Grave Phantoms by Jenn BennettGrave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties #3
Published by berkley, Sensation on May 5, 2015
Genres: PNR
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Advance Reader Copy
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From the author of Grim Shadows and Bitter Spirits comes the new Roaring Twenties novel in the series hailed as “Boardwalk Empire meets Ghost Hunters, but so much better” (Molly Harper, national bestselling author of the Jane Jameson series).

Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.

In this third (and last) installment of the Roaring Twenties series, we see Astrid, the youngest Magnusson sibling grow up a bit. She’s been in love with Bo Yeung since she was 14, but hasn’t been able to do anything about it. This is San Francisco in the ’20s after all. He’s Chinese, and she’s…not.

That’s one thing that I loved about this book. Their obstacles aren’t miraculously overcome simply because they’re in love. So while Astrid is down in Los Angeles trying to forget about Bo and go to college, and while Bo is still helping her brother run the bootlegging business, neither one of them pretends that they have a chance. And yet, each one hopes…

When Astrid comes back home for Christmas, she’s so mad that Bo isn’t there to greet her, so she goes down to the warehouse to give him a piece of her mind. But a yacht comes crashing into the docks. Literally. And something weird happens. It turns out this yacht has been missing for over a year, and none of the passengers on board can tell anyone their own names, let alone what has happened (this is something I feel was never explained properly, hence the 4 star rating. It really felt like the time frame was glossed over).

Once the police have come and gone, Bo and Astrid board the boat and Astrid picks something up. The second she touches it, she seizes and has a vision. She catches a glimpse of what happened on board and it is very scary. Possibly some weird ritual involving human sacrifice. By the time she comes to, the little turquoise idol she touched is inactive. But she’s not. She keeps catching glimpses of the past. She and Bo decide to investigate, and it leads them into an old pirate legend that may not be legend after all.

This series has been a great one, and I’m really sad to see it end at only three books. I loved Bo. Seriously, loved him. He’s the best hero in the series. I liked Astrid, but I felt like she needed to grow up in between the last book and this one. And she’s still so young, both literally (I think she’s 19), and figuratively. I thought going away to college would have helped, and it did, but she still came back super teenagerish. I was hoping for more from her.

While the two of them try to figure out where that yacht had been for a year, and what’s actually going on, they’re finally at the point that they are no longer pretending they aren’t in love with each other. And I think that was my favorite part of the book. They had real-world obstacles to overcome, in addition to the occult. I would love for the author to pick this series back up again, because there really aren’t enough historical paranormal romances out there. I mean, flappers, Prohibition, and ghosts? What’s not to love?

If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it. The writing style is fantastic, the storyline is exciting, and the characters are all like-able and relatable. Bootlegging, psychics, ancient pirate legends, and romance. You want this book.

***Review copy courtesy of Berkley Sensation