Review: Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett
Published June 3rd by Berkley Sensation
Review copy received from publisher
The first book in the Roaring Twenties, Bitter Spirits had everything I look for in a paranormal romance. Grim Shadows was a worthy sequel, but my expectations for it might have been a bit too high.
Lowe Magnusson, brother of Winter, is in trouble. He digs up artifacts in Egypt, and sells them… sort of legally. The latest amulet he took with him to San Francisco has attracted a lot of attention, including the attention of Hadley’s father. Lowe and Hadley get thrown together, and become attracted. Both have secrets though, secrets that can tear them apart.
I always get a bit weirded out at the scenarios in romance novels. For example, in Grim Shadows, Lowe pokes Hadley with his erection within the hour of meeting her (not an euphemism – literally just poking her). And Hadley, romance heroine she is, is totally fine with it and feels slightly aroused. Truly, I don’t get romance characters. If some dude I don’t know humps my leg with his hard-on, that does not turn me on. I would run, cause that is crazy behaviour.
Romance always takes a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief, and sometimes a book just takes it too far. Grim Shadows strays very close to this line, and occasionally crosses it. The book never got so ridiculous that I didn’t enjoy it; but it was a close call.
Hadley as a character I really liked. She is ambitious, highly-educated and smart. She also has a curse that allows her to control shadowy creatures that like killing people. Completely my kind of person. She is also very controlled, and seems frigid. Since it lately seems a trend that all heroines have to be “bubbly” and “spunky”, her more introverted personality was a nice change of pace.
Lowe, however, I feel a bit meh about. On one hand he was an okay guy, and I understood why he did what he did (especially concerning his illegal activities). Parts of the narrative are written in his voice, and I didn’t enjoy reading his thoughts. It somehow felt is if he more thought of Hadley like an object to have sex with, rather than her as a true person. Not attractive, in my opinion. Most of the sex scenes were also from his point of view, and I just wasn’t invested.
Overall the story was sweet though. The incorporation of Egyptian myths was subtle, and a lot of the story is spent like a quest to find different pieces of an amulet. These parts were my favourite, and I loved seeing the story unfold. The main thing I really missed was seeing the characters of Bitter Spirits. Winter and Aida are briefly mentioned a few times, but I wish they got a bit more screen time. It would be cool to see whether Hadley and Winter would get along. My curiosity was never satisfied on that point. Grim Shadows was enjoyable, and I will continue reading the Roaring Twenties series. I hope the third book will feature a couple I can fall in love with, like I did with the main characters of Bitter Spirits.
It’s the Roaring Twenties in foggy San Francisco. Prohibition is on, inhibitions are low, and dark magic is rolling into town…
Archaeologist Lowe Magnusson is packing something everyone wants. The djed amulet, a priceless Egyptian artifact, will fetch Lowe a hefty paycheck from one of San Francisco’s wealthiest. But when the handsome Swede runs into his patron’s uptight daughter, what he once considered easy money becomes maddeningly complicated…
Cursed with deadly spirits as her constant companions, curator Hadley Bacall must keep calm to hold her dangerous specters at bay and prevent them from lashing out at anything—or anyone. Trouble is, Lowe is driving her crazy, but her father needs the artifact he’s transporting. While Hadley can feel the amulet’s power, she can’t fathom the destruction—or the desire—it’s about to stir up.
- Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett (4 Stars)
- Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong (4 Stars)
- Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (3 Stars)
- Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan (3 Stars)