Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Bitter Spirits

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties - Book 1) by Jenn Bennett

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensations
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0425269574
ISBN-13: 978-0425269572

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Jenn Bennett on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, Bitter Spirits, courtesy of the author's website (bottom of the page).


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…


Jenn Bennett's first foray into Paranormal Romance is sure to be an instant hit! Bitter Spirits is the first book in the Roaring Twentie's series featuring a lush historical landscape and multi-faceted characters. Urban Fantasy fans have long loved Bennett's Arcadia Bell series and will definitely be impressed with Bitter Spirits. Bennett's voice is strong and full of mystique and magic in this novel that will allow readers to journey back to 1927, San Franciso and the Prohibition Era. The paranormal aspects of the book only heighten the allure. A fantastic new series!

What I liked:

In short, I liked every single word of this book. Jenn Bennett writes a brilliant and intelligent novel with an incredible setting and characters who live up to the readers expectations. I have not read the author's Arcadia Bell series, but after reading Bitter Spirits it is a given that I will read her other books sooner rather than later. Bennett writes with passion for her subject, her setting and her characters and it can be felt by reader on every page. This is more than a novel, it is perhaps better described as an expression of the author's creativity. I was wowed continually as I read it and I can't recommend it enough. 

What I liked:

As I said earlier Bitter Spirits is an intelligent read. It sparks the readers curiosity about more than just the setting. Paranormal Romance is a genre that is receiving so much attention right now, that it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chafe, so to speak. There are a lot of writers who are just jumping on the band wagon and throwing books out there, that do not possess anything close the quality of this one. Bennett makes the reader believe in ghosts to such a degree that they will find themselves wanting to know more about them in the real world. Her writing is intuitive and riveting. Readers will not want to put this one down!

The 1920's Prohibition Era is not a setting that I would expect for paranormal romance. Actually, it is not one I was very familiar with until reading this book. I had of course the cursory knowledge we get from history class, but that doesn't begin to convey the rich history and beauty that is described so effortlessly in this book. Bitter Spirits takes setting to a whole new level. Bennett's descriptions of everything from the dress and customs to the speakeasies and the bootlegging industry was flawless. The reader is basically immersed in the culture of the time and almost becomes a part of the setting themselves. It was amazing!

I loved the main characters for a lot of reasons. Winter is a man with a commanding presence, an alpha in every sense of the word, but he is flawed and real. Bennett brings his character to life with such resonance that readers will be hard put not to fall for him instantly. Who could blame Aida, he is quite a man. Aida was a sharp and world wise character who had a gift for spirits. She was sassy and resourceful and definitely held her own next to a strong male lead. Both characters were so much more than two dimensional. They had fire and depth and showed strength and vulnerability. Bennett has created a couple who were meant for each other and the reader will know it from their very first meeting, though the author is cognizant to keep readers off balance and wondering until the end.

What I didn't like:

Absolutely nothing! I loved this book!

Bottom Line:

If you have even the barest inkling that you might be interested in reading a paranormal romance, this is a great book to start with. Fans of the genre will be in awe as well. Bitter Spirits is a smart, highly detailed novel, with an unusual setting and a fiery romance. This book sizzles in more ways than one. You gotta read it!

Bitter Spirits is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning artist and author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series. Born in Germany, she’s lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Far East. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 12th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your thoughts on the roaring twenties and having a paranormal series set in that time period.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

The Roaring Twenties were a great era which interests me greatly and this series would be unique, intriguing and a winner. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I've heard so many good things about this book.

NoraA said...

A paranormal story can take place in any century or era. Having it in the Roaring Twenties only means that you have all those extra characters to play with. Depending on the city you have Bugsy Malone, Murder Inc. etc to add a touch of fun to the reads.


jmcgaugh said...

I tend to think of gangsters and the Charleston (dance) when I think of the Roaring Twenties. It's certainly a different time period for a PNR, so it would be interesting to read.

lag123 said...

I would love to have experienced the roaring twenties. I think that a paranormal set during this era would be very interesting.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Nancy Luebke said...

From everything that ive heard or read, bootleggers made a rockgut type drink that it was a wonder many didn't die from. On the other hand, it was an interesting period with the style of dress and what was considered fun.

bn100 said...

interesting time period and setting

Steph F. said...

I really love the fact that this takes place in the roaring twenties. I have never read a book set in the time period and am really intrigued by it. I love books that feature unique ideas and this one definitely does.

Michelle Willms said...

There is so much material to draw from during this era. I think this is a wonderful idea! I love the paranormal genre anyway, so I think adding a paranormal twist to an already interesting time period will make the book even more interesting.

Natasha said...

I love that it is in the roaring twenties and paranormal makes it even better!
Thanks for the chance to win!

cyn209 said...

all I know about the Roarin'20's is from movies, which to me, seems like the 1st of the so-called 'decadent eras'......

cannot wait to read this book!!!

CrystalGB said...

The roaring 20's seems like it was a fun era. I am a huge paranormal fan so I would love a book set in this era.

That Girl Reads said...

I love anything set in the roaring 20's but haven't read too many books set in that time. I love the idea of a series set in that time with a paranormal twist. Sounds really good. :)

sheryl said...

I love the idea of gangsters and flappers. I am a huge fan of Jenn Bennett's, I love the Arcadia Bell series and can't wait to see what she does with this one.

Renee said...

The roaring twenties is a great time for gangsters and flappers. What a great time for paranormal!

Chelsea B. said...

Definitely unique and interesting! I am so looking forward to this novel!