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Grave Phantoms (A Roaring Twenties Novel) by…

Grave Phantoms (A Roaring Twenties Novel)

by Jenn Bennett

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They began their relationship as childhood friends when the heroines brother took in the orphaned pick pocketer as a member of the family. But soon, their friendship turned to something deeper but as the hero is Chinese is a time of great prejudice and open hatred for immigrants, they never acted on their secret feelings. The heroine went off the college in a bid to put some distance between them and hopefully cool off her desire for someone she could never have. But the time apart did nothing to curb their love for one another, in fact, it proved just how deep their desires ran as the distance was absolute torture for the hero. Now, she's returned and after a boat runs into their bootlegging harbor, the heroine touch's a magical stone and begins to see visions of sacrifices and the occult. Drawn into the mystery of the boat and the stone, the hero and heroine are also steadily and with great caution beginning to explore their love at last. My goodness this was an amazing book. The chemistry just sparked off the pages and the feelings each character had for each other was so lovely and heartwarming. It was not all angst and in fact most of the book is spent having the two characters laughing and teasing each other. The hero was not a somber man he was in the previous books. He was a soft side and a wicked sense of humor. I laughed at some of the conversations the two of them had and some of witty comments exchanged. The hero had always kept his love for his bosses sister a secret, or so he thinks. He's terrified of losing his family if he were to confess his secret but also, the law states that a Chinese man can not marry a white woman. He's too prideful at the beginning to imagine being with his woman but having to meet secretly and to never give her his name. He thinks she deserves better and the fact that she slept with a teacher when she was in college doesn't help matters. He's possessive and protective and the thought of her with another man makes him sick. I was so worried when I read in the synopses describing the heroine as 'feisty' but thank goodness she was not obnoxious. Such she has spirit and a willingness to defy customs of her time but she was just as passionate and in love with her childhood friend as he was with her. She's not the spoiled rich girl she's portrayed to be. Being in love with a Chinese man tells you enough about her unselfish and caring personality as she knows the dangers of such a relationship. And she's willing to throw away all her money and live is a shack if only they could be together. I can't get over how amazing this whole series is. It seems every book gets better and better. ( )
  Eden00 | May 14, 2016 |
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

If there is one thing the Roaring Twenties series has firmly established, it's that Jenn Bennett writes a damn good romance. GRAVE PHANTOMS is no exception to this rule, as Bo and Astrid's mutual crush finally takes center stage. And while the paranormal elements were interesting, I found myself completely focused on the very real obstacles facing a rich white girl and a middle class Asian boy who love each other dearly.

Both of the prior books in this series have offered glimpses of the chemistry between these main characters, and it was those hints that helped me get through Astrid's first few juvenile attempts to make Bo jealous. In addition to a romance that addresses racial prejudice in the 20's (such as the fact that it is illegal for Bo and Astrid to get married in most US states), there is also the socioeconomic questions they must face. Where could they live? How would they support themselves? I mean, don't get me wrong, the sex is awesome, but in addition to that, the issues slowing these two down were real, valid, and handled deftly.

The paranormal elements of GRAVE PHANTOMS were also well crafted, but I found them only tangentially interesting compared to the relationship between Bo and Astrid. A little hint of reality goes a long way in remaking familiar tropes into something thrilling and new, which GRAVE PHANTOMS proves to great effect.

Sexual Content: Sex scenes, references to rape. ( )
  Capnrandm | Aug 1, 2015 |
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Vivacious Valkyrie - Marta:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review

This is the third book in the Roaring Twenties series and returns to the antics of the Magnusson family. This time, it's the youngest member of the family Astrid and although she's a rich and pampered young woman she hasn't got the one thing she really wants, Bo Yeung! Bo is almost like an adopted son to Astrids older brother Winter and helps him run his very successful bootlegging business, but at a time when mixed relations were taboo the yearning they share seems doomed before it's even begun.

Astrid's home from college when a storm sees a yacht crashing upon the pier the Magnussons use. What stumbles from the boat are a group who has been missing at sea for a year! Astrid and Bo manage to wrangle their way on board, but when Astrid touches a small sculpture her world quite literally turns on its head as she starts having terrifying visions. Something truly evil happened on that yacht, and now it looks as if Astrid is in danger. There's nothing Bo won't do to protect her but it looks as if the storm is far from over!

This couple are both quite young and it's a sweet romance that just builds up. Astrid is such a beguiling character and so full of life with a vibrant personality that has poor Bo truly out of his depth. I really liked Bo too as he's resourceful and brave but in San Francisco in the 1920's a Chinese man and a white woman would raise more than a few eyebrows. The dreams they share are more than just frowned upon they are illegal which leaves the author with quite a dilemma but you know what they say " where there's a will there's a way"! What seems like a hopeless forbidden romance with Ms Bennett at the helm takes on a whole new lease of life.

An amazing balance of romance with a mysterious paranormal story. It's possibly not the best plot in this series as it takes a while for answers to be forthcoming and if I'm really honest I still felt I wanted a tiny bit more but I was engrossed right up until the last page. The story brought home to me how difficult life was for many just what's a relatively short time ago and prejudice is no laughing matter. What really works though is the fact that it's a character driven story and as usual this author delivers a fun steamy read that had me gripped. ( )
  LITERAL_ADDICTION | May 5, 2015 |
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.

This is the second time in as many years that I’ve had to bid adieu to one of Jenn Bennett’s series, and I really hate goodbyes. GRAVE PHANTOMS had a different vibe to it than the two previous installments because the final Magnusson sibling is younger, female, and the romance had a friends turned lovers spin to it. The plot wasn’t quite as strong as books 1 & 2 with somewhat choppy writing, and a discernible separation between Astrid & Bo’s relationship, and the ghost yacht story line rather than a blended narrative.

To an outsider, the Roaring Twenties era appears to be a fun adventure, that is if you’re a white American, however for people like Yeung, it’s anything but. I liked how the author succeeded in capturing the prejudice of this period, and how it added a level of taboo-ness to the love story. Witnessing the general population’s treatment of Bo, and immigrants as a whole, through his eyes as well as via Astrid, someone who cares deeply for him, was humanizing, and I thought that the two characters’ reactions were very genuine.

I loved how madly independent both of the protagonists were; Miss Magnusson with her refusal to live in her brothers’ shadow, and Yeung’s unwillingness to accept hand-outs. It was great seeing these two finally take steps towards achieving their happily-ever-after, and strangely it wasn’t their moving reunion that caused me to reach for a tissue, although that too was a close call. Instead, it was Bo’s heart-to-heart with Winter; his second-in-command envisioned the worst when he declared his intentions, but family by choice is no small thing.

The artefact decoding facet of this tale was in a lot of ways similar to GRIM SHADOWS; however it wasn’t quite as detailed as Lowe’s novel, or as entertaining. Pirates aboard a ghost yacht sound exciting, and yet the parts didn’t fit as cleanly together as they could have which made Bennett’s last hurrah rather tame in comparison to ROARING TWENTIES # 1 & 2. I wish that the epilogue had been slightly longer, and had encompassed all of the Magnusson clan to a larger extent as opposed to being mostly about Astrid & Bo.

GRAVE PHANTOMS was a fitting conclusion to this trilogy. ( )
  RabidReads | Apr 30, 2015 |
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