Thursday, August 31, 2017

Audio Tour: Learning to Love by Felice Stevens (Review+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.

Learning to Love Teas 1 final Learning to Love Teas 2


“How did you know where to find me?”

“I didn’t. But when I went to your apartment and discovered you weren’t home, I thought to myself, ‘Where would a chef be early on Saturday morning?’”

Pleased he’d thought so carefully about me, I bit my lip to keep from smiling, then muttered with my head down, “Lucky guess on your part.”

“I’d like to think so,” said Jonah, his voice as soft as the breeze. My eyes met his, the hurt from our last conversation shimmering bright in their depths, causing a throb within me of a longing I’d never known existed. “Or maybe it was fate.”

He smiled then plucked the paper bag of rugelach out of my clutches, rummaged through it until he found an apricot one, and bit off half.

“Well, if you’re that hungry, I guess you can come home with me, and I’ll make you an omelet,” I grumbled but couldn’t stop the small grin tugging at my lips. “But I planned on browsing a bit more through the market first.”

“I’d like that.” Jonah walked beside me, and we meandered past the stands piled high with colorful peppers and squash. We strolled in silence, but every few steps I’d sneak a glance at him, expecting Jonah to speak. Instead he remained irritatingly, cheerfully silent.

I sampled some hot mulled cider and licked my lips. Spending so much time with Jonah gave me new insight. I’d always thought him superior and judgmental; perhaps I had been wrong in my assessment. He captivated me with the humor in his speech, warmth in his smile, and that unmistakable flare of desire in his eyes. Goddamn it, I wanted him.

I extended the paper cup. “Do you want a sip?” Its heady cinnamon scent remained one of my most favorite things about the fall season. To my shock, instead of answering me, he bent down and kissed me on my lips, lapping at their sticky sweetness. He stepped back, but I put a restraining hand on his wrist.

“What’s going on? Why are you really here?”

The honesty in Jonah’s face took my breath away.

“Do you really have to ask, after the last time?”

My body refused to listen to the war inside my head, kindling a deep need I couldn’t understand. I took a step forward, but unlike me, Jonah didn’t retreat. He stood firm, and I stood close enough to almost touch. Close enough to smell him.

“I’m not who you want; can’t you see that?”

“You don’t have any idea what I see when I look at you, Gideon.”

I wanted to yell back at him, No, you have no idea who I am, but I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the moment. I had no clue who Jonah thought I was, but I wanted to be that man if only to be able to have him always look at me like this. Like I was special. Like I was his. The sun beat hot upon my shoulders, and I held his gaze while contentment poured over me like a warm summer rain.

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!

Felice Logo

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed. 

 But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back. 

 Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.




  1. I don't have one, as I don't listen to audiobooks.
    jlshannon74 at

  2. I don't do audiobooks; so I have no favorite

  3. I do not have a favorite.

  4. Congrats, Felice, and thanks for the good review, Mari. Tbh, I don't listen to many audios, so I don't have a fav narrator. But it sounds like this one's good. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com