Normally I only read books from the Young Adult genre, but lately I have branched out into other literary greatness. I recently found an author that I am pretty much fangirling right now . . . in a totally no weirdo kind of way, of course. I read all of her e-books in about a week, except one. I refuse to read this last one because I'm not sure when the next one will come out and that hurts my heart a little.
Gosh, Maria, could you be just a little more dramatic?
I could, but I'll spare you. You're welcome.
Title: Playing for Keeps (A Neighbor From Hell #1)
Author: R.L. Mathewson
Genre: Contemporary Romance (if there were a genre for "Contemporary Romance and Friggin' Hilarious," this would be the perfect category)
Note: There is sex in this book. Steamy, beautiful, sweet, sexy love making that may not be suitable for anyone who is offended by such things.
Haley Blaine and Jason Bradford are neighbors and colleagues at the same high school, in the same department, with adjoining classrooms As a neighbor Jason is loud, obnoxious, messy, and a self-proclaimed a-hole. Haley is the world's biggest pushover who avoids conflict at all costs and never complains about his parties, naked people climbing her fence to jump in the pool, or women screaming at Jason from his front lawn at all hours of the night. However, the day Jason begins digging in her flower garden is the day Haley decides enough is enough.
After a timid Haley hoses him down with icy water and tackles Jason from behind for pulling up her precious flowers, the neighbors surprisingly strike up a close friendship where they bond over food, baseball, and predicaments only a Bradford can get into. With Jason's influence, Haley discovers exactly how strong she can be.
Now. What I described sounds really serious and dramatic, but the way R.L. Mathewson portrays this story is anything but dramatic. Rarely does a book make you laugh out loud, but there were times when I had to put down my phone (yes, I read this on my phone . . . you can judge me later) and double over . . . I just could not stop cracking up. Jason is funny and charming and so is Haley. The steamier scenes in the book are very well written and (thank goodness!) not cheesy atallwhatsoever.
As far as the overall story goes, there is nothing I would change about Playing for Keeps. The book is serious when it needs to be serious and beautifully sexy when the situation calls for it. One of the things I love about her writing--and if you know about my fangirl obsession with YA author Simone Elkeles, then you will know why--is she has a heartwarming epilogue that shows what is going on in her characters' lives that could essentially develop into a short story all its own. Why do I love when authors do this? Because I am nosy and need to know what's going on in my favorite characters' futures and goshdarnit sometimes we need to see happy endings in books, and not just "Oh, Bubba and Ellie May pushed out some kids and did some work and blahbleghblah boring everafter." Mathewson's writing is nothing short of refreshing. In a genre where authors and stories tend to get lost in the overwhelming mix, she simply stands out, quietly basking in her amazingness. Another good thing? Her books are only .99 on iTunes!
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