Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Candy Man by Amy Lane

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Candy Man coverAdam Macias is virtually homeless when he arrives at his cousin Rico’s apartment to housesit/petsit while Rico is away for six months. Out of a job, money and a place to live, even his car broke down on the way to Sacramento to do this favor for Rico, a favor which Adam sees as his last chance to redeem himself after a string of life disasters, including outing himself just before he left the military.

All he wants to do is survive, but suddenly he finds himself on the receiving end of good things—including a job, a boss and co-workers who like him, people who like his art work, and best of all—a boyfriend.

When Finn Stewart comes bouncing into his life as a happy-go-lucky young man who just exudes positive energy, Adam is at first confused and taken aback, but eventually he fully embraces the fact that he likes Finn, in fact, he needs Finn in a way he’s never needed anyone before. All his life he’s been the boy who was not wanted by either his mother or his grandmother. He’s been stereotyped as a troublemaker, not worth anyone’s time or attention. Joining the Army was his attempt to show his value, but when he returned home and shared with his family that he was gay, his grandmother literally slammed the door in his face and reiterated how just how worthless and useless he was.

Because of his history of low self-esteem from listening to those negative messages, it’s hard for Adam to accept the positive things now happening in his life, but Finn—bright, cheerful Finn, brings Adam hope. One of my favorite early scenes occurs when he’s kissing Finn and Finn tells him that they’ll kiss more, but not tonight. And Adam realizes that he’ll do whatever Finn wants. Paraphrasing Adam’s thoughts–he had no moral code about sex but he does have a moral code about Finn, and whatever Finn says is the code.

Slowly but surely, tough-guy Adam who hasn’t had any value to anyone suddenly has value to others, and he realizes as he’s smiling for the second time one day that the smiling and camaraderie he’s experiencing at work and with Finn is “softening the parts of his soul made brittle by pain”. I love Amy Lane’s descriptions of the emotional complexities of everyday living.

This book is not long, but it’s packed with a powerful message of hope and love as we witness Adam healing from the hurt and pain he’s lived with for years as he receives the positive layers of energy and love being shared with him on all fronts. There’s fun and whimsy in the form of his boss Darrin who knew that Adam would come into their lives when he read the Pixy Stix, his form of reading tea leaves. And there’s both comedy and tragedy as Adam copes with caring for Rico’s pets—from the big, overeager boxer named Clopper to the crazy old cat named Gonzo who dies on Adam’s watch. Then there’s Finn’s family—healthy, robust, cheerful, loveable, and everything you’d hope for in the ideal family to help Adam heal. And Finn? He’s adorable, strong, loving, and as supportive as a rock for Adam as he finds his way to happiness.

I highly recommend this one to all lovers of M/M romance, especially if you love a damaged hero who’s able to heal with the help of an upbeat, positive character. There’s no denying that there’s angst in this tale, but there’s love galore and so many positives that I feel energized from reading it. I sure would love to see a sequel from this one!

Very highly recommended.

Cover Art by Paul Richmond— Primarily depicts the small shopping area where the candy store is located, lots of candy, and Clopper, the dog— all great representations of the story. In addition, the bright colorful cover conveys the “feel good” energy that’s found within the story itself.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press                 All Romance (ARe)        Amazon            buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 136 pages
Published December 3rd 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish