REVIEW: J.B. SALSBURY ✭ PLAYING BY HEARTPlaying by Heart by J.B. Salsbury
Also by this author: Wrecked
on November 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Rock Star Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon

Jesse Lee is the worst!

He’s a multi-millionaire, triple-platinum-selling, Grammy-Award-winning man-slut—a worldly, self-indulgent heathen. I wouldn’t sleep with him if he were our last chance to ensure survival of the human race. The only reason I put up with him is because he’s my boss’s brother.

Whatsherface is one of those holier-than-thou types.

She’s bossy, has a horrific singing voice, and she’s so ordinary, she practically blends in with the eggshell-colored walls—the complete opposite of anyone I’d bang. The only reason I put up with her is because my career is on the line.

by J.B. Salsbury

I’m a huge fan of J.B. Salsbury. She always gives well-used tropes a new spin and makes them fresh again. In PLAYING BY HEART we meet a rockstar who took the “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” motto a little too literally and the average small-town girl, who upon the second look isn’t all that average anymore.

For superstar Jesse’s record company and his manager his most recent PR nightmare is the last straw. Dave forces Jesse to stay with his brother, to detox and get counselling to help him fight his demons. Ninety days of staying with his pastor-brother in the boonies of Arizona, no drugs, no phone, no car, no women. A nightmare because the drugs made him numb and put the monster in him to rest.

Jesse’s treatment of people reflects his self-destructive path. He is crass, rude, sometimes even vicious but this plain girl who looks after his brother’s daughter, doesn’t let him get away with it. He loves to yank peoples’ chains and has no filter whatsoever. The things that come out of his mouth are oftentimes obnoxious, arrogant and hurtful.

“You’re not a good person.”
He shrugs. “I know. But when I’m with you”—his expression sobers—“I’m hopeful that one day I could be.”

Bethany has had her own share of drama in her life. Her boyfriend broke up with her and had a new woman in his life only a short time later. Unfortunately she can’t let it go and shows some stalker-ish behavior I found a little creepy. Bethany checked her ex-boyfriend’s Instagram account a couple of times a day for hints that things weren’t going well with his new girlfriend. When she meets her boss’s famous brother she’s probably the only woman not worshiping at the Altar of Jesse. Bethany wasn’t a pushover (at least not where Jesse was concerned) and she stopped being creepy and started behaving like a normal person, thank God, because for a while her behavior worried me.

With a topic like addiction you expect some heaviness in the storyline which wasn’t the case in PLAYING BY HEART. It has some emotional moments but it was mostly fun. Even when Jesse was crass and rude he provided for some comic relief.

“Ha! That? What you were just doing? That wasn’t singing. That was an attempt to contact alien life.”

Unfortunately I wasn’t completely sold on the main characters. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, I did, I just didn’t love them for most of the book and this is where the story fell a little flat for me. I have to admit, though, that the ending totally reeled me in, hook, line and sinker. I LOVED Jesse and Bethany in the last 15% – the author really cranked up the emotions and I finally fell in love with them.

“This woman drives me insane, and I don’t know whether to run like hell and get as far away as I can or drop to her feet and beg her to continue to punish me.”

This isn’t my favorite book by J.B. Salsbury but I did enjoy the story. I read through it rather fast, which is always a sign that it kept me engaged. Before you make up your mind read more reviews – as always this is my opinion and we all have different experiences when we read. Now, while this wasn’t a five-star book I definitely want to read Jesse’s brother Ben’s story!

“I, Jesiah Andrew Langley, have belonged to you since you butchered AC/DC. From that moment on, it’s only been you.”


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