Review: Dating for Keeps – Colleen Kwan

Review: Dating for Keeps – Colleen KwanDating for Keeps
by Coleen Kwan
Series: Pine Falls #3
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Genres: Romance
Pages: 150
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Unlucky in love Lily Baker is ready to get back in the dating game. But her first night out ends with the guy ditching her—in the middle of a dance floor. Wonderful. Public humiliation on top of rejection. And worse, Caleb Willmett, the sexy local contractor with an unfortunate desire to remain single, witnessed the whole thing. But where Lily sees disaster, Caleb finds opportunity.

The only long-term relationship Caleb wants is a business partnership with Lily’s father, but the man won’t give him the time of day. If Lily can arrange a meeting for him, Caleb promises to help her find a guy worth dating. Perfect trade. And this should be easy—just look for someone completely opposite of himself, someone who’s willing to settle down.But when Lily unexpectedly captures his heart, playing matchmaker for her becomes the most difficult job he’s ever done.

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4 stars icon contemporary icon m/f romance icon

I’ve read the previous books in the Pine Falls series, and while I liked them, I found them a bit predictable.  I couldn’t help but pick up this one, though, when I saw that the hero was Caleb, one of my favorite side characters, and a confirmed bachelor.  This is the third in the series, though it can be read as a standalone.  Like the rest of the series, this is a sweet and emotion-filled read.

Lily’s dating life sucks.  To start off with, she’s a quirky woman with an eclectic fashion sense (she wears crocheted flamingo earrings to on elf her dates), and one of her favorite conversation topics is her pet bearded dragon, Noodles.  She’s saved from another disastrous date by Caleb, who literally steps in when she’s left on the dance floor.  They’ve met previously at her dad’s office – Lily’s father manages a construction company, and Caleb is a contractor who’s looking to do business with him – and their conversation takes a turn for the weird when Lily confesses her dating woes and Caleb offers to be her dating coach.  Lily wants the stereotypical husband, 2.5 kids, and the picket fence, and Caleb is a commitment-phobic ladies’ man, so he’s the perfect person to help her weed out the guys she doesn’t want to date, right? As the dates go on, they discover that the spark between them is something that can’t be replicated with just any person from an internet dating site.

I like the friends-to-lovers trope, and Lily and Caleb are just plain adorable together.  While I worried Lily could fall into the trap of being socially awkward and quirky just for the sake of laughs, I think Ms. Kwan balanced it well.  This isn’t a Cinderella story where she turns into some glamourous bombshell, instead Lily becomes more confident and comfortable in her own skin.  I especially liked watching the friendship between Lily and Caleb blossom, from Caleb helping Lily feed crickets to Noodles to becoming the person she calls when a date goes wrong (again).   The chemistry between them was excellent, and this was pretty steamy for a closed-door romance.  And, oh, how can I forget Noodles?  I honestly think that Lily’s pet was the breakout star of this book!  I loved how much Lily, and eventually Caleb, cared for that lizard!  Of the other side characters, I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with her dad.  Most of the other Pine Falls books have dealt with rocky parent relationships (and Caleb does as well) so it was nice seeing a father who obviously wanted to care for and protect his daughter while still realizing she’s a grown woman.

On the cons side, while I enjoyed the “Caleb matchmaking for Lily” angle, I think this may bother people who have issues with “other women” or “other men.”  For my part, I didn’t like how things were left between Lily, Caleb and Ryan.  There’s also a whole “need a boyfriend for college reunion” subplot that was a big deal through most of the book, but then really fizzled out at the end.

Overall, I honestly liked this one better than the first two in the series, and I’m hoping that the next book is about Ryan, poor guy.  I’d definitely recommend this as a fun, sweet summer read!

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