Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Sentinels of New Orleans Blog Tour: Guest Post and Review of River Road by Suzanne Johnson

Welcome to Unabridged Bookshelf's stop on The Sentinels of New Orleans Blog Tour, organized by Bewitching Book Tours. Today I have a review of Book 2, River Road and a wonderful guest post by author, Suzanne Johnson. To check out all the amazing stuff going down on this tour, just click the button above for the complete schedule.


Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans, #1)
Royal Street
Sentinels of New Orleans Book One
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327796
ASIN: B006OM459U

Number of pages: 337
Word Count: approx. 94,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Amazon    Barnes and Noble  
Book Depository

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.

River Road (Sentinels of New Orleans, #2)
River Road 
Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2
Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327802
ASIN: B00842H5VI

Number of pages: 336
Word Count: approx. 92,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Book Depository  Indiebound

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.

About the Author:

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.






Publisher Page:


I have been in love with The Sentinels of New Orleans series since the very first pages of Royal Street, and I could not wait to continue DJ’s story in River Road. In another action packed novel, Suzanne Johnson keeps readers on their toes, with twist and turns coming complete out of left field(in a very good way). What I have loved about this series is that you really do not know what is going to happen next or how the story is going to end until those last few pages. 

It has been a few years since the end of Royal Street, but the characters are still there just trying to keep the peace between all the preternatural creatures now that the border between The Beyond and now has been completely removed. DJ is just as I remember her, and I would not want her any other way. Of course, a few other favorites were there too, including my favorite character the sexy, undead pirate Jean Lafitte. There are multiple love interests for Drusilla in River Road, and I kind of want to root for them all so picking a team is going to be oh so difficult.

The story expands the mythology of The Sentinels of New Orleans world to include many characters and new types of preternatural creatures. One of these being Merpeople, and I love the unique spin on the mermaid myth in River Road. I love the world that Suzanne Johnson has created, and all the amazing creatures that seem to pop up throughout the story. 

River Road was an excellent edition to a wonderful and imaginative series. The characters are the type that you fall in love with and cannot help but root for them every step of the way. I am even more in love with this series that I was, and I cannot wait to continue the journey in the third installment, Elysian Fields. Anyone looking for a sarcastic, funny and still out of this world amazing Urban Fantasy should pick up this series today. Fans of Royal Street are going to love this one. 

 Twisting the Myth of the Loup-Garou
I remember hearing the term loup-garou not long after moving to Louisiana. It’s French for “werewolf,” of course, and Louisiana once belonged to France. So the legends of the loup-garou (also called “rougarou” or “roux-ga-roux”) date back to the land’s settlement.
Much of my fiction is heavily tied to South Louisiana culture, so I’ve had fun playing around with the loup-garou legends. In a digital short called Christmas in Dogtown, I used the most common “rougarou” tales heard around Acadiana (south-central Louisiana, where the Acadians, aka Cajuns, settled). To the old timers, the rougarou is a monster that lives in the swamps. Sometimes he’s seen as a white dog; sometimes a black bear; sometimes a wolf. 
Sometimes the rougarou only partially shifts and has the body of a man but the head of a wolf or dog. While the rougarou is used to threaten kids to behave, his nature isn’t clear—in some versions of the legend he’s evil; in others, he might show up as a warning or a benign creature.
In some of the legends, becoming loup-garou (which is a curse brought on by having your blood consumed by a loup-garou) isn’t a life sentence but lasts 101 days, as long as the cursed person doesn’t speak of it to anyone. In other legends, the rougarou is turned by a witch’s curse. 
For my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to twist the loup-garou legend to tie it even more firmly to Louisiana culture. I didn’t want my garou to be an ordinary, garden-variety werewolf. Bor-ing! 
So my loup-garou came to Louisiana with the Acadians when they were driven out of Canada by the English in the 1700s and settled in the remote French colony of Louisiana. He (or she) carries a demon’s curse that can be easily passed to a human through an open wound. My loup-garou is, like a werewolf, affected by the moon cycles, but shifts more easily. He has less control over his wolf, avoids packs and social structures, is always an alpha, and is bigger than your average wolf. He has a deep red coat and golden eyes. He’s a mean SOB. 
How mean? My loup-garou are not innately bad, but they’re very other. It isn’t yet clear in the books how much the human mind stays in control once the wolf takes over the body, but the Louisiana rougarou legend is of a creature who retains his human ability to think and reason, only with perhaps less inclination to do good. Which means anyone who comes across his path at the wrong time, or angers him, or makes him lose control…well, that person might be in trouble. 
Um…did I mention that one of my major series characters was turned loup-garou? He’s not handling it well and it’s something he and my other characters are going to be dealing with for quite a while, which means lots of interesting twists and turns ahead.
One of the things I most love about writing paranormal fiction is the ability to take a common mythology—a vampire or a werewolf or, in River Road, a merman—and twist it to create a fresh look at an old convention. Who’s your favorite werewolf? What do you most like about him or her? Or are you over the whole wolf thing?

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of your choice of Sentinels of New Orleans books (Royal Street or River Road—coming in paperback June 25), or an author swag pack!

Thank you for stopping by Unabridged Bookshelf!


Roger said...

I think my favorite werewolf is Kitty Norville by Carrie Vaughn. She just has such great adventures.

SandyG265 said...

I like Adam from Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series.

Leannessf said...

I love Rule from the Lupi series by Eileen Wilks! Great alpha male with complete devotion to Lily, his chosen, and fantastic leader of both packs!

leannessf at gmail dot com

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks for the comments!

Roger, I enjoy the Kitty series as well. It took me a while to get into it because I tried to read the first five books back to back and it didn't work for me. Now, I enjoy dipping into that world when a new book comes out.

Sandy, I absolutely LOVE Adam. Talk about your sexy alphas. :-)

Leanne, I haven't read the Lupi series but have heard great things about it.

Eva Millien said...

I love Adam from Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series and I also enjoy Kitty Norville.

miki said...

Adam hautman is just perfect ^^ i can't resist him though i also really appreciate derek from teh kate daniels series ( though he isn't as alpha as adam yet and still so young that he made mistakes)

Amanda Grinstead said...

It's a toss up between Adam from the Mercy Thompson series and Kitty Norville.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a favorite werewolf but I love beast from the Jane Yellowrock books. She's pretty hardcore and from my neck of the woods.

Liz S. said...

Adam from Patricia Briggs and Rule from E. Wilks. Angela Knight has some Dire wolf characters I like as well.

Galena said...

I somehow haven't read that many paranormal series that have werewolf MCs, and the ones I have (Anita Blake, Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series) started strong and then went sour for me so I don't even read them anymore. I was REALLY impressed by Anne Bishop's new AU series starter Written in Red, which has a whole slew of were-creatures as MCs. I have the Jane Yellowrock series on my to-read list but haven't gotten to it yet.

Ashfa said...

Adam from the Mercy Thompson series gets my vote!!

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