Monday, July 10, 2017

All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: All Wheel Drive
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Bluewater Bay #18
Main Characters: Healey and Diego
Release Date: July 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.

Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.

Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

My Review:
Wow, if you like angst and broken characters, then this is the book for you. Going into this book, my heart simply ached for both these men. But because of the two different personalities of the men, I did find myself much more empathetic to Healey. I loved the way that ZA Maxfield wrote him as such a broken, but still incredibly strong character. He has moments of vulnerability where I simply wanted to crawl into the pages of the book and hold him. Gah...he broke my heart. 

Then there's Diego...also broken in his own way. He's dealing with paraplegia, and although he seems okay and very adapted, his is a bundle of self doubts about what it means to be in a relationship with him. He can't see anyone wanting to deal with those kinds of difficulties for the longterm. But Healey has a sister who had a spinal cord injury. Out of anyone, he's very aware of what that means for Diego's life. 

I loved how much Healey was into Diego. Healey is brilliant, and a mental mess, but he's so sweet and honest in how attracted he is to Diego...seriously I fell for this character...HARD. He's just the perfect mix of awkward and gorgeous and perfect and a mess.

But for how vulnerable and sad Healey is, Diego is prickley and rude...but for Diego that's simply a defense mechanism. He doesn't know how to relate to people with his new normal in his life. And he hates to think of someone feeling sorry or being sickly fascinated with him.

Note: There were moments reading this book that it felt like it maybe needed a stronger editing hand on the details of the story. I felt a disconnect with the story line with Diego's mother, and it felt like that story fell by the wayside. There were mentions of him being to blame for her death, but that was never fully fleshed out and I also never really understood just exactly who she was supposed to be to the world that it was so important for them to share the full scope of her story. I wish that had been fleshed out better in the end, because I was fascinated with the bits and pieces we got of that aspect of the story. I wanted to see Diego's finished project, plus I think he needed that done to finish that part of his mental healing... and it just wasn't quite there on the page. Also, we never found out the outcome with Ford and the possible legal issues happening there.

This book was everything I love in a romance...high angst, high emotional turmoil, high conflct, but it just felt a bit unfinished to me. No, those little unfinished bits didn't really matter in the long run for the romance, but I hate it when a book ends with loose threads hanging everywhere. I would have liked to really know what happened with all those stories, because I was emotionally involved with their outcomes. This book would have had a 5* rating otherwise.

But even as it is, I still recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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