Thursday, January 24, 2019

3 stars-- Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7) by Jill Shalvis

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 Sadie'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 (though I was being generous with that, I think). Caleb and Lolipop? They saved things for me. I just wish they'd gotten a stronger more stable happily ever after.
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 yoga pants, he’s a suit. 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.

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.

Both guarded and vulnerable, Sophie 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.

Amazon | Goodreads | Shalvis on HCBS
*covers link to Amazon

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