2/17/2015

Back in the Game by Lori Wilde ~ Blog Tour ARC Review + Excerpt



Back In the Game
Stardust, Texas # 1
By: Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon
Releasing February 24th, 2015

Blurb:
New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde welcomes you to Stardust, Texas . . . where dreams come true and love is always right around the corner

Wanted: ghostwriter. Must be female, a baseball fan, and have a great pair of legs.

Ex-pitcher Rowdy Blanton never saw a woman he couldn't conquer or a team he couldn't beat. And now that he's off the field he's ready to tell all about when he played the field. So he chooses Breeanne Carlyle to do the job-she's got the requirements, but more important, there's something about her that makes him want to be a better man.

Convinced there's more to Rowdy than a good fastball, a wicked smile, and a tight pair of pants, Breeanne can't help but be tempted. After all, it's boring always being the good girl, and Rowdy dares her to be just a little bad. The stakes are high, but win or lose, this time Breeanne's breaking all the rules playing the game of love.

Breeanne Carlyle disliked estate sales.
The forlorn belongings of the recently departed, cataloged and arranged for easy browsing, gave her chill bumps in the same way as the turkey buzzards that nested in the Loblolly pine outside her bedroom window. Each year the vultures raised a new set of voracious young to patrol the two-lane, farm-to-market road extending from Stardust, Texas north to Jefferson, keen-eyed for the misfortune of others.
            It was not what Breeanne wanted to do with her life, this picking through of things left behind.
But here she was, doing it all the same.
            How could she tell her parents that she had dreams beyond Timeless Treasures? While she loved the family business that was part antique store, part bookstore, part tearoom, and the undisputed hub of Stardust for the last twenty-five years, she burned for a real writing career.
            She’d enjoyed a tiny bit of literary success, just enough to stoke the flickering candle of her hunger to a raging blaze. She’d written a book about her great-aunt Polly, who played centerfield in the Women’s Professional Baseball League during WWII. She’d gotten an agent, sold to a regional press for a modest advance, and they had contracted her to write a follow up book about the history of baseball in Texas.
            Foolishly, stupidly, she believed she was on her way.
            Then her publisher went out of business. No one else wanted the second book. Her agent quit taking her calls. Doggedly determined to make it as a writer, she self-published her second book.
            And promptly fell down the well of Internet obscurity.
            The book had been available online for six months, and despite extensive promotional efforts that plowed through her savings, she’d sold the grand total of eighty-seven copies, and as far as she could tell, every single one of those to family and friends.
            “That means you have eighty-seven people who love you enough to buy your book,” her mother said at Breeanne’s disappointment. “You are rich beyond words.”
            “You’re working too hard,” Dad had said. “Take a break.”
            Her father’s comment splashed over her like gasoline on a campfire. “No,” she declared, shocked by the powerful punch of anger pushing out of her. “You’re wrong. I haven’t been working hard enough!”
            Unaccustomed to opinionated outbursts from their most easy-going daughter, her parents had both taken a step back, and exchanged wary glances.
            “You’re becoming obsessed with this writing thing,” her mother said. “It’s not healthy. You need to relax. Go swing in the hammock. Get some sunshine.”
             Dad smiled a gentle smile. “You know, Angel, it’s next to impossible to make a living as a writer. The Rangers are playing the Cardinals on TV at two, what say you come watch the game with your old man?”
             Because she did love her father and baseball, Breeanne backed down, and instead of going to her room to write, she went to watch the game with him. But the entire time, she couldn’t stop thinking, he doesn’t believe in me, they don’t believe in me, no one believes in me.


Source: Publisher
This is my honest review
Rating: 4 Stars - LOVED

Lori Wilde takes her readers to Stardust, Texas in book 1 of her latest series. In Back in the Game, Breeanne Carlyle is a dreamer, a budding writer, and believer of romance. She’s been a baseball fan since she was a little girl. Through a series of fortunate (and somewhat funny) events, Breeanne ends up as Rowdy Blanton’s ghostwriter, and now she will need to work in close proximity with her long-time crush and hometown baseball hero. Will she be able to resist Rowdy’s playboy charm and keep things strictly on business? Or will she dare put her heart on the line and throw caution to the wind?

What a lovely sports romance! There’s a whole other side to Rowdy’s playboy persona, and his background just crushed me. Actually, both their backstories touched my heart. Breeanne is written as the ordinary girl who desperately wants to spread her wings despite what her family thinks. I thought the way she became Rowdy’s ghostwriter was adorable and slightly magical. I was a little worried that the “magical” parts would play a prominent part of the story, but Lori Wilde continued to carefully carve out the main relationship into something believable, which I very much appreciated.

Slightly predictable, but overall engaging, Back in the Game is one of those small town stories where you just want to root for the couple from beginning to end. Since this is book #1 of a brand new series, we get an introduction to the Carlyle family. I found Breeanne’s family to be quirky, protective but loving, and fun! They know how to throw a good party! So many interesting possibilities can develop in the next books. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Wilde has plans for Breeanne’s sisters! A great start to the Stardust, Texas series!

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22401418-back-in-the-game?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/series/129829-stardust-texas
Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes | ITunes | Kobo | Publisher

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses.
Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas.
A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. She's won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic.
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest  | Goodreads

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