Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties, #1
Released: January 7th 2014
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Format: MM Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Author for review
Buy: The Book Depository
First in a new romance series: It’s the roaring twenties, and San Francisco is a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic. The fog-covered Bay Area can be an intoxicating scene, particularly when you specialize in spirits…There’s a big curse in little Chinatown...and it’s not prohibition.Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her...On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…
You may or may not know that I avoid paranormal romance like the plague. I’ve stated on several occasions that it gives me severe allergies. But this is Jenn Bennett we’re talking about – I’d read just about anything if it had her name on it. And wow, did I make the right decision here.
As a huge fan of Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series, I went into this book hoping for unique characters and a well-built world. Witty, entertaining and hot as sin, Bitter Spirits was everything I’ve come to expect from Jenn Bennett, and then some. There’s no better place and no better time for two clever, flirtatious characters than San Francisco during the prohibition era, and when one your protagonist is a bootlegger, the danger implied is enough to make your heart beat faster.
Bennett knows how to write romances her readers can invest everything into. Her characters are never archetypal, they’re built to the finest details, and so are their relationships. It was so easy to love these two and want to see them together. Even when they were being difficult and pigheaded, it wasn’t hard to stay on their side and hope for the best.
It helped that they are, individually, very impressive characters. Aida Palmer is a medium, and she’s the real deal. She travels from town to town performing her show in clubs. She can both summon and banish spirits and she is no weakling. She is a modern, independent woman, opinionated and strong. Winter Magnusson is a businessman with a horrible, traumatic past. Having lost his family in an accident, he is determined never to marry again. They are attracted to each other from the start, but neither is in the position to hope for something permanent, at least not at first.
However, Bitter Spirits is not all about the romance. The paranormal mystery Aida and Winter end up investigating is not just something carelessly thrown together as a catalyst for the romance. It is thought through and exciting and it explores Chinese culture to a certain extent. Honestly, what more could one wish for?
In a typical PNR fashion, the second book will focus on Winter’s brother, the archaeologist, and his romantic interest. According to Jenn, there will eventually be a third book featuring Winter’s sister and his most trusted employee and friend. All I can say to that is: yes, please!
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.