Read Monarch by M.D. Argyle Online

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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 chanceNick’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....

Title : Monarch
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781936850198
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 341 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Monarch Reviews

  • J.P.
    2019-05-08 05:44

    In the blurb for this book it mentions a CIA spy named Nick and his mission. So I got this book thinking it was a spy novel but it is way more of a romance than a cloak and dagger story. If Nick's brains were dynamite he couldn't blow himself up. He is constantly caught without a weapon. People sneak up on him at will. At one point in the story he says he's no James Bond. To me that was the best line in the book because I couldn't agree more.The characters are shallow, they seem to have the same response to different situations and the dialogue occasionally lacks realism. I don't think someone's response to a person who just shot and wounded his wife would be "how could you?" It doesn't help that the author uses so many question marks that some pages read like police interrogation work. As with: "Should he grab his toothbrush? His bag? Run to find Lois? His mom? Nick?"If you like hard-boiled spy novels avoid this like the plague. For someone looking for a light romantic read and doesn't care much about the writing, you might like it. It didn't do much for me.

  • Liza
    2019-04-28 01:41

    "The blood pooling on the floor under the assassin’s back reminded Nick of butterfly wings."Man, what an awesome first line! It sets up the mood, theme, and direction of this book perfectly! After a line like that, my expectation was that this book would be a post-James Bondian mission. Like, what happens *after* a mission takes place and the hero reports Mission: Accomplished.Well, this is definitely not a post-Mission: Accomplished spy thriller. More like, Mission: Hasn’t Ended Yet. And, oh yeah, it's not just about the mission.Nick, a soon-to-be-retired CIA operative and the hero of this story, makes it home from a mission in Brazil, but unfortunately, his "work" didn't quite stay there. Needing to find safety, he thinks of the only person with whom he’s found a semblance of peace: Lillian Love, now owner of the Monarch Inn.The Monarch Inn is nestled in West Virginia, and named for the monarch butterflies that migrate through that area on their way to Mexico. At the Monarch, Lillian Love and her son Devan run the business as best they can, quietly living their lives. When Nick stumbles back into Lillian's world, his presence soon shakes up their seemingly-peaceful bubble. Illusions of a perfectly happy and normal life are challenged, as these characters discover strength in unlikely circumstances.Through Lillian, and Devan, I discovered the emotional depth of what could have been a superficial action tale. They told the narrative with Nick, alternating in a three-person perspective. Each voice is unique, and paced really well throughout so that the tension remained tight.Though I expected a plot driven, action packed story (I’m a Die Hard kind of girl, yippee-ki-yay!), it was the unexpected character driven multiple perspective storyline that won me over. (In fact, though I'm a fan of the action and story in Brazil, I actually preferred the scenes at the Inn, especially Devan’s perspective.) Getting into these characters’ heads gave such a satisfying depth to the story and steered it away from being generic.Nerd Point: I ate up the science facts about monarch butterflies that the author gave in the beginning of the book. It threw me off at first, since notes of that nature seem to come at the back of the book, with other acknowledgements and appendices, but looking back, I liked it, because it kept me in the mindset of these butterflies, how they persevere despite all external odds against them, and how they’ve endured, despite all scientific logic. They are truly worthy of being the symbol to represent the spirits of revered ancestors.I think it’s with that mindset that I was able to sympathize with the characters more. They have come to realize that they are stronger than they appear, and can hope for a brighter future despite all logic and odds.

  • Katy
    2019-04-20 21:54

    Please note: Read in July, 2011 from a copy provided by Rhemalda in exchange for an honest review. Updating my formatting and adding this disclosure.My Synopsis: 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.My Thoughts: This is a fast-moving thriller, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader 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.My Recommendations: 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.

  • Tamara Epps
    2019-04-21 05:44

    Thrillers are another genre that I don’t read often, but after reading Cinders I just had to find out what Michelle Davidson Argyle had to offer next. When I heard that it was a thriller I have to admit that I was a little cautious, but after reading it I can safely say there was nothing I didn’t love about this story.Monarch, to me, isn’t just a thriller – it’s a romance, a mystery, an adventure story with plenty of family issues all cohesively winding together to create a thrilling story. I wanted to know more about every single character and I have to admit that I often found myself thinking and wondering about them (and sometimes forgetting that they aren’t real people I know!) when I wasn’t reading.Michelle has seriously upped her game with Monarch – I was constantly trying to work out what was going to happen (and no, I didn’t manage to guess most of the twists and turns) and when I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be reading it. She also weaves the imagery of monarchs (a type of butterfly) throughout, giving this thiller a unique undercurrent of threat and hope. This is a gripping tale that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to escape reality for a while (it will also put your problems in perspective), in fact, it’s so good that I’ve put it back on my ‘to-read’ list as I miss all the characters (that’s a big deal for me as I very rarely re-read anything) and I just know I’ll be able to delve deeper the next time.[Disclaimer: I received a paperback ARC in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

  • Cherie
    2019-05-17 04:42

    Michelle Davidson Argyle's Monarch breaks free and spreads its wings for a read sure to thrill readers.When assassins fly into Nick's life, he must run to the one place he can be safe: the Monarch Inn. Lilian Love struggles with running the inn, worries over her grown son, and fears the inn will fail if the monarch butterflies stop migrating through their area. Nick and Lilian become reacquainted, but the danger isn't over. Nick brings his two daughters to the inn to be safe while he must leave them and Lilian for Brazil and answers, yet danger and love were closer to home than he ever could imagine.Monarch is a thriller unlike any I've ever read. The character-driven novel involves fearful realities from the dwindling monarch butterfly population to terrors in the drug trade. The characters are three-dimensional. I loved the complexity of their relationships. Argyle excels in writing great pacing, speeding it up when the action dictated it and slowing it down to stretch out the tension. The symbolism of wings and butterflies flutters throughout. Monarch shows the fragility of life and the human strength to go on.Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle is a thriller unlike any other with complex characters and a touching plot filled with hope, life, and love in the face of fear and danger.

  • Judy Croome
    2019-04-29 01:25

    Thriller with a TwistAs a child, on vacation, I remember my Mom’s guilty pleasure was reading “True Detective” magazines. Mine was reading romances. As an adult, I still prefer gentle love stories to gritty thrillers, so when I received Argyle’s latest offering from the publisher to review, I hesitated to read it, expecting blood and gore and all that I like least in my entertainment.But this is more than your run-of-the-mill thriller. “Monarch” is a story that delves into the emotional impact that high-risk jobs have on a man and his family. With insight and empathy, the author shows the price some men must pay to keep not only society safe, but their families as well. An underlying thread, adding both menace and melancholy, was the juxtaposition of the dangers and threats facing the migrating Monarch butterflies to Nick’s final contract. Plotting is tight, characterisation is excellent – even the minor secondary characters have depth – and the pace is fast. The interplay between Nick and those he loves is fascinating: his doubts and fears only add to his essential strength.Overall, an enjoyable, entertaining read.

  • Charlie
    2019-05-14 05:36

    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.

  • Linda Lewis
    2019-05-05 02:28

    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 stories satisfying.As a bonus, I learned a bit about Monarch butterflies. :-)

  • Vincent Kale
    2019-04-23 05:43

    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!

  • May-Day Aura
    2019-04-26 05:42

    I was fortunate enough to receive a ARC of this book from the author as part of her online book tour.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." (Remember 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.

  • Misty Rayburn
    2019-05-01 04:38

    Nick’s life as a spy for the CIA has given him only unhappiness. His wife committed suicide and his two daughters resent everything he has become and what has happened as a result. Now he’s stuck in the Amazon on a mission to track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the US has been trying to bring down for years. If he accomplishes this, it will be his last mission and he’ll have a chance to start over again.Just when nick is on the brink of catching Ferreira, he’s framed for murder and now his only chance of survival is in West Virginia where Lilian, a love from the past, owns an inn. He’s safe there, but there’s only so long you can hide before your past catches up with you.I LOVED this book! Why? Because it’s not your typical espionage thriller! You don’t have the terminator-esque CIA agent, ready to blow everything to Hell in a single heartbeat like a Bruce Willis movie. Nick is bad, he’s very good at what he does and most of the time he can use that training to judge what people are going to do very accurately but that doesn’t mean that he makes no mistakes. Sometimes he hesitates and sometimes he makes wrong judgments that cause people to get hurt and he breathes a sigh of relief that it didn’t get them killed.Honestly I think that’s one of the things I loved the most about this book. The people were human. They were weathered and strong but yet very fragile at the same time. You have Lilian who is still getting over a divorce and knows her inn isn’t doing well and her son is struggling too and then in drops Nick, a love from the past who disappeared. You have Nick himself who has a huge amount of guilt to live with, most of it from having to suck it up and do what needs to be done all the time. Even the family staying at the inn while all of this is going on has their issues.There is nobody really in the background of this story. Even the goons that are with the antagonist have names. Where most writers would have left some of the characters in the background, Michelle brings them to the forefront, makes us care about them and pay attention to them as much as if they were Lilian or Nick.Bringing all these characters together made for a thrilling yet fragile story that will have you on the edge of your seat while pulling on your heartstrings at the same time. It had me glued from the first page to the last and I’m still thinking about it even though I finished it a while ago.Thank you to Michelle Davidson Argyle and Rhemalda Publishing for the ARC of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

  • Tony Lavely
    2019-05-11 23:37

    Review of Monarch - A thriller with romanceAnd that's not a bad thing, IMHO. After seeing the description at Ms Argyle's web site, I purchased this book (instantly!) and with only a break to fix my wife dinner, read it in three hours. I wanted to get through it, to find out what happened to the characters that Ms Argyle created, that she'd made into my friends.I was so taken that I wrote an email to Ms Argyle describing my feelings (to which she generously responded, not taking me for a stalker at all), and this review uses some of those comments.The descriptions are wonderful! I can't write descriptions like these. When I try, they come off too flowery or too obviously fake and intended to fill the blank labeled: . But reading these... Wow! I am in awe.I like characters. Especially female ones who have strength in them, even when they're not the MC. These characters, male and female, are true to life, as befits a contemporary thriller. Maybe even more true than I like. They have flaws, they have good sides, they have problems. But they have feelings. They are on their way, somewhere. Well, Lois, maybe not so much. (edit after finishing: yes, she travels her path, also.) These are characters to cherish. And have I ever bonded with them. Nick and Lilian. Devan. Clara and Violet, though I fear that they are there to collect everything Nick worries about in one place.The use of a country inn as a stopping place works ever so well. No reason is necessary for anyone to stop by, whether they be hero or villain, or just a bit player. We won't know when they arrive just whether we should fear them, or root them on. Excellent choice! And then add the butterflies... Too wonderful.The settings. Well, I talked about the Inn above, that I think she made an inspired choice. I was given to wonder how much time the author spent in jungles. In those scenes, there seem to be a feeling, a sense of reality, that the Wikipedia articles don't quite convey.I was minded to give four stars for this because the plot, as another reviewer complained, isn't difficult to figure out. However, Ms Argyle has added spice in the form of little twists that I didn't expect, and that made up for the main story line's transparency for me, and brought me back to five stars.Even if thrillers are not your usual cuppa, you could do far worse. I recommend Monarch with every bit of my envious heart. Thank you, Michelle, for writing a wonderful story with marvelous characters.

  • J.C. Martin
    2019-04-19 21:36

    “Lies, secrets and betrayals cocoon a love as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.”– Karen Dionne, author of Freezing PointI find Karen’s quote sums up Michelle’s novel perfectly. While complex and twisting on the outside, the central story is really a simple one, that revolves around a father seeking forgiveness from his daughters, and the age-old love story between a man fraught with grief and guilt, and a woman afraid of allowing herself to love again. Large parts of the story is set in and around the Monarch Inn, a forest retreat directly in the epic migration path of the beautiful Monarch butterflies. As a testament to Michelle’s leanings towards literary fiction, there are constant and fitting references to these fragile creatures littered throughout the book, from their appearances in the woods, to their sugared likeness on Lilian’s masterpiece of a cake, to the winged tattoos on members of the drug gang, even to the shape of blood spatters on a dead man.Why do Monarchs travel thousands of miles in their annual migration, battering their fragile bodies until scores of them lie dead and dying en route? The symbolism of the Monarch butterfly is a strong and poignant one, of the inherent struggle for survival and the fragility of life.Every character in Monarch has a story: the silent, brooding Nick, a father seeking forgiveness from his daughters; the seductive but dangerous Catarina, wife of drug lord Ferreira; Violet, the daughter living with the guilt and blame of letting her mother die. My favourite character is Devan, Lilian’s son. A witness to his parent’s bitter divorce, Devan dreams of joining the Air Force, but worries about leaving his mother to run the Monarch Inn alone. With her fragile state of mind, he didn’t think she’d be able to cope. When Nick Avery appears, Devan is torn between liking the charming, mysterious stranger, and distrusting him: would Nick be the one to finally bring his mother out of her slump, or would he end up breaking her heart all over again?The writing is vivid, the characters compelling, and the story rises to a gripping crescendo in a bloody showdown in the Monarch Inn. A thrilling debut, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes their romance a little dangerous, or their thrillers a touch romantic.***review originally posted on J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer***

  • Kate
    2019-04-29 01:47

    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!

  • B.K. Walker
    2019-05-01 05:35

    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

  • Amy Laurens
    2019-05-10 03:34

    Amy's thoughts:Despite the dead body on the opening page (;)), Monarch was one of those books that took me a couple of chapters to really get into. However, like Blood Song that I read recently and also took time getting into, I'm really, REALLY glad I did. (And look, seriously? Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series is one of my all-time favourites, and it took me three goes to make it through the first chapter of the first book! This is a me-issue, clearly.)Monarch is pegged as a thriller, and certainly has all the thriller paraphernalia - spies, betrayals, guns and cover stories, murders, threats, and time running out - but somehow, it's quieter than your average thriller, more thoughtful. Michelle utilises beautiful symbolism throughout and various different points of view to make this story about so much more than just a man on the run; I like to call Ender's Game, one of my all-time favourite novels, the science fiction novel for people who don't read science fiction - Monarch is the thriller for people who don't read thrillers. It's equal parts thriller and romance, contemporary and literary, and really embodies Michelle's cross-genre style. It's quiet and understated in a way that reminds you that life is not so much about what happens, as who it happens with - something worth remembering, I think.Monarch utilises three points of view (Nick, Lilian of Monarch Inn, and Lilian's adult son Devan) and within Nick's point of view, two timelines, past and present. Occasionally the segues between Nick's timelines feel a little stiff, but overall the complex structure enhances the story and deepens our understanding of the characters and plot, and I really enjoyed seeing the story from different perspectives, especially since Michelle has done so well at giving them unique, original voices.Overall, this is a very pleasing debut, and I can't wait for The Breakaway, Michelle's next novel (also a standalone), to be released next year. Yay!Final Conclusion:This is a great example of what you can do when you're not afraid to cross the genre boundaries. Congratulations on an awesome debut, Michelle!

  • Danyelle Leafty
    2019-05-08 03:52

    I don't generally read thrillers or adult novels, so I'm definitely not in the target audience, but the cover intrigued me. The butterfly wings behind the body seem to hint that life is a beautiful, albeit fragile thing. A theme running throughout the book.One of my favorite things about MONARCH was the use of butterflies. They're woven in to the story and are an integral symbol for the whole. Butterflies can mean a lot of different things, but some common symbols they represent are change, metamorphosis, new beginnings, and the soul. I love how the author tied in the migratory patterns and life process of Monarch butterflies to the main characters Nick and Lilian. Both in their internal relationships with themselves, and their external relationships. The Monarch butterflies were a beautiful symbol and well-used throughout.Another thing that really added to the charm of the story was the setting and Lilian's vocation. Instead of being set in a large city full of movement, color, and sound coming at you from all corners, much of the present day action takes place in a small town in West Virginia. Lilian runs a bed and breakfast, and used to work as a cake decorator. The bed and breakfast is located a little ways away from the town, where it's even more quiet and peaceful--well, at least until the mob shows up. I liked how the nice, idyllic setting of the today was juxtaposed with the rich, exotic jungles of Brazil in the passages where Nick is reliving his past.Which brings me to the third point. Michelle has a masterful way of dealing with flashbacks. While I'm not fond of this particular literary device (I think it's a little overused in general), she does an excellent job of seamlessly weaving the past and the present into one continuous story. Because that's what it is--the past story (Nick's mission with the CIA) and the present story are so entwined with each other, that they really are a single story.Readers that enjoy suspenseful, soft thrillers would likely enjoy MONARCH.*review copy from publisher

  • Walter Rhein
    2019-05-21 02:44

    Tom Clancy with Less Tech and More RomanceMichelle Davidson Argyle's “Monarch” is a spy thriller with an emphasis on human emotions. The main character, Nick, is a Jack Ryan type spy (of all the Jack Ryan films I think Alec Baldwin would be closest to Argyle's protagonist, not Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck). Nick is the kind of spy who is more familiar with pushing papers than toting weapons, but he's well-versed enough in combat to be able to handle himself should the need arise. Good thing too, because the need arises plenty throughout the course of “Monarch.”The novel begins with Nick contemplating the body of an assassin he's just killed. He notes that the blood stain beneath the body pools out in the shape of a butterfly's wings. This, along with the title, are the first indications that butterflies are to be important and repeating symbols throughout the novel.What do the butterflies mean? Well, their thematic importance was to build a kind of ominous sense of impending dread. Much of the action in “Monarch” takes place at a small bed and breakfast run by a woman named Lilian who Nick has a past with. Lilian is concerned about the fate of the Monarch butterflies that are one of the main reasons tourists come to visit her establishment. The association of butterflies and extinction/death becomes underscored when wings “that resemble that of a butterfly” start showing up in a repeating tattoo. I enjoyed the pace and the action of this novel. There are several characters that are interesting and fully developed, and they're all dealing with various traumas of greater and lesser complexity. The spy plot lines and the dysfunctional family plot lines intertwine and collide in an explosive conclusion. I would have liked to spend a bit more time with some of the marginal characters, but then again, sometimes you find characters interesting because of the mystery.There's plenty of mystery, action, and romance in “Monarch” to keep every reader entertained.

  • Raquel Vega-Grieder
    2019-04-22 00:54

    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.

  • J.C. Hart
    2019-05-08 04:50

    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.3.5 stars

  • Michael Offutt
    2019-05-11 05:28

    Once I got around to reading Monarch, I finished it in two days. The book is the most well-written one that I've come across in months. The main character, Nick, reminds me a lot of the tough, swoon-worthy kind of guy often portrayed by Daniel Craig in the new 007 movies. He's hurting over a lost love, is in super shape, is a professional killer, and he's pretty much just irresistible to women. Yeah, he cheats on the girl Lillian who loves him...but who could stay mad at Daniel Craig, right? The same goes for this guy...I mean as long as he's in your sheets I think the lady of the house is not gonna kick him out for eating crackers. Nick is just damn sexy. I think I have a man crush.Michelle has written an excellent thriller. Her use of language, her pacing, her descriptive words are all perfect. The butterfly theme is deep but it isn't just a pretty face flitting from branch to branch...it shows the ever evolving transformation that her characters are going through from page-to-page. By the end of the story, things have happened that will change their lives forever and much like the butterfly that is this book's namesake, life will go on.This is a book that men will be able to sink their teeth into. I really enjoyed it because there is action, an escape in the jungle, exotic locations and exotic encounters. But the romance is there too with skillfully played words and the use of scents like lavender to remind Nick (and us) of the power in the scent of a woman.I hope that Michelle revisits Nick or perhaps writes a book starring Devan who goes into the Air Force. I want more of these characters. One book is simply not enough.

  • Karen
    2019-05-12 04:48

    Talk about a page-turning cozy thriller. Cozy thriller? I know. Such an oxymoron but Michelle pulled it off. The few thriller books I have read seemed to mostly rely on action and shock value to keep the reader engrossed, but Michelle went above and beyond great action scenes. She made Monarch cozy by creating a cast of characters I genuinely cared about. I even sympathized with the villains (and the people I suspected as villains but later found out they weren’t—or were they? Depends who you ask!) The location jumping from the Monarch Inn which was quaint and snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug (pun intended) to the dangerous and deadly Brazilian jungle left my emotions seesawing. One minute I felt comforted and wished I was a vacationing guest at the inn, the next minute my blood pressure was through the roof and I was giving thanks for my safe and quiet lifestyle.Michelle managed to juggle several complex relationships and I was never bored with ANY of them. (Seriously, how’d she do that?) Just like the Monarch butterflies that remained a beautiful theme throughout the story, Michelle’s characters were sometimes fragile and in jeopardy in one way or another (even the tough and deadly ones), but they persevered and went through a metamorphosis of some kind. She tied everything and everyone together at the end and provided realistic endings with satisfying closure. Those are my favorite kind of stories.Monarch was an intense and well-told story with a variety of elements, plots and relationships that make it an enjoyable novel for readers of many genres.

  • Bex Montgomery
    2019-05-19 00:34

    Monarch is a taut thriller, with big splashes of charm, that's heavier than most on character. Recommended for those in search of feel-like-you-are-there action with a heaping spoonful of heady romance.I really adored most of the characters in this work. The three viewpoint characters Nick, Lillian and Devan each brought a different dimension to the story, with their vastly different life experiences. Nick (who just happened to look remarkably like George Clooney in my head) was sexy and smart, but he was also really complex. He was James Bond with a conscience and a past and that made for some really interesting moments.The characters throughout were generally complex and surprising and unique. I especially loved Nick's daughters Clara and Violet and the mysterious Catarina. These women had such personality and life to them, even though none of them are the three main characters. Little details like this really make a book for me. It was also refreshing for a thriller to see such clear character growth from almost the entire cast. Honestly the only character I had much trouble with was Lillian. I liked her, I just kept wanting her to do a little more. It seemed she was always the one waiting and worrying and not much else. Still, the story's events brought about a profound change in her and that didn't feel forced in any real way by the end of the book.This is a portion of a full-review that originally appeared at Aurelia {Lit}. Review copy courtesy of publisher.

  • Jordan McCollum
    2019-04-21 02:31

    Michelle's books always make me think, especially about her use of symbols, and usually most of that thinking happens after the book. I'll have more to say (and hope to be able to assign a star system) once I sort through my thoughts and get ready for my turn on her blog tour. Update: Monarch is the story of Nick, a widowed former CIA operative whose past—as a spy and as a person—catches up to him. A drug lord whose organization Nick infiltrated comes after Nick’s shattered family, and the only place he and his daughters can be safe is in the secluded West Virginia B&B owned by Nick’s lost love. To save his family, Nick must find forgiveness from three of the most important women in his life. And, oh yeah, hunt down a South American drug lord.The story follows two storylines: the present fight against the drug lord and Nick facing the problems in his personal life, and two years before when a corrupt CIA agent set Nick up while both were working undercover inside the drug lord’s organization. It’s a great balance of action, suspense, and emotional journeys for the characters, with beautiful language and symbolism woven throughout.I purchased and read Michelle’s novella Cinders, and although the genre of Cinders is very different, I found some interesting parallels in the depth and exploration of the characters’ emotions—and in how much I pondered the book after I finished.I really enjoyed the complexity of, as Michelle puts it, this character-driven thriller.

  • Ernie Jr.
    2019-05-19 04:33

    As an avid reader of science-fiction and fantasy, I rarely go off-genre. Yet based on recommendations of friends, I read Monarch, by Michelle Argyle, who also writes speculative fiction. My friends did not let me down. Monarch centers around a CIA head hunter named Nick. His main job is to seek out recruits for the CIA. When he is tapped for one last assignment in the field tracking a notorious drug lord in the Brazillian jungle. His job has already cost him his wife, who comitted suicide, estranged his relationship with his daughters, and now may cost him his life. If he survives, Nick can retire and start over...with everything. One additional complication stands in his way. The CIA believes Nick murdered a key informant in the case, the drug lord's wife.Michelle does a masterful job of building characters that the reader can relate to. The relationships between them are realistic and intense. Each character has a rich story supporting the events revealed in the book itself. The book is an intense thriller, a strong romance, and complex mystery novel all wrapped up into one. Essentially Michelle wrote something for a very wide range of readers.Find a comfy chair to curl up in, grab a large glass of ice tea (unsweet for me), and a good block of reading time. If you are like me, you'll read the entire book in a single sitting. I happily recommend this novel to all!

  • Laurie
    2019-05-14 00:42

    I'm probably not going to be very unbiased with this review. How could I be when one of the main characters are L. Love, just like me? Although her first name was Lilian and not Laura, I still found it amusing. Yeah ok, it doesn't take much to amuse me. All kidding aside, I actually didn't care much for Lilian. She was very one dimensional, her main function seemed to be to worry about Nick and provide a safe haven for his daughters. But I am getting ahead of myself. Nick was an undercover CIA agent, ready to retire. His last mission went horribly wrong and now he is chased by assassins sent by FBI? CIA? The drug lord he was trying to bring down? All of the above? Nick isn't sure so he flees to a mountain hotel retreat run by Lilian. They had met by chance three years earlier, before Nick had left on his last mission. With no contact for so long or any real relationship previously, Lilian would really help Nick by taking in his two grown daughters and then worry and pine for him while he is gone? Well it HAD been true love at first sight. *rolls eyes* Yeah, whatever. Other than Lilian's lack of character, it is a very interesting story. The plot is action packed, riddled with intrigue, and has a bit of yucky love stuff thrown in too. This was a quick and easy read that I had picked as a freebie to download from amazon this month and made for some fairly light reading.

  • Donna Weaver
    2019-05-09 23:39

    WHAT IT'S ABOUTNick'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 ...MY TAKEI'm reviewing the audiobook. Wow. LOVED this narrator. Wonderfully deep voice that didn't sound stupid and squeaky when doing the female voices. I think the bad guys were even more ominous because if this guy's fabulous readingThe story--compelling mystery, touching characterizations, and great suspense. All the characters were flawed, sometimes so much that I wanted to scream and shake them. Kind of like in real life. One aspect that I loved was the symbolism of the butterfly that runs through the book. I found myself wanting very much for certain results in the end, and Argyle kept me hanging on to the very end to find out whether or not I would get what I wanted.Beware--thar be blood.4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

  • Cas Peace
    2019-04-30 00:27

    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.

  • Divya
    2019-05-13 22:52

    Thrillers have always been a touchy ground for me to delve into. At first, after requesting Monarch, I was frightened by what the outcome of me reading it would be. I have to say though, that it was one the best thrillers I've EVER read. Territories apart from my comfort zone crash straight to disaster, but this book proved that wrong very strongly.Miss Argyle created a thriller novel that was truly an epitome of all the thriller novels I read. She had action and the characters were soo real! Each character was very intense and they all went through metamorphous, just like a monarch butterfly. Especially Nick-the main character of the novel. The novel is thriller, and like most thrillers it has an intricate plot and a twist entwined into it. Though this does make it like most thrillers, the twist itself separates Monarch from most trite thrillers. I loved the way the book worked out and I want to read more!COVER THOUGHTS:I have to say, wow! Creepy much? A dead body with monarch wings, wrapped in a plastic wrap with a tag that has the author's initials on it. I shivered when I first got a good look at the cover of Monarch. Definite points towards the scare factor!RATING:4.5/5

  • Andrea
    2019-04-28 22:33

    Monarch takes you on a wild ride from the jungles of Brazil to the isolated Monarch Inn in West Virginia.Nick is a CIA spy hot on the trail of elusive drug lord, Matheus Ferreira. But, Nick's mission turns terribly wrong, and he's forced to run for his life. Keeping his daughters safe while trying to clear his name leads him back to Lillian Love and the Monarch Inn.Like the monarchs for which the inn was named, each character undergoes their own metamorphosis. Only time will tell if their transformation will be beautiful or not.If you are a fan of thrillers, and don't mind some adult language and situations, then this is the novel for you.Michelle has a great talent for writing. Although I didn't love everything in her novel (I am one who "minds adult language and situations"), I very much appreciated her talent for telling a story. Monarch has great character development, and just the right amount of detail. I was captivated and not overloaded by unimportant drivel.*I received an advanced reader copy of Monarch from Rhemalda Publishing.