Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: 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.
Review: Lollipop is the third book in the Candy Man series and starts immediately after the end of book #2, Bitter Taffy. As events from previous books have a direct impact on this book, the series is best read in order.
Ezra Kellerman has lived his whole life trying to please his father and make him proud. An apparent task in pointlessness, as the cold-hearted Martin Kellerman – successful businessman – is only impressed by ruthlessness and Ezra doesn’t have a ruthless bone in his body. At twenty-eight, Ezra realises the mistake he made in bowing to his father’s narrow-minded views, keeping his true self hidden in the effort to make his father happy. Five months after watching his lover walk away, Ezra makes the brave decision to follow Rico all the way across the country in the hopes that he will find forgiveness and love. Instead, he finds that not only has Rico moved on, but he has moved on to find the love of his life. A heartbroken and lost Ezra is left on the front lawn to wonder what his future now holds.
Miguel Rodriguez is the second youngest in a large family. He loves, and is loved by, his family but often feels invisible in the crowd. Although Rico’s cousin Adam and Adam’s boyfriend, Finn are the ones who take Ezra under their wing and into their home to occupy their newly vacated couch, it is their friend Miguel that Ezra turns to as an anchor. With somewhere safe and supportive to stay, a new job at Candy Heaven, and new friends who seem to not only care about him, but actually like him, Ezra slowly starts his journey to healing from a lifetime of suppressing who he is under a controlling father and distant mother.
Ezra is so lost at the beginning. He’s unsure of himself and more than a little broken, but he is also really sweet and you can see the glimmer of the person he’ll become now that he’s out from under his father’s oppressive thumb. He’s given the chance to actually get to know himself for the first time.
As Ezra grows into himself, Miguel becomes more aware of just what a special person Ezra is. Also, for the first time, Miguel feels like he is someone’s person, the one to turn to for love and support. I think this is why he and Ezra connect so well and are so good for each other. They both know what it feels like to believe they aren’t important, that they are no-one. Ezra helps Miguel see that he is someone to his family and friends, that they do see him and love him for who he is and they have his back, because he recognises that with Ezra’s family they truly make Ezra feel like he’s nothing. They don’t have his back and he doesn’t have their support. At the same time, as mistaken as Miguel may have been, thinking he was invisible, it gives him the understanding to know why Ezra is the way he is and why he feels like he doesn’t matter and how to give him what he needs to counteract that. Their romance is slow and steady as it turns from friendship to love. Their relationship could have come across as dependent, but the author finds just the right balance between the pace of their personal growth and that of their romance and it felt very believable. Once Ezra did realise he mattered to people, it was a revelation.
I adored all the characters that inhabit this world. Miguel’s mother is the best and it was nice catching up with characters from the previous books. Sweet, with depth and a dash of magic, Lollipop is a wonderful story of love, healing and growth. I have to mention the Author’s Note. It is one of the most articulately stated and heartfelt ones I’ve read. And I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment expressed.