Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Author Interview, Review & Giveaway: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Today I’m excited to spotlight Jenn Bennett’s latest release Bitter Spirits because it was amazing! I have my review as well as an extra special treat: Jenn has agreed to come on the blog and answer some questions. Yay! Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter our giveaway for a chance to win your very own Paperback copy!

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)

Publication Date: January 7th 2014 by Berkley
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About the book:

First in a new romance series: 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…

My Thoughts:
Oh my goodness, I found a favorite new author in Jenn Bennett! If you want a cleverly written, sexy, addictive paranormal romance, look no further: Bitter Spirits is the story for you!

Aida Palmer works as a spirit medium for Gris Gris, a San Francisco speakeasy set in the 1920’s. Forced to fend for herself after the death of her parents, Aida is fortunate to have such a useful gift of channeling the dead. When she’s asked to send away a ghost following a rich bootlegger, Winter Magnusson, she captivated by the man.  He’s big, gorgeous, and his presence sucks her in like a magnet!

This was a body built for conquering. For smiting enemies. Ransacking villages. Ravaging innocent women. Maybe even some not-so-innocent women. He wasn’t pretty or conventionally good-looking. More savagely handsome, she decided.*

Ravaging? Yes, please Winter!

Winter has been targeted and hexed, but he needs to know who’s responsible. After Aida gets rid of his ghost, he can’t stop his mind wandering back to her.  She’s wasn’t intimidated or afraid of his appearance, which was unusual after his accident. With all those lovely freckles, he wouldn’t mind spending an evening or two playing connect the dots! He decides to hire Aida to banish any other ghosts that cross his path, and she becomes embroiled in his dangerous mystery.

This story was highly addictive! I was immediately drawn into Aida and Winter’s mind with the dual alternating POVs.  They each have a history making them hesitant about any relationship, but neither can fight the pull they have on each other. Oh, boy can Jenn Bennett write some sexual tension, chemistry, and spice! Ooh la la!  Aida and Winter raised the temperature to fiery hot every time they were in a room together!  Their inner thoughts on each other are deliciously lustful and wicked. I loved the fact that neither was conventionally handsome or pretty, but they were irresistible to each other.  Loved when Winter would call Aida “cheetah”, because he found her freckles highly erotic!

As if the romance wasn’t enough the mystery, suspense, and danger add another level of excitement, that made me want to lock myself in my bedroom so I could read and finish it straight through. The roaring twenties was a vividly depicted, and I could picture girls walking around in their flapper dresses, and long pearls easily.

Jenn Bennett’s writing is fast paced, witty, and captivating.  I can’t wait for the next in the series: Grim Shadows which will center on Winter’s brother Lowe! 

5 Suns

Author Interview: 

I loved Bitter Spirits, as you can gather from my review!  So I’m so excited to have Jenn Bennett here on the blog today to answer some of my pressing questions about the series!

Wheee! Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Q: What inspired you to write a paranormal romance set in the roaring twenties? Brilliant setting, by the way!

I’ve been attracted to the 1920s since I was a teenager and have amassed a small library of books, photos, and magazines from that decade. I’m also (not so) secretly in love with the Bay Area, so putting the two together was a labor of love and an absolute joy for me.

Q: Bitter Spirits has a historically authentic feel to it.  What kind of research did you do?

The fun kind! I already had an armchair enthusiast’s feel for the period, but before I began writing the book, I got my hands on magazines and newspapers from 1927—the year in which BITTER SPIRITS takes place. I browsed antique shops, looking for period knickknacks and furniture, because I wanted to see and touch things like candlestick telephones and cloche hats. I watched documentaries about Prohibition and dozens of silent films from the 1920s. (One of my favorites is A LADY OF CHANCE with Norma Shearer, but watching THE SHEIK with Rudolph Valentino was no hardship, lemme just say!)

Q: Can you tell our readers a little about the paranormal aspects, including character talents in this series?

My heroine, Aida, is a trance medium—meaning, she goes into a trance and channels spirits of the dead inside her body so that they can speak to loved ones. When the book begins, Aida has been channeling spirits for several years on speakeasy stages, moving from city to city to make money. She’s recently been booked at the Gris-Gris club in San Francisco, which is where she meets Winter, the bootlegger who supplies the club’s liquor. Winter has been poisoned and the ghost of a Chinese prostitute is following him around.

Q: Have you ever had any ghostly or paranormal experience?

I’ve experienced some odd things, but nothing ghostly. However, many people claim that my mother-in-law’s house is haunted. It makes family gatherings interesting!

Q: I personally loved the freezing bath/cure scene when Aida gets an eyeful of Winter and can’t tear her eyes away: O_O   Lol and yum!  Without being too spoilery, what is your favorite scene in the book?

Several people have proclaimed their love for that scene, ha! Personally, I really like a scene toward the beginning of the book that takes place in Winter’s study. Aida is snooping around while he is on the phone, and she finds some…interesting French postcards. That was fun to write!

Oh, Jenn, I LOVED that scene as well! *waggles eyebrows*

Q: If you were to cast Aida and Winter in a movie, who would you pick to play them?

Aida is described as Louise Brooks covered in freckles, so it might be hard to cast her. Maybe a young Audrey Tautou? Winter is big and brawny like Vin Diesel, but a Swedish immigrant. If your readers know any actors that fit that bill, they should definitely let me know!

How about Tom Hardy, Jenn? Check out my Pins on Pinterest for Bitter Spirits. 

Q: There are some deliciously hot scenes in Bitter Spirits! Did you find them difficult to write?

No, those are a breeze, to be honest. I much prefer writing sex scenes to violent action scenes—even though they are quite similar in some ways. And the reader in me detests boring, cookie-cutter sex scenes in books, so I do my best to write memorable sweatiness that is unique to a couple and what they are going through at the time.

Q: Aida and Winter’s story wraps up nicely. *sigh*  It looks like Lowe, Winter’s brother, is the focus of the next installment, and judging from the teaser at the end of Bitter Spirits it sounds like Lowe’s got himself into a bit of trouble!  How many books do you plan in the series, and when can we get our hands on the next one?! J

Winter’s brother, Lowe, an archaeologist returning to San Francisco from Egypt, is a habitual (but charming) liar and a grand storyteller. He’s also a one of my favorite characters. Readers will be able to dive into Lowe and Hadley’s story on June 3rd. As for book #3, it will be Bo and Astrid’s story, and I plan to write that this summer.

Q: What kind of books do you read for fun?  Favorite author?  Last book you read?

I read almost every day. Pretty much all romance genres, some fantasy, young adult, and the occasional dip into the literary pond. Some of my favorite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Judith Ivory, Loretta Chase, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Edgar Allan Poe. Last book I read was HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones, which was delightful.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I lost my big corporate gig during the economic recession and, instead of looking for another job, said on a whim, “Hey, I think I’ll try writing a book.”  A year later, I’d written three manuscripts, signed with a literary agent, and sold the first Arcadia Bell book. It feels like something I was always meant to do—it just took me until I was almost forty years old to figure it out.

Q: When you’re not working on your books, how do you like to spend your time?

Doing a million and one things: I draw, collect things (Fiestaware, miniature Viking ships, Tiki mugs, old books, toadstool statues, vintage postcards of Giant Sequoias, to name a few), cook, travel, play games, listen to music, watch movies with my husband, and play with my two pugs. But mostly I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about characters and plots. So in a way, I guess I’m never not writing!

Wow, I just loved Jenn's answers! Thank you so much for taking my questions and for writing Bitter Spirits! I urge all of our readers to pick it up, immediately if not sooner!

About the Author: Jenn Bennett is the author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series from Pocket Books and the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series from Berkley. 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 very bad pugs.

Connect with Jenn Bennett:

The publisher generously provided a Paperback copy of Bitter Spirits to one lucky reader! The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Simply fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by Waves of Fiction!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm not typically a fan of books set in the 1920s. But a friend of mine (a fan of Bennett's) really loves her books. Between the two of you, I've been convinced to give her books a try.
    Lovely review,Rachel!

    1. Andrea, you MUST read this! It's so good and totally sexy! I dare you not to fall for Winter! And thanks! :)

  2. Love Jenn's books Thanks so much for such a fun post! This book definitely sounds intriguing b/c I've also not read a lot of books set in 1920s :) I think that I'd love to visit ancient Egypt or Greece. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Erin! I want to try Jenn's Arcadia Bell series next, Erin. I hear nothing but good things,. :) Ancient Egypt or Greece sound very intriguing! Would there be some sort of hot god involved? ;)

  3. Definitely the roaring 20s! I don't have the right body type for those amazing flapper dresses, but I'd love to go back and see it all!

    1. Me too! The 20s sound like so much fun even if you'd have to sneak liquor at parties. The clothes alone are so beautiful! :)

  4. thank you a lot for the international giveaway!!!
    i would love to visit a period when the celt were common to speak with some druids and learn their herbal remedies


    1. You're welcome, miki. If the druids were anything like Atticus O'Sullivan from the Iron Druid series, I'd be totally up for that! Yum! :)

  5. I love the renaissance period and the 1800's. Thank you for the giveaway.

  6. I'd love to actually visit the 20's. I'm from Chicago and I'd love to see it roar to life in its day!

    1. Oh that would be exciting with all the bootleggers and mafia type prevalent in that city! Who doesn't love a bad boy? :)

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  8. The Renaissance,The Baroque and the1600's 1700's,1800's :)
    Thanks for the chance :)

  9. I'd definitely love to visit the 1800's Victorian Era. Because I am fascinated by the dressing style of that time !!

    1. Love the Victorian era, too! I've watched so many Austen and Bronte movies several times over drooling over the costumes and the settings! Great choice! :)

  10. I would like to visit colonial times in this country.

    1. Makes me think of the grand palatial type Southern homes like you'd see in Gone With the Wind. *sigh* :)

  11. I think the 20's would be interesting. I'd also like to visit the regency era. But only visit because I'd be lost without my modern conveniences :)

    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

    1. I'd love to visit, but I don't think I'd like to stay in any past time period. I'd be lost without my laptop and the internet! I have shudders just thinking about going without my Kindle! *gasp*

  12. I've always had a strange fascination with the 20's, so I'd have to say I'd visit that time period. :)

  13. Very cool interview! Your answers made me even more interested in the book.

  14. The 20's sound amazing, especially if you can go a Gatsby party. Other than that, I would have to say the 1970's Los Angeles scene when punk was being form.