An Ali Audio Review: Handle with Care by Cari Z and John Solo (Narrator)

Standard
 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

I am always leery about reading books where a MC is a social worker. That’s the field I work in and I drive myself crazy when authors don’t get stuff right.  I decided to give it a try anyways because I’m a fan of this author’s and it includes two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and road trips. 
 
This was well done and I enjoyed it.  Aaron and his best friend take off for Kansas to go to a wedding.  Along the way Aaron has to deal with a variety of insecurities and unresolved issues from his childhood.  Tyler is there to be a support and as they go along they realize that they’re falling in love.
 
The book is fairly short so a lot of the issues were dealt with a bit more superficially than I would have preferred  (I want ALL the angst) but it was still entertaining.  Their romance was lovely and sweet and I really liked them together.  It was one of those book couples you are rooting for.
 
The audiobook is narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a very good job.  I have liked all of his narrations that I have listened to.  I think a good narrator can really add depth and emotion to a story which I feel was the case here.
 
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Alexandria Corza.  I don’t really care for it.  The Dreamspun series has had various formats for the books in it and this format was one of my least favorites. 
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible
Audio Details:
Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 16th 2018)
ASIN1644054906
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Release Day Review: Handle With Care by Cari Z

Standard

 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Aaron McCoy is a social worker who gives too much to his job.  In an attempt to keep other kids safe from what he went through as a child, he works himself nearly sick. “Aaron knew all too well how it felt to be ignored by your case worker.”  He is always ahead of schedule with his paperwork and answers the call to help at any time.  It gets to the point where his boss, Pam, forces him to take a vacation before he burns out completely.   Mandatory time off and no checking emails.  It just might kill him. 

Luckily, he has his best friend, Tyler, to be there with an idea.  Aaron has received an invitation to his little brother Zach’s wedding.  The brother he hasn’t seen in fifteen years.  The brother who was “…young and cute and well-behaved for his foster parents…” and ended up being adopted by Chrissy, “I wish I could take you too” and doesn’t that make not one bit of difference to a hurting 13-year-old losing his family.   My heart hurt for him, especially since the reason his brother was so good was because Aaron took care of him when their mom didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t.  He’d have to see Chrissy too.  “To my brother’s wedding? To the house of the woman who decided she didn’t want to take me but who had no problem taking my little brother?”  But Tyler is persuasive – a road trip!  The fact that Aaron has secretly longed for Tyler might make the trip uncomfortable, but Aaron can handle it.

Tyler is lovely.  He is silly, enthusiastic and totally on Aaron’s side.  He brings a garbage bag filled with snacks for a fairly short road trip, has dumb car games all ready for them to play until Aaron threatens him if he looks away from the road to see another license plate, and he’s just there for Aaron.  He also has stalked Zach online in order to know more about Aaron.  “I’d never make you share something you don’t want to. But you can’t blame me for lookin’ for clues wherever I could find them.”

I have to admit even though Zach wanted Aaron to stay at Chrissy’s, I think it would have been kinder for him to stay at a hotel and have a place to escape.  It’s so uncomfortable for him, especially when Chrissy talks of how well she cared for Zach and Zach is talking of what a great mom she is.  Things that Aaron didn’t have.  Add in that one of Zach’s groomsmen, Owen, is a nasty homophobic jerk.  I couldn’t understand if Zach was such a good person he could allow someone like that around him, let alone allow the things he said to Aaron and Tyler. “What, fairies can’t hear now?” was one of the tamer things.  Yes, Zach did the “knock it off” thing to Owen, but that didn’t stop it and I was furious at them both.  It was lucky that the bride-to-be, Becky, wasn’t going to take that.  Zach and his “He didn’t mean anything by it” did not fly with her.  There is also a giant surprise that Zach didn’t mention to Aaron that again made me want to smack him.  Obviously, I wasn’t a big Zach fan.

Tyler is there for all of it.  “Weren’t you listenin’?  You put everybody else first.  I’m the only one’ll put you first.” Thank Pete Aaron has someone like that in his corner.  They are such great friends and I was pulling for them to be more.  “We’re still family.”  And that was the family that Aaron needed.  We get to see the slow transformation and it was a great thing.  Aaron makes progress as well, facing some things from his past and showing his strength.  “So I’m glad to hear you say it, but I think it’s probably more important for you to apologize than for me to be apologized to.”

Much as I loved Tyler and Aaron and Becky, the winning character here is Becky’s grandmother.  I can only say that I want to grow up to be here.  She reminded me so much of my favorite female character ever, Nana from Until You. I give a huge thank you to Cari Z for putting that firecracker in there.  “The only attraction they garnered was from Grandma, where she was dancing with a trapped-looking Owen on the dance floor.  “You get you some, honey!”  She’s not in there a lot but the time she is there count.

This is not only a friends to lovers story but it’s a story of healing from the things that might have broken you and moving forward. It was sweet and lovely. 

Cover art by Alexandria Corza shows Aaron set against a background of the road and trees.  It is simple but fit the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 194 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640804463
Edition LanguageEnglish

Cari Z. on Writing, Romance, and Handle with Care (author interview)

Standard

Handle With Care by Cari Z.
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Cari Z. here today on tour for her new story in the Dreamspun Desires line, Handle with Care.  Welcome, Cari.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Cari Z.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Research is usually the last thing I want to do when I start writing, which is probably why I’ve done so much sci fi and fantasy and paranormal and so few historicals and contemporaries. I have made exceptions for things that really interested me, though. For Handle With Care, I happen to have a phenomenal friend and ficwife who also happens to work for CPS, so she was instrumental in helping me figure this story out.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Oh my gosh, yes. I’m still working on a story I started two years ago because I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around how to do it all justice. There are some books that resonate so deep that it hurts more to contemplate finishing them badly then not finishing them at all.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both, but I confess a weakness for an HFN, because that usually means a sequel is incoming 😉

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I love romances! I love that romance as a genre spans every other genre. There’s always space for romance.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite work changes frequently. Right now, actually, I’m damn proud of Handle With Care because it was such a departure for me. No gun fights, no knife fights, no explosions, barely one fist fight and nobody even draws blood…what is this book even about? The answer is: EMOTIONS! So many emotions.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got some big plans for 2019! I’m working on the sequel to another Dreamspinner Press book right now, and am contracted for a hugely fun action/adventure/mystery with them. Think of it like a contemporary version of The Mummy without the paranormal aspects of that film (I know, whyyyy? But it’ll work, I promise). It’s going to be awesome.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Honestly, if I don’t like a character, I won’t read about them. I don’t care if he or she is the most complex, brilliant, tortured person ever created, with enough compelling backstory to blow my mind. If they’re also an asshole who ends up slow to change, or doesn’t change at all—screw them. I’m done.

 What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love figuring out what a person does with themselves while they’re alone. Everyone becomes something slightly other than themselves when they’re around other people. When a character feels comfortable enough to act like they’re alone while being with the person they love—that interests me.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Tempest. It took me for effing ever to finish that one. I wrote seventy thousand words in three weeks, then lost my mind and shoved it in a drawer for over a year.

 Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’m going to take this question in not the spirit it was written in and say—I work out how I imagine getting into fights in some of my books. Obviously not exactly, since I write a lot of guys and I’m not one and the techniques are often different, but it’s safe to say that I think about self-defense a LOT, and that preoccupation comes out in a lot of my books.

 Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I drunk-wrote a sex scene once, came back to it the next day and was like, “Wait, how many hands is that? How many penises? Did I write in a dildo too?”

 With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Cliché time! I write because I just love it. I love doing it, I love the realization of scenes from my head onto the page, I love telling stories. I have a baby now and I read to her every morning, and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to tell me stories back. I think it’s an intrinsic part of being human, and a beautiful thing.

Blurb

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

About the Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Social media: Twitter: @author_cariz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008212125132

 

 

A Lila Audiobook Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. and Jack Wesley (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.

Off The Beaten Path is one of the best stories I have read or listened to this year. The actual plot, characters, and settings were fresh and interesting even when it was a shifter story. The world-build goes hand-in-hand with the current time and it’s easy to imagine this semi-dystopian place where werewolves are part of everyday society.

The pacing in the story gives the reader enough information about where the story was heading without missing the opportunity to include small details like smells and the weather. Even the type of cars, electronics, and clothes played an important role without weighting the story down.

The only thing I wanted more of were details about the pack’s life after everything was set and done. How everything changed and how everyone reacted. How they dealt with the changes and the new work—if any—the alphas got assigned.

Overall, this is a perfect story for those who want something different. It has a lovely romance, the right about of smexy times, a lot of flirting, angsts, and drama without taking from the tension and the serious side of the plot. It has great balance and a hit of humor.

The narration by Jack Wesley gave the book the extra push needed to make it four dimensional. It was more than then narration, it was the whole production. From the characterizations to the distinctions when the scenes took place outside or over the phone. Even the video calls had their own distinct feel. It was worth listening to it.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows Ward and Henry in front of a setting that matches the story’s descriptions. It really works.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Jack Wesley

Length:  6 hours 23 minutes

Published: January 12, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B078Y8KP96
Edition Language: English

An Ali Release Day Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z

Standard
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.
This was a unique take on the shifter world and I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end.  I read a lot of shifter books and I am always looking for something that I haven’t seen before and this book really fit the bill.  The world building was top notch and I felt the author did a very good job drawing the reader in to this hard scrabble world these werewolves live in.
In addition to the detailed and interesting world building. the author did a very complete job developing the characters.  I felt sorry for Ward right off and could understand his desperation to get to his daughter.  Henry was also well done and the two men were a great match for each other.  Their chemistry jumped off the pages and I was rooting for them the entire time.  There are a host of side characters and I also found them to be well done and their presence added to this plot.
If you’re looking for something creative and well written I would definitely recommend this story.  I’m not sure if this will be an ongoing series but I hope it is.  I would love to read more about these shifters.
This cover was done by Brooke Albrecht and I love it.  It fits the story perfectly and I think it’s visually gorgeous.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635338980
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Friendly Fire by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed the narration of this audiobook by Nick J. Russo.  I say that up front because listening to the story unfold is always a different experience from reading the book, and in the hands of a talented and experienced narrator, an average or above average story can be even more enjoyable. That’s the case here as I set out to listen to what I thought would be an interesting story but turned out to be so much better than I expected. 

Elliot McKenzie is the CEO of a highly popular social media corporation, Charmed Life.  Ostensibly, it’s for those who want to learn from past mistakes and make their lives as good as their potential.  Against all odds, he’s succeeded, and on the surface one would think he’d be pretty full of himself, but Elliot is not like that.  He’s quite down to earth and he certainly relies heavily on his staff, including his assistant, Serena.  So when she finds out he’s been getting threats, she’s on him to call the cops—something he won’t do because his sister is running for DA for the second time around and she lost the first race because of his arrest on the eve of the last election.  He won’t let bad publicity affect her this time—under any circumstances—so Serena convinces him to hire her sister’s ex-husband, a former Army Ranger who now works for a security firm.

Lennox West suffers from severe PTSD, so much so, that he’s afraid to spend too much time with his teen daughter, leading to an even further estrangement with his ex and with his daughter.  He’s trying though—going to therapy and making an effort to hold a steady job and to spend brief periods of time with the young girl.  When he meets Elliot McKenzie, life as he knew it changes drastically.  Elliot is not what he seems to be on the outside and he captures Lennox’s attention and holds it. That the sparks are mutual leads to some pretty hot sex for the two and lays the foundation for a closeness that Lennox is certainly not used to.

When accidents and threats and outright attempts on Elliot’s life keep throwing the men together and the mystery gets heavier as it appears that more than one culprit is involved, the men risk losing their independence as they see they need each other.  Does it help that Elliot’s presence in his life seems to increase the time Lennox gets to spend with his daughter? Definitely. 

The story is highly enjoyable as told by Nick J. Russo who uses a deep, rough, slightly Southern accent for Lennox and a well-paced, business-like, professional tone for Elliot’s voice.  The women in the story don’t sound the least bit fake, and in fact, at times I forgot a man was doing their voices.  My enjoyment only increased as the mystery got more complex, the men got closer, Lennox got to spend more time with his daughter, and the threats and danger to Elliot escalated out of control.  My only downside was that the couple didn’t commit to a solid future together.  Possibly the author has plans to bring them back in a sequel, and that’s something I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing.  So though the guys are together at the end, I’d call it more of a HFN rather than a HEA—still good—just not where I wanted them. 

I definitely recommend this to those who like a murder mystery—in this case attempted murder—in a contemporary MM romance with well-rounded, interesting characters.  It’s likely obvious by now, but if I must say so outright, I highly recommend the audiobook version. 

~~~~~

Cover art by LC Chase depicts the rear view of a man holding a gun down at his side. Done in black on gray and with a smudged look—somewhat like a watercolor effect—the only part of the cover that stands out from a distance is the bright “fire” red title of the book.  I don’t think the cover adds any appeal at all and would not induce me to purchase it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 8 hours and 5 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Audible.com Release Date: August 10, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B074N5PZCH

In the Spotlight: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by LA Witt and Cari Z (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

Standard

Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z.
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host L.A.Witt and Cari Z. on their Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) Tour.  After checking out the story, be sure to enter the giveaway below.

♦︎

About Suspicious Behavior

 

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

 

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

 

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

 

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/suspicious-behavior

About the Bad Behavior Series

 

It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.

 

It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.

 

They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.

 

Check out Bad Behavior! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/bad-behavior

 

About Cari Z.

 

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

 

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

 

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

 

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/

 

About L.A. Witt

 

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

  1. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Suspicious Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis #2) by Cari Z. and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.

I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.

It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.
This entertaining story picks up six months after the last one ended. Edward is trying to get a handle on his new powers and he and Raul are living a quiet life. Edward is having some bad side effects to his power that he’s struggling with and he’s exploring how to make a name for himself as a villain. His first bank robbery goes awry and Raul is kidnapped by the worst villain they’ve encountered yet. His love for Raul forces Edward to step into the role he doesn’t think he’s ready for yet.

This was another really good read by this author. I think this series is so unique and creative. I love the world the author has made and I personally haven’t read anything like it before. The plot races along and keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next. In addition to the action you also get a sweet love story with a bit of sexy times thrown in. I highly recommend this fun series and I can’t wait for the next episode in Edward and Raul’s lives.
 
This book was narrated by Nick J. Russo.  I felt like he did a great job with all of the voices.  I’ve listened to many books narrated by him over the years and he’s consistently good.
Cover by LC Chase:  I love the cover of this book, as well as the others in the series.  They are striking and they have a sort of comic book/graphic novel vibe to them, as do the plots of the books.
Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published April 18th 2017 (first published July 12th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #2

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke (Panopolis #1) by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
where-theres-smoke-audioPanopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I’ve come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.

But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I’m head over heels in love with Raul.

Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn’t without its downsides, though. I’ve had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won’t take no for an answer, and a lover I’m not sure I can trust. It’s getting to the point where I know I’ll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.

Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.
I really enjoyed this unique and creative story. Panopolis is a city filled with Heroes and Villians (think comic book characters). Edward is an average guy who has never actually met either until his bank is robbed by a villian. The two men have an instant connection and end up meeting again soon after. As Edward finds himself falling for Raul he has to constantly question his own values and what he is doing with a criminal. The story is filled with an interesting background plot of political corruption while the two MC’s give us some adventure, some romance and some smexy times. The world building was really well done and I could totally picture it.  I thought this was a great start to a new series. I love when author’s come up with completely new ideas and this is totally different than the usual love story in the m/m genre.
This audio was narrated by  Nick J Russo and as usual he does a great job with all of the voices.  I find that he is one narrator that I consistently enjoy.  The audiobook is pretty short, under three hours, and is an easy one to follow along with.  It is something that I would definitely recommend.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I love the cover.  It’s very eye catching and it perfectly captures the world this book is set in.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published February 2nd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 25th 2015)
ASINB01N7XRJQM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #1

An Ali Review: Soothsayer by Cari Z.

Standard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

soothsayer-by-cari-zCillian Kelly can look into people’s eyes and see their fates. He’s running from a past filled with mistakes, lying low and selling his services on the sly. When he learns that Sören Egilsson, a man who sacrificed himself so Cillian could escape imprisonment two years ago, is somehow still alive, Cillian has to find out how. What he gets is the body of the man he loves possessed by an ancient spirit who draws Cillian into a battle to the death for the right to control Sören’s fate, and the power that comes with it.

I’ve read most everything this author has written and I’m a big fan of hers.  That being said, I think this is my favorite book that she’s written.  I was immediately drawn into this story and once I started it, I could not put it down.  It’s a fairly short book but a lot happens.  The blurb perfectly explains the plot.  Cillian is living with his mother’s best friend and trying to keep a low profile.  He’s been kidnapped in the past by people who want him to do bad things for them with his power.  While he’s currently doing alright, Cillian lives with a horrible regret from his past that he can’t seem to let go.  When the chance to right the wrongs he’s done comes up, Cillian jumps at the chance to make amends despite the danger to himself.  This leads Cillian, Soren and an Icelandic land spirit that acts like a teenager, to head out across the United States on a crazy road trip.  A road trip that includes bar fights, mobsters, roller coasters, paint ball fights, hand held missiles, cowboys, more ancient spirits, waffles and blowing stuff up.  

The plot is fast paced and super entertaining.  This is the kind of story that would make a great movie.  In addition to the fun plot, there are also a lot of emotions.  The author was able to weave a complex emotional story between Cillian and Soren and it was a relationship I totally bought in to.  I was rooting for these two the entire way.  I loved Cillian as the main character but I think the author did a great job on all of the side characters too.  There a lot of them but they are all fleshed out well and they are all unique and add purpose to the overall plot.  The spirit was just as important as Soren and actually had more on page time.  He stole every scene he was in with his petulant demands.  He made me laugh out loud more than once.

 I think this book has something for everyone and will appeal to a lot of readers.  It’s unique, romantic, funny and filled with great characters.  This is one I would definitely recommend.

Cover by Natasha Snow:  I love the cover.  I think it’s eye catching and gorgeous and it fits the story perfectly.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 184 pages
Published: January 30, 2017, NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952524
Edition Language: English