Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Off the Beaten Path: by Cari Z.
Release Date: September 18th, 2017
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

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.

three-stars

Thanks Michelle Visage, even your face said it all.

Meh.

My favorite word to describe my feelings after reading this. It wasn’t bad, but it was nothing else. No spark, no connection, no feeling, and didn’t seem like it worked well together. Felt like it was 2 stories going on at once, and the disjointed feeling didn’t end at all. I have a couple questions about Ward. What happened to his life back in California? Did he have people to pack up and distribute his things? Was no one concerned about his abrupt leaving? This bothered me so much. Way more then the governmental use of werewolves to do their wet work. I mean werewolves are only stronger then humans, and I know they aren’t that many but the whole working for the government and being their bitch didn’t work for me. I finished it.

Ward’s 4 year old daughter shifted on her first day of preschool, and he wasn’t there to see her before the government sent her to a pack. He’s doing everything in his power to get her back, no matter that the rules say otherwise. He has an ally who helps him locate his daughter and makes it his mission to see her, and get her back. Henry is the alpha of the La Garita Pack, and he’s commissioned to the Army to do whatever they want. This last mission wasn’t something that he seemed to let roll off his shoulders, he comes back home to a trespasser and is determined to follow the laws. Having the guardian’s entire attitude changes keeps Henry on edge.

It was certain aspects that I liked. I liked Sam’s character. I felt like alot of this was under-developed. Tennyson, for example could have had more use. I don’t know if I liked how the culture was set-up. Everything felt to complicated. If Henry was the big Alpha dude with a case of heroism, he didn’t seem like it at most times. The romance was soooo subpar! Blah, Blah, Blah. That’s how I felt. I didn’t like them together, probably because it was ZERO connection. I mean, they basically were lumped together because no one else was around. Then Sam having this convenient set-up at the end. It didn’t work for me.

Personally, I didn’t care for it much, but others might enjoy it. I haven’t read many book by Cari Z, so I don’t know if this is her formula or not. If you like PNR, then this might be for you. It wasn’t the worst, and I’ve read worst, but I didn’t really care for it.

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About Cari Z.

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 feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

cariFriendly Fire: by Cari Z.
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Pages: 252 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

three-half-stars

The only thing that saved me from DNF the book was my need to see the end through. I liked the first half of the story, the two bad people were obvious, or at least one of them was. I enjoyed the writing a lot. It pushed me through the end. At the end of the story, I don’t know if I like the relationship. They didn’t really bond for me. I guess I wanted more passion from the couple and that’s what I found that was seriously lacking! I liked Lennox a lot and kinda loved his name. (It went on my future’s children name list)! I like Elliot for the most part, but I hated his job. It bothered me more then the story. I felt like we were leading up to this amazing story line and it wasn’t apart of the story. I didn’t like his career from the get go, but it became the focal point of why these two guys were together and I don’t get a glimpse of what Elliot does to make it special. Another thing was the getting to see him and Vanessa together. That bothered me. I wanted that scene for myself since Elliot cared so much about letting things happen to him just so Vanessa career wouldn’t get hurt.

I can’t speak for other readers but I look for things I can relate to in novels. I like the realistic idea that Elliot screwed up in life so he is atoning for his mistakes by not being a burden to his sister. Yeah, he had some really crazy things happen to him, but he was so worried about messing up Vanessa’s life that we get word of mouth instead of the actual scene. I’m greedy, I guess I wanted to be able to relate to him in some sort of fashion. I wasn’t to thrilled about the outcome.

Lennox was the type of person that you need to warm up to. He kinda comes of stand offish, but I like to call that “gentlemanly stoic”. He seems like to be in a difficult head space in life. I don’t really know the time frame from him being out the military to present day now. He seemed to be atoning for mistakes he things he’s made, but that’s one thing we don’t get to see about Lennox. I feel like his story wasn’t finished. He didn’t get enough personal screen time to me, and I wanted him to come to terms with his own grievances. It’s a part in the book where he is telling Elliot about his reassurances and atoning for prior mistakes. I don’t know if that was a light bulb moment for Lennox, but it didn’t seem he got the closure to me.

All in all, this was an okay read. I enjoyed the writing way more then the execution of the story. I don’t think it gelled well after the 50% mark. I really would have liked one trope to have been the main focus. Instead, I feel like the mystery/suspense as in competition with the romance side of the story. I will definitely check out more from this author though.

About Cari Z.

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 feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.