Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Southern Arcana series by Moira Rogers - Yummy supernatural lovin'

The Southern Arcana series by Moira Rogers is a great mix of sexy paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The world is the same as our own with the supernaturals living below the radar. Much of the action takes place in New Orleans, a hot bed of supernatural activity and sweet lovin'.

In Crux we meet Mackenzie Brooks who has been on the run for months from a crazy stalker that seems to find her no matter where she goes and is willing to go to any extreme to get her. After months of running, she ends up in New Orleans working at Mahalia's which is run by Nicole Peyton, a shapeshifter that comes from a world Mac knows nothing about. Nick enlists her friend Jackson Holt, a private investigator and spell caster, to find out more about Mac and to possibly help her out. Jackson gets a glimpse at the type of trouble she is in and being the southern gentlemen he is - offers to help her out. Mac is hesitant at first accepting help from Jackson, in part because she doesn't want to see him get hurt by her stalker and in part because she is attracted to him but can't afford to be distracted by her emotions while trying to escape a crazed stalker. As the danger surrounding Mac grows, Jackson steps in to protect Mac and figure out why the stalker is after her and risks everything to keep the woman he has begun to care about safe.

The book is a well-paced read where you want to rush ahead to the next pages to figure out the mystery of Mac's stalker as well as her upbringing. Mac is a tenacious heroine that has faced difficult trials in her life and particularly in the past few months. Mac really needs someone to trust and follows her instincts about making friends with Jackson and Nick. Nick is a great character that gives everything to help people she cares about. She is definitely a favorite of mine and I loved her in the second book - Crossroads. And Jackson, what's not to like - he saves damsels in distress and cooks delicious Italian food. The authors do a great job of creating dynamic characters that you understand and care about and fight scenes that you hold you breath during because you're afraid of what's going to happen. The villian they created as well was well done and super creepy. I was happy with the ending he met up with, it was well deserved.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, sexy shapeshifters and spell casters combined with a story you didn't want to put down.

Crossroads is the second book in the Southern Arcana series, and I have to say - my favorite so far. Crossroads focuses on Nicole Peyton and Derek Gabriel who we met in Crux. Nick is basically a shapeshifter princess who was born into the ruling family of the werewolves (her father is the Alpha) while Derek was changed two years earlier in a vicious attack. Nick ran from her life in New York City to New Orleans and ended up taking over the bar, Mahalia's, from her friend. Nick established a life for herself outside of the politics of the born - werewolf clans. Derek has been struggling with his new abilities and emotions ever since he was changed. He wants Nick badly, and all their friends know it, but is afraid to take it further because he's afraid he won't be able to control himself. Finally they both come to the conclusion independently (with much prodding from their friends) that if they don't go for it now they may forever lose their chance. After a birthday party for Kat, Derek's cousin, they try the age-old move for starting a new relationship - let's get really drunk and make-out. Unfortunately, their hot make-out session get's interrupted by Nick's sister, Michelle, and her bodyguard/ lover Aaron. They have done the big-no-no and gone against the werewolf clans, called the Coven, and had a relationship that resulted in Michelle getting pregnant. Since Michelle is a very powerful seer, her life is controlled by the Coven to keep her powers in check and to keep her from going insane, which seers have a history of doing. Now Nick is going to put everything on the line to help her sister out, even if means having to give up Derek and return to the society she thought she escaped.

This book was great! I felt like I had to take a cold-shower after Nick and Derek were interrupted during their slightly inebriated hook-up. Their relationship is red hot in part due to the mating instincts they have, but as the story progresses they begin to realize they have feelings for each other that go far beyond their basic instincts. I loved Nick as a heroine, she is willing to sacrifice everything for the people she cares most about and steps up to take care of her sister. Though she does have her moments of fear and doubt that makes her more real as a character. We also get to see more of the secondary characters in this book as well as Jackson Holt and Mackenzie from the first book and we meet Mama Holt. The more I read of Andrew (Derek's construction business partner) and Alec (slightly-crazy born werewolf and Jackson's business partner) the more I like them. They both have their own alpha male sexiness and I can't wait till they get their own books. I like Kat, Derek's cousin, as well, she is not only a psychic but an awesome tech goddess.

The shapeshifter politics also figure heavily into the plot and the prejudices the born shapeshifters have against the made shapeshifters. Nick and Derek are perfect for each other except in the eyes of the shapeshifter movers and shakers. Since Nick and Michelle's dad is the Alpha, the only bargaining chip that Nick has to save Michelle and Aaron's life is marriage and the position her potential husband would gain in werewolf society, a society that Derek doesn't understand and has no power in. The glimpses of Michelle and Aaron's relationship we see are charming as well as bittersweet since there's such a feeling of doom over their forbidden relationship. Things have never been easy for Michelle since she is always controlled by the Coven, the fight to save her child and lover is a difficult dance Nick has to play with the members of the Coven.

This book gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me: sexy romance, political intrigue, and difficult choices all mixed together to make a delicious story.

The next book in the series is Deadlock (there is a blurb about it on their website here) which won't be out until January of 2011. In the meantime there is going to be another Southern Arcana story that comes out in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance this year and you can check out their blog here where they answer all your Southern Arcana questions!


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

I really want to read these (are on the top of my TRB pile). After your review, I think I'm going to have to devote some time to the reading chair!


Heather (DarklyReading) said...

The books are definitely worth it! I loved them! Derek has one of the best lines ever in the second book when he says "That's lovin', dirty style" after a very sexy forest scene. The books are alot of fun!

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