Playing For Keeps R.L. Mathewson Book Review

Now that we’ve established how much I like romance novels and how I’m totally into using them as break books, I kind of figure I can just dive right into my review of Playing For Keeps by RL Mathewson without a long lecture as to why I like romance. Anyways, I started reading Playing For Keeps in the car on the way to the casino and ended up finishing it in the car on the way back. It’s a quick read where you don’t exactly need to be concentrating a whole lot to be able to understand and enjoy the story. Also, I just want to put out there that while I do have a soft spot for cheesy romance covers — especially those 1980s ones with the big dresses, but I am just not feeling this cover, idk, it’s kind of basic and I wish the jeans were dark wash and I am meh on the font.

Playing For Keeps RL Mathewson Book Cover

Haley absolutely loves her house and her garden. However she could careless for her neighbor Jason, who is pretty much the neighbor from hell. He consistently throws loud parties. He doesn’t maintain upkeep on his lawn. AND every time Haley tries to sell her house, Jason does something to ruin it. When Jason ruins Haley’s tulips, she decides it is the last straw and has it out with Jason. However, when a swarm of bees shows up, Haley and Jason team up to hide from the bees and decide to become friends. From there, the friendship develops into something more, obviously. And then the question is asked — can Jason end his playboy, frat boy ways? Will Haley let her guard down?

Haley is an interesting fish. She starts off Playing For Keeps being the quiet sort, then she really begins to come out of her shell. This of course is influenced by Jason and his male friends. She really does fit in though and isn’t a girlfriendzilla. I also liked that Haley had female friends and we got to read about them. OH OH and she bakes a lot of food. AND she’s also a history teacher at a prep school, as is Jason. I did get kind of tired of the consistent descriptions of Haley being good looking and all the dudes checking her out like all the time. Like, I think Haley is a good character already, no need to go on and on about her looks and her irresistibility.

Jason totally reminded me of the frat boy type in the beginning of Playing For Keeps. He’s womanizing and really into partying and drinking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I was wondering how he would end up changing. I liked seeing how Haley tamed him, but he still retained some of his characteristics — like enjoying having a good time (but I think most people are into that).

Playing For Keeps by RL Mathewson does have some pretty graphic sex scenes, so it might be a little bit awkward to read while sitting next to somebody. It is quite adorable though, how Haley and Jason end up getting together. The chemistry between the two basically sparks. Plus, I liked how they went from strong dislike of each other to unable to keep their hands off each other.

However, I will say that Playing For Keeps isn’t exactly up to Jennifer Crusie or Kristan Higgins par. The dialogue occasionally feels a little bit off and dare I say, weird. Like, Jason acts like a child over the food Haley makes for him — basically he won’t share the food she cooks and is always like MINE over treats and stuff and I’m all, really? I was a bit annoyed at all of the descriptions of Haley as basically a sexy nerd. Like, I said, I could careless about how she looks, I just care about how the story is going to play out and whether she’s a good person or not. Anyways, I’m not sure how to really explain my feelings in regard to that, except it made me feel a bit gross, like when you flip through Maxim, do you know what I mean? Maybe not. Anyways, Playing For Keeps by RL Mathewson is a quick read. It was cheap and I did enjoy the plot. While the writing isn’t exactly perfect, it was not the worst thing I’ve ever read.

Disclosure: Purchased copy

Other reviews of Playing For Keeps by RL Mathewson:

Sim-Sational-Books – “I definitely adored this book

Dear Author – “The whole book is the courtship.

Lori’s Book Blog – “a wonderful read

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Thanks for the review. I too use a hot romance as a break book. I’m always leery when I buy self-pub books, so I’m glad to see this review.

  2. I’m really liking your reviews of romances! I used to read romance novels all the time, but have drifted away from them over the last few years. It’s making me want to pick one up again. I tend to be really picky, though, about which ones I like.

    I hate when the guy is a total jerk all the time. Certainly I don’t mind when characters don’t like each other at first, then they develop feelings (Pride and Prejudice anyone?), but you know what I mean.

    And I totally understand what you mean about the author always talking about how gorgeous and irresistible the woman is. Does a woman have to be that beautiful to attract a man’s attention? Shouldn’t her personality be more important in a romance novel? Not that she should be ugly or anything. And every guy thinking she’s hot – please. Talk about major eye rolling!

    Anyway, thanks for the review.

  3. First off, I’m jealous of that girls flat stomach and now I’m throwing away the rest of my Captain Crunch.

    Second, I do adore the taming of a bad boy, so this may be one that I work into the pile.

    Third, except now I’m a little put off by Haley and her gross-feeling-making. What does that MEAN, April?

    In conclusion, I’m torn on whether or not to read this.

  4. Sounds good but not that good, you know? like it was okay for what it is but not as good as Crusie or Higgins (And I go up and down with Higgins a lot)

    I’m glad it was enjoyable over all though.

  5. Oh I love love love books like these between heavier books. They so fun and quick and require basically no thought at all. I totally agree on this cover, first of all.

    I’ve seen this one around and had wondered about it. I’d read a 3/5 as a quick read, no problem. Perhaps as an Amazon Prime loan or something? Last night I finished Up To Me by M. Leighton which is the #2 to Down To You which is steamy and I loved them both. Have you read those? They have man-chests on the covers and I was blushy at a few parts but yeah, they were totally fun. And I’ll be continuing with the series as more are published.

    I call these candy books. But that’s because I’m completely immature and very silly.