Thursday, May 7, 2015

ARC Review, Excerpt & Giveaway:All Played Out by Cora Carmack

All Played Out - Tour banner

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Cora Carmack’s 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.

All Played Out - cover

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes


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.
Rusk University


I groan, and flip the page in my spiral so I won’t have to look at the words anymore. Starting small with the alcohol had been a wise decision. Perhaps I should do the same with other big items on my list. But how did one get smaller than sex and hooking up? I couldn’t just put “kiss.” I’d done that before, and a few more kisses weren’t going to make any difference in my confidence when it came to sex.
Really, it’s the unknown that bothers me. Not just on this list, but in everything. So maybe that’s what I need to get used to.
I skip to the bottom of my list and add …
17. Kiss a stranger
I tap my pen against the page, surveying the words, and decide that kissing a stranger is a good stepping-stone. Then a voice comes from over my shoulder, making me jump up and drop my spiral in shock.
“Do I count as a stranger?”
I press my hand over my thundering heart and turn to face the subject my rumination.
“You scared me.”
“My bad.” Contrary to his words, Torres doesn’t look the least bit sorry.
He bends to pick up the spiral, and I lunge forward to stop him. “Wait! Stop!”
It’s too late. He already has ahold of it, and lifts it up above his head, completely out of my reach. He’s got nearly a foot on me in height, and when I try to jump, I barely get my unathletic self a few inches off the ground.
“Give that back.”
“Hold up, sweetheart. I just want to take a little peek.”
“Don’t you dare! It’s private.”
Frantically, I try to recall what was written on that page as he holds it above his head in an attempt to read.
“‘Go skinny-dipping’?” he says, his eyes dancing suggestively. “Whatever this is ... I like it.”
I step toward him, and he angles his body to the side so that the spiral is farther away, but we’re still close.
“‘Pull an all-nighter.’ ‘Sing karaoke.’ ‘Flash someone.’ Oh, sweetheart, tell me this is a list of things you want to do. Please, God.”
“It’s none of your business. That’s what it is.”
“Unlucky for you, I’m a nosy person.”
He starts to turn the page back, and my heart tumbles in fear. He cannot see the first page. Not ever. I hurl myself at him, practically climbing up his body in an attempt to retrieve my list. And all he does is laugh, and stand there as if there isn’t a whole person hanging on to him.
“Asshole!” I say, pushing at his chest.
“Come on, you can do better than that.”
“Nosy bastard.”
He rolls his eyes. “Well, if that’s all you’ve got ...” He starts to turn the page again, and there’s thunder in my ears, and my lungs feel all twisted up inside my chest.
“Fuck you,” I say once, quietly. Then I repeat it, louder, my voice raspy from fear and exertion. “Fuck you, Mateo Torres.”
And I resign myself to the fact that I’m not going to get my spiral back until he’s had his fill of humiliating me. But to my shock, he bends and picks up my pen from where I’d dropped it when he surprised me. Then he draws a line through something on the paper.
“Congratulations. You’ve officially completed number sixteen. ‘Cuss someone out and mean it.’”
He hands me the spiral, then the pen, before folding his arms over his chest and meeting my eyes with a carefully blank expression. I glance down at the item on the list that he’s crossed out, and I don’t know whether I want to laugh or stab him with my pen. Maybe both.
What I thought about All Played Out

Nell's got a list, and Mateo Torres wants to help her cross all the items off that list. From the moment they meet, Mateo is intrigued with the girl genius, and he appoints himself to help.  He even adds a few things to the list himself. Nell finds herself attracted to the charming wide receiver, and she's letting him help. After all, there are a few items on her list that are tailor made to do with the gregarious Rusk football star.

What follows is a falling in love story that is so much fun, and so very sexy as I've come to expect from this series. Torres is still the loud-mouthed, smooth talking footballer, but when he gets together with Nell, he drops some of the bravado he exhibits in front of his teammates and becomes a bit of a different guy -- he's still a little pushy, but he takes his time with Nell and they start by building a friendship that easily goes on to much more. 

I loved who Torres became when he with Nell, and how she transformed her social life under his influence.  But mostly, I just liked these two together, whether they were checking items off the list, putting more on, or just having fun.  Of course they are going to fall for each other when their chemistry is off the charts.

When the conflicts come, Mateo Torres has to make some decisions about himself, his place on the team, and how much he's going to let past history influence his current relationship with Nell. To me, All Played Out was just about Torres as it was about Nell.

I love this series. It captures so many aspects of college life perfectly.  The characters are engaging and familiar.  I loved Torres a lot more than I thought I was going to and thought he was perfect together with Nell. I loved seeing her open up, and especially liked the friendship she develops with the other ladies toward the end of the story.  There's also enough of the characters from the previous books in the series to satisfy the craving for more of them, too. 

All Played Out was a whole lot of fun and a wonderful addition to the series. Recommended. 

ARC provided for review. 

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

All Lined Up


Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

All Broke Down


Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes


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

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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.      

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