Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Posted January 25, 2016 by Karen in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Bitter Spirits by Jenn BennettBitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
Also by this author: Grim Shadows
Published by Penguin on January 7th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781101636374

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…

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It’s hard to find a paranormal romance that doesn’t rely totally on sex as it’s plot.  Yes there are good ones out there, but it can be hit and miss when hunting up books in the genre.  I stumbled upon Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett, while searching for something in the paranormal romance genre to read.  I need to stop right here so you understand what I think the genre paranormal romance should entail.  First, paranormal romance should take place in our reality.  It means that except for the paranormal aspects, everything else is the same.  The author only needs to world build the paranormal aspects, as reality of the time period is what dominates.  Second, there needs to be a romance; boy meets girl;  will they won’t they; push and pull, and I am not talking about sex and more sex, which can be included, but if the book is dominated by sex and only sex then it is paranormal erotic romance.  Third, if the book is going to hold my interest it needs a plot, outside of the romance   Now that you know my criteria for paranormal romances let me tell you about Bitter Spirits.

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett is a historical paranormal romance.  It is set in the historical past of our reality, and paranormal elements are inserted into the narrative.  In Bitter Spirits the plot takes place in the late nineteen twenties San Francisco.  I was introduced right away to the paranormal elements as tall, dark and built like a Viking Winter Magnusson is being haunted by ghost.  He happens to be on the wrong side of the law as he is a bootlegger.  In steps Aida Palmer, the medium at the local speakeasy, to help rescue him from his ghosts.  The book starts with action and danger from the first pages and keeps it rolling throughout the adventure of Aida and Winter.  They are both stubborn, headstrong, independent, and they both make a fitting match for each other.   The story is about who and why Winter is being haunted, and he and Aida go about trying to uncover the mystery.  Yes, there are sexy times in this book but they don’t overshadow the plot of the book, they blend nicely; as I want a plot along with a romance.  There is some very hot sexy times, but they never over shadow what is taking place in the book.   I also liked that Bennett did her research when it came to dress and terminology of the time, and because of this I felt enveloped into San Francisco and the time period.   Bennett, made me what to get my hair bobbed and dig out my great grandmother’s cloche hat.  I adored Aida as she was not a push over, and she was the perfect backdrop for a female character in the twenties. Which was a high time in American history, where people pushed the social mores as the Victorian era that proceeded it was so tight laced and the twenties seemed decadent in comparison.  Bennett was great a making me feel that decadence and social freedom in how Aida approaches life.   At the same time Winter was the perfect dark hero, who was tormented by his past.  His pain was real and understandable, without it being over the top.

Now I won’t say the book was perfect as I still need to know how, the baddie was able to get to Winter so easily, especially in his friend’s home.  I felt that the character Velma popped up in the book only when needed.  I would have liked to have had the relationship between Velma and Aida a little more fleshed out.  As I felt they had a friendship, but then again I wasn’t sure how deep it went.

I suggest you step into the Roaring Twenties and get lost in the paranormal of San Francisco.



About Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett is an artist and RITA-nominated author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series (Kindling the Moon) and the Roaring Twenties romance series, including Bitter Spirits, which was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2014 and winner of RT Reviewers’ Choice Paranormal Romance Book of the Year, and Grave Phantoms—awarded RT’s Seal of Excellence. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, (aka Night Owls in the U.K.) is her first YA contemporary romance. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs. Visit her at

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Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

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