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Imitation of Life

(Rock Bottom #2)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Benny DeMarco is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He works hard, takes care of his little sister, and pays the bills. Childhood bullies and an abusive stepfather invade his dreams, and at times he wishes life would grant him a do-over. Would he like a boyfriend? You bet. But Benny knows love isn’t for him. He’s been looked over, looked through, and looked past all his life ...more
Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published August 16th 2019 (first published August 10th 2019)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lordy that was a hard read at times because of the nature of the backgrounds of both characters.

However, that's not to say it's all angsty or depressing reading, not by a long stretch.

There's plenty of emotion and humour to help balance out a story which is at its heart, about learning to accept yourself, including the painful parts, to be able to move on.

Both Benny and Gino had experiences which had the potential to leave them permanently broken both emotionally and physically.

But each had a
Leaf of Absence
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
The dialogue felt like it was written by someone who had heard of 'people' but never actually met any of them irl. ...more
I was thrilled when I found out that Felice Stevens was writing an angstier book than usual. There is always plenty of drama in her books, but the angst is usually minimal. Here she has brought it all back.

While we’ve met Gino and Benny before, this is their fully contained love story. We know that Benny has been crushing hard on his co-worker Gino, while Gino has been busy sleeping with every man in the gym except Benny, but the reasons why are about to come clear.
The book is part of the Rock
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adored Broken Silence, the first book in the Rock Bottom series, and was super excited to get my hands on Imitation of Life. I needed more of the side characters I grew to love so much and had high hopes for this one.

Although I enjoyed Imitation of Life, I’m going to be honest and say I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Broken Silence. Broken Silence was a strong four-star rating, more of a four-point-five-star rating, whereas Imitation of Life was a rounded up rating. It was close enough
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-read
What was my favorite part of the book was having Noah,Jeremy, Oren and Ash in the book. 😊 Both characters Gino and Benny just seemed to be a hot mess and they both needed reassurances from each other constantly! 😱🤪
Chloe 🙋‍♀️ Benny’s little sister was the star in this book for me.
Zane Kage
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5
Benny and Gino. I've been waiting for their story since they appeared in Perfect, and holy hell, were they worth the wait. But man, these guys ripped my heart out, absolutely shredded it. Felice Stevens may not do angst often, but when she does, watch out! Tissues. You'll need them. For both the happy and sad tears. The things they go through as they find their way through life together-yep. Tissues.

And wow. What a beautiful story, full of love and hope and second chances. I fell deep for Benny
Imitation of Life so far is the hardest book I read from Felice.
I was waiting for Gino and Benny's story and thought that they're going to have a sweet story, and nothing really hard in their life. Once again, Felice proved me wrong.
I was a bit pissed off with Gino before I read their story, because, who would rejected the sweet Benny? And I when I thought Gino was a player, I was wrong again.
My heart hurt for Gino. For how much he sell himself short and cheap, for what he had been through all
Funzee Shu

“There’s a reason we have a past tense, to show the difference between what was and what is.”

More tears…
And more…more tears…
That what happen to me during the reading…

I’ve been curious and waiting for Gino and Benny’s story since I spot them on Felice’s others book. Deep down in my heart I always knew that both Gino and Benny have their own story that worth to tell. The story that will broke another heart and brought tears to many readers…

“You and me ain’t so different.
Felice Stevens
Aug 13, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-book
The pre-order for Imitation of Life is live!
Here is the Universal Link:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Here's a little teaser:

“You and me ain’t so different. We both got fucked over by people we trusted.”
Thinking about it, Gino was right. “But we went in different directions, neither of which is healthy. I cut myself off from people, and you—”
“Fucked everything in sight.” His mouth twisted. “You were the smarter one. People
Dawn Nicole Costiera
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Imitation of life by Felice Stevens is one emotional read. Phew. What these men have been through most would crumble. I felt like I had been waiting forever to get Benny and Gino's story. From the minute I heard Felice was giving them a book, I was super excited.
Sweet sweet Benny and Gregorius Gino.... Was theirs an unrequited love? Destined to only be friends? Benny had been pining for Gino for years. He assumed, he was totally invisible to his beautiful friend....
But Gino saw the real Benny
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Benny has been crushing on Gino from afar for years. He feels like he will never be enough for him. Gino feels like he is not enough for Benny.

Great, angsty read. Both guys are broken, yet need each other to heal. Sweet love story. Benny’s relationship with his sister is adorable. A great book about the healing power of love.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Angst Squared

When Felice Stevens decides to toss in the angst, she doesn't do it with a shovel. Rather, she mounts the back hoe and just dumps it all over her MCs and leaves them under a pile of dirt and rubbish that needs more than a couple of friends to clean up the mess.

Such is the case with Benny Demarco and Gino Acosta, two lower middle class late 20's from Brooklyn who work at the gym owned by Jeremy Strauss of "Perfect," one of the three books in Stevens' Soulmates series. In that one Jer
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"We all have hidden scars.." This is the first of many of my favourite quotes from Benny & Gino's book as it is so true for each of the men. They've both been through hell and back but never let it show.
"Inside I was as much of a mess as ever, doubt plaguing me every step of the way...."
This is another favourite quote and while it's said by one of the main characters, it so easily relates to them both, especially with their pasts, things they've had to go through,
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, reviewed, series, abuse
“There’s a reason we have a past tense, to show the difference between what was and what is.”

Benny has been in love with the unattainable (to him at least) Gino for years. His lousy past has him convinced he’s just not good enough for Gino to want him other than as a friend. Every time Gino flirts with another guy or brags about one of his many hookups, Benny gets a little sadder.

Gino has it all, charm, looks, and a burgeoning career in modeling. He’s beautiful and can have any man he wants for
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, Felice Stevens has done it again. She has given us two amazing, beautifully written characters that will break your heart and then put it back together in the most emotional, honest, loving way.
How can you not love Benny and Gino? Two men whose broken pieces fit together like a puzzle made just for them.

One of my favorite quotes in this book is, "His hand reached for mine, and we sat with our fingers laced tightly together, two lost kids who'd found a home in each other." So perfectly sai
Suzi (Obsessive Reading Disorder)
This is the second book in a series but can easily be read as a stand alone. That said, there is a sense that many of the characters have established relationships and inside stories. It doesn't detract from the main story as the author does a great job fleshing out who is who.

Both Benny and Gino have a pretty rough back story. Life has not been kind. I enjoyed the innocence and overall goodness that Benny presented. He is so thoughtful and caring in all he does in life. Almost to the extent th
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Benny & Gino’s HEA

This book just grabbed me by my heart, and wouldn’t let go until the last pages. I had so many emotions for Gino and Benny. Gino just made me want to wrap him in a warm blanket and give him all the hugs. These two men had gone through SO much in their respective childhoods and young adult lives. Benny provided such a necessary lifeline to Gino to help him understand he was a worthy person and that he deserved love and to BE loved. I loved that Gino showed Benny that the world
Mia Sciberras
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Felice Stevens has dialed up the angst in this emotional friends to lovers romance and has delivered a story that examines the link between up-bringing, self-worth, family and love. Benny and Gino are two characters who at first glance are compete opposites but like with all things, once you scratch the surface, similarities are hard to ignore. Individually these two characters are fractured, together they can be whole.

Some potential trigger warnings relating to sexual and emotional abuse in thi
Nile Princess
DNF @ 69%. This one isn't working for me *cry cry*. Benny is sweet but Gino is exhausting. The conversations feel repetitive and saccharinely 'public service announcement'. I understand that Gino has low self esteem and needs constant re-assurance, but I'm truly tired of reading it. Everyone has the same 'You're more than you think you are' speech, plus I can't really get with Gino being as naive about the world as he's presented. Justin and Foster from Book 1 were a welcome cameo.

Maybe I'll far
Tracy Perry
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my heart.... It was breaking many times & finally mending again. I cried way to much. I was so happy Benny & Gino were getting their story & finally together through so much hard times and a lot of pain. I wanted to hug those men so many times, they both had a hard life. I'm so happy their working it out & can be together finally & have their HEA. I love them both so much! Story was amazing, loved it so much! ...more
Lisa Klein
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book; I couldn't put it down! As usual, Felice Stevens hit it out of the park with another incredible book. There were parts that got me teary eyed, but I could also feel the love coming off the pages. It was great to see some "old friends" from some of her other series as well. Felice always knows how to write her characters so the reader immediately falls in love with them and feels like they're part of their world. I'm so glad I was able to be an ARC reader. ...more
Marguerita Howze
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy S
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
IMITATION OF LIFE is the second instalment in Felice Stevens’ contemporary, adult ROCK BOTTOM erotic, MM, romance series. This is twenty-six year old, Benny DeMarco, and twenty-seven year old, Gino Acosta’s story line. IMITATION OF LIFE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

WARNING: Due to the nature of the story line premise, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers including questiona
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love Benny and Gino!!

I have waited for Benny and Gino’s book since they were introduced to readers in “Perfect”, and I must say it was well worth the wait. Benny and Gino seem so different. Benny is shy and insecure. He’s had a huge crush on Gino since they started working together at Hard Core Fitness, but he has been too afraid to tell Gino how he feels. Gino is outgoing, confident, and a huge flirt who hooks up with lots of guys from the gym, but keeps Benny firmly in the friend zone.

When Be
Jennifer Reilley
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This books was sooo good and heartbreaking. We’ve seen these men in the past and so excited for Benny and Gino’s story.

Benny has been in love with Gino for quite some time but never felt he was good enough. Gino boy Gino. He just broke my heart. He is knows for his having sex with pretty much anyone.

When these two finally open their eyes and we see their whole stories man it is heartbreaking what their past and present gave to them. But they are survivors and stronger for it. They are two sepa
Barbara Ingram
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
✨⚡️✨⚡️✨5 Heartbreak and Redemption Stars⚡️✨⚡️✨⚡️

I have been impatiently waiting on Benny and Gino’s story and I quickly devoured it! Felice Stevens poured a lot of angst and heartache into this story, mixed it up full of emotion, but the intense love that Gino and Benny had for each other in the end was everything! A couple memorable quotes 😊

One to one. Heart to heart. I was where I belonged. Finally home.

“You’re wanted. I want you. More than I did yesterday but not as much as I will to
Two Nerds With Words
With troubled, damaged characters, at times this book was both moving and challenging. The author handles the characters’ experiences with delicacy, and presents their relationship in a sweet and interesting way.
The novel is a little slow moving and on occasion the plot is a tad repetitive. It was tempting to skim till I reached the dialogue, which was well written and developed.
The strong dialogue and unique characters were enjoyable and enough for me to want to follow the couple’s romantic an
Louise Ryan
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the first book in this series so was looking forward to Benny's story and this didn't disappoint. Both Benny and Gino have their fair share of issues but this story is so positive and beautiful bringing two seemingly broken men together to show each other just how special they both are. Really lovely story despite the heaviness and great to catch up with Justin and Foster as well as the myriad ither characters from Felice's other series. ...more
Kendra Stillwell
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness Benny and Gino’s story will rip you wide open and put you back together. Their troubled past doesn’t stop them from having their happily ever after. I love how the stories come full circle back to the beginning. Well done, can’t wait for more.
Books 2 Blog
”An emotional journey”; check out B2B Kelly’s 4.5 star review: ...more
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Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe yet can't stop buying "just one more pair" of black pants. Felice is a happily addic

Other books in the series

Rock Bottom (3 books)
  • Broken Silence (Rock Bottom, #1)
  • Running from My Heart (Rock Bottom #3)

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