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I Belong

Review: All Played Out by Cora Carmack

All Played OutTitle: All Played Out

Author: Cora Carmack

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Series: Rusk University (Book #3)

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Format: Paperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062326244 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062326249 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Bridget


First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Quick & Dirty: All Played Out is a sexy read that is just pure entertainment! This is my favorite of the series so far and I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great NA contemporary romance story!

Opening Sentence: There’s a half-naked man in my kitchen.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Antonella De Luca has spent most of her college years studying and getting ready to attend graduate school. She never made time for anything as silly as boys or parties. Nell knows what she is good at and socializing with other people is not one of her better qualities. She is on course to graduate early and she can’t wait. Then one day her roommate points out that she hasn’t really experienced the college life to the fullest because she has only focused on the academic part of college. Nell decides to run an experiment and see if she is really missing anything by not participating in the “normal” college things. She makes a bucket list that will force her to step outside of her comfort zone. Then she meets Mateo Torres and he shatters all her thoughts of what she really needs to be happy!

Mateo Torres or better known as just Torres is a wide receiver for the Rusk University football team. Torres is basically your ideal party boy. He likes to keep things causal and he is a total flirt because he’s not interested in ever getting his heart broken again. When he meets Nell for the first time he is instantly attracted to her, but she’s not the type of girl he normally dates. She is gorgeous and way to smart for someone like him, but he can’t seem to get her off his mind. When he discovers her bucket list, he decides to make it his mission to help her acclaim posh everything on the list.

As the two of them spend more time together things start to heat up between them. Soon they are both falling and that’s not something either of them planned on. Can two very different people from very different worlds really make a relationship last?

Nell is such a fun and interesting character. She’s extremely intelligent, witty, analytical, and kind of anti-social. I love her academic mind and how she turns everything in her life into an experiment. She comes across as shy at first, but really she is just not interested in being very social. That’s pretty much the entire point of the to-do list she has created. She wants to finally experience the college atmosphere and do things that normal college students are doing. I think one of the best things about the story was you get to experience so many firsts with Nell. You get to watch her character grow so much throughout her journey, and it made my connection with her a lot stronger. Watching her realize that she can actually fall in love for the first time was really sweet and heartwarming. Watching her open herself up to the idea of having friends and being in a relationship was really great. I loved everything about Nell and I’m so glad I got to read her story!

Torres is one of those funny guys that always has a smile and is extremely charming. It seems like he can never be serious at first, but as you get to know him you realize the flirty banter and outgoing persona he displays is actually a defensive mechanism so people don’t see the real him. He has been hurt in the past and doesn’t want to ever feel that way again. Because of a bad past relationship he has steered clear of ever getting serious with anyone. Football is his life and until he meets Nell he is okay with just having football and random hookups. His relationship with Nell is explosive. They have an instant connection and extremely hot chemistry! At first they don’t seem like they would be very compatible, but they are actually really good for each other. Torres is such a complex character and I thought he was a very swoon worthy book boy.

All Played Out was a great sexy read full of growth, emotions, and humor. I have read all the books in the Rusk university series and really enjoyed all of them, but I think this one was my favorite. I really connected with the characters and the story was really entertaining. The romance was done perfectly even though it developed really fast, it still felt realistic to me. Like all good contemporary stories there is tons of drama, but it’s not overdone. The pacing was great and it was a fairly quick ready or me. I sat down to read it and found myself staying up way too late to finish it. I think Cormack has such amazing writing and she really knows how to create a steamy scenes! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Stella has always been one of my favorite characters in the series and I know her story is going to be amazing. If you are a new adult romance fan you should definitely check out this series!

Notable Scene:

“Oh, psssh. You are twenty years old. And you are brilliant and beautiful and driven, but you are not perfect, despite how often it seems so.” I do a weird, gurgly , sobbing laugh, and I can’t help but think about Torres last night. He called me perfect. Several times. But that was an entirely different kind of compliment, and one that has no business sneaking in around thoughts of my mom. She continues , “You are allowed to make mistakes, Nell. And even though it might seem right now like one mistake is enough to derail your entire future, it’s not.”

“You don’t understand, Mom.”

“Don’t I? I might not have gone to college or picked some high-tech career, but we all make choices . You don’t think I agonized over whether or not to marry your father? You don’t think both of us had doubts about taking over the restaurant? You don’t think it’s terrifying to raise children? To know that every choice you make not only determines your future, but theirs, too? The future is never just one choice. It’s a thousand. And they never stop. You will choose your future every day of your life. And should you wake up one day to find that you regret the choice you made the day before, then you make a new one. Don’t worry about whether you might be wrong someday. Worry about whether you’re right now. Tomorrow can wait.”

“Tomorrow can wait,” I repeat. The tears are still flowing, but I no longer feel like I’m choking on some invisible ache in my throat. I no longer have to gasp for breath.

“It can,” she promises . “No point worrying about what happens at the end of the road when there’s a hundred steps to take before you get there. You worry about today’s step. Because I promise you, passerotta, there will come a day when you stop obsessing over what lies ahead and begin to look backward instead. And when that day comes, it won’t matter so much whether every step was in the right direction because life is not a straight line. It will only matter that you took them. That you never let yourself stand still.”

“I don’t know why people always call me the smart one,” I say. “You definitely have me beat.” She laughs, and the sound

Rusk University Series:

1. All Lined Up

2. All Broke Down

3. All Played Out

4. All Closed Off (2016)


FTC Advisory:  I purchased my own copy of All Played Out.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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One Response to “Review: All Played Out by Cora Carmack

  1. Renee (Lover of Romance)No Gravatar

    oh I had so much fun with this book…and really the whole series is just fantastic. I love sports NA!

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