Southern Arcana Read Along: Cipher Chat

Welcome to the final discussion in the Southern Arcana Read Along. We’ve had three great chats (CruxCrossroads & Deadlock) leading up to Cipher, Kat and Andrew’s story. YAY!! Finally we get Kat and Andrews story!! Let’s get started.

Cipher

 

***Since this is a discussion there may be spoilers***

The Hero: After Andrew Callaghan was turned in a vicious attack, he distanced himself from Kat. He was out of control and dangerous and he spent their time apart training trying to adjust to his new shifter nature. He worked hard to learn control and skills to be able to protect the woman he loves. Now he has begun to find his place in his new life as a shifter and he has never stopped loving Kat.

The Heroine: Kat is a powerful empath. When Andrew was attacked and nearly killed she lost control of her powers and destroyed Andrew’s attackers. She was totally devastated and felt responsible for what happened to Andrew. When he left her broken hearted she focused on learning how to control her empath powers and trying to make sense of her life. Now she has received information about her mother and the cult she was involved in and Kat has called on Andrew to help her investigate.

Summary: A year ago, Andrew and Kat had feelings for each other – they wanted a relationship. But that was until the one fateful night Kat lost control of her empath abilities, and as a result, Andrew was turned into a shapeshifter. Both in a bad place, they drifted apart. Kat went to her mentor Callum, to learn control and discipline with her extremely strong empath abilities. Andrew went to fellow shapeshifter , Alec to learn how to lead his new life. How to protect the ones he loves, and use his shifter abilities to take down those that try to hurt his friends.

Now a year later, these two have awkward, stilted conversations. They both feel it is their fault for what happened all those months ago. When Kat learns of information about her mother and the cult she was involved in years ago, the only person around she can turn to is Andrew. Forced to take a road trip, they have lots of time to be together, and talk about the past. As Kat digs deeper into the psychic world her mother tried to protect her from, she discovers there are those that want to harm her, and now Andrew and herself are put to the test.

Thoughts:

Mandi: The love scenes in this one are very intimate and sexy. I always say Moira Rogers writes good sex, and they don’t disappoint in this book. I also enjoyed the overall mystery with the cult and I think the ending conflict/action scene is done really well.

My main sticking point with this book is the lack of tension and conflict in Andrew and Kat’s relationship. In previous books, the tension between these two is so strong, when we finally get their book, they take on an exhausted, almost defeated tone. They get together way too easy in my opinion – I wanted them to have to work a little harder to become a couple. I feel like there is something lacking between them and this book doesn’t work as well for me as the previous ones in the series.

Sophia: I love second chance romances and I really loved that after a separation and attempts at other relationships Andrew and Kat were able come together and reconcile. I really liked the conflict in this one and I like that the author(s) have created world where not all supernaturals are playing for the same team. Although Kat is human, she is gifted and fits in more with the supernatural world. However she has much to fear in this world as well.

I had problems with Kat’s self loathing and guilt. Although both Andrew and Kat feel guilt for what happened in the attack, Kat’s self loathing became too much for me at some point because it was so extreme. Even after she and Andrew had begun to reconcile, Kat she held on to the guilt.

Nicole: I always love the friends to lovers stories, and the fact that after EVERYTHING Kat and Andrew had been through, they were finally able to put aside their fears and guilt and just be together, as they always wanted to be… *sigh*

Honestly, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book. The plot moved quickly and advanced the overall story arc, the sexy times were smokin’ hot and I thought the romance was on par given their history. I guess the only thing that grated on my nerves was the fact that they both had such a hard time forgiving themselves (and honestly, each other) for that “dreadful night”

Favorite Quotes

Sophia:

“Except you’re warm. And surprisingly cuddly, for a big mean council member.”

“That’s exactly what it says on my business cards.”

Mandi:

Reached up and framed his face with her hands, and shivered at the texture of his beard against her palms. I will never be afraid of you, Andrew Callaghan.”

Nicole:

“You’re my thing. Wanting you is the only thing in my life that hasn’t changed.”

Discussion Questions

1. What did you think of the romance between Kat and Andrew? Do you feel they finally got the romance they deserve? Did they come together too easily.

2. Do you think Kat should have gotten over the guilt of the attack quicker than she did?

3. There have been many more characters introduced. Who are you most looking forward to reading more about?

4. Callum is an intriguing character. He is Kat’s mentor and has taught her how to deal with her empathy well. He’s described at “stuffy and proper”, but surely he’s a bad-ass right? What are your thoughts on him?

5. What did you think of the bad guys this time? Did they seem more evil than the previous Southern Arcana villains?

6. “She’d dreamed of pirates. The sexy, swashbuckling kind with ambiguous sexuality and a historically improbable lack of STDs.” <—where can I read about these kinds of pirates? *waggles eyebrows*

Comments

  1. says

    I’m a sucker for a friends to lovers story too :P I loved their romance and omg it was so hot! I think it would have been unreal for Kat to get over the guilt earlier than she did because she and Andrew had avoided each other, everything was dependent upon them talking and moving on or getting closure. The time it took seemed reasonable to me. Sniff sniff, he learned First Aid for HER. Sniff sniff.
    I like new possibilities with Anna and Patrick! yes, who IS this Callum?
    And I kinda liked that they blew Ben’s brains all over Kat. That was kinda cool. But poor Ben LOL

  2. Jen B. says

    1. What did you think of the romance between Kat and Andrew? Do you feel they finally got the romance they deserve? Did they come together too easily. I don’t think there was anything easy about Kat and Andrew’s relationship was easy.

    2. Do you think Kat should have gotten over the guilt of the attack quicker than she did? I was happy that Kat never really got over it but began to understand that this is her world. Kat shouldn’t feel guilty for protecting herself and those she loves but I can certainly see why she would carry it with her forever.

    3. There have been many more characters introduced. Who are you most looking forward to reading more about? JULIO!!!! I love him just a little. Sera has real possibility. And, of course, I am still hoping for Michelle to get her HEA!

    4. Callum is an intriguing character. He is Kat’s mentor and has taught her how to deal with her empathy well. He’s described at “stuffy and proper”, but surely he’s a bad-ass right? What are your thoughts on him? I think Callum’s description was a red herring. But, the reality is, someone like Callum would be on the short hit list so I worry that he might be the next to die.

    5. What did you think of the bad guys this time? Did they seem more evil than the previous Southern Arcana villains? I didn’t feel like they were evil. I kept thinking they were all insane. The things they did were evil but I think cults tend to be like that.

    6. “She’d dreamed of pirates. The sexy, swashbuckling kind with ambiguous sexuality and a historically improbable lack of STDs.” <—where can I read about these kinds of pirates? *waggles eyebrows* HAHAHA!

    I have a question….Is there going to be part of the series taking place in Wyoming? Are we going to learn about the political culture in Wyoming? Does John Peyton get a HEA? Is this series endless because I can't imagine there being an ending!

  3. says

    1. I was really disappointed in the romance between them. Their interactions in the previous books together had always seemed so intense and tension filled. I guess I went into the book expecting that and was very let down that I didn’t get it. Their romance was pretty mellow and quiet and *cough*boring*cough*.

    I’m starting to think that this author can only write (or only prefers to write) relationships that are more emotional and full of talking and exploring their feelings, rather than anything intense. That’s how all the relationships have been (for me) to date, but I enjoyed it previously because it seemed to suit the characters. Here it made Kat and Andrew seem blah and boring. It was all too easy and I was sick to death of the endless talking and angsting about how dangerous they were. Yet they didn’t have to overcome anything to be together other than getting over themselves. :(

    I was also unimpressed with Andrews reasons for staying away from Kat in the beginning and hooking up with Anna. I don’t dispute his (and her) right to be with someone else until they worked something out, but, really? That was his lame reason? I would have rather he have just expressed honest regret instead of expecting her (and me!) to swallow that BS. Too bad she did. :

    2. I don’t know. Her emo-ness kind of dominated the book, so it made it hard for me to pinpoint what was a valid length of time for angsting, because she angsted over everything. At one point in the book we see this line in her narrative, and that pretty much nailed her character for me.

    She’d wallowed and moped and done everything but etch emo poetry into her arm, because she was so dangerous and so dark.

    I ended up not liking her much, which is funny because I loved her before.

    3. I’m still interested in seeing more on Sera and Julio. That hasn’t changed. :)

    4. Umm. No thoughts really. I don’t think we’ve ever really seen him, so I have no curiosity there. He’s just been this self-help sort of voice for Kat.

    5. Not really. Their big plot (or at least the original one) was pretty horrifying, especially because her own mom was involved, but they seemed pretty easily found and defeated.

    6. Captain Jack, where are you? ;)

  4. Karen C says

    1. What did you think of the romance between Kat and Andrew? Do you feel they finally got the romance they deserve? Did they come together too easily? I don’t think there was anything easy about their relationship/romance; I liked watching them struggle through it and think they are going to be very happy. I loved the give and take, the ‘sass’ and OMG, the sex was hot. Seriously hot.

    2. Do you think Kat should have gotten over the guilt of the attack quicker than she did? On one hand, all that angst did get a bit tiring, but what else might have changed with the story if she had? On the other, it was interesting watching her work through it.

    3. There have been many more characters introduced. Who are you most looking forward to reading more about? Definitely interested in Julio and Sera, but I want more about Patrick (deep sigh, he’s just hot) and Anna, too.

    4. Callum is an intriguing character. He is Kat’s mentor and has taught her how to deal with her empathy well. He’s described as “stuffy and proper”, but surely he’s a bad-ass right? What are your thoughts on him? I don’t really have any thoughts about him; all we saw was Kat remembering things he taught her.

    5. What did you think of the bad guys this time? Did they seem more evil than the previous Southern Arcana villains? Certainly was more intense and scary and the things they did were certainly evil. More nasty skills. That kind of control is really scary.

    I have really enjoyed this series and hate that we have to wait so long for more!

  5. Debbie S says

    Well here I am late again! Had to work the last few days and after 12 hours don’t want to do much but sleep.
    I loved how you handled the relationship with Kat and Andrew. The emotion, excitement and how they reacted to it was great. No I don’t think they came together too easily, they spent a whole year trying not to, and I think they got the relationship they deserved from the beginning.

    I don’t think she should have, sometimes guilt follows us. Learning to overcome that was all a part of healing for her. She had to come to that on her own.

    Patrick, I want to know more! Then maybe Miguel.

    Don’t know about Callum not a whole lot of info out on him, he is kind of mysterious. The fact that he is the top of his class makes him sound like he is strong, really strong, kind of like Andrew.

    Don’t think they were more evil, just more evil in a torture kind of way. Violence was up in this book, very graphic images with Ben and Kat.

    Don’t we all dream of Pirates!!! I dream but in reality probably would not like it.

    Enjoyed the books, enjoyed the chats, very creative way to promote your books. I hadn’t read your books prior to this and now have a new series to follow, thank you so much. Any hints on the next?????

  6. says

    1. I didn’t feel it was too easy, though after reading Mandi’s comment I can see it a little. I guess I just recalled every lingering look and tension-filled room in the previous books. These two never stopped wanting each other. They both retreated for their own reasons. Throw the two together in the life-threatening situations they faced and I can see why Andrew’s wall crumbled quickly. He was no longer the biggest threat to her–he could swoop in and be alpha-male without fearing he was the worst thing for her. Because in those situations…being without him would have increased her danger.

    2. With Kat I felt like I wanted to throttle her for the self-loathing, but I don’t know that it would have worked if she’d simply just gotten over it…not when this has been building for so long. And I kinda liked that she cursed herself for it later.

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