Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: All Lined Up

All Lined Up
Author: Cora Carmack
Published: May 13th, 2014
Paperback, 320 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else - football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn't bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball... as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again. 

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter. And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to read a Cora Carmack book, but man am I glad I've read them now! All Lined Up is the first in her new Rusk University series, but you'd probably know her name from her first New Adult series Losing It. I've been having really good luck with NA lately and Carmack has quickly become one of my favourite authors in this genre. Dallas' life revolves around football whether she likes it or not. Her dad has just taken a job as the head coach at Rusk and her quarterback ex-boyfriend constantly shows up whenever she's around. Dallas just wants to have a real college experience, but football haunts her every move. When she meets Carson in a funny, dramatic, awkward way, she thinks she's found a guy that has nothing to do with football. By the time she finds out he's second-string quarterback, ready to take her ex's spot in the line up, and he finds out she's the coach's daughter, it's too late for them to stop the feelings riled up inside of them.

This is one of my favourite plots. As a reader, we know that Dallas is the coach's daughter and that Carson is a football player, but each character is in the dark and I loved waiting for the moment when all would break loose. Carmack wrote this wonderfully, in dual perspectives, keeping the dramatic irony going for just long enough for us to fall in love with both characters together. Dallas was very different from the girl NA characters I've seen out there. She's smart, ready to step away from her father's shadow, and put her bad relationship behind her. She's strong willed and not afraid to speak her mind, and her relationship with her father is very touch and go, as she tries to figure out who she is but still make sure her father knows she loves him. Carson has to work much harder than Dallas to get to where he wants to be. He works out and trains constantly, while also studying in his free time. When they start hanging out, Carson loses his focus and it's a harsh reality when you put someone you love before your needs. The conflict between the two of them, trying to keep the relationship under wraps, deciding if the relationship is worth it, and figuring out how to get through college, is written beautifully and captured me the entire time.

The fun part of reading NA, as I'm sure we all know, are the sexy scenes. These are the selling points to this genre and for good reason. You get all the angst and drama that you get in YA, but you also get the experience that us adults enjoy without the boundaries that YA puts on it. Carmack writes these scenes really well. They are too graphic like some and it's more about the tension between the two characters than anything else. I love a good steamy scene and boy does this book deliver! I lvoed that this involved sports, I feel like that broke it out of the very small NA shell and I loved getting to know the characters at Rusk University and I'm excited to get more of them. Every side character could have their own story and I hope Carmack has a plan for them. Stella was a long of fun and I know Silas is getting his own book next, All Broke Down, which actually comes out tomorrow! If you're looking for a fun, quick, saucy read, pick this one up! I'm sure you'll fall in love with Dallas and Carson as much as I did.

"I swallow and stare and swallow again, because dear, sweet Jesus riding a unicorn, he's perfect."

"It takes talent to be a gawking hot mess, and I am a gawking hot mess to the third power."

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