August 3, 2015

Title:  All Played Out

Series:  Rusk University

Author:  Cora Carmack

Published:  May 2015

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.

Ana will put All Played Out on her second shelf!!

What a fun story!  Although I’ve read several books with similar plots to this one, this particular story captured my heart because the characters were wonderful.  Nell, the awkward overachiever who makes lists and will graduate early because she works so hard meets her match in Matteo, the suave, sexy, confident jock.  They are polar opposites but, below the surface, they’re a perfect match…they need each other for balance but the hard part is for them to actually figure that out.

I loved Matteo from the very beginning.  He’s the perfect mix of class clown and smokin’ hot jock…but with a heart of gold.  He’s been hurt in the past and because of that, stays away from any serious relationships.  He focuses on his football career and believes that to be enough (well, that and a whole lot of casual hook-ups).  As the story progresses and we begin to scratch the surface of what Matteo puts out, we realize that he’s definitely got a sensitive side and doesn’t trust easily.  And that’s why Nell surprises him so.  He doesn’t expect to want more from someone but fate has other things in mind.  I will admit that his focus on his ex-girlfriend was a bit of a distraction for me in the beginning of the book.  It took a bit away from the build up of Matteo and Nell’s relationship for me and I had to make an effort not not focus on it, knowing that it was just a means to an end.  Truthfully though, I would have preferred her presence to be less intrusive (for someone we never meet, she take up too much space in this book).

But that’s really my only complaint here.  The story has just the right amount of fun, angst, and romance.  The chemistry sizzles and the banter between the two is great.  They had me believing in their romance from the very beginning.  Nell’s geeky, list-making side was definitely something I could relate to and I loved watching her open up to Matteo and spread her wings.

Overall, this was a great read with characters who captured my heart and a storyline that had my heart beating faster as I experienced their romance right along with them.  Although this is my first Cora Carmack book, it definitely won’t be my last! This is a great summer read…check it out!!

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