ARC Review: Suspicious Behavior (L.A. Witt & Cari Z)

Suspicious Behavior is the follow-up for Risky Behavior, which was released in May 2017. If the first book plays rather heavily on the procedural/mystery while at the same time developing the romance between Andreas and Darren, this book is more about the consequences of Andreas and Darren shaking up the department (and the city) while navigating their status as something more than professional partners.

Andreas and Darren are basically pariahs at their precinct now. No one wants to work with them because they are considered traitors. Cops don’t rat out other cops. Both men resort to take a case from other precinct; cases that might link to a serial killer that has never been caught.

Urgh, I wanted to smack down the other detectives who make it difficult for Andreas and Darren to do their job. Fuc*king a$$holes! I really don’t get the whole “blue bloods” loyalty thing. Those cops exposed are dirty, damn it! Or maybe I’m never really do well with authority who abuses their power :p.

As for Andreas and Darren, I loved that they were solid, despite the problems from work or Darren’s family (as in his brother’s declining health). I think this time the spotlight falls on Darren. He is dealing with the possibility of carrying the same early-onset Alzheimer’s gene as his brother. Darren worries about that, and he worries that he cannot do his job well.

Previously Andreas is the difficult one, the jackass who doesn’t play nice with his partners. In here though, Andreas accepts his relationship with Darren. He … mellows a bit, I think. Repeatedly Andreas says that he wants to help Darren deal with both physical stress and emotional stress. He also comes forward about his health and relationship status with his daughter.

I definitely enjoyed the change!

The mystery is not as heavy as the first book; we find out who the bad guy is about halfway. I don’t mind though, I enjoyed the change towards more personal plot. Plus reading about Andreas’ interaction with his youngest daughter was ADORABLE!

So another satisfying read for me — too bad I have to wait until next year to read book #3 (damn it!). I mean the BLURB!! It promises intense action!!

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Permanent Ink
Author: L.A. Witt & Cari Z
Series: Bad Behavior #2
Genre: MM Contemporary / Mystery Romance
Word Count: 74,700 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: August 21, 2017

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Soothsayer (Cari Z.)

Title:  Soothsayer

Author: Cari Z

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 30

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68200

Genre: Romance, Action, urban fantasy, magic, magic user, psychic/soothsayer, myth/folklore, mafia, reunited, road trip, spirits, posession

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Synopsis

Cillian 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.

Excerpt

Soothsayer
Cari Z © 2017
All Rights Reserved

My phone buzzed, interrupting my musing. I frowned as I pulled it out of my jacket pocket. Only a dozen people had this number, and I wasn’t expecting to talk to any of them any time soon. I unlocked it and looked at my new message.

Move ten paces to the right.

My feet were moving even before my brain caught up, obedience was so instinctual. Two seconds later, I was out of the mouth of the alley, and three seconds after that, a beat-up silver sedan coming down the road was clipped by a delivery van and veered straight into the corner of the building. It wasn’t moving fast, thankfully, but the crash was plenty loud, especially since I was just a few feet away from the point of impact.

A memory flashed through my mind, one of my personal rare and painful gems. I was in the backseat of an old Lincoln, and I was very small. My feet wouldn’t have touched the floor even if I hadn’t had my knees squished to my chest, and my face was pressed to the knobby joints so hard they were leaving red blotches on my cheeks. The man driving was on a phone—an old-school cell phone, clunky in his hand, distracting. He wasn’t paying attention, but I knew the moment before the car was hit and covered my head with my hands, so when I went flying into the door, it didn’t hurt as much. Metal crunched, and bright spots flashed across the darkness behind my eyelids as the car spun and spun…

I shook my head and took a deep breath, focusing on the present. The van hadn’t stopped, but I didn’t bother trying to catch its license plate number―there were plenty of people exclaiming and getting on their phones. I headed over to the driver’s side and opened the door, but didn’t reach in to touch the woman who had been driving. She was moving under her own power, picking her head up off the remains of her airbag and whimpering softly. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…”

“It’s all right,” I said gently. I might not be a martyr, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t feel compassion for another person, especially one who’d just been thrown into a wall. “You’re okay. Just a little accident. There’s an ambulance coming to help you.” I could already hear it in the distance. We were only a few blocks from a major hospital. “Can you look at me for a moment?” She blearily turned, and as soon as our eyes met, I sighed and backed out of the way. One of the employees at the auto-painting store took my place, and a second later—bam. The fucking Ace of Cups moment. Who found true love as a result of a car accident? This wasn’t exactly the heartwarming scene I’d envisioned getting me through the day earlier.

“Are you all right?” the newcomer asked frantically. “What’s your name? I’m Felix. I’m gonna stay with you until the ambulance gets here, okay? Oh Jesus, are you all right?”

“I’m…I think so?” the woman said, her voice gaining a little bit of strength. “I’m Paula.”

“Paula, hey.” He smiled at her, and she smiled back. I rolled my eyes. “Nice to meet you.”

For fuck’s sake. Well, at least the settlement from the trucking company would give them a nice nest egg to get their new place together. I turned away and walked to the end of the block before getting out my phone again and making a call.

She picked up on the second ring. “Hi, baby.”

“What, you can see me getting smeared across a wall, but you don’t bother to let me know about having a gun pulled on me?”

“Cillian.” My mother sounded half apologetic, half resigned. “You know it doesn’t work like that.”

Yes, fine, I did know that, but I didn’t feel like being reasonable right now. “So you didn’t see that this morning, then?”

“Did you need me to see it?”

I wasn’t about to go down the self-sufficiency road with her. It meant a surefire argument, and I was still buzzing with adrenalin from being so close to the car crash.

“No,” I said flatly. “I guess not.”

* Interview With Cari Z *

Q: If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

I’d love to see some dinosaurs in the flesh. From, like, a looong ways away. A long, looong ways. Actually, I’ll need to go to the future first and get an environmentally-sealed spaceship, and then go into the past and look at dinosaurs. Safety first.

Q: We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right?  If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

Alexander the Great and Hephaestion! Oh wait, do they have to be imaginary? Achilles and Patroclus then!

Q: If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Way too many salad dressings. Seriously, it takes a village to make that stuff enticing night after night.

Q: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

Oh my gosh, I’ve written a whole superhero series that answers this very question! I’m tempted to say I’d want to be completely invulnerable, like my hero Freight Train, but the problem is he could never turn in off. Invulnerable…and untouchable. I like touch, touch is good. I’d go crazy. Hmm…if not that, then I’d like to be able to shapeshift into a cat. Cats are awesome.

Q: If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

As awful as I’ve made a lot of his life, I’d like to be in Cillian Kelly’s shoes for a while. His power is intriguing, and he’s definitely got an interesting home life right now. Plus, there’s a puppy.

Q: If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

I’d go somewhere with beautiful mountains, comfortable chairs, copious coffee and a knife-throwing target that I could use without my neighbors coming over to see if I’m having a breakdown.

Q: What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

Air. Super useful. Less practically, my husband. I’ve been dragging him along with me or tagging along after him for so long, I wouldn’t be able to breathe without him. Actually, yeah, he’s more important than air.

Q: What internet site do you surf to the most?

AO3. I’m an unabashed lover of fanfic.

Q: If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

My talk show would have to be a radio show, because omg, face to face in front of cameras? Not happening! I’d want to talk to JK Rowling, Ilona Andrews and Jordan L. Hawk. I love their books, I love speculative fic, and they all seem like interesting people (I’ve actually met Ilona and Jordan before, and they’re both awesome).

Q: When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was supersonically excited! Bats flocked to me, thinking I’d found a nice, juicy swarm of mosquitoes. I then lowered my vocal register and told my husband, who was very happy for me.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | eMail | Blog

Tour Schedule

1/30     Hearts On Fire Reviews

1/30     On Top Down Under

1/31     Love Bytes

1/31     Out Of My Head

1/31     Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

2/1       Slashsessed

2/1       Stories That Make You Smile

2/1       Book Lovers 4Ever

2/2       Happily Ever Chapter

2/2       Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

2/3       The Novel Approach

2/3       We Three Queens

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ARC Review: Soothsayer (Cari Z.)

Sören stared at me, eyes wet, his fingers digging too hard into my back. I loved it, every bit of it. I felt like I could breathe again, like my heart was really beating for the first time since I’d seen him last…

 

Cillian Kelly is a soothsayer: he sees into people’s eyes and he can see their fates. Ability that gets Cillian into trouble sometimes — he is blacklisted at Vegas for example. Few years ago, Cillian was kidnapped by order of the head of a powerful Icelandic family, Ólafur Egilsson. He was requested to break a geas that runs in the family.

Cillian was able to escape after one of the Egilsson’s sons, Sören, pretty much sacrificed himself. Cillian thinks that all this time Sören is dead. Then a newspaper article surfaces with proof that Sören might still be alive. It might be time for Cillian to do penance for what he did to Sören…

 

Well … Cari Z. did it again. For the last several books, when I picked up Cari Z.’s titles, I knew I would be in for a ride. I might not know where the story would take me but it never failed to entertain.

Soothsayer is no different. I might be wondering what Cari Z was up to when I started reading. But when things start to unravel for Cillian the moment that he was reunited with Sören, the pace went one step higher. The last quarter of the book was nail-biting!!

I don’t know if I can say much without spoiling things. I believe that Soothsayer is best savored from beginning to end without too many clues. Because matters relating to how Sören is still alive is mostly the core of this book. It was a great element of urban fantasy. I really enjoyed it — even if it also contributes to the the ending being a little unconventional if you see it from straight-up romance perspective.

Bottom line, Cari Z. offers combination of action-suspense, road trip (with bad guys chasing), humor (oh yeah, there are moments that made me smile widely! Watch out for adoration to waffles *lol*) and urban fantasy in Soothsayer. And I loved it!

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

11613309

 

 

The ARC is provided by the NineStar Press through IndiGo for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

 

33760273Title: Soothsayer
Author: Cari Z.
Genre: MM Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 68,200 words
Publisher: NineStar Press
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Release Date: January 30, 2017

ARC Review: Friendly Fire (Cari Z.)

I think I have good record track with Cari Z. — which was why I asked for the ARC from Riptide/Netgalley for this one. I deliberately didn’t re-read the blurb before I started, so I was going in blind. Well, turned out that I really enjoyed it. Most especially because of the suspense/mystery element.

Cari Z. writing is good, I was entertained the whole way through, even if I was guessing where the story would go from the beginning. I think the moment that Lennox and Elliott met, then the threats towards Elliot was escalated, the mystery fan in me was rejoicing. Oh yes, the mystery … sure, we knew the players and their identity might not be too surprising but I enjoyed how Cari Z. added the slight twist to it. If you like your mystery in romance, this should be in your consideration.

However, if you want to get more straightfoward romance … I might be slightly tentative to fully recommend it. The thing is, while I thought Elliot and Lennox had the right amount of chemistry, but there was potential of some hurt/comfort elements that never fully materialized. Lennox was suffering from PTSD after the friendly fire that he experienced in Afghanistan. But he never really opened up to Elliot about it. We did have scenes of him talking to therapist, but never exactly with Elliott.

So the emotion that came from them was slightly lacking and I never really certain on how they reached to the point of that lovey-dovey epilogue. Did they ever touch the issue of Lennox’s nightmares. Did Lennox finally share that part of his life to Elliot? Because to me that is also important …

In any case, this was another solid book from Cari Z. for me. Heck, I even enjoyed the sex scenes!! They were not plenty and I thought they were pretty HAWT. Just right amount of sex scenes made me so very happy ^^

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

11613309

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

30799159Title:
 Friendly Fire
Author: Cari Z.
Genre: MM Contemporary / Suspense
Word Count: 82,800 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 17, 2016

ARC Review: Tempest (Cari Z)

These days, when it comes to authors whose works I recognize (and usually enjoy), I’m trying a new approach by going blind without even reading the blurb to influence me. I want to know whether I could savor the story better. This is one of the examples. I know of Cari Z’s previous works and when I saw her title being released by Samhain (I believe this is her first title with said publisher), I just clicked the ARC request without even knowing what the story was going to be.

… and I was pleasantly surprised with what I read.

Tempest is a well-told fantasy with a touch of ‘coming-of-age’, at least for me. Because even though Colm, the main narrator of this story, was in his 20 years of age, the story has that personal journey into adulthood feel to it.

In the beginning, Colm starts as an odd one out, a fisherman in a town full of farmers, who feels more at ease with the rhythm of the water. After his father passed away, Colm is told by his stepmother to go to the city because otherwise he will not be happy at his old hometown, especially since he will be expected to marry. And in his journey into the city of Caithmor and settle down there, Colm discovers friendship, a new family, his true heritage, and also love.

I always adore this kind of fairy tale and I thought Tempest did a good job keeping the pace throughout. I was pretty immersed with Cole’s day-to-day life. I found myself guessing about Colm’s heritage and what would happen when people found out. Although I have to admit that sometimes the secondary characters stole the show from Colm and his younger lover, Nichol. But maybe it was also because Colm and Nichol are still trying to find their place in the world, compared to the more experienced secondary characters.

All in all, I loved it. I actually sacrificed my sleeping time very early in the morning to finish reading it. I realize that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea because it is definitely not heavy on the romantic or steamy elements; but if you enjoy a fantasy with characters journey then you might give this one a try.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

27304319Title: Tempest
Author: Cari Z
Genre: MM Fantasy
Word Count: 107,326 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: April 5, 2016

ARC Review: Dangerous Territory (Cari Z.)

It took me a bit longer to get into the story but once that I did, I was immediately immersed with it. I thought the combination of Western (the story is set in Oklahoma Territories, the Dukedom of Louisiana, the People’s Republic of Texas) and paranormal element (we have various shifter tribes) worked really, REALLY well.

What I loved the most about this was that Cari Z. didn’t shy away from the repercussion of the hardscrabble lives as well as the dangerous journey that Carter and Rani took to get Carter’s cattles to the auction on time. The description of the harsh tracks of Mason Canyon, the viscious snakes with their venoms that threat both men and the cattles, and the hard storm, was vivid and riveting. There was one time when I had to cringe on both fascination and disgust (it had something to do with what Rani did to the snake) and another time I was feeling very sad when I imagined the scenery (it related to the storm aftermath for the cattles).

Although the story was short (only around 20,000 words) but the relationship was progressed nicely and in timely manner; it didn’t feel instant at all. It took time for both Carter and Rani to trust one another, with Rani being a shifter and Carter a human. So I became invested with their relationship as it went along. Cari Z. also kept Rani’s shifter shape until a bit later; which added a mystery element to it a little bit. It was quite an unusual animal, and not particularly indigenous to the area… totally not an animal I had in mind *laugh*

I did think that Carter sounded younger than his thirty years of age, and I would love to actually confirmed that Carter’s brother-in-law (and Carter’s sister) to get what they deserved, which means more pages would be nice …

I tend to enjoy Cari Z’s works and this one is another winner for me.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

26814604Title: Dangerous Territory
Author: Cari Z.
Genre: MM Western Paranormal
Collection: The Devil’s Land
Word Count: 20,000 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: January 12th, 2016