Format: Print ARC
Release Date: January 7, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
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 SPIRITS by Jenn Bennett is gangsta!
This new series from the same lady who brought us the hit urban fantasy series, Arcadia Bell, churned a new historical paranormal romance series, Roaring Twenties. And I was sighing in delight because I love the notoriety of '20's America with gangsters, bootleggers, speakeasies, flappers and the world's fascination with the occult and other mystical stuff. JBennett captured all of those in BITTER SPIRITS and added her own twist which made this such a fascinating page turner.
In otherwordly talk, BITTER SPIRITS is a ghost story with a hint of Chinese superstition. Aida Palmer got hired by the dangerously sexy bootlegger, Winter Magnusson, to help him get rid of ghosts that are haunting him. Turns out Winter is cursed and with Aida's help, they now investigate who's behind the curse before too much damage is done. Their only clue lies on Chinese coins and buttons slipped on Winter's person which the ghosts are attracted to. As the mystery unfold, we'll meet more bootleggers, a necromancer, acupuncturist, a wizard and various ghosts from the past, both living and dead, that will make your hearts beat a little faster in excitement.
The world building isn't too fantastical, JBennett didn't create an alternative past where magical people populate the streets of San Francisco. It is more of an exaggeration of the occult which mesmerized a lot of people at this time. Seances were held at private homes, events held on different locations where mediums claim that they can talk to the dearly departed, temporary possessions and the like. Only this time, JBennett's "mediums" are for real and these ghost apparitions are freakin' creepy! There's only two things that I won't be able to handle: possessions and ghost haunting. And JBennett gave me the heebie jeebies, no doubt about it!
As for the romance and sexual tension, it's roaring in more ways than one. There's no insta love (thank goddess!) but there was certainly an attraction between the two. When Aida was sizing up Winter with her eyes for the first time, I was fanning myself with her observations because the man is drop dead gorgeous! Aida I like very much because she's very independent and has much pride on who she is and what she does even if some people look down on her for being a medium. When she came head to head with Winter, I was applauding Aida in the background for standing her ground and staying firm to her principles [see screenshots below], exhibiting girl power to the nth degree. Winter I LOVED! He may be gangsta but this bootlegger is no Al Capone. He's sweet, romantic, very protective and although he's unquestionably an Alpha, he didn't bully his way to Aida's life. The seduction between these two is sweeping you'll find it a challenge not to get invested in their romance.
BITTER SPIRITS is a strong and solid series beginner. The world building down to the setting and characters are romantic in every sense of the word and it really gave me a firm sense of the Twenties with or without its paranormal elements. JBennett captured the feel of that decade and I can't wait to read the next one. And from the looks of it there's a new couple in every installment and I have a feeling that the world of Roaring Twenties is going to expand and grow from here onwards which means more myths, more otherworldly and more adventures. So Supies, I recommend BITTER SPIRITS as your first book purchase of the year, it's worth every penny.