Something Wicked Returns Day #18 brings more tantalizing treats just in case you have not gotten your fix yet. What fun is in store today? Why don't you check out these posts and find out:
Candace@Candace's Book Blog:E.J. Wesley
Here on Rainy Day Ramblings, I am excited to welcome author Suzanne Johnson. This is Suzanne's first appearance here, but I have it feeling it won't be her last. I have recently become a big fan of Ms.Johnson's Urban Fantasy series: The Sentinels of New Orleans. I especially enjoy the New Orleans setting. The first book, Royal Street, takes place during and after hurricane Katrina, and I loved learning more about the storm. The second and third books are set a couple of years after the disastrous storm, and I am enjoying learning about the continued recovery. This is a solid UF series with plenty of entertaining paranormal characters. If you are on the hunt for a quality new UF book, I would recommend this series. Suzanne is here to share her list of fears with you all, but before we get to the terror, let me introduce you to Suzanne Johnson:
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series from Tor Books. Royal Street, book one, came out in April 2012; River Road in November 2012. Book three, Elysian Fields, will be released on August 13, 2013.
A longtime New Orleans resident, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction for higher education, including the Robert S. Sibley Award for the best university magazine in the U.S. and Canada, for the Rice University Sallyport.
Suzanne is an active member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Georgia, Southern Magic, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters of RWA. You can find Suzanne on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Suzanne also writes the Penton Legacy under pen name Susannah Sandlin.
Here is Suzanne's list of things that keep her up at night:
Fear Factor, New Orleans-Style
When one asks an author of paranormal fiction, especially one from New Orleans, what she most fears, one would expect some exotic monster, a ghostly haunted house, a dark, deserted street and an extra set of footsteps growing closer behind. Even a run-of-the-mill zombie or werewolf or vampire or demon. (Well, okay, a real demon might be scary.)
But the list of things that scare me is…silly. Yep, I admit it. I fear these things. They have been known to keep me awake for more consecutive nights than are healthy. In no particular order, my top five scary critters and situations are….
1) Confined spaces. Okay, I might hyperventilate, okay? So I’ve devised tricks to play on my panicky brain when I get stuck in non-moving traffic jams (although if I suspect there might be one I’ll go out of my way to avoid it…considerably out of my way), or in some kind of meeting where I’m in a position that I can’t leave, or other unimagined horrors. I dig through my glove compartment if I’m in the car, or play with my smartphone—anything to keep my mind off the “I can’t leave; I’m trapped” sensation. I sit near the door in meetings. It’s all very…neurotic.
2) Rats. Seriously. Rats are scary things. They’re smart and they have teeth and they run after you when you flee. I have some rat stories I could share with you, most of them taking place in uptown New Orleans. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched an Irish Terrier try to climb the furniture to get at the rats rumbling around the attic. Or watched two adult women scream like banshees as they use a fireplace poker to sweep a rat into a large popcorn tin, clap on the top, seal it with duct tape, and drive it to the outskirts of Norco, Louisiana. Did I mention it was a Christmas popcorn tin with Rudolph on the side? I mean, not that this really happened or anything. Really.
3) Buck Moth Caterpillars. What, you think caterpillars are cute, harmless creatures? Then you have never walked down a sidewalk in New Orleans during Buck Moth season, which usually occurs for two-to-three weeks in late March or early April. The caterpillars, which average about two inches in length and a quarter-inch around, have red heads and purple bodies. Lest you think that sounds pretty, I haven’t yet mentioned the green and red spines that protrude from every available nanospeck of their bodies. They feed on the oak leaves until they’re so fat and ungainly that they fall off the branches on the heads of unsuspecting pedestrians, or hide in the lawn waiting to be touched. Once you’ve touched one, you’ll fear them too—all those spines come off in your hand or face or wherever they land, injecting poisonous toxins that burn and swell until you’ll beg satan to take you away because hell must be cooler. People in the know walk under umbrellas on bright, sunny days to avoid such a fate. My own Buck Moth horror tale involved the same Irish Terrier. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
4) Bats. I know they aren’t in the same family. I know they’re good for the environment. I know they eat nasty mosquitos and other bugs. But in my mind, if you take a rat, give him wings, and set him loose in my house, you have a bat. This is a recently acquired fear I didn’t know I had until the Great Bat Invasion of 2013, as I now call it. Let’s just say it involved flying and swooping, screaming and running, and duct tape (another pattern I’m seeing here). The terrier, now almost 15 years old, slept through most of the invasion.
5) Rising Water. I lived in New Orleans and Houston. I know rain. I’ve experienced the feeling of my car tires leaving the payment as I was swept along a flooded street. Falling neck-deep in floodwater trying to escape said vehicle. I’ve lost two cars to floods, and neither flood had anything to do with a tropical storm. I’ve waded through waist-deep water to try and rescue belongings from my garage. And let’s not even talk about Hurricane Katrina. I do think this is a perfectly reasonable fear, and will forever defend my right to cancel a road trip if the forecast calls for rain.
So, there you have it. Real fears for real lives. What does my Sentinels of New Orleans series heroine DJ fear? She used to be afraid of zombies. Until she met a few Elves. Then again, I haven’t yet introduced her to a Buck Moth caterpillar. But I will.
Thanks, Suzanne. I have never heard of Buck Moth caterpillars, but I live in the Pacific Northwest. We just have lots of giant slugs here. I have a feeling, though, that you have your own big slugs down there. I don't think I care to meet a Buck Moth caterpillar anytime soon. Thanks for sharing your list of fears, I definitely got few chuckles. Now for the treat.... one lucky winner will win their choice of book from The Sentinels of New Orleans.
To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Suzanne is generously making this giveaway open Internationally as long as the Book Depository ships to you so please show her your gratitude in the comments!
Here is my review:
Elysian Fields(Sentinels of New Orleans #3) by Suzanne Johnson
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.
Combatting 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 could be DJ’s best option.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Tor Books
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Four Stars: A thrilling installment in a fantastic Urban Fantasy Series!
DJ is hoping for a bit of reprieve to recuperate her bruised ribs after her encounter with the mers. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen as there is a new terror loose in New Orleans. Someone is murdering hapless individuals with an ax. DJ and Jake visit the latest murder scene and determine that the traces left behind indicate that the murderer is likely the real Axeman returned from the Beyond. Little does she know that the Axeman will soon become the least of her problems as DJ finds she is facing a life changing viral infection and the elves. Can DJ hunt down a killer and overcome the rest of the chaos in her life?
What I Liked:
- Once again, Ms. Johnson plunges us back into New Orleans just a few short years after the devastation of Katrina. The setting continues to shine as you are treated to the recovering New Orleans as well as trips to the mysterious beyond where you can encounter famous personas of New Orleans from the past. Including the dashing and notorious pirate Jean Lafitte. This time around, I was intrigued by the ruins of the Six Flags theme park. Call me crazy, but I would actually like to see the decimated, abandoned Six Flags. I love the world building in this series it is solid, and I enjoy getting to know the famous city better with each book.
- This book presents a busy and entertaining plot. There are numerous threads to follow as we watch DJ hunt down the murderous Axeman, try and sort out her love life, battle a viral infection, deal with her mysterious neighbor Rand, and finally engage in another fight for her life. There is rarely a quiet moment in this one as it is full of action and mystery. The plot definitely thickens as you learn just how all the threads are interconnected. I loved that everything ended up fitting together because I wasn't expecting it all to connect.
- DJ is still an intriguing character. I have enjoyed watching her grow, even though she tends to flounder a bit in this one. She is headstrong and prone to a life of chaos. At times, she can be a bit frustrating as she often takes risks that make me crazy, but on the other hand she is never boring. You don't know what trouble she will land in next, and I am certain she will find trouble sooner than later. I always admire her courage and tenacity, and she isn't afraid to fight. She isn't always kick butt because she ends up battered and bruised, but she doesn't give up either.
- I enjoy the remainder of the cast as well from the handsome Alex to Jake the loup garou werewolf and of course, the dashing Jean Lafitte the pirate. Rand ended up surprising me. At first, I didn't like him one bit, but he is growing on me. The question now is who is going to win DJ's heart?
- I appreciate with each book in this series that there is a solid resolution at the end. The majority of the answers are hunted down, but there are a few dangling threads left to explore in the sequel. I always am pleased to read a book that refrains from cliffhangers, and so far this series has avoided utilizing this dreaded ploy.
And The Not So Much:
- If you are looking for a heated romance, you will likely be disappointed as the romance in this one tends to run hot and cold, and it isn't the main focal point. However, this is an Urban Fantasy and romance is not the prime focus in this genre. In fact, often in UF you don't get a romance so I am always pleased when I do find a romance. Needles to say, the romance is frustrating because it seems to take a step forward and then two steps back. Right now, it is on shaky ground, and I am uncertain as to whether a love triangle is in the works or not. I am uncertain of Rand's true motives and worried about the whole blood bond thing.
- Jake, at first, was frustrating. I loved him in River Road, but since his werewolf infection, he has become difficult. His behavior at the beginning of the book was a bit disturbing. That being said, by the end, I had new found hope for Jake and I hoping he will find his way again.
- I was a bit confused once all the motives were revealed as it was certainly complicated. What I was wondering was why the Axeman was attacking random victims in the beginning? Was it all to get attention and scare people or something more, especially if he had a true target all along?
- This is me being nit picky, but there is a big, terrifying battle scene and Sebastian the cat is in danger. DJ is extremely concerned about Sebastian until she learns his fate. After all her worrying, I was expecting a bit more resolution with this story line. Instead there is just a tiny mention of what happened to him and that is it. I was disappointed that this wasn't fully explained.
Elysian Fields is an exciting, thrilling installment in an enjoyable UF series. I love the New Orleans setting, interesting paranormal characters and action packed plot lines. If you are looking for a new UF fix, pick up this series. I personally can't wait for book four.
"If zombies and ghouls took over Disney World, with creative direction from Satan, the theme park would resemble the corpse of Six Flags New Orleans."
"No wonder women in the olden days kept their virtue intact so long---it took too much trouble to get dressed and undressed."
"I knew it was just stuff, but sometimes stuff is important. Sometimes, stuff holds us together. Stuff bookends our lives, and stuff defines them."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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