Title – All Lined Up
Author – Cora Carmack
Series – Rusk University, #1
Publication Date – May 13, 2014
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.
This was the first book I had read by Cora Carmack and let me tell you, I’ll be rushing to read all her other releases. This book just did something for me and just hit me in all the right sweet spots! I read this gem in less than 24 hours, and needless to say, it was immediately added to my favorites list.
There were so many times I saw myself in Dallas – the female lead. She was so strong, outspoken, and independent. She didn’t want to have to depend on anyone else and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She keeps people at a distance and runs away when she feels threatened in the least bit. While reading from her point of view, it was easy to put myself in her shoes and feel every single emotion that she felt. Furthermore, the fact that she was a dancer and so easily conveyed how I feel about dance and the music was incredibly touching. It made Dallas feel so real to me. The struggle with her dad also really hit home. Those scenes were probably some of the hardest for me to watch play out. They seemed to be on such different wavelengths and it broke my heart for them. However when they really started talking, I absolutely adored that I felt like my heart was being put back together!
In the beginning, I really didn’t know which guy lead I was going to end up rooting for. A part of me picked up the story and started thinking that Dallas would rekindle a relationship with Levi. Then she meets Carson and my heart made its attachments immediately. The moment she called him Romeo, it was over for me. Carson was a struggling football player trying to make his way to starter. I loved his dedication in all aspects of his life. He wasn’t at school on a scholarship, he worked so hard to get to where he wanted to be, and he never gave up – even when it was difficult to ask for help. I used to say that my favorite thing about a book boyfriend was protectiveness, but Carson’s dedication and enthusiasm for what he loves might just begin to outrank that!
Furthermore, I loved that football and dance were so integral to the story and I actually got to experience them with the characters. Many times I come across characters in books that talk about how something means so much to them, but it’s barely mentioned or overpowered by the love and romance. In All Lined Up, I truly admired being able to read about Dallas’ ability to choreograph numbers in her head and experiencing the football scenes through Carson’s eyes. The dual point of view was so incredible for this story and helped move it along. Some of the speeches Coach gave were just so inspiring and it helped me to BE in the moment! It was quite refreshing and helped add to the authenticity of these characters, as well as the world Cora Carmack was trying to create.
Overall, this is just one of those stories that I would recommend for everyone to read. It’s not filled with all your typical angst and drama. The characters are easily relatable and lovable and it’s an incredibly journey of growth. You really do feel and watch every single character (even the secondary ones) grow in front of your eyes and become much more mature in their actions. It’s a quick read that you’ll be able to sink your teeth into and just put yourself in a bubble. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year!
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Don’t miss the rest of the Rusk University Series:
All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)
All Played Out (Rusk University #3)
All Closed Off (Rusk University #4) – Releasing July 18, 2017!
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Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.