Book Review – Playing for Keeps (A Neighbor from Hell Novel) by R.L. Mathewson

by Maryse on February 25, 2012 · 16 comments

in contemporary romance

Playing For Keeps (A Neighbor From Hell Series – Book #1)
I stumbled upon this series while checking out some potential new reads that had been recommended. These weren’t on my list, but something possessed me to click on them and check them out a little deeper. I mean, come on… anything that has a “Neighbor from Hell” in the title sounds like it’s gonna be fun! There weren’t many reviews at the time, but the few they did have were extremely positive, felt real, and the synopsis had me chuckling. Oh and the price couldn’t be beat! I downloaded both ASAP, and even though I had other books I intended to read first, these just kept calling me.

And let me tell you. They were GREAT!! 4 star great! Maybe even 4.5 stars. Yep! I couldn’t help but announce my enthusiasm here for book#2  (even if my book review wasn’t done yet) AND on my Facebook page when I finished book #1 (this one). It would appear so many of my Facebook friends agreed!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Heading to the airport, on my way home. While I was away, I read Jason’s book in the Neighbors From Hell series. I loved it just as much as #2 and even found it to be slightly more intense at times. There’s nothing more awesome than a book about two “friends” that sleep together and it be only sleep… I LOVED that about them! all that build up is titillating!!

Yanira: I loved this one had me LMAO and I needed the laugh after a very intense sad reading.

Brandie: I loved it too! Read #2 yesterday and loved it just as much. They were just so much fun! Can’t wait for more.

Nicolle: I read Perfection first and was kind of bummed I read out if order ! I guess I should still read about Jason?

Jamie: I actually liked Jason more than Trevor. I liked Trevor in the end, of course, but Jason had me cracking up hysterically in both books!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Nicolle you must read Jason’s book. It’s not ruined because their story isn’t elaborated on in book #2 and I was very much into their “issues”. Hilarious but their attraction was believable.

Nicolle: Okay, twist my arm! ;-)

Yanira: I also liked Jason better, he’s so funny!! I was laughing my butt off since the second page.

Sara: Reading it right now. I love the whole foody hoarding the Bradfords have going. so funny. Jason is funny, but so is Haley.. good story

Lisa: I’m reading book 2 now. I did love Jason in the first. to funny

Janet: Loved both, but I liked Jason more than Trevor

Patricia: It’s a tie for me Trevor had me at the cinder blocks……teehee and Jason when he became a stowaway ……..oh Maryse…..I think you found a winner I wonder if all her books are as good?

Jamie: I loved the cinder blocks too! I loved his family’s response to the cinder blocks. Too hilarious! What a great family! Hahahaha!

Brandie: The food thing had me dying laughing and their genuine suprise and outrage at things, lol, I really loved these books. I felt guilty that they were only a dollar a piece because they were worth more than that, imo.

Sandra: OK, I’m still in my PAJAMAS – finished both books! I liked book two better

Mariel: Hey Maryse!!! Just finished the neighbor from hell series and I’m hooked!!! Can’t wait for the 3rd :) thanks again!!

While I accidentally read book #2 first, this one was not spoiled. In fact, Jason, the main character in this book had me laughing so hard in book #2 that I couldn’t wait to get to him, officially. And he did NOT disappoint. In fact, I don’t have a preference between the two. Trevor’s book had me laughing more, and had me shed a few tears right off the bat (and had me growling in anger quite a few times), but this one had a more intense thing going on. Funny, OH YES, but the romantic tension is what had me. I love the whole “trip mishaps/hotel issues” where the best friends are forced to share a room, premise.

“Fine but just so you know, anything that comes over this way will be chopped off.”

“Duly noted,” he said, snuggling deeper into the bed.

“Oh, and if you snore I’ll kill you in your sleep,” she mumbled.


That attraction that they are denying themselves, well… it’s hard to deny it when you wake up “spooning” ya know? All cuddled up, and limbs intertwined, and they suddenly realize just how cozy they really are…. tee hee!! But don’t think the romance starts there, and that it’s all just given away at that point. ‘Cause it ain’t. (ew! I said “ain’t” ;) )

So what’s it about?

Well, once upon a time, a sweet, quiet schoolteacher buys a house, tends to it, builds her beautiful flower gardens, and thoroughly enjoys her quiet and peaceful life. And then… Jason moves in next door and he proves to be a neighbor from hell. Gorgeous, but UGH!!!! He pees in public, has obnoxious friends, does all sorts of things to drive her crazy. But she’s non-confrontational and holds her tongue, enduring his tortures.

For the next five years he turned her picturesque life into a nightmare. She wasn’t sure how one person managed to take so much control over her happiness, but he did. Over the years she dealt with paintball pellets decorating the laundry hanging on her clothesline and the side of her house, loud music, parties, twice she found naked people trying to climb the fence to skinny dip in her pool, three a.m. drunken basketball games, women throwing hissy fits on his front lawn and sometime on hers when the jerk refused to come out and deal with them.

Oh, and!! He is a new teacher at her school. LOL!!! Steals her CHALK!!! But then one day… he does something that absolutely makes her crazy and her wrath is unleashed!!

Sooooo fun! These two enemies that sort of become friends, and slowly but surely, BEST friends. Complete opposites, but it’s the “getting to know each other” that will hook you. And it’s the fact that the author allows us to experience every little detail, every look, every thought, every nuance of their denied attraction to each other. I dunno… it was just so well-described, or the story was paced well enough that even though I *knew* the obvious, and was sure of where the book was going, I still felt antsy, excited and giddy over their emotional flubs. And the emotional flubbing really takes them into some danger zones, taking this from silly fun to a much deeper, almost angst-y level, and even that was intense.

Jamie:  Did you laugh really hard? I agree with the intensity. It had some pretty intense stuff in the end. I honestly didn’t know which way it was going to go…”

You are so right, Jamie! Sure, Jason’s an absolute goof. You can’t help but fall for him, but even he has his limits (and I loved him for it).

4 stars!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca February 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Playing for Keeps is a FREE read on

Rebecca February 25, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Just check and found out that Sudden Response and A Reclusive Heart are also free reads on

Johanna February 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Maryse, I read these two books a couple of weeks ago. When I started the first book I was laughing so hard my hubby would look at me like a crazy person. I would shrug my shoulders and say…What it’s funny, then he would roll his eyes at me shaking his head. Jason is so funny and an easy guy to fall for although he can be annoying at times. The whole foodie thing is hilarious… Thanks for another great find ;)

lisa February 26, 2012 at 5:23 AM

love both books . the third one looks good too. such a happy read.!

Penny February 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I freaking loved this book. Johanna my husband did the same thing while I was reading them as well, I have read better books but never a funnier one. I loved Jason and what I loved about him was that I know guys kinda like him ( not the extreme aspects of him like the appetite) but you know those guys that are just so male, but at the same time haven’t quite grown up yet and probably won’t till their 93( a little Kristen Ashley quote). and grasshopper thing was just ADORABLE!!!

Aestas February 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM

i just bought this… read page 1 and was hooked. i love it when books are like that!

Kandeelyn February 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I loved this book, it had me LMAO.

I loved the food crazed thing and when she had the date with the Mama’s boy.

I have book two to read yet and can’t wat.

Aestas February 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM

So I just finished this book and its sequel. Loved them. The perfect fluff book for me. No bad guy, no tortured pasts, no major drama. Just 2 people falling in love and working towards really sweet HEAs. Gotta love those hungry Bradford men!!

Maryse February 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I loved how Jason chased off her guys! He’s such a pain, but very cute.

Maryse February 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM


That’s exactly how I felt when I started #2 (before #1). Hooked right off the bat!

Maryse February 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM


It’s always weird when you find yourself laughing out loud reading, when there are others around you and no matter how you try to explain it, it’s just not as funny. Then you get the eye roll. LOL!

Maryse February 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Lisa. I can’t wait until she’s done. Looks like she’s also doing the in-laws from hell. This should be interesting. ;)

Maryse February 27, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Yep. The food thing was awesome. It’s even more prevalent in book #2.

Kaitlyn April 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Great, Funny, Jason was so cute and I liked the platonic thing, the 2 weeks thing bugged me at the end but it was a great ending.
but where do you find these to buy on goodreads I can’t figure it out?

Kathy M September 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I really hope we get to hear Jared’s (Jason father) not only is the food thing great but the non proposing is so fun.

Shannon January 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Just read this book from your list and thank you for recommending so funny and easy to read, moving on to book 2 .

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