Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway!! Belle Chasse, by Suzanne Johnson (Bewitching Book Tours)

Welcome to the Belle Chasse blog tour, 
sponsored by
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring a review!
There's also a tour-wide giveaway!!

Belle Chasse
(Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 5)
Suzanne Johnson
Hardcover, 336 pages
Tor Books
November 8, 2016
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

(Note: I purchased my own printed copy of this novel, even though an e-ARC was available free for review from the author. I just prefer printed books, and LOVE this series!!)

I was very recently and pleasantly surprised to find out that Suzanne Johnson had penned another installment in the Sentinels of New Orleans series. Needless to say, I immediately signed up for the book tour!

Drusilla Jaco, now former Sentinel of New Orleans, has been a favorite character of mine since I first encountered her in Pirate's Alley, Book 4 in this series. I need to get the first book, Royal Street, as well as the sequels, so I can complete the whole series!

This latest installment brings back all the great characters I first met and loved in Pirate's Alley, and contains a lot of preternatural political intrigue. I greatly enjoyed every single minute!

DJ, as she is known among her friends, is, as always, a very funny narrator, as well as a very sharp one. She doesn't miss a beat, managing to stay one step ahead of those who are intent on bringing her down, in this particular novel. She's also busy keeping her best friend, Eugenie, out of the clutches of those who want to hand her over to the Elf leader, Quince Randolph, for political reasons. I can't say enough great things about DJ! She's definitely one of the BEST female protagonists I've ever encountered in urban fantasy!

Another great character in this series is the undead pirate, Jean Laffite, who happens to be a real historical figure. In fact, he has until very recently been the representative for the historical undead at the Interspecies Council. Jean is charming, sexy, and very much interested in DJ, whom he affectionately calls "Jolie", much to her chagrin. This French word means "pretty" in English. The novel contains quite a few French words and phrases, much to my delight, as I studied the language in high school and college. (If you don't understand any of the words and phrases you will encounter in this novel, just look up their translation on Google.)

Aside from his charm and sex appeal, Jean is also unintentionally funny. This is because, since he is actually 230 years old, he tends to interpret modern English slang and idioms literally. And, of course, since DJ is always using those, she then has to explain them to him. The results make for some hilarious reading!

As with Pirate's Alley, I found myself wishing that DJ would break up with Alex, her canine shapeshifter boyfriend, and start dating Jean. Yes, this is a bit creepy, but it's just that I think she and Jean are much more compatible, in spite of the different centuries they're from. Alex, in contrast, is more of a stuffed shirt. He and DJ argue quite a lot, although they both do love each other. However, their relationship has a lot of ups and downs. In contrast, Jean remains funny even when he and DJ disagree. I'm sure that, in spite of his old-fashioned views of women, he and DJ would have a smoother relationship. 

Quince Randolph is his usual insufferable elf self in this novel. He wants Eugenie to be transported to Elfheim at all costs, and has even threatened to scramble her brains if this doesn't happen. The remarkably resourceful DJ manages to get him to compromise on this issue, which makes me admire her all the more!

In this novel, I actually came to HATE Willem Zrakovi, the wizards's Chief Elder. How he could be so insensitive to DJ's unique predicament as reluctant bondmate to Quince (known as "Rand" in the book) is beyond me. Thankfully, DJ is as slippery as an eel, and always manages to outsmart Zrakovi. I LOVE how embarrassingly incompetent she makes him look!

In this novel, we get to see more of Christof, the Fae Prince of Winter, and his arrogant, sociopathic brother, Florian, the Prince of Summer. What a contrast between these two! Where Christof is kind and reasonable, Florian is evil and devious. Florian is also a murderer, and dangerous in the extreme. And poor DJ certainly has her hands full!

Rene the merman is another favorite character of mine. His unquestioning loyalty to DJ made me love him in the previous book! That's also the case in this novel. He's funny in his own way, as well. He calls DJ "babe", but does not mean this in a condescending way at all. It's just an affectionate name he has for her. And I love how he always has her back, too.

The world-building in this series is nothing short of outstanding! It's very meticulously detailed, and totally believable. The different fictional worlds are all seamlessly tied together. There's the human New Orleans, as well as the realms of the Beyond -- Old Barataria, Elfheim, Old Orleans, and Faery. There are references to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans several years ago. Throughout the book, it's also very evident that Johnson loves her hometown.

This author's imagination knows no bounds, as she deftly tosses in wonderful magical details that all serve to drive her plot forward. There are numerous twists and turns, as well as several surprises. The plot is pretty complex, and there were times when I was a bit lost, but then was able to get right back on track. 

DJ is able to connect with Alex at some point in the story, in spite of having Zrakovi practically breathing down her neck, hoping to capture her. And I was impressed with Alex. He risked his position and current political office in order to cover for DJ. I must admit that definitely shows he cares a lot about her.

This novel is so much fun! There's great action, truly memorable characters, snarky humor, very imaginative world-building, and just all-around awesomeness! Although the paranormal romance is not really emphasized, the other elements of the story more than make up for this. In short, this is prize-winning urban fantasy, and I highly recommend it to all lovers of the genre!   


Purchase Links

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, but perhaps is best known for her romantic suspense and paranormal romance books written as Susannah Sandlin, including the Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, the Wilds of the Bayou suspense series, and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Her awards include two Holt Medallions in 2013 and 2015, a 2015 Booksellers Best Award in romantic suspense, and nominations in 2014 and 2015 for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Suzanne loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!



  1. This book looks fantastic! And I LOVE the cover :)

    1. Hi, Amy!

      It definitely IS fantastic!! And I agree about the cover, too!!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! :)

  2. Nice review, thank you. I agree with you, prize-winning urban fantasy at it's best. I have been reading the Sentinels series from the beginning and have enjoyed them all. Already waiting for the next book in the series. A war is coming.

    1. Hi, Roger!

      You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed reading it!!

      I'm glad you concur that this is definitely prize-winning urban fantasy. Ms. Johnson certainly deserves to be honored for this series!!

      I need to go back to the beginning of the series, and start with "Royal Road"! And I'm SO excited to learn that "Belle Chasse" is NOT the last book!! YAAAAAY!!! Thanks so much for letting me know that!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!! :)

  3. This is one of my favorite series but I have to admit, I'm now behind on this one as well as the last release. I am kind of partial to the shifter boyfriend, but you'd probably guess that because of all people, of course I would want a boyfriend that could also be a gorgeous dog from time to time :) I really need to catch up and your review has me all psyched up to grab the two I need and put them on January's schedule! Great review.

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Don't feel bad that you're behind on this series. I need to go back to the very first book and catch up to "Pirate's Alley"! Lol. I first heard of these novels when I got an email about "Pirate's Alley" from Bewitching Book Tours. I signed up to review, and they sent me a PDF document. I hadn't gotten very far when I got SUPER excited, and knew I wanted to own the printed edition!! So I went ahead and ordered it. I did the same with "Belle Chasse"!!

      I'm not surprised that you're partial to Alex, since he can turn into a gorgeous dog. Lol. He can be sweet to DJ, but then he starts acting all "macho" on her. But who knows? Jean would probably do the same thing, and maybe even worse, since he's from a century in which women were certainly viewed as inferior.

      I can't wait for the next book in the series!!!! YAAAAY!!! Roger, in his comment above, says there's a war coming! OMG!!!!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment!! <3 :)

  4. I love your review. I loved this book also. I agree with you about DJ and Jean. I mean,i like Alex fine but he just isnt Jean, and they are really good together. Rene is definetely a fav of mine too. 🙂

    1. Hi, Samantha!

      Thank you SO much for the compliment!! :)

      I'm so happy you agree with me about DJ and Jean!! YAAAAY!! I like Alex fine, but do think that Jean would be a much better match for DJ.

      It's great that Rene is one of your faves, too!!

      I LOVED this book!! What I need to do, though, is to go back to the first one, and read all the books that follow, as well.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! :)

  5. Pirates, magic, and the fae make this series sound like a must read, Maria! I am glad you enjoyed this one. This book sounds like so much fun.

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      This book is DEFINITELY a must read!! I love all the action, the characters, and DJ is such a FUNNY narrator! Plus, she's brave, sharp as a whip, and has her trusty elven magical staff to help her wield her magic! YAY for kick-butt heroines!!!!

      I need to go back to the first book, "Royal Road", and read it, then all the subsequent ones up to "Pirate's Alley", which is actually the one I first came across.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  6. Belle Chasse is a satisfying read. You won't put it down until you have read the last page! I enjoyed your review. Definitely looking forward to the next book.

    1. Hi, Liz!

      Oh, this definitely a book that keeps the reader going until the very last page! And I was SO happy when I found out that there's another book coming up!! I'm really looking forward to it!

      Thanks for the compliment and the nice comment!! :)


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