Review: Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein

Title: Sneaking Candy
Author: Lisa Burstein

I wasn’t sure if Sneaking Candy would be my cup of tea. I love a good plot and Sneaking Candy could have gone either way. There were parts that I skimmed over a bit, but for the most part, I enjoyed this novel. There was a good story and the characters are well written.

Candice is trying to make a name for herself as a writer at the University of Miami. She’s working hard to be what Professor Dylan thinks a legitimate writer is. She’s already made a name for herself writing as Candy Sloane, self-publishing erotic novels in her spare time. If the university found out about her secret writing life, her scholarship would be placed in jeopardy and she’d lose the respect of Professor Dylan.

James is the guy that threatens everything Candice has worked for. He’s a student in one of her discussion classes and a favorite of Professor Dylan. That doesn’t stop Candice from trying to find a relationship balance with him, though. She’s unsure of how to move forward with him while not risking what she’s worked for.

The main plot of the story was wonderful. There’s drama and tense moments, interwoven with moments of humor and sweetness. It was interesting to read as Candice and Candy started to collide in the real world and I wanted to know how Candice would handle everything. She places a lot of pressure on herself, both academically and as a self-published writer, holding herself to a high standard. Amanda, the best friend, works hard to make sure Candice still has fun when she can.

James was sweet and made me laugh. He had a sense of humor that is hard to pull off. There’s a dry and sarcastic wit to him that I loved. He’s not afraid of the rules, choosing to look at life as the big picture and find ways around the rules that are only temporary.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. There were parts that weren’t really my cup of tea, but they don’t overwhelm or overpower the rest of the novel. This isn’t a deep, make you examine your life kind of book, but it’s a book you’ll want to pick up when you just want something light and fun to read.

If Sneaking Candy sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled publishers for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

Title: Dear Cassie
Author: Lisa Burstein
Series: Pretty Amy series
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

I love fairy tales. I love that perfect happy ending. I spent the first 10 years of my life wishing I lived in a land that mixed Sleeping Beauty with Beauty and the Beast and I still hold out hope that one day my prince will come and everything will be perfect and wonderful. Even with that hope, when I’m reading, I’d rather have real than happy. Why is this important to know?

Because Dear Cassie is not a fairy tale. It does not have a perfect happy ending. This book will twist your gut and punch your heart. Cassie’s life has never been wonderful, but ever since she became the fall guy for her friends and their prom night, it’s been worse. She’s made decisions she never thought she’d have to face and she’s still dealing with the repercussions.

I didn’t read Pretty Amy before reading Dear Cassie, but I didn’t feel like that took me out of the story at all. The events of Pretty Amy are talked about enough that I could get a good picture of what happened. Even if I couldn’t, Dear Cassie deals more with the aftermath of that prom night and the choices Cassie makes. She is set to this rehab camp as punishment for the prom night events, but she’s working through something even more important and life changing.

Cassie’s disdain for herself broke my heart. There was no “right” solution and she did what she thought was best, yet she can’t help but beat herself up over it. She blocks herself off from people, using language and attitude as a way to keep people away. When Ben works his way past her defenses, it scares her. She’s seen the bad side of men and not much of the good side. Ben works hard to make sure she can see that whatever happened in the past does not have to be her future.

I’m sure some people won’t like the ending. It’s not a fairy tale ending. Everything isn’t tied up in a pretty bow. But it is perfect. It is real life. If this book had ended any other way, it just wouldn’t have felt right.

Dear Cassie was a gut-wrenching read. My eyes filled with tears the more I read. But as much as it hurts, it also gives hope and forgiveness. I can’t think of words to describe after finishing this book, but that’s a good thing. I will definitely be reading more from Burstein.

If Dear Cassie sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for a honest review.