretty sure this will be the last time I read this author.
It’s official! I will read ANYTHING Sara Desai releases!! Sometimes you find an author and just connect so much with their writing style. The Singles Table is the third book in The Marriage Game series and let’s just say I’m obsessed with this giant Patel family!!
What I loved: 💛Zara. Hilarious, Broadway obsessed, and a bit wild, like a bull in a China shop - she gave me Hazel vibes! (ie: Josh & Hazel) 💛Jay!!! OMG. My second book BF named Jay. Tall, retired Air Force, workaholic ….I love a grumpy hero and he got the bill. 💛This book is literally LOL funny! I could not stop laughing at some moments - particularly the art show with the “fruit”….. 💛 Jay’s Mom (and her crazy BF). Zara’s Dad. And the meddling aunties, of course!! 💛Oooo boy the steam in this one!!! 💛Very well handled PTSD and panic.
This swoon worthy, laugh out loud,opposites attract romcom will put a huge smile on your face! It’s definitely my favorite of the series!
Note to Future Me: Stop reading these. They’re not getting better. I want to support a modern Indian romance, but this one is just bad. The girl is way annoying. We get it — she’s wacky. We get it — Indian Aunties love matchmaking. Just a lot of surface level bullshit and laughably-bad in places. Not it for me.
Unfortunately, I can’t rate this higher because I fucking hate Zara Patel. I hate her. If I saw her in the streets, I’d smack the shit out of her. I am Will Smith. She is Chris Rock.
Even my darling Jay is not enough to totally salvage this - but he gets a star just for him. He’s so wonderful. Sweet baby, I love him immensely.
To the point of it - I find the heroine to be vapid, clueless, and at times so emotionally unaware that she becomes extremely inappropriate. Some of her deeds include regaling total strangers with her sexual exploits, implying that someone with a mental illness can’t *really* love someone - it’s just because of their symptoms, and borderline sexually harassing the hero.
Now - I will say that the hero doesn’t code this behaviour as sexual harassment but I definitely read it that way anyways - and I would consider anyone who spills a drink on someone and relates that to their genitalia crossing the line into harassment.
The hero, in contrast, is amazing. He is so solid, so relatable, and so likeable. He is understanding and has such a good head on his shoulders. In his place, I would have brought the wrath of the heavens down on her head. He is a much better man than I would have been.
"The Singles Table" is a delicious blend of humor, romance, and family dynamics that will have you laughing, swooning, and reaching for a tub of ice cream (or maybe that's just me).
Sara Desai tried to create a cast of characters that are so relatable and lovable, you'll feel like you're part of the plot. The main character, Lily, is a hopeless romantic who is determined to find love, even if it means joining her family's singles table at weddings. But things get complicated when she meets the charming and mysterious Rishi, who is not what he seems (the usual male trope).
The chemistry between Lily and Rishi is electric, and their banter will have you in stitches.
What I love most about this book is the way it explores the complexities of family relationships and the importance of acceptance and understanding, but this book at the same time couldn't pledge itself a proper character growth that I was looking for.
If you're looking for a book that will make you laugh, swoon, and feel all the feels, "The Singles Table" is the one for you.
i maintain that the characters are intensely annoying and to be honest it's insane to me that anyone would read this and think, yes, this is relatable to my life, and also every mention of hamilton/lin manuel miranda made me want to peel my skin off, and also i didn't find it particularly funny.
but it did get entertaining eventually so there is that.
This was the perfect book to get me in the mood for wedding season! I found this one to be an even more enjoyable read than the first two in the series, and those were so fun. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes and this 100% did it justice. The steam was reeeaaalll. Jay and Zara had such good chemistry and banter. I loved reading about their relationship and seeing it change over the course of the book. It was nice to see a character like Zara who had an important and demanding job of being a lawyer still being portrayed as fun-loving and free-spirited. So often characters are written into stereotypical roles and personalities tied to a specific career and this book avoided that completely. This was a quick read, entertaining read and I hope the author plans to continue on with books in this series! Thank you to Netgalley, Berkley and the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Two ridiculously attractive people, one a talented lawyer who brings drama and excitement wherever she goer, the other a former air force pilot and head of his own security company who's super locked down and focused on his goals. So, naturally they're attracted to one another.
She's warm, exuberant, eager to take risks and kind of clumsy, while he's nursing PTSD nightmares from his last assignment. Sparks fly and though there are some hiccups along the way (commitment fears and self-deception), they fall hard for each other and of course get together. It's super silly, funny, and a nice diversion from daily life.
✨How many hot desi men name Jay can romancelandia make me fall in love with? The answer: infinite✨
You would think with the amount of grump/sunshine romances I read that I would get tired of them. I am here to report that will never happen. This book is definitely going into my favorite reads of all time. The representation, the romance, the characters, I loved everything about this book.
I am always on the hunt for a new desi romance to fall in love with. And let me tell you, my standards are high. You all know my pet peeve is seeing cliches and stereotypes in the desi romances. I hate seeing the forced arranged marriage, toxic aunties, un-understanding parents, regressive religious practices, etc. This book had none of that. It gave me all the good desi representation I needed. This book wrapped common desi experiences into a lovely romance that had me hooked and laughing the whole way through.
Both characters were so realistic, with baggage and issues of their own that they needed to work on, making me feel like I had stepped right into the shoes of the characters. It is realistic romances like these that hit so hard.
I found myself in Zara. The feeling of seeing yourself being represented in such a healthy way, is a beautiful feeling I will never be able to describe. So many times, desi women are depicted as quiet, demure women who just accept the oppression they are handed, especially in our own media (that or she is just seen as sexy arm candy for a subpar movie star who is 30 years older than her). Zara is loud and strong, trying her hard to be the best she could be, no longer caring about the judgement. In a world full of rude brown men with small d*ck energy and big egos, it was so endearing to read a brown men fall so head over heels in love with a strong personality like Zara. I need a man like Jay in my life ASAP. He was so emotionally mature. He accepted his PTSD and didn't allow it to rule his actions of relationships with others. He made me swoon and my heart hurt in the best possible way. Brown fictional men have thoroughly and completely ruined any chance I have of a man meeting my expectations. And I am totally alright with that.
You know that scene in Tangled where Flynn Ryder is watching Rapunzel like she’s his entire world and your heart just squeezes a little bit. I had that feeling every time Jay thought about Zara. He was so in love with her.
My only complain with the book was how, almost, static it was. There wasn't much other than the main romance happening. So when you are dealing with a slow burn romance where the two characters are struggling with their feelings and issues, it gets a little hard to get through when there isn't anything else substansial happening.
You need to go read this book right now. I am going to go read everything Sara Desai has written. I hope she never stops writing wonderful desi romances like this.
⭐️��️⭐️⭐️/ 5 stars 🌶🌶🌶/ 5 steam
Thank you to Berkley Romances, Edelweiss, Sara Desai for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion ❤️
Thank you to Berkley Romance for a gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
The first book in the Marriage Game Series is still my favorite but this one featuring a sunshine and grump couple will leave you laughing out loud. Zara is someone I would love to hang out with because she sounds like a hoot and definitely the life of the party. I love the meddling aunties and their schemes. I thought the writing was good and the story draws you in quickly. My reason for not giving it 5 stars was I thought Zara and Jay's love for each other seemed very fickle. One minute he's telling her he loves her but then the next minute he's pushing her away. She also did something similar. It's a pet peeve of mine and I sometimes wish romance novels didn't have to have a big dramatic conflict with a lot of push and pull.
The Singles Table is laugh out loud funny with kooky, yet believable, characters and situations. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Zara Patel, her family, friends, and co-workers. From their first meeting at a bachelor/bachelorette paint ball party, where the serious former Air Force pilot turned corporate security specialist, Jay and fun-loving Zara clash over their team’s goal—she just wants to have fun while he wants to win at any cost—to the epilogue, I was charmed and entertained by them and the colorful cast of supporting characters.
It’s wedding season and all single men and women are seated at the Singles Table, so Jay and Zara have plenty of opportunities to see each other at the weddings of mutual friends and family, but neither is very impressed with the other. Jay is very focused on expanding his corporate security business and being a successful businessman, he’s a no-nonsense guy who has no time for fun or romance. Zara, on the other hand is all about living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment. It is very rare that romantic comedies with kooky, kind of over the top heroines, appeal to me, most just aren’t very funny and come off feeling forced. I didn’t think this one would be any different, but I was wrong. There was so much more to Zara than partying and making a spectacle of herself, she wasn’t acting out or seeking attention, but genuinely living her life her way and having a blast, with a touch of avoidance and commitment phobia thrown in.
Both Jay and Zara have family issues that have affected their work and personal goals, but in very different ways. The author handles these issues deftly, in ways both poignant and hilarious. The Singles Table is a good time.
i was immediately in love with both Zara's and Jay's perspectives so i knew this book was going to be a fun one. usually adult romcoms are hit or miss for me but this was a hit. i loved reading about both of their lives and seeing how they instantly had chemistry and connected. the story was overall super fun and engaging. i found that both main characters were really fleshed out and seeing them fall in love was just so CUTE. this was a quick, entertaining, and light read so if you're looking for that look no further. i didn't read the first two books in this series but i'll definitely have to check them out because i loved this one so much.
also listen to this love by taylor swift while reading
I finished my first book in 2022 and I'm so glad it was a good one. The Singles Table was a fun and quick romance and Sara Desai had definitely become an auto-buy author for me at this point. I'm already looking forward to her next novel.
Thank you so much to Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Let me be the first to say that Sara Desai literally puts the ‘comedy’ in ‘romantic-comedy.’ The Singles Table was ridiculously funny, over-the-top, and adorable, as expected with all of Sara’s books in this series. (This book is an Adult Romance for 18+ readers btw!) Jay and Zara are truly hate-to-lovers excellence and I loved following their shenanigans. This may be my favorite out of all three books in the Marriage series, if not tied with The Dating Plan. This book isn’t as connected to The Marriage Game and The Dating Plan as these two books were with each other, so you don’t have to read the first two books to enjoy this one. Nevertheless, I loved all the easter eggs we got from the first two books, like Taara & Mehar Auntie and Faroz LOL.
First of all, I LOVE Zara so much. She’s so incredibly funny as a main character in an Adult Romance and I was fully laughing out loud following all the hijinks she was getting into. I love how unapologetically herself she is and how she fully owns her over-the-top personality. After seeing so many South Asian women in western media be portrayed as this “subdued” type, I definitely appreciated her vivacious character (the same goes for Daisy and Layla, too). I also love that Jay fell in love with her because of her personality and didn’t shy away from it at all (as I imagine most brown men would IRL). All the chapters in which he was talking about how she stole his heart because of her personality was so cute.
Speaking of Jay, South Asian authors really need to stop writing about brown men named Jay/Jai that keep stealing my heart omg. I loved Jay’s journey with trying to manage his PTSD and how he wasn’t even ashamed of claiming that he had PTSD from serving. Mental health is almost always swept under the rug with South Asian communities, and I really appreciated how honest he was with himself, and ultimately with Zara. I also adored his relationship with his mom!! They have the sweetest relationship and I found it so cute how protective he was of her.
I think the only reason I knocked this book off one star is because nothing really happened in this book to be honest? The previous two books had major points of conflict between our main couple but here there weren't really any tangible points of conflict throughout the book. It kind of followed this repetitive pattern of Zara and Jay hanging out with neither of them admitting their feelings, and then Jay realizing he liked Zara and trying to tell her, followed by Zara running away because she’s scared of her feelings and Jay chasing after her trying to convince her that what they have is real. I think I would have appreciated a bigger/more serious conflict during the climax scene as well, because it felt like they ‘fought’ (if you could even call it that) over nothing.
Ultimately, I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud South Asian rom-com! I really hope Sara has more books planned in this series. Below is my favorite snippet from the first few chapters of the book in which Zara and Jay first meet. I was truly dying of laughter during these scenes.
He glanced over his shoulder. “Maybe you should stop talking.” “Why?” “Because I’m not listening.” Zara waited until he’d walked a good twenty feet away before she shot him in the ass. “What the f—?” He whirled around to face her, his hand gripping the injured area. “I was helping you on your way.” She turned away and walked through the bush, using her weapon to clear a path. “You won’t last five minutes,” he called out. “Watch me.”
“It’s not about having fun.” He flipped to his front and inched forward, his heavy body crushing the leaves and sticks beneath him. “It’s about winning the game.” “I didn’t realize they were mutually exclusive.” “Now you do.” Zara lifted her weapon and aimed it at the unmarked side of his ass. If anybody deserved a second shot it was him. “I wouldn’t advise it,” he said without turning around. “Your ammo is better served taking out the enemy.” “That’s exactly what I was thinking.” He huffed out an irritated breath and moved forward another few inches. “Follow me. I have a plan.”
Ah. For a moment there, she thought she’d misjudged him. “How’s the injury?” Her lips quivered at the corners. “I’ve never shot anyone in the ass before. Does it hurt?” His brow lifted. “I don’t feel anything.” “How apropos.”
Jay’s ass was on fire. Who knew that a direct hit with a paintball pellet on the most padded area of his body could cause so much pain?