Drive to Feel Alive, Formula Q #2 by C.D. Rachels

Drive to Feel Alive is the second in the Formula Q series, exploring asexuality and what that means.

From the blurb:

Formula Q is the fastest motorsport in the world. Only the highest-performing athletes can make it to the grid. They drive fast, work hard, and play hard, but off-camera, anything goes.

The public knows me as Berto ‘Honeybear’ Navarro, number two driver in the fastest team in FQ. I’m a simple guy, and I’m perfectly content with my life as a motorsports celebrity. The world doesn’t need to know that I don’t like sex or dating.
I’m not gay like my buddy Damon, but I’m not really straight either. It’s time to face the scary truth: I’m probably asexual.
The only sliver of hope I have is my new friend Hunter. He helps me work through my orientation issues and doesn’t judge me for feeling uneducated and na├»ve. He’s sweet, smart, and generous with his time.
As the weeks go by, Hunter and I get closer, and suddenly intimacy is something I want to explore, but only with him. Hunter makes everything feel right. No one has ever lit a spark in my soul, but now my new best friend makes fireworks go off in my heart.
I thought winning races was the ultimate high and all I needed in life. That was before I touched Hunter—now, I crave so much more. For sex and love, I finally found my green light, and I’m not slowing down.

(“Drive to Feel Alive” is a male/male motorsports romance novel. It involves waffle dates, asexuality, video game conventions, exploring true intimacy for the first time, and yes, lots of racing action worldwide. It is book two of a series, has a HEA, and can be read as a standalone)

Sheena's Review:

This was such an unexpectedly delightful read. I read the first book and really enjoyed it, and I was happy to get Berto's story next. This picks up directly where the last book left off, but it can be enjoyed as a standalone. Drive to Feel Alive is set in the fictional Formula Q world which is based off Formula 1 racing.  

I love that the author includes BIPOC MCs in their books, it's nice to see that.  Berto in this book is Mexican, and is the second driver for a Formula Q team. He meets Hunter when he and two of his colleagues do a signing event to raised funds for Hunter's center where he helps LGBT+ people. Berto is figuring himself out, his sexuality and what that means for him. Asexuality is something that's rarely explored in books and I loved how it was represented here. It's a real spectrum and different for everyone, and I thought Berto's journey towards finding himself was really well done.

I also really liked Hunter, I felt for him as he'd had a real number done on him by his ex and now has body image issues. Neither are perfect, and I love that. They are perfect for each other though and I loved their relationship as friends first, then lovers.  

This was such a good book, lots of themes that are rarely explored and a fun, if slightly short read.

Rating: 4 Stars

Heather's Review:

CD Rachels tackles a lot with Berto and Hunter's love story - the things you expect to see - the distance, the driver's schedule and the power imbalance between celebrity and regular person, but he takes it even further to discuss asexuality, the romantic spectrum and exploring all aspects of a person's sexuality and relationship goals.

Hunter is the perfect friend and guide for Berto and the fact that he goes into the relationship at Berto's pace is wonderful.  We see his own insecurities and relationship needs emerge through the story and I love how these two balance each other out!

This story had a little bit of everything - friends to lovers, angst, drama, communication, exploration and coming out to family... and was a wonderful second book in the Formula Q series!

I do recommend reading the series from the beginning, but this book does stand on it's own and if you are looking for ace rep, you can pick this one up easily.  I can't wait to see where the next book goes!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"Is this what love feels like"

Oh sweet sweet Berto. He truly is one I'd call precious. Berto might not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he makes up for it in how kind he is. I loved how almost immediately after meeting Hunter, Berto could feel he was safe with him. Hunter was a safe space for him and his compassion and understanding for Berto was exactly what Berto needed. It's not always easy to come to terms with ones sexuality, especially when you've spent most of your life thinking something is wrong with you. That maybe you're just broken. Yet it also can be invigorating to finally have a name to put to what you wrongly thought was something abnormal about yourself. Nobody wants to feel truly alone and it can be nice to know you're not the "only" one.

Now just because Hunter was a great sounding board and listener to a burgeoning asexual FQ Driver, did not mean he was blind. Hunter was a red blooded gay man and was more than capable of multitasking ie: totally drooling over his new friends' good looks and bod while also being said great listener. Unfortunately, Hunter is also the owner of low self esteem which leads to a real "can't see the forest for the trees" situation. It was so obvious these two were crazy about each other to absolutely everyone but these two knuckleheads themselves. And it was truly lovely seeing Berto embrace being himself. For following his heart.

Now Robesy you little french shit. You've got secrets. Who is this new man on the scene and why does he have you running for cover. I'm looking forward to finding out in Drive Back to You.

Rating: 4 Stars

Drive to Feel Alive is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.