Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back in the Game (Stardust, Texas #1) by Lori Wilde

Back in the Game is the first book in Lori Wilde’s newest series, Stardust, Texas. It’s one of those stories that has all the makings of a perfect read, except for… well, I’ll cover that in a bit.


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.

My thoughts…

Okay, so… I absolutely loved this story (almost) start to finish. The writing is great, the characters are awesome, and the happily ever after is just the way I like it – slow, hot, and well deserved. The way things were going I was sure I was looking at a perfect read, but it didn’t turn out that way for me – and I’ll give spoiler free details in a minute. The thing is, I’ve come to expect great stories from Ms. Wilde. I’ve adored every one of her stories I’ve read, and was more than a little excited to begin this new series. Were my expectations too high? Maybe – but an author of her talents can do better than the “I saw that coming” twist we got.

Here’s my spoiler free beef – There are some poignant moments as Rowdy shares his difficult past with Breeanne, trusting her to keep the secrets. Breeanne is an honorable woman, but apparently not too bright – or so it would seem given the way she totally blows something this extremely sensitive. I feel as though Ms. Wilde came up with an easy out – an eyerollingly convenient happening to propel the story to its inevitable conclusion. The minute a certain character was introduced along with the situation she was introduced in to, I knew she was up to no good and had a feeling how things would pan out. But all was quiet for awhile which had me breathing a premature sigh of relief, and then “it” happens. Too fast, too easy, too coincidental and too, too convenient… and I was disappointed that the author chose this way to move a situation.

Am I sounding vague? Good. No spoilers, as I said, but this is a pet peeve of mine and took Back in the Game from an almost guaranteed winner down to an  ‘oh, I wish she hadn’t gone there’ read. Maybe I'm being unfair, given how much I enjoyed the majority of the story... I don't know. But I was expecting a great ending where justice is served and scumbags fall... and we get that, but it didn't feel very triumphant.

The bottom line...

No question this is a highly rated book, so I guess I’m the only person who felt let down – but I’m being honest in sharing my thoughts. And so sure am I that this is just a momentary lapse in the brilliance that is Ms. Wilde’s storytelling that I’ve already begun book two, Rules of the Game, and have very high hopes for it!

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation, I’m giving them an honest review.

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