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Vespertine

Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Summary

Can a priest and a rock star obey love's call? 

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld's childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper's calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back. 

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He's determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness. 

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started. 

Jasper and Nicky's careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past's lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

©2015 Leta Blake (P)2019 Leta Blake

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Just Beautiful!

🌟🌟🌟🌟 4.25 stars
🔥🔥🔥🔥 Heat Rating: 4
🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 4.5

An intense second chance romance against unusual odds!

What a rollercoaster of a read! So raw, real and conflicting. I felt for both Jasper and Nicky and their individual POVs but my heart went out to Nicky and his struggles with drugs and alcohol. Leta & Indra don’t shy away from the harsh realities of substance abuse and their honesty shines through these characters and only endeared me more to Nicky and his “real-life” struggles.

I felt the sparks and innocence between Jasper and Nicky as kids and followed their different parts and hurt into adulthood. They each chose their path and while they went in different directions their souls were always linked. Coming back together was something sweet, challenging and heartwarming as much as it was heartbreaking.

While I liked the honesty of Jasper’s story and what is involved in the Catholic Priesthood, there were parts of the story that had that “preachiness” that was hard to read sometimes. This did, however, reflect the truth of Jasper’s situation as a celibate gay priest. I did find it hard (as I do with the Catholic religion in general) to link a God of Love with a God who condemns who you love but that’s the way with a lot of religions.

All in all, this was a powerfully raw read, of epic second chances and finding a new path for your heart, love, and passion along the way! Just Beautiful!

Thanks for reading!

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True Leta Blake magic

This book is a bit of a saga but well worth the time. The two are the most unlikely pair but boy do they work. They start off as best friends then venture onto very different paths in life until life brings them together again. The political was very difficult one to handle but it was done very well and respectfully.

Michael's narration was amazing and fantastic! I honestly couldn't imagine this book with out his performance!

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Long but good

This audio book clocks out at just over 14 hours. I’ve listened to longer, but there’s always a commitment with books that are more than seven or eight hours. I’m glad I made the commitment.

I always have mixed feelings when listening to books where one of the central themes is religion. Sometimes it’s background noise and other times it is front and center. Seeing that Jasper is a Catholic priest, I’m going to say front and center with this one. I’m not Catholic. In fact most days I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I’m not fascinated by people who believe. And strongly, in the case of Jasper. He was willing to walk away from Nicky when they were teenagers because of his ‘calling’ to God. There were other factors as well, to be sure, but he believed himself compelled.

Nicky went in another direction. Although raised Jewish, he had little interest in God but music was his religion. He went through some really tough times before hooking up with a couple of musicians and forming the band Vespertine. He’s the guitarist and songwriter. He pours out the love Jasper spurned into chart-topping songs. Somewhere along the way it became less about the music and more about the lifestyle – parties, drugs, and endless concert tours.

He flames out and heads back to his home to recuperate and deal with his addiction. His parents are there to support him – as they always have. The relationship has been strained at times and it was clear Nicky didn’t always appreciate what he had. After drug rehab, he’s more grateful. Of course it was inevitable he would run into Jasper – they live in the same small town only now Nicky’s a recovering drug addict and Jasper is the local priest who runs a shelter for LGBTQ youth. Kids who’ve been rejected by their own families. Kids who have no one.

Some of the secondary characters in this story broke my heart – Lizzie in particular. It’s tragic what these kids have endured. They rely on Jasper and when they meet Nicky, they become enamored. A real rock star in their midst.

Nicky and Jasper eventually lay everything on the line and are becoming reacquainted when Nicky is recalled to LA to fulfill a music contract. It’s clear he’s not real ready to deal with that kind of environment and things disintegrate. In fact they go to shit. In the end, though, Nicky has to decide if his career is worth all the stress.

And Jasper has to decide if his faith is enough to keep him away from the temptation that is Nicky.

I liked this book. There was a raw honesty to it that I enjoyed. It did take me a while to get into the story, but one I was there, I was hooked. And I felt the despair of the dark moment.

Michael Ferraiuolo narrated this book brilliantly. He’s a pleasure to listen to and I felt he did a great job on this one. Overall, I’m glad I made the investment in listening to this book.

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Amazing!

5 Hungover Stars!

I bought this book on July 2016 and I hadn't had the chance to read it, so when offered the chance to review the audiobook, which is narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, who is one of my favorite narrators ever, I jumped at the chance and I also kind of roped one of my co-bloggers into reading it with me.

Mari: My next audiobook has the potential to crush me and it has great reviews, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Tracy: Okay. I have no clue what I want to read. Everything is so blah.

Mari: I'm so sorry. ... You could read Vespertine with me and we can cry together. LOL *Copies blurb for Vespertine on chat window*

Tracy: Wow, that sounds awesome.

But then she said she was going to re-read another favorite and we left it at that. Fast forward to the next day:

Tracy: Is this book supposed to have a happy ending. He’s a priest?!

Mari: Yes and yes.

Mari: omg, I'm just starting Nico's part and damn, this is so painful. This book is going to crush us, isn't it?

Tracy: I think so

I could go on and on, I have two days filled with us going back and forth about this book. We pretty much agreed on what we love (Nicky and his parents) and what or rather who we didn't like as much (Jasper).

Nicky's story broke my heart. Pretty much from when he was abandoned in a dumpster to when we first met him and seeing what drugs have done to him to finding out that things started going from bad to worse for Nicky after Jasper suddenly decided to end their romantic relationship and become a priest. I wanted to cuddle him and make it better and tell him how proud I was that he was determined to fight against his addiction. I wanted all kind of wonderful things for him, because I felt he deserved it after he'd gone through so much. And then we have Jasper, who I (and Tracy) wanted to punch or slap or scream at during most of the book. His holier-than-thou attitude certainly didn't help matters and I think Nicky summed up perfectly what I thought of him:

He still looked like a halo was smeared all over him. It wasn't fair. He was a smug, self-righteous, asshole who'd made choices based on bullshit and ruined their fucking lives for it.

While I didn't dislike Jasper as much the last 30% of the book, I found it difficult to completely let go of my resentment that his half-assed apology to Nicky for believing his mother over what he knew about Nicky, and for not talking things through with him before leaving him to follow his calling. I was really angry over this, mostly because of this: 

Mari: Omg, this: So, Jasper is all, well, I'm sorry you're angry, and I'm sorry I didn't talk to you, but following my calling wasn't all that bad for me.

Then Nicky, well, it was for me, I'm a junkie and a whore and I can't even make decent music any longer. I'm mostly paraphrasing here, but you get the gist.

Tracy: Yes. Poor Nicky

Mari: and Nicky says this and my heart is breaking all over the place:

I'd give that all up. I'd give every last bit of it up for you, but you never felt the same. So who isn't able to love, Jasper? Maybe your mom had the wrong boy.

Tracy: Yes!!! He speaks the truth

After that, I was expecting more than just Nicky brushing it off and forgiving Jasper. I was waiting for Jasper to make a huge grand gesture, which I guess he sort of did, even if it wasn't as grand as I would have liked, but okay, I guess it could've been as bad as what I expected, which thankfully didn't happen. 

One thing I can't deny is Nicky's love for Jasper, and while it took me a long time to believe Jasper really loved Nicky as he deserved to be loved, I ended up thinking he did and that they actually had a shot at their HEA. They were undeniably hot together and their chemistry and the UST were out of this world, so there's that. 

I loved Nicky's parents and Ramona, they were just amazing. I loved Lizzie and Jason, too. They were all great supporting characters. I didn't like Mrs. Wells and how judgmental she was of Nicky, although I guess she got better in the end. And of course, I hated Jasper's mother until almost the end of the book, when she had a bit of a turnaround and I actually cheered a bit when Jasper finally told her off. 

While there were a few things I didn't love *cough Jasper cough*, there were a lot of things that I did. Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn are a force to be reckoned with when writing together and they made me feel so much for Nicky. Never mind that Michael's performance was masterful and the depth of the emotions he brought forth with his narration is something I'm not likely to forget any time soon. Definitely a must-read. 

ETA: While I had initially rated this book 4.5 Stars, mostly because of my dislike of Jasper, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book for the last two days to the point that I had to pick one of my favorite go-to reads for when this happens and I'm still hung on Nicky and Jasper's story, so the new rating reflects that. *sighs* 

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Broken

This is a great book. Heavy on the angst and my heart, I was a mess at points listening to this but I trusted the authors to get me to the HEA. These amazing broken characters came together to give a relationship that had UST in spades.
Glorious.

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Fab

This is a great slow burn m/m romance with a second chance storyline.

A rockstar and a priest don’t appear to be the perfect match but boy they are. Both guys have a lot to deal with and I really didn’t know where this story was going to go.

There are some heavy topics in this book and these were handled very well in the writing. Even though one of the main characters is a priest there is not a lot of religion do don’t worry about that it it was a concern.

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Just wow. 💖

There could possibly be not enough words to describe how amazing this book truly is. The premise is so unique, so interesting and captivating. Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn took a second-chance friends-to-lovers love story to a different level by adding a unique twist -- one is a rock star and the other an openly gay priest.

I didn't know what to expect when I first started listening to this book. I was curious to see where the writers will take Nicky and Jasper... it seemed a whole lot of "too little too late". I love how the authors wrote this book with so much "realness" in it and I love how the characters evolved through the story. Jasper's faith was so admirable, it was steadfast and unrelenting. But so is his love for his best friend. Nicky's growth as a person who struggled with his own cage, it was amazing watching him learn to consciously open up and learn to accept love from people who truly love him. Once the two got together, it was so beautiful. All the feels!

The story felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning but once it picked up, it became more and more fascinating and you'll find it hard to find a stopping place. The flow of the story and conflict resolution was straight on, there were no unnecessary going back and forth. I love that! I listened to this 14-hour audiobook in one sitting. It was super worth it.

Michael Ferraiuolo's narration was so on point. He purred, prayed in Latin, and was just downright awesome in this book.

Listen to it. You'll find that you wish it was longer (and it's already a 14-hour book)!

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The rocker and the priest...

Two best friends who chose completely different paths in life get back together. Nico is a star drowned in drugs and dangerous behavior. He goes back home to get better and finds his one true love dress in clergy. This is an interesting book, respectful of beliefs although it is a gay romance. Their worlds collide and true love wins, not without some devilish temptations and lots of praying. I loved both characters. The good in their hearts and how they struggle to make good choices. Very well written and, of course with Mr Ferraiuolo, awesomely narrated.

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Addiction heartbrake and love

if there's a story that would turn you away from the dark path of drug addiction this would help to know you could be addicted for life. Good story of love winning through. Love this story and the only problem was it kept me listening till two am, I had to know the end.

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Wonderful Story & Listen🎧 Captivating & Heartfelt!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the writing and dialogue is outstanding, Leta Blake is a talented author and has a way with words. She created storylines and characters that are interesting and realistic, they were easy to relate to too. The characters were complex and there was amazing character development and the author did a great job bringing you inside their heads to see what they were thinking, feeling and going thru. It was an emotional journey, heartfelt at times, heartbreaking at other times. Nicky and Jasper were childhood friends, their friendship grew and they fell in love. Nicky felt betrayed when Jasper left him to become a Priest. Nicky becomes a successful rockstar, he is not happy with his life and is on a path of self destruction, doing drugs and living a wild life. It gets so bad he and his bandmates are sent to rehab, Nicky detoxes and goes home to his adoptive parents to recuperate and stay well. Nicky has a lot of issues and he is finally recognizing and dealing with them. Jasper is the local Priest and Nicky goes to him to make amends which does not go exactly as planned. I admired Jasper’s dedication to his faith and his church, as well as his dedication to the LGBTQ youth even with the church not seeing eye to eye with what he was doing for them. There are some great secondary characters in this book too. I loved how everything plays out in this book, it is well plotted and is captivating from start to end. There is never a dull moment, there is plenty of drama, angst, emotions and a second chance to live and love again, themselves and each other. Leta Blake, thank you for this fantastic story and emotional rollercoaster ride.

Michael Ferraiuolo is a terrific narrator and voice artist. He brought these characters to life, giving each their own voice and personality. You could hear how much heart he puts into this as he projects the characters emotions into his performance. He is an entertaining storyteller and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you for this great listen🎧

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  • Zizawah
  • 30-12-19

Slow burn romance with wonderful narration

I’m a Leta Blake fan. I’ve pretty much read most of her books. However, I didn’t pick up Vespertine until now because I didn’t think I would like to read about a priest (I kind of saw Thorn Birds when I was very young and was disgusted by Father Ralph). However, with Michael F. narrating (he’s one of my fav narrators), I decided to give it a try AND very glad I did.

Father Jazz (Jasper) is SO unlike awful Father Ralph that I’m rooting for his happiness throughout. He’s honest, helpful, caring, and generous. Nicky, born of an addict mother, has been an addict and now out of rehab, a stone throw away from letting all go, and he’s come home to seek a closure of sorts. Jazz and Nicky grew up together and discovered their friendship morphed into one of desire. However, an unlucky separation divided them from each other for over a decade and neither expected the other to still have feelings for each other.

The story is a slow burn romance — it’s honest and emotional but not overly angsty. The past was threaded into the story so well that you don’t get a sense of displacement that can happen with flashbacks in some stories. Supporting cast was well defined and very real. I love how Jazz and Nicky’s connection to each other gets re-established, strengthened, and became tangible. The ending was perfect though the mixup near the end was very near a tragedy.

As for the narration, there’s a reason Michael is one of my absolute favorites. You can get lost in his narration. He’s soulful, soothing, and just incredibly romantic! The story is addictive once you started. I was lost in it and can’t wait to get back into it when I had to take a break. Definitely recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neta_BER
  • 30-12-19

Beautiful, touching and narrated to perfection!

I had this book in my Kindle library for so long, and now that it's out on audio with Michael Ferraiuolo behind the mic I knew this was my chance to get to it! Michael outdid himself here, with rich characters, distinguishable voices and emotion bursting from my earbuds.
I adored Jazz'es voice, Michael made him so gentle and innocent sounding and it fit him perfectly. I was always feeling like he needed a cuddle. I liked his character too, his devotion to LGBTQ+ homeless teens was a central part of the story.
Nicky was, by far, my favorite character. His emotional journey is compelling and so real feeling. I liked that it was not written in an overly dramatic manner, that the drug addiction was something he is getting over and not the focal point of gruesomely detailed events. I also liked that it took them time to get back to the friendship they shared, and even more time to fall back to the romance of so long ago.
This was a story that was a lot less dramatic then I was anticipating, and if you read other books by Leta and Indra in the past this one will not warrant 5 packs of tissues while still having an emotional kick in the guts. I enjoyed it immensely, and I hope there might be another story in this world.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 04-04-20

Everything I could want

Wonderful emotional story. Great characters and relational development. Medium angst, just right. And of course outstanding narration by Michael F. A bit of a slow burn and It’s a long audio. I didn’t feel it was time wasted with filler. Highly recommended

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  • Aurie
  • 29-03-20

Sweet and Touching

As always, Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn's Vespertine touched my heart and soul. One of my favorites that I will never ever forget.

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  • JAW
  • 08-03-20

OMSTARS

I felt every emotion every hurt every laughter the pain the withdrawals their love for each other what an amazing book a book that makes you feel vulnerable and emotional is a book that I would totally recommend because been there done that and I'm not going back

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  • Sin2sea
  • 25-02-20

An angsty forbidden romance with all the feels

I have been dying to listen to this book because I have heard great things and it was everything and more. It was raw, heartbreaking and I just want to wrapped them in my arms and sob. Michael’s narration truly elevate the book to the n degree. He wrapped you up in their lives and experiences and made you empathize with their story.

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  • Jill K.
  • 24-02-20

SO GOOD

This book is so freaking good. Stop reading this review and buy it now. I just loved it. Probably one of my favorites of the year. Michael Ferraiuolo does such a good job. LOVED IT.

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  • The Book Wench
  • 05-02-20

A good story, but so painful

This was a really hard story to listen to. There was so much happening, so much suffering, so much grief and joy, so much love between the Reverend Jasper Hendricks and his old lover-turned-enemy-turned lover again Nicholas Blumfeld -- aka Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter to the world-renowned band Vespertine. The story begins in so much fragility, so much woundedness, so much guilt and grief that it weighed me down and I almost gave up on it. And though there are many warm and happy moments, many hopeful and sweet moments, and some heated times, the dark overtones remain. I loved the way they came back to each other, and I appreciated the way the writer taught us about what it's like to be an addict in recovery. I listened to the end but never managed to completely shed the pain I felt at the beginning and all the way through. Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job of differentiating the characters and emoting at important points, whether in laughter or tears, whether in tender or heated moments.

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  • Claudia CG Lezar
  • 21-01-20

as great as the ebook

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. Michael Ferraiuolo is one of the top 5 narrators for me, I can listen without break and have no problems to follow.
I'm just not yet finish with the book, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B

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  • Cynthia Lewis
  • 19-01-20

blue oasis

i loved the book and i loved the audio just as much if not more.