May 13, 2015

Review - All Played Out by Cora Carmack

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Cora Carmack’s ALL PLAYED OUT! ALL PLAYED OUT is a New Adult Contemporary Romance and is the 3rd book in the Rusk University Series, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
 
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About ALL PLAYED OUT:
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.

My Five Star Review

Nell has a list and plan for everything. She is currently executing her last list and plan, graduating early and securing her position in grad school. She has been following her plans for so long she has forgotten what living in the moment is like. When she sees her roommate’s focus and priorities shift to include a guy and more extra curricular activities she decides to come up with a new list: Normal College Things.

What I’m realizing is that living isn’t about what you achieve, but how you achieve it.


During her first outing she meets Mateo. If you have been reading the Rusk University Series you know and remember Mateo, he is the outspoken, flashy wide receiver on the team. Nell is warned to stay away from Mateo, but he has other plans. Nell isn’t like the girls he usually hangs out with, but he reminds her of another girl, the girl that got away. 

Mateo isn’t going to let Nell brush him off, he is so intrigued by her and wants to know more. Once he sees her list of things to do there is no getting rid of Mateo, he volunteers to help her achieve all her firsts.


I loved the premise for this book. The list provides a reason for the two of them to hangout and get to know each other. During these moments I really fell in love with the characters, I could relate to both of them. Nell has her whole life ahead of her and all she can think about is the future. She is so wrapped up in the future she doesn’t even take a second to live the moment. Mateo feels like football is all he has and failure isn’t an option. He is chasing a ghost and doesn’t even realize it.


But we haven’t even kissed.

I’ve been thinking about kissing you again since the moment our last kiss stopped.


This story had me grinning from ear to ear. It was fun, flirty, had plenty of steam and tons of heart. I love stories that focus on college age and football teams. I am from the South we love our SEC football, so I can easily relate and get behind the importance of a game. But I also love the message in this book - it’s just a game and these are just tests, but you only life once. 


Maybe that isn’t supposed to be the message, but it’s what I could relate to. I have always taken things seriously, I worked full time in college, took a full load and made sure I made good grades. There were so many times I was more focused on tomorrow than today. Now I am not advocating for going to the other extreme, but I think there is a happy medium. That’s what I loved about this story, Mateo and Nell finding their balance in life with each other. 


There’s no predicting it. How one thing can affect your life. There’s no way to know until it’s too late. Life’s a bitch like that.


I highly recommend All Played Out it’s a fun, sexy, addicting read. Like the rest in this series I read in pretty much one sitting and couldn’t wait to turn the page. I have loved all these stories, so it’s hard to say who my favorite couple is that this point, but All Played Out is my favorite story. 


ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review. 

Rusk University

And don’t miss the first two books in the Rusk University Series…

All Lined Up

ALL LINED UP, Book 1

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All Broke Down

ALL BROKE DOWN, Book 2

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For more of what’s next in The Rusk University Series, go here!

ACO announcement

Add Book 4, ALL CLOSED OFF, to your Goodreads now!

 
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About Cora Carmack:
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author 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 now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.      

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** ALL PLAYED OUT Goodreads



EXCERPT

He calls Carson, and that’s when I get the real explanation.
Nell is drunk, and Dylan doesn’t want to leave her home alone. When he hangs up the phone, I can’t hide my shock. “Nell is drunk? The Nell that lives with Dylan?”
“Wasted, apparently.”
“I’m in,” I say, and when we both look at Brookes, he’s watching me. And I can tell by the look he’s giving me that he knows I’ve got something going on with Nell and doesn’t approve. I lift an eyebrow in the most casual so-what? gesture I can offer.
He nods. “Sure. I’ll come.” But the words are said to me not to Silas, and I get the feeling what he actually means is, Sure. I’ll come watch and make sure Torres doesn’t do anything stupid.
We tell Silas to go on ahead, and we’ll come along in a few minutes. But as soon as Brookes is in his room, I jog after Silas, and catch him as he’s getting into his truck. “You mind if I catch a ride with you?” I lie, “Brookes got a call, and he’s gonna be a bit.”
While Silas drives, he has me text Brookes and McClain the address. Brookes wants to know why I left with Silas, but I’m not about to tell him that I didn’t want to spend the car ride with him harping on me to leave Nell alone.
Because I can’t leave her alone. I just can’t.
Silas parks the truck, and I follow him up a metal and concrete staircase to a second-floor apartment. He opens the door without knocking, and that’s when I see Nell standing on the coffee table with some big red-haired dude, singing Spice Girls at the top of her lungs. We step inside just as she’s telling him what to do if he wants to be her lover.
I think of her list. She told me getting drunk was on it, and all of a sudden I’m furious that this guy got to help her check that task off instead of me. “Nell,” I say, before I think better of it. She twists to see me, and her socked feet slide on the coffee table, and then she’s stumbling into the ginger giant, and both of them are going down. I dart forward, but I can’t catch up to her. They hit the ground with a thud, a groan, and Nell’s too-cute giggles. She’s lying right on top of him, and he has his hands on her bare back where her shirt has ridden up from the yoga pants that fit her like a fucking miracle.
She lays her head in the crook of his neck like she’s completely forgotten that I’m here. If I stopped to think, I’d have known how crazy it would look to storm over and tear her off the guy. I would realize what my actions would mean to Silas and Dylan. But I don’t think. I just know I can’t spend one more second watching her snuggled up against this guy without losing my mind. She squeals as I pull her up into my arms, and I don’t think her feet are even touching the ground.
“You okay?” I ask, but all she does is laugh again and lay her head on my chest. I catch a whiff of alcohol, a strong one, and I realize she really is completely smashed. She probably doesn’t have a clue who she’s snuggling up against. Probably can’t even tell the difference between me and whoever the fuck is on the floor.
But even if she doesn’t realize what she’s doing ... it feels damn good to have her wrapped around me again, and for a few seconds it dazes me. Then I look up to find everyone in the room watching us.
Damn.
I lock eyes with Dylan and say, “How did this happen?”
“I’m still working on that. As far as I can tell, she decided she wanted to invent her own cocktail, and she enlisted our friend Matt’s help.” Ah. Matt. He’s one of Dylan’s activist friends. I didn’t realize he was close to Nell, too.  Nell points to him sprawled out on the floor and adds, “This is what happens when you spend all day trying lots of different mixes of alcohol.”
That seems to catch Nell’s attention enough to rouse her, because she pulls back and places both her small hands on my face.
“I figured it out. It took me a long time, but I got it. I call it Newton’s Third Law.”
“Uhh ...”
“Get it? Yours was Bad Decision. And mine... is Newton’s Third Law.” She descends into giggles again, and I scan my minimal science knowledge to try and remember what she’s talking about. I’d taken a physics course last year for my kinesiology major, but I just barely scraped by. Unlike high school, where I was concerned with keeping up to impress Lina, last year I’d been mostly focused on forgetting her.
“Is that the one about actions and reactions?”
“Exactly! Every action has an equal and . . .” She pauses and swallows, and man, she’s so far gone. “Reaction. Equal and opposite reaction. So … action.” She gestures to an empty cup on the bar, then to her own drunken state. “Reaction.”
Then she does this little move that’s halfway between a fist pump and a celebratory dance. She’s so fucking adorable, it actually hurts. Somewhere between my chest and my stomach there’s a knot that twists every time I see her. And I’m starting to enjoy it, the strange pleasure pain of wanting her.


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