Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
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.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review

Cora Carmack has done it again, my dear readers!  A non-stop enjoyable read that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning.

I was definitely surprised and felt refreshed by the change of formula of this New Adult book.  We’ve all read so many NA by now that we can predict the outcome of the book.  Girl meets boy.  Said girl has a tragic past, and said boy just happens to be the baddest boy in town.  The girl tames the guy, guy gets girl to open up again.  Guy then screws up, they split up, guy apologizes, girl forgives, happily ever after.  The End.

The only thing remotely close to this formula is that a girl meets a boy.  That’s pretty much it.  Everything else about All Lined Up deviates from this strict formula that every NA author seems to use.  And, holy friggens, is it invigorating.  Were there some cliché moments?  Yup.  Do I care?  Nope. 

The characters were great and admirable.

We have our two main characters (dual POV) Dallas and Carson.

Dallas starts out as kind of weak and innocent but she definitely has her moments and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She’s just trying to fly under the radar during college since her dad is the football coach.  I totally don’t blame her, but she also wants to branch out and try new things and not be controlled by her dad.  Independence is what she strives for.  She wants to live her own life and not be known as Coach Coles’ daughter.  That’s something we can all somehow relate to.  Trying to step out of someone else’s shadow and be your own person.  I know I’ve struggled with that for years.

Now Carson on the other hand is living his dream.  Kind of.  Here’s where the normal formula starts to deviate.  He’s on the football team but he’s not awesomely awesome at it.  He’s not the star.  He sucks at school and needs tutors.  He is far from perfect but that’s what makes him completely swoon-worthy (hyphen or no hyphen?)  He’s also not a douche.  Caring, loyal, dedicated and hardworking are just some of the many complimentary words I can use to describe Carson.

We also have a third main character.  The football.  Now, I don’t get football.  I don’t watch it nor do I enjoy it.  But the way that Carson talks about it and the way that Dallas despises it but secretly loves it, is so heavily described that I get it.  Not necessarily the game and how it works but that it’s the thing that you can’t get enough of and that you strive to be better at.  The be all, end all of who you are.  That I got.  Loud and clear.  The same way that Dallas talked about dance.  I got all of it. 

The other characters were a hoot.  Stella and Ryan were awesome.  I really want them to get their own book.  Please, Cora?  Silas was great too, towards the end.  Really hated him at first but he redeemed himself.  Then we have Dallas’s dad, and he just couldn’t get me to feel any sympathy towards him.  The way he treats Dallas like she’s a child when she’s so obviously an adult made me very angry.  I always have a hatred towards parents who treat their kids like children when they have moved out and are on their own.  It just bugs me.

Now, the plot was solid but I felt it could have gone a lot deeper and this is really my only grievance.  I wish we could have known a bit more about Levi (the ex) and Dallas’s past.  She kept talking about how much she hated him but I can’t really figure out why.  I mean he was a douche hat in the book but based on the history and her memory of him, there isn’t much to go on.  I felt like she was overreacting a bit and don’t get how she came out “broken” in the end even though she didn’t really act like it until the end of the book.  I don’t know, I might be reaching here but there you go.

Other than that it was a great fluffy book that fans of Stephanie Perkins and J. Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout) will certainly enjoy.

 4out of 5 hearts!

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