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review 2017-07-23 18:44
This one's not 'Hell on Wheels' but...
All Wheel Drive - Z.A. Maxfield

it did take a toll on my heart...

 

'All Wheel Drive' is book number 18 in the 'Bluewater Bay' series and like the third book, 'Hell on Wheels' it's written by Z. A. Maxfield, an author that I'm kind of  partial to. So of course I was all grabby hands for this one because 'Hell on Wheels' is one of my favorite books in this series so far. 

 

If this is a series that you're reading than you'll remember that 'Hell on Wheels' was about Nash Holly and in this book, we get a closer look at Healey Holly, Nash's twin brother and seriously can we talk about that name? Healey, really? I have to admit it just wasn't working for me, but, aside from the name, I really liked Healey. While Nash and Healey may look alike on the outside it's inside where the differences really begin, although both of these men are good and decent people who love their family and are loyal to the extreme with those they care about. Healey is crazy smart and has spent most of his adult life in the world of academia unlike his brother Nash.

 

The last thing that Healey expects when he knocks on the door of his childhood home broken, battered and bruised on the outside and just wanting to rent the apartment over the garage so that he can let his shattered heart and body heal is to be greeted by a man in a wheelchair who recognizes the look of helpless anxiety that he sees in Healey's eyes after all Diego's seen that same look often enough in the mirror in the days following the accident that put him in a wheelchair and again after losing his mother it's become a familiar sight as he tries to piece his own life back together.

 

For me 'All Wheel Drive' was as much a book about learning to live with a new reality and forgiving yourself as it was about finding someone to love. Both Healey and Diego have issues…lots and lots of issues.

 

Healey’s come back to his childhood home in Bluewater Bay more as an emotional reflex reaction to his recent experiences than any kind of practical or even logical decision. He’s hurting physically and emotionally following a car accident and the end of his long-time relationship with ‘Ford’ the man he loved and the man who nearly cost Healey his life.

 

‘All Wheel Drive’ was for want of a better word at times a bit convoluted. Especially the part that dealt with Healey and the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Ford and why he returned to Bluewater Bay and while I’m not often a fan of stories that twist and turn the way Healey’s does, in this instance I don’t honestly think that there was a direct path to take with his story. His relationship with Ford was complicated to say the least because of Ford’s circumstances and his family.  The dynamics between Healey and Ford were…well let’s just say ‘it was complicated’ and truthfully from the information we were given it never really seemed that they were meant to be, but we don’t always get to pick who we love and when that love ends sometimes it takes a while for the heart to understand what the head already knows and this seemed to be part of what Healey had to deal with in letting go of his relationship with Ford.

 

As well Healey and Diego definitely had issues when it came to communication but given how emotionally fragile both men were…especially Healey. I’m not sure I would have believed anything different. I certainly would have found it a bit of a fairy tale if the author had given us an ‘insta-love, all-my-problems-are-solved-now-that-you’re-in-my-life’ kind of story. Healey didn’t even trust himself anymore much less trust someone else and Diego because of his accident believed that there were things in his life that were lost to him forever…especially the physical aspects of an intimate relationship and both men were trying to protect themselves from further heartache…so communication at best between these two was guarded and putting everything out there when neither of them had fully pieced themselves back together was a scary concept and often times done in a very roundabout fashion.

 

‘All Wheel Drive’ is by no means a typical romance story, it was complicated and as I said at the beginning it was often ‘convoluted’, but for me it was also the epitome of second chance stories and finding love when and where you least expect it. There was definitely some sexy times between these two, that on more than one occasion turned out to be funny and messy and so very fragile as both men tried to guard their heart and still be what the other man needed.

 

Just like real life ‘All Wheel Drive’ was complicated, messy, frustrating, funny, awkward, sexy, full of love and kindness and in the end worth the effort.

 

*******************

An ARC of 'All Wheel Drive' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-08 03:37
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - Mo Willems

This book is short and sweet. This book does not consist of many words at all. Although, there is a pigeon who is the main character who is determined to drive the bus. This book will have readers engaged because the pigeon is asking the audience for permission. I can use this story as an icebreaker story and use as en engaging activity. This book is also another Moe Williems books. 

RL: 120L

LS: Lexile

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review 2017-03-27 22:38
I seem to be getting over my age gap issues...
Just Drive - L.A. Witt

and if I'm not well, I need to be since I keep reading books where the MCs have significant age gaps. 

 

It's been quite a while since I've read an L.A. Witt book and I've had this one on my TBR list since it was released so once again I can thank the joys of audiobooks for helping me take a bite out of that pile.

 

Let's start with the audio portion of this review because that's going to be short and sweet. Nick J. Russo was the narrator and as usual he did not fail me. His voices for both Sean and Paul were spot on for me. I loved Paul's deep voice with it's hint of gravel to it and Paul's voice had a bit of a younger tone to it and matched my minds idea of a twenty-somethings voice wonderfully. I love the emotion he instills in these characters. I don't have to try and imagine Paul's anger, frustration, passion, love for Sean or Sean's emotions as these two men struggle to sort things out and figure out how to be together...Mr. Russo gives those emotions in spades with his narration of this story.

 

As for the story...well 4 standing at attention stars...I think it's safe to say that I really liked this story. The age difference was a definite issue for these men. Paul's the CO of the local navel base...Sean's father is the Senior Chief on said navel base...he reports to Paul...Sean's listed as his dependent...there are rules about this...rules that can end careers if news of their relationship gets out.

 

The age difference on this one is a solid 20+ years and I was ok with it because of how it was represented.  It was shown in where these two men were at in their lives. Sean's in college and yes he still lives at home with his father but he's neither immature nor juvenile. He understands how much Paul's career means to him and he tries more than once to walk away for both Paul's sake and his father's. Paul's got two marriages and a few relationships plus a 24 year navel career under his belt. Yes there's a strong sexual relationship here but there's also a strong sense of mutual compatibility, shared interest and two people who just like each other. As well as a growing romantic relationship there's a bond of friendship and mutual respect developing between Paul and Sean.

 

The fact that the author didn't do the typical stereo-typing of making the older MC always be the voice of reason and the dominant sexual partner was definitely a refreshing take on this May/December romance as well.

 

Sean's relationship with his father was another aspect of this story that added more depth and believe-ability to things. Sean loved his dad and while he loved and respected his father, he also resented the impact that his father's career has had on his life. While his father loves him, they still find themselves at odds over things and they talk. Maybe things aren't always resolved instantly but again the love and mutual respect is evident. I really enjoy stories that give us real parents, not perfect just normal everyday people who love their kids and want to try and do what's best for them.

 

'Just Drive' is a wonderfully balanced story that easily felt like it could have happened at some navel base somewhere. But more than anything it was the ending of this story that tugged at my heartstrings. While our men may have gotten their happily ever after it was earned when changing priorities can only be achieved with compromise and sacrifice from everyone involved. 

 

'Just Drive' was a story that worked 'just right' from start to finish.

 

*****************

An Audiobook of 'Just Drive' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-02-19 02:36
Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age - Lawrence Goldstone

Given its scope, this book provides the reader with a widely comprehensive view of how both the automobile and the industry surrounding it developed and evolved from the late 19th century to the eve of the First World War. I read "DRIVE! Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age" more out of curiosity and also because I hail from Michigan. So I grew up with a keen sense of how the automobile has profoundly influenced and shaped both society and the world economy.

 

I was also intrigued to learn about the patent battle between the backers of George Selden (who had taken out a patent in the late 1870s on the concept of an internal combustion engine later considered to be essential to the future development of the automobile) --- i.e. ALAM (or the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers) and Henry Ford. This took place between 1903 and 1911. ALAM sought to break Henry Ford the outsider, who after failing twice to establish an auto company, was now on the threshold with his latest company to achieve unrivaled success with the Model T.

 

The story of the lawsuit between Ford and ALAM is one that the author tells in great detail. The only difficulty I had in reading this book was in trying to fully grasp some of the technical aspects of the various engines vital to the automobile's viability and the related technologies. Yet, on the whole, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about how the automobile and the industry it spawned developed during its formative years - and revolutionized the world. Hence, the five (5) stars.

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review 2017-02-15 03:15
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - Mo Willems

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems is a funny, creative, easy read, children's book. When a bus driver takes a break, a pigeon wants to volunteer to drive the bus. Throughout this book, he begs his way to drive the bus, and children love this, because they can answer back and decide the pigeons fate. This helps children notice when to say no. I would teach this lesson on bus drill day and I would read this to kindergarten.

 

 Lexile Level: 120L

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