Title: Learning to Love
Author: Felice Stevens
Length: 228 pages
Publisher: Felice Stevens (April 30th 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts
Blurb: After ten 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.
Product Link: http://amzn.to/1OeWqZS
Review: Gideon Marks has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove to the people he grew up with. After losing his mother and grandmother in a car accident, Gideon was raised by his alcoholic, emotionally abusing father. Gideon struggled with dyslexia and his father’s insults thrown at him on a daily basis. Queer, stupid, idiot, pansy, were breaking his spirit day by day. After dropping out of high school and leaving home when he was 17, Gideon struggled for years to come to terms with his dyslexia and to make something with his life.
Ten years later, he owns a successful restaurant/take-away business together with his best friend Rico. He’s ready to prove that he’s not the same worthless teenager he used to be. One thing Gideon hasn’t expected after returning to his home town was to find his childhood crush as the new Rabbi. Gideon isn’t ready to deal with Jonah. No matter how much Jonah tries to get close to Gideon, Gideon tries his hardest to push him away. Good thing Jonah isn’t a quitter and he’s determined to have Gideon, the man he’s always loved.
There were many things I loved and a few that didn’t work for me that much. I loved how Gideon’s dyslexia was handled. It wasn’t made into this big drama, but it also wasn’t brushed under the carpet. It was the disability that shaped Gideon’s life and the person who he has become. I also loved how they functioned as a couple. Although it was mostly due to Jonah’s efforts more than anything else. And I really loved the secondary characters, especially Jonah’s father and Gideon’s best friend, Rico.
And speaking of Rico, I can’t wait to read his story!
What didn’t work for me at all was the insta-love that happened out of nowhere. Yeah, I understand that Gideon has crushed on Jonah forever, but they were never friends. They had never been close and Gideon didn’t even have a clue that Jonah was gay. And a few days after they met they’re exchanging ILY’s and you’re the love of my life kind of cheesy talk. That needed to come MUCH later!
One thing this story was lacking was Jonah’s POV, because I didn’t really understand him or get to know him. I couldn’t really tell what was going through his head. Alternating POVs would’ve been perfect here!!! And the last thing I’m complaining about is the somewhat immature behavior Gideon demonstrated at times. Gideon, storming out of a room, ignoring a person that’s talking to you, and behaving like a toddler throwing tantrums doesn’t look good on a 27-year-old.
Overall, this was a lot better than the last book I’ve read by this author. I can tell she’s becoming better with time and experience. I’m glad I gave Felice another chance and I’m looking forward to Rico’s story.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *