Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monarch Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway!)

***Giveaway Now Closed***

Welcome to my stop on the Monarch blog tour! First off, I'd like to say "Happy Launch Day" to Michelle Davidson Argyle, the author of Monarch. Her second novel and debut book from Rhemalda Publishing released today, September 15 2011. 

When Michelle asked for potential reviewers and participants for this tour on her blog, I immediately threw my name into the pile. And I'm glad I did because Monarch is a gritty, detailed, emotional-fueled page-turner! Continue reading to check out the official synopsis, book trailer, my personal thoughts, and a chance to win your own copy from the publisher.

The Book...

By Michelle Davidson Argyle

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 Nick is 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…

Monarch is published by Rhemalda Publishing.  
Click here to read an excerpt.

My Thoughts...

Monarch is a contemporary thriller full of suspense, drama, and emotional-fueled characters/moments. While I like a good action/suspense story, I don't generally read this genre. (I'm more likely to watch a thriller than read a thriller.) But Michelle hooked me with her descriptions of the story, and I wasn't disappointed!

This book was quite the page-turner and therefore a relatively quick read for me. It's rich in details and descriptions, though many are gritty, violent, and could be disturbing to younger or sensitive readers. (Note the mention of murder, CIA, drug lord, suicide, etc from the blurb above.) But it also has some beautiful and cathartic moments mixed within.

Below are the four main factors that made Monarch such a good read for me:

1) Characters: Despite all the action and suspense, this book at its heart is a character-driven story. The story is told in an altering three-person perspective, allowing the reader to "see" the plot revealed through the main characters' "eyes". And each character (Nick, Lilian, and Devan) has their own individual voice, which is clearly distinct from the others. For me, this really helped me get into each characters' "head".

2) Psychology: There is also a lot of symbolism and psychological reasoning within the book. As the title would suggest, monarch butterflies play an important role in the story (in more ways than one). Michelle uses this and other "symbols" to reveal both the plot and the characters (which I loved). The book also displays varying types of relationships from romantic (husband and wife, lovers) to family (father and daughters, mother and son).

3) Setting: It takes place at various locations, which Michelle does a beautiful job of describing. Each location has a realistic feel to it that made it easy to imagine the world in which the characters live and work. Much like the characters having their own voices, each setting had its own feel/mood about it.

4) Plot: From the first sentence of the book, you are drawn into the suspense: "The blood pooling on the floor under the assassin's back reminded Nick of butterfly wings." (Remeber the symbolism I mentioned above?) What happened? Why did it happen? Questions buzz all around as the reader moves further into the story. And even when answers appear, they often only lead to more questions. The mystery is deliciously drawn out through the use of flashbacks and current moments in a non-linear style. Just when you think you know or understand, another plot twist and piece of the puzzle is revealed. (I will note that one of these plot twists seemed rather obvious to me, but it didn't distract or diminish from the suspense. Perhaps it was meant to be obvious?)

Recommend if you enjoy suspenseful thrillers, gritty action tales, or emotionally-charged stories revolving around multiple characters.

Meet The Author...

Michelle is a mother, artist, and writer who lives in the Rocky Mountains with her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She writes contemporary, literary, and fantasy fiction. To date she has released two novels, Cinders and Monarch. The Breakaway will be released in 2012 and Bonded will be released in 2013. 

A Little More Info
Michelle graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor's Degree in English/Creative Writing in 2002. Her short fiction has been published in the University of New Mexico's national literary journal, Scribendi, 2002, the Rose & Thorn Journal, 2010, Suspense Magazine, June 2011, and Stories for Sendai Anthology, 2011. She served as the editor-in-chief of Utah Valley University's literary magazine and has won awards for her short stories. She is also an editor/publisher of “The Literary Lab Presents…” series of anthologies.

Michelle believes imagination is the only rule in fiction. This is the foundation of her writing, and she plans to strengthen it with each and every story she writes.

Oh, and she likes peanut butter and tomato sandwiches. And cheese. Lots and lots of good cheese.

***Want to win a copy of Monarch?***

Rhemalda Publishing is allowing members of the blog tour to give away one copy of Michelle's book. All you have to do to enter is be a follower and leave a comment with your email address. (Make sure you also leave your follower name in your comment.) You can get extra entries if you:
+1 Tweet about this post (please leave me a link or 
mention me in the link: @MayDay_Aura)
+1 Facebook it (please leave me a link)
+1 Blog about it (again, please leave me a link)

Closing date for this giveaway will be: Thursday September 29 at 11:59 PM CST. (I will email the winner that Friday and publicly announce them in my Saturday October 1st post.) Good luck!

(For warning, I have to approve all comments before they are published on here. So if you post a comment but don't see it, just be patient and wait. Check back later in the day and it'll probably be posted. If not, then re-post the comment.)

(Elvish Farewell)


  1. I just got my copy. I can't wait to read it!

  2. Yay I am a follower and would love to win a copy of the book! :)

  3. I posted about the giveaway on your blog on my facebook page, link...

  4. I posted a blog about it, link

  5. Great giveaway!! I tweeted it and posted on my facebook: (if the facebook link doesnt work, just look up Ashley Anne Applebee :)
    Ashley A

  6. Oh and I'm a follower too: Ashley Applebee :)
    Ashley A

  7. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    I am a GFC follower: Amy@Amy's book World

    amys_book_world AT rock DOT com

  8. Tweeted:!/Vamper_Fan/status/119545814971449344

    amys_book_world AT rock DOT com