Review: PsyCop 1: Among the Living

PsyCop 1: Among the Living

By Jordan Castillo Price

 

So much love for this series.  Vic is this heartbreaking combination of that person you sort of recognize but kind of don’t want to admit to, and the vulnerable but yet strong character we all want to be.  On the surface, he’s a wreck, and maybe it’s more than just the surface, to be fair.  He’s so incredibly flawed, and that, in all honesty, is his greatest strength.  His power his fascinating, because it’s interesting, and because it’s not quite what it seems, and because it puts him at odds with most people, but that really only scratches the surface.

This first book also introduces us to Jacob Marks, another police officer and a member of a PsyCop team, in another precinct from Vic.  Unlike Vic, Jacob is the Stiff half of a PsyCop unit (i.e. the non-Psychic partner), and while Vic is trying to figure out why Jacob is wasting his time on anything more than a one-night stand, they also have a series of murders to solve where none of the witness reports match.

This is a delightful first introduction to all the characters in this lovely series.

*

JCP Books –  PsyCop1: Among the Living

Amazon – PsyCop1: Among the Living

ARe –  PsyCop1: Among the Living

Audible – PsyCop1: Among the Living

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Review: PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1

PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1

By Jordan Castillo Price

 

 

Coffee O’clock:

First off, this first story in this lovely (yes, I said lovely) anthology is really the best kind of story to start with, especially if (like me) you are not a novice to the inner workings of Vic’s brain.  It takes place in the early days of his acquaintanceship/relationship with Jacob so Vic is still very much in that place of wondering why Jacob is even there.  I love how Vic’s irritation with Jacob throwing about his ‘stuff’ here gives way to realization, but he’s not quite ready to give up on his doubt.

Thaw:

Ice Skating.  Enough said.

 

Mind Reader:

If you’ve read the series, Crash needs no introduction.  In fact, you may have even read this little short before, but, there is something to be said for the interaction between Vic and Crash on any given day.  This is no exception, between hunting for long dead ghosts in the museum, to an impromptu kiss to the difference in their power levels, this short is a treat.

 

Stroke of Midnight:

Here we have Jacob a glimpse of his ex, Keith, along with Manny.  This short is interesting for me because Keith is obviously so very different than Vic.  Though, I guess there are some similarities.  Clearly, they are both very flawed individuals, just in very different ways.  Keith seems to be more abrasive and aggressive with his issues, wherein Vic internalizes things, I think.  This short gives us a unique look at Jacob’s view of things, which we don’t always see, but nice to have thoughts go along with his more often felt action.

No Sale:

Ah, if only we all had that sort of weapon to get away from salesmen.

Most Likely To:

This one brought a smile to my face because mullets and the misremembered memories of high school.

Jock Straps on Sale:

And Crash does like to have a little fun as Vic’s expense.  It’s entertaining, really.

Piece of Cake:

Just visualizing Vic trying to bake a cake is amusing.  And the instant messaging is an extra bonus, and Vic freaking out about Crash failing to respond, so classic of their relationship.

In the Dark:

This one is actually really interesting.  Partially amusing because of the party and Vic clearly being uncomfortable.  We also get a better look at Keith and what may have happened to him and what forms his attitude.  It’s interesting how that knowledge makes Vic think about his own choices, or what his choices may have been in a similar situation. What I find just as affecting is the look at how even a harmless night at a party he doesn’t even want to attend isn’t without its troublesome ghosts that need to be put to rest.

Let the Chips Fall:

Vic is a sneaky bugger.  Jacob should have seen that one coming.

Memento:

This is really special because there are enough glimpses inside Jacob’s head where we can see how much Jacob truly treasure’s those little moments with Vic, not just the steamy scenes but those quiet little moments when he’s just observing him, or when he has the opportunity hoard another nugget from Vic’s past.

Impact:

Poor Jacob.  It’s tough learning new skills.  He’ll need to practice just a little more.

Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns:

Ah, Vic, love to hear more of your very colorful past.  And this Haunted house was beyond creepy.  I liked that it was Jacob that was so affected and the way he oh-so-subtly played the manager.  Also, I much prefer thinking of the ghost as a Hobo rather than a clown.

Waiting Game:

It was nice to see Lisa’s viewpoint, and her and Vic both blushing was kind of funny.

On the Road:

It’s adorable (and unsurprising) that Jacob is *that* guy when preparing for a road trip.  I’m more of a Vic though, and I got a kick out of this.

Wood:

I love Jacob’s uncle Leon’s so this was a treat.  And those directions are no joke.  Really.

Off the Cuff:

Ah, poor Vic, shanghaied for his dress wear.  It had to happen eventually.

Locked and Loaded:

A night out at the movies and whatever the world throws at them, they are ready.  Delightful.

Inside Out:

This is interesting because it shows us an interesting look at Jacob, pre-Vic.  Obviously, he’s still dealing with the fall-out from the Keith situation, and learning how to work with someone with Carolyn’s abilities.  We also see his first reaction to Crash, which is fun because we know how that ends, and we see his first interaction with Vic.  But above all of the personal stuff, what comes through here is Jacob’s fundamental connection to the PsyCop field, how he’s drawn there, even if he doesn’t understand how or why.

Witness:

It’s like the office retreat you never signed up for.  And Vic scoring without even trying or meaning to.  This sort of highlights the reasons why Vic is awesome, even if he doesn’t understand why he’s so awesome.  I also find it amusing that It’s Jacob who bucks the system, Vic who goes with the flow, but in the end, the opposite is assumed to be true.

 

I enjoyed this entire collection, but I think Witness was my favorite.

 

JCP Books –  PsyCop: Briefs 

Amazon – PsyCop Briefs

 

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Transgender Visibility, and hope

I agree, again (you say things so much more eloquently than I ever could). Visibility is important. 🙂

kajeharper

NYC:  Mother holding a sign with her child at the 2014 Gay Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue (stock pic) NYC: Mother holding a sign with her child at the 2014 Gay Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue (stock pic) This is the decade in which, for many Americans, transgender people are moving from an unknown “T” in an alphabet-label, to real faces, real names, and real stories. As that happens, opinions, hearts, minds, and laws are changing. Visibility matters, just as it has for all of LGBTQ.

Consider Ireland in the spring of 2015, in the months before the vote on equal marriage for same-sex couples. Sure, there were many good public information campaigns. But in the end, it was everyone who came out, to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, who made the difference. It was “my son who’s gay”, “my lesbian auntie”, “my bisexual cousin”, “my gay dentist” who turned the tide. Personal familiarity and family feeling brought victory to the Yes campaign.

Coming out as transgender can carry…

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International Transgender Day of Visibility March 31

I totally agree with all of this.

kajeharper

man-womanfaces One of the biggest threats to the LGBTQ community is the ignorance of those who are outside it. And even some within it.

Gender-spectum individuals – trans and genderfluid and agender and bigender and other non-cis folk – are at the highest risk. They are represented in the public mind by a very small number of individuals (and not always well-represented.)

I saw a post recently from a random guy who claimed that he only hung out with “real men” and was sure he didn’t know anyone trans. Well, perhaps he should read about Kristin Beck – a transwoman with a 20-year career as a Navy SEAL. While her teammembers were on active duty around the world with Senior Chief Beck, they probably would have claimed not to know any trans individuals either. (http://www.beck4congress.us/about.html)

So many people don’t see gender-spectum individuals as ordinary people living side by side with them…

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Review: Cut & Run 6: Stars & Stripes

Stars & Stripes

By Abigail Roux

 

Okay…so a lot of emotional stuff happened in this book.  Lots of injuries too (but that happened later).  We start off with a trip to Ty’s family homestead where Ty and Zane (sort of accidentally) come out to Ty’s family.   This event was very emotional for Ty as he had kept this secret from his parents for so long and their reaction was about what you might expect from the Grady’s.  Their upset had zero to do with his relationship with Zane and everything to do with keeping secrets and running from the family.  And really, that speaks more about the kind of family the Grady’s are than anything I could say.

In contrast, we finally meet Zane’s family.

After all of the goings on in Virginia, Zane gets a call and heads out to Texas.  I liked Zane’s father very much, and his sister, but his mother?  She’s a piece of work.  I kind of get it, though.  I don’t approve of her behavior or the way she wouldn’t bend in the slightest, and she doesn’t seem at all suited towards parenthood at all.  However, I kind of see the allusions that were being made about the kind of person Zane used to be.  Not just the drinking and the drugs, which we saw a little bit of in the beginning, or the prostitutes, he made mention of, or whatever shenanigans went on in Miami or other locales.  No, the implication here is that Zane was a different person before all that, not just *before Becky died* but when he was with her, he was a more closed off person.  And that right there says a lot, not only about his relationship with Ty but how they have affected each other.  Because it’s not just Zane who has changed in this last year.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Cut & Run book without a little mystery, and this one has animals…

Ty’s weird aversion to horses is hysterical as is his understandable issue with large felines.  And the way, despite all that, he connects to a tiger anyway?  Adorable.

The ending was perfect, but I feel as though I’m waiting for something horrible to happen.  It’s all gone remarkable well so far.  But then, they still have to deal with work.  What will McCoy say when they return?  Clearly Ty lied, and what’s his excuse for that?

I guess there’s nothing for it but to listen to the next book.  What a hardship…

 

Riptide Publishing – Stars & Stripes

ARe – Stars & Stripes

Amazon – Stars & Stripes

Audible – Stars & Stripes

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Review: Cut & Run 5: Armed & Dangerous

Armed & Dangerous

By Abigail Roux

 

I really liked this one.  I read Warrior’s Cross recently, so I was familiar with Julian and Cameron and their story, but I have to say I enjoyed Julian a lot more here.  I’m not if that was from his snarky attitude (and his snarking with Ty) or just a byproduct of listening to the Audio (versus just reading).

This book has plenty of opportunities for everyone to show their badassery.  We’ve got what starts out as a simple retrieval assignment, then turns into Ty and Zane escorting Julian and Cameron to DC (with Julian trying to escape at every opportunity).  Julian and Ty pretty much hate each other on sight, which leave lots of room for amusement, just based on their personality traits alone.  Plus there’re the people trying to prevent them from making it to DC.

I absolutely *loved* the animal metaphors.  I want a t-shirt now that says “I’m an Elephant.”  Of course, no one would probably get the reference, but alas…

Along the way, they have need of an alternate route, and this brings Nick O’Flaherty into the picture.  This, as one could imagine, was a complicated little endeavor.  On the one hand, Nick is TY’s oldest friend, on the other Zane is still pretty pissed off about that little kiss that happened in the last book.

However, this new encounter with Nick allows Zane and Nick time to talk, without Ty, which I think is important.  It allows Nick to apologize, and for him to explain some things (both about his general history with Ty and about their shared history as POW’s).  This is an emotional bloodletting, mainly because Zane hates the idea of anything that cause hurt to tie, but it also gives us a new understanding of Nick.

I had gathered (just from what little had been said in the previous book) that their experience as POW’s and his sense of loss had affected his actions previously (as well as the alcohol), but this definitely explained it a lot more.  I still feel that his actions were highly disrespectful of Zane and the relationship Ty had with him (but since he really had no reason to respect Zane as a person, aside from as Ty’s partner), plus with the addition of the alcohol, he probably didn’t have as many inhibitions or control.  So, I’ll let it go.

The case is resolved, Julian and Cameron can go off and do whatever, though I’m a little bit sad at Preston’s outcome, though he didn’t seem too put out by it.

I was happy to see Ty and Zane make the decision to move in together, but I cautiously curious what this might mean for both their job’s and their families (well Ty’s anyway, as far as I can tell Zane doesn’t have much contact with anyone but his sister).

On to the next volume…

Dreamspinner Press – Armed & Dangerous

ARe – Armed & Dangerous

Amazon – Armed & Dangerous

Audible – Armed & Dangerous

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Review: Cut & Run 4: Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer By

Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux

Well, this book sure was a teeny bit emotional. Not overly so, but a bit. We had Zane getting injured, Ty dealing with things the best way Ty can, plus a crazy teenager blowing things up.

I wasn’t as interested in the antagonist as I was in the repercussions of his actions, but that’s okay, because in the long run this is really about the continuing saga of Ty and Zane, so…

I was pleasantly surprised (and kind of proud) to see Zane so easily admit to Ryan that Ty was more than just his work partner. In that situation, he could have easily taken the simpler route and allowed Ryan to believe in the mistake. Especially considering Ryan isn’t anyone he works with or is friends with (not really). He doesn’t really give Ryan any thought at all (despite Ty’s obvious jealousy).

It was also interesting to meet Ty’s Recon team. I was a little leery of Nick, just because of his clear disdain for Zane. I mean, I get that they want someone partnered with Ty who can be trusted to watch his back, but they weren’t exactly catching him on his best day.

Then, of course, there’s that other *thing* however, that I get. Ty’s a force of nature, and Ty and Nick have known each other a long time and have some of the same experiences, etc… The thing about incident that was more annoying (and maybe it was more due to the alcohol) was it felt like (no matter how much Nick may have really felt for Ty and how much he wished he would have known about Ty’s bisexuality sooner) the fact Nick was making a move *now* when he knew Ty was not available, and that Ty was in love with Zane it felt like an extension of his dislike and disdain for Zane and disrespect for Ty-and-Zane and their relationship.

Having said that, I don’t dislike Nick (or any of the others–except Own, obviously). I hope we see them again in the future (which I’m assuming is the case).

Zane finally, *finally* managed to say those pesky little words….it’s kind of sad that it’s a panic-inducing thing, especially considering he feels it, he knows it, Ty knows it, but expressing it is such a trial.

I loved that Ty knows Zane so well, that he knows exactly what his process is like:

“Ty knew his partner had to take the issue from every angle, analyze it to death, resurrect it, and then study its dead, rotting body to see the results. Yeah, it might take Zane four months to decide if he loved someone, and then more to decide if that was a good idea.”

And the end? I get how Ty could feel that way, especially considering some of the confining spaces of late, but I can definitely see how devasting that might be to wake up to for Zane.

I’ll definitely have to be diving right into the next book.

Dreamspinner Press – Divide & Conquer

ARe – Divide & Conquer

Amazon – Divide & Conquer

Audible – Divide & Conquer

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