This book was a breath of fresh air.  As a book reviewer who frequently accepts unsolicited requests for book review from Indie or self-published authors, it can be hit or miss as to whether, even with adequate screening, the books are actually worth reading.  Royal Street is definitely worth a read.

One of the things that really stuck with me was the imagery and clear descriptions of New Orleans during and post-Katrina.  But not just the settings, the emotions involved as well.  As a denizen of North Carolina, a state plagued with hurricanes, I know the feelings quite intimately that the main character, DJ, went through.  I remember wondering if we'd get to go to the beach or if the beach house we'd rented would even be there in the morning.  I remember times when you sat in your house, listening to the wind and the rain, wondering what the damage would be like when everything calmed down, walking outside once the winds had calmed only to breathe a sigh of relief because the tree fell away from the house.  I remember sitting and waiting to hear if a friend in a town I knew to have been decimated by a hurricane, a town where most of its residents were taking up temporary shelters, would be okay.  I remember sitting and waiting for news, calling, texting, and sending messages on facebook to every friend I had near my home, begging them to check to make sure my house was still standing (okay, that one's technically tornadoes but still…), staying at my mom's house as long as I could just in case I had no electricity or running water because the tornado had gone through not even a mile from my house and most of the city was without power.

I loved the author's style, it's funny, a little gritty, emotional and a little badass.  The writing is smooth and flows well.  She had me laughing even during times when you know you shouldn't be, like laughing at a funeral.  You know you shouldn't, but it makes the horror just a little more bearable and just at the right time too.

The book had a lot of one liners that just cracked me up, like, "I hate it when life forces me to be mature."

There was a really good twist in the book, one I didn't see coming at all.  Which is great because I can usually see things coming a mile away.  When the twist came together, I was practically (or maybe actually) covering my mouth and saying, "Holy shit!"

There were a few times where I sat there wondering if the main character was dense or stupid.  But after reading the second book, it seems she has this tendency to do things without thinking them entirely through and tends to take on all the responsibility, all the blame, on herself, whether it's hers to burden or not.

There were a few things I wondered about.  Like, why do they expect all the pretes (preternaturals) to stick around the breaches they came through?  I mean, they'll running around trying to find and send these suckers back to the beyond and none of them seem to have the sense to move beyond the direct area they came in from.  Seemed odd to me.  And why wouldn't her cell phone have worked?  Maybe I don't know that much about cell phones, but they work off whatever local towers you're pulling from.  I would think you wouldn't have problems with it.

I loved the beginning of the first chapter.  And the ending?  Perfection.  Great action scenes right at the end, just enough wondering and mystery for a second book while giving it a clear and decisive ending with emotional appeal.

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After reviewing Royal Street, I don't have too much more to say about River Road.  Many of the things I loved about Royal Street applied here as well.  Same writing style, had me laughing within the first few pages and kept me going on a regular basis right to the end.

I really like Jean Lafitte, who we got more of a glimpse of in this book.  He's sneaky and devious and you really can't trust him as far as you can throw him, but he has his own sense of morals (no one else understands) which he stands by.  He's a terrible flirt and, while he believes that a deal is a deal and in exchanging a favor for a favor, he also doesn't ask for more than a person can give.

Her relationship with Alex is so weird.  They don't have any sort of intimate relationship, yet he seems jealous and territorial over her.  This is getting hilarious but I can't figure him out.  I do in the end, but I spend most of the book trying to puzzle out what he really wants from her.

I thought in the first book she said they wouldn't turn up weird on blood tests.  I could be wrong.  It's hard to search a PDF for what I was looking for to check back but I thought wizards were one of the few that didn't show up in blood work.  Then I got my nose all out of joint when they discussed doing cultures for E. coli.  You don't incubate E. coli in a fridge!  It grows best in an incubator at 37 degrees (which, admittedly, can look a lot like a fridge).  It's a mesophyle.  It can't grow (i.e. will die) at 4 degrees celsius (that's refrigerator temperature) as it generally only grows at either body temperature (it lives in our guts) or about room temperature (waiting to infect others, but that isn't ideal temperature and slows or stops growth).   Also, it takes about a day, depending on desired culture density, to culture E. coli at 37 degrees.  And that's my rant for the day...

Again, I just loved the ending.  Definitive, with just enough of a tease.  Had me giggling like mad.  And totally wanting the next book.  <excited wiggles> 

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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.

Website: www.suzanne-johnson.com

Blog: http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Suzanne_Johnson

FB: http://www.facebook.com/Suzanne.Johnson.author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046525.Suzanne_Johnson

Publisher Page: http://us.macmillan.com/author/suzannejohnson

5/31/2013 04:36:35 am

you love details and it's great^^ i really enjoy this series and yes for someone like that never encountered a hurricane ( since i don't live in aaera for that) it was so vivid that i was worried for the characters and the people like i was there

i love jean lafitte, he is kind of sweet ^^ and river road had some funny moment that i couldn't stop laughing

thank you for the honest and thoughtful review

Danielle Forrest
6/3/2013 04:51:36 am

Yes, Jean Lafitte is awesome.

Roger Simmons
5/31/2013 05:26:14 am

Enjoyed your reviews. Got to more detail than many. I always enjoy the details. Suzanne answers several of your questions at Preternatura today. Thanks again. I'm a big fan and really looking forward to Elysian Fields.

Danielle Forrest
6/3/2013 04:52:12 am

Thanks for the comment.

Liz S
5/31/2013 12:01:37 pm

Enjoyed your reviews. I love this series. Looking forward to Elysians Fields and more of Jean!

6/11/2015 12:07:49 am

Better late, than never.


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