Tag Archives: romance

Audiobook Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

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bitter spirits

Title: Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties #1)

Author: Jenn Bennett

Read by: Amy Landon

Published: May 14, 2014 by Tantor

Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Audible

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…

Bitter Spirits is not perfect. Like too many romances, it falls into cheesy and melodramatic, repetitive, and just a bit too lust-filled. And the sex scenes didn’t make me blush  – and good ones should, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, this is not one I’d want my 14 year-old to read, but it wasn’t as spicy as it could have been.  And that’s part of the problem with listening to a book, rather than reading it. You can’t skip over any of the “oh my, he’s so sexy, but I can’t,” or the “oh my, look at all of her freckles,” again. And yet, not a single freckle on the cover.

Aida and Winter are a good couple. She’s independent and unafraid, a modern woman for the 20s. He’s a bootlegger, but of course has a good heart. They each of scars, literally and figuratively and have to work through their feelings. Aida doesn’t believe in love, for a silly reason if you ask me. Winter feels unloveable, I think, and had a bad experience with his first marriage. Together, though they work. The sparks are there, but they also work well together. They each have their own strengths and they’re both needed.

There’s a mystery going on too, obviously. Who put the curse on Winter? Is it the same mysterious necromancer who might be trying to take over the liquor trade in Chinatown? There’s a fair amount of danger involved but Aida isn’t a shy flower who passes out at the first sound of gunfire. She accepts Winter’s job, understand that he may do unsavory things, and lives with it. Of course, it helps that he has a soft side, is loyal to a fault, and wants to protect her. I like that he needed her help, and even when she’s in a scary situation she keeps her wits about her. She does need rescued, but I can’t fault her for it. She just trusted someone she shouldn’t have.

I like the supporting characters too. Winter’s sister is an adorable young woman, a bit headstrong and spoiled maybe, but fun and flirty and a good friend for Aida. She’s obviously interested in Bo, Winter’s right-hand man, but we’ll have to see where that goes in a later book.

Amy Landon did a good job as narrator. For 20s San Francisco, she actually had to do a lot of accents, from Chinese to Swedish, and I thought she did well with them. She especially nailed Aida. I know I shouldn’t, but female narrators I automatically associate with the main female character, and in this case she sounded like Aida to me, her voice fit my picture.

I loved the 20s setting- the descriptions of the clothes, the feel of the streets and the clubs, the way the cars looked. I appreciated all the details Bennett included.

Romance, mystery, ghosts – it definitely kept my attention. I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. I’m looking forward to the story of Winter’s brother who is coming home in #2, Grim Shadows.

About Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett is the author of the RT Reviewers’ Choice-nominated Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series, the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series, and upcoming young adult contemporary romance from Macmillan. 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 evil pugs.

Y is for Your Own Adventure

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Y

Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? They were popular when I was a kid. They always featured some kind of adventure written in the second person and you got to make the choices as the story progressed, usually deciding between a couple of options at the end of each section and turning to the appropriate page to move on. Helena S. Paige has taken that idea and made it grow up in A Girl Walks into a Wedding: Your Fantasy, Your Rules.

a girl

Title: A Girl Walks Into a Wedding: Your Fantasy, Your Rules

Author: Helena S. Paige

Category: Erotic Romance

Expected publication: May 27, 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Wedding fever creates plenty of opportunity for heat in Helena S. Paige’s sexy and funny A Girl Walks Into a Wedding—the interactive erotic novel in which YOU, the reader, make all the rules . . .

Your best friend is getting married, and she’s asked you to be her bridesmaid. So many decisions: for starters, do you ask the gorgeous but mysterious man you met online to come as your date? Or do you go solo, giving yourself ample opportunity to kick up your heels and scope out the talent?

Once the wedding weekend gets underway in a romantic country setting, all kinds of adventures on offer. Will you ditch your date? Duet with the hot DJ? Dodge the disreputable best man? Or perhaps the rugged pilot you meet in the bar will open up unexpected erotic opportunities – and who knew the maid of (dis)honor had such a sultry streak?

All this while steering your way through the bachelorette party, the bride’s wedding jitters, the Dress From Hell, and more. Perhaps the most tempting option is to flee the entire affair with a tall, dark stranger … or maybe an old friend surprises you with a sizzling encounter.

YOU make the decisions—fulfillment guaranteed. It’s your fantasy. Your rules. The choice is yours .

A Girl Walks into a Wedding is just a purely for fun chick-lit style book. The scenes are a little cliché, the characters not well-developed but who cares? The plot is not the point, the point is escapism, entertainment. Your best friends getting married and you get to make a lot of choices along the way, some to do with the wedding, but most having to do with the men around. My first path led me to a night Paris, which was a pretty good start. Then, of course, I started over, taking other options. There are some sexy men, both the kind that make one night stands and the kind that might be the perfect match. It’s steamy, a little graphic, and funny. It’s also a quick read, a nice one to read a scenario or two and then set aside to pick back up another day.

Who knew choose your own adventures could still be fun?

G is for Giveaway

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G

I have a book review scheduled for today, A Comedy of Erinn by Celia Bonaduce. The main characters are Erin and Jude and Massimo. Not a single G in sight. Not even at Valley Forge where a memorable scene takes place. So, I’m going with Giveaway. Read to the end for details.

comedy of erinn

Title: A Comedy of Erinn

Author: Celia Bonaduce

Category: Contemporary Romance

Published: September 19, 2013 by Kensington

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Erinn Wolf needs to reinvent herself. A once celebrated playwright turned photographer, she’s almost broke, a little lonely, and tired of her sister’s constant worry. When a job on a reality TV show falls into her lap, she’s thrilled to be making a paycheck–and when a hot Italian actor named Massimo rents her guesthouse, she’s certain her life is getting a romantic subplot. But with the director, brash, gorgeous young Jude, dogging her every step, she can’t help but look at herself through his lens–and wonder if she’s been reading the wrong script all along…

Erinn is 43, not old by any means, but she acts like she is. She’s a playwright who’s out of ideas, a bit of a hermit, and just about broke. She’s a know-it-all character, who corrects people’s grammar and knows all kinds of random information that she’s not afraid of sharing. I have to admit, I really liked her. She made me laugh, maybe because I could see bits of me in her – not that I would ever correct anyone. 🙂 And she likes words and phrases.

There are two men in the picture. One, Jude, she sees as too young, too hip for her. The other is her age, a sexy Italian, but he has a total lack of boundaries and judgement. Or he’s a user, hard to tell, either way not right for her.

Erinn ends up working on a tv show directed by Jude. She learns from Jude and the other guys working on the show how to relax some, she’s still her uptight self, but she’s learning to have fun again. The sparks between her and Jude are not blinding, but they’re a good couple who each grow because of knowing the other. I smiled when they finally got together. There’s not big surprise; we know they’re going to end up together, the fun is in seeing how they figure it out. And I like how Erinn and Jude interact. They can be so different but they make each other laugh.

I really enjoyed it. It’s a light romance, the kind I like. It made me smile.

Excerpt:

Erinn tried to relax, but the car kept sliding sideways, the weight of the vehicle causing it to pick up speed. Clearly, they weren’t on completely flat ground or the SUV wouldn’t be hurling itself sideways, but Erinn decided now was not the time to argue this point.

Erinn felt the vehicle tipping. She was jolted violently sideways and caught, suspended, by the seatbelt. She craned her neck to look at Jude, who was looking UP at her from the passenger seat. The SUV was completely on its side, like a gigantic dead beast.

“Now, we’re doomed,” he said.

Erinn tried without success to free herself from the seatbelt. With every gyration, the belt tightened around her neck. She tried to hold still. She craned her neck and watched Jude brace himself against the passenger door with his right arm. This gave his seatbelt some slack and he was able to release the lever. He thudded against the passenger door, but at least he was free. Erinn felt her breastbone pressing into the seatbelt as she hung sideways. She watched as Jude twisted himself around, crablike, and faced her. She looked into his eyes.

“The camera case,” she said.

Jude sat back on his heels.

“Dude,” he said. “Seriously? Forget the gear right now. We’re in deep shit.”

“The camera…” Erinn breathed heavily. “Check the camera…”

“What are you…one of those freaks who needs to record their own death?

“His or her own death,” Erinn corrected, gasping. “ ‘One freak’ is singular.”

“You are so pushing your luck, lady,” Jude said.

Erinn was running out of breath, and she hung limply forward.

“Come on, Tin Lizzy,” Jude said, wedging his back against her.

He must look like Atlas with me on his back instead of the world.

She had her eyes closed, but she vaguely sensed that he must be standing on the passenger window…or the passenger arm rest. What if he broke one of them? Would the rental company charge them? Did she buy the right insurance? Weren’t they in enough trouble having skidded into a ditch?

Erinn heard Jude’s voice through the fog. His back was to her.

“When I lift you up, you need to unhook your seatbelt. Come on, Erinn, you can do this.”

Jude gave the faintest of pushes, but not enough to lift her.

“Crap,” Jude said. “I can’t get enough traction with the console in the way.”

Jude turned around so that he was facing her. Their eyes met.

“The camera case,” she said.

Jude ignored her, and tried to lift her off the seat belt, but there was no way around the console.

“Shit! Crap!” Jude said.

“Jude…there’s a knife…” Erinn croaked.

“…in the camera case!” he said.

Erinn could hear him scramble to the back of the SUV and unlock the camera case. Erinn was reminded of sounds one hears when one is drifting off to sleep. Every noise sounds strangely amplified – and yet the sound is of no interest. She had the vague sensation of falling and when her head cleared, she was laying on Jude, up against the passenger window. Jude was panting for breath, knife held aloft. She could hear the slit seatbelt clanking behind her.

She reached around Jude’s neck. His expression changed, softening. She touched the passenger window behind his head.

“Thank God it’s not broken.”

“Lady, I have a knife.”

Erinn was suddenly very aware that she was pressed up against Jude. She tried to lift herself off him, but each time she thudded back against him.

Wanna read it?

I’m giving away one paperback copy. This contest is open to anyone, as long as the Book Depository will deliver to you. Or a kindle version if you’d prefer. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter below. The contest will end on 4/22 and I’ll e-mail the winner.

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