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Rusk University #3

All Played Out

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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.

321 pages, Paperback

First published May 12, 2015

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About the author

Cora Carmack

26 books9,842 followers
Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult Romance and YA fantasy. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora lives in Austin, TX, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss and her dog Sherlock. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.

***Please note: I am rarely on goodreads, so if you're trying to get a hold of me, the best places to find me are Twitter, Facebook, my blog, Instagram, and via email (coracarmack(at)gmail(dot)com).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 828 reviews
Profile Image for Cora Carmack.
Author 26 books9,842 followers
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March 29, 2015
I'm so excited to share this book with everyone.

I can't believe I've not written a character like Mateo Torres before. He's my favorite kind of guy... Fun, sweet, brazen, maybe a little perverted (okay... A lot). He's the class clown who knows how to make everyone else laugh, but there's a deeper, more vulnerable side to him that's hidden behind all the jokes. And the sexy?! GAH... Watch out Silas. Torres is looking to outdo you. ;)

Nell is the ultimate fish out of water. She doesn't do well around people, but she does do well in the classroom. Her mind is her whole identity, but when she's not sure she can trust her own thoughts about the future, it's her heart's turn to come into play. She makes a bucket list of epic and crazy college-themed activities, hoping to break out of her box a little.

So Nell (with some help from Mateo) begins checking items off her list, and I have to say that this is the most fun I've had with a book since LOSING IT. Which is good, because after tackling some darker themes in both ALL BROKE DOWN and my new series INSPIRE, I needed some light and funny in my life. That break from the angst was especially crucial since I'm about to dive into Stella's book (Rusk University #4). And we all know that book is break me up into teeny, tiny pieces. In this book I also got to dive deeper into Rusk and show the school off the football field. And it was such a blast to work in campus traditions and secrets. *cough* sweet six *cough*

I hope you enjoy a break from the angst as well, and that you love Torres and Nell as much as I do.
Profile Image for Pearl Angeli.
622 reviews946 followers
February 6, 2017
2.5 Stars

Apparently, All Played Out is the only book in the series that I didn't quite enjoy. I loved the main character Mateo Torres and his goofiness and sense of humor. But Antonella De Luca? Not so much. Her POV, her immaturity, and her endless drama kind of annoyed me.

We've met these two characters in the previous books of Rusk University series. In this book, their paths crossed because they have friends in common who are also protagonists in the previous books. Biomech student Antonella otherwise known as "Nell", has always been so focused on school. Growing up in a conservative Italian family, she didn't have much of a social life ever since. One day she realized that she's missing out on a lot of things college people normally do-- like going to parties, hooking up with strangers, having sex with someone, etc.. These things pushed her to come up with a list of "to-do's". Luckily, there's Mateo (a.k.a "Torres"), wide receiver of the Rusk University football team, who's willing to help her achieve those things. But what if their meaningful hook-ups lead to something?

This book actually rings a bell. I've read a book with this "to-do" checklist concept before, specifically Getting Lucky Number Seven wherein the heroine wants to turn her nerdy self into a normal college party girl so I was not at all fascinated with the familiar storyline. Despite this issue, I still hoped that the story will blow me away. It didn't happen because of my inability to connect with the heroine.

The chemistry between the characters wasn't also that strong, so it was hard for me to really appreciate them as a couple. The writing of Cora Carmack, as usual, was good. However, it didn't save the book as a whole. I'm giving it 2.5 Stars because Torres's POV was entertaining and he's sexy af. :)

"Life is not a straight line. It will only matter that you took them. That you never let yourself stand still."


Pages of Pearl



description
Profile Image for Lady Vigilante (Feifei).
632 reviews2,667 followers
May 1, 2015
I love this author dearly and the first 2 books in this series were big winners for me, but this book was not. My eyes rolled so much I'm surprised they didn't just roll out of my sockets.

Full review to come...maybe. I'm so tired of writing negative reviews!

ARC provided by HarperCollins Publishing via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,147 reviews1,899 followers
May 11, 2016
Nell is about to graduate from college when she realizes she has nothing to show for her college experience. Nothing note worthy that she can one day look back on and smile at the memories. So she does what she always does in any situation and she makes a list.
1. Hook up with a jock
2. Make new friends
3. Go to a party...

Mateo is the number one playboy on campus, and he likes it that way. Getting any girl he wants with just a tilt of his lips. Well, he used to anyway. Now all he see's are couples pairing up around him and it makes him realize what he's missing. So when he meets Nell and finds out about her list, he decides maybe they can help each other. She wants wild and crazy, and he wants sweet and kind.



I loved how different these characters were, and how it brought them together. There really wasn't anything similar about them but it made their relationship very unique and interesting. It was great to see how they both had their own worries about the future, what it would bring, and how they would achieve their goals. I found it really realistic that the future fears were heavy in the story.



My only complaint is actually a weird one, but Mateo's ex was annoying me for a lot of the story. While I'm glad she never actually made an appearance, it was also a little annoying that she was mentioned a ridiculously large amount of times, and then it was like her importance kind of fizzled out. I would have much rather her name not have been brought up as much as it was.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and the sweet NA was exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. I can't wait for the next book in the series, but I'm also a little nervous for it. Which makes me very impatient to get it!
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews800 followers
May 23, 2015

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.


Profile Image for Anniebananie.
523 reviews393 followers
April 6, 2017
3,5 Sterne
Der dritte Band der Rusk University Reihe konnte mich leider nicht so sehr begeistern wie die ersten beiden. Wurde mit beiden Protagonisten irgendwie nicht so richtig warm und die Story war auch m. E. flacher als die anderen beiden. Trotz allem dank Cora Carmacks super Schreibstil ein Pageturner. Und ich freue mich wenn endlich der vierte Teil dieser Reihe auch auf deutsch erscheint :)
Profile Image for nicklein.
401 reviews77 followers
July 4, 2016
TORRES IS MY MAIN! I'm so excited to read his story and hopefully uni gives me a breather this coming weekend so I can read this as soon as possible.


YES. YES. YESSSSSSSSSSS.

*HAPPY FLAILS*
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,838 reviews625 followers
August 11, 2020
I am not entirely sure I like this book. This is suppose to be NA romance. So the theme is a bit juvennile. The bucket list from heroine and with the help of beutiful hero, the adventure begins.

Its not like Indiana Jones that kind of adventure. Just typical college life bucket list. The sexual attraction between the characters is there but not sizzling hot. Juat mediocre to keep the story rolling.

I need more connectiob, more vulnerability between the characters. I also need more drama/ twist on the plot.

Overall I do not like this book nor hate it either.

3 stars
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,419 reviews1,326 followers
May 8, 2015
Nell DeLuca has spent her college days focused on classes and grades and making her family proud by being the first in her family to go to college. She’s graduating early and getting a head start on what comes next… but with her undergrad years coming to an end just around the corner, she can’t help but worry that maybe she’s missed out on getting the full college experience. In her last weeks of school she’s determined to make a bucket list of all the “normal” thing college kids do… and do them.

Football, girls and parties. Those are the things Mateo Torres has excelled at in his college years. He’s determined to keep things light and fun because there’s one thing he’s sure of … he’s not going to be hurt again. When he meets Nell, he’s instantly intrigued by this quiet, shy and completely fascinating girl. Then and there he decides it would be the right thing to help her check off all the things on her list.

 photo All Played Out 1_zpsaoisikij.png

I’m not entirely sure how Cora does it, but I seem to fall harder for each boy she gives us in this series… I was pretty sure I was a diehard #teamSilas girl but as soon as I started to get to know Mateo Torres I was done for. He’s so confident and charismatic and crazy and sexy and funny and sweet and just everything I love in my swoony guys. But he’s also secretly a little bit vulnerable and unsure and that endeared him even more to me. But lets go back to how he makes me laugh…

“I prefer to view that particular gift of mine in a positive light. More like… I cross lines no one else is willing to cross. I go where no man has gone before. All boldly and shit.”

Nell is probably my favorite female character Carmack has written. She’s slightly awkward and totally nerdy and so easily relatable that it’s practically impossible not to love her. But that’s not all… she’s smart and she’s fierce and she is determined to cross things off her list and that means going outside her comfort zone to do it and she does whole-heartedly.

The chemistry between these two was intense and passionate and so, so sexy.

“I use the hand at her neck to draw her a little closer, dipping my own head down at the same time. “So the question is,” I begin, “how much are you willing to give me, Nell?”

Her gaze flicks back and forth between my eyes, as if she might see something different in the left than the right. I draw a thumb over her bottom lip, pulling at it enough that I can feel the warm exhale of her breath on my skin. “This?” I ask her. “Can I have this?”

I lean down to take her mouth. The look in her eyes is response enough for me, but before I get there, she closes her lips over my thumb. The tentative slide of her tongue nearly brings me to my knees. Then she sucks at my finger, and just like that, she’s stolen the control right from under me.


I absolutely love that these two are complete and utter opposites…

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.

BUT they make it work soooooo well! They balance each other out and you guys… the end. Well, the end was perfection.

 photo APO3_zpsllse1ohv.png

One of my favorite things about this series is that it’s not all over-the-top drama and angst. I love that I can pick up Cora’s books and know that I’ll be engrossed in the story, that I’ll find myself smiling and laughing along at times, nodding and commiserating at others… and that I’ll totally fall in love with the characters that I’m reading about. To say I’m excited for Stella’s story would be a gross understatement… Let’s see if Cora can out do Mateo… my bet is on yes, but I’ll just have to wait and see!
Profile Image for Fanny.
2,115 reviews54 followers
June 13, 2017



" Entiendo que la amabas. Pero cualquier tipo de amor en el que tengas que probar que eres merecedor es del tipo incorrecto. Y estas mejor sin ella. "

All Played Out es el tercer libro de la serie Rusk University de Cora Carmack y tiene como protagonistas a Nell, amiga de la protagonista del segundo libro y Mateo, amigo de los protagonistas anteriores.

Todos los libros de Cora Carmack son un must read para mi, sobre todo desde que lei el primer libro de esta saga y me enamore de los personajes.

Amo la forma que tiene la autora de escribir, ademas es increible creando personajes, los hace tan reales y autenticos que siempre es un plus al leer sus historias.

Tenia unas expectativas altisimas con esta lectura y ahora que la he terminado puedo decir que All Played Out las supero con creces.

Otro aspecto que me gusta mucho de sus libros es como las relaciones entre los protagonistas no se dan de un capitulo para otro, tienen un ritmo muy pausado que es muy bienvenido despues de leer tantos libros con insta-love o insta-lust.

La verdad es que soy incapas de quedarme con un solo libro de esta serie, todas las historias son hermosas y con protagonistas maravillosos.

Totalmente recomendado! La historia de Nell y Mateo te enamorara desde la primera pagina.

5 Estrellas!!!
Profile Image for Valerie.
885 reviews383 followers
June 23, 2015




I've loved all three books in this series. Loved them hard. But I think Mateo is my favorite. I think this book is my favorite of the series. I think this book is in my top five for the year.


I love these characters. I'd met Torres before and he was charming and adorable but now I know Mateo and he'll never be Torres to me again. He wants all of Nell's firsts and with each one they share, he becomes more and more attached. He's patient with her and yet he challenges her. He needs her, he just doesn't realize it right away.


Nell needs Mateo too. He balances her and brings out feeling in her she thought would never happen, thought couldn't happen. Together they are yum. And most importantly, Nell can see the future better in Mateo's arms. I loved her logical mind and self doubt. She feels real to me.


The story didn't go quite the way I expected which made me very happy. I loved how I was surprised a few times as things played out between them. They didn't take the normal path, but why should they? They aren't the normal couple.


You want this book. You want this series. You want this author. Just read it.
Profile Image for K..
3,595 reviews1,001 followers
February 7, 2017
I have a complicated relationship with new adult books. Periodically, my brain informs me that WE DESPERATELY NEED TO READ A NEW ADULT BOOK, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. And yet whenever I read new adult books, I inevitably find myself eternally frustrated over the way that the romantic relationships are written or the fact that there ALWAYS seems to be a secondary female character who gets raped by some douchenozzle and it's used as a way of furthering the storyline for a male character??

But I digress.

This one has been sitting on my Kindle for months now, just waiting for my brain to tell me that it was new adult time, thank you very much. And as far as the plot goes, I quite enjoyed this one. The gist of it is that Nell is about to graduate from college two years early thanks to overloading when she realises that she's never had, like, ANY of the traditional college experiences. And she decides to spend her last couple of months rectifying that. And when football player Mateo finds out about the to-do list she's made, he's determined to help out.

I liked Nell as a character. She's very shy, prone to blushing, incredibly studious, and constantly worried that she's making the right choices. Nell, girl, I can relate. Mateo was...generally sweet with Nell? And I loved that this book featured a Latino love interest.

However.

I could have done without being inside his head. There's a limit to how many times you can read "OMG HER TITS ARE AMAZING *heart eyes emoji*" without wanting to smack your head into a wall. Also, I don't think he went to class once. At all. Ever. Like, he went to a bunch of parties. And to football training. And played a handful of games. But class? Nah.

There were also occasionally some slightly cringey moments in the writing. The one that stands out the most was something about how Mateo had Nell's hands pinned while he "continued the assault on my neck". And yeeeeeah, maybe don't use the words "pinned" and "assault" that close together and expect your reader to find it hot? Because it wasn't. It was just...uncomfortable.

So yeah. It was fine. It was occasionally cute. It had a Latino love interest, so bonus points for that. I'll be veeeeeeeery interested to read Stella and Ryan's story when it eventually happens. But that's about it. (Also, the dudes in new adult books need to stop literally tearing their love interest's underwear off them. That shit is expensive, you ass.)
Profile Image for Michelle.
943 reviews224 followers
May 14, 2015
5 I Want All Your Firsts Stars!
Nell is weeks away from graduating college. She's been so focused on her school work and graduating early that she's missed out on a lot of things. She starts to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. Well...she knows for sure that she hasn't had the full college experience. lol Nell decides to make a list of things to do. Things that would take her way out of her comfort zone.
She first has the help of her roommate. She then finds herself in the hands of Mateo.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres knows how to have a good time. When he's not practicing or playing football he is partying and has plenty of girls around. Mateo feels that as long as he keeps up this front he's perfected he won't get hurt again.
Something about the sexy girl genius Nell gets under his skin. When he accidentally comes across her list he makes it his mission to help her complete it. He wants all of her firsts.
So the adventure begins. Both of them have big plans for their future. Not sure if they are prepared for what happens during all of Nell's firsts.
At first I hated being in Mateos head! How he compared everything about Nell to his ex that hurt him. But damn Mateo was yummy so I just ignored it. lol Then later I understood why Mateo was the way he was.
I loved watching these two slowly develop feelings for each other. Nell had zero experience and Mateo had plenty to show her. Nell and her list were awesome. I was super excited for her!
Loved Mateos list too! Loved the epilogue! Can't wait for more of this series. Ugh!! 2016 is so far away! lol
If you like a quick laugh out loud read with some light steam then this is the book series for you!
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,029 followers
May 19, 2015
Just a quick sum-up.

This was one of the more enjoyable opposites attract trope that would have drove me nuts if not for Cora Carmack's wonderful writing. Plus, I loved both Torres and Nell. I liked their chemistry and despite being opposites, they click. I was invested in their journey as a couple as well as individually. I wasn't annoyed with Torres' thoughts about his ex or the fact that he initially noticed Nell because of her similarities to Lina. The book spanned about two months, so I wasn't upset that Torres thought about his ex since it was very early into their "relationship". I'm putting that in quotation because they weren't committed in any way.

This book was on the shorter side -- or at least it felt short because I was enjoying myself and I felt very invested in the story.

Profile Image for Polly.
675 reviews251 followers
May 18, 2015
What didn't work for me? Lina

Yes you read that right. No she's not even in the book. However her name was said or thought of 44 times!!!!

Because of the ex that may or may not even exist, I just couldn't connect the actual couples relationship.
Profile Image for Lisa Filipe.
Author 5 books243 followers
May 2, 2015
Thank you for the ARC Morrow Team...I friggin LOVED this book! #TeamTeo baby! Move over Silas Moore (yes you are still friggin adorable, but Teo....there is just something about him).

With all the OVERLY-angsty New Adult Romances out there, it was SUCH a pleasure to just read an amazing, fun, sexy and sweet love story. I have wanted to know more about Mateo Torres from book one of the Rusk University series, and Cora just killed it...Teo couldn't have been any hotter if he tried! It was nice to see him as not just the "Funny Man" or the "Ladies Man" but as the "boyfriend" and someone who puts the needs of others first...he is quite the romantic!!

Nell was awesome! She reminded me of me with all my OCD list making...I felt almost a kinship to her, and that is one thing I love while reading a romance, when I can connect with the characters on a personal level.

Not overly dramatic, just a fantastic story about a mismatched pair that found out they might not be so mismatched after all.

Carmack is rocking the Rusk U series and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
848 reviews447 followers
April 24, 2016
A really fun and cute book!

I really enjoyed reading this series, and this one did not disappoint! Cora Carmack writes flirty, fun books that you just can't stop reading. I liked the characters and the story, everything was packed up nicely. Also, there are some pretty amazing steamy scenes here. Me likey. Me likey mucho. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

description
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,705 reviews286 followers
July 10, 2018
Nell DeLuca is on the college fast track. She's graduating early, already has a pretty good internship lined up and is applying to grad school. But when she sees her roommate with her new boyfriend, Nell starts to realize that maybe there's some things she's missed out on - partying, making friends, losing ones virginity, etc. So she does what any studious college student would do -she makes a list. A bucket list of sorts.

Mateo Torres is the class clown so to speak. He's always got jokes for everyone, he's always laughing - basically just plain fun to hang around with. And he's also known to not remain too steady with just one girl. So when he sets his sights on Nell, red flags go up with those around them and suddenly its "watch yourself with him" "be careful with her". But Torres has always done what he wants and he wants Nell.

This series has been fun to read. I love college stories with some jocks thrown in - it's one of the easiest ways to my heart. And I instantly loved these two together. While on the outside it seemed like they had nothing in common, they fit well together. Torres brought Nell out of her shell and pushed her to find herself and what she wanted to do. And Nell focused Torres and helped him see what is actually important in life. It was fun to watch these two try to navigate each other. There was some floundering but what came out was a cutesy story that had me in all smiles.

Next up is Stella's story and I'm pretty sure this one is going to be tough to read with what we know of her so far. But I am ready for it and hope that Carmack is able to release it soon!
Profile Image for Michelle [Helen Geek].
1,771 reviews404 followers
July 11, 2015
07/08/2015 --

3.5 Stars. I seriously enjoyed this book. I guess I've read another by this author, but don't remember it. Don't know about her style with that one, but here? I really loved the way she puts together a story. She doesn't bog you down with huge angst or non-events that you see so much in a NA book. I've said before to people who say they NEVER read NA because of the 1) lack of maturity in characters and most usually in the writing, 2) huge angst and crazy situational issues, 3) go nowhere stories, that when NA is bad, it is just that. But, when it works, it really works. This one worked for me. Here, everything has a meaning to the story at hand and the story is pretty darned good.

So, what stood out for me with this one?
1 -- Immediately? Mateo Torres. He is Hispanic first of all. We don't have diversity in NA books often. Loved that. I enjoyed how his character unfolds. He is a the life of whatever .. the party, the situation, his team, his friend pack, whatever. He is the funny guy. He's the one they all joke with and about. But there is more here. It is a front that hides so much more -- heartbreak and fear. I loved peeling back the onion on this guy and seeing what was beneath the front he portrayed.

2 -- The college football background. In this one, you don't have much of the game, but you have the players and the friendship between the players. It was a bit weak on the game itself -- so more on that later.

3 -- The list. We've seen this story line many times. Can the author do something different with it? No. Not really, but it was enjoyable. Torres got into it and made it his mission. Nell's list is to help her "enjoy" her last few months as an undergraduate. She's been so focused and so serious for so long. Can she do it? Well, I'm not a fan [seriously not a fan] of a college virgin plot line. It bugs the ever lovin' crap out of me. I don't believe it. Don't care about it. Don't want to read it. And, frankly didn't know it would be part of the "hook up" scenario for this book or may not have read it. Saying this, it wasn't bad. She [the author] didn't drag it out and didn't make it take on unnecessary angst. It was just a hurdle, but not a significant one. All good.

4 -- The intimacy these two shared was very well written. Feeling and dialogue. Some of the best I've ever read. I don't read a book for this but can tell you when it should be more/less or isn't well written. Two good characters coming together after some buildup and relationship building. Their together scenes added to the characters' and the story rather than distracted from them or provided a distraction. Not sure I''m explaining this well, but I know what I mean!

5 -- The author takes a brief foray into the danger of concussions in college sports. The long term damage they can do to themselves for the love of the game and the competition to keep their spot on the team. This is such an important message. We've [society] has allowed these young people and the people that are in charge of them in the specific sport to call the shots for years. We are only now seeing the real log-term damage they've been allowed to do to the quality of their lives. I know you can't expect a romance book to do much about the issue, but it is still good that the author included this message. Gives the reader something to think about. It can happen to any kid on any team anywhere. One day they will be old like me. We want them to have quality of life at 50 -- or at least not suffer at 50 for bad health decisions made as a child or young adult.

So, now, what didn't play out so well for me?
1 -- The lack of detail. We know Torres is good looking and hot and muscular, but not much else. What color hair? I can imagine it's dark. His eyes as dark, but really little detail. Same with Nell.

2 -- College Football was the backdrop, but it wasn't really. We didn't get much, but we did get the guys together talking about practice or the games, or whatever. We didn't get the locker room antics or chats, Torres' focus on his workouts, nothing really.

3 -- The covers for this series. I really don't like them. They have dark colors and the people on the covers look like cartoon drawings. I actually think the covers are what kept me from reading any of them for so long. Awful.

Okay, all this to say, I really liked this book and am going to read the second one in the series. I guess I'm working my way backwards. I think .. maybe .. I've found a new author to follow. I really liked this story.

Happy Reading!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Overall Rating = 3.75 Stars
Book Cover / Book Blurb / Book Title = 1 / 4 / 3 = 2.5 Stars
Writer’s Voice = 4 Stars
Character / Secondary Character Development = 4 / 4 = 4 Stars
“Did I like” Hero / Heroine = 5 / 3 = 4 Stars
Story / Background Story Development = 4 / 3 = 3.5 Stars
“Did I like the Damned Thing” = 4 Stars
Ending = 3 Stars
Worth the Chili = 5 Stars -- [$1.99 on Amazon]
Smexy [HEAT] Rating = Mild
339 pages

First sentence:
There's a half naked man in my kitchen. Well, he's more like 90% naked, with just a pair of black boxer briefs that fit very snugly.

Last sentence: She and I, we were made to work ... P.P.S You're a fucking genius.
Profile Image for Hazel (Stay Bookish).
635 reviews1,618 followers
July 1, 2015
Visit Stay Bookish for more book reviews!

If you don’t know yet, I’m very much addicted to Cora Cormack’s Rusk University series. In fact, I want to enroll there and major at ogling football players. Alas.

Book numero tres is Nell and Torres’s story. Getting more of Torres, who was Silas’ housemate and also part of the Rusk University football team, upon reading All Broke Down was one of the many things that made me incredibly fond of the book. His character made me laugh so effortlessly and I knew then I needed to more of him. I just adore characters with a great sense of humor and I couldn’t help but be thrilled for All Played Out. I definitely had high expectations that book three will turn out to be a very fun read. As always, Cora Carmack did not let me down.

“My brain has never been the problem. But my heart is an equation I don’t know how to solve.”

Nell, who we also briefly met in the second book as Dylan’s studious room mate, and is the leading lady for All Played Out, was interesting to read. Torres dubbed her “girl genius” which was apt because this girl was diligent. Focused on her academics. Maybe a little too much that she hasn’t been able to enjoy a normal college life. When she comes to a realization that she should explore the fun possibilities of college, she makes a bucket list of normal college things to do. This aspect- how All Played Out was propelled by Nell’s lists- was something I particularly enjoyed as a list lover myself. Other than that, I also really liked Nell’s narrative and related to how she worried about her future. Seeing her breaking out of her shell as she crossed off each item on her list was uplifting. As was watching her fall for Torres.

“He’s just confident. Comfortable. He fits everywhere with everyone.”

Reading All Played Out gave glimpse to another side of Mateo Torres that surprised me. The more serious side of him. I loved how Cora is able to find a balance in the book that we got to see how fun Teo was (which is to infinity) but also that there’s something more profound in him to be discovered. How he’s actually utterly sweet, how he can be a gentleman and knows when to be patient, how he sometimes plays the fool to hide his shattered heart. All those times I wish I could throw my arms around him but most especially when he revealed a list of his own during the last parts of the book. I teared up from the perfection and feels. ALL THE SWOON.

Another thing that I really liked seeing more of was the Rusk U party gang- the couples from the first two books- Carson and Dallas, Silas and Dylan- also, Stella, Ryan and Brookes! I loved that their group of friends is growing. I just adore the camaraderie and inside jokes between them. I was happy that they were easily taken with Nell and also happy for Nell for making new friends. I loved the chemistry between this cast of characters so much!

Speaking of chemistry, Nell and Teo had a perfect one. Again, it’s an opposites attract story, this time with a loud guy and a quiet girl, and it just worked so well! The romance that begins between the two is hottttt, yes with the extra t’s. More importantly, it’s so earnest. There’s no doubt the two belong together.

“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.”

All Played Out was yet again another excellent instalment for the Rusk University books. If you need a good laugh and lots of swooning, you really ought to meet Torres. And if you think you might relate to slightly awkward but trying to move out of her comfort zone Nell, then you definitely ought to read her story. Either way, check this book out!! Meanwhile, I will pine for All Closed Off.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
May 7, 2015
If you enjoyed the first two books in this series, there's no doubt in my mind All Played Out will follow the same path. I swear, one of these days Cora's boys are going to be the death of me. Wilder, Silas, and Matteo are my one-two-three punch to the heart. They're very different from one another, but they all have major sex appeal. (Can I have one, pretty please?)

All Played Out brings together Matteo and Nell. Much like Silas and Dylan, they're virtual opposites. He's the starting wide receiver for the Rusk University football team; a slight daredevil, popular, funny, and charming. He's the life of the party... while Nell has never stayed at a college party for more than 30 minutes. She's a school nerd through and through, and she'll be graduating a few semesters early with a future in biomedical engineering. With graduation day looming, Nell feels restless and like something is missing. She sees how happy her roommate (Dylan) is with her new boyfriend, and she's wondering how much she has missed out on. Maybe living a little for the next few months will be a good thing; a little fun before life seriously takes off, and a way to prove to herself that she's been on the right path all along.

Once again, Cora's characters have me wrapped around their fingers. Nell is hilariously awkward but she's so endearing to watch. I don't know why, but I always have a soft spot for the nerdy girls who don't quite fit in. Plus, she makes lists! Gotta love a girl who makes lists. Her newest one involves all the things she wants to do before she graduates, like go skinny dipping and hook up with a jock. That's where Matteo steps in. He gets a hold of her list and is immediately determined to be the one to help her with it. Although I liked Matteo immediately - he oozes charisma and he's just an all around good guy - I was nervous about his backstory. His heart was broken by his high school girlfriend, and while he's not exactly still hung up on her, it's clear he hasn't moved on completely yet. I didn't like that he was using Nell at first, but more than anything I wanted his heart to be in better hands. Thankfully I never felt as if his ex-girlfriend got in the way of his relationship with Nell; it just took Matteo a while to realize that he wanted something serious with her.

The romance, as you can expect from a Cora book, is heartfelt and sexy. Matteo definitely gives Silas a run for his money. There are plenty of fan-yourself scenes and awww moments. He will have your heart melting, that's for sure. His chemistry with Nell is amazing and believable, too. They seem so different but they also bring out the best in one another. They're the type of couple you see always having fun together and just so happy to be around. One of my favorite things about this series is the lack of drama, and that's still the case with All Played Out. The angst that is there at the end doesn't feel dragged out; in fact, it's perfect because we get to see Matteo do something really, really beautiful for Nell.

Unfortunately, now it's back to waiting for the next book! I'm excited to get Stella's story (I'm hoping it's with a certain someone...); that girl deserves a happy ending! All Played Out is another winner by Cora Carmack, and it was especially nice to be back in the world of football during the real off season.

***Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for sending me an e-ARC!***

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,759 reviews794 followers
November 25, 2017
The third and simply incredible story that brings together the shy and sweet dancer with the all clothes off energetic football player deliver enticement and sweet sexiness you delight in.

All Played Out is a story of journey and growth and love and I simply adored the way that Cora Carmack wrote this book. I definitely think that this book is probably my favorite of this series so far because well the hero is hilarious and fun and I just wanted him to find his story and to find more depth to this character. In the first two books we just see him as the “goofball” of the team. And whenever he gets drinking, the clothes start to come off and its pretty fun. But in All Played Out we see how he strives to be more and to get people to see him more than his goofy personality, to actually take him seriously and then he meets the girl that changes him.

The key players of All Played Out :

Antonella DeLuca, our heroine, is the brains, she focuses on her schoolwork and does great at it, but in her last year she wants to experience some fun with her LIST. She is innocent and sweet.
Mateo Torres, the entertaining hero, is all about fun and parties and girls and loves his beer. He is rowdy and fun and has no shy bone in his body.

All Played Out begins when our heroine wants to do more than just study. She is starting to realize that she has really missed out on the full “college experience” and wants to actually experience it in the way that many around her do. When her roommate drags her to a ultimate frisbee game with her boyfriend and his football buds she is nervous since she doesn’t hang out with that crowd. But then she meets Mateo who has set his eyes on her and doesn’t want anyone else. When she shares her desire to cross off certain items off of her list, he is more than willing to be her partner. As she explores in her new adventures of college life, she discovers a love she didn’t plan on but wants to fight for.

"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."

Oh how much love did I have for this story and man Mateo is one sexy hero and I just fell so hard for this playboy He just has this charismatic and sexy side to him that is so appealing and works so well for a hero that plays ball. And he really lightens up our heroine Nell. She is a bit too serious (which I can totally relate to) so Mateo is the type of man she really needs to make her laugh and see the fun side of life. Our heroine is a lady many readers can relate with and will enjoy reading. So she sweet and shy and awkward and really smart. She is very innocent so she just doesn’t understand the college party culture and I liked seeing how she handled putting her feet in the water and seeing the way that she wants to be more and just LIVE life. We see how our super intelligent heroine learns that living in the moment can do more than getting the best grades. Nell is very driven of course but we also see another part of her become more energetic.
"What I’m realizing is that living isn’t about what you achieve, but how you achieve it."

The romance that builds between them is so sexy and charming and I just wanted their story to be real. I adored the way that this book was written and seeing them explore new experiences together. A story that will revitalize and renew the reader with a new experience of reading and will make you feel young again!!
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews263 followers
October 4, 2015
4 "College Bucket List" Stars! Being a lover of sports and new adult romances, All Played Out was the perfect blend of both. Bringing together the happy go lucky, live for today jock with the hard working perpetual planner, "girl genius", Cora Carmack scores a touchdown for those looking for an easy, fun and entertaining romance.

Antonella "Nell" DeLuca is all set to graduate in two months when she realizes that she due to her incredible expediency (completing her college courses in 2 1/2 years), she just may have missed out on the full college experience (ie, the social life aspects of college). So she does what any good organized hard worker would do: she makes a bucket list.

Interestingly, one of the first items on the list is a "hook up with a jock", so when she meets wide receiver Mateo Torres, she ignores her friends warnings and continues to hang out with him. Mateo "Torres" has no issues in the social department, and is more than happy to help Nell accomplish her firsts. However, as the unlikely pair start spending more and more time together, they can't help but feel that they share something more deeper and meaningful than just a college fling. But given their disparate backgrounds could their possibly be a HEA in their future?

All Played Out brings together the exuberance of trying new things in college along with some serious introspective identity forming quandaries and wraps it all together with a sweet and fun romance. Additionally, Cora Carmack highlights a serious issue in youth sports today: head injuries, concussions and the devastating consequences that such injuries can lead to if left unattended.

All in all, I thought Cora Carmack met all my expectations with this new adult, college football romance. Now I hope to go back and read some of the other titles in the Rusk University series (all of which center around college football players and their love lives).

Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Brooke's Epic Emporium.
865 reviews188 followers
September 30, 2015
I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

I'm a huge Cora Carmack fan. I've read every book she's published and I don't plan to stop. So given the opportunity to review any of her books, well, you can imagine I jump right on it. And I knew this installment of the Rusk University series was going to be amazing. I wasn't wrong!

From the get go I loved Mateo Torres. Who couldn't love a guy who liked to take his clothes off in any situation? He's full of humor, which makes him that much more sexy. And of course he's a football player, so, yeah, what more could you want? But he's also got this sensitive side that you never saw coming. When I first met him in All Lined Up, I knew there was more to him than meets the eye. I wasn't wrong. He's so much deeper than anyone could have imagined.

And in steps Antonella Deluca. Nell is totally unexpected. The girl who has her whole life mapped out and then realizes that perhaps she might be missing out. So what does any good nerd do? They make a list. And Nell's list is nothing if not interesting. From partying to having mind blowing sex, she wants to experience life before she starts her neatly planned life. What she wasn't expecting was one guy named Mateo Torres who seems to be the opposite of anything and everything she knows. He's crass and uninhibited. Nell is absolutely my favorite female Carmack character to date. Probably because I could relate to her so well. Much of my college years were spent worrying about lists and checking things off!

As always, Cramack gives each character a uniqueness you might not expect. And she creates a story that's not only about college life and football, but also about what happens after graduation and where people see their lives going.

I love that Nell and Torres are kind of thrown together. They are pretty much total opposites, but it seems to work for them. And you can tell they never expected each other, or to fall for each other. Torres has been a player, but Nell changes how he thinks. And Nell's life has been mapped out, not including a tornado of a guy who throws her entire life into a loop.

Of course both characters carry their baggage. Though I thought Mateo's baggage was a little more hefty than Nell's. He was much more broken by the events that happened in his life. His story had my heart aching. I wanted to wrap him up and take all his pain away. To fill his voids and show him what a wonderful person he really is. But he didn't need me for that because Nell filled that roll perfectly.

And this wouldn't be a Rusk book if we didn't see the other characters reappear. What a great supporting cast. I want each and every one of their stories. I hope Cora gives them to us!

I don't know how Cora does it. Each story gets better and better. Ok, I will say that Silas still has my heart. But Torres has certainly pushed his way in and made a nest there. Carmack has created a sweet and sexy read that leaves out all the angst you often feel with new adult romance.

If you're looking for a great romantic read that will have you turning the pages so fast you'll be sorry when you're done, then this is the one!
Profile Image for Priyanka.
186 reviews40 followers
April 1, 2017
Well I love what Cora Carmack writes and first two books in this series were definitely hits, first book being my favourite. But with this book, I can't really say, I was satisfied with it. Liked it but not my favourite book. It was 3.5 star read for me.

We meet Antonella DeLuca 'Nell' in the second book, she is Dylan's roommate. She is this nerdy, to-do list kinda girl who is graduating early from college and seeing Dallas with Silas makes her realize she haven't had this full college experience. And so she gets on with making the list.

Mateo Torres is a football player alongside Carson and Silas. He is a party boy and a player. but when he meets Nell he can't get help but pursue her. Whether Nell likes him or not. On various occasions she shots him down but Toress just can't help himself and go behind her.

I liked the opposites attract thing in this book. I liked the list thing. I am a little list kinda girl too. so I liked that about the heroine. Plus the list was definitely interesting. Well, of course some items on the list made me think, why the hell is that on the list? Is that how college life is in reality? Nope. But otherwise it was okay.
But it got annoying cause

All together, it was an okay read. I liked having all the previous book characters together. I loved having Stella in it but I wanted this book to be hers. Never mind, next book is Stella and Ryan's and I can't wait long enough for it!

Some of my favourite quotes:
“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.”
-
“Making a stupid decision doesn’t make you stupid. Just as making a smart decision doesn’t necessarily make someone smart.”

“Don’t worry about whether you might be wrong someday. Worry about whether you’re right now. Tomorrow can wait.”

"how long can I live with just safe and easy before my life becomes completely devoid of meaning?”


Check out my blog for more reviews at A Booklion's Hideaway : http://booklionshideaway.blogspot.in
Profile Image for Viri.
1,097 reviews386 followers
February 10, 2017
***3.5***

No le iba a dar las 4 estrellitas porque hubo algunas partes en las cuales las escenas +18 de me hicieron demasiadas HAHAHA pero soy una fan total de las listas, así que de alguna manera soy un poco como Nell.

Y ciertamente Mateo Torres es mi tipo de hombre... seguro de si mismo, sexy como el infierno, protector y un poco posesivo sin llegar a los excesos. Y si encima sabe hacer reír a la chica... COMPRADO!!! Ahhhaha

La historia fue la que más me gustó de las 3, y confieso que aún así hay partes en las que me faltó algo. Pero fue un libro entretenido y ligero. Me lo leí en una sentada y tiene una narración estupenda.

PD: le di las 4 estrellitas en GR por la lista de Torres... siiiiiiii me ganó ahí jajaja.

PD2: ALGUIEN ME PUEDE EXPLICAR PORQUE DIABLOS ESTÁ EL LIBRO DE STELLA SOLO EN ALEMÁN!!!!!!!? En serio... debe ser Dios castigándome ahora mismo porque no puedo esperar a leer su historia. ¡Si Ryan ya me tenía medió enamorada! (Insertar emojis llorando)
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,181 reviews286 followers
December 30, 2015
This was a cute read.

Yup, it's the exact book that you're expecting. It's cute, engaging, and fast to read. The writing is pretty easy, the story catches you and it's easy to follow the plot. Everything you'd expect after reading the blurb.
Is it anything special? Nope. Is it something new, impressive? Not really. But it's that cute story, the one that you want to read on a lazy Saturday, when you want nothing too stressful.

P.S. This book actually made me laugh a few times! It's pretty good, for a college romance kind of book.
Enjoy! )
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