“Having a dying assassin in your kitchen is not a good start to anyone’s day, but it’s marginally better than facing a live one. And Nick Avery knows that things are only going to get worse. He’s been betrayed – but by whom? Finding the answer to this question, clearing his name of a false murder...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Having a dying assassin in your kitchen is not a good start to anyone’s day, but it’s marginally better than facing a live one. And Nick Avery knows that things are only going to get worse. He’s been betrayed – but by whom? Finding the answer to this question, clearing his name of a false murder charge, and trying to rebuild a relationship with his two daughters after their mother’s suicide are only some of the goals Nick has to achieve. Staying alive would be a good start.
Can Lilian Love, owner of the Monarch Inn and champion of the monarch butterfly, help Nick attain his goals? Betrayed herself by her husband, the man she thought had loved her, Lilian is also struggling to find peace. Then Nick re-enters her life, dumping his daughters on her for their safety, and a spark of love is kindled. But Nick is still being hunted, and danger stalks the Monarch Inn. Peace and safety are a long way off.
Monarch is a tightly-written, exciting and fast-moving thriller with plenty of emotion and suspense thrown in. Ms Argyle handles the action deftly, keeping the reader entranced to the end. If you like your spy novels laced with mystery and romance, then this is the book for you. Highly recommended.
“Gave up on this one, just couldn't get interested.”Leigh Ann Martin wrote this review Wednesday, June 27, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I must say how surprised I am by just how much I loved Monarch. When I first read about it, I thought it sounded interesting. When I got my hands on it I found it really hard to put down. I mainly read paranormal romance books but I do enjoy other genre's, suspense thrillers being one of them. I must say the added touch of a little romance made it all the more thrilling in my opinion. From the very beginning Nick kept me at the edge of my seat but then you throw in his complicated history with woman and the two women he is drawn to and you have one heck of a thrill ride. I loved the fact that these characters made mistakes but were also able to own up to them and work through them, in turn, making them a well rounded character. I loved Michelle's writing style. I never got lost once when she would go from present day to back when Nick was on a mission 3 years prior. I also loved how even though Nick had done some things for the CIA in the past he was able to show he had a conscience and he wasn't just a spy with no moral compass. Yes, he killed people in the name of our government, but he had a soul yearning for redemption. But like everyone he also had doubts on whether he could change and be that man, or that dad his daughters, Clara and Violet, needed him so desperately to be. Lillian is a woman from Nick's past that he can't seem to forget. He runs to he inn looking for safety until he can figure out his next move. Going to the inn introduces us to Devon, Lillian's son, and Rachel a girl who used to work in Lillian's cake shop where Nick first met Lil. We get to learn about their lives and we get to learn about Nick's life and how they all in some way, shape, or form interconnect with each other. On a scale from 1-10 I give Monarch a 10. I LOVED IT from beginning to end. If you are looking for a contemporary thriller with elements of romance then you really need to pick yourself up a copy of Monarch. I can't wait to read other books by Michelle.”Raquel V wrote this review Tuesday, October 18, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle is one of those stay up all night because you can't put it down reads - which is exactly what I did.
Lillian is an emotional woman holding the past close to her heart. When Nick steps back into her life, the past comes flooding back like a broken dam bringing danger and mixed feelings with it.
Nick is on the run, accused of murder. As he sets out to prove his innocence, running to the only place he thinks is safe, Lillian not only provides a safe haven for his girls who also are in danger from his past, but for his heart as well.
Nick was on assignment when Kyle, who he thought he could trust, turns on him. Wanting the power from Ferriera's Cartel, Kyle kills who he thought was Ferriera's wife, Catarina, and places the blame on Nick. Now that Nick has gone back to Brazil to clear his name, obtaining pertinent information froM Catarina against her husband, Kyle must make sure the information to clear his name doesn't make it back to the CIA. Catarina's motive, keeping her son Alex from growing up like his father, Nick's motive, proving his innocence to move on with his life, to love freely and live happily ever after.
Argyle did such a fantastic job with this story. The Monarch butterflies was a brilliant addition to this thriller, and jumping from the past to the present to let us know Nick's backstory and what is currently happening was so effectively written, I never got lost at any point. Argyle's writing style is just phenomenal.
I loved Nick from the get-go. He is strong and silent, holding many secrets as the turmoil within him of wanting to tell all was played out.
Lillian is very emotional, trying to deal with the past and the present, realizing that Nick is all she wants.
Devan is strong and protective of his mother, all the while wishing happiness for all.
I didn't have any problem connecting with any of these characters, and the plot was so good that you could not put it down until you found out how it all ended. Kudos to Argyle for such a great story and I am so glad I had a chance to review her work with Monarch. I can't wait to see more from her”
“Monarch is a tale about two families thrown together by history and current circumstance. Both sides evolve and in the end, metamorphosis into something new. Although designed around a suspense/thriller premise, this story lingers more on the emotional, sentimental aspects of relationships, family, divorce and career. The story does not belong to a main character, but rather is shared equally by several and by doing so, a distinct voice speaks for all. This approach works in the overall telling of the story, but doesn't lend to give depth and personality to individual characters. Reactions to events were similar as far as emotional response, which left me wondering if this were a collective consciousness or wishful thinking driving the plot toward a happier ending. Because of this, some interactions did not seem genuine or natural. If you are looking for a softer side of suspense with a dash of chick lit sentimentality, you'll enjoy Monarch.”Courtlandia wrote this review Monday, August 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“For those of you who've read this Contemporary Thriller, what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?
For those of you who haven't, what are you waiting for? Grab your self a copy and let's get chatting!
Here we go!...
Monarch is a somewhat intense, romantic and suspenseful thriller that may keep you guessing and slightly intrigued, but fails to address some pretty prominent parts of the whole. While easy flowing with plenty of potential, readers my find themselves left feeling rather hallow at the conclusion of their reading experience. Too many questions are left unanswered in spite of an implied importance to the overall.
What is the significance of the repeated mention of the Monarch Butterfly? Sure, Lilian loves them and cares for their fate, but what purpose do they serve in the grand scheme of things? Perhaps I just don’t get it, but I certainly did not discover enough of a significance to warrant a book title.
Lilian Love, while fairly well written, is a weak and indecisive character who is ultimately stuck in the past. A middle-aged divorcee with a B&B business she can be proud of, one would think that Lilian would rise above and realize the potential for her future. Here’s this gorgeous man who’s suddenly reappeared in her life and all she can do is mope and pine for him while he’s gone? Oh! And let's not forget that she’s still stuck on her ex-husband and hung-up on the failure of their marriage.
Why do Nick and Clara blame Violet for her mother’s murder? Sure, Violet was there when it happened, but it is never full explained as to why Nick and Clara hold her accountable. Throughout the novel there is an intense animosity between Clara and her sister and the lack of love that Nick displays for Violet, his own daughter, is really quite sad. Sure, at the conclusion of Monarch, Nick ultimately realizes his folly makes amends with Violet, but seriously! What could this poor girl have done that was so horrible? There must have been something; unfortunately Mrs. Davidson Argyle failed to share this with her audience.
All this aside, Michelle is a technically fantastic writer. The story flows well, descriptions are clear and concise, and for the most part, foundation is solid.
Please don’t discount Monarch simply because I’ve failed to be fully satisfied. I am the first to admit that I feel like I have “missed” something and perhaps Monarch and I are just not a great fit. Plenty of room for discussion here readers!”
“The novel begins with some information about the Monarch butterfly; their journey, their tenacity despite many obstacles, and the dangers they currently face. These are beautiful creatures, and obviously dear to Michelle’s heart. They are also central to the story line. Michelle’s use of symbolism has always impressed me. She manages to weave the Monarchs into every facet of the novel in a way that gives greater meaning to the story without it feeling forced. In fact, these days when I think about symbolism, I think of Michelle, as well as all the classes on Othello I did in high school
I was intrigued to see how she would blend a thriller with drama/romance, and was pleased that it wasn’t done in the typical fashion. The characters are not sleek and perfect, they have faults which at times make it seem as though they will never get what they really want. I thought it was refreshing that Nick and his love interest were older, too – I’ve not come across that in many of the novels I’ve read lately. Main characters with grown children was a new angle for me, and brought with it a whole different set of difficulties which I enjoyed exploring.
That said, I found the character I connected with most was Lilian’s son, Devan. I can’t really put my finger on the reason, perhaps it was simply that as someone closer to Devan’s age bracket, I could identify with his issues the most.
While this novel was not quite up my alley, it’s definitely a well written story. Michelle has an impressive grasp on the technical skills of writing and I think this book will appeal to anyone who enjoys their thrillers with very human characters, rather than with the flash and panache of say, James Bond.”
“ Quite an enjoyable read! I rarely read thrillers, but I'm glad I read this one. My fear that the CIA agent storyline would bore me and possibly be hard to follow was groundless.
The characters were well fleshed out, warts and all. The author deftly entwined the action story with a love story, switching back and forth, without any confusion and the breaks were just long enough to build the tension, but not make me want to skip anything to get back to the other story. I found both stori...moreQuite an enjoyable read! I rarely read thrillers, but I'm glad I read this one. My fear that the CIA agent storyline would bore me and possibly be hard to follow was groundless.
The characters were well fleshed out, warts and all. The author deftly entwined the action story with a love story, switching back and forth, without any confusion and the breaks were just long enough to build the tension, but not make me want to skip anything to get back to the other story. I found both stories satisfying.
As a bonus, I learned a bit about Monarch butterflies. :-) ”
“Argyle's "Monarch" is, at first blush, a mash-up of the romance and thriller genres with a dash of espionage thrown in. While my characterization of the novel may come across as dismissive, the blending of the two styles actually works quite well. Argyle starts "Monarch" off with a literal bang (or rather a muffled 'pop' from a silenced gun) during a failed assassination attempt. Here we are introduced to one of three principal characters: CIA officer, Nick Avery.
Nick has troubles with the ladies, to say the least. His previous wife committed suicide, his daughters are distant both emotionally and geographically, and the one person who can help clear his name is the wife of a drug lord hidden somewhere in Brazil. Only slightly more important than saving face and staying alive is finding the woman who might just redeem his soul. And here we come to Lilian Love.
Lilian runs the rustic Monarch Inn in the secluded woodland of West Virginia. With the help of her twenty-six year old son Devan, she plays host to honeymooners, travelers and scientists all looking to get a glimpse of the Monarch butterflies during their migration. In Lilian and Devan, Argyle introduces us to the other two principal points of view. She allows each character to develop their own personality throughout their respective chapters and it's done in a way that never becomes boring or predictable.
Nick is clearly the driver of the action in this story and there's plenty of it. While he seems to mess up more than he gets right, luck stays on his side for the most part. The fight scenes are well crafted and entertaining without being over-the-top. The comparison of survival in the harsh Brazilian jungle to the relaxing atmosphere of the West Virginia woods is nicely done (although events cause those two settings to crash together in a very satisfying climax!) Nick, while borderline incompetent with his trust at times, means well and comes off as a good-hearted fatherly type who deserves to win out at the end of the day.
Devan, whom I related to the most (probably because I'm a late-twenties male who's been in love triangles/affairs/what have you...) is a late-twenties male who gets caught up in a love triangle (fancy that!) when Nick drops off his similarly-aged daughters, Clara and Violet, at the Inn for safe keeping. It was great to read through Devan's reactions as he tried to figure out just how to handle these women and just what to do with his own life.
The one issue I did have with Devan's character came early on when Nick first shows up at the Inn. Devan knows Nick and his mother, Lilian, have a bit of a past. He also knows that his mother is still crushed over the divorce from Devan's father. When Nick shows up on the scene with his slick words and overly helpful attitude, Devan seems to take it in stride like it is no big deal. As the only son of a divorced mother, that is NOT the way I would have reacted. The Inn is Devan's territory and Lilian is his to protect. Even if he eventually had no say in the matter, Devan made things a bit to easy on Nick and thus missed out on, not only a realistic portrayal, but also a building of conflict that could have resolved later on.
On to Lilian. Though she is arguably the most important character in the novel, I found myself liking her the least. Now hold on, let me explain! Throughout the story, I found her to be too pliable, a doormat, a wandering spirit with no purpose or direction. To me, she wallowed too much in her past relationships and reflected too often on their failures. For a time, all of the relationships in "Monarch" were about as shallow as those in a paranormal, young adult novel you'd buy off the supermarket shelf. But about halfway through, they pick up, add depth and develop into something that's got a bit of a nasty bite to it as well as hope for a silver lining. Like any romance worth is words, Argyle layers the paths connecting her characters so that it actually means something when one of them is hurt, or even killed; all the more so when they end up happy.
Back to Lilian. I mentioned how much I didn't like her early on. I kept waiting for her to wake up, to snap out of it, to stand up for herself. I'm happy to say that Argyle did not disappoint. There's a dark little scene towards the end that forces Lilian to take control, if only for a moment; it was enough to put me back on her side.
And then it hit me...the Monarchs, these fragile little creatures that have been a major theme throughout the story. They're at the mercy of countless events that are beyond their control. They lack the strength to resist a strong wind or to fly through heavy rains, yet still they persist. They weather storms and droughts and declines in their population. They go through a physical metamorphosis that changes them from inside-out, wholly, completely.
Once that revelation hit me while reading the last few pages of "Monarch," it made me appreciate all of the characters that much more. Each of them evolved in their own way and none of them were simple or one-dimensional. Even the villains had some gray areas to them, making them more human and less cartoonish. It's a revelation that warrants another read of "Monarch" to fully appreciate the journey. I hope that, whether you're a fan of romance or spy-thrillers or just fantastic writing in general, you'll give Michelle Davidson Argyle's "Monarch" a try! ”
“Nick doesn’t live a typical life, and this is driven home immediately at the beginning of the book, which opens with him watching the blood of an assassin, whom he has just killed, stain the floor of his kitchen. Nick works for the CIA in the DEA division; he has been in Brazil for two years now trying to take down a major drug cartel; but things become nasty when the drug lord, Ferreria, learns about Nick. How will Nick escape his fate? He is a widower – his wife died of a drug overdose 10 years ago – and his two daughters are grown. He doesn’t want to put them in danger, and he needs somewhere to hide where neither Ferreria’s men nor the CIA can find him. Then he remembers Lilian.
This is a fast-moving thriller, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reading glued to the page. The characters are all well-developed and multi-faceted, with complex interactions; how the author kept all the strings from tangling together I don’t know, but she succeeds beautifully in maintaining all the separate aspects of the story; thrills, chills, betrayal, romance – it’s all there and all wonderfully done. In addition, there are many passages that talk about monarch butterflies, the danger they are in due to loss of habitat, and giving the reader more information in general about this fascinating creatures. Sometimes when book has a “message” like this, it seems forced or over-bearing, but the author in this case fit it into the context of the story and made it smooth and interesting.
I highly recommend this book for fans of thrillers, suspense and spy novels, and romantic suspense. Don’t miss out on a chance to buy and read it! My thanks to Rhemalda Publishing for providing a copy for me to read and review.”