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review 2018-03-15 15:16
Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah...
Under the Boardwalk - Felice Stevens,Nick J. Russo

On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be...


Alexi Kharpov works at his family’s frozen custard stand on Coney Island, but he dreams of travel and a world that he’s never seen until the day he sees a gorgeous man standing in front of his family’s stand sinding like an angel. Than his dreams start to include the beautiful man who’s captivated Alexi’s attention and his heart.


Cameron Maxwell travelled the world as an opera singer and nothing has captivated him like the beautiful young man serving custard.


When Cam starts a summer fling with the attractive young man. Neither of them is counting on their feelings lasting beyond the warmth of the summer sun but when summer ends both men realize that their feelings have gotten stronger and their lives more complicated…


Alexi has been given the chance of a lifetime to travel and live abroad. To see a world, he’s only dreamed about, but can he do this when his heart wants something different and if he doesn’t how badly will he come to regret it and even scarier is Alexi’s desire to live a life that’s true and honest…a life that could cost him his family.


Cam knows that Alexi needs to make the most of what’s been offered to him and he doesn’t want to lose him, but he’s determined not to hold him back and Cam’s got his own issue to deal with the condition that ended his opera career is back and he needs to take care of himself. It’s not going to be easy, but Alexi and Cam need to find a way to follow their dreams and protect their love.


‘Under the Boardwalk’ is one of the sweetest NA, coming out stories that I’ve read in a long time. I loved both Alexi and Cameron. These two were so perfect for each other. At not quite 4 hours of listening time this wasn’t a long story and thankfully the author kept the focus to the relationship between Alexi and Cam. There were other life issues for both Alexi and Cam as individuals and as a couple but none of it ever overwhelmed the romance and was easily woven into the story. Whether it was Alexi’s coming out to his family or Cam dealing with his health issue it was all part of Alexi and Cam’s growing relationship.


I loved the secondary characters in this story from Cam’s parents who were loving and supportive to Alexi’s family which was such a mixed bag…his cousin who at first seemed homophobic but was really more misinformed and uninformed than anything and wanted to be supportive and there for his cousin…so not perfect but none of us are and what mattered most is that he loved his cousin and was willing to change his thinking to be open to the fact that whether Alexi was gay or straight he was still his cousin and still the same cousin that he’d been the day before. Then there was Alexi’s dad…not a total write off but he’s got a ways to go before he earns forgiveness for his behavior and more importantly there’s Alexi’s mom and his babushka (grandmother) these two women were AMAZING!!! Seriously for them alone this story was worthwhile.


And last but not least we have the ending…ok, I loved the ending seriously it worked for me and was definitely what flipped this story from a 3.5, precarious 4 stars to a solid 4 stars and sorry no, I’m not giving away the ending because that would just be wrong.


One of my other favorite things about this one was that it was narrated by Nick J. Russo…yep, still a fave of mine and as always, he did not fail me. I loved his voices but especially Alexi’s and that his accent varied becoming stronger during more emotional times and less noticeable at other times while it could be disconcerting it was also a realistic reflection of what happens when someone whose native tongue isn’t English finds themselves in an environment where they’re speaking English as much or more than their native tongue. I’ve known people who were Scottish, Russian, Australian, Belgium and various other ethnicities and while it doesn’t happen to everyone many of them when we were speaking while they never fully lost their accent if they became really emotional about something whether happy or agitated their accents generally became much stronger and more noticeable so for me Alexi’s accent and how it occasionally varied seemed natural and realistic but it also kept me on my toes as a listener.


‘Under the Boardwalk’ is only my second listening experience with a Felice Stevens novel and while I definitely enjoyed this story more than the previous one, I really can’t find fault with the choice of narrator for either story and I’m looking forward to seeing what else this author has written that I can enjoy on audio and who knows I may even slide an e-book or two onto the reading pile as well.


This was a sweet story about coming out, finding love and having dreams come true…so all in all there’s a lot of good feelz here…definitely recommended.





An audio book of ‘Under the Boardwalk’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-03-06 18:45
Sean Crisden saved the day on this one...
Memories of the Heart - Felice Stevens,Sean Crisden

I'm getting reviewed out here and truthfully I listened to this one because I felt like it and for no other reason...thank you once again Audible.com Romance Package. So I'm going to try and keep this one short and sweet.


First off there are already some really good reviews out there for this book both for and against so to speak. Truthfully for me the story was maybe 2 or 2.5 stars with the rest of the stars that make up my 3 stars rating being for Sean Crisden and the awesome job that he did on the narration of this one.


I needed the story to be a little tighter...which translates to a bit shorter to get rid of some of what felt like repetitive thoughts/ideas/conversations. I needed Micah to just generally be different...not as whiny, with a more believable transition to being the kind, courteous person that he became.


I needed the 2 hospital administrators who were such huge dicks to just generally not exist because along with just generally being a**holes, they were TSTL!!!


And let's not even discuss Josh's ex and his sister who owned/ran the coffee shop where Josh worked because truthfully I'm not sure which one of these two idiots I liked less and then we have Micah's best friend Alex and Rafe the vet who took care of the dog that Josh found...seriously I probably liked these two characters the most and we saw them the least.


So, quick summary I loved the narration on this because Sean Crisden...he's another fave of mine, the story was good in theory and fell short in execution and book #2 'One Step Further' and #3 'The Greatest Gift' are both centered around Alex and Rafe...so bizarre as it seems because I really liked these two men, I'm probably going to at least give 'One Step Further' a chance to see how it goes and then we'll see if there's a book #3 in my future.

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review 2018-02-28 06:05
Perfect - Felice Stevens

This is book #4 in the Soulmates series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.


Blake cannot believe someone so good looking could care for him.  He has secrets that he needs to talk about.  Will he still have the trust if he tells the truth?


Jeremy has waited for someone as great as Blake.  He is finally seeing his hard work pay off.  Now he just needs someone to share it with.  Has he found his future?


Such an intense and amazingly sweet love story.  I was rooting for this couple from page one.  I loved the heat and banter.  This book has a steady pace, and this story fits perfect with the Soulmates series.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2018-02-23 00:00
Perfect - Felice Stevens Reviewed for Sinfully.

While this is the fourth story in the Soulmates series it is a standalone, but it does have ties to [b:One Call Away|33850582|One Call Away (Soulmates, #2)|Felice Stevens|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490761863s/33850582.jpg|54792313] (Noah and Oren’s story). Jeremy is Noah’s brother and the timeline of this story begins before and flows into the events there. Other than that, there is no reason not to jump into this book even if you haven’t read the prior stories – although I highly recommend them on their own as well.

When Jeremy and Blake meet on a sidewalk on a snowy night, they seem as different as can be; Jeremy, the outgoing, muscled gym owner and Blake the shy, quiet, plain accountant. Something about Blake instantly attracts Jeremy and he quickly puts the moves on Blake, who is like nobody he has ever been with.

Jeremy doesn't believe in love and dates around. Blake rarely dates and doesn't get emotionally involved with people. He likes his orderly life as it is. Jeremy is tired of being judged as a no-brained gym rat. Blake sees him as a go-getter and smart businessman, even if he does occasionally comment on Jeremy's pretty face or blows off discussing his work. Blake fears he's too boring for the gorgeous, successful Jeremy, who is always commenting on Blake's prestigious job, and figures that it's just a matter of time before Jeremy walks away. What they didn't expect is how quickly they manage to fall into a relationship and how surprisingly well they fit sexually and emotionally - two imperfect men who just might be perfect for each other. With Jeremy, Blake feels safe and is able to be sexually adventurous and give up some control, while Blake brings out the romantic, protective side of Jeremy and makes him feel special, which is something new for him. Another first for both men is believing that love may just be a possibility.

While they both have wonderful siblings they each have big insecurities thanks to their parents. Blake's brought on by his father and Jeremy's by his mother. No matter how good things seem, neither can fully quell their fears and worries. Blake is holding back from completely opening up to Jeremy and Jeremy can't shake the feeling that Blake doesn't see him as an equal, but both men definitely want to hold onto the other as long as it can last.

This is another beautifully written book by Felice Stevens. Jeremy and Blake really bring out the best in each other and I enjoyed watching them navigating the relationship angle of things. Neither has had a serious relationship before and both men struggle with it quite a bit where communication is concerned. Neither is great at it, but Jeremy is more assertive than Blake and does his best to let Blake know what his feelings are. While Blake promises to be open and honest with Jeremy, it's not something that comes easily. They seem to be doing great together until Blake breaks that promise to Jeremy by lying to him when he should be seeking his support and everything spirals out of control. This is where the tension really built, waiting for Blake's house of lies and deception to come crashing down and, if you've read One Call Away, you know a little of what to expect when it does. Soon his emotional turmoil is manifesting itself physically as well, causing him to put even more distance between himself and Jeremy until he makes one more bad decision that completely guts both of them and also gutted me as the reader.

I’ll admit that Blake frustrated me so much at times. His father did a number on his self-esteem as a child and he still carries the emotional scars as a successful adult. He is passive and doubts his worth, not trusting Jeremy's declarations of love to last. He puts up walls and shuts Jeremy out and no matter what Jeremy says to him, he is always telling himself a version of ‘well you say that now but you’ll be gone when you see I’m not worth it’. Jeremy is a sweetheart and just wants someone to put him first and make him feel like he’s a priority in their life. The pressure they both feel to be perfect in the other’s eyes contributes to a lot of the worries and both men have a hard time putting that aside. Luckily they both have Jeremy’s psychologist brother Noah to try and help put things in perspective. I adore how they came full circle, finally realizing there is no such thing as perfection, but there is such a thing as two people being perfect for each other.

This is another winner for Felice Stevens fans or for anyone who likes stories where the road to HEA is a bit bumpy - and the tiniest bit kinky. Both men have to work hard for it but that just makes it all that much sweeter in the end.

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url 2018-01-26 20:29
Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, A Through F
Thieves' World - Robert Lynn Asprin,Lynn Abbey,John Brunner,Poul Anderson,Andrew J. Offutt,Joe Haldeman,Marion Zimmer Bradley,Christine DeWees
A Woman of the Iron People - Eleanor Arnason
Kindred - Octavia E. Butler
Red Moon and Black Mountain - Joy Chant
The Vampire Tapestry - Suzy McKee Charnas
Gate of Ivrel - C.J. Cherryh
Moongather - Jo Clayton
The Door Into Fire - Diane Duane
Born to Exile - Phyllis Eisenstein
Light Raid - Connie Willis,Cynthia Felice

In the 70's, I mostly got to read school library books, my aunt's endless Harlequin subscriptions and yard sale finds.  So, several of these are authors I haven't read:


I have all the Diadem novels by Jo Clayton (most are so yellowed and brittle -- some I had to get used in pre-Amazon and pre-eBay online searches so came that way and some were mine).  I've been putting off finishing because hard for my old lady eyes to read.

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