Friday, February 7

Buddy Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

First buddy review of the year! Yay! Hopefully, Ames and I will keep up with our consistency in 2014 and find books we both want to read and review :) Of course, if a book in our New Releases posts catch your eye and you'd like to discuss it, feel free to contact us for a buddy review!

In the meantime, find out what we thought of Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett :)

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
published by Berkley
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…
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Roaring Twenties, Book #1¸

Ames: This book wasn’t on my radar until you mentioned it in the January New Releases post. I didn’t really have any expectations, just wanting to read outside the box, but I don’t really care for ghosts. This book didn’t really change that opinion of mine. LOL

Nath: LOL. Quite frankly, Bitter Spirits was on my radar because of the time periods - the 1920s - which I found unusual :) As for the ghosts, I thought they would be a nice bonus, but they turned out to be a very small part of the story. At least, Ms Bennett delivered on the time period and atmosphere! :)

Ames: I liked the time period too. But it confused me a little. There were some words and phrases that were used that I’m not sure were from that time period or if the author was just using them out of context. So of course I’m pulled out of the story enough to go research things to see if they were even in existence. They were in the end but I think the language was a bit too modern for my taste.

I agree that the author delivered on the time period and the atmosphere. But the romance was meh for me.

Nath: See, for me because Bitter Spirits was a mix of historical and paranormal, it gave it leeway in the accuracy department… Also the fact that I rarely pay attention to those details unless they’re in-you-face obvious ^_^;

Yeah, unfortunately, the romance and even the mystery didn’t measure up to expectations. It’s unfortunate because both started off so strong. I really loved the beginning because of the obvious attraction between Winter and Aida. I think the time period gave them more freedom, obviousness, knowledge. Aida wasn’t the ignorant, virginal heroine that is so common in regency historical and Winter was more bold. The problem though is that both the romance and mystery were dragged on sooooo long :(

Ames: I’m usually oblivious to historical details, but these were a bit jarring for me so that’s the only reason why I noticed them.

I thought the beginning was good. It set up a problem and some very interesting characters. I like how Aida saw Winter in a very vulnerable state and set up their attraction from the get go. But the rest of the book didn’t follow through on the promise. Which was unfortunate. I thought the setting was a great choice and I like that there were Chinese characters as well. But the mystery kind of got lost in the story and the characters fell for each other too quickly for it to be believable. Then their miscommunications just got on my nerves. Which again, unfortunate because I did like Aida and Winter.

Nath: Nod nod, I’m with you. I think the problem was the pacing of the story or the fact that the romance and mystery were too separate. The story would focus on the romance for a bit and then, the mystery and back to the romance and so forth instead of the two threads being entwined. Actually, at one point, the mystery totally took the backseat and was almost forgotten. What was forgotten was also the paranormal elements. While Ms Bennett was so focused about the romance, there were no reference to ghosts… and being a medium, I would think that Aida would have a lot more contacts with them.

I did enjoy the secondary characters though. They were fun and interesting. How much do you bet that Winter’s sister and Bo are getting their own book?

Ames: LOL They’ll probably get a book. But I just don’t think Bennett’s writing is for me.

I also thought Aida’s misgivings about having a relationship with Winter were a bit weak. I liked that she was willing to have an affair with him without having to get married. That was refreshing.

Nath: I think it has to do with the time period :)

So does that mean you won’t be picking up the next book?

Ames: That’s exactly what it means.

So overall, Bitter Spirits showed some potential at the beginning but then it kind of went flat for me. I’m giving this one a C.

Nath: Hmmmm. I agree with your overall assessment. Bitter Spirits was really promising in the beginning, but unfortunately, it didn’t follow up on it. I was expecting Bitter Spirits to be a bit more about the paranormal aspect, but in the end, the focus was about the romance… and despite some good banter and interesting interactions, I’m not sure I bought the romance between Aida and Winter ^_^; It’s going to be a C+ from me.


Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic said...

I thought the time period and premise sounded good, but based on your review I don't think I'll buy it. Good review from both of you!

Rowena said...

Hmm, I told Nath last week that I wanted to branch out and read new to me things but that stopped me from reading, period so because this doesn't sound like something I'd want to read...I think I'm going to steer clear of it. Still, awesome discussion ladies.