AUDIO TOUR: Total Creative Control by Joanna Chambers & Sally Malcolm (Giveaway)
BOOK BLAST: Fire & Ice by Robin Lynn (Excerpt & Giveaway)
NEW RELEASE BLITZ: Love Like Salt by Noja Lina (Excerpt & Giveaway)
RELEASE BLITZ: Twilight Heist by Katherine McIntyre (Giveaway)
COVER REVEAL: Confessions: Ethan by Ella Frank (Giveaway)
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
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
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!
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One Line Reviews Of Some Books I Read This Year (September – December 2022)
This is a round up of the books I read on the 4rd quarter of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.
RELEASE TOUR: Oh Buoy by Ava Olsen (Excerpt & Giveaway)
One Line Reviews Of Some Books I Read This Year (July – August 2022)
This is a round up of the books I read on the 3rd quarter of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.
COVER REVEAL: Cair by Eryn Hawk (Giveaway)