Stalked by Shadows by Lissa Kasey

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:

A missing girl, ritual murders, and a shadow stalking every footstep.

Alexis Caine survived an attack in the deserts of Afghanistan. An attack the government denied and discharged him for, leaving him broken and in a mental institution. What Alex saw that day in the desert continues to haunts him.

When a new job working as a bodyguard for a New Orleans ghost tour guide, Micah Richards, opens Alex’s eyes to a world of paranormal possibilities, he’s not sure he can believe his eyes. What if he’s not crazy after all? When a ritual murder in which two fellow tour guides die and a tourist vanishes, Alex wonders if he brought a curse down upon them all.

A shadow from the desert rears its nightmarish head offering Alex something he wants more than anything, but at what cost?

The Review

I loved Stalked by Shadows! I’m picky when it comes to any book set in New Orleans, like notoriously picky (I’ll drop my rating dramatically because of it kind of picky), and this felt like Lissa has lived in New Orleans since her childhood.  I was in New Orleans (both literally and while reading the novel).

Alex isn’t doing all that well, returning from Afghanistan and a stint in a mental facility. Who would after all that he saw there? What he saw when his unit was destroyed, couldn’t have been real. It didn’t make sense. His twin brother, Lukas, took him in and found people that understood his trauma, didn’t judge him for his PTSD, and brought him back to life.

Micah was probably my absolute favorite part of this book. He felt like New Orleans, even if he wasn’t born there. He knew the history, understood that there was more to the world than most people are willing to acknowledge, and was entirely himself. There was an aspect of his character, I was expecting more development of, because it was such a big deal in the beginning, but honestly? It didn’t bother me.

The chemistry between Micah and Alex was intense. They saw past each other’s walls and supported each other. They flirted, teased each other, and found a partner in each other. When they were intimate with each other, it was like my breath caught in my chest. They connected, understood and trusted each other.

Now, there is the paranormal element, Hoodoo, Voodoo, the violence and the disappearances. Like I’m ready for more of the series because I need answers. There were times I felt Alex’s panic, the fear rising in his throat, and his desperation to make it through the situation. The detail was vivid and helped put me in his memories, in the in between (that’s what I’m going to call it) and around New Orleans.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and you should do yourself a favor and grab a copy now.

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The Rising by Morgan Brice

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:  A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain, and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.

Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.

As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.

With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?

The Review

A storm washes in more than then skeleton of past pirate ships a shore. As the storm approaches suspicious deaths start occurring of men of from local families that don’t quite make sense. Homicide detective Vic D’Amato brings in his psychic medium boyfriend Simon Kincaide in to see if he can pick up on why these men are dying. At the same time Simon is trying to make historical Socastee Manor safe from vicious spirits for the crew that is working to bring it back to its former glory.

What I loved about the second book in the Bandlands series? The pirate lore and the connections that linked past and present. It was fun seeing how events of the past were coming to effect the present. I still have moments where I got that chill running up and down my spine and made me want to look over my shoulder (even though I was reading in bed and my bed is against a wall). The Socastee Manor scenes were the shining star for me. The descriptions were rich, the spirits were so different to each other that it didn’t feel like the same ole’ same ole’. It felt fresh and slightly chilling. I was there in the manor watching and feeling all the terror that the characters were feeling.

Vic and Simon were just as delicious in this book as they were in the first book. Vic had a hard time balancing being a cop and being a significant other in regards to Simon and that struggle was realistic. I think it if had been glossed over like it is in so many books, I might have given it an eye roll, because that’s not how Simon and Vic are. Their feelings towards each other are intense, still fresh, and they do their best to protect each other.

I’m looking forward to what this couple will be facing next.

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Ghost of Himself by Pandora Pine

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: When a reclusive psychic shows up looking for Jude Byrne in his adopted hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, the private investigator’s walls go up instantly. Psychic or not, this mysterious man knows secrets about Jude’s past that are better left buried in the New Mexico desert. Stranger still is the personality change that comes over the flirty P.I. after he meets the newcomer.

Psychic Copeland Forbes is a man on the edge. The once popular and well-respected medium has lived in seclusion since an attack by a former student has shaken his confidence in his abilities. Sickened by an ailment no doctor can diagnose, he travels from his home in Louisiana to seek out the one man he believes he can help him, if the rumors are true.

Faced with an enemy possessing powers greater than either man has ever faced alone, will Jude and Copeland decide to work together to defeat this dark magick? Or will both men continue on as they are now, ghosts of themselves?

The Review

Copeland Forbes has been secluded himself since he had been attacked by a former lover/student in his magick shop. He’s been facing psychic attacks and can’t cope any longer. He ends up in Salem Massachusetts looking for Jude Bryne because he’s the one man that can apparently help him.

As we learn more about Jude and his Healer abilities, the answers Copeland is searching for slowly unfurls just as the chemistry between the two men does as well. What I liked about this book was seeing the ensemble of the Cold Case Psychic Cast. It was fun seeing them as the not so main characters (honestly they were though). Of course, Bertha was a star.

So very unpopular opinion, I had problems with this book, and it KILLS me to admit it. I loved Pine’s Cold Case Psychic series (what I’ve read of it so far). That being said, you should know something about me. I am a Louisiana native and live twenty minutes from New Orleans. There is the problem right there. I’m a native reading a novel written by someone who is very much northern. There’s no one way say, “crawdad” unless we’re making fun of someone. We don’t all speak French or have a Cajun accent. Typically you find that four hours west, in Lafayette. We have flat accents. You’ll find more Spanish speaking folks in the French Quarter than French. I know, sounds ridiculous but it’s the truth. We do not run around saying, “NOLA”. It irked my nerves. What you see on NCIS New Orleans is not what you actually get in New Orleans.

So besides all of that – which most people won’t even bat an eye at – this was extremely repetitive. Especially concerning Jude’s inner thoughts and going over the same situations with different characters at different times. We know the characters need to know, but you can tell us in a different way that these characters were informed. I feel like that was used as filler and to get the page count up. The resolution seemed like an after thought because there was so much build up and then bleh. Not that exciting.

This was honestly a miss for me. But it might not be for you. Check it out.

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