Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ARC Review: The Candy Man by Amy Lane

Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he's taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that's to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.

Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he's applying to Candy Heaven and decides he's much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.
But Finn is tenacious, and Adam's new boss, Darrin, doesn't take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.

Dani's rating:

It's no secret that I adore Amy Lane's work, particularly her lower angst, sweeter books.

Christmas Kitsch, which I read last year, remains one of my all time favorites.

And this book? Well, this one's worthy of a Snoopy dance!

Finn, who wears a Jake the Dog hat complete with floppy ears, is bright and alive and persistent. He reminds me of Oliver from Christmas Kitsch. Finn is a force of joy, and he just wants to hold Adam and make everything better.

"This is real," [Finn] said, and Adam knew what he was talking about. "The sun, the river, and us."

Adam, who spent eight years in the Army, may be 27, but he seems younger than Finn's 24 years in many ways. Adam feels lost and unlovable, like he's one stop away from the road to nowhere. He doesn't think he deserves Finn, or anyone at all.

Maybe Finn had the right of it. Maybe you never really lose those pictures that hurt you. But maybe they could become less and less of all of the pictures in your heart.

The book revolves around Candy Heaven, a little candy store ran by the kind, intuitive Darrin (Amy writes about the real Darrin in her Author's Note; don't skip it!). Darrin reads magic in Pixy Stix dust and takes care of everyone.

The quirky secondary characters are wonderful! I loved the banter, camaraderie, and friendship.

Adam's cousin, Rico, is a gem. He is so understanding and supportive of Adam, and their last text conversation brought tears to my eyes.

Finn's family is all kinds of fantastic. Finn's dad explaining about Finn's bathroom habits? Seriously, only Amy Lane could make that funny. But funny it was, like the rest of the book: charming and JOYFUL.

"I was going to fall in love with you whether I liked it or not, and it's just a good thing you were awesome, or I would have been fucking doomed."

The Candy Man isn't all ease and laughter. Adam's been hurt, and his loneliness and feelings of unworthiness threaten to take over.

There's a "homicidal little fucker" of a cat and a big, enthusiastic dog. And there's another cat too, and an impromptu Thanksgiving meal and garlic fries that make you fart and kissing (barely-there kisses and gropey kisses and kisses that take over your very core).

His lips on Adam's tasted like the kind of wine they talk about in church. The kind that fills the soul.

I cried a little and laughed a whole lot. I rooted for Finn and for Adam and for Darrin, who really deserves a story of his very own.

Do not wait to read this one! Sweetness and hope await.

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An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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