A Lila Audiobook Review: Tart and Sweet (Candy Man #4) by Amy Lane and Narrator: Philip Alces

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

In the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free.

Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning.

However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.

 

Tart and Sweet is another lovely story. Just like the title, it’s sweet and a bit tart, but not enough to overwhelm the plot. Like the previous three books in the series, we get to see all the original characters and how they are evolving in the relationships. At the same time, they all play an integral part in Cy’s and Robbie’s story.

 

The opening scene between Cy and Robbie is beautiful and envelops the listener into the magic of the boardwalk and the possibilities of a new relationship. The connection between them and Robbie’s hopes are palpable and in the air between them for all to see.

 

I enjoyed Robbie’s disposition to make amends about his past, starting with Adam. He doesn’t shy away from what he did and takes responsibility for his actions. This prepared him for an honest relationship with Cy; who isn’t perfect but understands Robbie’s needs. Cy’s inner shine is always present and Robbie is attracted to it, but their relationship is more than physical.

 

Overall, this one is perhaps my favorite in the series. I hope, we get many more trips to Candy Heaven.

 

The narration by Philip Alces continues to be perfect for the characters and the story. He has a continuity in the voices that allows the story to flow and for the characters to take life.

 

Paul Richmond’s cover is another adaptation from the original, including the pets and the always present piece of candy.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

 

Audiobook Details:

 

Narrator: Philip Alces
Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes

Published: August 1, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B074CK36NT
Edition Language: English

 

Series:  Candy Man
Book #1: Candy Man
Book #2: Bitter Taffy
Book #3: Lollipop
Book #4: Tart and Sweet

A Lila Audiobook Review: Lollipop (Candy Man #3) by Amy Lane and Narrator Philip Alces

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

LollipopEzra 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.

Lollipop is a sweet make-believe contemporary story. It’s hard to believe someone can live the MCs’ lives, but at the same time, the boardwalk/Sacramento settings grounds the story into reality. Even so, the small glances of fantasy/paranormal abilities don’t retract from the overall story.

From the moment Miguel sets eyes on Ezra, he’s drawn to him. His confusion to his reaction had him trying to put Ezra down, but when he realizes the polished man’s already broken. Miguel wants to protect Ezra and bring him back to life. Seeing Ezra being dismissed by Rico shows Miguel that they weren’t as different as he first thought– they were both invisible.

When Ezra arrives at Rico’s apartment, he realizes his mistake. He hadn’t been strong enough to stand up to his father, and now, it was too late to get Rico back. Having this knowledge does nothing to comfort Ezra’s broken heart. Fortunately, he finds an insta-family ready to help him get over Rico and all the years of hurt he endured living under his father’s thumb.

The story had some slow and awkward moments that take away from the main characters’ relationship. The dialogue and the banter worked with the rest of the series, and it was nice to see how the relationships on the previous books have evolved.

So far, this installment is my favorite in the series. The connection between Miguel and Ezra was a slow-burn, based on a friendship and how much they care for each other. Together, they discovered their place in the grand scheme of things and learned to be there for each other.

Overall, this story is about finding your place, love, friendship, and family. Ezra and Miguel found much more than love; they found acceptance and a future they could work together for. Plus, we get some clues into the next book in the series.

As with the previous two books, Philip Alces did an excellent job with the characters’ voices. He kept them consistent through all the Candy Man stories. He did a good job with the Spanish bits and the female voices, too.

The cover by Paul Richmond matches the previous two books and it’s an adaptation from the ebook one. It has Ezra’s lollipops and Clopper & Jake on it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Philip Alces
Length:  9 hours and 13 minutes

Published:  March 21, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01D5DDUAA
Edition Language: English

Series:  Candy Man
Book #1: Candy Man
Book #2: Bitter Taffy
Book #3: Lollipop