Blog Tour ~ All Played Out by @CoraCarmack includes Derna's review, Excerpt and Giveaway. @InkSlingerPR
I just love when I get the chance to finish one book in a series and move straight on to the next book in the series. And less the twenty-four hours after finishing All Broke Down I started All Played Out the third in Cora Cormack, Rusk University Series. And like the previous books in the series I enjoyed it.
All Played Out is about a girl with a “to do” list and a hot sexy jock who wants to help her complete it. It should be relatively, easy but as they start to cross off her “to do” list it leads to something more than they were both expecting.
“There’s no predicting it… How one thing can affect your life. …There’s no way to know until it’s too late…Life a bitch like that”
Antonella (Nell) De Luca Dylan’s roommate I just loved her, her awkwardness, and her shyness. She was smart, and a little nerdy. I have to say she reminded me at times of a cross between my favorite nerdy couple Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. I think it was the way she would analyze her feelings and emotions. Her ‘To Do’ list was great!! We should all make one ;)
“My brain has never been a problem. But my heart is an equation I don’t know how to solve”
Mateo Torres is the hot sexy Jock! Awww, I was a big fan of his too. He was confident, outgoing, spontaneous, funny, a charmer, and he liked to be the life and soul of the party. He has magnetic personally, and I could see why Nell was attractive to him. He’s been hurt before, he has regrets, and has made mistakes, but with Nell there is the feeling that this could be his second chance.
“Be worthy of her. Not by playing football or pretending to be something you’re not. By being the man she makes you fell like you are. Strung and smart and kind and so damn lucky to have her”
I enjoyed the storyline; it was warmhearted easy sexy read, which was low on the drama. Cora always creates entertaining characters and Nell, and Matto were no different. They may have been opposites, but they worked, they brought out the best in each other,
Because Mateo Torres is loud, and I’m quiet. Because he’s reckless, and I’m cautious. Because he belongs everywhere, and I don’t.
I love the chemistry that they had. I adored seeing how being around Mattoe helped Nell’s shyness disappear, and her confidence grow. And the way being around Nell helped Mattoe realize what he wanted, to see the bigger picture. Their friendship/relationship was funny and sweet. The romance was hot and sexy, and Mateo did leave me grinning a few times.
“I’ve been thinking about kissing you again since the moment our last kiss stopped”
“Each time he touches me, each time he says something, it feels like I’m whispering against dynamite, like I’m a hairsbreadth away from utter destruction.”
I’m enjoying this football series, and I can’t wait to read Stella’s book All Closed Off. My only disappointment is that it’s not due to releases until 2016. However, I think it’s going to be worth the wait as I have a feeling that going to be heartfelt, and emotional. If you’re a fan of Cora Cormack, then this series is for you. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I’ve always gone out of my way to avoid situations that might stir up that kind of reaction. When I was getting picked on in middle school, I found a teacher willing to let me eat lunch in her classroom during her off period. I didn’t really do much dating in high school, because the few times I tried, I couldn’t handle the stress of not knowing what would happen next. The mere possibility of embarrassing myself was always enough to make me run in the other direction. I didn’t take any chances. Not that kind at least. And now it seems as if my social life is not the only department where I’m playing catch-up.
Welcome to Humiliation. Population: Me.
Thankfully, I’m so miserable that the next few minutes only occur in bursts and patches for me. When I next lift my eyes, Dylan is there, and we’re inside the apartment. I blink, and I’m in my room. It’s dark, only the lamp by my bed providing light, and she’s dabbing at my forehead with a damp cloth that feels like heaven.
“Why did I do this?” I groan. “Why does anyone do this?”
She doesn’t laugh, though I can tell she wants to.
“Hindsight is twenty-twenty.”
“I hate that saying.”
“But it’s the truth.”
“I hate the truth.”
She does laugh then.
“Why did you do it?” she asks. “I tried to ask Matt, but he sounds like a yeti when he’s this drunk. I couldn’t make out anything he said.”
“I hate yetis,” I mumble.
“Yes, well, before you say you hate water, drink this.”
She tilts my head up to meet a glass, and half the water ends up running down my neck. And I do, indeed, hate water.
The only thing I don’t hate is sleep. Sleep will take away the churning in my stomach, and the awful taste in my mouth, and the flushed heat I know is still marring my skin.
Maybe I’ll wake up, and this will all have been a dream. I won’t have thrown up in front of the people I’m trying to make my new friends. I wouldn’t have told the most attractive guy to ever show any interest in me that I’m a virgin.
Maybe I’ll wake up to find that this whole list thing was a long, elaborate dream, and I can go back to being blissfully weird and antisocial and ...
Somewhere between one forced sip of water and the next, I must fall asleep, because I wake up after what feels like hours to the sound of my door closing. Probably just Dylan checking on me, but I’m struggling to find the motivation to move my head the six inches it will take to confirm this suspicion.
Eventually, my bed shifts, slanting to one side, and my head ends up turning of its own volition. I decide I’m dreaming when I see who’s seated beside me, because there’s no way Torres would be in my room after everything that just happened. I’m sure Dylan wouldn’t even let him in. I decide that this must be my subconscious, trying to give me one last good-bye, unreal though it may be.
“I brought you some food,” he says.
I groan. My dream can’t even do me the courtesy of giving me a pleasant last memory. Or is it normal to be drunk in your dreams when you’re drunk in real life?
He breaks the corner off a bread stick and holds it up to my lips. I don’t open.
“Trust me,” he says. “I know you’re tired and probably miserable, but this will help. And the more food and water we get into you now, the less you’ll hate yourself in the morning.”
“Already hate myself,” I say, but I take a bite of the bread stick he’s offering. It takes me forever to chew it, and when I’m done, he holds up another. Grudgingly, I eat it.
“That’s my girl.” And now I know it’s a dream.
He offers me water, and I take it, if only to wash down the bread.
“What happened to our deal?” he asks, and he sounds almost angry. “If you’d waited for me, I could’ve taken care of you. Made sure you didn’t drink too much.”
Since it’s a dream, I don’t see the point in being dishonest.
“I don’t want you to help me with the list.”
“Why not?” Yeah. He’s definitely angry.
“Because I don’t want you to think I’m a loser.”
“Damn it. I think a lot of things about you, Nell. Some of them are certainly not nice, but trust me, they’re all complimentary.” I shake my head, too tired to pick out the meaning of his words. “You’re not a loser, Nell. And I’m going to help you with that list whether you like it or not. I didn’t like coming into your apartment and seeing you with that guy. I don’t like that he’s the one who you shared this first with. I want your firsts.”
And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP and
Title: All Lined Up
Author: Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Category: New Adult
Release 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.
“In Texas, two things are cherished above all else – football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.”
Being the daughter of a coach means that football has always been a big part of Dallas Cole’s life, and not always in a good way. She has a difficult relationship with her father she has always felt second best to football with him. The players feared her or use her to get closer to her dad, and after her ex turned out to be an ass, as a result, she has vowed to stay away from football players, and certainly never date one again.
“I will never be the person who cares more, because that person is always the one that gets hurt more”
That is until she meets Carson McClain quarterback who has just transferred to Rush University who has his own issues. Both have their reason for not being together, but the attraction they feel for each other means that this is not as easy to do even with the risks involved.
‘" I need to stay focused on football, of how it's the only chance I stand of a decent future"
I enjoyed the storyline told from dual point of view. It was sweet, sexy and funny. As it was lower on the drama than I expected, and relatively angst free it meant it was an easy read. Love the football aspect of the story, and for me being English, American football is not something that I know much about, however, Cora wrote in a way that I felt that I was able to understand it and as if watching from the sideline.
I really like Dallas she had a love for dancing, and could be funny, sarcastic, and say what she was thinking, but at the same time she was guarded with her heart, and could be shy, and nervous, which I could understand as she was fighting to get some independence from her father, and his overprotective ways.
Carson was a sweetheart. He was all about football, didn’t think he had room for anything else until he meets Dallas. Loved the way he felt about Dallas. They had great chemistry together you could see it from the first time they meet. They were good together, and I like the way their friendship/ relationship developed slowly and I was rooting for them all the way.
“I can’t walk away from you because I don’t’ want to. There are a thousands things I want and need to do, but you trump all of them. You drive me to distraction, and all I want to do is get lost in you. All I want to do is make you lose it, too."
“I want to dive into him headfirst, submerge myself in the way he makes me feel, and not come up for air until I have no other choice”
I loved Dallas’s best friend Stella such a great and interesting character, and a great friend. I really like their relationship they were total opposite, but she brings out Dallas of her comfort zone. Then there was Ryan I like him too. I must admit I was a little disappointed to discover the next book will not be about Stella and Ryan as I have high hopes for those two. I think they could be good together,
Even thought I liked the ending, as it cliffhanger free, I wish the epilogue had of been years later, and not just months, as I would have like read a bit more about Dallas and Carson, so I’m hoping that as the is the first in the Rush University series we will see more on them in future books, and, therefore, with that in mind I’m looking forward to reading the next book ‘ALL Broke Down’ which will be Silas’s story even thought I wasn’t a fan of his I have a feeling that Cora is going to make me change my mind about him.
Overall I enjoy this book, it’s not full of hot steamy sex filled scenes, but I didn’t mind, as it was definitely fun, cute, sweet, and flirty. I like Cora’s writing style as she always has a way of drawing me in with such likeable characters. All Lined up has a different feel from the Losing It series, and for me in a good way. If you are a fan of Cora and her books, then I recommend you give this one a try. And don’t forget to the read the ‘Behind the Book’ part at the end of the book where Cora writes about what the book means to her, and how it has effected her since and whilst writing it. It was touching to read.
I was a big fan of Cora's début New Adult novel, Losing It and it had been a while since I had read any of her books. The theme of American Football piqued my interest and I had to try All Lined Up.
Dallas thought starting college would be the fresh start she craved, but that idea was ruined the moment her dad accepted the football coach position at the same university. Dallas craved to be known as more than the coach’s daughter and she wanted the freedom to choose dance liked she had dreamed of, but her overbearing father quickly put a stop to all those dreams. Dallas wants to be reckless and let go for a change and she finds that with hottie Carson but her excitement takes a nosedive when she discovers Carson is no different, he of course is a football player just like the rest of them.
I liked Dallas’ character, I felt she was portrayed realistically and I liked the fact she respected herself and wanted to wait before going further with Carson, this allowed their relationship to deepen and they shared a lot of really tender moments.
“No one in my entire life has ever told me I have a big heart.”
I touch the hand she has braced on her knee, just for a few seconds, and say,
“Then no one in your entire life has been paying much attention.”
“He’s slow, waiting for me to say no, I think. But no matter how many pieces of me want to say no, there are far more begging me to say yes.”
“I want you, Dallas. I have since the moment I met you. And when you’re actually ready, I won’t waste one moment before I take you to bed. But you’re more than this. We’re more than this.”
Dallas’ relationship was strained with her father at best. He struggled to bring her up single-handed and she felt football always came first. I did expect more drama with her father and I assumed the climax of the story would have centred around that element, I was expecting more from that dynamic but with that being said, their relationship did grow and it was nice to see them reach a mutual understanding in the end.
Carson McClain was a jock with a heart of Gold. He worked hard for his place on the football team, nothing was handed to him easily and it made him a better person for it. He couldn’t afford a distraction in the form of red headed Dallas but their connection was undeniable and Carson tried his best to stay away when he learned she was also his coach’s daughter, but the heart wants what the heart wants and soon a sweet, loving relationship had blossomed. Carson was simply sweet. He cared a lot for Dallas and he always put her needs before his own.
“What could you possibly have to be sorry about?”
“I made you feel that . . . that ache.”
She smiles. “Only because I was stubborn enough to think I couldn’t have you.”
“You have me. Completely.”
I think my favourite moment between them was the slip up during the phone conversation near the end. I loved that it was Carson putting his heart on the line, instead of the girl for a change.
All Lined Up was a softer read than what I was expecting, the storyline had the potential to be packed full of drama and angst but instead it just moseyed along nicely. Now don't get me wrong, that's not necessarily a bad thing, this book was an easy read and one that I devoured quickly. I was compelled to finish it but I think that was due to the fact I was chasing the drama, I was convinced I was on the precipice of something monumental happening. When I did reach the end, I wasn’t deflated, I was just left rather un-feeling. Dallas and Carson’s story felt unfinished, even though it was wrapped up, I just felt we could have had more from their future. I didn’t feel one way or another for them, their story just felt nice and easy and I was looking for more.
Cora’s writing is easy to read, there is less humour than Losing It but it was an undercurrent in the background and worked well. Cora also did a great job of creating the sexual chemistry beween them. It was clear Dallas wasn’t ready to take her relationship to the next level but we didn’t miss out on their need and want for each other, it continued to build as the story progressed. Carson and Dallas’ relationship was so sweet and there were many beautiful passages that I loved.
“Carson McClain, you scare me like nothing has ever scared me before. You drive me crazy and make me laugh and push my buttons on purpose. You make me feel safe and smart and pretty. Sometimes I think I might actually melt when you wrap your arms around me, and right now I feel a little bit like I might die if you don’t kiss me.”
“You’re the only thing that makes me feel better when I’m tired or frustrated. You’re the thing that quiets all my worries and doubts and fears. You’re it for me. So run if you’d like, but I’ll follow."
All Lined up is a good story for people new to the new adult genre; it will ease you in gently. It is an easy read with likeable characters and a drama free plot. And for die hard Cora fans, it will be a definite 1-click.
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