Review: SNEAKING CANDY by Lisa Burnstein

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, secretlyI 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?
ARC provided by author. 


Sneaking Candy is a fun story about Candice, a young woman trying to accomplish her dream of becoming a serious writer, while simultaneously making a living writing and independently publishing erotic novels—you know, like the ones we love to read. She has a constant and, often times hilarious, inner battle waging between her academic side and her alter ego, Candy.

She fled New York for Miami in order to study writing under the tutelage of Professor Dylan, a New York Times bestselling author. She is his TA and as such teaches a discussion class. She sort of has a crush on the jerk, and has fantasized about him, but mostly she just wants his respect and to be taken seriously.

 “Apparently, I wasn’t eligible because I was a girl. It didn’t matter how much promise he thought I had because I literally lacked the necessary equipment.” —Candice

The problem, besides that he’s kind of a male chauvinist, is that if he found out her secret it would ruin her credibility and possibly cause her to lose her fellowship. And she needs it, because after telling her surgeon parents that she wanted to be a writer instead of following in their footsteps, they disowned her.

“If it came from life experience, what was the point of school? I needed to be taught to be someone my parents might finally respect, might finally talk to again.” —Candice

Then there is James, a barista at the local coffee shop who she has been drooling over for weeks. The Candy side of her wants to have her wicked way with him, and the Candice side is scared to death to even hit on him.

“I can’t tell you how many times I pictured being his white T-shirt pulled over his taut chest, wet from the shower, or balled up in the corner of his floor, still smelling of him while he slept, or hanging from his pocket as he ran on the beach.” —Candice

Being new to the area and not having dated anyone since the loser ex she left back in New York, after he shredded her self-confidence, she somehow works up the nerve to do just that—hit on James.

 “…writing as Candy with no male outlet was like having a vibrator with dead batteries and a cast on both hands.” —Candice

Of course, this is where things get interesting, cause come to find out, James happens to be the star pupil Professor Dylan has decided to take under his wing, and also a student in the class that Candice teaches. So, as incredible as James looks, and just flat out is, he is also off limits.

“My reputation and my career here were more important that a guy who I could check every box for—a guy who any girl with eyes and a brain and ears and a nose and grabby hands could check every box for.” —Candice

As she tries to keep Professor Dylan from sniffing out Candy, her life becomes increasingly more difficult, as does her efforts in staying away from James.

“My mind might have denied our attraction, tried to obliterate it, but that didn’t appear to matter to my body.” —Candice

This story had some very funny moments, and I especially loved Candice’s roommate and friend, Amanda. Not only was she the one who gave Candice the idea to write erotic novels, but she also pushes Candice to let Candy “show her stripes,” the part of her that wants to live a little and enjoys writing what her colleagues would consider trash.

I liked the majority if this story and James was extremely sweet, sexy, and intelligent. He was my favorite part of the entire book. I felt the ending was a little rushed, things wrapped up way too quickly and I was left craving more. The writing was brilliant though, and I especially appreciated the nod to bloggers and the Indie writing and publishing community alike. I also loved that despite the fact Candy wrote erotic romance, this book was more New Adult and not overly sexual, because oddly enough, I feel it wouldn’t have fit.

I would definitely suggest sampling this sweet story for yourself to see if it suits your tastes. 


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