I was so excited to read this book only to find myself bored and frustrated. I didn't like it. I know I'm swimming against the tide, as many others not only liked this story, they loved it so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.
What appealed to me? I thought it was interesting to incorporate two different couples into the story thereby giving us two romances. Gwen is fifty-nine going on sixty while Sam is forty-eight. In contrast, Isabel and Liz are twenty-eight and thirty-two, respectively. Gwen and Sam act as the seasoned couple that's been there, done that while Isabel is the perpetual virgin and Liz the promiscuous siren. It's an interesting contrast and I'm happy to see an older age romance represented. Also, most of the story is told through dialogue and interactions which I'm always in favor of.
But, my enjoyment pretty much stops there.
The book is around 300+ pages but it felt like 500. The first chapters grabbed me so I was raring to go but the book's steam petered out like the air from a balloon. I perked up somewhere around 17% but, like a dog that pops its head up from a nap to check something interesting and then quickly goes back to lounging when it realizes it was a false alarm, I did the same. Somewhere around 61% that same experience happened again...and the rest of the read I was booooooored.
Paradoxically, the interactions I so crave during a read were happening but the characters tended to talk about stuff more than themselves. Each of the four characters were these walking encyclopedias of knowledge that would spout out trivia or philosophy back and forth to each other. These interactions were spellbinding to the characters but they certainly weren't for me.
Also, Gwen, Sam, Liz, AND Isabel are all "beautiful" or "hot", all super talented in what they do, and money is no object for any of them. The world is basically at their fingertips at all times. Just when you think one of them might have a disadvantage, they whip out some long lost ability or are fast learners that puts them on par with being great at everything they do. This kind of set up does not excite me.
Granted, to be fair, the characters' physical attributes covers soft butch, femme, and androgyny in a skirt.
And then the book was flip flopping all the time whether that was in the characters' behaviors or in what the story was deciding it wanted to be.
For the romance, insta-love and "love at first sight" are both incorporated. The spiritual/paranormal aspect is supposed to account for some of this but then both couples waffle all over the place. Gwen is hung up about a twelve year age gap which I find super bizarre but if she believes in the intertwining of souls and reincarnation, why?! The author tried to use an insecurity as an explanation but that didn't jive to me. Both couples waver to the point that the romances weren't even fun. I found the connections troublesome for different reasons which I can't go into without spoilers.
Also, is the paranormal aspect supposed to be spooky? Sometimes it was written as such and other times it was benevolent. I guess that was supposed to add to the mystery of the story but instead it crippled the pacing for me. Am I supposed to be ramping up my anxiety because we're building up suspense or am I supposed to get warm fuzzies about the afterlife? Even the spirit itself half the time is this loving thing but then I'm supposed to believe its evil enough to cause harm? Pick a path and go with it. To be clear, I didn't find the book spooky AT ALL but I think it tries to be.
I was wondering what the reveal would finally be on the paranormal arc but, unfortunately, I found the climax and ending of the book to enter the realm of cheesy.
I have a list of other head scratchers but my review is already long.
On the whole, I think the book was juggling too much and, as a result, I found the story weirdly imbalanced. Between that and the Mary Sue characters this read was just not for me.
I wavered between two stars or three stars but I'm putting it at two. Three stars are "okay" books for me where I neither have a bad experience nor a great one. I'm just kind of "eh" or better. Since I was actually experiencing displeasure, I have to go with two stars.