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Cora Carmack

REVIEW:  Faking It by Cora Carmack

REVIEW: Faking It by Cora Carmack

Cora Carmack Faking It

Dear Ms Carmack:

Your first book, Losing It, didn’t work for me at all. It was a combination of the character pairing (professor + student) and the plot (she’s a virgin).  Faking It worked a lot better.

Cade Winston is still reeling from his unrequited love interest turning to another man when  he receives a bizarre request at a local café. Mackenzie Miller needs and “sweet and nice” boyfriend to show off to her parents instead of the tattooed bad boy she’s been keeping company with.  Cade fits the bill. Cade is an aspiring actor and he plays the sweet and nice boyfriend role a little too well.

You’ve raised an amazing daughter.”

My father shook his hand and said, “Really?”

REALLY. He said really.

No, “Thank you” or “I know.” It took him a full five seconds before he smiled . . . like me being amazing was his doing. He said, “It’s nice to meet you, son.”

They’d already married me off.

Mackenzie’s voice was so relatable as a young woman at odds with her family.  She loved them, but she wasn’t living up to her parents’ expectations and they were too uptight and crazy for her. Cade, however, had managed in lest than fifteen minutes to completely win them over.  Thus, the charade had to continue.  The setup was cute and believable.  “In the war for my parents’ approval, I’d lost to a complete stranger.”  

But. God, there is always a but isn’t there?  The first chapter is told from Cade’s  point of view and he spent the whole time for mourning the loss of his love.   It was hard, as a reader, to immediately switch focus from the one that got away to Max (Mackenzie).  The first 20% of the book is that tiny window of time between Cade being struck with the news that his love was getting engaged to someone else and meeting Max.  I would have liked to have had some internal monologue helping me to ease the transition.  Later in the book, Bliss, the object of unrequited love, reappears and Cade still has some residual feelings for her which is perfectly normal and understandable. It’s just that this inhibited my buying into the HEA.

If the entire book could have been as fun and cute as the cafe, I would have  been in heaven.  However, Cade is challenged by his Hispanic sidekick, Milo, to get laid because Milo is tired of Cade’s depressed act. What is wrong with Cade and Milo going to the bar, finding Max singing with her band, and Cade taking her home without having his manhood challenged?

But every time I found myself mildly annoyed, I was refreshed by the gender reversal. Cade’s more straight laced (but not uptight) good guy portrayal juxtaposed against Max’s tattooed bad girl act was fun and different.  Max was often lusting after Cade, trying to suppress her hormones and her instinct to jump his bones.

The familial interaction that annoyed Max and enticed Cade highlighted not only their differences, but their losses.  Cade was hungry for parental interest and being part of a family unit whereas the family unit represented pain and produced anger in Max.  The scenes with Max’s parents provided both a source of conflict between Cade and Max and also were the stage for the funniest moments.  Cade was “Golden Boy” because he tries to be so perfect all the time and Max was “Angry Girl” because she tried to piss the most people off with the least amount of effort.

The book was most successful at its lighthearted moments although I fully bought into Cade’s bittersweet feelings toward Bliss and moving on.  Max’s dark moments came off more forced.  The tragedy of her past seemed pasted on and all too obvious.  Those complaints aside, this was a much stronger entry for me than the first in the “It” series and I’d definitely read another. C+

Best regards,


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REVIEW:  Losing It by Cora Carmack

REVIEW: Losing It by Cora Carmack

Dear Ms. Carmack:

After reading this book, I am starting believe that the professor/student kink is a real and popular thing. Not having any professors at my school that I thought were particularly lust worthy, it’s not one I understand  given that the consequences to discovery of such an action basically ruination for the professor.

Losing It Cora CarmackBliss Edwards goes out one night to pick up a guy who will be the one to help her get rid of her virginity. An attractive senior college student in the theatre program, Bliss has held on to her virginity for far too long. She picks up the only guy at the bar reading a volume of Shakespeare. British native, Garrick Taylor, has locked himself out of his new apartment and he decides to go to a busy bar to read his novel while waiting for the locksmith to show up.

Bliss chickens out and leaves Garrick hot and ready in her bed only to discover the following Monday that Garrick is her new visiting theatre professor. The illicit love connection doesn’t come off as too prohibited as Garrick decides early on that he cares nothing for the ethical considerations and pursues a relationship with Bliss seriously.

The story is told from Bliss’ point of view, in the first person, so Garrick’s thought processes are unknown to the readers other than what Bliss can ascertain (or misinterpret) and what Garrick says.  In some ways, the narrative relies heavily on Bliss acting like the ingenue, having no experience in reading attraction or desire in the eyes of another.

Bliss and Garrick’s relationship is played against the theatre class and the acting of the play Phaedra. One of Bliss’ best friends, Cade, has been in love with Bliss for years and chooses now to reveal his feelings after a late night of spin the bottle amongst the theatre students.

The story is fairly short. Six of the twenty-eight chapters covers the initial meet, the sex scene, and Bliss leaving. There is little conflict because of the forbidden love line is abandoned fairly early on.  Garrick simply doesn’t care about his professorial position despite the fact he took this job because his acting career was suffering setbacks.   When Cade and Bliss are on screen together, I wondered if Bliss was going to end up with the wrong guy because Cade’s role in the book was often filled with more conflict and angst than the forbidden relationship between Bliss and Garrick.

Bliss’ narration is breezy and amusing at times and the sex scenes are written well but the whole story felt superficial to me. There wasn’t any meat there and the characters are moved around on the pages artificially.  Bliss needs to be a virgin but the reasons for her virginity are thin. We are told she is socially awkward but exhibits little evidence of this.  Bliss and Cade need to have a scene in which their eyes are opened about his feelings for her so the theatre department plays spin the bottle.  Bliss needs to meet Garrick and does so at a club, far away from their shared apartment complex where he is waiting for a locksmith and reading Shakespeare as if there is no coffee house near the college for him to do so.  The artificiality and the lack of meat to the story made this limp along.  Fortunately it was short.  C-

Best regards,