Shiver, by Jo Leigh

>> Thursday, November 04, 2010

TITLE: Shiver
AUTHOR: Jo Leigh

PAGES: 224
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Blaze

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Series romance
SERIES: Part of a continuity series

REASON FOR READING: Hallowe'en was approaching...

Welcome to the Crider Inn, one of the most haunted spots in Colorado, and the venue for this year's ghostly convention. Mingle with fellow fans. Be prepared for a week of unexpected encounters and spine-tingling exploration….

Comic-strip artist Carrie Sawyer doesn't actually believe in ghosts—she only agreed to accompany her best friend on this crazy trip. What she does believe is that hotel owner Sam Crider is mind-bendingly delish! And since this vacation is all about dark, empty hotel rooms and late nights, it's perfect for some naughty, after-hours encounters of the X-rated kind….

The kind that can make a girl shiver with temptation! And fear the unknown…
Carrie Sawyer doesn't believe in ghosts, but her friend Erin does, and it's her turn to choose a vacation spot. And as luck would have it, Erin chooses to spend a few days in the very haunted Crider Inn, on a ghost-hunting convention. Not Carrie's cup of tea at all, but at least it will provide material for the snarky online comic strip she writes.

Sam Crider grew up at the Crider Inn, but it was never really his thing. He's a documentary maker, and is only at the Inn because his father died a few months earlier. Sam is in the middle of arranging a sale when he suddenly stops dead at the sight of the most attractive woman he's seen in ages, checking in for the ghost-hunting convention.

This was a nice read. Carrie and Sam are a likeable couple, and I quite enjoyed their romance. This is a Blaze, so there's some very steamy stuff going on, but there's also a sense of wonder from both our Sam and Carrie about just how much they actually like and want to find out more about each other in between the sex. Leigh made me believe that from the very beginning, it wasn't just lust between them, but that they clicked and enjoyed spending time together.

I also had fun with the setting, which was cute, and liked that there wasn't a "how dare you sell off a property that's been in your family for years" vibe about Sam's plans. Oh, and for a book set in a haunted inn and called "Shiver", the paranormal thread was very subtle. That might be a negative if you were expecting full-on paranormal, but I quite liked how it worked out.

There are some ho-hum things as well, though. There's a half-hearted attempt at conflict, in which both think that the other believes in ghosts, and oh, how disappointed would they be if they discovered I didn't believe! Pretty lame, because it's just not believable for a minute. Carrie takes it even further, angsting about Sam discovering that she writes a snarky comic, oh, no! Even lamer, as it's obvious Sam is the type of guy who'd actually enjoy it. I understand that we did need a bit of conflict there, otherwise there's not that much impetus to keep reading, but with this, the author might not even have bothered.

I think this is supposed to be part of a continuity series, but that element is pretty unobtrusive. There's some extraneous stuff at the beginning, an email from this woman who announces to her friend that she's now started some sort of dream holiday organisation company, but it doesn't seem at all relevant to what actually happens later, and it never comes up again. Pretty pointless, but at the same time, hardly worth getting annoyed about.

MY GRADE: The chemistry and liking between Sam and Carrie raises this from a C+ to a B-.


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