{Blog Tour} Review + Giveaway: Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sneaking Candy
Title: Sneaking Candy
Author: Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Date of Publication: 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?

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Kelly of Inkslinger PR and Entangled Embrace for the review copy. This in no way affected my views of the novel.

Sneaking Candy wasn't what I expected it to be but that's not to say I was disappointed. It's just that you would expect a novel about a creative writing graduate student moonlighting as an erotica author to be full of steam and hot, scorching sex. But it wasn't the case! Compared to all the new adult books I've read, Sneaking Candy has sexual situations, yes, but it's pretty tame and totally not graphic. So now that I've got my surprise out in this review, let's get to the nitty-gritty!

As a graduate student, I can relate to Candice a bit. It should be easy since I only got a few classes but my classes are either at night or late afternoon that I feel tired everyday. Coupled that with day work and then my blog, sigh. With Candice though, she still writes as Candice, writes as Candy, interacts with fans of Candy, teaches classes as a TA and then she's also a student. Then throw in a messy and complicated love life and baggage and family problems and you got a busy NA heroine.

As a character, Candice had me having some kind of whiplash. She's strong yet she's not. She's assertive yet she's shy. I do know that it's how usually it is in real life, heck, I'm like that. But sometimes I just want her to decide and do what she wants to do. But then we won't have character growth. Which we had lots in this novel and I love reading and seeing characters grow. In fact, Candice had a monopoly in the character growth department. James is pretty much the perfect guy ever since he showed up.

Candice was disowned by her surgeon parents who can't accept that she wants to be an author. Her longtime boyfriend broke up with her and cheated on her multiple times. She established her walls and hasn't dated ever since coming to Miami for fear of getting hurt. On that front, Candice isn't a fresh heroine because I've read this type of heroine time and again. But Lisa Burstein used that tug of familiarity in a good way by being able to incorporate legitimate problems and an engaging plot to an otherwise common heroine.

For the romance, it was tricky as hell (hello student-teacher relationship!) and I pitied sweet baby James all the time. It's obvious Candice wants him but she wants her career too and he's forced to be in the middle of all of her internal fiasco. But props to him for being perfect and understanding and rational! Thank you for rational characters, Lisa! Misunderstandings were easily solved because even though they'll get a bit irrational at first (looking at you Candice), they'll realize they've been wrong and make up. Huzzah! What I hate the most is dragging a plot arc like a bloodied dismembered horse. (My similes aren't making sense.)

But my favorite part was definitely the debate on traditional publishing and self-publishing. Sneaking Candy wasn't preachy at all and it didn't try to side on either (People who diss on self-publishing are pricks with sticks up their ass, gah.) but it sure showed the divide. I also loved reading and I actually *blushed* reading about Candice appreciating bloggers and all that. It's nice when authors appreciate the time and effort you put into reading and reviewing their books. 

Now that I'm writing this review, I realized that even though Sneaking Candy is a quick and light read, it had more mini-plots and issues tackled than Vogue. So if you're in for that, you can get that with this novel. It's nothing heavy and groundbreaking but it's a sweet read with your usual new adult themes: identity, love and career.

About Lisa Burstein

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.


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