Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trouble - Lori's Review of ALL PLAYED OUT by Cora Carmack

Title: All Played Out
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: 5/12/2015
Source: ARC from publisher through Edelweiss

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.

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer 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 enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.


Antonella is tired of watching life from the sidelines. With graduation drawing closer, she feels compelled to start crossing things off of her graduation bucket list, starting with 'date a jock'.

Mateo Torres is the life of every party. He floats by with surface relationships, never letting anyone get close enough to cause him pain again. He is intrigued by Nell's quiet beauty even though he is a little intimidated by her brains. Torres vows to help Nell mark off the things on her list.

Nell and Torres were a lot of fun to read about. If you look at the cover of the book, it kind of sets the tone for the story. There is joking. There is fun. But there are also very real feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability.

Cora writes such amazingly real and perfectly flawed characters that I often find bits of myself in each of them. It seems like in ALL PLAYED OUT that I related to Nell in a way that is almost too personal to talk about. I was very often the girl on the edge surrounded by her books and watching others live life in ways I could only dream of doing. My husband even reminds me of Torres in many ways. He was always the guy that everyone liked. He is always joking and sharing a smile for any and all. Many girls wanted to date him, but he hid his past scars under his jokes and shallow relationships.

I like to think that Nell and Torres have gone on to have an extremely satisfying relationship, much like my husband and I. No, things are not perfect, but we have learned how to balance each other out and I see that as being the strongest part of Nell and Mateo's relationship. They each bring out the best in the other. This is a wonderful addition to an already incredible series.

5 out of 5 stars.

Iggy Azalea - Trouble ft. Jennifer Hudson

Just cuz all the girls are falling at your feet
Don't mean no thing to me
Until you show me where it's at
It smells like trouble to me

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