Saturday, January 16, 2016

ARC Review: Lollipop (Candy Man #3) by Amy Lane

Lollipop (Candy Man, #3)
Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn't. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn't just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.

Todd's rating:

In book 3 of Amy's Candy Man series, "Lollipop," all of the characters that I loved from the two initial books are back and the new story fits seamlessly into the Candy Heaven universe.

In this latest installment, 28 y.o. NYC native, Ezra Kellerman shows up in Sacramento with hopes that he isn't too late, but when you snooze, you lose, which Ezra immediately realizes, as Rico is now happily in love with Derek, his true soulmate.

Rico does still care what happens to Ezra, though, even if he has moved on, so he sets Ezra up with a place to stay and a guardian, of sorts, in Candy Heaven employee Miguel.

Miguel is still finding his own footing, and feeling a teeny bit butthurt, after his small startup business failed, so the last thing that he needs (or wants) is the responsibility of helping someone else put their life back together.

Then as Ezra and Miguel begin spending nearly every day together, Miguel slowly changes his tune about the burden of spending time with the adorable, yet broken (and sexy) Ezra.

For me, this was not only a story about healing and growing into the person you want to be, but also about family. For better or for worse.

Where Ezra's controlling and distant family is concerned, blood is thicker than bullshit. And just as noxious and unbearable. These people are real pieces of work, let me tell you.

Miguel's family, however, along with Finn's and the people at Candy Heaven, more than make up for Ezra's lack of biological family connections.

The way that Miguel's mother and Finn's sister latch onto Ezra was amazing to watch. Plus, I found Ezra and Miguel's trip to Disneyland with Miguel's young nieces and nephew really heart-felt and touching.

The main conflict arises when Ezra's pissed off (asshole) father and brother show up on Adam and Finn's doorstep while Ezra is out of town.

I loved seeing Ezra lean on Miguel and his chosen family to come through that experience stronger than ever -- without his tail between his legs, but with his head held high. Ezra's character growth in the story was a thing of beauty.

The slow burn in this one reaaaaaaally took a while to catch fire (until around 60% into the book,) but when it finally did, Lord, there were some sizzling hot scenes.

One of the funniest aspects of the story was how pretty much everyone kept hitting on an extremely oblivious Ezra, which made Miguel bat-shit crazy.

Who knew that all it would take to push Miguel over the edge would be one scorched waffle to force h/is hand and throw Ezra up against the wall and go for it? Yes, more waffles, please!

Also, the scene where Miguel controls the show and takes Ezra apart, one piece at a time, that was pretty hot as well.

The story wasn't overly angsty, and we're left with a pretty strong HEA, but there was an unexpected part at the very end concerning Darrin's clairvoyant abilities maybe not being the only ones around that had me practically vibrating while guessing just where that plot twist might take us in the future.

And we're given a huge clue at the end of the story as to who will be showing up at Candy Heaven next, much to Adam's dismay, but Darrin may have some help in the next book, which I can't wait to read.

So after all that, of course I had to track Amy down on Facebook and tell her that she was a FUCKING TEASE! (In a mostly good way.) Trust me, after the last couple of chapters, you'll be tempted to as well. : )

Overall, I enjoyed this one more than book 2 (because... WAFFLES,) but a bit less than book 1 (because... FINN,) so this one clocks in at around 4.25 *verse-is-the-new-gay* stars.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publishers in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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