Friday, June 12, 2015

Novel Review: All Played Out (Rusk University, #3) by Cora Carmack

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. I think it shows the intimacy, the attraction, and an idea of what you're getting. But it also shows the fun, that this isn't just a steamy new adult, it's funny too. I think their expressions are so cute and the position is hot.


  • ·         “It wouldn’t be the first (or last time) someone found me boring. It’s something I’ve come to terms with in the rest of my life, and I’m happy enough with how I am not to care.” (Kindle, 22%)
  • ·         “Confidence is a camouflage that does nothing to fill the gaps it covers.” (28%)
  • ·         “‘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.’” (34%)
  • ·         “‘I think you’re trying to wake yourself up. Before it’s too late.’” (61%)
  • ·         “‘Our bad choices don’t make us stupid, they just make us wrong. About that one thing. Not about everything.’” (83%)
  • ·         “‘I get that you loved her. But any kind of love where you have to prove yourself to be worthy is the wrong kind. And you’re better off without her.’” (84%)
  • ·         “I’m having fun doing something I’m not good at. And I never thought I’d say that.” (87%)
  • ·         “‘Never choose anything else over her. Not football. Not your own stubbornness. Nothing.’” (94%) (Aside from staying true to yourself---yes! This is how you have a relationship.)


I honestly don’t know why I haven't read all of Carmack’s books at this point. I’ve enjoyed the two books I’ve read, and all of her books sound like my kind of thing. College, with some sex, a lot of romance, at least some finding yourself. Sounds just right for me.
This is about Nell. She’s very smart, focuses only on her studies, and she doesn’t really understand people. So she makes a list of normal college things to do. She meets Torres, and despite their wants, they immediately hit it off. Torres jokes around constantly, but Nell sees more to him, and she doesn’t let him get away with it.
I understood Nell. I get her social awkwardness, at least on some level. And I liked that she went out of her comfort zone. She was fun, and I enjoyed her a lot. I thought her and Torres were a really good fit. He’s the joker, the fun guy, who fools around, and Nell balances him. She sees him and she understands him, and I liked that. He balances Nell equally as well, pushing her, helping her.
I do think I would have liked more focus on family; we have a few mentions of Nell's, but we don't really get a big sense or interaction with them.
This went by super fast and it was so fun. I loved the characters, and it’s made me look forward to reading the others in the series. I loved the attraction, and I loved the growth that they both went through.
I will definitely be picking up her other books soon.

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