Mini Reviews: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – Bitter Spirits, Maps … Arcane Magic, Artifacts … Lethal Magic


In Bitter Spirits, a 1920s bootlegger being followed by ghosts turns to a spirit medium for help, leading to danger and romance. In Maps, Artifacts, and Other Arcane Magic, Jade, Kett, and Warner all set out on a mission to obtain another ancient artifact. In Artifacts, Dragons, and Other Lethal Magic, Jade and all her supernatural friends (and some enemies) team up to take down the villain and obtain the final artifact they’re after. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three paranormal/urban fantasy books!

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Book Cover - Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
Title: Bitter Spirits
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Berkley
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 338
Rating: 4 stars
I love paranormal books set in the Prohibition Era, so I had wanted to read this one for a while. I finally picked up the audiobook and really liked it! The characters were great. Winter kind of toed the line at first of that domineering, alpha male type of character I dislike, but the author managed to find the sweet spot and keep him just on the right side of sexy. He was also interesting, what with his erotic post card collection and his past traumas that he was still struggling with and his bootlegging. Aida had her own past traumas, but she was strong-willed and independent, she didn't shy away from new experiences, and she was no damsel-in-distress when it came to bad situations. They worked well together too, and I could feel the heat and feelings between them. There was also a story alongside the romance about spirits (Aida is a medium) and someone trying to take down all the city's bootleggers. The audiobook narration by Amy Landon was good. Overall, this was an enjoyable 1920s romance with a bit of a paranormal twist!

Maps, Artifacts, and Other Arcane Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Book Cover - Maps, Artifacts, and Other Arcane Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Title: Maps, Artifacts, and Other Arcane Magic
Series: Dowser
Book Number: Book 5
Pages: 300
Rating: 4 stars
I love Jade's friendship with Kett, and I just love Kett, that oddly human yet inhuman vampire, so I was so glad he was back this time! And it turns out I really like Warner and Jade's relationship with him too, in a different way. He's a great guy and definitely a great love interest. And it was overall just another good story with some great characters and lots of different supernaturals. I've said before that the audiobook narration by Caitlin Davies is a little dramatic, but I've grown accustomed to it. Overall, I'm still really enjoying this series!

Artifacts, Dragons, and Other Lethal Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Book Cover - Artifacts, Dragons, and Other Lethal Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Title: Artifacts, Dragons, and Other Lethal Magic
Series: Dowser
Book Number: Book 6
Pages: 376
Rating: 4 stars
Listen, I'm normally good at writing reviews, but I'm six books into this series and running out of things to say. This book was good and a satisfying wrap-up to the Shailaja part of the series (Books 4-6). You should read it if you're already this far into the series, or you should start the series if you haven't already and you like intense urban fantasy with great characters and strong friendships and lots of supernaturals (witches, vampires, shifters, dragons). Also Jade and her current love interest's relationship is super cute. I'm glad she's with him. He's great to her. I also love Jade's dad. He really cares about her and has her back and respects her. All the main characters are so lovable. I've definitely been enjoying listening to the audiobooks of this series.

Talk to me!

Have you read any of these paranormal/urban fantasy books?
Do you like books set in the 1920s?
How do you feel about dramatic audiobook narration?
Do you like series that have lots of different supernaturals?


Your Thoughts


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  1. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’ve been wanting to read Bitter Spirits for a while so I’m glad you enjoyed it. I might have to check out the series, also prohibition settings for books are always fun. I laughed when you said you were running out of things to say about the Dowser series. As long as you’re still enjoying it that’s all that matters.

  2. Greg

    Bitter Spirits sounds like a fun read and amazing cover too. I think the ’20’s setting sounds fun. It took me a moment to realize this is the same Jenn Bennett who writes all the YA books that are super popular too. 🙂

    The other books look good too. I’m pretty overdue for reading some more urban fantasy- it’s been a while! Seeing reviews like thse reminds me I need to break some out- I do like all the different paranormals. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      The 20s is always such a great setting! I’m not familiar with her other books, but everyone keeps mentioning them lol.

      I really like this Dowser series, I’d rec it if you’re looking for some more UF 🙂

  3. Lola

    I think i already have a copy of Bitter Spirits. I was curious about that one because of the prohibition era as well and the paranormal twist. It sounds like both characters are interesting too.

    That Dowser series sounds good too. I think I have that on my to listen list. Glad to hear the audio versions are done well even if they’re a tad dramatic. I had that problem with an audiobook I listened too as well that the narrator sounded way too dramatic at first, but I either got used to it or she toned it down further in the book. I like when the narrator puts a bit of emotion in their voice, but the too dramatic tone doesn’t really work for me usually. Then again you do get used to a style the longer you listen.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like these are both series you might like, so I’ll be curious to know your thoughts if you give either one a try. The prohibition era is so fun as a setting! Yeah, I really can’t stand over dramatic narration, but luckily this one isn’t too extreme, and I have come to enjoy it more as I’ve gotten used to it.

  4. Olivia Roach

    Is the Jenn Bennett book new? I never knew she wrote Bitter Spirits and I thought I was quite familiar with her titles. Nonetheless, I am glad you could enjoy it so much! And it’s great that even five books deep you’re still enjoying the Bitter Spirits, Maps etc series so much. I do like my 1920s set books, and hopefully will be reading one in July!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, so I don’t think it’s new. And funny enough, you’re not familiar with this book, and I’m not familiar with any of her other books lol. The 1920s is such a fun time period for stories!