Badlands

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I was surprised I liked this book so much, and I didn’t expect to cry near the end when Simon’s life and his relationship with his boyfriend Vic were in danger.

This fantasy romance had it all—action, suspense, conflict!, sexy times, emotional depth, a hero and a quest, exciting plot that brought the romance and fantasy threads together, solid world-building, and compelling protagonists.

The audiobook narrator’s voice was a pleasure to listen to, and he did a great job building the tension, expressing the characters’ thoughts and emotions, and bringing their story to life.

I plan to pick up the next book in the series because I love this couple and want to know what happens next in their story.
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Glad I waited for the audiobook. 
I got the book and it was ok. But the audiobook is better.
Way more vivid and better characters. 
They are just portrayed better in the audiobook.
The story is about a medium and a cop. 
Romance and mystery. 
Liked the writing, so will be reading more by this author.
(Given a copy for an honest review)
(NetGalley)
(Thanks)
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Now this was a FUN book! :) 
I was instantly drawn to Simon Kincaide and I found his voice absolutely charming! He's a clairvoyant and medium! How cool is that?! I loved the mix of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal, plus the story telling was fantastic! Simon and Vic's romance was another highlight --lovely written! I highly recommend Badlands and look forward to read Witchbane, another book set in the same universe.
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I’ve been on a reading roll lately. I’ve found several new authors and a slew of characters that I’ve really enjoyed. I realized that I’ve moved away from PNR books and slipped into a contemporary slump. That’s not a bad thing, but since I consider PNR my “first love”, I’ve enjoyed these new finds. To be fair, I’d consider BadLands borderline PNR – mainly because there were no shifters or vampires – psychics and spirits were the main focus – but that still counts 😉

BadLands also left me feeling rather nostalgic… My very first M/M read was a book where a psychic was paired with a skeptic. (A Reason to Believe) That little taste of PNR was enough to pull me in to a brand new genre and as I’ve said many, many times, the rest is history. Vic isn’t so much a skeptic as someone who was forced to not believe what he knew he saw. Risking his second chance at his career was a last ditch effort to solve a crime spree that was plaguing Myrtle Beach.

Simon was risking just as much by trying to help Vic. As the two got closer and their attraction became too strong to ignore, they both had even more at risk. I loved these two together and the mystery in BadLands was just as intriguing as the romance. There’s nothing I love more than a good balance.

I picked up BadLands almost a year after it’s initial release and there’ve been a couple of novellas released since then. I’ve picked up one of them, but I’m hoping that there are more full length books in this series’ future.
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I wish I enjoyed this more, considering I already own two more in the series, but I just... didn't. 

Most of my friends enjoyed Badlands by Morgan Brice, but I struggled with it a great deal. So many info-dumps and so boring. My attention kept wandering over and over again. I'm being nice keeping this rating at 2-stars because I simply didn't enjoy the story. 

I honestly didn't understand why Simon (weird nickname for Sebastian, but whatever) kept insisting that the police wouldn't help when he didn't even try to get them to help. Was it a savior complex or white knight thing? Why was Simon doing his own little investigation when it was so clearly dangerous and over his head?

The romance was meh-city, and I just didn't see the appeal between the two. There was very little chemistry there, and I just wasn't into it at all. Vic was really rude to Simon at first and then it all was brushed under the rug, even with so many secrets still between them. 

I even thought the mystery was a bit anticlimactic at the end. Overall, I guess I was just disappointed. Bummer. 

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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(I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

The characters are great and the first third of the book is a ton of fun. But then it devolves into a lot of overdone sex scenes that overshadow the plot. I still enjoyed it and would definitely read the sequels, but the quality definitely took a hit in the second half.
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The blurb grabbed my attention and Badlands reminded me of Psycop by Jordan Castillo Price with a teensy wee bit of that Whyborne & Griffin and The Casebooks of Simon Feximal vibe. It has the same paranormal/urban fantasy/romance blend as the other series but it has it’s own distinct flavor that is just as interesting.

Although, I was neutral about the romance part at first. But I was also like that with Vic and Jacob from Psycop and now I couldn’t get enough of the two. So the romance. Simon is cute, Vic D’Amato is good looking, they met, sparks flew, one couldn’t get the other out of their mind and so on. Nothing we haven’t seen before until Simon was dragged into the precinct and Vic wasn’t there to back him up. The look on Simon’s face and Vic helpless on the other side of the glass , I was feeling that moment. Hang on, guys!

What really carried the entire book was the unputdownable murder mystery mixed in with the supernatural. As if a serial killer isn’t bad enough, we get a serial killer stealing psychic energies and gaining magical powers from each kill. Although the suspense and mystery kept me turning the page, it wasn’t as tight as I would have liked because the two men’s thoughts kept circling back to each other which was kind of minimized tension from the build-up. The book splits evenly between romance and the rest but I preferred it to be more detective work less thinking about getting into each others pants because people are dying here.

I was in the dark as to who the killer was. I made a bad guess as usual and suspected Jay, the tattoo artist. Stupid, I know. This is why I don’t try to play detective when reading mysteries. Best to just let the whole thing unfold without preconceive notions. Simon, however, would have made a great detective if he hadn’t become a uni professor. When he got some clues, he totally ran with it and came up with a lot of breakthroughs and insider information that unfortunately made him seem like the killer. Hence, him being interrogated by Ross.

This needs to be said, but I think Ross wins the Best Partner award for not only putting up with Vic’s temper all the time, covering his ass from the Captain, being the voice of reason and a loyal friend but also doing ALL the paper work in the aftermath of the debacle. You owe him, Vic. Big time.

As for the world-building, I like how the Badlands world is set-up and that it is connected with books from Morgan Brice’s other series. Myrtle Beach is home to many people with psychic abilities, most of them untrained and keeping low key. Simon sees himself as kind of like their mentor slash caretaker. I like the idea of having a network of psychic spies and I want see the Skeleton Crew in action again in the next books.

Badlands is a strong first book of a very promising series. We have two very likable MCs, an enjoyable mystery and great setting. Morgan Brice vividly bought Myrtle Beach to life with its crowd of tourists, quirky shops and even quirkier locals. I’m definitely in for another visit.

P.S.

I received a copy of Badlands from Darkwind Press via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

Soundtrack: Psychic City (Voodoo City)
Artist: Yacht
Album: See Mystery Lights
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Clairvoyant Simon Kincaide makes his money running a tourist shop on Myrtle Beach. Under wraps, he's a very talented medium and tries to do his best to help the people around him. When he meets cop Vic D'Amato... they become involved in a case... and a relationship.

If you like Supernatural Fanfiction, you'll probably enjoy this book. It wasn't really my thing, the relationship between the main characters went from zero to sixty in about 2 seconds so it was a bit unrealistic. I enjoyed the way the author wove in a few side characters with preternatural abilities. I like the idea of an underground network of people keeping track of all things spooky!

If this story appeals to you, you're in luck because Morgan Brice has quite a selection of books available!
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Ugh, this was such a frustrating book. The MCs were likeable and had good chemistry, but there was too much Info Dumping at the beginning that could have been woven into the story more naturally. Also, the civilian working with the cop trope has two hazards, both of which are on display here: civilian keeps too many secrets from cop because Reasons, and civilian puts himself into danger because Other Reasons. Finally, the pacing was odd and it felt like a scene was missing at the end that would have brought the romance full circle. 

I liked the paranormal aspect of the book, and perhaps if the relationship drama is held to a minimum in the sequel, The Rising, it could be worth the time and money. But there were too many problems with this book to make me want to rush out and read it. 

NB: I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley.
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There is a lot about BADLANDS that will be very familiar to any reader of m/m romance and/or psychic crime fiction. I was not overly hopeful when the first two chapters were taken up by our heroes wandering around and providing exposition about their tragic pasts.

These backstories were vital to the romance but it felt like I was jumping into the second book in a series because so much had gone on before the book started and so little actually happened in the first two chapters.

Fortunately the relationship and the murder mystery took of with a hiss and a roar (and quite a lot of angst) from chapter three on.  The story was enjoyable but hung on half a dozen TSTL moments shared equally between both characters.

If you want an angsty m/m romance blended with an 80s style psychic-helps-cop serial killer plot, this is the book for you.  It feels like a set up for a series but I am not sure it has the momentum to support one unless the author has some some major plot twists held in reserve.
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I really enjoyed this book. Simon and Vic are both great characters and their romance was really cute. I'm a sucker for a good supernatural mystery as well and this one definitely kept me interested. My one possible criticism would be that they seemed to fall in love VERY quickly, but I guess they were in a lot of life threatening situations together so emotions were definitely running high. Also all the sex scenes were really good so I'm definitely not complaining there ;)
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WOW Where do I start. I literally went into this book with zero expectations and it simply blew me out of the water. The story was fresh and fast paced. i could not put this book down and devoured it in just one day.  A m/m romance with an actual strong plot and great character development. I normally don't like a great deal of violence but it was handled well by the author and necessary for the story. And what can I say about the male leads. It was hard to know which I liked best Vic or Simon. Together they were a realistic and caring couple and I sincerely wish Ms. Brice will treat us with another full length novel. I just rushed to purchase her novella which takes place after the chaos is over and I can't wait to read it!  A 5 star book and I can't tell you had pleasantly surprised I was. Superb writing and a delight to read. PLEASE more Simon and Vic!!!!
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I read this as a NetGalley ARC ebook. Plot and characters - loved both. There was some repetition of reasoning. I assume Brice doesn't mean to insult the reader. It wasn't terrible, and for me the two guys and all the side characters and the rising difficulties were all really good, compelling, believable. I added the next book to my wish list. 

The one failure is the magical instant hard-on to signal interest. Both guys. More than once. As if the author is unaware of other ways males can reveal lust. As if neither man has reservations, when we are being told that they actually do. It read as uninformed, simple. Luckily those scenes are short. (And I have read far worse, sad to say.)
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Absolutely loved this book! Vic and Simon are such a fab couple and the supernatural aspect is done perfectly. Off to buy more by this author now
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An out and proud psychic and a reluctant to admit belief police officer plus a serial killer. A cast of amazing characters and a page turning plot. I can't think of anything more I could want.
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Simon Kincaide is a psychic medium running a small shop in Myrtle Beach, a seaside town bustling with tourism. He meets homicide detective Vic D'Amato, and things look promising until a psychic reading brings up ghosts from Vic's past that he isn't prepared to face.
But Vic in on the case of a serial killer terrorising the town, and Simon starts to suspect he knows what the victims had in common: psychic talents like his own. But the more Simon discovers through his talents, the more he will find himself under suspicion from the police, and threatened by the killer.

Badlands is a perfect blend of paranormal romance and and crime fiction.
I loved Simon, the self-professed "gay psychic medium with a nerd-on for ghost stories and a flair for storytelling" and I loved how he was faithful to himself all the way through the book. Vic seemed less fleshed out as a character, but their relationship and the way it slowly blossoms despite the difficult start and their differences felt very realistic.
I liked the atmosphere of Myrtle Beach, I really got sucked in by the descriptions and there were a lot of interesting locations and side characters. The storytelling in this was excellent, the plot running along at a good pace.

A great paranormal romance with high stakes for both main characters. I couldn't put the book down.
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Better than the Lanyon (of old), and on a par with CS Poe. Excellent intro to this author.

I got this book from NetGalley and the author, but would happily have paid for it. 

It's well written, respects readers' brains, respects the characters, has a proper tale to it (i.e. one that's not simply a vehicle for MM sex), doesn't conform to the current tropes in MM (thank goodness) and has been properly edited (I found only a couple of typos). It's definitely a Keeper.

The tale is a mystery, with aspects of the paranormal that aren't the bog-standard offerings of paranormal tales and in  a way, the romance element took a back seat to building the tale and to events, which made me value the author even more. I hate it when everything's going down and the leads manage to find a convenient shelter/shack/room/wardrobe to have sex in, but here the sex came at the right time in the tale and helped build the leads' relationship.

I thought both characters were realistic - one turned amateur sleuth given his 'involvement' in the happenings, and had gifts that helped him, without any TSTL stuff coming in (thank you, dear author). The other, a detective, had been burned personally and professionally and therefore understandably proceeded with caution, and I loved the warring of his heart versus his head that we got to see. 

The tale ends in the start of a HEA, and I will certainly look to read more of these characters. The book has a foundation and premise that could allow a series to organically develop, and yes, this is an author whose works are worth paying for. She's like the Lanyon of old (don't rate the current version), when her tales had an actual mystery that wasn't sussed out in a couple of chapters. Right now, I'd say she's comparable, mystery wise/intrigue wise/intelligent writing wise, to CS Poe, who's Snow and Winter series is one of the best out there, and bonus, Morgan Brice adds the paranormal to an excellent mystery.
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