Series: Spirit Guide #1
Published: 2010 by Sacred Oak Press
Length: 178 pages
Warnings: kissing, werewolves, ghosts,
Other info: The next book in the series is Spirit Storm, which will be reviewed once I’ve read it. E.J. Stevens has also written From the Shadows, a collection of poetry. Here is a link to her site From the Shadows, a book review blog, and you can also find her on Twitter.
Summary : It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like on TV. SHE SMELLS THE DEAD. Yuki is being visited in her dreams and suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. Will Yuki be able to save the spirits and herself?
Review: we begin by meeting Yuki,who tells us she can smell the dead. She also tells us what its like smelling the dead, about her friend Calvin, about her nickname and about her aspired love life. A very interesting first page. It gets better. We learn that at a random summer camp, they find out that Calvin’s spirit animal is a wolf and Yuki’s is a scarab beetle. Applauding E J Stevens for incorporating a dung beetle into paranormal romance: it has probably never been done before and I highly doubt it will ever be done again. Yuki’s dead-smelling comes into play really quickly, she smells vinegar and decides that it is because she can smell the ghost of Jackson Green. Yuki, Calvin and other friends start investigating, and believe that he was murdered. They of course try to figure out what happened to him, and end up using a Ouija board in a notepad to contact him. On a side note, Calvin is basically a were-wolf, and his and Yuki’s spirit animals, ie a wolf and a scarab beetle, are bound together.
The idea was very good- original and as I said before, I’ve never read a book where the heroine’s connected animal is a scarab beetle. I liked the characters which were easy to connect to and believeable. Yuki was funny and slightly sarcastic. There was a lot of description in She Smells the Dead, which wasn’t fed in a boring this and this and this way. The whole book, written from Yuki’s POV was very easy to get through and fun.
The mystery is well written, and the methods of attempting to solve it were fun. The basic Ouija board was interesting, as was the way Jackson(the ghost) communicates. however the mystery ends about two thirds of the way through which I think is a bit disappointing. Considereing it was brought in at the very beginning of the story, I think it would have been more interesting if it had been cleaned up at the very end.
I liked Wolf Camp, where Yuki goes to try and learn about her spirit animal. I got a good feel of the atmosphere here with the description, and the things that happen are interesting and unique. Again, strong characters here.
The final third was emphasised on romance- prom and the dangers of it being too close to a full moon. I think you can guess what happens, what with Calvin being a werewolf. This bit, was interesting, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Yuki and co solving Jackson’s mystery or Wolf Camp. The romancy bit was well written, and not over done.
Overall: I give this strength four tea: good concept, good characters, good writing, good fun. A quick read that I want to read more of.
Thank you very much to E.J. Stevens for sending me this book, and Spirit Storm (book 2) ,as a late Teen Lit Day present!