Many of you may know Suzanne Johnson from her “Sentinels of New Orleans” series that includes Royal Street and River Road. What you may not know is that she also writes paranormal romance under the pen name Susannah Sandlin. Susannah’s “Penton Legacy” series currently has two books published and the third, Omega, will be released in early February. Thanks to the lovely author, BadassBookReviews received review copies of all three books in the series. Keep reading to find out a little about each one and be sure to come back on 8 Feb for a guest post from Susannah Sandlin featuring her newest lead characters, Will and Randa!
Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+
Redemption was a solid start to the “Penton Legacy” series. The storyline was engaging, the world was well-developed, and the characters were interesting. You can’t have a paranormal romance without some sexy scenes and this book had some hot ones!
Aidan was a great character to focus on for a first book. As the “mayor” of Penton, everything really is his responsibility and everyone depends on him. He was suitably angsty, pretty much internalizing the motto “with great power comes great responsibility,” but he didn’t come off as whiny. He was slow to trust people and let them into his life, but Ms. Sandlin did a good job of slowly revealing his past and how it had shaped him into the man… um, vampire he is today. Krys, on the other hand, was fairly open and trusting. She forgave easily and always tried to do the right thing, but she didn’t come off as goody goody or too gullible. She stood up for herself when she knew she was correct but could also admit to her mistakes. The romance between Aiden and Krys was sweet but their chemistry together was definitely hot. These two compliment each other and their pairing made two strong people even stronger together.
The side characters are just wonderful in this book. We’re introduced to quite a few of Penton’s residents, but especially Aiden’s lieutenants: Mirren, Lucy, Will, and Hannah. Aiden chose each one because they have a particular set of skills and valuable knowledge in different areas. Of the four, I really loved learning about Hannah. She’s such a tragic character, having been the daughter of a tribal shaman and turned into a vampire around the age of twelve. Mirren and Will are both alpha males, but they defer to Aidan and his leadership. Ms. Sandlin was able to give each a very unique personality and keep them from blending into one another. Lucy’s story was also interesting in this book. I don’t want to give anything away, but I was sad to see the way she ended up.
I love the world of Penton that Ms. Sandlin created. All the characters jelled together with the world-building elements into a believable, but still paranormal, setting. The overall conflict that was established in this book ensures many future battles for the residents of Penton, but I do hope we continue to see some happier moments mixed throughout. I definitely recommend this lesser-known series to all paranormal romance readers looking for a different take on vampire and the humans that are part of their lives.
Thank you to Susannah Sandlin for providing a review copy of this book!
Christal’s Review – 4.5 Skulls – A-
Absolution takes everything that was great about the debut novel and ratchets it up a notch. We learn more about the world and the characters and the main overarching conflict is kicked into overdrive. All this combined with two new compelling leads and Absolution read like a wild fire!
The previous book definitely piqued my curiosity about Mirren and I was happy to see he was the male lead this time around. He is one sexy mountain of a man, though I can’t shake the unfortunate comparison to Panthro from the Thunder Cats in my head. Make no mistake; Mirren is all vampire and one of the most deadly at that. Learning about the time he served as the Slayer for the Tribunal was fascinating and showed just how much he had changed and how Penton had affected him. Glory was a good foil for Mirren. She was a very strong character and wouldn’t let anyone push her around. She challenged him when he needed it and showed him how different he had become since his days as the Slayer. She knew about carrying hurt and darkness in your heart because of her background and she able to show Mirren how to share it. I liked that she had a little extra power that helped her to defend herself and gave Hannah someone to talk with since they were both descended from Muscogee shamans. I think Aiden and Krys are still my favorite couple, but I loved seeing Mirren learn to open up and love Glory. Plus, they had a really hot scene with handcuffs and bedposts.
We learned more about Will in this book and were introduced to his new partner Randa. Hannah was also given more page time here and I’m interested to see how her relationship with “cousin” Glory plays out. It was nice to see Aiden and Krys still get a little page time and it seems like her transformation at the end of the first book hasn’t affected their relationship at all. I like that the new characters are accepted and supported by the current Penton residents. It was good to see Glory connect with Melissa and Mark and I loved seeing her, Melissa, and Krys having “girl time.”
The conflict between Penton and Matthias was insane in this book. The war has well and truly begun. We knew that Matthias and most of the Tribunal were against Aiden, but I didn’t see the betrayal by one of his allies coming nor did I see the surprise death coming at the end. This was a very powerful entry into the series and I was very glad that I had the third book to jump right into after this one.
Thank you to Susannah Sandlin for providing a review copy of this book!
Christal’s Review – 4.5 Skulls – A
Omega was a huge turning point for this series! Susannah Sandlin wasn’t afraid to tear everything she has built down and remake it into something new. The change of scenery made this entry feel very fresh and the lead characters were a lot of fun.
Will’s father is Matthias, enemy of the Penton scathe. He has worked his whole life to get away and not let his father change him. Penton is where Will belongs but he is not above sacrificing himself if it means everyone gets to be safe. I like Will because he has a quick wit and an easy smile, but behind it he is hiding the psychological damage caused by his father. Though they argue quite a bit at first, he and Randa soon recognize each other as kindred spirits and allow one another to become comfortable in their own skins. I really liked Randa; she was the first lead female that could hold her own physically with the big boys. She was also very smart and a good military tactician. I think she and Will will be a very fun couple to watch as they develop their mate bond. They spend a lot of this book pretty beaten up so the love scenes weren’t quick as frequent as the other two books, but I did love their playfulness at Randa’s military-issued “granny panties.”
This is the first book to have a really dominate third point of view, Aidan’s newest lieutenant Cage. I have to say that Cage almost stole the show for me. I loved him, especially when he was working with Will or Hannah. He is caught in a very uncomfortable love triangle at the moment, but Ms. Sandlin is able to take even this cliché and make it something unique and touching. I’m not going to say who the other two characters are but suffice it to say, the circumstances were pretty surprising. I like that other Penton residents come into and fade out of the story as necessary without feeling like the series is becoming filled with too many characters. The main vampires and their mates & fams anchor the story and help to keep the main plotline on track.
I really enjoyed the inclusion of Randa’s human family into the story. The resolution was creative but still felt feasible. I loved how the Tribunal got a bit of comeuppance at the end and I can’t say I’m sorry to see Matthias meet his fate. This book seems to have wrapped up the original trilogy, but I hope that there are more Penton books on the way. I must know more about Cage and how his love life works out and I want to see what happens to Hannah as she develops her powers. More please, Ms. Sandlin!
Thank you to Susannah Sandlin for providing an ARC copy of this book!
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