The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Sometimes writers can highlight truth through the avenue of story that others cannot. Sarah Monzon accomplishes this in her beautiful novel, The Esther Paradigm. Here’s a little about the story:

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Genre:  Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

 

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?

 

Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance. 

Interesting premise, right?

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And impressive story concept – to step into two worlds that appear very different and show how there are many things that are the same, one being the heart’s search for love.

Monzon creates a captivating tale by painting an almost fairy tale like world of colorful tents blowing in a heated wind, sandstorms, forbidden romance; it even has a prince 😊 (okay, he’s a sheikh, but you get my point 😉) Add a commoner to win his heart (who isn’t really that common, by the way) and you have a beautiful tale that resembles the ancient Biblical story of Esther.

Hannah cares deeply for the Gospel and for the people in the Bedouin community she’d grown up in as a child. Her missionary parents, and her love for Jesus, have nurtured a beautiful compassion in her “adopted” people. Karim is the Muslim leader of the community, determined to bring honor to his father’s memory and Allah, and he includes Hannah’s family in that community.

When a disease attacks their livelihood and Hannah’s family is blamed for the blight (due to their Christian faith), Karim’s only way of protecting her in his own strength, is to marry her.

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Designed by Marylin Furumasu

The beauty of their friendship-turned-romance, Hannah’s innocence and trust, and Karim’s protectiveness is sweet. Karim is strong, serious, and bound by a generations’-old duty and Hannah…well, she brings color into his life. Karim doesn’t see it as her faith at first, but as the story moves forward, and as dangers threaten to destroy the tenderness of their newfound love, Hannah’s faith is tried, Karim’s authority is challenged, and their lives are put to the test.

Monzon’s brave pen-dip into the Muslim-Christian dynamics results in a beautiful story of romance, not only of two human hearts, but also the romance of a loving Father for His people. The Esther Paradigm is a stand-off-the-bookshelf kind of story that you’ll want to discover.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

About the Author

Sarah Monzon.jpgSarah 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.

 

Cover Reveal…and massive celebrating

img_5842Okay, this week has been CRAZY…and it’s ONLY Tuesday!

At least it’s the good kind of crazy, right?

I have so much to share with you guys!!! (and….of course, I’m saving my favorite for last…so don’t scroll down and steal my thunder 😉

  1. There is a fabulous Scavenger Hunt going on right now involving kisses, misses, and chances to win 8 super novels! You can find out ALL about it here! And since I’m not above name dropping….can I just say it’s an honor to have my name beside authors like Melissa Tagg, Jessica Patch, and Sara Monzon 😉

2. My first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, is FREE on kindle this week. (So you can buy this and save your money to actually purchase the next two items on the list 😉 http://amzn.to/2ld5QjO   This story has garnered so much praise and it’s such a fun book. 16640751_487167148073737_1130643388656871229_n

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3. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to write my first
novella! A fun, romantic comedy with a touch of Jane Austen flair! It’s up for preorder in this compilation with some other fantastic stories (and authors). And the price is superb! Check out this beauty and make sure you preorder today for just .99!!!! http://amzn.to/2kMxOlP

This story is all about romance, humor, The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, UK, AND a homicidal bonnet. Be prepared 🙂

 

4. Okay, okay….arjtwyaback-coverwebjpege you ready for my Valentine’s GIFT???

That might be a bit melodramatic 😉 but I’m so excited about this novel. This romantic comedy releases on April 6th and is my very favorite book I’ve written so far.

Why? Because I poured all the things I love best into one story…and hopefully an entire series.

Just the Way You Are is the book equivalent of my FAVORITE dessert!

Filled with romance, humor, mystery, adorable kids, hilarious families, England, Appalachia, Blue Ridge Mountains, a swoony British hero, an adorable heroine….and Scooby Doo references. What’s not to like, right? This story may have more of me…and my heart than any other story I’ve written to date.jtwya-web-frontjpeg

So….without further drama. Let me show you the cover to Just the Way You Are!

Isn’t it sweet!!! AND you can preorder it NOW!!! http://amzn.to/2lJ6PGa

I cannot wait for you to meet Eisley, Wes, the Harrisons, the Jenkins, and Lizzie! This is definitely a romantic comedy….with a little bit of old-fashioned Hollywood magic sprinkled in!

Only $4.99 to preorder!!

So….what do you think? Sound like a story that’s up your alley?

 

Isle of Hope Blog Tour – Julie Lessman

isleofhopebanner1Yesterday was National Author Day, and I’m honored to get to celebrate an author’s release this week who has been such an encouragement to me. For over five years, I’ve been blessed with Julie Lessman’s stories and her friendship, and now I’m excited to celebrate her newest (and first contemporary) novel, Isle of Hope.

isleofhopeJulie never fails to include three key components into her novels.

  1. Romantic Tension
  2. A compelling story
  3. Faith

(Plus lots of kisses, but I figured that goes along with the ‘romantic tension’ thing) J

And don’t forget Julie loves to throw in that secondary romance of her older characters – which, to me, was an even more compelling and authentic romance in Isle of Hope than the younger characters’ romance, and making her themes of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘hope’ even more beautiful.

This story, at its naked core, is about forgiveness. A cast of broken people come together on the pages to find the ultimate healing through forgiveness, in its various forms. Lacey embodies the story’s heart as a woman whose past is littered with mistakes that have injured all the people she loves, especially the man she was supposed to marry eight years before. Her purpose in returning home after all those years of simmering bitterness is to seek forgiveness. Isle of Hope is an appropriate place for her to embark on this journey of reconciliation, healing, and, of course, hope. That’s what almost every character in the story is looking for. From the ‘hope’ of a second romance even as one grows older, to the hope of forgiveness for breaking a fiancé’s heart, to the craving of healing between a father and a daughter, Julie Lessman’s novel provides the answer of ‘hope’ in each character in her novel.

isleofhopejulieNow, if you are an avid reader of Julie’s books, you’ll discover a few differences about this one. The faith thread is much more overt in Isle of Hope than in any of her other novels, which provides opportunity for her to share a deeper understanding of the reconciliation and healing of the Gospel.

Another slight difference is the pacing of this book. Because of the storyline taking a longer focus on faith, the pacing may not feel as fast as in her previous books, which may suit wounded readers well as Lessman continually reminds them in each fictional relationship of God’s outpouring of grace as a balm to cure to most broken souls.

And though the kisses seemed more tender than spicy, (and there were still some spicy ones) the overall focus of the book was more about piecing together lives with hope and forgiveness than being swept away in a lover’s embrace (unless the ‘lover’ was the Lover of our souls).

This novel was a beautiful story and one that will remind you of how much you are loved by a Mender of broken things. Definitely a worthwhile read from Julie Lessman.

What people are saying:

“Emotionally captivating and spiritually challenging” — Denise Hunter.

“Lush details, dynamic characters, and a storyline that keeps you turning the pages” — Beth Vogt

“A delight!” — Becky Wade
 

A Week Review With Siri Mitchell

WINNER of JULIE LESSMAN’S BOOK is SUSAN MASON!!! CONGRATS, SUSAN. PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH YOUR SNAIL MAIL!

I started reading Siri Mitchell’s books in 2008 with Kissing Adrien. Since I reposted my review of this wonderful story in April, I decided to start off with a different contemp novel of Siri’s – but let me tell you, if you get a chance to read Kissing Adrien – DO IT!

Siri’s books are unique, lovely, and filled with lots of wonderful nuggets that make you want to go back and reread the story again and again. I’m reading A Heart Most Worthy (her newest novel) right now.

I had the honor of meeting Siri at the 2010 ACFW Convention in Indianapolis and she’s a wonderful lady – one of  quiet, gracious, serene sorts of folks (whether she agrees with me or not 😉 It’s been a pleasure to follow her career from contemp to historical – and what fabulous reads!!!

So this week, we’re going to look at 5 of Siri’s MANY novels – mostly historicals. To shake things up a bit, though, I want to take time today to revisit my January 2009 review of her contemp novel, The Cubicle Next Door.

Check this out:

Jackie Harrison used to like her job. It was perfect for her…peaceful, organized, and all about predictable computers, with no interference from the outside world except an occasional officer in need of technical support, but then Joe showed up. Joe is the new history instructor at the Air Force Academy and Jackie’s new cubicle mate. Worst of all, he’s friendly, funny, gregarious, and a pilot.  Out of pure frustration, Jackie begins to post her thoughts, struggles, and cries for help on her own blog entitled The Cubicle Next Door.

Slowly, as Joe’s disarming personality begins to unwind Jackie’s tightly wrapped heart, her blog becomes the outward evidence of an inward change. Jackie never expected her blog to be featured on T.V., or for Joe to become a habitual reader of it, or for her well-planned life to become her worst nightmare and greatest dream all wrapped up into one. The question is, will Jackie be able to move beyond her fears and seize her neighbor or will her past paralize her from accepting love from next door.

Siri Mitchell’s style is fun, interesting, and light-hearted with moments of deep reflection. Her heros are fantastic. This book is a good read, but can’t compete with my personal favorite, Kissing Adrien. I ended up rooting for Jackie, but it took me a while to really like her character, perhaps because she is so different from my own personality. Jackie’s grandmother and friends are a hilarious addition to the list of likeable characters. If you’ve ever read Siri Mitchell and enjoyed her work, you’ll enjoy this one.

Oh my, doesn’t that sound like fun?!?

To learn more about all of Siri’s novels, visit her website at www.sirimitchell.com

Spotlight on Siri Mitchell – Kissing Adrien

This week I want to celebrate the talent of author, Siri Mitchell. I first read a Siri Mitchell Book in 2007 – and immediately fell in love with her wit, character development, and romantic elements. Whew…good stuff.

My first introduction to her work was her contemporary romance, Kissing Adrien.

Seriously – you want to read this story!!

And, just add to this wonderful story, an author who is super-sweet, kind, and interested in encouraging writers.

So….

Here is my review of Kissing Adrien from December 2007.

Who wouldn’t want to kiss Adrien? In this incredibly romantic and funny novel by Siri Mitchell, the reader travels with Claire to the beautiful city of Paris where she is thrust into a world as foreign to her American culture as scrambled eggs and escargot.

Claire lives a predictable, somewhat plain life in Seattle, until her father breaks both of his arms and a mysterious great aunt dies, leaving her entire fortune to Claire’s father. Since Claire’s father cannot travel, Claire is sent to Paris in the care of her childhood friend and French gentleman, Adrien (AHHH, Paris!)

Adrien takes Claire on a beautiful and sometimes ‘terrifying’ introduction to the City of Lights, where Claire not only discovers that the love she’s always wanted has been waiting for her since she was a child.

This book breathes of fresh romance, wonderful humor, and an excellent mental trip to one of the most ‘romantic’ cities in the world. Siri Mitchell’s writing is fresh and enjoyable.

Seasons Change- Fall Into Love with… your hostess :-)

As you guys know, it’s the last week of Seasons Change – Fall Into Love series. My hope is that the wonderful Missy Tippens will have her excerpt ready for us by Friday – we’re still waiting on a few of the logistics about approval and all that- but in the meantime, I’m going to share an excerpt from my wip.

It’s so much easier to ask other people my questions, instead of having to reflect on them myself. I guess that’s why I always add my excerpts at the ends of my series, so I can glean from all the brilliant writers who answered before me J

As a gift for one lucky commenter today, I’m giving away Sharon Gillenwater’s newest novel, Emily’s Chance. So make sure to leave a comment about your favorite movie that shows the hero/heroine recognizing a growing love between them.

What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other?

I love the moments when the attraction comes as a surprise to one or both characters. There are so many great ways to watch ‘romance’ happen between two characters. The hostile-attraction – like Darcy/Elizabeth or Just Like Heaven ; the slow-growing attraction – like Anne Shirley and Gilbert; the sweet attraction – like My Big Fat Greek Wedding; the forbidden attraction – Jane Eyre or Romeo & Juliet; and the timid attraction/or fear of falling – Persuasion.

I like to watch all of them unfold – especially if the tension or conflict is high.

So, here are two excerpts from two of my wips:

The first is from my Speculative Fiction (hostile-attraction) 🙂 Heartless:

Sophia stumbled forward, the foliage a tangled barrier of vines and bush, pinching her palms as she pushed through them.  A clearing opened up among the trees, filled with angle high grass, twigs, and three bodies. Two lay splintered with wood and Ethan bent over the third. He spoke with his back to her, hands resting on the head of, what appeared to be, a teenage boy.

“Have trouble finding your way?”

                Maybe she should do herself a favor and kill him now. He kept provoking her.

                He turned then and his gaze locked with hers for a brief moment before he shot to his feet. “What happened?”

His aqua eyes scanned her face, her body, focused concern so intense she lost her train of thought.  Raw emotion, pure and uncovered, exuded from him as evident as the twin trail of blood from the teen’s neck.  She fought the connection, the offering, and looked down at the boy.

Ethan stepped nearer. “You’re bleeding.”

It took a moment for his words to register. She followed his darkening gaze with her hand to her forehead, finger gliding from her wet hair to a sticky substance. Her lips closed around a wince. “You left your partner behind.”

Ethan’s brows shot heavenward, and then, with the ease of a sunrise, his lips tilted slightly. “Partner, is it?”

Sophia pushed past him and knelt beside the boy. “I obey orders.” She tossed a grin over her shoulder, but not the nice kind. “That’s why you’re still alive.”

This second excerpt is from my contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mtns

He checked over his shoulder to see if Doc was still following. Nope, she stood stone still at the bottom of the porch steps with Haus sniffing at her heels. Their gazes locked. He offered a smile. She grimaced. Seemed ‘bout right.

“That’s Haus, my grandpa’s hound.”

Reece adjusted the keys in the door and clicked it open.

“Where does he live?”

“Here.” Reece turned to her and leaned against the doorframe. “We ain’t been able to get him to understand that grandpa’s dead. So he hangs around here and someone usually stops by once a day to check on him. There’s no better dog in all of Virginia.”

“Wh…what’s he doing?”

Reece cocked his head and studied the old dog. “Well, he must like you. He’s smilin’ at ya.”

Doc visibly shuddered. “Smiling? Is that what you call it?”

Reece looked from Dee to Haus. How else could he describe it? The dog was smilin’. Hadn’t the woman every seen a smilin’ dog before?

Doc shrugged past Reece, her attention so focused on Haus, she stumbled over Reece’s foot. In one fluid motion, he steadied her in his arms. Her hands gripped his shoulders and momentum pushed her forward until her nose grazed his chin, fanning warm breath down his neck. Explosions erupted in his stomach, and if she hadn’t pushed him away so fast, he’d have beaten her to it. He had to get out of there. Quick.

“I’m not much of a dog person.”

Reece backed out the door, half falling, and hoped for an easy grin. “That’s alright. He don’t mind none.” The threshold of the door stood between them like a visible wall, but it couldn’t hide the faint bloom of color in her face. Ignore it. It didn’t make her look that much more attractive.  He cleared his throat and nodded toward the staircase inside. “There are two bedrooms upstairs and a ladder  to the attic. Not much room for storage up there, cause it’s full of old stuff of my grandparents Mom ain’t gotten around to piddlin’ through yet.”

He had to look passed her to point toward the study, and caught her gaze fastened on him again, for a minute, till she quickly turned away. His words almost got stuck in his throat. She did have pretty eyes.

Hope you enjoyed today. Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Sharon Gillenwater’s latest release.

Blessings,