Happy Monday everyone! Hope you’re doing well after yesterday’s Easter celebration. So for today we’re kicking off the tour for PLAY ON! It’s one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I hope it’ll be yours too after this post. Here’s the book’s description:
Play On by Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21st 2015 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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 façade 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.
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INTERVIEW WITH AUSTIN BRAXTON
Why do you love baseball? Do you play any other sports?
Short answer: Because baseball is freakin’ amazing.
It’s the fresh-cut grass beneath your cleats. The roar of the crowd when you stride to the mound. The dirt and grass stains on your uniform after a game. The hot dogs and peanuts and slushies. The rush you get when you step to home plate. The crack of the bat when you smack the heck out of a ball. Striking out one batter, and another, and then another.
I could go on all day. Basically, baseball is second only to breathing. No time for other sports.
Describe your hometown, Lewis Creek.
Lewis Creek might as well be called Small Town, USA. There are two stop lights. Open skies and fields that go on for miles. The town population is less than 5,000, and you know most of those people by name. The girls you used to kiss on the playground are the ones cheering you on from the sidelines. The guys you met in t-ball are standing beside you at graduation.
In our town, you either play baseball or worship it—there’s no in-between. Baseball is like religion to these folks. Half the town shuts down on game night, and if you lose? Well…let’s just say that it’s not pretty.
There’s a lot of craziness here. But there’s an awful lot of good, too.
Who is the biggest inspiration in your life right now?
That’s tough. If I can only choose one person, I’ll go with my momma. When Dad died a couple years ago, she lost her best friend. And even though that tore her to shreds, and I can tell that it still stings on a daily basis, she’s stronger than ever. She doesn’t give up—never has, and I’d bet my life that she never will.
Give five weird facts about yourself.
1) I could eat my weight in barbecue. And fries. And biscuits. And chicken.
2) I got busted for swimming in my Chemistry teacher’s pond.
IT WAS A DARE.
3) My momma owns the only flower shop in town, and I’ve been working there since I could tell the difference between a lily and a tulip. Which means I can put together a wrist corsage in ten minutes, tops.
4) It also means I can pull off an apron like nobody’s business.
5) In my very first Tee Ball game, I hit the ball on my first swing…and got so excited that I ran toward third base instead of first.
We don’t speak of that day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.