Review: Charmed Spirits by Carrie Ann Ryan

Posted November 23, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly‘s review of Charmed Spirits (Holiday, Montana, Book 1) by Carrie Ann Ryan.

Jordan Cross has returned to Holiday, Montana after eleven long years to clear out her late aunt’s house, put it on the market, and figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Soon, she finds herself facing the town that turned its back on her because she was different. Because being labeled a witch in a small town didn’t earn her many friends…especially when it wasn’t a lie.

Matt Cooper has lived in Holiday his whole life. He’s perfectly content being a bachelor alongside his four single brothers in a very small town. After all, the only woman he’d ever loved ran out on him without a goodbye. But now Jordan’s back and just as bewitching as ever. Can they rekindle their romance with a town set against them?

Warning: Contains an intelligent, sexy witch with an attitude and drop-dead gorgeous man who likes to work with his hands, holds a secret that might scare someone, and really, really, likes table tops for certain activities. Enough said.

Jordan Cross left Holiday, Montana right out of high school and had no intention of coming back. She was always treated with disrespect from the town – children and adults alike – because she’s a witch and has no desire to relive that nightmare. When her grandmother – her only remaining relative – passes away, she has to return to settle her affairs and sell the family home. Her plan is to clean up the house and get it listed as quickly as possible so she can get out of of dodge. Unfortunately the house is in worse shape than she expected and it isn’t going to be the quick job she thought it would. Add to it that sexy Matt Cooper, her high school flame and the love of her life, who wants to help her restore the house and well..things are more complicated than they seem.

Matt has been in love with Jordan his whole life. He was really hurt when she disappeared from town without a word, but he can’t deny he’s glad to see her again. He really wants to take up where they left off, but Jordan is determined to keep him at arms length. Considering he has a secret of his own – once a month he turns into a ghost during the full moon – he really shouldn’t push it..too bad he can’t help himself. She is everything he ever wanted. This time he’s determined to have her.

With the town mayor determined to run her out of town and the rest of the residence not doing much to stop him from it, Jordan knows she can’t stay. Except Matt and his family are awfully appealing. If only there was a way…

Let me start out by saying I loved the premise of this book. I’m not a big fan of witches, but the idea here was cute. I liked that she was out in the open about her craft – even if she did suppress it most of the time – and I thought the other paranormal elements were good. I expected a lighthearted romance with a bit of paranormal.

Sadly, it wasn’t executed very well. All the characters were over-the-top, and not in a good way. Jordan was sarcastic and biting most of the time. I think she was meant to come off as strong and independent, but that was spoiled by her attitude and the way she hid from her gift and from Matt. Her constant need to run also worked against her. I would have preferred she be up front with Matt from the beginning and confront her enemies.

I was also very frustrated by Matt’s refusal to accept the way the town treated Jordan as something she couldn’t live with. Though I wanted her to confront her enemies and stand her ground, I completely understood why she didn’t want to live there. Because his brothers were there and he hadn’t ever lived anywhere else, it was like he didn’t consider leaving. Aside from that I enjoyed him. he was a stand-up kind of guy. I did think it was a little ridiculous that no one had realized he turned into a ghost once a month. Especially since it had been happening for eleven years…

I enjoyed the scenes that focused on just the two of them. Unfortunately those were few and far between. They both acted wishy-washy and silly most of the time.

The way the town kowtowed to the mayor is what really ruined the story for me. is it legal that he can demand someone be arrested without cause? Or tear down a house someone lives in and is in the process of renovating? Stuff like that really annoys me. I have a hard time setting aside disbelief when it comes to technical things like the law and Ryan really went over that line with this book. The actions of the residents of the town were juvenile and ridiculous. The end almost made my head explode.

Spoiler Alert:

The town needs a new mayor after the current one – and his sister – are brought up on chargers. Ryan set it up so Matt would be the one to take over, but in the end he announces the town decided Jordan should do it. Because they trust her. Only there was no confrontation or scene showing any kind of redemption on the part of the town, so that made no sense. Throughout the book the town treated her with suspicion at the best of times and downright hostility at the worst. How is it that they “trust” her then?

Having said that..I did think the premise was a good one and I wouldn’t mind reading another of the books to see if she improves, hence the 2 stars.

2 out of 5

This book is available from Fated Desires Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided an honest review.

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