Book Review: Brush with Death

Brush with Death (Spirit Guide #4)
Published By: Sacred Oaks Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Author
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

I have long been a fan of the Spirit Guide Series. The amount of creativity that goes into these books never ceases to amaze me. I have been so anxious to get this book on my Kindle. If you have not started this series, I recommend you give it a try. The Spirit Guide books are full of everything I love in a good paranormal story - ghosts, werewolves, mystery, and romance. 

In this installment, Yuki isn't the happy, energized girl we've seen in previous novels. She is more somber and withdrawn. In fact, when the novel begins, she and Emma aren't even on speaking terms. This really bothered me. I was saddened by the fact that the girls would let a guy come between them. They have proclaimed to be so independent throughout the series that this seemed completely out of character. As Yuki continues to act strangely, I really started to worry. In the end, it is made clear about why Yuki's personality has changed so dramatically and by the end of the novel she is beginning to become more like her old self. This was a hard read for me because Yuki is one of the major things that I love about these books.

The mystery in this one is interesting, but it felt a bit too predictable. I felt like it was rushed and things fell into place too easily. There were not enough obstacles as Yuki, Cal, Emma, and Simon sought to piece together the puzzle. This predictability really disappointed me because in the past, I have found these novels to be so engaging. In spite of this criticism, I do feel like this book is a crucial one as it sets up a lot of transitions for the characters. High school graduation marks the end of one chapter of their lives and opens up the possibilities for their futures. I can only hope that Stevens will continue to write about these wonderful characters that I have grown to consider friends.

One of the strongest elements of this book was the attention it placed on the lingering effects of bullying. I found it to be even more appropriate since it's bullying prevention month. There are so many kids out there who are dealing with the same issues at school that plague Yuki. I can only hope that they have a strong support system like she does to help them work through the emotional turmoil. I have always applauded Stevens way of providing a dialog on real issues throughout her novels.

Overall, I did enjoy this read and I feel like it's an important piece to the overall story. I just felt that compared to the three previous novels, this one wasn't as strong. The action and anticipation was missing for me. I did, however, really enjoy the multiple narrators. It was nice to see Stevens try something different and to also get a more intimate look at the characters other than Yuki. I still feel that E.J. Stevens is one of the strongest Indie authors out there and I will continue to wait with bated breath for her next release.

One Last Gripe: There was a lot of showing rather than telling that happened in various parts of the book. For me, that makes a novel a bit more tedious.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Yuki and Cal's relationship - I love this couple!

First Sentence: I bit my lip to stifle a gasp.

Favorite Character: Cal

Least Favorite Character: Katie

Samhain was scary, but graduation is downright terrifying.

Yuki and Emma's recent brush with death has unexpected consequences.

Until last winter Yuki could only smell the dead, but the touch of death's embrace has awakened latent powers. With the help of her friends, Yuki must face her new abilities. Will her psychic powers become the curse they all have feared? Curse or gift, Yuki's new vision begins leading her down an unknown path, but is it a road that only she can follow?

Emma's close encounter of the death kind has her questioning her future as well. Until now she had it all; brains, beauty, conviction, fabulous friends, and a scholarship to Tufts Veterinary School. She knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. Emma had a plan for everything, but she never bargained for her own traitorous emotions. When graduation comes, will Emma follow her dreams...or follow her heart?