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Publisher's Summary

Lovestrong: A series about love, found family, and living one’s truth in a small town.

This bundle includes the first four audiobooks from this best-selling series and the prequel short that started it all.

How Not to Blend

One clueless single dad meets a sassy Southern drag queen in this fake-boyfriend story that will keep you in stitches.

How Not to Tuck

A drag queen’s daring invitation given to his nemesis of a boss backfires in a sexy, fabulous way.

How Not to Sin

An average man who happens to be a preacher gets trapped during a blizzard with an easygoing, New Age kinda guy in this heartwarming tale about love and facing down bullies while standing up for what’s right.

How Not to Wait

Series prequel short featuring a desperate new adult who can’t ignore how badly he needs just one night with his father’s best friend.

How Not to Break

A former SEAL with a healthy dose of regret gets a second chance with his best friend’s son. But when the younger man needs protection from a dangerous stalker, he’s not just looking for help from a SEAL...he wants his heart too.

©2019 Susan Hawke (P)2020 Susan Hawke

What listeners say about Lovestrong Series Bundle: Volume One

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love this!

Susan Hawke's Lovestrong series is an amazing series about attraction, acceptance, love, and creating a found family when your blood family let's you down. The stories are a mix of humor, sweetness, heat and seriousness... capturing our hearts, making us laugh out loud, and pulling the emotional heart strings. The characters are fantastic - fun, entertaining and lovable. This bundle is a fantastic way to binge the first four books plus a prequel story - How Not to Blend, How Not to Tuck, How Not to Sin, How Not to Wait and How Not to Break. A definitely recommended bundle!

Michael Dean narrates this story with a clear and smooth voicework and recording. Personalities come through, feelings are felt and it's extremely enjoyable listen.

5 people found this helpful

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Great set of stories

I love all the stories in this bundle but my absolute favorite is the short story How to Tuck and I thinks it’s all because of how Michael voiced Larry! Very over the top but it was the perfect voice!

2 people found this helpful

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I'm glad I listened.

Instead of giving an overall review of the entire bundle, I've decided to review each book individually.

How Not to Blend - 3.5 stars:
This might be one of those things that just comes down to personal tastes. I didn't totally dislike How Not to Blend. I liked certain aspects of the characters and the story, particularly the more serious parts of the story. But some aspects just weren't my cup of tea.
Andy was a little too over the top for me much of the time - part of his schtick was that he was full of Southern sayings & drag queen camp, but I felt like I was drowning in cliches much of the time. When he was more serious & not repeatedly calling people Boo or Boo-Boo and so forth, I liked him a lot. I wouldn't even have minded some of his campiness, but it just seemed too much, at least for me.
I didn't immediately like Corbin - he was sooooo clueless about what was going on with his son at first. That being said, once he came around to have a lick of sense, I found him very likeable. I especially liked his relationship with Andy's grandmother's irascible dog.
Andy's grandmother is also a major character & definitely was portrayed as a good woman with a good heart, spunky, occasionally faux-crotchety, with a dose of common sense for Andy when he needed it. Another major supporting character is Corbin's son, Grayson or "Gray." I loved that kid & wanted to wrap him up in a big hug.
Although I probably focused on a lot of negatives here, I didn't dislike the book & I think the parts that I didn't love were my own personal preferences playing out.

How Not to Tuck - 3 stars:
As with my feelings for the first book, my feelings for this might be one of those things that just comes down to personal tastes. I liked Larry better in his daytime persona of a music teacher/glee club conductor than in his Honey Combover persona, especially when he was being more frank and down to Earth, (though that was not most of the time). But that's just me. I didn't mind some of his campiness; I just liked his serious side better. I liked the concept of Godric's character a lot - a cat-loving, semi-introvert, with a hidden dom side. I did feel that he and Larry moved WAY too quickly into the dom/sub dynamic for the sake of realism.
Obviously, this is a short read, so it's not going to have a ton of detail into their every interaction from the start of their relationship to their HEA. I think I might have enjoyed their story more if it had been slower. I think some people might really enjoy this book - I liked it enough to actually have wanted to get to know the characters more, to appreciate them more.

Hot Not to Sin - 4 stars:
I enjoyed Gabe and Seth's relationship, their banter, general conversations and getting to know one another. They had a sort of whirlwind relationship, but even though they still probably had a lot more to learn about one another, their love and respect for each other felt totally believable. I was also totally sucked into the portion of the plot involving a bigoted church member and his family.
Some might find this book a bit preachy, not just because one of the characters is literally a preacher, but because there's a LOT said about this character's feelings about religion, interpretation of the Bible & Christianity in general, along with multiple discussions between characters. However, although I can appreciate that the sermonizing might be a turnoff for some, I feel that it was important for the story, to understand Gabe & other characters in the book, (not to mention that part of what was being said was the idea that we need more love and less hate, less using religion as a weapon). One way that I think helps to deal with mentions of religion in books & characters, if you're not into real life religions like Christianity, is to imagine that the characters are living in a paranormal world & that this is that world's religion. (As a side note, I did find it relatively unrealistic that so many side characters, who were past or future main characters of the series, were also associated with Gabe's church. It does take place in a fictional small town though, so there's that).

How Not to Wait - 3.5 stars:
This is the prologue to book 4, How Not to Break. It does not stand on its own at all. In this short, we get to see exactly what happened to shape the relationship and conflict that begins the romance between Nick and Shaw. It's hot, angst-y and bittersweet. I'm not totally on board with how the characters behaved; I'm sure I could say more, but anything else would be a spoiler. I still enjoyed it.

How Not to Break - 4 stars:
This was an enjoyable listen for me, quite light, but not totally fluffy. I liked the main and the side characters. I'm sure that one could point out various flaws based on one's own preferences, so far as realism or even just what various readers' pet peeves might be, but I enjoyed the time spent getting to know them and their story. The stalker aspect of the story provided a lot of suspense and made the story darker than the others in the series to an extent. I didn't necessarily always agree with decisions characters made along the way, but who doesn't want to smack a character on occasion?

Now, for the narration. The emotion and pacing was good and, considering the rather large amount of characters involved in this bundle, the voices were pretty consistent and varied enough. Sure, some characters technically had the same voices as others, but because they weren't often in one another's company from one book to another, it didn't bother me. I liked the voices chosen for all of the many characters except Andy's grandmother, (simply because Michael's voice for older women is not my thing), and for Larry/Honey Combover. (To me, he sounded like David's friend in Independence Day, like he'd smoked about 2 packs a day for 40 years, with a sort of New England accent, (as if he'd pahk the cah) - not sexy). But all that said, I'm glad that I listened to this bundle.

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second reading

loved it more! always good to go back to hear details that may be have been missed. Great story Susan, and thank you Michael, great voice, love all your reads. Dan

1 person found this helpful

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It's Complicated

I loved all four of these stories. Each couples story is unique from they way they interact to the problems they face. Each couple doesn't always seem obvious from the beginning but yet they are so perfectly suited to each other. I also love how the different characters reappear in later stories. I listened to the Audible version. It was well down and fun to listen too.

How Not to Blend - I love the way that Corbin and Andy compliment each other. They learned to fake until they made it.

How not to Tuck is a shorter story but I love how Larry and Godrich just seem to fit together so well. They seem so mismatched but it really works for them.

How Not to Sin - the back story of the leaving the PC USA is a little too close to home but it made it even a more interesting listen. I love how they remain strong in the love and with the community they were building. I also love some of the things that happened at the end of the story. This is a great story of a couple building a relationship but also a community coming together.

How Not to Wait and How Not to Break - It was amazing to see how these men had fight their own guilt and misunderstanding from the past to see each other in the here and now. On top of that they have to overcome Seth's crisis with a stalker

1 person found this helpful

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Love this series

This is such a great series and having it in a bundle really shows how well each story flows into the next. Plus, you don’t have to remember which book is next up.

Gray and Corbin are probably my favorite couple but Nick and Shaw hold my heart because of everything they’ve been through to get their happy ending.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series (which I hear will be out later this summer), though I might wait for Michael Dean to get his voice on it because he did such a great job with these stories.

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If you need pick me up.

I loved this series I thought at first I might not care for it. The author knows how to keep you entertained. The characters,we all know someone like that. Loved loved it!!

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Susan Hawke great job

I’m fairly new to Susan Hawke and her work. I enjoy your work. I only wish real life was as spectacular. Perhaps it is and we don’t realize what we have.

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Love it

The line up was perfect. I was able to create a image of each character from the way the narrator described. My favorite was Shaws story although I loved all the rest of them as well

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SExy

Each story opens up to a world of love family. plus society experiences in judgmental issues. but still loving.

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  • Laora
  • 01-01-21

Love is strong for these strong men

I was captivated by this series when I first read the books. There is excellent building up of storylines and the characters of more than one book appear in the other volumes.
The narrated was good, however sometimes I had to get used to tone and type of voice that was chosen for a character. However it did not deter me from listening the complete bundle. Looking forward to more in this series.

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  • DLav
  • 11-16-20

Yummy

Nothing beats 21 hours of nonstop sweet, sexy, hilarious MM stories! Susan Hawke created a big gay world full of amazing characters, interesting plot lines and spicy scenes! Michael Dean is, as usual, an amazing narrator and brings passion and life to yet another wonderful collection of stories! Hawke’s characterization of all the main and side characters in these stories was amazing. Each character is full of depth and intrigue. They are so full of their own personality and morality, their quirks and individuality making each one stand out from the crowd. The plot of each story is vastly different and keeps listeners/readers hooked on every word. From angst and new love to sexual tension and heated moments, the stories will keep you on your toes, laughing and eager for more. Michael Dean is one of those Narrators where I pick a book based on two factors: MM AND Michael Dean is reading it. He brings emotion and oomph to every character, thought and scene. His voice is crisp, clear and laced with enthusiasm. His narration of this story is wonderful!!

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  • HelenMK69
  • 09-24-20

5 books for 1 credit. And a great listen/read.

Great value for money bundle, 5 books for 1 credit on Audible, great reading.

Lovestrong Series Bundle: Volume One
By: Susan Hawke
Narrated by: Michael Dean
Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins

❤❤❤❤❤ Overall
🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration
📚📚📚📚📚 Story
Read at 1.15 speed on Audible.


Brilliant series when I read these, bringing them to life by Michael Dean just made them better.

Each book is brilliant in its own right. Fun, laughter. Put 5 together and you get 21hrs of pure heaven.

Book1 How Not to Blend we meet Sassy Drag Queen (Kandi) Andy, Dr Hottie (Corbin), his son Grayson and Gam Gam. Great main characters and side characters. Hilarious, b*tchy but brilliantly written. Great story, covers Bi, nonbinary, father/son relationships as in coming out. Grandson/Grandma relationships when both are full of sass. Seriously a must read/listen. This shows the issues families go through when a child shows as nonbinary.

Book2 How Not to Tuck. Short novella but a must read/ listen. We again meet Honey Combover (Larry) and Godric Sheppard. Honey is hilarious and has a problem with his/her ability to tuck and tape. Seriously we are talking laugh out loud incidents. This book shows issues at work and discrimination that LGBT community go through.

Book 3 How Not to Sin. Rev Gabe meets Seth, this is a great book about a Rev who runs an LGBT friendly church, but some of the towns residents don't believe its needed. And a guy who runs a Holistic Healing shop and yoga studio. They both face and fight the anti gay hate group together. Another book that hits heads straight on to yet another issue LGBT go through.

Book 4 How Not to Wait Prequal to the series. 10 years before present day. Another short but no less brilliant, Shaw (College student) meets Nick (Dads best friend, ex Navy). Shaw has always wanted a night with Nick, does he get lucky?

Book 5 How Not to Break. Ten years later from book 4, we meet Nick St Cloud again and this time he's running his bar/club and celibate. After living with guilt for 10 years, he meets Shaw again, but will things be better this time around. We have a stalker and a natural protector. Again a great book and rounding up the 5 book audio. Just Great, seriously a must buy. What's not to like. No cliffhangers.

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  • Ronald Betts
  • 07-05-20

Scary moments on the way to love 💘

You don't want a stalker ever especially when they are fitting your security alarm 😏 but if it paves the way to the love of your life there's a happy ending.

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  • Allison's Book Corner
  • 07-03-20

Awesome

This was such a great bundle of audiobooks.
I love this series, and I love having these stories grouped together in one place.
I can’t wait to listen to more.

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  • Victoria Green
  • 07-03-20

Great value, lovely stories and great narration

This compilation of stories includes the first 4 books plus the short prequel story 'How not to Wait'. I have read all of these books previously but in this case the audio is WELL worth enjoying as well. The narration really added to the stories with distinctive voices that really bought the books to life. The first two books are a hoot - particularly Honey/Larry and Godrick with some genuine uplifting feel good moments to go alongside them. I have to admit that How Not to Sin wasn't my favorite book when I read it - but I found myself enjoying Seth and Gabe's story much more in audio. Nick and Shaw are the most frustrating couple! The story in this one is really strong and I love the mystery element but goodness me I wanted to just smack Nick around the head and give Shaw a huge hug!!!
Susan Hawke is such a great, versatile writer and this compilation really shows how she moves from humour to quite serious drama easily. I love the way these books mesh together and I will absolutely be returning to them again for another listen.

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  • Goldenchels
  • 07-03-20

amazing books for an amazing deal

these are my favourites is Susi/Susan's books! I love each one of these great stories. narration is wonderful.

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  • Susie Umphers
  • 07-03-20

A great bundle and deal

This is a great bundle of romance novels from an author I came to know through her shifter romances. Her handling of contemporary non-shifter characters is equally masterful. My particular favorites are the first and third books, How not to Blend and How not to Sin. I adore any book that involves a barista/coffeshop and when you combine that with a great drag queen I'm sold. Sin deals with homophobia in the church and its effect on the clergy and I was completely drawn in and felt so sad for the characters struggling to live their authentic lives and worship in spite of that. Michael Dean gives his usual flawless performance. Every character is distinct, which is incredibly difficult in a bundle where listeners tend to binge, and his ability to hot all emotional colors is fantastic.

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  • Belinda Zamora
  • 06-29-20

Great series

I absolutely love this series.
Realistic, emotionally compelling characters who feel like they could be your best friends in a small town setting and a wonderful sense of found family.
Michael Dean is of course excellent at bringing these complex characters to life so vividly.

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  • XG
  • 06-29-20

A must have...

This Is one of the best series in Gay Romance, so a bundle with the first books and the prequel together, was a wonderful treat, one that gave me the opportunity to read and re-read book after book full of amazing characters, and to witness their journey to find love and family. And guess what is even better? having said beloved characters in audio in the profesional acting voice of Mr Dean, who brought them alive for our enjoyment, with his masterful managing of emotions and actions. Loved it!