Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review on The Sentinels of New Orleans by Suzanne Johnson Books 1-3 + #Giveaway



Royal Street
Sentinels of New Orleans
Book #1
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327796
ASIN: B006OM459U

Pages: 337
Word Count: 94,000
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielson

Goodreads Rating: 3.71
My Rating: 4.5

Book Description:

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco's job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans' fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards' Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ's new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.


My Take On The Book:


This is the kind of story where I can’t deny that I spent the vast majority of it screaming at the female lead DJ, in what I felt was the right direction. When she did follow my ‘advice’ I got all giddy but I warn you, this woman is built to enfuriate because the giddiness only lasted a couple of lines (maybe a paragraph or 2 if I’m being fair) the shoe something that warrants more yelling lol. If it isn’t her yoyo emotions, it’s the hurricane headlines that served to sadden you and remind you that while this story takes place in a fantastical world that takes place during one of the most devastating events for New Orleans.

While DJ infuriates me, she is also a pretty awesome lead with a pretty solid moral compass. The above mentioned hurricane headlines tied the story together in an unforgettable way. Using the actual events from Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Johnson weaves a tale where the borders that separate our mundane world with that of the preternatural creatures. I genuinely enjoyed and loved the different aspects of this book… the characters take the top slot and being some of the unique characters, I’ve read about to date in this particular genre. The magic and the ambience is just an added bonus! And while this story itself was unique, you are definitely left in a state of déjà vu when your thrown into this supernatural world that is so very similar to previous urban fantasy books.

The Great & Not So Great


Pros:

  • Alex. <3 Hubba hubba, this is one swoon worthy character from the minute he busts through DJ’s door with a smoking gun. But more than the hotness factor, he’s an amazing partner and love interest for DJ. I love their chemistry.

  • DJ. I really like DJ even if I wanted to hurt her a couple of times. She’s got spunk and a really good moral compass. She states a couple time that she lives in the gray of things but I don’t really find any of her decisions squirm worthy. She always has people’s best interests at heart.

  • Jean Laffitte. He is a super funny character even if he pissed me off on more than one occasion. He’s one cocky son of a bitch but I think that’s part of his charm.

  • Magic. The magic in this series is different and that is one of the reasons I like this series so much. I like when a book or series has a unique take on magic.
Cons:

  • Romantic Triangle to put all others to shame (I exaggerate!)… or is it more of a square. Obviously characters like Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake carry the title for romantic triangle/square/octagon/cluster fucks but DJ does have her fair share of suitors. To be fair, one is dead and spends most of the book pissing her off but I’m still not a huge fan of the heart tugging emotions that come with any romance including more than 2 parties. There is always that fear that the lead won’t pick the ‘right’ person. But don’t worry guys its not a huge factor in this book and its basically resolved in the next book.

  • Predictability. Wow… I love this book but it was super predictable. There really wasn’t much mystery in this storyline. But its worth the read! Especially since the next 2 books definitely rectify these issues.


4.5 Quills




Purchase Links:



River Road
Sentinels of New Orleans
Book #2
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327802
ASIN: B00842H5VI

Pages: 336
Word Count: 92,000
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielson

Goodreads Rating: 4.10
My Rating: 5.0

Book Description:

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels
 of New Orleans series continues.


My Take On The Book:

This book ended with a bang and yes I was literally squealing like a child. I’m pretty sure that my house mates were woken up with a very enthusiastic yes that was indeed accompanied by my ‘happy dance’ lol. I literally jumped right into book three and I had to force myself away from the book in order to write this review.

This book picks up where book 1 ends but with a bit of a time jump… definitely nothing to serious but enough for our favorite characters to do some off page growing up and such. But where book 1 was lacking (nothing too serious, check out the pros and con further down this post) this book excels. I definitely still had my ‘shake DJ’ moments but she definitely makes you proud.

While I enjoyed book 1 immensely, this storyline on this one focuses more on the characters and gives you a lot more umph. Its enthralling! My friend literally had to pry my kindle out of my hands…


The Great & Not So Great

Pros:

  • Pace. I liked the fast pace of this story as much as I disliked it. It helped set the mood for this book and gives you the same sense of urgency that DJ has.

  • Action. This book is not lacking in the action and testosterone fueled posturing. But it made the fast pace more bearable. There wasn’t a moment where you feel like the story is dragging.

  • Storyline. While I enjoyed book 3 the most, I found this storyline to be the most interesting.

  • Characters. The characters introduced in this book are freaking awesome… well most of them. Some of them can disappear... I’d totally be cool with that.

  • Eugenie. She moved up on my awesome character list… she’s freaking hilarious. She reacts to situations realistically (as realistic as you can get with supernatural books) and she shares my sentiments about the hunky shifter Alex Warrin. :D
Cons:

  • Predictability. Definitely not as much as book 1 but there was still some major plot points that were predictable. I don’t mind the smaller things being predictable but I like some mystery in the major turning points.

  • No Breathers. I’m actually a big fan of the action and fast paced story but I felt winded after reading this book, like I ran a marathon and the last page or 2 were not enough of a cool down BUT the ending itself is PERFECTION.


5 Quills


Purchase Links:


Elysian Fields
Sentinels of New Orleans
Book #3
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765333193
ASIN: B00CQY7TOI

Pages: 352
Word Count: 1.2,00
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielson

Goodreads Rating: 4.14
My Rating: 5.0

Book Description:

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi. New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans.

Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren't random--an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard.

Namely, DJ. Fighting off an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn't easy. Jake Warin's loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world's most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ's to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte's pirate wench? It could be DJ's best option.


My Take On The Book:


Hot Damn! This was the best book in the series yet and I have high hopes for the next installment. This was an amazing read, from page 1 where your introduces to the first grisly murder to the very last awe worthy page. And after reading this book in particular I was able to pin point the similarities to other titles that made me feel at home and invested. The ambience that reminded me of other series.

I don’t even know how to describe what about this book that made it so awesome so I’ll just go ahead and jump into the pros and cons list for these 3 books.


The Great & Not So Great

Pros:

  • Alex & DJ. I was so happy to see something going on there. Their chemistry is off the charts and they make me happy lol. They are too cute together.

  • Eugenie. She's still awesome but I wish there was more of her in this book.

  • Storyline. I like this storyline. Not as much as book 2 but then again this book has a lot more going on so the extensive storyline of book 2 would probably have given DJ a heart attack. She had enough to deal with.
Cons:

  • Not enough character interaction. While this book was a DEFINITE improvement on the triangle/square thing going on, there was not enough interaction with characters. Its more of a solo DJ book with a splash of each character and while I love DJ… I love her chemistry with Alex and their friendship/partnership/sexual tension more! Hopefully book 4 gives us more of the ‘dynamic duo’ that I love <3.

  • Rand. Uggh, I did not like him in book 2 and I certainly didn’t like him here. He’s so creepy and pretentious. He is not good enough for Eugenie and super skeevy. I don’t like how he worms his way into DJ, Alex and Eugenie’s lives.

  • My waiting. I’m a very impatient person, and have these first 3 books at my fingertips ready to be devoured has spoiled me because I don’t want to wait for book 4. I want to pull a ‘Samantha’, wiggle my nose a poof is sitting on my lap ready for reading. On that note, this is not really a con ;)


5 Quills



Purchase Links:

This Series was a great one thus far. I would recommend it to anyone who has read an enjoyed The Mercy Thompson Series byt Patricia Briggs or the earlier books from The Anita Blake Series by Laurel K. Hamilton and The Southern Vamp Series by Charliane Harris. It has a lot of similar elements to Mercy Thompson what with the fae staff that follows DJ and so on but the seires is unique on its own and is something worth reading.


SHORT EXCERPT FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS



By midafternoon, I was out of ideas and full of nervous energy that finally sent me out of doors, catching up on yard work I’d neglected all season, raking the small, crunchy leaves from the live oaks into piles a kid would love to play in.
“Need help?”
I ignored the voice and counted to ten, hoping it would go away. Instead, Quince Randolph knelt next to a tall pyramid of leaves I’d erected and took the lid off the big green trash can he’d brought with him. He began scooping up armfuls and piling them in the can. “You should compost this down. It would make a good mulch for flowerbeds. Plus you need more color in your landscaping.”
            “Whatever.” I didn’t know what mulch was, didn’t care enough to ask, and had such a brown thumb that flowers never survived my gardening efforts.
Rand wore a chocolate-brown sweater almost the same color as mine, with jeans in a similar wash. With our comparable shades of long blond hair, we resembled grown-up Bobbsey Twins, except he was prettier. Freddie and Flossie do New Orleans.
“Are you here for any particular reason?”
He squinted up at me against the soft afternoon sunlight. “I just want to get to know you better.”
Uh- huh. “Tell me what you are, and then we’ll know each other better. I’m betting elf or faery.” I was kind of betting elf— it might explain his interest in me although, thankfully, he’d never shown any inclination to plunder my brain.
He grinned. “Go to dinner with me and I might tell you.”
I noted the return of his peridot earrings. Big liar. Super-big cheater. “Where’s Eugenie? You know, your girlfriend?”
A flash of irritation spoiled his perfect features a half second before he answered. “Working. Can we—”
What ever he planned to ask, my answer would be no, but he didn’t get a chance because a clomping noise reached us from the direction of Prytania Street. Rand and I both were stricken speechless at the sight of Jean Lafitte sitting like royalty in the back of a gold and white French Quarter tourist carriage. It was being pulled by a light- gray mule wearing a hat festooned with
fake flowers and driven by a smiling guy who had no idea how many daggers his undead pirate passenger had hidden on him.
The ornate carriage rolled to a stop, and the mule flicked an ear at the passing traffic. Those animals pulled tourists around the French Quarter all day, and it would take more than an impatient Toyota driver to rattle one of them. The carriages were also ridiculously expensive if one commissioned a ride outside the Quarter.
Then again, Jean Lafitte was loaded. The driver probably had a reason to smile.
Jean exited the carriage with extraordinary grace for such a large man. He was tall, powerfully built, black-haired, cobalt-eyed, a shameless flirt, and talked with a raspy French accent that made me swoon even though he was technically dead. In other words, I had a bit of a problem with Jean Lafitte and my own common sense being present at the same time.
Jean said a few words to the carriage driver, then turned to prop his hands on his hips in a broad pirate-like stance, giving Rand a disapproving visual once-over. The mule backed up a
few awkward steps before pulling the carriage into my driveway.
God help me, I hoped Alex didn’t get home in time to see this. I’d never hear the end of it.

“Do you wish me to rid you of this intruder, Jolie?”


About The Author 

On Aug. 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Four years later, she began weaving her experiences and love for her city into the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, beginning with Royal Street (2012), continuing with River Road (2012), and now with Elysian Fields (August 2013).

She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years—which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

As Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series and the recent standalone, Storm Force.



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