Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis

Thursday, January 24, 2019


by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #7
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 22nd 2019
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

After seven books and a few novellas, this series has become a comforting presence in my reading life. Jill Shalvis has written a warm and loving series that I envision myself re-reading over and over again. Playing for Keeps was another lovely addition to this series. It was a story about two people who don't seem to fit all that well together, but who are pushed towards each other because of a funny dog.

Speaking of the funny dog, I have to say, dear Lollipop absolutely stole the show here in Playing for Keeps. What a character this little puppy was. From the minute both Caleb and Sadie met the little furball was. She brought so much lightness and humor to the story. She was certainly a scene-stealer! Her humans weren't so bad themselves. ;) I really loved both Sadie and Caleb's backstories. They were both realistic, good people with their fair share of soft spots. Sadie was perhaps a bit rougher around the edges. She had grown up in a relatively large family feeling like a black sheep and an unhealthy romantic relationship had left her feeling a little defeated in the love department. She was certainly outspoken and brash, but she also tended to keep her emotions closer to her heart. She and Caleb seem to come from completely different worlds, but through Lollipop, they begin to find common ground. Shalvis always writes heroes who have me sighing in happiness and Caleb was just the sort of quiet, strong, but complex character that I love. He was so genuine and entirely too lovable for words. That's not to say that he doesn't falter. He certainly does that throughout Playing for Keeps, but what made Caleb so endearing was his ability to learn when he messed up.

The romance here was sweet and adorable. It takes some groveling and convincing from Caleb to have Sadie slowly open up her heart to him, but the journey was so worth it. Caleb was painfully patient with Sadie and he was just always there for her without being overly pushy. Their chemistry together only contributed to me believing in the strength of their relationship. They have ups and downs and it was lovely to watch them work through everything. These two totally had my heart! As with the previous books, the setting of Heartbreaker Bay only added to the positives of this book. I enjoyed seeing some of the characters from the previous book, especially good ol' Eddie! I did feel like some of the stronger friendships were missing from this story and I missed that.

I don't always love lengthy series, but the Heartbreaker Bay books are special because Jill Shalvis manages to make every couple stand out. Warm and lighthearted, Playing for Keeps was just the kind of read I needed to cheer me up.


Avon is giving away a copy of Playing for Keeps to one lucky winner (US Only). All you have to do is, comment on the post and I'll randomly pick a winner by Feb 1st.

What are some long romance series you've read and loved?
Let me know in the comments below!

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