Jan 22, 2019

Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis Review

Playing for Keeps
Heartbreaker Bay #7
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: January 22nd, 2019
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

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.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

Heartbreaker Bay was the first series I have ever read by the Author Jill Shalvis (including the novella that you get with signing up for her newsletter), and while I was late to the party, it doesn’t take long for you to fall in love with her writing style, quirky heroines, and heroes, but no book has hit quite close to home in my life as this one.

Playing for Keeps is the newest installment in the Heartbreaker series, and while Jill Shalvis has never been one to shy away from many things, with this book she has taken a huge leap into the realm of teenage mental health and the aftermath into adulthood, as this book deals with cutting. For those of you that don't know what cutting is, the definition is:

Non-suicidal self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, this type of self-injury is a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger, and frustration.
~Mayo Clinic
This is a very emotional subject for my family, as my niece was a cutter, and it is an extremely painful situation for my family, and unlike the Mom in this book, our family handled it in a non-extreme, passive-aggressive sort of way. but like the character Sadie, my niece is stronger and also covered in tattoos.

And speaking of Sadie, she is the long-suffering daughter who doesn’t quite fit in with her family, especially her mother. She is also a talented tattoo artist, just breaking into the field. But to make ends meet, she also has to work a spa, but it doesn't stop her from risking her heart...for a dog, that her and "Suits" (aka Caleb) finds. but that is not all Sadie ends up risking to Caleb after all.

Caleb is a self-made millionaire, who has a heart of gold and wants to repay the people who took care of him when he was the small asthmatic kid always being beaten up. But when he and Sadie rescue Lollipop the dog together, he wants to do more with Sadie than “be kind”. And if you have read the last couple of books in this series, you would have has seen the fireworks between them!  In this book, we see them at their snarky best, and to add to that the sweetness of Lollipop and Caleb's sisters, whom he affectionately calls "the Coven",  and OMG! the dinner with Sadie's family is THE BEST part of this book! Playing for Keeps is such a hoot to read.

Now I’m not going to bother going over the main part of the story, as you can honestly read that in the synopsis, but I just wanted to say that this book is truly amazing, its not graphic or will give you nightmare, but the character does reflect back on the pain of the past, but the author has written it in an amazing way, that in no way will you find it disturbing.

I give Playing for Keeps 5 stars.

If you've injured yourself severely or believe your injury may be life-threatening, or if you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Also, consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:
  • Call your mental health professional if you're seeing one.
  • Call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use their web chat on
  • Seek help from your school nurse or counselor, teacher, doctor, or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
Contact a spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

New York Times and USA Today 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 sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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