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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Dead Reckoning by Pandora Pine

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: When the spirit of a young male prostitute comes to psychic Tennyson Grimm asking him to find the john who brutally murdered him, Tennyson can’t say no. Only able to communicate through the use of images, rather than words, getting any information out of the young man is frustrating and slow going.

Cold Case Detective Ronan O’Mara has been on a roll solving cases since he and Tennyson last teamed up to solve the Michael Frye case. Unfortunately, the red-hot romance that had blossomed between them during that investigation is now off in a ditch, thanks to Ronan’s self-confessed pigheadedness.

Agreeing to work together despite the rift in their relationship, Tennyson and Ronan discover they are in for more than they bargained for when more victims start to reveal themselves to Tennyson.

Realizing they might have a serial killer on their hands, the two men work tirelessly to stop this madman from killing again, but when the killer targets the son of a prominent member of the Boston Police Department, can Ronan and Tennyson save him before it’s too late?

The Review

Detective Ronan O’Mara and psychic Tennyson Grimm are back and things aren’t all rainbows, kittens and butterflies for the couple. Since the conclusion of their last case they’ve spent their time apart and angry with each other. Tennyson gave Ronan the ultimatum, get help from a therapist or they’re done. It takes a case to bring the two back together and a level of understanding between the two of them.

There’s a serial killer out there torturing and murdering teenage boys who have taken to the street to survive. They’ve resorted to this life style because they came out and were not accepted by their families. As Ronan and Tennyson work their way through this case, they find each other and a family that they didn’t know they had in their friends.

All the men in this series are emotional, be it angry, happy, sad, loving. The entire range of emotions is explored over all the characters. One of the reasons this didn’t get a full five stars was how overly masculine Ronan is and how dramatic Tennyson can get. I get that it’s their personalities. That’s how it was in the first book. But it’s gotten more intense, if that makes any sense?

Then I figured out who the killer was really early on. I was still invested though.  I needed Ronan and Tennyson to be okay, to care for each other and be part of each other’s lives.  Then the Captain and Greeley? OMG, my heart broke into a million pieces and then slowly rebuilt. I love the Cap. He’s one of the secondary characters the jumps out at you and is like, ‘helloooo, I’m here and important’. He is important and wonderful and I want someone like him in my life.

I enjoyed this, even though I nitpick about little things (like the overuse of the word cock). Am I going to pick up the next one to read, review and feature on here? Yep. I just hope we get a little more flirty, seductive moments between Ronan and Tennyson. Perhaps a little more complexity?

 

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Dead Speak by Pandora Pine

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Four out of Five Stars

Audio Book Review

The Summary: Demoted to the cold case squad after shooting a suspect in the line of duty, Detective Ronan O’Mara knows that his career with the Boston Police Department is hanging by a thread. His first assignment is the case of Michael Frye, a five-year-old boy who has been missing for seven years. With no new leads or witnesses to interview, Ronan has to start from scratch to solve this mystery. When he sees a handsome local psychic on television, Ronan figures he’s got nothing to lose in enlisting the man’s help to find Michael.

Psychic Tennyson Grimm is riding high after helping South Shore cops find a missing child. He’s even being courted by the Reality Show Network about a program showcasing his abilities. He has no idea that his midday appointment with a customer, who instead turns out to be a police detective, is going to change the course of his life and his career.

With the blessing of the BPD, which badly needs an image make-over, Ronan is allowed to bring Tennyson in to assist with the Frye case. Being thrown together in front of cameras is never easy, but add in an emotional missing person’s investigation, a tight-lipped spirit, and a cop who’s a skeptic, and it definitely puts a strain on both men and their working relationship.

When the child’s body is found, the work to identify his killer begins. As Ronan and Tennyson get closer to solving the case, the initial attraction they feel for one another explodes into a passion neither man can contain.

Will working together to bring Michael’s killer to justice seal their fledgling bond, or will unexpected revelations in the case tear them apart forever?

The Review

Dead Speak by Pandora Pine was narrated by Michael Pauley. I’ve heard only the best about his narrations so when I got the opportunity to listen to his work, I jumped at it. He is very distinct and brings more personality to each character. Ronan was alpha male one hundred percent and it came through. There was a roughness to his chapters that fit so well. Tennyson was more delicate. His part, it was one I wasn’t the biggest fan of because he sounded overly feminine and I didn’t picture him that way. The secondary characters all have their own tones, textures and distinct Boston accents.  It brought me further into the world and over all I will look forward to listening to more of Michael Pauley’s work.

Paranormal/Mystery romances are some of my favorites. I grew up on stealing mystery novels off of my mom’s bookshelf (Entirely inappropriate for my age at the time lol). It’s been hard for me to find a M/M mystery novel or series that was able to suck me into that universe entirely. Usually there isn’t enough mystery to satisfy me.

This was an entirely different case. I was still trying to figure it out nearly all the way to the end of the book. I did get an inkling towards the end and I was right, but it took nearly the entire story for me to get there.

It was a heartbreaking case and the details weren’t glossed over. Michael Frye was a five year old boy who disappeared from his front yard. Ronan is assigned to work cold cases and he’s at a loss as to what could have happened to Michael. So he goes to Tennyson Grimm, psychic, with the hopes that maybe he’ll get some clue.

Ronan is extremely skeptical of Tennyson’s gift. He thinks it’s a crock of shit and he isn’t afraid of telling Tennyson that to his face. There were a few times I just wanted to pop Ronan over the back of the head for being such a dick. Then there were times I was all heart eyes at how he and Tennyson were together. They were just sweet. And hot. Very, very hot.

Their romance scenes, definitely not something you would want to be caught listening to while you were at work. Which is exactly where I listened to this (Because I’m that person, you all know someone like me, don’t deny it). I also drove around longer than necessary because I didn’t want to get out of my car and go into the house. I did not want to stop listening.

Give this a read if you like cop procedural and some white hot romance and drama with it.

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Badlands by Morgan Brice

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Medium and clairvoyant Simon Kincaide owns a Myrtle Beach boardwalk shop where he runs ghost tours, holds séances, and offers private psychic readings, making a fresh start after his abilities cost him his lover and his job as a folklore professor. Jaded cop Vic D’Amato saw something supernatural he couldn’t explain during a shootout several years ago in Pittsburgh and relocated to Myrtle Beach to leave the past behind, still skeptical about the paranormal. But when the search for a serial killer hits a dead end, Vic battles his skepticism to ask Simon for help. As the body count rises, Simon’s involvement makes him a target, and a suspect. But Simon can’t say no, even if it costs him his life and heart.

The Review

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Simon Kincaide and the employees who work along boardwalk at Myrtle Beach. Some of them have have touches of psychic abilities and they are being targeted by a serial killer dubbed, The Slitter. By chance homicide cop, Vic D’Amato stops in Simon Kincaide’s shop to see if maybe a psychic might give them some type of lead to work off of.

As it turns out, Simon was about to give the cops something to work off of and throughout he continues to get information from ghosts of the victims and bursts of feelings from the killer himself.

The characters had me enthralled with this book. Once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down. I felt like I was on the boardwalk with how vivid the details were. Simon was extremely authentic. He had been through so much before moving to Myrtle Beach and once he landed he didn’t harden himself. He remained authentic, honest and compassionate. He doesn’t push critics to believe him. He just does what it true to himself. I loved that about Simon.

The attraction between the two is instantaneous and real. Even after what Vic went through previously, he still remains cautious and weary of what he can’t prove with evidence. If Vic wouldn’t have acted the way he did, if he would have just fallen into understanding and believing, I would have had a, huh? moment. But this was right.

Their relationship didn’t happen fast and I liked that. I like a bit of a slow burn romance between to characters trying to find their footing together, especially with a serial killer on the loose. I think with their pasts, having someone who understood the unusual and didn’t force the need for ‘normal’ really helped keep them together. There were parts I knew were hard for Vic. And I hurt for both him and Simon.

This was the first book I’ve ready by Morgan Brice. I plan to read Witchbane as soon as I get the chance and to look at all the books written under her other name, Gail Z. Martin.

 

Go buy this now! You won’t regret it. 

The Facility by Sarah Elkins

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The Psychic Underground Book One

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Being psychic is just another aspect of life for Neila Roddenberry. So are dreams of a past life as Nikola Tesla. She’s sure that last part is the result of reading the wrong mind at the wrong time without realizing it. Neither are things she talks about much. Her friends know she’s psychic, but no one knows about the dreams. She’s twenty-three, asexual, and unemployed with ambitions to become a freelance artist and writer.

On the way home from visiting friends, Neila gets caught up in a terrorist attack, then wakes up in an underground psychic testing facility. Raised by a doomsday-prepper father, Neila is unusually prepared for the possibility of being whisked away to a secret lab somewhere. When she is faced with the choice of working for the scientists studying psychics at the facility, she takes the job as both an agent and a test subject.

But not everyone in the facility wants to be there.

 

The Review

There’s more than what meets the eye with Neila Roddenberry. She’s a psychic, thinks she may have had a past life as Nikola Tesla, Asexual and ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time, exposing her abilities and gaining the attention of a shady governmental facility. Not everyone at the facility had the choice of being there though.

What attracted me to The Facility wasn’t the fact that there was shady government going-ons and psychic powers, but the fact that Neila is Ace. It’s hard to find books featuring an Ace character and one with a plot like this? Yeah, I didn’t expect to come across it but so excited that I did. There was a lot of diversity in this book there is an ace character and transgender character and they stand up to anyone who tries says anything hurtful about this.

Neila is smart. When she wakes up in an underground facility, she figures things out quick and makes sure she makes a few demands that offers her a better standing and is considered an agent rather than just a resident.

The only reason this didn’t get five stars was how much set up there was and then when I got to the end it wasn’t enough. Then I find out it’s the first in a series so I’m excited about that. I liked the action, how much I wanted Neila and the others to overcome the Blues. I needed to know more about Henry and the organization he was part of. There’s still something picking at the back of my brain about Henry and I need to know more.

I do think that Elkins represented and Ace character well. I’m looking forward to reading more by her and hope to read more books with more Ace characters in them!

I would definitely give this a read.

Pre-Order at NineStar Press: Here
Releasing March 5, 2018