Ghost Gifts from author Laura Spinella was a good balance for my recent more serious reads. But it wasn’t much more than a fluff piece. Main character Aubrey Ellis is a journalist, working on real estate features at a small town paper. She’s also a medium, willingly or unwillingly channeling messages from ghosts.

Aubrey gets involved in reporting recent developments of a decades-old murder. And she’s rightly concerned that her gifts will get out of control working on a story like this. Plus, she’s assigned to assist Levi St. John, a temporary out-of-town addition to the news staff. Did I mention he’s arrogant and entitled? So naturally, Aubrey gets hit with some ghost gifts that belong to him too.

The story meanders around, switching from paranormal to murder investigations. And without too many spoilers, you should expect some romance as well. But the pace moves slowly and the suspense is just so-so.

Aubrey’s likable, but her personal life is pretty messy. She’s estranged from her husband, and caring for the aging grandmother who raised her. Poor girl is juggling a lot, which mostly just muddies the story rather than giving it depth.

My conclusions

Not my favorite book this year, that’s for sure. It’s not a horrible one, though. Just, as they say, meh. I think Spinella bites off far more than she can chew. It would have been fine with me if she’d skipped the husband story line, which added little to the meat of the mystery.

I’m a bigger fan of mystery than romance, so I wished for more suspense and intensity there as well. I also didn’t like any of the men in Ghost Gifts. Spinella writes them all as controlling and self-centered. I spent entirely too much time yelling, “Get a backbone, girl” at Aubrey.

I’m trying to read books that have languished in my digital shelves. So many times I grab my latest purchase and dig in, even though older books were interesting when I bought them. I suspect this was an Audible Daily Deal, purchased back in October 2016. So at least this book checked off that task for me.

But unless you like romantic paranormal mysteries with questionable male characters, I wouldn’t recommend this one. 2.5 stars.