Wednesday, October 25, 2017

AotM: Learning to Love & The Way to His Heart by Felice Stevens (Reviews+Giveaway)


Learning To Love Cover

NARRATOR: Derrick McClain


After 10 years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn't turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn't count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he's buried deep for years.

An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn't good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah's father. But Jonah hangs tough - he won't allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren't always taught in school.

Story: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars

Gideon is back home for the holidays, intent on making his catering business a success and show everyone, especially Jonah Fine, his high school crush, that he could make it despite what they all thought of him. Jonah seems really interested in him now that he's back, but Gideon has a secret that makes him push the young Rabbi away. Jonah is not willing to be pushed away, though.

Jonah was the stuff dreams are made of, so sweet and so determined to make things work, despite Gideon pushing him away. And Gideon was just awesome! I just wanted to cuddle him at times, he had such a hard life and it was difficult for him to get to the place he is now, but I loved his drive to make his business the best he could, despite his limitations. Jonah and Gideon together were smoking hot, too! I adored that we got to see more of them as a couple this time.

I've read this story several times and it's, in fact, one of my favorite Felice Stevens' books. There's just something about Gideon and Jonah that I can't get enough of. Added to that, I'm a huge Derrick McClain fan, so of course I was going to jump at the chance of listening to one of my favorite books narrated by one of my favorite narrators and you know what? I was blown away by Mr. McClain's performance. He captured Gideon's essence perfectly, bringing to his narration all the intensity and emotion that his character required. I adore Jonah, too, who was Gideon's perfect counterpart, more serene, understanding and patient, but also showing the love he felt for Gideon. I loved the other characters' voices, as well, they were all pretty distinguishable. Mr. McClain's voice is nice and smooth, without going overboard, and he brought Gideon and Jonah to life for me. While I love the book to pieces, I was thoroughly enchanted by the audiobook. Highly recommendable!

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Love is going pretty well for Gideon Marks. He’s living with his boyfriend, Jonah, and his business is thriving beyond his wildest dreams. So why is he still worried he’s not enough, and all he holds dear will slip through his fingers?

Jonah Fine has everything he wants; he’s head over heels in love with Gideon and has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his father. Aware of Gideon's continuing struggle with dyslexia, Jonah tries to reassure him that they are equal partners in their relationship by making their first Valentine's Day one to remember.

Ghosts from the past reappear, sending Gideon into a tailspin. He must make the decision to either hold on to the anger he grew up with or forgive the pain he’s carried with him all his life. It will take all of Gideon's courage, Jonah's love, and a special surprise for Gideon to finally realize the one person he must learn to love is himself.

GoodReads ~  Amazon

4.5 Stars!!!

First of all, I have to make a confession, Gideon and Jonah are one of my favorite Felice Stevens couples, so of course, I jumped at the chance of reading this novella and let me tell you, it was all I would've wanted for this Valentine's Day!

Jonah is more in love with Gideon every day, but Gideon is having doubts that he'll ever be enough for Jonah. 

It was heartbreaking to see Gideon still having so many doubts regarding his own worth, although it was understandable. While his dyslexia was better, he'd reached a plateau and the fact that his therapist told him it was unlikely he'd learn more threw him into a tailspin. I adored that Jonah, Rico and Ari were there for him, though, and helped him through it all. Jonah and Gideon were adorable and hot, as always, and it was lovely seeing them together. 

While the whole issue with Gideon's dad was left a bit open-ended in Learning to Love, which by the way you need to read before reading The Way to His Heart, it is addressed at large here and we finally learn why he behaved the way he did and Gideon has some closure in that sense. 

All in all, a great short read and a sweet conclusion to Jonah and Gideon's story! 

Highly recommendable!

*** Copy provided to the reviewer by the author for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.***

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Felice Logo

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.
But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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  1. I do enjoy shorts that enable you to catch up with my favorite characters. Sometimes you just don't want to let them go!

  2. Yes I do enjoy short stories it's great to see how the characters are getting on.

  3. "When Ethan Loves Carter" is one of my favourties with a character who has a disability.

  4. I love catching up with characters I love....felice's stories are great read for handicap characters

  5. I have a hard time remembering the details of books as I read so many, but one that I liked was Anna Martin's Signs, which had a deaf character.

  6. I love catching up with characters in short stories. As for favorite books with people with diabilities, Tempeste O'Reilly has a few books that I loved with disabled characters.

  7. Kim Fielding's Rattlesnake, Heidi Cullinan's Lonely Hearts, and Garrett Leigh's What Remains are some of favorite stories with disabled characters

  8. I enjoy reading shorts that give me tidbits of what happened to the characters after their book have ended. I think my favorite might be All My Broken Pieces Hollis Shiloh and Cethe by Becca Abbott

  9. Thanks for the good reviews, Mari. I usually want more indepth development than a short can give me, but if I already know them, a short about them can serve as a nice epilogue. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  10. Congrats on AotM, Felice. AIDS is officially a disability, and there are a number of good books out there. One was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Blackwater Lightship, by Colm Tóibín. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  11. I enjoy short stories to catch up on characterts.

  12. When Ethan Loves Carter is a favorite.