Monday, February 4, 2019

Book Review: Playing For Keeps by Jill Shalvis

Playing For Keeps by Jill Shalvis
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #7
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 22nd 2019
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: Publisher
Blurb (from Goodreads):
If you’re planning on falling in love…

When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.

you’d better be sure…

Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.

… someone is there to catch you.

Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Trigger Warning: This book includes mentions of self-harm.

It's not secret that I adore the Heartbreaker Bay series, so when I found out there was a new book coming out in the series I may have released a few happy, pterodactyl-like screeches. I am so happy to say that this book was just as good as I had hoped.

Playing For Keeps was such a strong, deep story. It had the kind of depth I've come to expect from Jill Shalvis, but I was surprised by how much this book resonated with me. In the newest Heartbreaker Bay book, we get the story of Sadie and Caleb, and a very special three-legged puppy.

Sadie is a very strong woman, but she doesn't see that in herself. She's constantly fighting for the things she wants, and she's trying to get by without any bump in the road. She had a pretty rough childhood, because her parents didn't understand her uniqueness and her talent, and that sent her spiraling and it took her a long time to recover from that. Her story really resonated with me. I was never in her particular situation, but I understood Sadie's need to control what little aspect of her life she could control outside of her parents' influence and opinions, so I found it easy to like her and to understand her better. I also respected her dedication to work two full-time jobs in order to be her own person. Even though her need to avoid certain conversations at times disappointed me, it also made sense because no one she truly loved had believed in her before. Her friends believe in her, but while she loves them, she's not in love with them, so in a way it made sense to make that distinction between what she expected from her boss at the tattoo shop for example, who is sometimes like a brother to her, and what she expected from Caleb. Her journey throughout this book is fantastic and I really enjoyed experiencing it.

Caleb is an easy guy to like. I love how he put himself in danger for the sake of saving one abused and abandoned dog, and I love how he took care of everyone he loves. His patience with Sadie was what made me love him so much. He is probably going to end up on my top ten favorite heroes of the year list, because he truly is a fantastic guy. I enjoyed seeing him interact with the different people in his life, from the guy that was like a father figure, to his sisters, to Sadie, to the cutest dog I've ever read about, Lollipop. I also loved what he did for Sadie. He was a lot more patient than anyone else would have been, but he sensed that's what she needed and he gave her that. I really liked him.

I have to mention the cutest dog ever, Lollipop. Although the story is not about her, for me it kind of was. I don't know if this is because I have my own dog now, but she was a star and I hope she'll make an appearance in the next installments of this series, because she deserves to be loved and adore. And yes, maybe even spoiled a little bit.

Like I said before, the story really resonated with me and I truly enjoyed reading it. I had a huge problem with Sadie's mom, and on some level even with her sister, until she finally came to her senses. But Sadie's mom and dad were really annoying and I wanted to shake them so badly.

All in all, I truly loved this story and, as always, I can't wait to see what comes next.

4.5 Cups rating @ Ruby's Books

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She shook her head.
“Look at me. Please?”
It was the damn please that had her opening her eyes. He’d closed the gap so that if she so much as took a breath, they’d be touching.
So she did just that. She took a deep breath, and then their bodies were up against each other, his warm and hard. Everywhere. “What’s happening?” she whispered.
“I believe you’re deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me.” One side of his mouth curved very slightly as he lifted their still joined hands above her head, against the wall.
“But that last part might just be in my dreams.”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Yes, it’s just in my dreams?”
She meant to say yes again, she really did.
She even opened her mouth to say it, because this was insane, this incredible . . . craving she had for him. It made no sense. Less than no sense, and yet . . .
She went up on tiptoe and touched her mouth to his.



Jill Shalvis
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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