Literarily For Keeps AND Freedom’s Kiss

Sarah Monzon kept me company on my travels last week with both Literarily for Keeps and Freedom’s Kiss. I only had one problem: I wanted to read both at the same time and didn’t want to put either down to read the other. It’s tough wanting to read ALL THE BOOKS.

About the Book: Literarily for Keeps

literarily for keepsShe only has to pretend to be married for five days. What’s the worst that could happen? 

Literature professor Ashleigh Darmody never imagined her life would turn into a classic trope, but that’s exactly what happens when her sister Claire calls with a bizarre request–quickly find a fake husband. Backstory is a powerful thing, and Ashleigh’s has plenty of shadows, but is her past so shady that it requires an elaborate scheme to ensure Claire’s prospective father-in-law, renowned TV evangelist Ken Abrams, will give her his blessing to marry his son? 
Already divorced from a man who turned out to be other than he claimed, Ashleigh now has to pretend to be blissfully married to a stranger for the next five days. But when the lines of fiction and reality blur with each tick of the clock, could a temporary deal turn into something for keeps?

About the Book: Freedom’s Kiss

Freedoms kissThey were both prisoners of their past. Could legacy be the key to setting them free? 

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie. 

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart. 

Florida, 1816 
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the west shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

My Thoughts

I’ve yet to meet a Sarah Monzon book I haven’t liked and these two add to the count. I’ve had Freedom’s Kiss patiently waiting for me for awhile, and Literarily for Keeps just came out. I thought it’d be fun to focus on one author while traveling and so loaded both on my ereader (and on the Ipad, and the phone, because, you know, things happen and you don’t want to be BOOKLESS).

The books share some similarities: solid characters, contemporary settings, toe curling romance, and tough topics. Both stories deal with sexual abuse, so trigger warning for some. Personally, I think Sarah did great job of lending gravity and the seriousness the situations without requiring a box of Kleenex, breaking the tension with well placed levity. I also appreciate her note at the end of Freedom’s Kiss. Throughout both stories, Sarah weaves faith in naturally, never getting preachy while incorporating solid Biblical truths. Her characters aren’t perfect and have made mistakes, but all learn that God takes us as we are, not where we think we should be.

Literarily for KeepsThis is a quick fun read perfect for passing a Sunday afternoon. But don’t think it’s too sweet. It’s a first person narrative (which I usually avoid, but guys, it’s Sarah Monzon, so I couldn’t not read it) with an internal monologe that I related to so often, I wondered if Sarah had tapped into my own head. Granted, I don’t have quite as many literary reference bobbing around, but I think most will relate to the rambling monologue that frequently occurs in those 5 seconds before you make a decision but if you wrote it all down would take 3 pages.

Freedom’s Kiss: I’m a Carrington family fan for sure; weekly game night sounds ideal. For the first two books we see Adam as a secondary character, but I kept wondering what was going on with him and what his story was; now I know. I was a little surprised at how quickly the romance developed, but it made such a great platform for romantic tension for the rest of the story and allowed some toe curls. When I think about, Adam is such a passionate and compassionate man, he couldn’t help but jump in with his whole heart right away- he’s all or nothing.

I appreciated getting to know a slice of history I wasn’t familiar with and ended up with some time on Google reading up, so I know Sarah was trying to fit a long timeline in, but I found the secondary historic story a little jumpy at times. Being light skin, it will always be hard to understand the struggles that can come with dark, but I feel that I gained some understanding, especially of the Native American culture of that area. The book opened up a conversation for me with a Native American friend where we could talk points of spirituality. As she’s not a believer, I was happy to have some thoughtful questions I could ask as a result about the culture she was raised in and share a bit of my faith with her.

I received a copy of Freedom’s Kiss from the author. I was not required to post a review. These opinions are my own.

Book Boyfriends 2017

I was going to do an all-time book boyfriends post…I do have my favorites, but 2017 was a great swoony hero year. Here are my favorites. Note: I READ all of these in 2017; most were also published last year, but not all. I did not even attempt to keep it at 10. (Learning from you, Carrie!)

1) Michael Carrington (All of You by Sarah Monzon)

We’re not supposed to objectify others, but….Michael is HOT. Sweltering. I’m not usually into bad boys, but this fine boy is attractive. He has other redeeming qualities as well, but they only make him hotter.

2) Karim  (The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon)

Karim is not your typical CF hero. He’s Muslim. But, oh my goodness, his dedication, quiet strength, patience, love for his people, and yes, his faith. He’s the best quiet but strong character I’ve read in a long time. He’s not brooding, he’s thoughtful.

3) Alex, Wes, and Reese (Pepper Basham’s Bunch)

If you’ve read any of Pepper’s books, or tuned into Carrie’s raves on her heroes, this won’t surprise you. All of her contemporary heroes will make your toes curl and make you jealous of the heroines. You can see my review for Charming the Troublemaker here.

 

4) Kristi Ann Hunter – Trent from An Uncommon Courtship and Griffith from An Inconvenient Beauty

Two more hereos here! Trent and Griffith’s novels were long anticipated by her readers taking sides for #mytrent and #teamgriffith which made their allure grow. I have been in love with Griffith from the very first time we meet him earlier in the Hawthorne House series and I’m so glad that everyone has finally caught on to the Duke of Hotness. We have similar personalities, so I relate a lot to Grif, and his love for his family, especially his momma. How can you not love a guy who loves his mamma?

5) Amos Bledsoe (Heart On The Line by Karen Witemeyer)

Amos is another non-typical hero. He rides bikes, wears glasses, and would probably enjoy playing Settlers of Catan if he lived today. He’s geeky and so not alpha male-ish. He reminds me a lot of my husband, so I can’t help but love him too.

6) Peter (A Name Unknown by Roseanna White)

I love Peter’s faith and how he goes about living it as a witness to Rosemary. No pushing, just example and patience. He writes her notes too! They’re probably not technically love letter, but I like to think of them that way.

7) Parker Mitchell (Still Life ) and Declan Grey (Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey)

These dudes are half of team hot and you love them more and more as you get to know them throughout the series. They’re protective, but not smothering; let their ladies think for themselves. They’re not perfect, but they’re trying to get there.

8) Ben Delaney (The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner)

I love Ben because he’s so real. I admire him for sticking to boundaries that are very hard to follow in our current culture, but he’s still real about it. He wants his lady, but respects her enough to hold himself back and isn’t mishish about bringing up the issue.

9) Tavin Knox (The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze)

Tavin has a Scottish accent and is mysterious. Need I say more?

 

The QuietingGiveaway

Today’s giveaway will be a copy of The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher!  I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Remember to enter the giveaways for the rest of the week!

Why I Read – With Carrie @ Reading Is My Superpower

Blogiversary Extravaganza! Things I wish I Knew When I Started a Blog

Throwback Thursday – Giveaway

First Line Fridays – Love In Three Quarter Time

Top 10 Summer Books

It’s technically fall, though the weather here disputes that fact. So, that means it’s time for the summer round up! This is for books read July-August-September. (There were so many in June, I just couldn’t include it, and I’m resisting a great book I just finished today, because it’s already October!) I surprised myself when I started narrowing down the options and saw how many contempories there are; I normally consume mostly historical fiction, but it appears to have been a summer of contemporaies!

Enjoy!

All This Timealways watchingAn Inconvienent BeautyBlind SpotJust Look Upaoy cover final(1)A Name UnknownMatter of TrustPeace in ValleyThen There Was you

All of You – Celebrate Lit Giveaway

All of you FB banner copy

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

aoy cover final(1)

Book title: All of You

Author: Sarah Monzon

Release date: May 15, 2017

Genre:Dual-timeline/Contemporary Romance

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

My Review

Sarah had me at “Maryland, Present Day.” I love reading books set not only in my hone state, but near where I live. But, a story is more than its setting, right? Right. And I blame Sarah completely for why my house did not get cleaned the weekend I started reading All of You, because I just COULD NOT put it down. Thankfully, the hubs has to work Saturday, so I was left to my reading. I had planned to get some things accomplished, but about 15 minutes in I realized that wasn’t going to happen.

Sarah is known for weaving a contemporary and historical story together and since I like both genres, I appreciate the art it takes to put both together in a way that doesn’t make your head spin. I knew that eventually the two would intersect and had an idea about how it might happen, but Sarah wove two romances together in a manner that keep me anticipating the convergence rather than feeling like it was predictable.

It was also refreshing to have a male lead who was rock solid in his faith, despite his circumstances. Many authors (including Sarah in past books) use the hero’s trials to help him return to God, but seeing Michael firm, despite the circumstances, while still struggling to accept them and asking questions was a journey I can relate to; there have been many times in my life where I’ve asked God “why” and “what now” while not doubting Him and I like that Michael approaches faith like this as well.

I encourage you to pick up a copy. You won’t regret it!  I received  a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not paid nor required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.

About the Author

bio photo(1)

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 Selah award for contemporary romance.

Guest Post from Sarah Monzon

I’m so excited to be here today and getting this opportunity to hang out with y’all in this virtual world. If you are anything like me, you devour books faster than my son drinks orange juice (and he really loves orange juice!). Because of that, it is sometimes hard to come across a book with a unique premise or a message that you haven’t seen incorporated a thousand times before. As a writer, I always try to bring something fresh to the table.

In the first book of the Carrington Family Series, Finders Keepers, neither of my characters were Christians. What? No Christians in a Christian fiction novel? Most Christian fiction books usually have at least one or both main characters a Christians. Don’t worry, they both found their way to Jesus. With All of You, however, I wanted to take yet an even different approach.

I’ve ready lots of books where the main character is angry or upset with God for such-and-such thing that happened in his/her life (I’ve even written a character like that), but I hadn’t really read a story about a character that, no matter what life threw at him/her, he/she was going to trust in God no matter what. As a life-long Christian, this is a message I can identify with. The “If not, He is still good” resonation that is sometimes harder to hold on to in the midst of pain and struggles.

So, as with all my books, I hope the freshness of the story and the realness of my characters will inspire and uplift you as you travel along with them on their journey.

God Bless.

Blog Stops

September 12: A Baker’s Perspective

September 12: Quiet Quilter

September 13: Books, Books, and More Books

September 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts

September 14: Cordially Barbara

September 14: Smiling Book Reviews

September 15: Avid Reader Book Reviews

September 15: Carpe Diem

September 16: Inklings and notions

September 16: Christian Bookaholic

September 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

September 17: Artistic Nobody

September 18Bookworm Mama

September 18Remembrancy

September 19Back Porch Reads

September 19Kat’s Corner Books

September 20Just Jo’Anne

September 20Margaret Kazmierczak

September 21The Power of Words

September 21Mary Hake

September 22100 Pages per Hour

September 22Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 23Zerina Blossom’s Books

September 23Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)

September 24Blossoms and Blessings

September 24Moments Dipped in Ink

September 25Kathleen Denly

September 25His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

amazon gift card 25

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd52