Monday, April 6, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ Play On by Michelle Smith

Welcome to my stop on the Play On blog tour, which runs from today until April 21st! I really liked reading this one, as you'll be able to tell from reading my review. There's a giveaway for a paperback copy of the book at the bottom that you US residents should definitely enter.☺

Thank you to Meredith @ Spencer Hill Press for organizing this tour!

Title: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
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In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek--he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn t everything--maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together."
Pre-order Links

Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I finished Play On with a huge grin on my face and lingering happy tears in my eyes. It was adorable and just as good as I was hoping it would be!

The book started off as sweet as a cherry pie. The beginning of the romance was cute and it just felt like a lighthearted read. However, depression was a big part of the story. When that dark side started seeping through, it was like there was a hidden knife within all the sweetness of the book. That part hurt. I wasn't expecting there to be such a serious, dark part, but I really liked it. I appreciated how it was handled, too. It wasn't portrayed as something that people can fix in others. It's also something anyone can have, even if they seem like a perfectly happy person on the surface. I liked that it wasn't the protagonist that had depression. We got to see how he dealt with the issues--ones he had a tough time wrapping his head around--that his loved ones faced. That made the book a little more fresh than if he were the one with depression.

There was a heart melting romance. It was just SO DARN SWEET. I loved Marisa and Austin, though I may have loved Brett and Joey a tad more. I loved the struggles they faced and the steps they took as a couple. I was rooting for both couples throughout the entire book. The characters felt realistic, so the romance was very convincing.

Baseball was a nice touch. I'm not a fan of the sport, but I loved how into it the characters were. I loved that passion they felt.

Overall, Play On was a feel good contemporary filled with so many great elements. The themes touched on depression, suicide, acceptance, closure, family, friendship, growing up, and love. Loving the person that makes you truly happy and being there for those that you love were my favorite themes. All of these combined with adorable romance and passion for baseball to create a story well worth the read.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

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