July 14, 2014

Loved It: Captured by S.J. Harper

Series: Fallen Siren 0.5
Format: ARC
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: OmniLit Press
Source: Author via Book Monster
Recommended By: Carla Galloway
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Join FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She’s a Siren. He’s a Werewolf.
Their mission is redemption.

Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now she works for the FBI and is on temporary assignment in Charleston. Solving this next missing persons case could be the key to ending her ancient curse—unless the temptation that’s her new partner gets in the way.

Zack Armstrong is a Werewolf. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he currently works for one of the bureau’s elite Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams. In many respects the man is every bit as mysterious as his secret and perilous past. But there are two things he’s certain about, that he’s going to get his man and his woman.

When Zack finds himself suddenly shy a partner and a third child goes missing in Charleston, Emma goes from consultant to CARD team member in the space of a few hours. The abductions of the first two boys ended in murder, an outcome that neither Zack nor Emma can abide. As they race against time to track down the kidnapper and rescue the latest victim, they find themselves fighting something just as treacherous—a growing attraction that can’t be ignored or denied.

Siren is a Siren. A sexual creature, born of Gaia. I'm one of he three, cursed by Demeter thousands of years ago for failing to protect Persephone. For failing to rescue her before she was dragged by Hades to the Underworld. It's for this I atone. For this I pay. It's the reason I couldn't run. The reason I need to see this through. The reason I must find Cooper.
I read Cursed last year and totally loved S.J. Harper's new procedural urban fantasy. I haven't read a Siren for a heroine so it was an exciting first time for me. Emma Monroe satisfied my expectations and curiosity so it's only natural that I would jump at this little novella the writing duo released recently. 

CAPTURED is sort of a timely read given the horrible headline news about an irresponsible dad who "forgot" his son in his hot car. Fallen Siren series 0.5's themes are abduction, poor babies drowned, and crazy parents. I guess I'm into undeserving parent stories lately. Anyway, I'm immediately invested with the story and was on board with solving the mystery. When the big reveal happened, my heart broke hard because the motive behind the abduction isn't this supernatural thing you'd expect, rather a pair of psychos were trying to bring their dead kid back through an atrocious way. It's a tragic story both sides if you look at it closely but of course my heart goes out to the victims and their parents.

Now novellas, especially the prequels, can be a hit or miss. Sometimes it's underdeveloped, at times unrelated to the main series arc, or worse, totally bland and a waste of time. CAPTURED isn't any of that. The plot might not have a big impact on the series but revealed a lot about Zack and Emma's character and their relationship. I'm confused though, CAPTURED is supposedly a prequel novella but the description of book 1, Cursed, said that that was Emma and Zack's first case. I know I'm being nitpicky but I'm particular about my timelines. That aside, CAPTURED is a great prequel and I'm glad I didn't skip it.

Since we haven’t heard from either Taft or Biller, I have to assume there still hasn’t been a ransom demand in the Anderson case either. So what is going on in this kidnapper’s head? What’s the motivation? He kept the first boy one month, the second, two weeks. The length of time between crimes is also shortening. There’s been no evidence of sexual assault in either case. We’re running out of time. Is the kidnapper losing patience, becoming more desperate? Why? There’s obviously a need he’s trying to meet, a need these boys are not satisfying.
Or maybe his motivation is changing. Perhaps there was some specific expectation, or should I say explanation, for taking Andy Boroson—assuming Andy really was the first. And now he’s simply losing interest in keeping the boys longer because it’s the rush of the abduction, the thrill of the kill that’s driving him.
I shudder.
It’s a truly frightening prospect. If that’s the case, we could be in for a long haul.
And more victims.
Zack turns off the road and into a parking space along a block of quaint, brick-faced shops. I follow him out of the SUV and into an eatery. The sign out front says Cannon. It’s only eleven thirty so we have our choice of booths lining the sides of the small restaurant.
Zack chooses the one farthest from the long, scarred wooden bar already bustling with patrons. A smiling, busty waitress hands us menus and in that distinctive Southern way, tells us, “Just wave a hand, handsome, when you’re ready to order. I’m Gwen.”
That, of course, was directed at Zack. He doesn’t seem to notice the obvious flirtation, or maybe he’s just pretending he didn’t notice for my benefit.
“I bet you get that a lot, huh handsome?”
Zack eyes are on his menu. “Didn’t figure you for the jealous type.”
He doesn’t bother to look up. “I understand. It’s probably difficult having to watch me share a moment with Gwen when what you really want it to have me all to yourself. I wouldn’t mind dividing my time. Just say the word. There’s plenty to go around.”
I let a beat pass. Then another.
His eyes lift to meet mine.
I drop the menu on the table and lean forward. “I should warn you,” I tell him, my gaze steady, the tone of my voice low and laced with something just this side of wicked. “If I were to ever say the word, there would be no dividing of your time. You’d have neither the energy nor the inclination.”
A slow smile forms. “Are we flirting?”
“I don’t flirt.”
“’Cause that felt a lot like flirting.”

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.

Stalk S.J. Harper
Samantha: Facebook | @samsommersby


  1. I love the idea of a werewolf & siren duo! I only recently realized that this book features the former, and after reading your review I'll definitely be adding it to my wishlist.

  2. I like the sound of this one and that combo is definitely one I haven't see yet. Sounds like this is a fun and unique series!

    1. So true! I've read a lot of creatures and this is definitely a unique combo.

  3. I love when a prequel novella starts a series off right. I haven't read a Siren heroine either. And man, I'm just not buying the "forgotten baby syndrome". I've been exhausted and overextended and have never come close up forgetting that my baby was in the car with me. /rant

    Thanks for the review, Braine!

    1. Those parents are dumbasses and don't deserve their kids! Have you seen the Youtube campaign/protest where people are staying in hot cars just to prove a point? I think it's a good initiative to bring awareness.

  4. I don't understand how a parent can leave their inside a car! That's just wrong! Ugh. Anyway, this book did tackle some serious issues, specially abductions. It does happen in real life, and adding paranormal elements into it makes for an interesting read.

    I agree that some novellas don't work, and like you said, it can mess with the timelines, but I'm glad this worked out for you.

    ~ Dre @ Sporadic Reads

    1. Don't get me started on hot cars! I want to lock those parents in their hot cars, see how they fare after 7-8 hours.

      Anyway, it's because of this idiot parenting issue that got me very invested in this story. Thanks for checking this out, Dre!

  5. Definitely sounds like one ripped out of the headlines. I dont understand how people can leave kids and animals in the car. So sad. I am not sure I can handle this one.

  6. I was not a fan of book 1, but that cover is so cool

  7. I like how this sounds. You're right about the hit or miss nature of series novellas.

    1. I think their enemy is the length and plot intricacy. There should be a good balance between the two.

  8. Added all of these to my TBR!! Love the sound of them

  9. It's so frustrating to want to read a series and just can't find time for them all. I have the first book but haven't been able to read it yet. The premise is exciting and I just know I'll love this series. If only I could read in my sleep. LOL
    Fun review and now I'm wanting to get started even more!

    1. I feel you, sometimes I dream that I read. How messed up is that?!

  10. I'm so curious about this one, the series sounds perfect for as you know I'm a UF lover. I have book 1 but still haven't read it, I should do it soon!

  11. Braine you had me adding these to my wishlist. I love that there is a siren and werewolf. The mystery aspect intrigues me. Thanks for sharing these :)

    1. Add it! I love the creature mix they represent, very unique and distinct

  12. Yay for an UF with a timely topic. And a siren?? I don't know too many books with sirens - although there probably are. ;) Siren and werewolf together though is intriguing. And I like police procedurals mixed with UF. Gonna have to read this, Braine.

    1. Which is why I can't pass up on this, it's too "new" for me not to try at least.

  13. Now this is my find of book. Not into novellas right now, but I would make an exception.

    1. You can always jump to Book 1 and then read this after. That's the order of their release anyway so you'd be fine.

  14. This sounds very good indeed. I still have to read the first book in this series.

    Books of Love

  15. Sounds awesome and I really enjoyed the excerpt :D

  16. I absolutely love werewolves, but sirens are usually hit or miss with me... Captured does sound really good, though, and the fact that you loved it is certainly a great endorsement, Braine!
    Thanks for the great review, and for hosting the giveaway, too :)
    Happy reading!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  17. I read and loved this book and am now a huge fan of S J Harper.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  18. Braine - Sam Sommersby, here! AKA The "S" in SJ Harper. I completely understand your question about the reference on the back cover of CURSED to that being Zack and Emma's first case. I so wish we'd been more specific. Obviously Emma had worked a host of other cases, as had Zack, and she stepped in and helped him with the Charleston case. Do you happen to have a time turner so we can go back and clarify it's their first case as partners? LOL!

    I'm thinned that you enjoyed the story!

    Also, thought I'd pass on that CAPTURED is Free for a limited time on Amazon. Anyone curious about the series could download it for FREE!


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