Audiobook review: All Played Out (Rusk University #3) by Cora Carmack

Title: All Played Out (Rusk University #3)
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrator: Bernardo de Paulo, Alexandra Marcuse
Story rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Audio rating:
Bernardo de Paulo – 5 of 5 Stars
Alexandra Marcuse – 4 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 4 of 5 Stars


Cora Carmack continues to deliver romantic and sexy stories. I enjoyed All Played Out a lot.

I didn’t love it as much as previous books, mostly because the main character Nell is what I call “brainy heroine”. I always find it hard to connect with this type of heroines. We’ve met Nell in the previous book; she is Dilan’s roommate. Nell is a quiet, shy nerd; she spends most of her time in her room studying. But with her graduation approaching she begins to worry that she missed “normal” college life. So she makes a list of things she need to do (kiss a stranger, get drank, go to a party, etc.). When Mateo, football player, gets hold of her list, he decides to help her check off all her points. After all he knows all about partying, sex and drinking.

I loved their interactions. How Mateo dared Nell to do things from her list.

Mateo won my heart completely. He is so charming and funny. But behind all his jokes he hides old hurt. He loved a girl and his heart was broken. Ever since he shies away from relationships and hides behind easy smiles.

He’s not over his ex Lina. He’s drawn to Nell, because she reminded him of Lina. And for a while he continues to compare two girls. While I don’t usually like mentions of ex-girlfriends, I think it made sense here. I’ve read a lot of NA books where a popular gorgeous playboy met a virginal shy heroine; he instantly fell in love with her and left his habits in the past. Swoony? Probably. Realistic? No. I’ve never really believed in that kind of stories. Why the hero was so drawn to heroine?

In All Played out Mateo’s ex added realism. Nell looks like Lina and this is the reason Mateo noticed her. And yes at first he compares them. But the more time he spends with Nell, the more he gets to know her, the more he likes her. Nell, not Lina. And at some point in the book he realizes it himself.

So for me his ex-girlfriend didn’t ruin the romance. It was actually full of sweet and funny moments. And they had a great chemistry.

My thoughts about the audiobook:

I absolutely loved the audiobook. I’m in love with Bernardo de Paulo’s voice. His amazing performance is the reason I swooned over Mateo so much. I went in search for more audiobooks, narrated by him but to my disappointment there wasn’t any.
Alexandra Marcuse is a new to me narrator too, and she is good. Her performance hasn’t blown me away, but I think her voice was perfect for Nell.
All in all I highly recommend the audiobook.

All Played out was a very enjoyable book with great romance, humor and heart. Now I’m going to impatiently wait for Stella’s story.

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9 Comments on “Audiobook review: All Played Out (Rusk University #3) by Cora Carmack

  1. Carmack’s earlier series really didn’t work out for me but I enjoyed this series so much more than I thought. I’m not into football whatsoever but these were really solid romances. I’m glad the audiobooks were also a success! I’ll have to check those out for a re-read! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

  2. “I’ve read a lot of NA books where a popular gorgeous playboy met a virginal shy heroine; he instantly fell in love with her and left his habits in the past. Swoony? Probably. Realistic? No.”

    YES! I agree completely Ksenia! I love that Mateo has a past that has a profound effect on his current relationship without it turning into something dark and tragic that he has to overcome. It feels like a realistic, genuine issue that someone his age would be dealing with. Definitely need to get caught up on this series!

    • Romance in this book definitely was realistic; in truth I’m tired of characters with tragic past and dysfunctional families in NA. Give me more characters with loving family dealing with normal college issues.

    • I hope you would get a chance to read a book by Cora Carmack. Her stories are definitely on the better side of NA genre.

    • I totally agree that the narrator can make or break a story. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, if you need recs, just let me know, Jenn.

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