Title: Sneaking Candy
Author: Lisa Burstein
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: December 9, 2013
All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.
Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?
Sneaking Candy is a sweet, coming of age quick read with a bit of heat thrown in and not what I expected. At first I thought it was going to be the classic love triangle where the female MC spends most of the book in angst-ridden and in turmoil over who she should choose but fortunately I was wrong.
I loved the fact that Candice knew pretty much straight away who she wanted to be with (although she still couldn't help feeling drawn to the other player in the story). I have to admit, the way the story was set up, I wasn't too sure who she would go for at first...the gorgeous, sexy barista James who she lusts after and just happens to be her student and off-limits or the enigmatic and hot Professor Anthony Dylan with the steel who she has a near-kiss with on the beach and is, equally, off-limits! I know who I was rooting for though and cheered when it became obvious who she really wanted.
Candice craves acceptance from her parents, who disowned her when she told them she didn't want to follow them in to medicine and my heart went out to her at one point when she tried to reach out to them. She also craves acceptance and respect from Professor Dylan, who she is teaching assistant to. At the age of 26, Professor Dylan is a literary genius who looks down his nose at self-published authors who write erotic fiction, the likes of which Candy Sloane, Candice's pen name, writes. I had to keep reminding myself he was only 26 and NOT the forty-odd years he seemed most of the time. Candice realises she must keep that part of her life secret if she is to succeed as a serious creative writer and continue studying at Miami University. She also must try and put all thoughts of having a relationship with either of the two men if she wants to continue with her studies at the university. But it doesn't really work out that way.
I loved the relationship between Candice and her BFF, Amanda. Amanda is lively and funny and doesn't care what others think, unlike Candice who is always worrying how she is perceived by others. She tries to get Candice to let loose Candy, her much more flirtier and daring alter ego.
There is a bit of a dramatic turn towards the end when things finally come to a head and I must say I didn't see it coming! Even though there is no cliff-hanger ending I get the feeling the author may have set us up for a sequel as I felt there was, perhaps, unresolved issues between certain characters and a few unanswered questions.
Although I would've preferred a bit more heat, given that the story was about a writer of erotic romance, I really enjoyed Sneaking Candy and, while it may be my first Lisa Burstein novel it won't be my last.
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Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie and Candy, Stripped. As well as a contributor to the upcoming essay collection, Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors On Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.