Audio Review: Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella

Ghost Gifts

Title: Ghost Gifts
Author: Laura Spinella @spinellauthor
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 14 hours and 21 mins, 386 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

All Aubrey Ellis wants is a normal life, one that doesn’t include desperate pleas from the dead. Her remarkable gift may help others rest in peace, but it also made for an unsettling childhood and destroyed her marriage. Finally content as the real estate writer for a local newspaper, Aubrey keeps her extraordinary ability hidden—until she is unexpectedly assigned the story of a decades-old murder.

Rocked by the discovery of a young woman’s skeletal remains, the New England town of Surrey wants answers. Hard-nosed investigative reporter Levi St John is determined to get them. Aubrey has no choice but to get involved, even at the terrifying risk of stirring spirits connected to a dead woman’s demise and piquing her new reporting partner’s suspicions.

As Aubrey and Levi delve further into the mystery, secrets are revealed and passion ignites. It seems that Aubrey’s ghost gifts are poised to deliver everything but a normal life.

Grace Review

Story: 4 stars
Lost souls, a woman with a gift, a mysterious death, and a new bond between coworkers, come together in this unique story with a surprising twist.

I don’t read a lot of paranormal books, but for some reason, this one got my attention right away.  Like so many others, I was memorized by Sixth Sense, and this story has that same feel, but with a fresh approach.  Aubrey Ellis has a special gift, or curse, depending on how you look at it.  She has the ability to interact with specters, or souls of the dead.  Some reach out to her with good intentions, trying to give a loved one closure.  Others want to punish her, merely because they can and they have no other way to act out their anger.

Aubrey’s gift is revealed in three parts.  First is for the reader, showing how people on either side, receive her gift.  We get to see how not everyone reacts to the idea positively.  But we also see how she handles her gift with careful actions.  She doesn’t take advantage of anyone and knows when to step back.

Second is how she reveals her gift to her coworker, Levi St. John, who she has partnered with on a murder story.  This revelation doesn’t seem to be by choice.  Aubrey fights the decision to let him know, because she can’t ignore the presence around her anymore.  The revelation is emotional and heartbreaking.  But it does give the closure that was needed for so long.  It also brings the two of them closer together.

Third, and presented very late in the book, is how her ability ties to the murder investigation.  Throughout the book, there was an expectation that Missy, the girl whose bones were found in her ex-boyfriend’s cellar, would appear.  And that doesn’t go as expected.  I will say the author kept me thinking as to who the killer was throughout.  She feeds you small tidbits to create doubt about one person or another.  It was a bit of a shock when the real killer was revealed.

This is a paranormal romance, but the romance part is very late to come.  I would definitely qualify this as a slow burn between Aubrey and Levi.  Delaying the romance are the significant others for each of them.  Once those two are out of the way, it seems like it is full steam ahead, which I didn’t get.  There were very few moments shared between them where I thought, this couple is meant to be together.  They share a connection with her gift, and maybe that was the spark they needed.  Because everything does seem to speed up after that incident.

Performance:  4 stars
While I’ll agree with other reviewers that this narrator’s voice was breathy at times, I thought she did a great job overall.  She portrayed each characters voice and had a lot of emotion in her performance.

Overall: 4 stars
This was an enjoyable paranormal read.  The ghost element was woven into the storyline where it made sense and each part of the story carried meaning.

– Grace

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