Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

January 13th, 2014 Kimberly Review 80 Comments

13th Jan
Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
Bitter Spirits
by Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties #1
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

About Jenn Bennett

JENN BENNETT is an artist and author who writes books for adults and teens, including the RITA-nominated Roaring Twenties series (Bitter Spirits, Berkley Sensation) and the Arcadia Bell UF series (Kindling the Moon, Pocket Books). Her first YA contemporary romance, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, (aka Night Owls in the UK) will be released in fall 2015. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs.

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly

Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She’s a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat…Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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80 Responses to “Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett”

  1. fishgirl182

    I have been hearing such good things about this book. I picked it up the other day but was trying to be “good.” Clearly I should have bought it. Thanks for the review. Def going to pick it up.

    fishgirl182 recently posted: Stacked (89)
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh yeah I can see this one sparking your interest, you will love so many aspects of this 🙂

  2. Nick

    I’ve had my eyes on this book ever since the cover reveal. I’m glad to hear it lived up to your expectations. The main character sounds like she’s loveable and the romance sounds delicious.
    Great review, Kim.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This has so many strong elements to it Nick, I hope you grab it 🙂

  3. kindlemom1

    Okay roaring 20’s plus paranormal? I am so there! Seriously, I haven’t seen this one around yet but I am so interested in it now. Thanks for sharing this one with us Kim, now I need to go buy it.

    You are so not helping my TBR pile here girl!

    kindlemom1 recently posted: Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  4. Jenny

    YAY! I was such a huge fan of Aida and Winter too Kim! I just thought they were both fabulous, and I can’t tell you how much I loved that fact that Aida was freckled. She was adorable. Everything about this one was a winner for me, and I’m so excited to meet Winter’s brother next! Glad you loved this one as much as I did:)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think you would enjoy the elements and attention to detail in this one Christa 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Subtle comments make me feel the same way..i am also curious about Winter’s brother.

  5. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I agree that Jenn excells at creating strong, believable characters. I adored Aida and Winter, and I loved that this wasn’t just a romance, although it was at the center. The mystery was very well done.
    Lovely review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree and what I love most is how equally balanced all of the threads were. Thanks Maja 🙂

  6. Tanja

    Oh roaring 20s you say!! I’m all in. I loved that period and learning about it. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one and I’d love to see that paranormal twist 🙂 Great review, Kim 🙂

    Tanja recently posted: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  7. Wendy Darling

    I am really excited to read this series–I liked the author’s previous UF novels, and this glam setting combined with magic sounds intriguing! And “suspenseful, heated, complicated” hot romance sounds awesome to me! Thanks for the review, I’ll definitely have to pick this one up.

    Wendy Darling recently posted: Secret (Elemental #4): review discussion
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Wendy, I am glad you mentioned you enjoyed her previous UF novels. I love urban fantasy and will take a look at those. Enjoy 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I need to explore this author’s other books and yes this one you need to get 🙂

  8. Mary

    I’ve read a couple raving reviews for this one and, with yours added to the list, I’m certain I need to read this one. Plus, how can you go wrong with a story set in 1920’s San Fran with paranormal elements and awesome characters?

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, I hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It had some many strong elements, I hope you decide to read it Lily 🙂

  9. Faye

    Glad to see a different perspective on this! One of my close bookish friends gave it a 1 star since it was basically a love story and there weren’t much spirits, among many other reasons, but I’m happy to see that this could be enjoyable if you view it in different light. I’ll definitely keep your review in mind when I try this one out 😀

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad I could share another perspective for you. While the romance is the center of the story I did find the mystery, and occult threads to be well done. Thanks Faye 🙂

  10. Lark

    This sounds good, Kimba, and your review as always is excellent. I appreciate that the heroine is endowed and has freckles (I resemble that remark!) – though it would have been nice if they’d reflected that on the cover. (Aside: do cover artists ever read the books they’re illustrating?) You’re usually right when you rate a book this high, and I love the idea of a romance-historical mystery-paranormal mix, so I’m putting it on my TBR list.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, well she is close to the cover model; the hair, coloring etc. No, I don’t think they ever match and sometimes I envision the hero a completely different way. Enjoy this one Lark:)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy this was such a fun read and I cannot wait for the next book 🙂

  11. Berls

    Well I’m a bit behind getting to this review, but better late than never right? And yep, your review pushed me over the edge, I’m buying this book as soon as I finish this comment. Too many elements – like the characters, the slow-building romance, and the 20s (not to mention the paranormal aspect)- are EXACTLY my cup of tea! Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy my friend. I hope you are settling in and that your bod doesn’t hurt too badly from all the moving.