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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MONARCH by Michelle Davidson Argylle (ARC giveaway)

Important Stats
Genre Contemporary Thriller/Military Action/Spies
Re-Readable Yes
Recommend to a Friend Yes
If This Book Were a Movie it would be the movie that wins standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival, creates legends, and becomes a major holiday action movie.
The Swag Pack An ARC (advanced reader copy) of MONARCH, a MONARCH book mark with author's autograph, and a small poster. Post a comment to win.

The Blurb

Nick’s life as a CIA spy should be fulfilling, but it has only given him unhappiness — a wife who committed suicide and two daughters who resent everything he has become. Now, stuck in the Amazon on the last mission of his career, he must track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the U.S. has tried to bring down for years. If he succeeds, he’ll have the chance to start his life over again.

Just when he’s on the brink of catching Ferreira, he’s framed for a murder that turns his world upside down. His only chance of survival lies in West Virginia where Lilian Love, a woman from his past, owns the secluded Monarch Inn. He’s safe, but not for long …

The blood pooling on the floor under the assassin’s back reminded Nick of butterfly wings. It spread from the twin wounds and sparkled in the sunlight filtering through the kitchen window.

The dying man’s words came between gasps. “I’m not the only one, Avery. The others will get you. Both sides.”

My Thoughts
I have such mixed emotions about this book. I was there when Michelle decided to write something for NaNoWriMo. I saw the first drafts. I saw several subsequent drafts. This is like watching my best friend's baby girl head out for prom night. I know all the details and drama and love and work that went into this book. It was totally worth it...

In the end it all came down to style. I love the story. Michelle has a strong Voice and a personal writing style you will see in all her books. It's distinctive and enjoyable.

-- The Good --
MONARCH has a killer opening, literally. I find it hard to refuse a book that opens with a bang and isn't ashamed to flaunt it's body count. And while the action is an unapologetic thriller the characters are refreshingly real. Most books in the thriller genre have tough as nails main character who always has the right answer. MONARCH has characters who, although well-trained, still question their choices. They are at times unsure, and they make mistakes.

--The Bad--
The downside to seeing the early drafts and commenting on them is that I came into reading MONARCH with strong opinions, so I handed my Bad List to DH and asked him to fact check. What it came down to in the end is a style issues. The characters in MONARCH aren't perfect, and that's a big mental switch to make when you walk into a genre with established tropes.

There were points where I questioned whether character was acting their age, and if they weren't if that was an issue or was it part of them - you know - having a personality. Still, this is going to be the largest stumbling block for readers not familiar with Michelle's style.

Who Should Read This Book?
Thriller fans will enjoy this new take on the familiar game of Save The Day. Literary aficionados will appreciate the symbolism throughout the book. And those helpless romantics who are always looking for the silver lining will find their happy ending here.

Michelle has been writing since a very young age. She graduated from Utah Valley University with a BA in English/Creative Writing in the winter of 2002. To date, she has completed five novels. Bonded will be released Fall 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing.

If she’s not writing, she’s playing with her daughter and husband or taking pictures. If it’s winter, she’s wishing it was summer. She currently resides in the Rocky Mountains.

Michelle is an avid blogger and currently runs her own blog, The Innocent Flower, as well as The Literary Lab, which she co-authors with the amazing Scott G.F. Bailey and Davin Malasarn. She is also an editor/publisher of “The Literary Lab Presents …” series of anthologies, an annual non-profit publication that donates all proceeds to charity.

You can find Michelle at her author site or her blogs:

Want to win the swag pack? Leave a comment telling us about your favorite fall event. I'm pretty sure Michelle's is the annual butterfly migration. Winner will be by random selection Friday morning.


  1. I'm loving the image in that excerpt. Apropos.

    Fav fall event: the colors of the leaves. I'm something of a pyro, so when all the trees are flaming gold/red/orange/yellow I'm way happy.

  2. Like you, I read an early version of this story so it will be exciting to hold the finished copy in my hands! My favorite fall event? Carving pumpkins and then roasting the seeds with the kids.

  3. Sounds like a good page-turner. Our favorite part of fall is taking the kids for long walks in the "spooky woods" without it being too hot. Tons to see and learn.

  4. I love the Trunk-Or-Treat that our church does every year. Everyone goes all-out to make their car trunks spooky, then the kids go around and trick or treat at all the cars in the parking lot. It's a lot safer than wandering around the neighborhood and more fun!

  5. Thanks so much for the chance. My favorite fall event is Halloween. Seeing the kids dress up


  6. I love the way the fall smells! Thanks for a chance to win Michelle's new novel!
    becsloveless (at)gmail.com

  7. My favorite fall event is when school starts. And, no, not because my kids are out of the house. I just remember all the newness and possibility of those crisp fall mornings, in new school clothes, that I experienced as a child.

  8. I live in Puerto Rico, which means its usually summer time year 'round. But while I was growing up in Michigan, I'd have to say that my favorite fall event would have to be seening the leaves on the trees turn colors, then raking them up into huge piles and juming into them with my younger brother and sister.