Bitter Spirits by Jenn BennettBitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties #1
Published by berkley on January 7, 2014
Genres: PNR
Pages: 317
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014...

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…

This is book one in the Roaring Twenties series, and it works just fine if you’ve read out of order like I did.

Bitter Spirits does an amazing job of mingling the paranormal with normal life without feeling like you’re reading a Paranormal Romance. Though at the same time, it feels enough like a Paranormal Romance to satisfy a reader looking to enjoy magic and ghosts. All the while, this is also Historical Romance, yet feels so relatable.  This is a hard thing to pull off, let alone pull off well. Ms. Bennett succeeds.

Bootlegger Winter Magnusson is cursed to see ghosts and Aida, a local medium at a speakeasy, removes one of the ghosts attached to him. But the curse isn’t completely removed, and they still don’t know who cursed him. He hires her to remove them all, and it becomes more than just business. While trying to unravel the hex, they are taken all over San Francisco and Chinatown, and it’s just fantastic.

Winter’s brother and sister have the next couple of books, and they’re just as fabulous, and equally rich in detail. I love the Magnusson family, and I think not only is the family dynamic well written, but the friends and lovers they each meet are no mere side characters. They’re fully brought to live just as much as the main characters.

I enjoyed the banter between Aida and Winter. It was fun and witty, but each word, each encounter was laden with sexual tension. You couldn’t help but feel how much they want each other, and you love every moment of it. But most of all I surprisingly enjoyed the setting and time period. I say surprisingly because I had no desire to read about Prohibition, and yet this one makes me eat my words.

The era and the setting Ms. Bennett has brought to life is full of drama and emotion. Full of flappers, bootleggers, ghosts, and magic, this world she’s written is just incredible. The characters are interesting and the plot is intriguing.

I really wish this series had been more than just a trilogy. I would love to read more, not just of these characters, but in the world Ms. Bennett has created. The world is almost its own character, so vivid and alive and full of life. The detail and richness of her story has me craving more. I’ve noticed that this author writes UF, so I’m really excited to jump into those books.