Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Tour for Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield (Review & GIVEAWAY)

When I think of some of he best writers in the m/m genre I automatically think of Z.A. Maxfield with her engaging reads and complex characterizations.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of the just-released and emotionally intense Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield, along with my impressions of it.  Make sure to leave a comment below for the chance to win a book from Ms. Maxfield's backlist and then fill out the form below for the chance to win a Riptide Publishing GC too!

Hello and thanks to Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess for letting me be here today!
I’m Z.A. Maxfield, coming at you from lovely sunny southern California where I’m blogging about my latest release, Home The Hard Way.
Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.
Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.
In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.
Read more about Home The Hard Way HERE.

As a fan of the m/m genre there's a number of authors I can count on for an entertaining and emotionally engaging read.  Z.A. Maxfield is one of those authors and her latest book nicely blends suspense and a sweet and sexy romance between two men who've been in each other's hearts and minds since they were young but who never fully embraced those feelings.  This is a tale of reunited friends with a lot of baggage between them and a secret that could destroy their burgeoning relationship before it starts and it kept me engaged from start to finish.

Finn had a difficult time growing up as he was ostracized for his differently colored eyes and a mother who enjoyed men whether they were single or married.  One boy in particular, Bill Fraser, took great pleasure in hurting him both mentally and physically.  From the day Dare rescued him from Bill a strong connection was forged and he felt like Dare was the other part of his soul and there was finally someone to accept him wholeheartedly.  That sense of security came crashing down the day Dare's dad died and his mother took them away,  excising Finn from his life with no reason.  He was left to defend himself and I felt great pride in him finding his strength and surviving some pretty brutal bullying.  He's always been a sweet-natured man who wears his heart on his sleeve.  He's extremely loyal to his Aunt Lyddie who's dying from cancer and who he gave up a career and life far away from the bullying of Paladian to care for in her final days.  He's made a place for himself and is well-liked by all.  There's a bit of mystery hiding behind his eyes as seen by the secret he's been keeping regarding the truth about Dare's father.  He also may appear to be quiet and gentle but in the bedroom he enjoys being in control.  The introduction of his lifestyle was somewhat surprising but made sense as one gets tired of being bullied and longs to be the one in charge.  I felt though that it diminished his and Dare's relationship as it made their connection more about sex rather than love as Dare never seemed inclined to the lifestyle but did it for Finn.  Even with that facet of his life being revealed I was still drawn to him and the intriguing duality of his character.

Dare was drawn to Finn from the moment he saw him and was fascinated by his eyes.  He felt powerful the moment Finn looked at him with admiration for saving him and this hero worship was the basis for their burgeoning relationship.  After the tragedy of his father's death he left Palladian and never looked back leaving the boy who was everything to him behind.  Seeing so much death and tragedy as a cop, and without the emotional support Finn unknowingly gave him, left him a broken man who became an alcoholic which cost him his job.  Coming home in disgrace left a bad taste in his mouth but he's happy to finally reconnect with Finn.  He's caught off guard by the changes Finn's gone through, and while he misses the boy who needed him, he's drawn to the sexy and caring man he's found.  He knows quite quickly that he loves and wants Finn but Finn fights it every step of the way as he just wants a relationship of sex as anything deeper leads to emotional hurts.  This battle of wills took up most of the story and often left me frustrated.  I adored Dare though and the issues surrounding his return were heartbreaking and surprising.

There's a lyrical feeling to Ms. Maxfield's writing.  She draws you into this small town through its colorful denizens who aren't always what/who they seem.  Bill Fraser is depicted as cruel but his past blew me away and had me seeing him in a more sympathetic light.  Aunt Lyddie is delightful!  She deals with her cancer bravely and the scenes of her smoking marijuana were hillarious and made me love her even more.  The mystery surrounding Dare's father and other recent deaths was well-paced and kept me guessing to the end as the past is tied in with the present.  From start to finish I was fully engrossed in this small town and its compelling characters.  The romance was engaging but also frustrating and at the conclusion I still wasn't sure that Dare and Finn would have a HEA as it felt more like a HFN.  Ms. Maxfield is a true talent and those who enjoy the m/m genre definitely need to read her books.  This was a very satisfying read and I truly hope we return to Palladian one day as I feel there are more stories left to tell.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


About the Author – Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”
Readers can visit ZAM at her websiteFacebookTwitter, or Tumblr.

I’m doing a giveaway and there are a couple different ways to win! At each tour stop, one lucky winner will get to choose any book from my backlist, so if you’re new to Z.A.Maxfield, this is a great way to find out if you want to dive in! At the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away a Riptide gift certificate, so you’re going to want to follow along the whole blog tour HERE for your best chance at a prize!  There’s two ways to win today! Comment below (WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDY) for a chance to win an ebook from my backlist AND you can also…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for this very informative review it was most helpful in my bumping up of the book on my wish list. I also hope there will be a series, so we can catch up with known characters and possible offer some of them their own journey of redemption and a little miracle of their own.

    Thank you also for a chance to win a book from Z A Maxfield's book list :) (slholland 30 {at} outlook {dot} com)

  2. I like the book cover :)


  3. Thanks for the great review! Looking forward to this new ZAM story!

  4. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. Have this one on my TBR list - reading lots of good things about it.

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

    1. Jen! You're my winner, thanks so much for stopping by. I'll contact you shortly and you can choose any book from my backlist.



  5. Thank you for the giveaway!
    I really enjoyed the review! :D


  6. Thanks so much for having me here, I know it's unconventional to reply so late, but I was on a road trip while my blog tour was occurring and I had a million little emergencies to attend to when I got back...