Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Spirited

SPIRITED
Tidewater #1
Mary Behre
Paranormal Romance/Romantic Suspense
294 pages
Berkley Sensation
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
She’s running from who she is…...

All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life—preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s talent for communicating with the dead has brought her nothing but trouble. Despite her best efforts, needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, she may need to entrust her secrets to the person least likely to believe her.…

He’ll do whatever it takes to catch her.

Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding—no matter how impossible the truth may be….


MY THOUGHTS
Spirited draws us in with an intriguing premise, a young woman gifted (or crifted as she calls it – cursed and gifted) with an ability to talk to spirits destined to find herself smack-dab in the middle of a homicide investigation led by a man in a profession not prone to believing in things that can’t be proven concretely. The mystery itself is well-executed, a fairly impressive red herring or two keeping us beautifully distracted so the true culprit can blindside us in the end, and we can’t help but smile when our guesses are proven to be so spectacularly wrong.

Where the murders and Jules’s ghostly interactions keep us on our toes throughout, there are a few small niggles with the relationship between Jules and her sexy cop neighbor, Seth, that keep the romantic aspect of the story from being as successful as the mystery. Jules is an enjoyable heroine, understandably on edge around police officers given a painful past with her ex-husband, but aside from the one very large secret of her ghost-communicating ability she’s upfront with Seth about the other aspects of her life. While we can’t help but like her, we don’t necessarily fall madly in love with her either, content to read her story without being fully absorbed by it.

For his part, Seth is of course attractive and protective, making it easy to root for him to be the one person who proves not all people will react the way Jules’s ex-husband did when they learn of her gift. One small personal issue is his use of the nickname “precious” for Jules, something that will certainly not bother everyone, but for me came across as a bit young and condescending even when he clearly never meant it to be so. He also has a mildly frustrating tendency to continually inform Jules that he’s a cop and therefore his time spent with her is in a professional capacity rather than a personal one, but at every opportunity he’s the one who always pushes their interactions across that line before taking a step back again and issuing Jules yet another reminder of their respective roles.

Spirited ends in a flurry of action as the killer’s identity is revealed and all the final puzzle pieces slot into place in wonderfully dramatic fashion, but just as is the case throughout, the romance ends in a far more lackluster way. Jules’s secret finally comes out in the concluding chapters, but because it’s revealed to Seth so late, there’s hardly any time for the two of them to deal with the fallout before everything is wrapped up nicely and neatly. Given the emotional scarring resulting from her previous relationship, her quick forgiveness of Seth’s reaction lacks a bit of believability, but it doesn’t hugely detract from the excitement of the final showdown with the murderer. Overall, Spirited is an enjoyable read, perfect for a quick afternoon read when entertainment is the sole goal.

Rating: 3.5/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

44 comments:

  1. I think I will wait until book 2 comes out :)

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    1. I'm looking forward to the next one:)

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  2. What is it with people reviewing 'guys with guns on the cover' books today? :D Ha! Someone just reviewed this title as well, but I can't remember whose blog it was on. Eh, well, I'm not a big fan of ghost books, even if either of the main characters is one. However, other than that? This seems like the perfect thriller. Seth sounds wonderful and I'm glad that he's supportive of Jules. Haha, it's funny how you had the problem with the nickname :D Also, his tendency to infrom her of being a cop--I can see where this could be a tad annoying to say the least. I'm glad that you enjoyed this a s a whole even if it wasn't a perfect read.

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    1. Just that kind of day I guess Siiri! Mondays are for guys with guns:) I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of this one even if bits and pieces of the romance frustrated me.

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  3. It's a shame that the romantic aspects didn't shine as much as the mystery plot at hand. Usually I don't have an issue with that, though the nickname of "precious" brings to mind Gollum from Lord of the Rings - not necessarily romantic. Seeing as I have little luck with these types of books, I might skip it after all but if I'm in the mood for a cop or a solid mystery novel, I'll be looking to this for sure. Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. Yes! I kept tacking on an extra "s" or 5 to that nickname. I couldn't help it. Preciousssss....

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  4. Seems like the mystery aspect would make this book well worth reading, but since the romance bit is not as good and seemed to be a tad annoying... I don't plan to add this one to the TBR list just yet.
    Great review, Jenny!

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    1. The mystery aspect was fantastic I though, and I really did like Jules. I just had a small issue or two with Seth:)

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  5. Crifted--HA! This sounds like excellent brain candy (even with Seth's over-loud protests of his cop-ness and professional relationship, BLAH). Awesome review, Jenny!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  6. "Precious"? Seriously? *snort* Did I read this one already? I feel like I did and yet...my brain. She's too full of books!

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    1. I know. It won't bother everyone, but if my husband ever called me precious I would fall down dead laughing.

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  7. I actually picked this one up because of all the hype I saw about it on goodreads and even though it sounds like there are some minor annoyances (precious, really?) I think I will still enjoy this one.

    Great review Jenny!

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    1. I really did enjoy it overall Ali! I can't wait to see what you think:)

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  8. I'm sorry to hear that the main character is the most loveable. It's a shame because this sounds like this could have been a romantic and thrilling book.
    Ha! The precious nickname would bother me so much as well. Whenever I see the word, I'm reminded of Gollum from LoTR!
    Still, I'm glad you enjoyed this despite it not being the best book in the world.
    Lovely review! :)

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    1. Yes. Every time he said it I was transported to Middle Earth. I couldn't help it! I liked this one enough to continue with the series though:)

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  9. I enjoyed this one Jenny and we rated it about the same. I loved the premise and will see this series through since I liked the characters

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    1. Yes! Looking forward to the next book:)

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  10. This one sounds promising….I love that she refers to her self as crifted….that's awesome! I have been gravitating towards more adult fiction/fantasy novels, so I will have to add this one to my list. Plus, I love a good murder mystery! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I hope you give it a try Christina! Aside from a few small things, I had fun reading this one:)

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  11. Precious? That would drive me crazy. I'm already not much of a fan nicknames, but that would probably make me want to slap him every time he said it. o.O

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    1. I know. I snorted every time he said it. Luckily he didn't use it in every interaction so it wasn't horribly distracting the whole way through.

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  12. Oh I love it 'a young woman gifted or crifted'. This book reminded straight away of the Laurell K. Hamilton, Anita Blake series! I love that series... some of the plotline elements and if that's anything to go by then I think I will read this series very soon. Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Thanks Emma! I hope you give this one a try:)

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  13. A quick afternoon read is sometimes the best way to go. I'm not sure this is the type of book I'd love, but you know how I feel about murder mysteries...especially ones that play up the paranormal. Thanks for a great review of yet another book I've never heard about before ;)

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  14. I really liked the suspense aspect of this one, Jenny, but too bad the romance was a bit lackluster. Still you have me curious enough to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Given that this was more romantic suspense than straight romance, I was able to look past some of my issues with their relationship. They were fairly mild in the face of a great murder mystery, so I'll definitely be checking book 2 out!

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  15. I was really curious about this one when I saw its release but a friend was quite disappointed but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think I should try it to see it by myself.

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    1. I always want to try a book that inspires mixed reactions for myself, you never know what things won't bother you that bothered someone else!

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  16. I don't think the nickname would bother me, maybe it was when he said it? Still, it sounds like a great read.

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    1. It might not Savy! I'm just not a nickname person, and this one seemed particularly patronizing, but I know he didn't mean it that way at all.

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  17. That is kind of a let down that the romance ends a bit lackluster. I can just hear that guy saying in an Arnold Schwarznegger accent..."I'm a cop!" Ha Ha!

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    1. He was quite adamant that they not cross any lines, yet he was the one who always instigated the sexy times:)

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  18. I like the sound of the premise of Spirited, but the romance sounds a little bit disappointing to me. I'll keep this one in mind for when I want to enjoy a quick mystery with a touch of romance. Thanks for the great review, Jenny :)

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    1. You're welcome Kim! I did enjoy this one, flaws and all, so I'm excited to see what Mary does next.

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  19. This actually sounds right up my alley! Seriously up my alley. I am ok with those little annoying things.

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    1. Yay! I think you'll be a fan then:)

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  20. That is exactly why I enjoy romantic suspense... it is usually entertaining. AND as long as it has my HEA... I'm good. :)

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  21. Sounds like a good start to a new series. "Precious" does sound a little condescending. I suppose it's endearing, but.....I don't know many women that like that.

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  22. I added this to my wishlist when I saw it on Kimba's blog not too long ago. I think I'll really enjoy it despite some of the lackluster aspects. However, anytime someone says "precious", Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lamb plays in my head ... "don't you hurt my precious." I use to have a pet rat in high school I named Precious just so I could say that. All the time. LOL. I'm a weirdo.

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  23. Totally agree with your thoughts on this, Jenny. I couldn't pinpoint what exactly was off with the romance but you nailed it. Still, like you said it was an enjoyable, quick read that you could easily been entertained by in an afternoon. Wonderful review! :)

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  24. I've been curious about this cause I love anything with ghosts. It's too bad the romance isn't a tad better though.

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  25. I'm glad to hear the mystery is well executed in this! It's rare that I fall for red herrings and I love being surprised. But it sounds like this romance would annoy me (ugh I hate "precious" I think I will be in a state of permanent eyeroll). Glad you were still able to enjoy the story in spite of being taken out of the romance somewhat.

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