REVIEW: JILL SHALVIS ✭ PLAYING FOR KEEPS

REVIEW: JILL SHALVIS ✭ PLAYING FOR KEEPSPlaying for Keeps by Jill Shalvis
Also by this author: About That Kiss, The Good Luck Sister
Also in this series: About That Kiss, Hot Winter Nights
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #7
Published by Avon on January 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Avon, Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

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.

PLAYING OR KEEPS

by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis is hands down one of my top favorites and PLAYING FOR KEEPS is just another reason why I love her so much. She always puts a serious note into her books although they seem light-hearted with Jill’s sense of humor generously sprinkled between the pages. And those themes make me think. Seriously think.

Sadie is the square block that wanted to fit into a round hole when she was a teenager. She didn’t fit. Not with her family. Not with her friends. Then she stopped trying and accepted that she’s the one not going with the flow but that acceptance came with blood and tears so it is only understandable that Sadie created a wall around herself. A wall with barbwire.
Admittedly, it takes getting used to her. She’s abrasive for a long while and even after Caleb and Sadie become close she’s quick to judge and condemn. Did I like her? Let me say this: I wasn’t her biggest fan in the beginning but when her history came to light I could nothing but empathize with her. Sadie was a resilient and resourceful young woman, prickly, yes, but her bruised heart healed under Caleb’s care and patience and I fell in love with her along the way.

“I’m sorry. For hanging up on you.”
“But not for the judging?”
Dammit. “Maybe a little for the judging. But I’m not going to lie,” she said. “I’m probably not done judging you. I mean I’ll try to work on it, but it’ll be a process.”
His mouth quirked. “Fair enough.”

I think the reason why Sadie resonated with me is because she represents a type of woman most of us are familiar with. Her insecurities were deep-seated, and don’t we all have those? The ones that rattle us and make us shut down?

Caleb is the charismatic, genius-level-IQ, and a little mysterious entrepreneur I was intrigued by in the previous books and let me tell you – he did not disappoint. He, too, has the penchant to retreat emotionally, making himself vulnerable is a thing of the past. No wonder though, he was a scrawny, a little sickly, poor boy, bullied and antagonized but he grew into a force to be reckoned with. Rich, powerful and enigmatic and deeply private. What people don’t know though is that he also has become a caring, thoughtful man, protective about the people in his orbit.

He’d never put it into words before, the restlessness in him, but he did so now. He was sick of being alone. And Sadie knew what that was like.

My most favorite interactions in PLAYING FOR KEEPS were Caleb and Lollipop, the three-legged rescue dog. He was adorable with her, being gentle with her because she was a scared, neglected, abused dog, holding her paw in the car because she was afraid. By these actions alone you get a sense what kind of man Caleb is. He showed the same gentleness and thoughtfulness with Sadie, which resembled Lollipop’s demeanor in a way. She, too, retreated when she was scared but Caleb’s endless patience, inert kindness and sweetness achieved what therapists couldn’t. He broke down Sadie’s walls and earned her trust. Their connection wasn’t easy because they always challenged each other and it never would be but that didn’t make it any less solid.

You make life more.”
“More what?” she asked.
“More everything.” 

The one person who drove me batty whenever we got a dose of her was Sadie’s mom. What a horrible excuse of a mother. Sadie’s inability to trust, her general disposition which, yes, wasn’t the cheery kind, was ridiculed in a way. God, I despised her. It made so much sense that Sadie had become the way she was. On Caleb’s side were four sisters who were nosy, meddling and a little high-handed. I can’t say I liked them a lot but eventually they grew on me.

Sometimes I like you so much I can’t stand it. My heart beats crazy fast when I know I’m going to see you, and then when you look at me, I feel . . .”
“What?” he whispered. “You feel what?”
“Lucky.

This seventh installment in the Heartbreaker Bay series hits all the spots. Heart-warming, witty but with a serious side note about a troubled young woman and an enigmatic man, it also has a little dose of angst and push-and-pull. I was coming off a book hangover and Jill Shalvis pulled me out of it. This author has become a fixture on my reading list and I always get giddy when I have a new story by her waiting for me. I can’t wait to find out who WRAPPED UP IN YOU will be about. My money is on Ivy.

“You look like the rest of my life.”

About 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 www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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five-stars

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