Playing For Keeps

*This was a book I purchased. All thoughts about the book are my own. I have not been compensated in any way for my review*

Playing for KeepsPublished: April 29, 2011

Playing for Keeps — R. L. Mathewson

It’s been quite a while since the last time I read a book that made me laugh like this one did. There were several times that I had to put my kindle down and crack up over something one of the main characters did. I got more than one weird look from my cat (and also my aunt…) while reading this.

I’d never read anything by R. L. Mathewson until this year. I’d never heard of her until this month. As my favorite niece likes to say… shame, shame, shame.

I seriously wish I would have found her YEARS ago. You should have seen my face when I realized this book is almost four years old. HOW DID I MISS HAVING THIS IN MY LIFE FOR FOUR YEARS?!

In Playing For Keeps we have Haley Blaine who’s been struggling for the last couple of years to not strangle (or…ahem…murder) her next door neighbor Jason Bradford. Ever since he moved into the house right next door to her’s, he’s been a pain in her ass. To make things worse, they both teach at the same school, so she can’t ever seem to escape him (even though she gives it her best shot to ignore that he exists).

I loved Haley. So far this year, she’s my one of my favorite heroines. After one too many times of having her buttons pushed by Jason, she fights back. And by fights back, I mean she attacks him with a water hose. Though, he had it coming. He WAS pulling up her precious tulips.

Jason Bradford is the type of guy that you just can’t hate. You want to. You’re sorely tempted at times… but it just doesn’t work. He’s charming, always there for his friends, and an all around general pain in the ass. He knows that he started off on the wrong foot with Haley when he first moved into their neighborhood, but he took a little too much pleasure (in my opinion) in antagonizing her over the next few years.

After the unfortunate tulip incident, the pair ease into a tentative friendship. And by tentative… I mean that they antagonize the ever loving shit out of each other. He scares off her dates before they can make it up her driveway to her house, and she volunteers him to chaperone a school dance for a bunch of middle schoolers.

Not only does Jason scare off her dates, he warns off his own friends from Haley. He’s not interested in dating her, of course, but his friends still need to keep their hands off. Which was hilarious.

I loved the chemistry between Jason and Haley. It was so fun to read and their antics were hilarious. Jason (and the rest of the Bradford’s… you’ll hear about them soon, I promise) basically are bottomless pits when it comes to food. As long as you keep a Bradford fed, you’ll be okay.

As per usual, I started to read this series out of order. But as SOON as I figured out my blunder, I went back and started at the beginning. I actually started with The Game Plan but that’s book number 5. Oops. Playing for Keeps is the first in the series, so that’s why I’m reviewing this one first.

M. L. Mathewson is a wonderful author. I’m completely convinced that if I ran into any of the Bradford’s on the street that I could pick them out easily. I’m also convinced that Haley and I would be bff’s. She has a talent for making her characters come alive on the page and she’s found a way to make her books both serious, and funny. And with the actual romance… be still my heart. She’s also a self-publisher… which I thought was way cool.

All the way around, I loved this book. I read it so fast and I was so sad when I was done (but I quickly moved over to book 2).

I completely 10/10 recommend this book to everyone. Seriously. You should read this. I got my copy on Amazon (because that’s where I generally buy my ebooks).