Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention!
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:
This week's post comes from our very own: Gretl!
Read This F@!%ing Book Post 34: The Roaring Twenties Series by Jenn Bennett
(Click covers for Goodreads)
Magical Mystery Tour
The Roaring Twenties series combines mythologies in a wonderful and unexpected way. In Bitter Spirits, Winter Magnussen hires medium Aida Palmer to find out why he's being haunted. They use voodoo to protect him from ghosts, as well as traditional séance techniques, and encounter ancient Chinese magic. Book two, Grim Shadows, has Lowe Magnussen and Hadley Bacall battling magical creatures for an Egyptian artifact.
But the paranormal elements are really secondary in these stories. What I love most is the action and adventure. Winter is a bootlegger so even though Aida gets to know him pretty well before his gangster side makes an appearance, the air of danger is always there. His brother Lowe, on the other hand, feels like an outlaw from the very beginning. When he meets Hadley, they run through the station pursued by thugs and jump a train. The two wind up on an Indiana Jones style treasure hunt around San Francisco.
Not Your Grandmother's Historical Romance
I'm not generally a fan of historicals, but one of my favorite things about this series is the attention to historical detail. In Bitter Spirits especially, I loved the fashion. The dresses are described so vividly I could see and even feel them. (In Grim Shadows, the standout for me was Hadley's lingerie.) Even the décor in the Magnussen's house has rich colors and textures that really brought the setting to life for me. I also loved the way Bennett described the city of San Francisco almost as if it were another character. A tremendous amount of research must have gone in to getting the all details right. Even small things, like 1920s condoms, really add to the authentic feel.
Within that wonderful historical setting though, the characters feel very modern. In each of the first two books, the heroines are the experts and the heroes are often the ones who need rescuing. Both couples are also surprisingly upfront about their attraction and their sexuality. Winter and Aida's no strings attached hotel trysts and Lowe and Hadley's defiling of museum exhibits both felt quite contemporary to me, not to mention STEAMY.
Those Folks at RT Aren't Often Wrong
Bitter Spirits has been nominated for numerous awards but I know lots of people, including my co-bloggers, who haven't been reading this series. The finale, Grave Phantoms, is just over a month away so now's a great time for everyone to read these f-ing books.
I'm looking forward to Astrid and Bo's story, but I'm also sad to see the series end. This one's going near the top of the re-read list for sure!