by Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties #1
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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…
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…
Bitter Sweet is the first book in Jenn Bennett’s new Roaring Twenties series, and I enjoyed it from the setting to the characters. This paranormal romance had elements of ghosts, a necromancer and a hot romance with colorful characters. Mini review: suspenseful, heated, and complicated. The paranormal elements and 1920’s setting of San Francisco held me spellbound.
Aida Palmer is a medium who is currently booked at a Chinatown speakeasy known as the Gris-Gris. Unlike most in her profession, she is the real deal and can summon and expel the dead. Winter Magnusson is a bootlegger. In fact , he is one of the top three in San Francisco. When a hex is placed on him giving him the ability to see ghosts his path crosses that of Aida’s. He enlists her to expel the ghost and the tale that unfolds is heated, and suspenseful. As Winter and Aida work together to figure out who means him harm their attraction turns to passion.
I really enjoyed the unique characters Bennett presented in Bitter Spirits. Aida is strong, talented, naïve and brilliant. She is not your typical beauty. She is freckled and endowed. I adored how independent she was, and the things that came out of her mouth made me laugh. Winter is a tortured soul and yet fearless when it comes to business and those he loves. Again he is not your typical hero. He is scared both physically and emotionally. The attraction they feel for each other is immediate, and I loved how Bennett made us privy to their initials thoughts. Despite the attraction, the romance develops slowly, allowing the characters to be fleshed out first. As we grow to love them, their relationship becomes heated, complicated and positively yummy. Other characters, such as Bo, Winter’s right hand man and his sister, Astrid, add to the tale. Already I am eager for their stories. The Chinatown community and those of the prohibition outlaws make for some colorful and interesting scenes.
Bitter Spirits is at its heart a romance but Bennett weaved in paranormal elements and an intense mystery that kept me completely enthralled. She does a wonderful job of bringing 1920’s San Francisco, and the prohibition era to life. I loved how accurate her portrayal was from the culture to the terminology. I completely fell in love with Aida and Winter. Their banter, heat and interaction were fantastic. I found myself laughing, swooning and cheering them on. The romance is steamy and well crafted, with just the right amount of details. The mystery was an equally compelling thread and Bennett beautifully balanced the two. At no time did I feel the urge to skim as the pace and flow of the tale was seamless. After finishing I immediately researched book two. I am delighted these will work as standalone and cannot wait to continue. The next book focuses on Winter’s brother an archeologist and the third on Astrid his sister.
Fans of historical fiction, romance and paranormal elements, will adore Bitter Spirits. Even those who avoid historical romances will love the mystery and paranormal elements in this fast paced tale. The next book, Grim Shadows will release June 3, 2013. I for one cannot wait!
Four and half cups of coffee out of five
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