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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: Cursed by S. J. Harper (Fallen Siren #1) book tour + giveaway

Cursed (Fallen Siren #1) 
By: S.J. Harper 

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.

This is the first book in a new urban fantasy series. We all know first books can be a little rough around the edges for many reasons that normally get ironed out in the second book. Cursed experienced very little of this. SJ Harper is the pen name for the writing team of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein and I was surprised to discover this because it reads like one voice.

Cursed has all the standard urban fantasy elements such as: supernatural female investigator, sexy ex-lover she must work with but not get involved and both with dark pasts. But a few things set Cursed apart from the rest of the urban fantasy out there, such as the Greek mythology the authors incorporated into the heroine, Emma. She is a siren, but not the cliché one. Her and her two sisters were banished to earth because they didn’t stop Hades from abducting Demeter’s daughter Persephone. They are to stay there helping find missing women until they redeem their selves in Demeter’s eyes. And we all know the gods love to hold a grudge so she has been there a long time. We don’t meet Emma’s other two sisters in this book. I wonder if they will get their own books or eventually worked into Emma’s story. At present Emma is a FBI agent who tracks down missing persons. We get a full picture of what Emma’s life has been like since being cast out and the authors do a good job of getting her emotional turmoil across to the reader.

The hero, Zack is a werewolf, and is also trying to atone for brutal acts he committed in his past. A nice twist on the story is Zack hides his nature from Emma, but he doesn’t realize that she already knew what he was the first time they met, but never let on. We get to know a little about Zack, but there are many things about his past and why he left his pack that I am sure will unfold in the following books.

The book also has a strong mystery that is solved by the end and some witty dialogue. We get a nice taste of the many different supernaturals in this world with the possibility of delving further into them as the series progresses such as the powerful vampire that has his eye on Emma and the scorned female werewolf gunning for her. I would classify this as dark urban fantasy. There isn't a happy ever after for our heroine, and the sacrifice she makes to keep Zack safe is heart-breaking. It was a quick read and satisfying for this dark urban fantasy lover. I will be reading the next one.

4 “advocating equal opportunity love” Sheep

Sharon Stogner

About the authors:
Samantha: FB-twitter
Jeanne: FB-twitter
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.


  1. Great review Sharon, first time I have read about this new series, but I like what you write. Adding it to the wishlist :)

  2. Right now there is a release party for the book on Facebook and they are giving away prizes. You might be able to snag a copy

  3. This book sounds interesting. I love Urban Fantasy Mysteries, but I'm tired of the same thing all the time. Cursed seems like it'll be different. After reading your review, I'll definitely give it a try.

    Amber @ Fall Into Books