Hell On Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield, Narrated by Nick J. Russo #AudioReview

Hell On Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield, Narrated by Nick J. Russo #AudioReviewHell On Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Series: #3 Bluewater Bay
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on July 20, 2016
Length: 6 hours 55 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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A local guy and a TV star meet along a rainy highway outside town.  The brief, but enjoyable encounter has them both thinking wistfully even as they return to their respective real life.  However, Bluewater Bay is a small town and Spencer decides that he wants to see Nash Holly again.

Spencer’s life has been crazy between the phenomenal popularity of the show and his character on it to the huge and messy break up of his marriage when his husband leaves him for a famous movie actress and the child she carries is his.  Nash was a breath of fresh air.  He’s even-keeled, fun, and kind.  Spencer wants a bit of that.  And with a therapeutic session with a decimated scarecrow, a special date at the amusement park, and time away on a boat at sea, Spencer can’t help but compare how Nash makes him feel to his past relationship with Peter.

Nash is the dependable Holly.  His dad is an eccentric inventor who never quite recovered from the loss of his first wife and then the damage his mistake of a second marriage did on the family.  Nash’s twin is a brainiac off pursuing his dreams at university.  And Nash’s younger sister, Shelby is a precocious teen though bound to a wheel chair after a car accident.  Nash is the glue that keeps things together.  But lately, his family seems to be going off to pursue dreams and he’s left wondering what that means for him.  A fling with Spencer can only be just that.  Spencer is still entangled with his husband and he wouldn’t want something with Nash, right?

This was a straightforward, heartwarming story that tackles some serious issues while offering a new tale in the Bluewater Bay series.  This is the third book, but it can easily standalone or be read out of order.

With each new book comes a new author and this author’s contribution was a nicely paced, engaging story.  I thought it might get angsty since Spencer is on the rebound and actually still missing his husband, but instead the focus was broader and more balanced as a result.  Spencer and Nash take turns telling the story.  Nash has his own issues to work through.  He doesn’t believe in long-lasting relationships after the death of his mom and then watching his self-centered, addicted step-mom tear apart the family.

Not to say there was no angst or conflict.  It’s there, but not overblown.  The last few scenes of confrontation were great.  I did the ‘oh wow’ thing at the grand gesture that Spencer’s husband pulled.

The surrounding cast of friends and family added a delightful layer.  Nash’s dad was not the cliche crackpot absent-minded father and Spencer’s body guard and assistant were more like his family.  Healey and Shelby were fun siblings for Nash.  I loved the interactions between them.

I had fun with each time Nash and Spencer came together for their ‘dates’.  The amusement park food scene was a hoot and the time out on the boat was- well it was invigorating.  Haha!

The narrator for this installment, Nick J. Russo, was spot on.  He got Spencer’s Brit accent and Nash’s laid-back American one perfect.  It was easy to distinguish the whole cast of characters.  He delivers the right emotional tone and pace to match the story.

I loved this easy-read story that was full of depth, warmth, and humor and can easily recommend it.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this story in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #275 LGBT
Audio #32

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • That does sound like an interesting story.

    • I like the laid back atmosphere and all the characters interacting even more than the romance which was good, too.

  • What’s with the food? Double entendres? And they don’t do love boats anymore, well not at my county’s fair anyway. Hehehe

    • Ha! There were definitely some fun had with food. They don’t do the tunnel of love boat rides at our fair either. 🙁

  • oh I do like it when authors tackle serious issues!!! Sounds like a great book here.

    • Me, too. I love stories with heart and depth.

  • This sounds great, ok I am curious about all the food. Or maybe I am just hungry 🙂

    • The food scenes were hilarious. Spencer has never had food like they get at amusement parks and let’s just say he wasn’t impressed with Nash’s choice. Then later, Nash wants to make him dinner and Spencer remembers their culinary differences and is afraid of what he’s going to get. It was funny b/c Nash is actually a decent cook.

      Or, maybe you’re just hungry. 😉

  • The series with multiple authors writing it really seems to be becoming popular lately. That’s great that each addition is working so well.

    • Yeah, I never saw it done and then suddenly I saw it frequently. Not sure who set that trend, but the few times I’ve actually read the series they are okay. I’ve only had one book in this series so far not work for me and it was the first one I read and out of order so I almost didn’t try any more, but glad I did. 🙂

  • Sounds like these two had a lot of chemistry and that the angst was nicely balanced. Great review!

    • Yes, the chemistry was good and was obvious from the beginning even if they took it slow. Thanks, Grace!

  • Sounds like a good story. I don’t know why but the guy on the cover reminds me of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek The Next Generation. lol

    • I had to look closely, but yes, its the coloring and the long eyelashes. I see it now. 🙂

  • I’m not surprised that this one was a great installment in the series, since Nick Russo narrated. I’ve read great things about him. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • He is definitely one of my favorite narrators. I think I’ve listened to half a dozen books by him and always enjoy them more because he’s telling the story.

  • This sounds like a nice read. And sometimes it’s okay when a story is a bit straightforward. And heartwarming type of stories can be fun to read, they make me feel happy. And a book that has conflict that doesn’t get overblown can be great. I am glad the surrounding cast added a nice extra layer and you have me curious about that amusement park scene. Great review!

    • Yes, having a story that sets up like a road map from point A to point B can be relaxing and fun between more complex and dramatic ones.

      Haha! Yes, that amusement park scene cracked me up. It was fun to see Spencer’s more formal and staid character experience junk food, rides, and let loose to just have a good time.