Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Pirate’s Alley by Suzanne Johnson & $50 #Giveaway!

From award-winning author Suzanne Johnson comes the fourth book in the smart and sexy Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear. 

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal. Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back. 

And that's before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest "death," returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ's assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that. 

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature. 

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won't be that easy.

Sentinels of New Orleans Book 4 | Urban Fantasy | Tor Books | April 21, 2015

Available at:   Amazon   BN   Book Depository


Pirate's Alley is filled with all of the magic and mayhem that I have come to expect from the Sentinels of New Orleans series. 

Johnson does a great job of weaving the plot details of book 3 throughout the beginning of the story. As someone who read Elysian Fields back in 2013, I greatly appreciated how quickly I was able to catch up on all of these key details. This was especially important because Pirate's Alley jumps right in to where Elysian Fields left off.

There is still tension and uncertainty in the supernatural world and the conspiracies, manipulations, and untruths continue. Along with the political drama, a lot of DJ's time is spent dealing with issues that arise because of her friend Eugenie and the complications this causes with Rand. It's an interesting new development that will continue to make waves throughout the next installment.

DJ must also deal with drama in her romantic life. She's trying to improve her relationship with Alex and is working on taking a more measured, mature approach in the way that she deals with conflict. I found this to be a bit irritating because it seemed to be one-sided. Alex continues to be a stubborn, overbearing ass. I said in my review of book 3 that DJ is awesome all by herself and I still stand by that statement. She's a great character and if she doesn't have a partner who can be her equal, then I would rather she just be alone. I'm sure there are plenty of readers who will agree that it may be time to give the old pirate a chance.

Pirate's Alley is another solid installment in Johnson's drama-filled, action-packed, magic-infused urban fantasy series. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble DJ gets in to next. I would recommend that any fans of UF give this series a try. ~Cat

DJ, are you awake?
Freaking elf. “Go home, Rand.”
I am home. Where are you?
I frowned and burrowed my face into the soft down pillow. Which wasn’t my pillow. 
Holy crap. What had happened?
I sat up and took in several observations at once, none of which made sense and all of which sent my heart rate jack-rabbiting hard enough to send my blood pressure into the ozone.
First, I was lying beneath a heavy bedspread woven in a rich blue-and-cream print. The bed was an elaborate confection made to look like an antique half-tester, and a brass chandelier hung overhead. 
I recognized the Hotel Monteleone. I recognized Jean Lafitte’s bedroom in the posh Eudora Welty Suite in the Monteleone. I didn’t have a clue as to how I got here.
Second, I wore only underwear. My clothes were thrown across a chair in the corner. I had no recollection of removing them.
Third, the pillow next to mine still held the clear indentation of a head, and there was water running behind the closed bathroom door.
What in God’s name had I done?
Rand! Where are you? So help me, if that elf was behind this, I’d splay him open like a catfish and watch his guts fall on the floor. Then I’d batter and deep-fry him.
God, Dru. Stop shrieking like an elven shrew. I think you got too cold and went into a survival state.
Survival state? Then I remembered, and shame joined panic. I had gone into hibernation like a bear, right out on Royal Street in front of God and everyone. Quince Randolph, you sonofabitch! Why didn’t you warn me that would happen? 
Stop yelling. How did I know you’d be stupid enough to go traipsing through the snow to the point of unconsciousness? I can tell you’re in the Quarter, but where are you?
Catch you later.
I slammed shut every mental door I could imagine and then troweled imaginary caulk in any imaginary cracks around said doors. I was vaguely aware that, off in the distance of my mental stronghold, Rand was yelling at me. 
Had Jean hauled me back to the hotel like a sack of pommes de terres? How had he explained a hibernating blonde to the hotel management? At least my dark blue underwear matched. Had he taken advantage of me? No, it wasn’t his style. Which meant I’d consented.
Alex was going to kill me if I didn’t kill myself first. I wasn’t sure hibernation-brain was an adequate defense. 
The bathroom doorknob rattled and I dove under the covers, even though I realized it was like closing the barn door after the half-naked cows had escaped. 
From my hiding spot, I heard the door open and footsteps cross from tile to carpet before stopping with a rustle of fabric. “Hey, babe. You finally back from the dead? Whatcha doin’ under there?”
“Rene?” I poked my head out and frowned at my buddy the merman, fully dressed in jeans and a Saints sweatshirt. His feet were bare, and he walked around the bed and climbed in as if either one of us belonged here, much less at the same time.
“What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Who undressed me? Where’s Jean?” And, as an afterthought, “Why are we in bed?”
Now that I realize I hadn’t acted like my licentious great-aunt Dru and slept with the pirate, I transferred my anger to the proper place and it wasn’t to myself. I’d kill that sneaky Frenchman if he weren’t immortal. 
Rene was not immortal, however, and he was within reach. “You better start talking, fish boy.”
“Aiyeeee.” Rene cackled like the Cajun he was, and fluffed the pillow behind his head. “I told Jean you’d be spittin’ mad. Nothing happened, babe. Your clothes were wet and I was just trying to keep you warm. I’m a shifter, you know. We run hot.”
“Oh, do you now.” 
That made him laugh harder. 
I threw off the covers and stomped over to my clothes. He’d seen whatever I had and I knew he didn’t want it, so there was no point in hiding. I picked up three soggy layers of T-shirts and sweaters, and cords so wet they weighed about ten pounds.
My breath hitched. The staff; I’d lost the staff. I whirled to Rene, who sat propped against the lush draped fabric that covered the headboard, watching me with a grin. “Where’s my bag?”
“In the living room. Everything’s there, babe, even your magic stick. Jean, he took care of you.” 
Yeah, I just bet he did. It was hard to argue effectively in underwear I’d intended only Alex Warin to see, so I went into the living room, dug my room key out of my messenger bag, and stuck my head out the door, looking up and down the hallway. 
“I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere,” I yelled at Rene, and made a run for it, jamming the keycard into my door lock and slipping inside before I was spotted. If hotel cameras caught my mad dash on security footage, well, I’m sure they’d seen stranger things. This was New Orleans, after all.

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. 

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. 

AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Alexandra Perchanidou said...

Thank you for the post and the giveaway! I didn't know this series was so interesting!

miki said...

it's a series that i abolutely LOVE and each time i get surprised as well so i do recommend it whole heartely and it's so much better read in order to so if you haven't tried it yet don't hesitate any longer!

thank you for your review

Roger Simmons said...

I really enjoyed reading Pirate's Alley. I highly recommend it to all fans of Urban Fantasy stories. To quote Suzanne: "Faeries are crazy. Vampires are nasty. Elves are possibly evil and definitely devious. Mermen are sexy. Andouille is tasty". Buy the book, you will have fun.

Jennifer @ The Book Nympho said...

I'm in the middling of reading Pirate’s Alley and I'm loving it. I hope to finish it today.

Brandi Kosiner said...

The tension sounds really well done,. I have heard lots of great things about this one.

books4me said...

Loved the exerpt! Sounds like a great read!

Cali Willette said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Great review; I like the cover. :)

Jules said...

Interesting excerpt!

Kamla L. said...

I haven't started reading the series yet but from the sounds of it I've been missing out on all the fun.

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