Tuesday, January 5, 2016

REVIEW: Bitter Spirits by Jean Bennett

Bitter Spirits
by Jean Bennett

Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Page Count: 328
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Format: MassMarket Paperback

How got: personal library; bought through Amazon

First attention getter: the whole supernatural thing


From GoodReads:

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…

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

“A fun romp” describes this book best. Lots of sexy times, fast-paced storytelling, the Rip Roaring ‘20s as a backdrop, and a relationship that sizzles make this a book to go for if you’re looking for a light, fun read.

You definitely don’t have to worry about being bored with this tale! Creepy ghosts, revenge, bootlegging turf wars, shoot-ups, and fires make this a story sure to drag in the readers. I liked how the author drew in so many elements of the roaring time period and setting to create a suspenseful background story for her romance.

I loved all the supernatural stuff. Vengeful ghosts and a lead that can see them are always going to grab my attention; they’re a special weakness of mine. The added bonus of the Chinese mythology and mysticism only made the underlying paranormal tale of turf wars and revenge all the more intriguing.

Now let’s chat about that romance. To me, this is the best part of the whole book. Winter and Aida play off each other so well, even from the very beginning. They click right away, literally seeming to ooze sexual compatibility and emotional resonance. I mean seriously, if a man matching Winter’s description walked in my front door, I’d be oozing pheromones also.

My only wince-worthy item of consideration on the relationship front is the over-usage of the whole miscommunication/assumption trope. Both leads are prone to assuming the other’s thoughts and acting on those assumptions. More than once I wanted to sit them both down in a room and lock the door, only letting them out after they’ve fully communicated all their thoughts. This romance trope is one that irritates me the most, so big ding for me personally against this relationship.

This was a promising beginning to the trilogy. I’ve since gotten and bulldozed my way through books 2 and 3. If the author ever chooses to explore more in the series, sign me up! I love the characters, their relationship, and the background storyline and setting. While it has a big ding on the miscommunication/assumption front, I’d still recommend this book to lovers of historical romance. As I said, it’s a great romp!!

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