Reviewed by Tori
After a nasty divorce, Juliana Scott just wants a quiet normal life and to find her missing sisters, but fate has other plans for her. Able to hear and see ghosts, Jules finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery when an insistent ghost implicates her in a series of deadly jewel heists. The only one who can keep her safe is a sexy hot detective who doesn’t believe in consequences or the supernatural.
Detective Seth English is recovering from his own failed marriage and can’t afford any distractions; especially in the form of his tantalizing new neighbor. Seth knows Jules has nothing to do with the jewelry heists but he can’t discount the fact she keeps showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As Seth gets to know Jules better, it becomes obvious she’s hiding some things and Seth is determined to get to the bottom of it. But when the truth threatens more than just their burgeoning relationship, Seth will have to accept the unbelievable if he wants a future with Jules.
Spirited by Mary Behre is the first book in her debut paranormal romance series, Tidewater. Set in a small coastal town of Tidewater, VA, Behre introduces us to Juliana (Jules) Scott. Crifted (her word for her gift/curse) with the ability to communicate with ghosts, this “crift” has done nothing but make Jules’s life miserable. After attending a themed college reunion Pimp & Ho party and winning the costume for “best ho,” Jules is accosted on the way home by a belligerent ghost who uses deception and misdirection to force Jules to break into the apartment of a detective. A comedy of errors style meeting leads the detective to assume Jules is a hooker, thief, drug dealer, and liar. Once the various misunderstandings are corrected and the attraction between Jules and the detective is recognized and set in place, the story line proceeds, flipping between the romance and the mystery.
I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories both humorous and serious. I love Ghost Adventures and was a faithful watcher of Ghost Whisperer. I was excited to get Spirited for the above reasons and while it was an easy read, I wasn’t as taken with it as I thought I would be. It comes out of the gate with a bang but it slows down considerably until almost the very end. Behre does a good job of setting up the premise and interjecting personal subplots of the various characters into the main storyline. However, I felt the storyline was too loosely structured. Various subplots didn’t develop as they could have and the flow between the mystery and the romance was not smooth sailing. The first three quarters of the book is a rather tame with a large focus on the romance and the development of the characters. The mystery, while interesting, is revealed in small doses from several sources at random moments. It gives it a disconnected feeling and I found myself confused on several occasions.
The romance felt forced and unsure; as if it wasn’t fitting comfortably.The dialogue was lacking at times; coming off stilted and unauthentic. Seth, our hero, annoyed me with his condescending attitude and the endless cheek stroking. He is judgemental and quick to accuse. Though we get reasons for this, it didn’t excuse his behavior for me. In the beginning he muses that he can’t engage in a relationship with Jules because after a week in bed with her, she’ll be addicted to him and he’ll be bored. 0_o The only saving grace is the heroine has enough self confidence in herself that she doesn’t cower under his attitude and. Their banter was amusing and outright funny at times.
Additional secondary characters keep the story from being too linear and one dimensional. April and Ernie (Big Jim) are personable characters and learning how Jules came to be adopted by them was eye opening in regards to her emotional issues. Devon, Seth’s partner, is set up to help Jules with finding one of her sisters and I liked his protective behavior towards her. The two ghosts who invade Jules life play off one another in that one’s behavior is why Jules goes out of her way to ignore them while the other one is able to help Jules get a better grip on her crift and see the potential to use it to help others.
The ending picks up the story’s pace considerably and the last quarter is action packed with the suspense and intrigue I wish the entire book had been drenched in. We learn the hows and whys of the mystery along with seeing some serious eye opening on Seth’s part in regards to his past and future.
Though I wasn’t blown away by this story, I do think it has potential and hopefully with future installments will iron out the issues seen in this one.