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Welcome to Mother/Gamer/Writer for the Elysian Fields Blog Tour. We are always excited to host one of our favorite authors Suzanne Johnson and her EPIC Sentinels of New Orleans Series! For today’s tour stop, please enjoy our review, along with an interview and enter to win an iPad 2!
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review. Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #3
Published by: Tor Books on August 13, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Blog Tour
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third installment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series
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.
First and foremost this isn’t the first book in this awesome series. It’s the third, so if you haven’t read the first two, Royal Street and River Road, there are bound to be a few spoilers. While it can be read as a standalone, let’s face it, that’s not fun. Read the first two for maximum enjoyment and world comprehension.
DJ’s back again and just when life begins to settle down, everything stirs back up again. This time with a supernatural serial killer from the beyond, Jake going AWOL, her best friend’s boyfriend creepifying, ALEX … and one sexy dead pirate.
I’ve followed the series from the beginning and Suzanne Johnson quickly became my favorite UF author. It’s perfect with the blends of action, magic, and subtle romance, while enticing us with exceptional characters we love. However, this book does have more romance than the previous two in the series. I love romance and all of its angles, so I didn’t find fault in the swoon worthy men. Plus I love DJ, and while she’s not perfect, this is fantasy and some of these so-dubbed “flames” are really friends she finds attractive. It might seem like a lot of love interests for one woman, but if you understand DJ you’d know that she can admire, drool, and swoon without becoming romantically involved. Lafayette is a prime example, although this could change in future books.
Okay, back to the plot.
There is a bit more going on this time around and we see more of the Beyond creatures. Johnson does this well and never really introduces more than two new “species” in a book. I found her addition of the necromancer and vampires exceptional, but she could have gone a bit more in-depth with the Elves. I’m hoping she does this in the next book, and I’ve got a sneaking feeling we’ll see it there, with Rand.
All in all, I loved it. I read it in one sitting and couldn’t put it down. Life -altering interruptions is the only way a book gets 5 stars. Johnson does it again for me!
5 Out of 5 Controllers
1. For those readers who are not familiar with you or your work can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
By day, I’m a relatively easy-going magazine editor at a university, where I’m known as the grammar and punctuation guru. By night, I write urban fantasy and dark paranormal romance. I live in a small college town in Alabama after having spent much of my career in New Orleans; the shock of going through Hurricane Katrina and then leaving NOLA a few years afterward to live in the bucolic small city drove me to write the Sentinels of New Orleans series. I love anybody who can make me laugh; I dislike game-playing and political maneuvering (which makes it a miracle that I’ve survived a career in higher education!). I’m the furmom of two geriatric rescue dogs and caregiver of one geriatric parental unit. I’m the only one in the household with decent hearing.
2. Do you have a particular writing style? Any odd writing habits?
Since I have a full-time job and home commitments, my writing time has to count. In order to complete three novels a year, which is what I shoot for, I’ve had to become a dedicated plotter. I spend however much time it takes at the beginning of a project to work out at least the conflicts, turning points, how it will begin and end, how I want each relationship to progress, and even what happens in each chapter, in very general terms. That minimizes the amount of time I sit staring at a blank screen, and greatly minimizes the amount of rewriting I have to do on the back end. I’m usually working toward a deadline set by my publisher, so I take my number of days and set a daily word-count goal and try to hit it as close as I can.
I tend to write short, tight first drafts that are about 30,000 words short of my goal length, then I go back through layering in emotion and description and narrative. Is that odd? I don’t know if that’s odd.
I love music and draw on it for inspiration…until I actually start drafting, at which point it distracts me. Voices don’t distract me, or TV, or even barking dogs. Just music. Hm…that might qualify as odd.
3. Who would you consider your favorite authors, or where do you draw inspiration?
I love Jim Butcher and his Dresden series and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, although I’m two-to-three books behind on both series. I hate that! I’ve been a Stephen King fan from as early as I can remember, and I’m eyeing the new book he has coming out next month that’s a kind of sequel to The Shining. (Inserts creaky voice saying “redrum…redrum.”) I’ve been doing this online read-commentary thing at the tor.com website for the past two years, doing a chapter a week going of King’s seven-book Dark Tower series. I swear it’s all I have time to read anymore, but I probably have a year left before it’s done.
As for inspiration, I draw more from nonfiction. When I’m writing, I try not to read much fiction—and certainly not in my genres of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I might read a historical or a contemporary. But usually, it’s nonfiction. Right now, I’m reading books on salvage diving as research for an upcoming project. (Cue dramatic music!) I also subscribe to a particularly geeky assortment of magazines: Smithsonian, National Geographic, Mental Floss (love!), Science News, Discover, American History.
4. What books are currently on your bookshelf?
I think my TBR mountain range recently topped 350 titles. Let’s not even talk about the digital assortment on my Kindle. Next up is a beta read for one of my critique partners, Kat Latham, who has a great contemporary series, London Legends, that just started with the recent release of Knowing the Score.
5. The third novel in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, Elysian Fields, was released on August 13. Not to spoil the series for anyone, can you give us a little hint as to what we can expect?
This book marks a turning point in the series, on a lot of levels. It ramps up a story arc that has only been hinted at in the first two books—the elves and vampires both move into the forefront of our wizard DJ’s world, and she’s becoming an unwilling pawn in big power plays that are just beginning to form. Some relationships take steps forward, some take steps back, and some skyrocket completely off the charts. Enemies become allies, allies become enemies, and DJ will end up with a very short list of who she actually trusts.
6. Without giving too much away, out of the three novels, can you tell us what were your favorite scenes, chapters, or characters to write?
Favorite characters, other than DJ herself, include the undead pirate Jean Lafitte—in my world, famous humans gain immortality if enough humans remember and talk about them, and Lafitte is one of New Orleans’ most famous citizens. I also love the Cajun merman Rene Delachaise. There’s no romance there, just a good friendship developing between Rene and DJ. They’re a hazard when they’re together because both of them lead with their hearts instead of their heads, and while neither would admit it, they’re a lot alike.
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Ahh…be persistent. Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined. Getting published is hard; staying published is even harder. Don’t quit your day job too soon if you have any fondness for health insurance. Don’t write to market, but also don’t ignore the market. Treat your writing like a business, and make it a priority. Finish what you begin. Meet your deadlines, even the ones you set yourself. LOL. That’ll do for starters!
8. Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your fans, or to people who are considering reading your novel?
I love to hear from readers! For people considering the series, it’s okay to start with the second book, River Road, or the new one, Elysian Fields, and you’ll find them fast and funny, and steeped in enough authentic Louisiana culture to make you crave pralines and gumbo and a good Zydeco band.
This or That:
Tea or Coffee? Cofffeeeeeee. I love coffee. Hot, cold, or room temperature.
Reading or Writing? Hm….writing. Actually, revising. Love revising, hate first-drafting.
True Blood or Game of Thrones? TB. I watched the first couple of seasons of True Blood and then fell behind, and haven’t watched GoT—I regrettably spend my limited TV time on trashy reality shows that require no mental engagement whatsoever. How sad. But I am Team Eric! I have read all of that series except for the last two, which are somewhere in that TBR monstrosity. I did put a nod to the show in Elysian Fields by having my vampires name their tour company “Tour Blood”—and so many people have compared the Sentinels to the Sookie series that you’ll see a definite nod to the show in my book trailer.
Vampires or Werewolves? I couldn’t possibly choose since I write both! Oh, okay. I prefer werewolves; my alter-ego Susannah Sandlin (the name under which I write paranormal romance) prefers vampires, especially big grouchy Scottish vampires.
Books or Movies? Books, of course! I swear, I can sit and read or write for eight or nine hours straight but put a movie on in front of me and I have the attention span of a toddler. It’s pathetic.
Thank you so much Suzanne, it’s been my pleasure having you on Mother/Gamer/Writer!
1 Winner Will Receive an iPad 2
5 Winners Will Receive a $50 Choice Gift Card!
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