All Lined Up (Rusk University #1)
by Cora Carmack
Publisher - HarperCollins
Release Date - May 13th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
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.
I've loved Cora's work from the beginning. Losing It is one of my all time favourite NA books it was heartfelt and honest. Oh and Garrick well, enough said really. When All Lined Up was free on iBooks and Kindle I couldn't resist having it...If I'm at all honest, it doesn't live up to my expectations from her first series but it was still a very enjoyable read.
Taken from a dual perspective we have Dallas Cole, passionate contemporary dancer and enthusiast living under the shadow of her father, Coach Cole, Rusk's own coach at the uni that Dallas is studying at. She is sick and tired living within a few yards of her father, when he won't accept her for who she is and unable to leave the nest as it were. Her father tends to put football first and his daughter second. It probably doesn't help that that ex was a quarterback in his team and the only reason was because her father was his coach. Now she is done hooking up with the jock completely. So she says...
When she goes to a frat party like a 'normal' college girl and her roommate Stella forces her to go she faces both her ex and Carson, this would be our second POV of the novel. Sitting alone under a tree, (Oh how romantic the setting is) totally demoralised by the party and couldn't care less about getting to know his so called teammates. It suddenly gets interesting when a girl, nonetheless, Dallas, is standing, on a balcony screaming her lungs in anger and frustration... I don't think you could start off a friendship in a more dramatic way as that. They certainly get off to very fast track as soon they meet. For Dallas this is very unusual in her character and for Carson, he is unsure how to proceed with Dallas on this level of intimacy.
Dallas, is headstrong, brutally honest which is refreshing and unique quality to have in a girl of her age and stature at Rusk. But she is also in my eyes quite a weak character as she lets her feelings control her when it comes to both her father and Carson. Dallas is unable to come to terms with her downfalls but also her own beliefs too. She is too drawn to the prospect of failure of her herself and what people think around her. I know for a fact that she wants to go to New York or San Francisco to study Dance, I know she wants to leave her father's side and be on her own two feet. But she is under the commands of a football coach and has very little choice in her wants and desires.
On the other hand, you have Carson, similar in strength to Dallas but his weakness is balance, balancing his life and his football scholarship. His training is detrimental to getting his scholarship, working his way up, showing the coach that he can do it! Carson is on a one track road and his entire focus is one football. Don't get me wrong I love a guy who is committed to his work and his passions but their is a point where you need to let your hair down completely even just escaping into something that isn't running or weights. Both Dallas and Carson, have similar yet different aspects of their personalities that they need to grow on, I guess they balance each other out in their own ways. What it lacked was that you didn't see their personalities grow together, you don't that magical spark or build up beneath the lust. I have nothing against their characters but I think both of them together could be developed and thought out just a little more thoroughly. It had elements of insta-love connection which I hate to admit.
Whilst I very much enjoyed another new series my Miss Carmack, I felt that's all that was, an average start to a New Adult series. I did anticipate something more from the characters and possibly the plotline a little. It could potentially have been a great read but it doesn't deter me from continuing this series and her work.
Rating - 3.5