Sunday, May 18, 2014

All Lined Up

Author: Cora Carmack

Genre:  New Adult Fiction

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Format: ARC e-book

Number of Pages: 233

Stand-Alone or Part of a Series: Book one of the Rusk University series, but can be read as a stand-alone

New York Times and USAToday  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.

Happily Ever After: Yes

What I Liked Most About This Book: I very much enjoyed the realism of this book. Normally heroines in romance novels come across as a bit too plastic. They are stereotypically pretty and popular wrapped up in white and topped off with a glowing, angelic halo. Dallas is none of these. She felt like she could be me, or someone I know. Someone I would be friends with. She is awkward, scrappy, a mixture of bold as brass and shy depending on the situation and full of witty, sarcastic one-liners. She doesn't get along too well with her dad, but, again, unlike most other New Adult novels, it isn't because her dad is some terrible person. Their arguments and family dynamic are totally real. They are fights and scenarios that have absolutely played out in my own house – both the one I grew up in, and also the one in which I am now raising my own son in. The realism made the book and its characters totally relateable.

What I Liked Least About This Book: Without giving too much away, there is a part of the story where Dallas and her dad both seem to forget that she is an adult who attends college and lives on her own. The fact that her dad forgets this is no surprise (mine tends to forget that too…and I am well beyond a college freshman), but most brand new adults I know do NOT forget that fact, and will point it out, loudly, to anyone who will listen if questioned. It distracted from the realism for me.

Share An Excerpt From The Book:
There’s only one thing in the world I despise more than football, and he’s making his way down the stairs toward me.

My eyes flit around me like I’m scanning a battlefield instead of a blowout: fraternity banners, litter of red Solo cups, and a freshman pledge dragging around a trash bag playing reluctant maid. Part of me wants to keep doing that, to pretend like I didn’t hear him.

But I can’t. If I ignore him, it will only prove to him that he still bothers me.

I face him as he steps off the last stair, crossing his arms over his broad chest and grinning at me. Levi. My ex.

He leans his hip against the banister of the grand staircase, and I spy not one but two girls sitting halfway up the stairs, obviously upset that they’ve lost his attention.

Behind me I hear someone shout, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” and I know the beer guns are back in play.

“Alcohol and bad decisions, Levi? Can’t say I’m surprised to find you smack-dab in the middle of that.”

He kicks off from the banister, swaggering a few steps closer. His dark hair and eyes are as striking as always. I’d fallen for him so hard my freshman year of high school: doodling our names together in my spiral, watching him play from the bleachers, wearing that monstrous mum he gave me for homecoming, beaming on his elbow at his junior prom.

The memory of all that just makes me nauseated now. But as Stella always says, hindsight is a pretentious, know-it-all bitch.

“You come here to make some bad decisions?” He moves closer, his voice pitching lower. Intimate. His gaze drifts down my body with an arrogant familiarity. “Because you know I can help you with that.”

Levi Abrams has been the cause of enough bad decisions for a lifetime.

Stella steps in, her voice colder than I’ve ever heard it. “I’m fairly certain she’d rather sandpaper her own skin off.”

I nod and plaster on the fakest smile in my arsenal. “And then take a bath in lemon juice.”

Levi smiles back, and I’m pretty sure the bastard is enjoying this.

He’s bigger than when I last saw him. Bulked up. I guess that’s the difference between high school and college ball. But it’s not just muscles… he reaches out a hand like he’s going to touch my hair, and as I jerk back, even his hands seem bigger than I remember. A man’s hands, rather than those of the boy I knew. Or maybe his head got so big that his inflated ego overflowed to other parts of his body. Also a possibility.

I knew Levi was here when I chose Rusk University—hard not to when he’s the starting quarterback—but I didn’t think I’d ever have to see him. Since Dad wouldn’t let me leave Texas, and only a handful of universities here actually have a true dance major, Rusk was the best option out of the schools to which I was allowed to apply.

Levi lets his hand fall away and turns to leave, but then stops to say over his shoulder, “You don’t have to pretend to hate me so much, you know. I’m here. You’re here. We could start fresh, D.”

Why does no one get that it’s impossible to have a fresh start when nothing has really changed? God, I knew that better than anybody because no matter how many new coaching jobs Dad took, every school ended up the same.

Levi is still a douche-bag who only cares about himself.

Dad still approaches parenting like I’m a member of his team.

And I… I’m still stuck. In my father’s shadow. In Texas. In this lame state school with a joke of a dance program.

And now I’m stuck at my first frat party with the ex who broke my heart.

Yay college.

Would I Recommend This Book: Absolutely. Especially if you liked the show Friday Night Lights.

Would I Re-Read This Book: Without a doubt

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Author Bio: 
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. 

Find her here:

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There is a rafflecopter give away for 5 signed copies of ALL LINED UP for 5 winners –US Only.

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Thanks to Ink Slinger PR for allowing us to be a part of this blog tour!

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