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Playing for Keeps

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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. y 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.


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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. y 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.

30 review for Playing for Keeps

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol [Goodreads Addict]

    Playing for Keeps is book seven in the Heartbreaker Bay series by Jill Shalvis. Wow, Jill did it again with this one. I was in love in the first chapter. Not only did I fall in love with these two main characters, but also, I fell head over heels in love with this little dog. Mercedes Alyssa Lane, otherwise known as Sadie Lane is a struggling tattoo artist. To make ends meet, she also has to work at a day spa, so twelve hour days are her norm. She works in the Pacific Pier Building and has known Playing for Keeps is book seven in the Heartbreaker Bay series by Jill Shalvis. Wow, Jill did it again with this one. I was in love in the first chapter. Not only did I fall in love with these two main characters, but also, I fell head over heels in love with this little dog. Mercedes Alyssa Lane, otherwise known as Sadie Lane is a struggling tattoo artist. To make ends meet, she also has to work at a day spa, so twelve hour days are her norm. She works in the Pacific Pier Building and has known Caleb for almost a year now. They have several mutual friends. Whenever they are around each other, she feels that there is some sort of a charge between them, so she turns it around and treats him with sarcasm, anything to keep him at a distance, because the last thing she needs is a man in her life, especially a man who regularly wears fancy suits and drives expensive cars. She’s been off of men for three years now and has no interest in changing that. Caleb Parker grew up sickly and bullied. But he turned it all around and now turns heads wherever he goes. He can’t explain the feeling he gets whenever he is around Sadie. She clearly wants nothing to do with him but there is that zing between them. Then, on a cold, rainy, February San Franciscan night, in the court yard of the Pacific Pier Building, he sees a little dog cowering in a corner. She’s scared to death. Sadie notices as well and between the two of them, they coax the little thing out of her hiding place. They both fall instantly in love with this little sweetheart that Sadie names Lollipop. So the only thing to do is agree to co-parent her. “You’re not an easy woman, Sadie.” “I am a handful. But that’s why you have two hands.” The sparks fly between Caleb and Sadie and they can no longer resist them. But both of these two have built up such walls around themselves that they make it nearly impossible to break through them, especially Sadie. Her past and the way her mother is broke my heart. Caleb seemed like it was a bit easier for him to admit his feelings. But his three sisters who love their little brother to pieces, get involved and nearly ruin it for him. “I don’t want to ever be the thing that holds someone back.” “You don’t hold me back. You make life more.” “More what?” “More everything.” So, when you have two main characters that both have some past ghosts to overcome, two overbearing families, and a little special needs dog that wants you to hold her hand, what does that all add up to? A book that will steal your heart, make you smile, make you swoon, and give you all the butterflies you can handle. I want to add in here a couple of secondary characters that won my heart. First, Ivy, who owns the taco truck at the Pacific Pier Building. She was Sadie’s go to person and she really did come through for her. Then there was Kel, Caleb’s cousin. He lives and works in Idaho and seems like he is a bit of a cowboy. We all know I have a thing for cowboys! It seems like there might be a story there! One I am hoping with all my fingers and toes crossed, that Jill is going to explore in the near future. So, yes, I loved this book. But I might possibly say that with every Jill Shalvis review. But I mean it every time. If you haven’t started this series, you are truly missing out! Each book can be read as a stand alone but they do have recurring characters. Every book will win your heart and make you smile. A Jill Shalvis book always makes your day just a little bit brighter. If you want more about this book and so many more, come and join me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World. https://www.facebook.com/groups/44036...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis is a 2019 Avon Publication. I’m always happy to return to the Heartbreaker Bay series. So far, each chapter in the series has been a little whimsical and maybe a bit quirky. This book begins with a similar tone as the other books in the series, with Sadie and Caleb adopting an adorable dog named ‘Lollipop’ and becoming co- pet parents. However, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Their attraction to each other is like mixing oil and water. Caleb has deal Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis is a 2019 Avon Publication. I’m always happy to return to the Heartbreaker Bay series. So far, each chapter in the series has been a little whimsical and maybe a bit quirky. This book begins with a similar tone as the other books in the series, with Sadie and Caleb adopting an adorable dog named ‘Lollipop’ and becoming co- pet parents. However, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Their attraction to each other is like mixing oil and water. Caleb has dealt with some heavy issues in his past, but he’s taken big strides toward maturation, although he still hides behind emotional barriers, and his sister’s overabundance of caution and extreme protectiveness. Sadie on the other hand- Well, Sadie is still coping with a lot of baggage she can’t quite seem to shake off. In Sadie, the reader sees someone struggling not only with a haunted past, but with some bitterness, and the immature need to rebel, still trying to shock and offend. Of all the books in this series, to date, this one feels a little more serious. Shalvis always has an uncanny knack for addressing uncomfortable topics, while keeping the tone light. Her humor always offsets the heaviness in any given situation. This time, however, the whimsy, charm, humor, felt forced and often falls a bit flat. Despite that, the story is still a very compelling read. Sadie’s issues would test the patience of Job, but so would Caleb’s sisters!! I am glad, however, that Shalvis addressed a topic rarely explored in romance novels of this caliber. Although I found this couple to be more of a challenge than most, their happily ever after may have been the most rewarding, in some ways. Perceptions, expectations, family, acceptance, and forgiveness are adeptly woven into the story. Caleb and Sadie defy all the odds against them and at the end of the day, this is what makes this book stand out. In all honesty, I struggled with this one just a little bit and I can’t, in one hundred percent honesty, tell you this is my absolute favorite book of the series. It almost felt a little like the black sheep of the family, going off on a different course from the others. However, I still think the outcome was worth the extra patience this couple seemed to require. Of course I was, as always, happy to see this couple, and Lollipop, get their long overdue happily ever after. 3.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes: Sadie listened with half her brain, the other half wandering off. Sometimes life really bit a girl on the ass. Thankfully she had enough padding there to take the hit. “So she can be bribed.” “You just fed her a fortune in fancy cuts of meats and cheeses,” she said. “Anyone could’ve been bribed with that. Hell, I’d have jumped into a stranger-danger van for that.” “She dumped me. Twice. Women should come with instructions.” “What would be the point of that?” Sadie asked. “I’ve never Favorite Quotes: Sadie listened with half her brain, the other half wandering off. Sometimes life really bit a girl on the ass. Thankfully she had enough padding there to take the hit. “So she can be bribed.” “You just fed her a fortune in fancy cuts of meats and cheeses,” she said. “Anyone could’ve been bribed with that. Hell, I’d have jumped into a stranger-danger van for that.” “She dumped me. Twice. Women should come with instructions.” “What would be the point of that?” Sadie asked. “I’ve never actually seen a man read any instructions.” He sighed. “It’s hard to meet the good ones.” “That’s because they don’t usually frequent the dives you frequent. Go to Target. The female to male ratio is ten to one and they’re already looking for things they don’t need.” Rocco offered his fork with a grape on it. She shook her head. “I don’t consume wine in pill form.” She’d long ago taught herself how to take a mental step back from her family and treat them like . . . well, entertainment. She was no longer part of the circus but just an audience member. My Review: Every time I have finished a Jill Shalvis book I remind myself of the objective to clear my calendar and read the rest of her listings, which would take a chunk of time, as she has been quite the busy bee; Goodreads lists thirty books to her credit. I was late to this party but I have every intention be that nightmare type guest that never leaves. I am greedy and want them all, past, current, and future works. I am totally enamored. I adore her clever wit and humorous banter as much as her insightful observations and emotive reflections. Her writing is so stunningly agile she can have giggle-snorting and sniffling on the same page. Playing For Keeps was a heart-clenching tale yet well-balanced with levity, swoon-worthy romance, and sumptuous sensuality. I delight her wordplay and worship her altar of used printer cartridges.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stacey is Sassy

    ****IT'S ALIVE!!!**** He wasn’t just a billionaire in a suit When it comes to love, I have been known to be a little insecure at times. For years I saw my hubby with rose-coloured glasses. To me, he’s handsome, smart, caring and sweet. I thought every woman in the world would want him for their own. We’re so different, he is sporty and doesn’t read (WEIRD!!) and survives with little to no sleep. Finally, after 21 years of marriage, the rose-coloured glasses have a few smudges on them. He’s sti ****IT'S ALIVE!!!**** He wasn’t just a billionaire in a suit When it comes to love, I have been known to be a little insecure at times. For years I saw my hubby with rose-coloured glasses. To me, he’s handsome, smart, caring and sweet. I thought every woman in the world would want him for their own. We’re so different, he is sporty and doesn’t read (WEIRD!!) and survives with little to no sleep. Finally, after 21 years of marriage, the rose-coloured glasses have a few smudges on them. He’s still bloody awesome but he’s not perfect. Seeing Sadie fight her insecurities and believe in Caleb’s love was something I could relate to. Her rose-coloured glasses needed a few smudges to see him clearly…suit and all. It did not surprise me that Sadie questioned Caleb’s attraction. Sadie appears a little rough around the edges, is stubborn and a wee bit prickly. Caleb on the other hand, he’s a suit-wearing hottie with a successful empire and plenty of money in the bank. So very different but there’s this underlying buzz that neither can deny. Sadie’s hesitant to take their attraction too seriously as she’s not willing to put her heart on the line. Only thing is…Caleb’s Playing for Keeps… I absolutely LOVED Caleb. After reading the little snippet at the end of Hot Winter Nights I predicted that Caleb was going to be the book-boyfriend for me. My heart melted at his thoughtfulness. I was swooning when we had his POV and I got to see him convince Sadie that her prickly barbs would not deter him. I loved it when he developed his own prickly barbs when it came time to deal with Sadie’s family. To be honest, I would have loved to see a few more interactions with Caleb and Sadie’s mum. I wanted to see him put on his Knight-In-Shining-Armour costume to fight the wicked witch. OK, she wasn’t that bad, but geez, she definitely rubbed me the wrong way. I wouldn’t say Lollipop stole the show, but she came pretty darn close. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a three-legged puppy that’s had a rough trot up until the minute Caleb Parker found her on a cold and rainy night? Her devotion to her knew co-owners is so cute and I loved that with a little whining, she had them both giving into her. I loved the hand-holding to calm her fears in the car and the sitting on their feet to gain their attention. So cute!! Sadie and Caleb were interesting, and I found them refreshingly real. I understood Sadie and Caleb’s tolerance of family interference because I could completely relate. What seems intrusive and meddling was done out of love for Sadie and Caleb. Sadie’s family couldn’t understand her, but constantly worried for her health and well being. Caleb’s family have been his carers, providers and protectors since the time he was a sickly kid. Even with all his success, he’s still their little brother. I absolutely loved Playing for Keeps. It was an emotional story that dealt with two characters that faced challenges in their youth. Caleb has proven himself by becoming successful and repaying his family for all their sacrifice, love and support. Sadie, while still in the process of becoming successful, is finally coming to accept and love herself, scars and all. In true Jill Shalvis fashion, she drags all of my emotions to the surface. I was sniffling like crazy towards the end of the story and then smiling like a loon by the end. While reading I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough but when it was finished, I was wishing I’d taken my time. Her books are never long enough. A new snippet (The Lemon Sisters, Wildstone Series) at the end has given me something to look forward to. Although, I was kind of hoping that it was going to be Ivy, from the Taco Truck’s turn. Fingers crossed, it may still happen. If you haven’t tried a Jill Shalvis yet…DO IT!! Stacey is Sassy, received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    MELISSA *Mel Reader*

    4.5 ”Follow Your Heart” Stars! (ARC provided by Social Butterfly PR) Caleb Parker is a confident, charming, charismatic gorgeous man living in San Francisco. He's a hugely successful, well known venture capitalist who seems to have the midas touch in business. He's driven when it comes to his career, but never has put much effort into his personal life. He doesn't date much or do relationships. Then one evening he rescues an abandoned dog with a beautiful woman named Sadie Lane, and everything 4.5 ”Follow Your Heart” Stars! (ARC provided by Social Butterfly PR) Caleb Parker is a confident, charming, charismatic gorgeous man living in San Francisco. He's a hugely successful, well known venture capitalist who seems to have the midas touch in business. He's driven when it comes to his career, but never has put much effort into his personal life. He doesn't date much or do relationships. Then one evening he rescues an abandoned dog with a beautiful woman named Sadie Lane, and everything changes. They have mutual friends in common, so they occasionally ran into each other. Every time they crossed paths they seemed to rub each other the wrong way. She always was too busy judging him to really see him, but he'd been fascinated with her since they met. She was temptation walking. A ridiculously sexy, edgy tattoo artist who was also opinionated, sarcastic, and stubborn. They were polar opposites, but he still wanted to get to know her better. Sadie Lane is a fiercely independent, incredibly private woman who rarely lets anyone get too close. She works two jobs, and had long ago given up on men, and was working on herself. She tried to keep her dark parts hidden, and built up a tough outer shell to protect her heart. Then she suddenly finds herself co-parenting a dog with a know it all, buttoned up suit named Caleb Parker. He was everything she wasn't, and completely out of her league. He was heartbreakingly beautiful, and disarmingly sexy. Then to top it all off he was also a dog whisperer. She hated how attracted she was to him. She had all these preconceived ideas about him that were wrong. He was actually a great guy and super kind, and shockingly could handle her sass without blinking an eye. -He never could take his eyes off of her. -He knew what he wanted, and he wanted Sadie. -“Come at me, babe. Give it your best shot. Fair warning, you might like what you find.” -The gentleness and obvious affection with which he touched her always dissolved the best of her intentions. -What his body did to hers and how he looked at her... She’d never experienced anything like it. -I kept feeling all the little broken pieces of my heart give themselves to you. Caleb & Sadie are both dangerously attracted to one another, and didn't know what to do about all these new feelings. Neither particularly liked emotions or commitment. Sadie was the first woman who didn't want anything from Caleb. She continually pushed him away, but he was patient with her. She made him feel something he'd never felt, which was vulnerable. He was slowly becoming convinced she was meant to be his, but Sadie isn't used to trusting or people loving her for who she is. Will either be willing to put their heart on the line for love and risk it all? I really enjoyed this story and love this series. I've read 24 books by Jill Shalvis, and the Heartbreaker Bay series is one of my favorites! I have been so looking forward to getting Caleb's book, and he didn't disappoint. It was everything I wanted and more. A delicious billionaire with a beautiful heart. Just loved it! ***NOW AVAILABLE*** https://amzn.to/2WbXMQf

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Amazon US * Amazon UK Playing for Keeps brings readers back to Heartbreaker Bay with Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker. Sadie is struggling to make ends meet while Caleb is a successful businessman, but you know what they say about opposites - they attract. In the case, Sadie and Caleb attract a whole lot of sexual tension hidden under a bunch bickering encounters. I have to say, if I wasn't already a fan of this series I definitely would be now. I just adored this couple and I loved seeing how all of Amazon US * Amazon UK Playing for Keeps brings readers back to Heartbreaker Bay with Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker. Sadie is struggling to make ends meet while Caleb is a successful businessman, but you know what they say about opposites - they attract. In the case, Sadie and Caleb attract a whole lot of sexual tension hidden under a bunch bickering encounters. I have to say, if I wasn't already a fan of this series I definitely would be now. I just adored this couple and I loved seeing how all of their arguing turned into something more. That tension quickly turned into something very romantic even as Sadie fought against it, not wanting to put her trust into someone else only to end up hurt. Caleb was so swoon worthy though as he just waiting for Sadie to accept him and wouldn't let her push him away. Bottom line, these characters made for one brilliant story. Their connection was riveting and had me unable to put this book down once I started. Also we had the added bonus of an adorable puppy and you can just never go wrong with a cute puppy in a book. ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Sometimes life circumstances and/or an abused drive people apart but utterly adorable puppy with three legs, can bring a two unlikely people together. In Playing for Keeps, Shalvis pens a strong family dynamic that intrudes, aggravates and strongly supports the bonds that form between the reader and the connection to the characters. In the end, Playing For Keeps completely sucked me. I loved the how these opposites attracted each other finding a common goal that brought them together. I received Sometimes life circumstances and/or an abused drive people apart but utterly adorable puppy with three legs, can bring a two unlikely people together. In Playing for Keeps, Shalvis pens a strong family dynamic that intrudes, aggravates and strongly supports the bonds that form between the reader and the connection to the characters. In the end, Playing For Keeps completely sucked me. I loved the how these opposites attracted each other finding a common goal that brought them together. I received this ARC copy of Playing for Keeps from Avon Books. This is my honest and voluntary review. Playing for Keeps is set for publication Jan. 22, 2019. On Sale Date: January 22, 2019 ISBN 9780062741882, 0062741888 Mass Market | 384 pages $7.99 USD, $10.99 CAD Fiction / Romance / Contemporary Official Author Website: http://jillshalvis.com/ Official Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JillShalvis/ Official Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillShalvis/ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Keeps-... Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/play... Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/play...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥

    Playing for Keeps was a heartwarming love story where opposites attract. With the help of their friends and a dog that quickly stole both of their hearts, destiny seemed to be in the air. I absolutely adore the Heartbreaker Bay Series and I couldn't wait to read Caleb and Sadie's story! While each book can easily be read as a standalone, I highly recommend starting back at the beginning. You don't want to miss a moment with this group of friends and coworkers. He was everything she no lon Playing for Keeps was a heartwarming love story where opposites attract. With the help of their friends and a dog that quickly stole both of their hearts, destiny seemed to be in the air. I absolutely adore the Heartbreaker Bay Series and I couldn't wait to read Caleb and Sadie's story! While each book can easily be read as a standalone, I highly recommend starting back at the beginning. You don't want to miss a moment with this group of friends and coworkers. He was everything she no longer let herself want. Sadie Lane opened her heart up to us from that very first chapter. The relationship she had with her mother was heart wrenching and she was jaded towards men. But thankfully Sadie was working hard doing something she loved. She was building up her clientele as a tattoo artist, but to make ends meets she also works at a spa. Finances were tight and she was definitely struggling, so I found myself sympathetic to her from that very first chapter. “Not interested,”said her mouth. Her brain though, it was telling her a different story. He just grinned. He knew. Dammit. She forced her gaze off his body and into his eyes. One dark and stormy night, Sadie found herself helping Caleb Parker rescue a dog. Caleb was someone who had been around Sadie for the last year. They knew mutual people, worked near one another, but Sadie quickly labeled him Suits. She didn't ever stop to think that his past wasn't just a golden spoon. Or how hard he worked to get to where he was. But when they both ended up rescuing a three-legged dog, Sadie named Lollipop, everything slowly started to change. He’d taken Lollipop to a pet park. He held her hand whenever she got scared. Damn. The man was dangerous to her heart and soul. Which made him the very opposite of perfect . . . I have fallen for every single male Jill Shalvis has created, so of course I heart Caleb. While he was in the Forbes top 100 and was labeled a billionaire, he was so much more than that. Caleb was the most kind, patient, compassionate and thoughtful man ever. He loved his family deeply and helped to take care of them. They were such a huge part of his life. And I loved watching how his sisters would meddle in his love life, whoops lol. But Sadie intrigued Caleb from the beginning, and no matter what was thrown at them, he fought for them to be together. “I keep telling you, there’s no this.” “Are you sure?” Very slowly and carefully, clearly giving her plenty of time to get away if she really wanted, he stepped into her, making her extremely aware that she now stood hemmed in between the alley wall and his body, neither quite touching her. Even though they now shared a dog, Sadie still had her walls up high and was closed off. As they started to spend more time around each other, Sadie realized she judged Caleb wrong. And while she started to share herself with him, it was not always easy. You see, she lacked faith and jumped to conclusions at times with Caleb. It hurt not only them, but me too. Especially when she wouldn't just take a breath and listen. Thankfully Caleb had the most patience ever and thankfully Sadie knew how to apologize and step up her game. Their road to a HEA was an emotional journey, but I kept faith that it would all work out in the end. When he was gone, she looked at Lollipop. “Okay, maybe I see a tiny bit of why you heart him so much. But just a little bit, mind you.” Luckily they both had help from their friends, Ivy, Rocco and Spence. Plus Lollipop. Lollipop was so important to this story. Not only did she initially bring them together, but she helped them. She got them to see each other in different ways. She helped them grow as friends and slowly into something more. It didn't even matter that she was really good at interrupting them lol. Lollipop added a ton of heart to this story, she was the hugest star ever! Just don't tell Caleb I said that! “Okay, fine,” Sadie said. “I know what I have to do.” Ivy narrowed her eyes. “Do you really?” “Sure.” Ivy shook her head. “You don’t have a clue, do you?” Sadie’s eyes filled. “No,” she whispered. “You follow your heart.” So if you're a fan of Jill Shalvis, this series or stories where a kind man, an adorable dog and a women who's learning how to love and trust fill the pages then definitely pick up this book. This story made me smile so much and this is completely random but I loved Sadie's take on food. I love that she requested In N Out, they're my favorite burgers in the world, and I'm a huge sucker for muffins and everything else she loved too! Playing for Keeps was an adorable love story and I can't wait to see who the next book in this series is about! *I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* For more of my reviews, please visit:

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: Playing For Keeps Series: Heartbreaker Bay #7 Author: Jill Shalvis Release date: January 22, 2019 Cliffhanger: no Genre: contemporary romance Accidentally on Purpose was my first read in this series, and Elle and Archer have remained my favorite couple since then. I officially have a new leading couple because Caleb and Sadie unexpectedly swept me off my feet. I adore Jill Shalvis' humor in her books. You can always depend on her to deliver belly laughs and chuckles galore. Playing for Keeps d Title: Playing For Keeps Series: Heartbreaker Bay #7 Author: Jill Shalvis Release date: January 22, 2019 Cliffhanger: no Genre: contemporary romance Accidentally on Purpose was my first read in this series, and Elle and Archer have remained my favorite couple since then. I officially have a new leading couple because Caleb and Sadie unexpectedly swept me off my feet. I adore Jill Shalvis' humor in her books. You can always depend on her to deliver belly laughs and chuckles galore. Playing for Keeps didn't skimp on the humor, but there was an added depth of emotion in this book because of Sadie's history. I know some readers said that it took them some time to warm up to her because of her standoffish attitude, but that wasn't the case for me. Even though it took some time to soften her sharp edges, I could always identify with where she was coming from and feel for her. After the previous book, I was really looking forward to seeing these two characters who've been in the background trading snark finally connect. On the surface they seem to be the epitome of two opposites attracting, but as we got to know them better we discover their similarities as well. Sadie is a tattoo/permanent makeup artist with two jobs, struggling hard to make ends meet. She's tattooed, has brightly dyed hair, and doesn't let very many people get close to her. She has trust issues a mile wide, especially when it comes to men. Yes, he was fun, flirty, and charming, but she was highly suspicious of all those things. Her idea of fun, flirty, and charming meant being as sarcastic as possible. It’d done the trick too, scaring men off for years. Sarcasm is her weapon of choice in deterring any unwanted attention. A previous boyfriend caused her to slip into old unhealthy habits, and that experience scared her away from romantic relationships. But when she faces off against Caleb, he gives back every bit as good as he gets. In fact, not only was he charming, but he seemed to be charmed by her attempts to scare him off. It wasn't until a three legged dog named Lollipop came into the equation that they actually began getting to know one another better. Jill Shalvis is an animal lover, and it really comes through in her writing. She often includes pets in her stories, but this dog was almost like another main character. When Caleb rescues Lollipop off the street, they decide to share "joint custody" so to speak and become doggy parents together. As much as she tried to keep her distance, she was upfront and bluntly honest with him from the very beginning. Which is one of her personality quirks that probably drew him in even more because he has some trust issues of his own. “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.” Sadie has always been the black sheep of the family, out of place and misunderstood by everyone. Because of their huge difference in personalities, her mother failed to understand her, and was completely insensitive to her needs. She didn't listen, she nagged her to find a man, and made her feel as if she was never good enough. I couldn't stand how she treated her from the very beginning. Caleb had his own family issues with his extremely overprotective sisters. While their hearts were in the right place, and their actions came from a place of love, they often crossed boundaries they shouldn't have. This causes some friction between the couple at one point, but Caleb doesn't hesitate to set his family straight and make amends. I absolutely loved this hero and his sensitivity in giving Sadie time to open up to him. He was wonderfully patient and you could tell that he accepted every part of her, even her broken pieces. She's a complicated woman who doesn't easily let people past her barriers, but somehow they were able to find more common ground than either could have anticipated. Maybe because no one cared to take the time to unravel Sadie and really listen to her before. And when he needed someone to carry his burdens, she stepped right up. Their differences and similarities complimented each other beautifully. His one flaw was probably being too pushy in trying to help her and not understanding her need to take care of herself. At the same time, when you care about someone, it's understandable that you don't want them to have to struggle when there's something you can do about it. With open communication and honesty between them, any issues they had were resolved pretty quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had everything I look for in a romance novel in one witty, romantic, feel-good package. It's one of those stories that leaves you with a warm glow of happiness after turning the last page. I highly recommend this one to everyone, even new readers to the series. It's a must read! “I knew the day I met you,” he said. “Which was just under a year ago now.” “Knew what?” she whispered. “That I was going to fall for you and never recover.” FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire Robinson

    4 - "You’re different…" Stars! We return to Heartbreaker Bay for the seventh book in the series; Playing for Keeps giving us Sadie and Caleb’s story. Star of the show for me, and jelly that held this particular relationship sandwich together was three legged mutt Lollipop a.k.a Poops-a-lot. "You have your superhero armor… and I have mine" We have stepped somewhat away from the original crew now, and this far along in the series, Jill has started giving stories to some of the characters who have bee 4 - "You’re different…" Stars! We return to Heartbreaker Bay for the seventh book in the series; Playing for Keeps giving us Sadie and Caleb’s story. Star of the show for me, and jelly that held this particular relationship sandwich together was three legged mutt Lollipop a.k.a Poops-a-lot. "You have your superhero armor… and I have mine" We have stepped somewhat away from the original crew now, and this far along in the series, Jill has started giving stories to some of the characters who have been more on the periphery of things. Caleb as you would expect is your usual Shalvis type of Hero, plenty going on up top, easy on the eyes in general, and an absolute sweetheart when it comes to the new dog and woman in his life. He was breaking down her walls one brick at a time-or so he hoped- but he knew he still had a long way to go... Although Sadie isn’t actually that new in his life, they have been skirting around each other in passing for a good twelve months before connecting over a stray animal that in the end leads them into a joint custody arrangement of sorts. And it doesn’t take Sadie long to realize that Caleb is nothing like her preconceptions of him, and he challenges a lot of the things she believes about herself, in a good way as well. "You’re a puzzle, one I can’t seem to solve… That doesn’t happen often." "… You can’t solve a woman." Closing herself off from the world and life in general has been standard protocol for her over the years, and the issues as to why are pretty deep, deeper than you generally find with a Shalvis novel, and while handled respectively, I hope that the author/publisher have the foresight to add a trigger warning at the beginning of the released book, just so that readers are given the option to decide if they want to follow Sadie’s particular story and the issues it covers. "I knew the day I met you…" "…Knew what?" "...That I was going to fall for you and never recover." Understandably due to her past and ongoing familial treatment, Sadie is what you would class as ‘prickly’ when it comes to other human beings, and the opposite sex more so especially when a really nice guy, shows her some interest. Her first instinct at everything Caleb does is to initially treat him with suspicion and often misjudge his intentions. I have to admit, although the author as expected gives her readers all the information they need to understand why a character behaves they way they do, Sadie was at points a difficult woman to warm too. "You don’t scare me…" That said I pretty much read this book in one sitting (with a nap in between!) there are parts of the book where I was laughing so hard I had to put my Kindle down to wipe my eyes, and the story-line is easy to get along with in general. Shalvis gives great animal, and the entertainment value added from that inclusion, lightened up many points of the story where darkness potentially threatened to overwhelm. Another good addition to the series, and a great start to my 2019 Jill Shalvis reading binge. "It’s always been you… And it’s always going to be you." ARC generously provided by the author, in exchange for the above honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I loved this book! This is the seventh book in the Heartbreaker Bay series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Fans of the series will enjoy checking in with some much-loved characters. I have enjoyed all of the books in this series so I was pretty eager to read this newest installment and it did not disappoint. Once I started reading this book, I didn't want to put it down and felt swept away by the story. Caleb and Sad This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I loved this book! This is the seventh book in the Heartbreaker Bay series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Fans of the series will enjoy checking in with some much-loved characters. I have enjoyed all of the books in this series so I was pretty eager to read this newest installment and it did not disappoint. Once I started reading this book, I didn't want to put it down and felt swept away by the story. Caleb and Sadie are the focus of this book along with their little dog, Lollipop. The book opens with Caleb and Sadie finding a stray dog in the rain. They both are ready to accept responsibility for the dog and end up deciding to share custody of the pup. Of course, this means that the pair will be seeing a lot of each other as they pass the dog back and forth. Caleb and Sadie are both great characters. Sadie's past was rather heartbreaking and her relationship with her family wasn't great. I think that learning about her past really gave the reader a lot of insight into her personality. She is very independent and refused to ask anyone for help. Caleb is rich and highly intelligent. He is also a very hard worker and quite generous. He is very close to his family but has spent a lot of his life being protected by them. I loved watching this pair fall in love. I think that they had great chemistry with each other and I enjoyed all of their interactions. Caleb wants to take care of Sadie when he sees that she needs things but that didn't mean that he thought she wasn't capable. I liked that they both had to give and take a bit and when they were upset they talked about it. I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a heartwarming romance with fantastic characters and an adorable dog. I can't wait to read more from Jill Shalvis! I received a digital review copy of this book from Tasty Book PR via Book Funnel. Initial Thoughts I thought that Sadie and Caleb were great together. They had a lot of chemistry and seemed to be exactly what the other needed. Lollipop was adorable and I liked how she helped to bring them together. They were both scared at times and their families were not a big help. It was great to see them work together to make a relationship work. I do wonder who the next book will be about....maybe Ivy?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna's Herding Cats

    Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. (posting 1/28/19) Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pUw63I Yall know I love me some Jill Shalvis. And I've enjoyed this series quite a bit. But Playing for Keeps and I had some issues. Namely the heroine. Which was frustrating because the hero and the pup? Adorable! Gist: A homeless pup in need of an owner finds herself...two! Does she care that her new mommy and daddy don't like each other? Nope! She surely doesn't. She loves them and she's not giving either up. So Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. (posting 1/28/19) Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pUw63I Yall know I love me some Jill Shalvis. And I've enjoyed this series quite a bit. But Playing for Keeps and I had some issues. Namely the heroine. Which was frustrating because the hero and the pup? Adorable! Gist: A homeless pup in need of an owner finds herself...two! Does she care that her new mommy and daddy don't like each other? Nope! She surely doesn't. She loves them and she's not giving either up. So Caleb and Sadie are just gonna have to get along and figure out a way to co-pet-parent. For their new puppy's sake. The Awesome Caleb is an amazing hero and person. He's kind, extremely generous, brilliant. He doesn't play games and has the patience of a saint. He takes care of the people around him and is just a good guy and decent human being who has overcome a painful childhood and made something spectacular of himself. And Lollipop. Well she's just the most adorable little three legged pup. Exuberant, loving, total sweetie pie. I loved the two of them. Both a little damaged and slow to trust but once you win them over they're yours. They made this book. I would have loved more time with the two. The heroine had a unique history in that she'd been a cutter. The Struggle Sadie. Lord love her but she was an exhausting heroine. →My main issue was her behaviors...that never changed. She was judgmental, immature, over-reactive. I don't mind a flawed character at all but I want them to grow throughout the book → She never cut Caleb any slack. When he understandably misunderstood something (thought she was having sex with someone) and was upset...she was irate because how dare he think that of her!!! (and he apologized). When SHE misunderstood something and blamed him for something someone else did...she was irate with him because how dare he!! (and he apologized for that, too) → She did something lousy by putting him into a position where she hoped he'd be judged so she could gloat over their judgmental behavior. I thought that was a really crappy thing to do to someone who's been nothing but kind. → After every jerky overreaction on her part the excuse was...she was scared and self sabotaged things. Once...okay. Twice...ugh but okay. But it happened over and over. Ugh. Have some personal growth already. So, Playing or Keeps was a frustrating read. By the 80% mark I would have been okay with Caleb bailing on the relationship. Sadie just wasn't worth the effort to me. I've read dozens from Shalvis and she's probably my least favorite character and thus my least favorite read. There were still a lot of fantastic elements, though, which is how it got a 3. Caleb and Lolipop? They saved things for me. I just wish they'd gotten a stronger more stable happily ever after.

  13. 4 out of 5

    NMmomof4

    3 Stars Overall Opinion: This was enjoyable, but I don't think it'll be finding its home on my favorites shelf or will be all that memorable in the long run. The interactions with the dog were excellent! I also liked the H's crazy family. The connection was alright, but I feel like there was so much more that the author could've gotten into with their pasts. I was disappointed with the ending too. BUT! If you're looking for a sweet, low angst book about two lonely characters with dark pasts and 3 Stars Overall Opinion: This was enjoyable, but I don't think it'll be finding its home on my favorites shelf or will be all that memorable in the long run. The interactions with the dog were excellent! I also liked the H's crazy family. The connection was alright, but I feel like there was so much more that the author could've gotten into with their pasts. I was disappointed with the ending too. BUT! If you're looking for a sweet, low angst book about two lonely characters with dark pasts and a lovable dog -- this should be a winner for you! Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Sadie and Caleb's story. They've been acquaintances for about a year when the story begins, but one night they both find a frightened three legged dog that they work together to save. They end up co-adopting the dog together, and after many more encounters and spending more time together they finally give in to the strong attraction they've always felt for one another. There is some family drama, some past secrets revealed, and some sexy times...and they get a HFN ending. POV: This alternated between focusing on Sadie and Caleb in 3rd person narrative. Overall Pace of Story: Alright. It did feel a little slow at times, but I never felt it enough to skim. Instalove: No, but the did have some feelings already developed when the story begins. H rating: 4 stars. Caleb. I liked him. I appreciated how he fought from his past to create a better life for himself and his family. I also loved his relationship with the dog and his old sensei. h rating: 3.5 stars. Sadie. I liked her, but I also felt that she was too stubborn and self sabotaging at times. Sadness level: Low, no tissues needed Push/Pull: Yes (view spoiler)[The h pushes away a good bit, and I'd say the H is the main pursuer of the relationship. (hide spoiler)] Heat level: Good. They have some good tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story. Descriptive sex: Yes OW/OM drama: No Sex scene with OW or OM: No Cheating: No Separation: Yes (view spoiler)[They are separated shortly (days?), but there was no mention or suggestion of other partners during this time. (hide spoiler)] Possible Triggers: Yes (view spoiler)[The h used to be a cutter and was institutionalized by her family when she was younger (off page), the H talks about his past and living in poverty, and older loved one with memory and health issues (H - on page). (hide spoiler)] Closure: This was one of those that had the conflict resolved and then we are directly thrown into an epilogue. I hate that! I like a little more time to feel that they have fully secured their relationship. Some might be fine with calling this a HEA ending, but I'm going to call it a HFN (view spoiler)[he proposes in epilogue (hide spoiler)] . Safety: This one should be Safe for most safety gang readers (view spoiler)[ - Does Not have cheating - Does Not have a descriptive sex scene with OW/OM - Does have the h pushing the H away - Does have a short separation between the h and H - Does Not have abuse - Does Not have a HEA ending (see above) (hide spoiler)]

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    I will openly admit to you right now, that I love Jill Shalvis' books. She always has the right balance of humor, steam, and warmth, with just enough heartbreak and drama to keep it interesting. The other thing I love about her companion series are the wonderful groups of found-family she creates, and that was definitely one of the draws for me when it came to the Heartbreaker Bay books. This go around we have not ONE, but TWO heavily armored characters. Both Sadie and Caleb kept themselves emoti I will openly admit to you right now, that I love Jill Shalvis' books. She always has the right balance of humor, steam, and warmth, with just enough heartbreak and drama to keep it interesting. The other thing I love about her companion series are the wonderful groups of found-family she creates, and that was definitely one of the draws for me when it came to the Heartbreaker Bay books. This go around we have not ONE, but TWO heavily armored characters. Both Sadie and Caleb kept themselves emotionally detached. Though they sought this form of protection for different reasons, the results were the same - no successful romantic relationships. That was until a three legged dog changed their plans. As I have grown to expect, Shalvis gave us a fun and adorable doggie meet-cute. Caleb and Sadie had actually known each other for a year or so, but they never really interacted until they decided to "co-parent" a stray dog, Lollipop. I won't lie, Lollipop endeared herself to me, and I loved what she brought out in Caleb and Sadie. She helped us see that softer side of Sadie, while clearly revealing that carefree and loving side of Caleb. It was so wonderful to see all three of them on-page together, and I loved the way Shalvis utilized an awesome dog to ignite this romance. In case you couldn't already tell, Sadie and Caleb were sort of complicated. Sadie had a lot of pain in her past, which still overshadowed her present, and this made her weary of Caleb and his advances. Caleb had been taken advantage of in the past, and this made his sisters, who he lovingly referred to as "the coven", overprotective of him. Ghosts of their pasts and family drama of their present cause a few bumps in the road, but it was working through those things, that clearly showed these two belonged together. Sadie was cool, fun, salty, and sassy, but I think it was Caleb, who made me love this story. Though he may have been sort of closed off to most of the world, he loved his inner circle fiercely. He was able to open his heart a lot quicker, than Sadie was, and he was also more vocal and demonstrative. Sadie was not an easy woman for him to love, and I really liked seeing him fight a little for her. "You're not an easy woman, Sadie." "I am a handful," she agreed, her pulse kicking into gear. "But that's why you have two hands." One thing I got a little excited about was the mention, over and over again, of Caleb's cousin Kel. Kel is a character from the Animal Magnetism books, which I adored, and the way he kept coming up was making me think that we might get some crossover action (?). If that's where Shalvis' muse is leading her, I am wholly onboard. Overall I definitely got what I have come to expect from Shalvis: a great romance, that was heartwarming, funny, a little emotional, and a little hot. It was stacked with a hero and heroine, who were both interesting and complex, and who I grew to care about. And, don't forget the adorable dog. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms

    This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookworms *I received a free copy of [title] from [publisher] via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Playing for Keeps just might be my favorite Heartbreaker Bay story! I loved Sadie and Caleb so much. And Lollipop was the best rescue puppy ever! Playing for Keeps just worked so very well for me! Sadie and Caleb both wanted nothing to do with a relationship. And they kind of worked th This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookworms *I received a free copy of [title] from [publisher] via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Playing for Keeps just might be my favorite Heartbreaker Bay story! I loved Sadie and Caleb so much. And Lollipop was the best rescue puppy ever! Playing for Keeps just worked so very well for me! Sadie and Caleb both wanted nothing to do with a relationship. And they kind of worked the best using sarcasm towards each other. Until that evening when Caleb found an abandoned, three legged dog in the courtyard. And they somehow ended up co-adopting her. Caleb had been a bit of a mystery up until now, as he was a little on the outskirt of the friend group. In Playing for Keeps, however, he showed just what kind of a man he was. He's a true hero in many ways. Taking care of other people, helping out wherever he can. As Sadie got to know him, she couldn't help falling for him. Even when there were obstacles - namely Caleb's sisters and their background checks - he continued to pursue her when she retreated. Overall, Playing for Keeps is a feel good story, with multi-layered characters, and a beautiful romance. "I have this test," Ivy said and handed Sadie a basket with her two tacos. "No matter how rich or intelligent your are, how you treat an animal tells me all I need to know about you. And look at how he treated your dog."    

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I recently described another author's books as always ending up less than the sum of their parts. That was my clumsy way of saying that while this other author's prose, dialogue, characterization, themes etc. were all stellar when evaluated as individual components, somehow they came together as disappointingly lackluster novels as a whole. Jill Shalvis's books are actually the exact opposite for me: while objectively the prose, characterizations, plots, etc. tend to hover at or just above medio I recently described another author's books as always ending up less than the sum of their parts. That was my clumsy way of saying that while this other author's prose, dialogue, characterization, themes etc. were all stellar when evaluated as individual components, somehow they came together as disappointingly lackluster novels as a whole. Jill Shalvis's books are actually the exact opposite for me: while objectively the prose, characterizations, plots, etc. tend to hover at or just above mediocre (in my opinion, of course!) if assessed on their own, somehow they magically combine to make for such spirit-boosting, mood-lifting, endorphin-raising books as a whole. As others have noted, some of the subject matter is a bit darker in this one, but I found the book was still full of the warmth, heart, and goodnatured humor that makes her books an auto-buy for me no matter how frustrating I find certain individual elements of them along the way. I deducted one star for the usual Jill Shalvis lapses in grammar, syntax and punctuation (what is up with her editors?! Certain passages are written really well while others are always marred by misused words, conspicuously absent commas, etc.) I also wish the book had been at least 100 pages shorter, but to be fair, I find myself thinking that nearly ALL romance novels could and should be more concisely and tightly written, so that's certainly not unique to this book! There's not always enough plot to sustain the momentum, and it sometimes feels like our heroine and hero's feelings change arbitrarily rather than based naturally on events that occur in the story, but again...that's true of so many romances that I'm almost immune to that by now :) As I've come to expect from Jill Shalvis, the book had some memorably amusing and/or insightful lines. I can see why some found Sadie too negative and abrasive, but for some weird reason I love the way Jill Shalvis writes the more seemingly 'bitchy' and attitude-ridden heroines (Sadie, Amy from At Last, Aubrey from Once in a Lifetime, Molly and Elle from this series, etc.), all of whom have secretly loving hearts, of course. Many of the other heroines she writes tend to lack clear and well-defined personalities to me, but I love the way she writes these comparatively 'problematic' heroines who have dark pasts and slowly become more open and ready to love. Maybe it's because we're so used to heroes meeting that description rather than our heroines that I find it so refreshing...? I can also see why some thought Caleb was 'too perfect', but after reading a bunch of romance novels where I felt like the nearly perfect heroine was way, way, WAY too good for the 'allowed to be a complete and total ass for at least 90% of the novel' hero, I actually liked the subtle gender reversal here, how Caleb was the kind, patient, comparatively optimistic one. And I did find him a more layered character than others did, in part because of his background and his deliciously geeky passion for tech innovation. We get so many of the nearly exact same types of heroes from Shalvis over and over, and Caleb, with his ingenious brain, large bank account and more charming and 'smooth' exterior, was a welcome departure from her usual male characters. (I do like her usual male characters, but they all sort of run together as one identical, interchangeable "semi-alpha blue collar bad ass commitment phobic guy who's stoic but brave, overprotective and with a secretly good heart'!) As with most Jill Shalvis books, I probably won't reread the entire novel, but I WILL definitely go back to reread a lot of warm, funny, insightful and/or sigh-worthy sections of it, which means I definitely consider it a worthwhile purchase. If you have any interest in reading about a troubled but badass and snarky heroine, a smooth but genuinely sweet and highly intelligent hero, and one of the most adorable fictional dogs you'll ever be lucky enough to meet, I'd definitely recommend Playing for Keeps!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Reviewed for Wit and Sin Sparks fly when opposites attract in Playing for Keeps . Jill Shalvis’s seventh Heartbreaker Bay novel has all the humor, heart, and endearing characters you’d expect to find in her books. And when you add in a scene-stealing rescue dog, it’s easy to see why Sadie and Caleb’s book charmed the heck out of me. Sadie grabbed my heart from the very first page and didn’t let go. She’s a wonderful tattoo artist, she’s strong, independent, and deeply vulnerable. She has a Reviewed for Wit and Sin Sparks fly when opposites attract in Playing for Keeps . Jill Shalvis’s seventh Heartbreaker Bay novel has all the humor, heart, and endearing characters you’d expect to find in her books. And when you add in a scene-stealing rescue dog, it’s easy to see why Sadie and Caleb’s book charmed the heck out of me. Sadie grabbed my heart from the very first page and didn’t let go. She’s a wonderful tattoo artist, she’s strong, independent, and deeply vulnerable. She has a family that doesn’t understand her, and she has scars both physical and emotional that she keeps hidden. Sadie isn’t a perfect heroine – she’s been hurt badly in the past and it’s hard for her to trust, to risk her heart and open up to someone, and that causes her to make mistakes more than once with Caleb. But Caleb has the patience and heart to get through to Sadie. He’s pretty much the perfect hero; he’s got a huge heart, a brilliant mind, and is loyal and protective to the max without ever being pushy. Basically, Caleb is the ultimate book boyfriend. He and Sadie have been dancing around one another for over a year, but each has been holding back. When they co-rescue a dog and decide to co-parent the utterly adorable Lollipop, the barriers start to come down. I loved seeing Caleb and Sadie’s full characters slowly revealed and I’ll leave it to readers to discover what lies beneath the sass and the suits. Their love story is sensual, emotional, and not always easy, but every bump in the road is worth it in the end. It wouldn’t be a Heartbreaker Bay story without family and friends playing strong supporting roles and I loved both seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones in this story. The bonds of friendship and family are almost as important to Playing for Keeps as the romance and I just adored the quirky cast of characters. So while I finished Caleb and Sadie’s story a well-satisfied reader, their book definitely left me wanting more Heartbreaker Bay stories (Ivy’s in particular). FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dísir

    Co-parenting an abandoned dog is what brings Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker together in Jill Shalvis’s ongoing ‘Heartbreaker Bay’ series—one that I had no idea would be going on and on and on. And much of ‘Playing For Keeps’ is about bringing down the walls that Sadie has built after an emo-filled teenage-hood and adult-life, complete with barbs, pushing away and a whole lot of questioning when the man for her finally rolls around the corner with his own special brand of baggage that he’s already o Co-parenting an abandoned dog is what brings Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker together in Jill Shalvis’s ongoing ‘Heartbreaker Bay’ series—one that I had no idea would be going on and on and on. And much of ‘Playing For Keeps’ is about bringing down the walls that Sadie has built after an emo-filled teenage-hood and adult-life, complete with barbs, pushing away and a whole lot of questioning when the man for her finally rolls around the corner with his own special brand of baggage that he’s already overcome. In essence, ‘Playing For Keeps’ is built upon a push-pull between Sadie and Caleb: the former is an expert at lashing out, self-sabotaging good things and running away, while the latter’s supposed proclaiming that he’d been falling for her with her for over a year yet hooking up with other women in the meantime over the past few months (maybe I'm the only one with this hang-up?) didn’t quite make them a couple I could really stand behind. But in Shalvis’s gentle exploration of emotional self-harm and the scars that don’t really fade is also the implicit message of getting a guy who pursues you no matter how deep your issues run and puts himself out there for you until you finally soften and give in...well, that's the core of romantic fiction that's always been the age-old draw for readers. That much I appreciate, as much as the light-hearted storytelling that Shalvis excels at: emotions are drawn out, though not overly so and conflict is resolved as quickly as they come, leaving just gentle waves that lap at the shore that do no lasting harm, so to speak. Yet I think the Heartbreaker Bay series is losing its sheen for me. I couldn’t find it in myself to get excited over Sadie/Caleb, even though Shalvis’s writing is as buoyant and rom-com pitch perfect as I remember. Other than the small, irksome bits I can’t seem to let go of when it comes to the characters in question, the anthropomorphising of animals (something that Shalvis does a fair bit) where a pet’s behaviour is tailored to tug at every ‘cute’ heartstring is only something I can take in small amounts. I’m guessing that ‘Playing For Keeps’ is something a devoted Shalvis fan will enjoy and I did wish that it’d worked better for me. *ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

    Love Jill Shalvis. This book was no exception. The characters were cute, funny, endearing, and real. This is the reason why her books are so easy to read. You get pulled into their world and makes you never want to leave. I can't wait to see what is next. Love Jill Shalvis. This book was no exception. The characters were cute, funny, endearing, and real. This is the reason why her books are so easy to read. You get pulled into their world and makes you never want to leave. I can't wait to see what is next.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    4.5 She calls him Suits. They're living in the same neighbourhood but keep their distance, rubbing each other the wrong way. He's a tech genius who sold the apps he invented and she's a tattoo artist who also work at a spa, doing makeup. Then one day, she sees Caleb hunker down outside in the rain. Curiosity didn't kill the cat but brought her a special dog she'll share custody with the hero. When I saw a few reviews saying that this Jill Shalvis was more darker than her usual, I was wary. But I w 4.5 She calls him Suits. They're living in the same neighbourhood but keep their distance, rubbing each other the wrong way. He's a tech genius who sold the apps he invented and she's a tattoo artist who also work at a spa, doing makeup. Then one day, she sees Caleb hunker down outside in the rain. Curiosity didn't kill the cat but brought her a special dog she'll share custody with the hero. When I saw a few reviews saying that this Jill Shalvis was more darker than her usual, I was wary. But I wouldn't say it was darker, just that yes, the humour factor is less present, and some details about the heroine's past are more somber but it was still the same writing style that make me fall for her characters each and every time. Sadie was maybe more abrasive and jaded than the typical heroines. She use sarcasm to keep people away but I don't think she had a bad attitude. Her trust issues are deep and that made her do the one step forward and two steps back routine with Caleb, but it also let her see what a patient and understanding man he is. The hero overcame a childhood of being bullied and even if he liked to think he was closed off to emotions because of that, Sadie gave him the perfect opportunity to show he's very attentive to other's people well being and do every he can to help people. Both MC don't do well with being vulnerable so their leap of faith was even more satisfying to read about. "Humor me." "Alright. Well, you're extremely smart." "Is that it? I'm start." "Started with the obvious. You're also a sucker when it comes to animals and women who can't always make ends meet. And there's the thing I didn't expect." "It's that I'm a great kisser, right?" "It's that you see me."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alba and Her Secrets..♥

    4.5 'Do Not Even Think About Falling For This Guy' Stars! Gah! I know I am being repetitive everytime I speak about Jill Shalvis and this amazing series but I always know this woman won't dissapoint me. I freaking adore every single book about the Heartbreaker Bay crew and Playing for Keeps was no exception! It was sweet, adorable, funny, emotional and, of course, sexy. Caleb and Sadie seem to be opposites but together they become vulnerable and you'll see why they are perfect for each other. And 4.5 'Do Not Even Think About Falling For This Guy' Stars! Gah! I know I am being repetitive everytime I speak about Jill Shalvis and this amazing series but I always know this woman won't dissapoint me. I freaking adore every single book about the Heartbreaker Bay crew and Playing for Keeps was no exception! It was sweet, adorable, funny, emotional and, of course, sexy. Caleb and Sadie seem to be opposites but together they become vulnerable and you'll see why they are perfect for each other. And Lollipop, their super-cute dog, just makes it even more entertaining. I loved Caleb and his protectiveness of Sadie, he is such an outstanding hero and both are so strong individually and together (I loved them even more after knowing all about their pasts). I just enjoyed the heck out of this book and I can't wait for the next one in the series!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    Playing For Keeps is probably the most serious in tone, romance from the series so far. Trigger warning for self-harm. I didn’t feel as connected with these two as I have with other couples but I’m still having a blast reading through the series!

  23. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Coffee dates with Playing for Keeps First Date: Sadie Lane is a starving tattoo artist with a chip on her shoulder and purple dye in her hair. She has seen Caleb Parker around the courtyard and has admired his psyche but the man she has dubbed "suits" is not her type. Yes, she finds him yummy, but she has tested the type and knows oil and water don't mix. When he strolls past her shop one rainy evening bending over something near the alley curiosity gets the better of her. What they find is a Coffee dates with Playing for Keeps First Date: Sadie Lane is a starving tattoo artist with a chip on her shoulder and purple dye in her hair. She has seen Caleb Parker around the courtyard and has admired his psyche but the man she has dubbed "suits" is not her type. Yes, she finds him yummy, but she has tested the type and knows oil and water don't mix. When he strolls past her shop one rainy evening bending over something near the alley curiosity gets the better of her. What they find is a soaking wet ball of fur. Caleb decides he will care for mutt, but so does Sadie. This changes the game and I strapped in for one heck of a ride! Second Date: Shalvis has this way of bringing her characters to life, flaws, scars and swoon worthy qualities. She makes me care about them. From the way both react to the furball, to their interactions with secondary characters I felt as if I knew them. It wasn't long before I became their cheerleader. The romance from that first kiss to awkward moments sizzled and felt genuine. Third Date: The big obstacles in this romance came from trust and character growth. Trouble in the form of family and the characters' own reactions caused issues. We saw and felt genuine growth as the storyline moved towards an HEA. I laughed, sighed and cheered my way through this final date. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sofia Lazaridou

    Playing for keeps is the 7th novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series. I can't believe this is book 7. The series is still fresh and I don't see it slowing down! I liked the book a lot, but Sadie tired me. She kept pushing and pushing Caleb away and when she wasn't doing that she was running away from him. I don't feel like she treated him fairly and he was swoon-worthy. I don't know if you will fall for Sadie, but I know that you will fall for him at least. The story was good and my favorite charac Playing for keeps is the 7th novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series. I can't believe this is book 7. The series is still fresh and I don't see it slowing down! I liked the book a lot, but Sadie tired me. She kept pushing and pushing Caleb away and when she wasn't doing that she was running away from him. I don't feel like she treated him fairly and he was swoon-worthy. I don't know if you will fall for Sadie, but I know that you will fall for him at least. The story was good and my favorite character was Lollipop or as Caleb calls her Poops a lot. I love it when we have animals in the stories and Jill Shalvis seems to have a thing for them too and it works for me. The story flew nicely and easy and I had no trouble reading it. The pace was good and the characters had some development. I wish Sadie's character had a little more growth, but I could live with what we got. Caleb's sisters were great secondary characters and if they have a story I would love to read it. I hated Sadie's mother and I really couldn't understand her. She was almost emotionally abusive to her and I wish she had changed her behavior by the time the book ended. Caleb and Lollipop will win you over, have no doubt. Caleb is one of the best heroes I had the chance to read about so far and Lollipop is a very cute dog with a sad story. The MC's from the previous books also appear and that made the overall experience even better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen (About That Story)

    4.5 stars This story was so freaking adorable and fun. Sadie and Caleb's banter was priceless. Throw a cute dog and fun antics into the mix and it was pretty perfect. Playing for Keeps was an entertaining read that was heartfelt and real, from the sweet to the heat I was all in! Sadie and Caleb totally did it for me. I loved learning their histories and seeing their interactions. They were like fire and ice and I loved their playful bickering, it was so fun! There were just so many fun scenes happ 4.5 stars This story was so freaking adorable and fun. Sadie and Caleb's banter was priceless. Throw a cute dog and fun antics into the mix and it was pretty perfect. Playing for Keeps was an entertaining read that was heartfelt and real, from the sweet to the heat I was all in! Sadie and Caleb totally did it for me. I loved learning their histories and seeing their interactions. They were like fire and ice and I loved their playful bickering, it was so fun! There were just so many fun scenes happening as everything unfolded, I couldn't get enough. They both have issues they're working through and I love how the author delved into those and shared something serious in a very understanding way. The writing was pure Jill Shalvis and it was awesome. She's got an inviting way of telling a story that really gets you invested into the characters lives, making you want to be friends with them. There were wonderful descriptions and a great build as everything unfolded. It’s was a great read with the perfect amount of emotion, tension and mild drama mixed in. This was a super fun read that made for a fantastic addition to the Heartbreaker Bay series! I highly recommend it. Complimentary copy received for honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I love this series. I was so happy to read Caleb's story. If you have read Shalvis' books before you know she loves dogs and is the queen of romance. This book did not disappoint. Sadie and Caleb are great together. I only wish their story was longer. I can't wait for The Lemon Sisters this fall. You have to run don't walk and get your copy of Playing for Keeps. It's a great 4 star read. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all vi I love this series. I was so happy to read Caleb's story. If you have read Shalvis' books before you know she loves dogs and is the queen of romance. This book did not disappoint. Sadie and Caleb are great together. I only wish their story was longer. I can't wait for The Lemon Sisters this fall. You have to run don't walk and get your copy of Playing for Keeps. It's a great 4 star read. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    madandelion [hiatus 160420]

    Still think "Accidentally on Purpose" should have a series of it's own. It has till yet been the best story I've read by Jill. But this one comes very close to second. And I think I've had enough of Jill Shalvis for the time being. ( ꈍᴗꈍ) Still think "Accidentally on Purpose" should have a series of it's own. It has till yet been the best story I've read by Jill. But this one comes very close to second. And I think I've had enough of Jill Shalvis for the time being. ( ꈍᴗꈍ)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    4.5 Opposites Attract Stars!! “The seduction of being with a woman who didn’t want anything from his was too much to resist….” “You’re different too. Different good, by the way. You’re a puzzle, one I can’t seem to solve. That doesn’t happen often.” “He took Lollipop to a pet park. He held her hand whenever she got scared. Damn. The man was dangerous to her heart and soul.” “I love you, okay? I never meant to, but I kept feeling all the little broken pieces of my heart give themselves to you. It’s t 4.5 Opposites Attract Stars!! “The seduction of being with a woman who didn’t want anything from his was too much to resist….” “You’re different too. Different good, by the way. You’re a puzzle, one I can’t seem to solve. That doesn’t happen often.” “He took Lollipop to a pet park. He held her hand whenever she got scared. Damn. The man was dangerous to her heart and soul.” “I love you, okay? I never meant to, but I kept feeling all the little broken pieces of my heart give themselves to you. It’s terrifying, Caleb.” she said to his smile. “I’ve never really given my pieces away before, at least not to someone who could protect them and take care of them.” He kissed her gently. “I’ve got you, Sadie, I promise you. Give me all your pieces, I can take everything you’ve got.” Playing for Keeps is the 7th book in the Heartbreaker Bay Series, but can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Playing for Keeps is the kind of story that hooks you from the very beginning and will keep your eyes glued to the pages right until the very end. From the moment we meet Sadie, I just knew she was going to be a special character. She was rough and tough on the outside, but had a wonderful vulnerability about her. Her life has been complicated and she never really fit in. And when it came to men, her walls were sky high and she wouldn’t dream of letting anyone get close. That is until Caleb came into her life. You see, Caleb is her exact opposite in every possible way. On the outside, it seems like he’s got everything he could possibly want. That the world is his oyster. But there is so much more to Caleb than meets the eye. When you get to know him, you see a sweet and vulnerable man. A man that has worked hard for everything that he has. A man who was bullied and had to learn to protect himself. A man who doesn’t do relationships, yet is searching for love just like everyone else. So, while Caleb & Sadie might be total opposites, it just takes one night to turn their worlds upside down…. Playing for Keeps was a really enjoyable read for me. It was sweet with just the right amount of drama and sexiness. The characters were wonderful and easy to connect with. I loved Caleb & Sadie together. Not only did they have terrific chemistry, but I just loved the banter between the two of them. Between the vulnerability the two had and Sadie’s sassyness, you just never knew what was going to happen next. They both judged one another and that they had each other pegged, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. They say opposites attract and well, these two were a temptation neither one of them ever saw coming. I have to say, I really adored Caleb. Not only was he smart, but he was so dedicated. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. So, while Sadie challenged him at every possible turn, he wasn’t going to give up. He worked hard to build her trust and break down those walls. Sure, he wasn’t perfect and he made some mistakes along the way. But, believe me when I tell you, Caleb is the kind of guy that you want in your corner. The kind of guy that was patient and understanding. They kind of guy that would give his all to the right woman. And Sadie….Yes, there were plenty of moments where Sadie just drove me nuts. But, she’s not perfect. All her life she just wanted to be normal and like the other members of her family. But, Sadie wasn’t destined to be normal. She was destined to be special, unique and totally her own person. She just needed to find the right man who could love her just the way that she was. Overall, I found this book to be a really enjoyable read. It was sweet and sexy and totally pulled at your heart. The road to happily ever after wasn’t an easy one for our characters, but it was certainly worth each and every moment. I loved the ups and downs and obstacles along the way. I loved the will they/won’t they moments. I enjoyed watching Sadie & Caleb fight for what they want and seeing their walls come tumbling down. Ugh! I just couldn’t get enough of these two. I laughed. I swooned. I begged for more. This book was everything that I was looking for and had one very satisfying ending. I can’t wait to see who’s story I get to fall in love with next! *I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via the author, in exchange for an honest review*

  29. 4 out of 5

    ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

    ARC received for an honest review. Gah, I just love getting back to Heartbreaker Bay! I just adore every single thing about the people in this series. This is Caleb (woohoo) and Sadie's story, and it was fun, flirty and emotional. I think all of us can connect a little bit with Sadie, and I can tell you now, I just wanted to b!tchslap some of the people in her life for things! I love their new addition to their lives, and boy did it make me want to get another dog! Though I don't miss the drool and ARC received for an honest review. Gah, I just love getting back to Heartbreaker Bay! I just adore every single thing about the people in this series. This is Caleb (woohoo) and Sadie's story, and it was fun, flirty and emotional. I think all of us can connect a little bit with Sadie, and I can tell you now, I just wanted to b!tchslap some of the people in her life for things! I love their new addition to their lives, and boy did it make me want to get another dog! Though I don't miss the drool and the poop pickups! I couldn't help but fall for Caleb right from the start, and I need one of my own! I loved getting bits and bobs of the the crew from Heartbreaker Bay, and little snips of where their lives are at. I think I need to move to San Fran and become their friends. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room (or at somebody's head!) I can't wait to see what Ms Shalvis brings us next.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    I’m here for a Jill Shalvis book and this series has been a favorite. I love love love Sadie and Caleb. They’re more alike than they think and their chemistry is off the charts. Of course I loved seeing the other characters and Caleb’s sisters. However, the scene stealer was definitely Lollipop. Plot wise, it was good. There’s a lot of push and pull and a few overdramatic scenes, but for the most part, they communicate well. I loved that the angst parts didn’t last too long and the ending was qu I’m here for a Jill Shalvis book and this series has been a favorite. I love love love Sadie and Caleb. They’re more alike than they think and their chemistry is off the charts. Of course I loved seeing the other characters and Caleb’s sisters. However, the scene stealer was definitely Lollipop. Plot wise, it was good. There’s a lot of push and pull and a few overdramatic scenes, but for the most part, they communicate well. I loved that the angst parts didn’t last too long and the ending was quite satisfying. Overall, it was a quick and fun read. I can’t wait to see who gets the next story. FYI: there are talks {and a scene} of cutting and being institutionalized. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**

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