• book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: The Spectral Files by S.E. Harmon

    The Spectral Files: P.S. I Spooked You by S.E. Harmon

    SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

    Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

    It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Light Up
    Artist: Mutemath
    Album: Vitals

    The Spectral Files: Principles of Spookology by S.E. Harmon

    No one said being a medium would be easy.

    Rain Christiansen, former FBI agent and current cold case detective, is starting to think it’s the hardest job he’s ever had—and the most important. He’s determined to accept all the changes in his formerly well-ordered life, but that means embracing a whole lot of weird. There’s no instruction manual for meshing his work with his medium duties, and he’s painfully aware that he’s flubbing the job. So are the ghosts, who are becoming increasingly impatient. And stronger.

    To complicate matters, he’s not sure what these spooktacular developments mean for his relationship. It certainly seems like Daniel McKenna, his partner in work and life, is in it for the long haul. But Rain can’t help but wonder how long that patience will last…and what he’ll do if Danny decides the intrusive ghosts are just too much.

    Rain thought accepting his supernatural gifts would be the solution to his troubles. But he’s starting to realize his problems are just getting started.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Beautiful Mistake
    Artist: Hudson Taylor
    Album: Singing to Strangers

    The Spectral Files: Spooky Business by S.E. Harmon

    Being insatiably curious is a good way to end up dead.

    Rain Christiansen, cold case detective and reluctant medium, is very aware of that fact. But when infamous serial killer Thomas Kane wants to meet, there’s no way Rain can say no. He also can’t refuse Kane’s offer—find his missing wife, Delilah, and he’ll reveal the location of his victim’s bodies.

    Rain has never turned down a good quid pro quo, and he doesn’t intend to start.

    The hunt for Kane’s wife leads to yet another cold case, three copycat murders, and an investigation where nothing is as it seems. Soon, Rain is dealing with a ghost unlike any he’s ever dealt with before…a ghost capable of doing things he shouldn’t be able to do. How can Rain control something he doesn’t even understand? And what will he do when the unknown threatens the safety of the most important person in his life?

    Rain is starting to realize that he can only battle the supernatural with the supernatural, and that is spooky business indeed.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: You Are Mine
    Artist: Mutemath
    Album: Mutemath

    The Spectral Files: The Spooky Life by S.E. Harmon

    Rain Christiansen isn’t sure he’ll ever fully understand the supernatural. But he’s finally finding his groove as a reluctant medium and cold-case detective. That’s not to say everything is going smoothly—there’s a wedding in the works, after all. He’s finally taking that enormous step with fellow detective, Daniel McKenna, and he couldn’t be happier…about the marriage. Not so much the wedding. The hoopla is enough to make him wish for a quick flight to Vegas and an Elvis officiant.

    At least work is keeping Rain and the PTU plenty busy. Their latest case involves Hannah Caldwell, a silent ghost who can’t—or won’t—speak. She still manages to request that they find her dear friend, Cherry Parker, so that she can say goodbye. Piece of cake. Finding people is pretty high on the list of things that Rain does best.

    But when it comes to ghosts, nothing is ever quite what it seems. Before long, his simple missing person’s case takes a dark and twisted turn. And Rain realizes he’s been so busy trying to protect Danny that he forgot to protect himself.

    If he doesn’t turn things around—and quickly—his spooky life might be cut short for good.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Wedding Song
    Artist: The Psychedelic Furs
    Album: The Psychedelic Furs

    The Spectral Files is one of the more entertaining psychic procedurals I’ve read. The series stars Rainstorm Christiansen, an uptight, straight-laced federal agent turned police detective who can see ghosts. The unique name is due to his hippie-dippy, weed-growing parents, who named his twin sister Sky. His middle name may or may not be Moonbeam, depending on who’s exasperated at him. Mostly Danny. Rain is almost always exasperating and damn well knows it.

    The series opens with Rain returning to his hometown for a case and quickly butting heads with the head detective, a.k.a. the ex he ghosted seven years ago, Daniel Mckenna. The investigation forced Rain to use his much-dreaded ability, but its effectiveness yielded results that the police higher-ups couldn’t ignore. This led to Rain rethinking his career and earning a second chance with Danny.

    The books focus on a big case each while also tackling minor cases, which maybe related to it. I loved that they vary and are not always murder. The 3rd book is about a serial killer with a twist. These cases are closely interwoven with Rain and Danny’s personal lives since most of the ghosts have no concept of boundaries. Also, Danny is technically Rain’s supervisor in their newly formed paranormal unit.

    One running gag is how spectacularly inept Rain is at managing his ability. Rain is very contrary, usually difficult just for the heck of it. He’s been advised to take lessons in reining in his energy because the ghosts are getting out of hand. Poor Danny freaked upon learning these specters were watching and opining on them going at it like bunnies.

    Rain dragged his feet for as long as he could, then managed to offend all his peace-loving gurus to the point of violence. But it was obvious he’s going to settle with the whimsically named Dakota Daydream because this chill guru was described as cute, also gay and lowkey lusting after him, while the rest were funky enough to be throwaways.

    The plots document the barely perceptible progress of Rain’s psychic powers and how he finally came to terms with them in the last book. Rain is such a disaster he mostly gets by the skin of his teeth. This is funny at some points, but his performance in the last case pissed me off so much. It could have been easily avoided, if only he bothered to learn more about his abilities. The idiot got himself trapped. I thought it was pretty stupid, and I was so angry at Rain for letting it happen.

    The writing has a humorous tone, full of snarky banters and Rain’s internal jokes. Rain is an entertaining narrator but tends to digress at almost every instant. This is the author’s style, and I’m not really a fan of it. I found many of the jokes unnecessary. They mess up the pace a bit too.

    Still, I was glued to the books. Wordy as they are, they’re very riveting. The cases were tough, the character interactions were hilarious, and the investigations were fun to follow. The stories have an engaging slice-of-life quality that makes the characters feel like people I know. Danny’s team is an awesome supporting cast, especially the super laidback Kevin St. James, who doesn’t stop eating.

    Also, the author excels at writing second-chance romances, capturing that second-time-around magic and proving the sweetness in the adage. The dynamics between Rain and Danny are fantastic because Danny is a saint who can roll with Rain’s crazy and his wackadoodle family. The boys work together and live together, and still can’t get enough of each other! GOALS.

    My gripes aside, The Spectral Files is snarky, occasionally serious given the crime, and always entertaining. It is easily one of the most bingeable series out there!

    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of The Spectral Files. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    The Spectral Files: US | UK

    If you like my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi or PayPal. Your donations will help keep this website going. Thank you so much!

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: GhosTV by Jordan Castillo Price


    Psycop: GhosTV – Jordan Castillo Price

    For the past dozen years, Victor Bayne has solved numerous murders by interrogating witnesses only he can see—dead witnesses. But when his best friend Lisa goes missing from the sunny California campus of PsyTrain, the last thing he wants to find there is her spirit.

    Disappearing without a trace in a school full of psychics? That’s some trick. But somehow both Lisa and her roommate have vanished into thin air. A group of fanatics called Five Faith has been sniffing around, and Lisa’s email is compromised. 

    Time is running out, and with no ghosts to cross-examine, Vic can’t afford to turn down any offers of help. An old enemy can provide an innovative way to track Vic’s missing friend, and he enters into an uneasy alliance—even though its ultimate cost will ensnare him in a debt he may never manage to settle.

    Screw Lisa, I want to be Victor Bayne’s bestfriend!

    The book starts with Vic getting a haircut from Crash. His hair now looked ridiculously good. I’m a sucker for guys with great hair, I wanted to glomp him.

    Image result for glomp gif

    That would annoy the hell out of him but if I am in trouble, he’ll save my life anyway.

    Also as your bestfriend, Vic. I say quit this athletic bullshit. I’d give my right hand to be as naturally skinny as you.

    Vic continues to be AWESOME and walked the astral plane like the “so far beyond level 5 it’s not even funny” medium that he is. Loved that Jacob also gets in on some psychic action as well. The two men are so deeply connected, they take OTP to a whole new level. At this point, I don’t even care if they don’t get married at all. That candy cane cord says they’re solid no matter what plane they are on.

    Maybe because he gets to hang around longer but I’m starting to warm up to Dreyfuss. Still, he remains dodgy till the end. As for Lisa, even with the power of si/no, she still gets into some deep shit. She and her roommate were nowhere to be found and someone is going around making people disappear. The only reason I care about this at all is that Vic and Jacob were investigating. The villain in this installment is among the creepiest in the series, someone who is as powerful as Vic, sees oneself as crazy and can rip a person from their reality. Also, we get a blast from the past. Faun Winsome resurfaces with a different name and the same bossy, know it all attitude that had endeared her to no one. Among Vic’s Camp Hell batchmates, only Richie seemed the most innocuous.

    GhosTV clocked in at 12+ hours, most of it spend in the PsyTrain Institute where Vic and Jacob attended lectures on astral walking 101 and tinkered with the ghostv. Doesn’t sound very exciting at all if I say it like that but this book upped the ante even more. The mystery and succeeding investigations peeled many layers off the overarching thread, revealed more details about the different psychic abilities, entangled Vic and Jacob deeper into FPMP business and caused major AND shocking life-changing decisions. Vic continues to be one of the most enjoyable first person narrators and this is the most powered up I’ve seen him so far. He’ll never admit it, not even if Crash dyes his hair green, but I think he had fun.


    review of Psycop books here
    review of JCP’s books here

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Face To Face On High Places
    Artist: School of Seven Bells
    Album: Alpinisms

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price


    Psycop: Camp Hell – Jordan Castillo Price

    Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

    Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who? 

    Normally I don’t like book covers with models because they tend to be cringe-inducing but I liked this book model. Even before I started reading Psycop, I thought he was perfect as Victor Bayne. JCP’s book models are almost always on point. Also, Gomez Pugh’s narration is the best!

    Anyway, when Vic was 23, he sported DMs, mohawk and safety pin piercings. Love it!. His boyfriend at the time was Stefan Russell who I dubbed Boy George because of his teased hair and makeup. When Vic got out of Camp Hell and became a psycop, he never looked back. After some research, Stefan resurfaced, reinventing himself as Steven Russeau, an empath specializing in counselling rich housewives and corporate types. I didn’t warm up to the guy. Although he seemed concerned about Vic’s panic attacks and succeeded in helping him deal with it somewhat, I suspected there was a catch somewhere. As to Jacob meeting the ex part, it’s a good thing that JCP wisely steered away from petty jealousies. Jacob met Stefan and deemed him a decent guy. But if I am okay with a Jacob+Vic+Crash threeway, Stefan would be no, just no to Boy George.

    Via Stefan’s hypnosis therapy, Vic revisited his memories of Camp Hell which was something like a college dorm slash medical facility slash science lab, the lab rats being young psychics. Vic was in his rebellious state, messing with his tests, sneaking up with Stefan to get high and have sex, stealing food from the kitchen, and getting involved in other shenanigans until the new guy in charge put his foot down and made their lives hell. He was as good a prisoner in the facility with almost no control over what they did to him. I know it was one of the worst periods of his life but the Camp Hell experience was actually kind of fun to read about and I would love a Psycop spin-off featuring young Vic.

    I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the flashbacks of him was doing it with Stefan because I kept thinking he should be with Jacob dammit! but the Camp Hell memories had some answers he was waiting for. Although I said reading about the place was fun, being trapped in a mental facility with no one believing your sanity is a big fear of mine. So I could understand why Vic had panic attacks every time he remembers the place.

    This installment is one of my favorites. There were major character developments and revelations. Vic faced his past, put it behind him and came to terms with himself. Meanwhile, Jacob discovered abilities he never knew he had. How these abilities play out in the succeeding books is something I am looking forward to. I think this marks a new chapter in Vic and Jacob’s life. 

    Now, about that ghost tv…


    Review of Psycop books here.
    Review of JCP books here

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits 

    Soundtrack: Mental Hell
    Artist: Ramones
    Album: Animal Boy

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6003542-camp-hell)