Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Tour for All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a quadriplegic myself I'm drawn to stories with characters that I can see myself in.  I seek them out as an empowerment that we too long for HEAs.  That's why I'm excited to introduce you to All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield, with its m/m romance featuring two bruised souls finding comfort in each other's arms.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of this engaging romance, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf.  Below you'll find ZAM discussing disability and inclusion in romance then you'll want to visit the other sites hosting this tour to get even more insight into this book.  In honor of this 18th installment in the Bluewater Bay series leave a comment below letting me know if you've read any other romances featuring disabled characters for the chance to win a previous e-title from ZAM as well as a $25 Riptide Publishing GC!

Hi Jody, and thanks so much for welcoming me to your blog. I wanted to talk a bit about inclusion in my books, why I might write, for example, about a character who lost an eye, (The Long Way Home) or why I might include a character with a limp or one who is deaf (The St. Nacho’s Series.)
I suppose it starts with my home. I’m married to a man with a disability—he suffered an L1 spinal cord injuryalong with a TBI as a young man, riding his bicycle, when he was hit from behind by a drunk driver. (It was 3:00 am. In those days my husband cleaned bars after hours to make money while he attended college.)
I wasn’t his wife then. I was busy having crushes on disco singers. (Go figure.)
He was married to someone lovely who shares the first part of my real name, Laura (weird, huh?). She saw him through his entire, horrible health crisis—five yearsand then went her own way when he was more than capable of living on his own.
He is mostly mobile, mostly healthy, mostly happy as far as he lets me know. He has some coordination issues that make people ask if he’s drunk a lot. You know what? I think I’m going to invite him to my blog for Marlin Mondays.
He’s also my heart. I dig him. We’re still together after 34 years. We have four kids.
It wasn’t until researching this book that I realized how lucky we are that he’s here at all, that we could have some pretty rocking sex, and that we were able to give each other four beautiful children.
I have this theory about romances--everyone should be a star in romance. Especially awesome dudes like my husband! So it’s a no brainer for me to write them.
Sure, romance is about fantasy, and I suppose absolute physical perfection is someone’s fantasy. There are billions of billionaire books, and books about women who are perfect “10”s. I often write about guys with physical limitations (that would be hubby) and also, I have this theme of annoying characters who are bundles of anxiety. (That would be me.) They say write what you know! LOL.
But I know there are readers out there who want to look beyond the fantasy of perfection, and I write for them. The way to make sure that more writers write characters with diverse backgrounds and/or specific situations, such as disability, is to ask them to do it.
absolutely, positively wrote this book in response Steven Spohn’s essay “I Am Not Your Plot Device.”
wanted to create a love affair between Healey Holly and Diego Luz—who happens to have a spinal cord injuryrather than making the spinal cord injury the point of the book. This is in no way to diminish the physical pain and many indignities suffered by people with disabilities. Romance doesn’t often go that deep. And it’s not my story to tell, not like it’s my husband’s. But I do know romance. The plot is: two people who are attracted to each other work out their differences and fall in love and live happily ever after. As it should be.
I guess in a way, that’s how I approach physical bodies in books: Some people need things like glasses or hearing aids. Some people can’t hear at all. Some people use wheelchairs to get around—and there are legitimately complicated things that go into living in a wheelchair that can’t be ignored or lessened and yet—none of these things define who my characters are as people any more than a diving suit  defines the person wearing it to breath under water.
There’s a community though, that depends on me not minimizing. It’s a balancing act.
I really try to start with a person, and then like some demented busybody, I go all matchmaker on them and try to create the perfect, most heartwarming person for them to love and be loved by. I try to be honest about my characters’s day to day struggles, but what I’m doing is rewriting everything I see around me to make sure my characters come out happily ever after every single time. If only I could do that in real life, huh?
For me, that’s Romance! (Any mistakes, or things I didn’t think through are obviously all mine.)

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.


Readers drawn to angst-filled romances and characters that pull at the heartstrings will find themselves captivated by this story and the journey these two bruised men undertake.  From the moment readers meet Diego and Healey their pain, fears, hopes, and dreams become ours.  Though there are times their actions and attitudes will frustrate readers, you'll still find yourself rooting for them to get their HEA.

Diego and his mother were close-knit when he was a child.  She was young when she had him and it made for a childhood full of hardships but also love. Her death left him reeling and he boxed up his memories of her as the pain of dealing with his past became too painful.  His awkward first meeting with Healey though opens up the floodgates and pain regarding his mother, his disability, and his own self-perceptions can no longer be ignored.  The closer he grows to Healey the more comfortable he becomes in his own skin.  With Healey's support he no longer wants to keep his mother's history hidden but rather share her story with the world out of pride and it's a heartwarming change for him. Throughout most of the story Diego's a bit of a curmudgeon.  He's angry and bitter when readers first meet him, angry over his mother's death and his disability.  Though his anger and tendency to assume the worse made it a bit difficult to warm up to him I still found myself admiring him and easily relating to him in relation to my own quadriplegia.  It's difficult to live with a disability and I appreciated his honesty in dealing with the everyday realities of being disabled.  Issues regarding sex, bathroom needs, and the oddities of our bodies weren't sugarcoated, they were dealt with head-on in a respectful and realistic way.  Diego's self-doubts in how he sees his body and his ability to satisfy were heartbreaking to see and it's why I adored Healey so much.  Healey never saw Diego as lacking and it's through Healey's honesty that Diego was able to see himself in a more positive light and by the end of the story his smiles came more often and were just part of a very HEA.

Healey grew up in a loving family with a twin brother and a sister who also had a spinal cord injury.  Though the death of his mother left a painful mark on his soul, his upbringing was much more assured than Diego's.  From a young age it was clear he was super smart and it made for a childhood full of studying and seriousness.  His years in college brought much of the same, but it also brought him Ford.  Ford took him to the wild side, had him doing things that grew further out of control, until the day Ford's mental illness almost killed both of them.  The accident left Healey scarred inside and out, but loyalty has him keeping the truth of that night buried.  That pain is what drives him back home to Bluewater Bay and leads to his unforgettable and antagonistic first meeting with Diego.  Despite all he's gone through Healey's retained his kind heart.  It's clear the secrets from that night are weighing on him but it doesn't diminish his infectious happiness.  He's a bundle of energy, snarky yet sensual in his banter, and once he commits to something he's all in.  What he wants to commit to is seeing more of Diego and through his unrelenting charm, sweet smiles, and bold honesty he slowly wears Diego down.  Healey's endearing in his quirks, overly talkative when nervous and very willing to experiment.  He's a sexy scientist and I adored his ability to make Diego feel just as he sees him in his own mind. Though they're opposites in many ways I found them to be an entertaining couple with a relationship teeming with realism, heart, and soul.

From start to finish this was a romance that captivated me.  Diego and Healey's relationship was emotionally intense with issues regarding sex and disability that ZAM dealt with realistically yet sensitively.  Along with their erotically-charged connection, their banter out of the bedroom was just as sensual and rapid-fire and I enjoyed the random blushes their words brought me.  The relationship between Healey and his twin brother Nash was another delightful aspect to this story that charmed me and put Healey in an even more endearing light.  I enjoyed getting an update on Nash and his lover as well as the glimpses  we got of the other colorful denizens of Bluewater Bay.  It's a picturesque town, a place of safety and acceptance for many, and this tale is a wonderful addition to the series.  Though the story went on a bit longer than necessary, and parts of the storyline were left a bit unfinished, I still found myself glued to this romance from the first page to the last.  I especially want to thank ZAM for crafting a disabled character that was far from perfect.  He wasn't a saint or an angel, but a man trying to live the life he was given with brutal honesty, and in that he left an indelible mark that I'm still cheering.

My rating for this is a B.

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

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.
Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. WittL.B. GreggZ.A. Maxfield,  Heidi BelleauRachel HaimowitzAnne TeninoAmy LaneSE JakesG.B. GordonJaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.


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.  If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework."
Her published books include Crossing Borders, Epic Award finalist St. Nacho’sDrawn TogetherePistols at DawnNotturnoStirring Up Trouble, and Vigil.
Readers can visit her website at, and contact her at



-To increase your chances of winning, comment at each of the stops on this tour.
-Winner will be chosen randomly from among each valid comment left.


  1. It's good to read a book you can relate to. I think I will read this, I loved your review and if you say that the author deals with all this aspects with respect it's a good point to me

    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  2. Eli Easton's THE MATING OF MICHAEL is a lovely, sexy one!


  3. Dark Water by KL White
    Heart's Master by Elizabeth Schechter
    Everything Changes by Melanie hansen
    Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  4. Thanks for the post & review

  5. Oh my, one of the more moving posts I've read in a while. Thanks for the great review and for ZAM's sharing her experience. It makes this story about two resilient people all the more compelling. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  6. Oooh, I read Hell on Wheels a couple of years back! I don't even know that there's sequel to it. So thanks for the blog tour and giveaway chance. HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!