Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Cursed

Cursed (Fallen Siren - Book 1) by S.J. Harper

Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: ROC Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425263290
ISBN-13: 978-0425263297

(Received for an honest review from ROC Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

S.J. Harper (aka. Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein) on the WEB: Website, Sam's Twitter, Jeanne's Twitter, Sam's Facebook, Jeanne's Facebook, Goodreads 

Excerpt from Cursed, courtesy of the author's website.


Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.
Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.
Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them. 
Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.


Cursed is the first book in the new Fallen Siren series by author S.J. Harper, a pseudonym for the writing duo of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein. Both authors are acclaimed in their own rights and have several books to their credit. Cursed a great combination of genres. You have elements of mystery and police procedural, the paranormal and urban fantasy elements and a bit of romance. The mix that results in a great novel that fans of many different kinds of writing will love. With strong characters, a touch of Greek mythology and vampire and werewolf mythos added in, this is one you won't soon forget.

Emma Monroe is a siren. She and her sisters failed to save Persephone, the goddess Demeter's daughter from being kidnapped by Hades. And there isn't much worse than an goddess on the war path. Emma has spent thousands of years on Earth after being cast down trying to redeem herself. But Demeter is fickle and does not believe Emma is deserving of salvation. I loved the Greek mythology twist in Cursed. I have often read about Siren's but S.J. Harpers take on them was different and very interesting. The fact that Emma cannot have a loving relationship with a man for fear the Demeter will strike him dead, really adds a human element to the story. 

Emma is trying to redeem herself by finding missing women as she works for the FBI. This was a great plot point. It allows the reader to have more than one aspect of the book to consider. You have the romantic angle, and the Greek mythology, but now you add in the mystery of finding a missing artist. I liked the way the authors were able to write the police procedural details without taking anything away from the overall story. Emma uses her abilities as a siren in her work and shows a side of herself that readers may not see otherwise.

If that weren't enough to keep a reader on the edge of their collective seats, you have Zack Armstrong to consider as well. Zack is an FBI agent who becomes Emma's new partner. They have worked together before and Emma knows Zack has a secret of his own... he's a werewolf. He's definitely an alpha male and the attraction between these two is palpable. I liked the fact that Harper is able to keep on track with the mystery angle while developing the relationship between Zack and Emma. Emma can't get too close though or Zack might end up dead. So we add in another element, the werewolf equation. If you are thinking that all of these different aspects of the story might become confusing, you would be surprisingly wrong. It was easy to figure it all out and the pacing of the novel was perfect. You get the back story from all the different kinds of characters in bits and pieces and are not overwhelmed by it. Did I mention there was a vampire and witch in this novel too? 

Who doesn't love a story about an ill-fated relationship? Usually, the story ends up with a happy-ever-after despite all of the reasons it shouldn't. But you have to remember... this is urban fantasy. If you are counting on the romance between lead characters Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong following the normal patterns, you'd be wrong. I loved the whole idea behind this duo. They were so completely different but they were facing the same obstacle... redeeming themselves for past wrongs. I loved the way the authors were able to make the connection between these two characters so real. If was more than just lust, there was some real substance to it, which made it all the more rote with peril.

Can't wait to see what happens in the next one, we have two more sisters to meet!

Cursed is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

S.J. Harper is the pen name for the writing team of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein, two friends who met at Comic-Con in San Diego and quickly bonded over a mutual love of good wine, edgy urban fantasy, and everything Joss Whedon.

Samantha Sommersby left what she used to call her "real life" day job in the psychiatric field to pursue writing full-time in 2007. She is the author of more than ten novels and novellas including the critically acclaimed Forbidden series. She currently lives with her husband and cocker spaniel, Buck, in a century old Southern California Craftsman. Sam happily spends her days immersed in a world where vampires, werewolves, and demons are real, myths and legends are revered, magic is possible, and love still conquers all.

Jeanne Stein is the national bestselling author of The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. She also has numerous short story credits, including most recently the novella, Blood Debt, from the New York Times bestselling anthology, Hexed. Her series has been picked up in three foreign countries and her short stories published in collections here in the US and the UK. She lives in Denver, CO where she finds gardening a challenge more daunting than navigating the world of mythical creatures.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Cursed by S.J. Harper.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 23rd.

1. Please leave a comment describing what you think it would take for someone to redeem a bad past.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Anonymous said...

It all depends on what they did and if they screwed me over in the process. If they did happen to screw me over in the process than it wouldn't matter what they did to redeem themselves because it wouldn't work. What's done is done and that is that.

Charlotte said...

Best thing to do is forgive.

Carol M said...

If a person really wants to change and wants to makeup for what they did, then they should be given that chance.

justpeachy36 said...

I agree with Carol. I think everyone deserves a chance at redemption. As too how much it would take to redeem oneself, I think that would depend on what you did in the first place. I definitely believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in being smart and knowing what I'm dealing with as well.

NoraA said...

Best thing to do is just clean up your act and move one. Anyone from your past that is interested will see the new you. End of story, life goes on.

CrystalGB said...

Change bad habits and apologize to those that you have wronged.

jmcgaugh said...

They'd have to change their ways and make up for what they've done in whatever ways are possible.
jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

Unknown said...

There is really no way to make up for the past. Change the way one acts for the present and future. That is all a person can do. Sadly, what's done is done.

bn100 said...

depends what they did in the past