Thursday, January 2, 2014

ARC Book Review: Bitter Spirits

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)Author: Jenn Bennett
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Roaring Twenties # 1

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…

Gossip and cigarette smoke wafted under streetlights shrouded with cool summer fog.

Gris-Gris was one of the largest black-and-tan speakeasies in the city. Social rules concerning race and class went unheeded here. Anyone who bought a membership card was welcome, and patrons dined and danced with whomever they pleased. Like many of the other acts appearing onstage, Aida was only booked through early July.

As she passed through the room, her breath rushed out in a wintery white puff. Ghost.

Winter Magnusson wasn’t superstitious. If anyone would’ve asked if he believed in ghosts a week ago he might’ve laughed. He wasn’t laughing now.

1920’s San Francisco. You can never go wrong with the 1920’s, just saying! This book features a little bit of everything: illegal bootlegging, a little black magic, some suspense, some romance, and a dash of intrigue. Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger with a serious reputation. Nothing shakes him. Nothing moves him. Until his is haunted by a mysterious spirit and the incredibly sexy Aida Palmer, the spirit medium, runs the spirit out of his life. After this little incident Winter believes two things: ghosts are real and this woman has some type of hold on him. When Aida and Winter realize that Winter has become the target of an evil curse, they must work together to defeat the evil that is after them.

Two of my favorite genres blend together in this book: historical fiction and paranormal romance! Aida Palmer swept me off my feet from the very first page. She is confident, charming, and extremely sophisticated. It’s no wonder Winter finds her irresistible from the very moment he lays eyes on her. The chemistry that these two share is exactly what I was in the mood to read. From the very start Aida breaks through Winter’s tough guy act. She even takes to insulting him within the opening pages. He is in total shock because no person, not to mention woman, has ever spoken to him this way. This interaction set the stage for the rest of the book!

Of course I cannot post this review without addressing the time period. Ah, the 1920’s! How I wish I could have lived then. I loved the fact that Winter and Aida both have such versatile roles that fit well in what we now know as the “Roaring Twenties!” Winter being a bootlegger automatically makes him a wanted man, which ties in nicely when readers find out that a curse is upon him. I pictured Aida as one of the prettiest flappers around, and with a lot more class than some. She fit her role nicely, and wasn’t some fake medium trying to make a quick buck. They were both rebels in a way and I associate this with the 1920’s, but in a positive way. It was a new time and new fads were circulating the block!

P.S. The next book in this series releases in June!!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Berkley in exchange for my honest review***

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