REVIEW: Playing for Keeps (Hot Jocks #1) by Kendall Ryan

Title: Playing for Keeps
Hot Jocks
Kendall Ryan
Publication Date:
August 13, 2019
Audible Escape
Sports Romance
Length: 6 hrs 32 min
Add It:Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

I’ve never been so stupid in my entire life.

Elise Parrish, my teammate’s incredibly sweet and gorgeous younger sister, should have been off-limits, but my hockey stick didn’t get the memo.

After our team won the championship, our flirting turned physical, and I took her to bed. Then shame sent her running the next morning from our catastrophic mistake.

She thinks I don’t remember that night – but every detail is burned into my brain so deeply, I’ll never forget. The feel of her in my arms, the soft whimpers of pleasure I coaxed from her perfect lips….

And now I’ve spent three months trying to get her out of my head, but I’m starting to understand she’s the only girl I’ll ever want.

I have one shot to show her I can be exactly what she needs, but Elise won’t be easily convinced.

That’s okay, because I’m good under pressure, and this time, I’m playing for keeps.


Kendall Ryan is a hit or miss author for me. I either fall head over heels in love with her characters or they don’t connect with me enough to make any type of impact. Elise and Justin fell somewhere in the middle for me. While I loved the writing and the atmosphere of Playing for Keeps, I had a hard time making a solid connection with Elise and Justin. Rather than feeling like I was really in the story, I felt like more of a fly on the wall, just watching what was happening around me.

Elise and Justin have known each other their entire lives. Elise is Justin’s best friend’s little sister, and she’s harbored a crush on him for years. One night when they’re both a bit more inebriated than usual, things go a little too far, and they wake up the next morning in bed together. Both parties act like nothing happened, and then harbor feelings of guilt and anger against the other person. Honestly, for me that just created a little bit of unwanted and unneeded conflict for me, and felt a little bit forced.

Once they did enter into a relationship, the chemistry just felt off with these two. I didn’t like Justin overall as a character, and thought he was moody and sullen. Elise just seemed really naive to me, and I felt like a lot of the issues these two had could have been resolved with some open communications. Nothing frustrates me more in a book when conflict is created simply because two characters won’t talk about it. It feels forced and contrived and makes me want to throw my Kindle.

Otherwise, this was a sweet, quick romance that was enjoyable to a point, but I don’t think I’ll continue with the rest of the series. There was a lot of manwhoring going on in this one, and honestly, it was just a bit too over the top for me, and not something I want to embrace in my reading. Perhaps a little less focus on how many girls Justin had been with in the past, and how he was a “reformed” manwhore and a bit more focus on the actual love story would have made this one better for me.

Rating: 3 Stars

About the Author

New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 3 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s