Google+ YA Romantics: Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

All Lined Up (Rusk University #1)
by Cora Carmack
Published on May 13, 2014
by William Morrow

NOTE: this is a NA (New Adult) book.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My take: Reviews of NA books are about as rare around my blog as unicorns. I've tried a bunch of NA books, and while I've enjoyed some of them, many have been too melodramatic for my taste, featuring characters that seem more in need of therapy than a hot hook-up and premises so farfetched that I sprained my eyeballs from rolling them.

All Lined Up was everything I think the NA genre should be: a book featuring just-out-of-their-teens trying to figure life out, characters who have a little more independence and life experience than a YA cast.  Dallas was a great protagonist -- smart and no-nonsense, sassy yet vulnerable, a girl who's faced some tough times, yet isn't a complete emotional wreck. Carson was just as great -- he's a hard worker who is determined to make something of himself, and won't let anything interfere with his making first string on the team. Because Carson doesn't want any distractions or problems, and Dallas is so over dating football players, watching the two of them fight their attraction to one another was pretty fun. There are also some great secondary characters -- there's Dallas' mouthy, bossy friend Stella; there's Silas, an overconfident, womanizing teammate of Carson's; and there's Ryan, the adorably nerdy football team manager.

Football. I don't know anything about it. My family watched all the seasons of Friday Night Lights, and I dropped in from time to time and was like ... "Eh, this show would be better without so many football games." But -- and I can't believe I'm saying this -- football really enhanced the story in All Lined Up. It was a theme that threaded its way through the book in a way that really worked for me.

In an afterword, Cora Carmack explains that the themes and location of this book are ones she knows well, and I could really feel her connection to her story. Even if you're not that into NA, if you love a good romance, you should definitely try this book. All Lined Up has tension without manufactured drama. It has steamy scenes, but within a relationship that feels positive, not dysfunctional. Most of all, it's a story with a ton of heart, which is what I loved about it the most. I'm thrilled that there will be companion books, and I can't wait to see Silas meet his match :)


  1. I have been on the fence about this one because sport themes are not my favorite....but I love shows about sport. I know doesn't make sense..hehe! Great review though :)

  2. I am so glad to see you liked this one!!! I am always on the fence about NA novels since I've been disappointed too often by the genre but I did have this one on my radar so it really helps to see you enjoyed this one! :)

    Great review Jen!!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  3. I liked this one, too! It wasn't a 5 star for me but definitely 4 solid stars! Carson was so swoon worthy!

  4. This sounds like a wonderful NA read :) I've been shying away from them since some bad encounters, but the characters and story seem great. Lovely review, Jen!

  5. Great review! Great to see that you loved it! I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I got to go to the RT Convention this past week (Squee!!) and also went to a signing Cora was doing at the Garden District Bookstore in New Orleans (before the convention started) along with a few other NA/YA authors (including Jennifer L Armentrout & Sophie Jordan). That was awesome. So of course I had to buy a copy and got it personally signed by her. One of the highlights of my trip to meet her & the other authors there in person :-)

  6. Oh my this exists?? I kicked all NA books out of my Kindle as I really cannot take more drama which NA usually turns out to be. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one and I really want to read it now. Great review, Jen :)

  7. I like there isn't the whole overload of drama in this one. I need to add it to my wishlist. :) I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

  8. I've been avoiding books labeled as NA for basically all the reasons that you mention above. But All Lined Up does sound quite a bit different from the "traditional" NA novels out there. I admit, your review has made my mind go a long way towards considering reading this novel. The protagonist and love interest both sound wonderful, and I'm even intrigued to see how football ties everything together.
    Great review, Jen!

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I personally love Cora Cormack and can't wait to read more books by her :)

  10. I have this book and will totally have to read it now.

  11. Great review! I've seen this one around, but I haven't been sure whether or not to read it. So thanks for sharing!

  12. Awesome review. Like you, I have tried some NA novels, but I just prefer YA, because I get tired of the same old story - girl falls in love with a bad boy and tries to tame him, drama bla bla. But I am not giving up on this genre. I will try out some more novels in the hope that I will find something good. This book sounds great. I will be checking it out. I have read the author's first book and it was good, though not perfect. But I still enjoyed it.

  13. Okay... NA... I haven't tried it, but I agree with you about what I would want it to be. Like.... I want it to be Jessica Darling #3,4, and 5 not dysfunctional steamy hookups... I don't know. Maybe I'll try this one. Also, your comment about Friday Night Lights made me laugh out loud.

  14. I plan on reading this, so I'm glad to hear that it worked for you!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  15. Yay! An NA book that you recommend. Adding it to my tbr..


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