Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens
Series: Ghost Seer #1
Published by Berkley on April 1, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
When her eccentric aunt passes away, no-nonsense accountant Clare Cermac inherits more than just a small fortune. She receives the gift of communicating with ghosts. While Clare may not believe in spirits, it’s hard to overlook the shadowy talking dog appearing on her bed or spectral cowboys tipping their hats to her in the streets of Denver. And when she locks eyes with sexy—and living—Zach Slade, there’s certainly no ignoring him either.
A former deputy sheriff, Zach is leaving a painful past behind in Montana for a new life in Denver as a private investigator, a job that has him crossing paths with beautiful Clare. Not that she minds. After the restless ghost of a Wild West gunman demands her assistance, Clare finds herself needing Zach more and more—and not just for help.
ICYMI is a post from my early days of blogging at Yummy Men & KickAss Chicks. You can see the original review here. This is a joint review with Julie. The Ghost Seer series is urban fantasy by my personal classification since it follows the progress of one couple.
Anne: So usually Julie and I have similar views on books, but not always. I LOVED this one. I can’t give all concrete reasons why. Feelings aren’t exactly logical. But it was so good for me.
Julie: And unfortunately, it was not so good for me. We’ll get into the ‘whys’ in a bit but first, let me tell you about the book.
Ghost Seer is the first book in a new series by Robin D Owens. These books will tell the story of Clare Cermak and how she inherited the ability to see and help ghosts move on to where they are supposed to be. She is not a Reaper – her job is to help the ghosts she encounters settle their biggest regret. Some are easier than others and that is what makes the premise of this series and the story in this first installment very interesting.
There was quite a bit I enjoyed about the book. Unfortunately, more irked me than not. I’m going to start with Clare. I can completely understand where she comes from in the book. She is an accountant and therefore loves order and logic. Suddenly having a ghost dog follow you around and ‘talk’ to you defies all logic and therefore Clare comes to the only conclusion she can think of: she is going insane. She remembers her aunt trying to tell her about a ‘gift’ but assumed her aunt was nuts. So now that her aunt has passed away and suddenly Clare sees ghosts, it’s a stretch for her mind to accept that her aunt was actually sane and telling the truth all these years.
I can understand being reluctant at accepting her new reality, but by page 200 Clare was STILL wondering if she was truly seeing spirits or if she was perhaps nuts. Even after she accepted that she saw ghosts, she went back from time to time to question it. That drove me bonkers. Okay. 100 pages would be a decent time to accept things, especially with all she goes through in those first pages, but after a while, enough is enough. You can see ghosts. Deal with it.
Anne: Yes I can understand your irritation. I found it annoying as well. But Clare had more to deal with than just seeing a ghost dog and other ghosts. It isn’t just her education in accounting which gives her a love of logic and order. It’s her defense mechanism to the chaos her parents made her life. Children all love the comfort of a routine, knowing what to expect and she didn’t get that at all. Plus she has the aunt’s estate to settle, the change in her life without a job, and her guilt over not spending more time with Aunt Sandra. Plus the whole book takes place over a week or so, not really all that much time to adjust to many things.
I loved Clare’s analyzing of things, her integrity and caring for others, and her ability to make a plan and adapt to the changing circumstances. I loved her relationship with Zach, because I loved him, even though he hadn’t accepted his own reality months after the fact. But I didn’t like it when Clare expected Zach to accept hers all at once, just because she finally did.
Julie: You’re right. It’s not much time for her but it’s a lot of time for the reader lol. I did like Clare’s character. I loved how she left her job not only because she didn’t need to work anymore but also because she thought someone else who needs a job could get one now because of the vacancy she left. Little things like that made me like her. I just wish she would get out of the denial a bit sooner.
I liked how she was with Zach and I completely understand how she needed to feel a connection to someone after what she was going through. Zach needed that too. But unfortunately their ‘relationship’ is something else that irked me. To me, it didn’t feel natural. I wouldn’t quite say it was rushed but I definitely felt a little bit awkward. I did feel Zach was a good match for Clare and I found they made a great team when doing the ‘investigating’ thing but where the romantic stuff is involved, it was just off. But I am excited to see how their romance develops because I really do believe they make a great match.
Anne: I loved Zach because he is hot and such a guy. He doesn’t want to show any weakness. He is protective. He doesn’t want to open up about his seeing crows or even when he can see ghosts with Clare. He doesn’t want to commit to anything but he doesn’t want her with anyone else. Such a classic guy. Now for some reason, it’s a stereotype which makes me laugh instead of making me annoyed. And really, they have been together such a short time; he shouldn’t be moving in or asking her to marry him just yet anyway.
So, one of the things I love the most about this book is the fact there is a romance. A really hot, satisfying and developing romance. We don’t always get that or so quickly in an urban fantasy.
I can see how you might feel it was too fast. It was fast but they were both alone and it was so right. It felt realistic because of their flaws. Neither one of them was perfect; the situation wasn’t perfect. I think what you felt was off endeared them to me. Real life isn’t always on. I suppose the romance could have been slowed down with more sexual tension. But then would he have been with her when things happened or compelled to work with her as much?
I do love the way Clare and Zach work together. I always love the smart and these two are both very smart, capable and competent. And I enjoy the fact they both want to be useful in their lives even when they don’t need the money. But it’s especially great how they both want to be smart and logical and their world is not. They use the skills they have to do well, in spite of it not being believable to them and so many things not in their control. Their frustration with things out of their control might even have been a further push to get release through their chemistry. Both Clare and Zach and the reader needed it.
Julie: I just don’t see how two people who have been facing such crazy and difficult circumstances would even be open to that intense of a beginning-relationship. That is what felt off for me. It felt too “oh, we’re alone and we need each other so lets”. But what you liked about them I liked too. As I said, I am looking forward to watching their relationship progress. Maybe in the next book it will feel more real to me.
Anne: I think another reason the book appeals to me so much is because it is a mental powers sort of thing and that is my favorite thing in urban fantasy or supernatural world. They both have some, whether they want to admit it or not. The development of those powers and their relationship and the work they do together, with their integrity, makes me so excited for the next book! I don’t expect everything to be smooth or easy, or hearts and rainbows. That wouldn’t be realistic. I expect their struggles with it all to be fascinating, and an emotional ride for me.
Julie: I strongly feel that this is a ‘first book not too strong but the second book will be better’ series for me. I love the bones of the book and the bones of the characters. It’s all in the way it was all introduced to me that felt strange. I think after all of that is done, which it is after this book, the rest will be more solid. I absolutely love where I think this series is going. I agree Clare and Zach will most likely not have all rainbows in their future but I feel they can stand together and face anything.
How I envision this series going is like this: Clare encounters a ghost that needs help. Clare and Zach go about solving the riddles that solve what needs to be done. I really hope the series takes that turn because that is part of what happens in Ghost Seer and that was such fun to read.
Anne: Yes, I think the solving puzzles, with the interest of historical bits against the background of the warm security of a solid relationship will be great. I hope it will be a solid relationship with the gradual sharing of more of their personal issues with each other. Their acceptance and development of their abilities will be trying for them but fun – a great story – for us. And I want them to face it together.
Julie: Loved the historical bits! You can tell Robin knows her Wild West history. I was drawn to the idea that each Seer sees different ghosts, some from the 1900’s and others, like Clare, from the pioneer days and the Old West. I thought that was totally cool. The author’s notes in her acknowledgments were really interesting. Like a mini history lesson.
Anne: So I just loved this, the plot, the historical references, the characters (many we didn’t discuss), the romance against the disturbing changes in the main characters lives, and the promise of more growth in the characters, their capabilities and the relationship, and more historical tales. I look forward to the next book, Ghost Layer, coming out September 2nd this year.
This one is 5 stars for me.
Julie: Oh how I wish I could give it a strong rating too but because I just didn’t feel the same ‘click’ as you did with the characters or how their circumstances were presented, I am not. There were just too many things that made me cringe. Even how the chapters finish mid-thought threw me off. But I do believe I will read Ghost Layer because the bones of this first book were solid. As you said, Clare and Zach show promise for growth and the history and mysteries are great. Ghost Seer is an interesting start to a series with potential that has not quite been reached yet.