*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
I had a strange experience with this book because it seems like something I should have loved, it had the right ingredients, but it didn’t quite work for me, and I can’t figure out why.
First off, the three main characters, Joe (the protag), Owen (the love interest), and Scott (the best friend), all seemed realistic and three-dimensional… but I didn’t really like them. Joe had low self-esteem, was superficial, and was weak-willed with the way he let all of Scott’s behavior slide. Owen wasn’t a bad person, but he was a bit of a jerk sometimes (for example, he could’ve explained things to Joe instead of letting him flounder in the beginning). And Scott lied, cheated, manipulated, and treated people horribly (to be fair though, he wasn’t supposed to be likeable). So I appreciated that they were realistic, and all three of them showed growth and got more likeable by the end, but for some reason I just didn’t get completely invested in them.
There was one character I did love though: Otto. He was some sort of spirit, but he acted like a harmless poltergeist. He stuck his hands in the TV to mess up the picture while Owen was watching. He knocked a jar of beads onto the floor simply because he was bored, then laid on the floor so that Owen had to reach through his incorporeal body to get the beads because he knew Owen didn’t like that. He loved it whenever anyone paid him attention and would follow them around for a bit. In other words, he was kind of mischievous but funny and entertaining. Then he and Peter, another spirit, starting hanging out, and seriously, I want to know their story. Can I have a book about them?
Then there was the reality TV stuff. That was one of the things that drew me to the book—it was something I had never read about. And that too seemed realistic… it just turned out I didn’t like that either. It was petty and superficial and basically a crew who cared more about getting a good shot than they did about each other.
As for the romance between Joe and Owen, I felt conflicted. On the one hand, they had good chemistry, and the sex was hot. On the other hand, it happened fast, and they were far too distracted by each others’ smells/lips/hair and their constant need to tamp down their man parts when they had more important things that needed their attention.
The whole thing with Scott also detracted from the romance. The parts about Scott were another thing I feel like I should’ve loved because they had the most emotion, but I guess it just didn’t affect me that much because of how I wasn’t fully invested.
The plot was my only concrete issue. There was no clear goal, and then things started getting episodic near the end. I didn’t see the point of some of the parts included, and I wasn’t sure where the plot was going or why the book wasn’t wrapping up. There were also a few things that were thrown into the book but then never brought up again or explained.
But as I said the book felt pretty realistic (aside from the quickness of the relationship), the main characters were believably flawed and showed growth, and there was some emotional struggle. For whatever reason, the book just didn’t quite click with me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t click with other people, and it was by no means a bad read, so I’m still glad I read it!
M/M paranormal romance readers who like realistically flawed characters and a bit of emotional complication.
As a kid, Joseph Appleyard saw things hidden from others. Now he is The Paranaturalist, an investigator and cohost of a television show that seeks to prove the existence of the paranormal. Some think Joe is crazy, but they don’t realize he knows firsthand there’s more to the world than what most perceive. The trouble is, somewhere along the way, Joe lost his vision and it left his world flat and dull. One night an investigation goes horribly wrong, and a powerful ghostly manifestation sends Joe tumbling into a river. Spirit worker Owen Watson saves Joe’s life, and once they are back on dry land, whatever has been blocking Joe’s vision has been washed away.
When a haunting goes from annoying to dangerous, people turn to Owen Watson. He hates those infuriating hacks from TV, but when he pulls Joe from the river, his mind begins to change. Joe is scared and confused, and, Owen realizes, he might just be the real thing. Together, they work to understand the part of Joe that has been shut away for so long. But just as Joe is acclimating to his abilities, his career as a paranormal investigator is in danger of being ripped away. Owen would gladly battle a bloodthirsty spirit for Joe, but he’s out of his element in the world of reality television.