Driven. [A short story]December 29, 2016
The Rise of the “Celeb Pastor”December 29, 2016
A combined book review of Finders Keepers and 12 Days of Snowmen
By Vinnie MacIsaac
Wrap around cover for Finders Keepers
Finders Keepers is author Sarah Monzon’s second novel and goes hand and hand with her companion novella 12 Days of Snowmen. Both are part of a larger, ongoing family saga, Monzon is unfolding for her readers. Finders Keepers, additionally, features a dual story line between the present time and 1699 Spain. The use of dual storylines and spin-off novellas are both advanced writing techniques which are highly honorable for an emerging author to make use of and shows growth in her skills and versatility.
Sarah Monzon is a Navy Chaplain’s wife and gifted college graduate. But she is life-educated in her sharing of the Gospel. She likely would see what she does as a ministry, but would stop short of calling herself a minister of the Gospel, at least in the traditional sense of the concept. I, would not hesitate to call her a minister of her own style. For what she does with her writing is storytelling with a gospel purpose.
As a ravenous reader, I consume books by the dozen, like they are mere snacks for the soul to be gobbled up. Ingesting books with the ardor and avidity that I do, I recognize a storyteller with an agenda when I see one. Monzon, has an agenda, and that agenda is to preach the gospel to her young adults reading in the lingo they can best digest. Her thoughtful young adult romance fiction is the vehicle she uses to get to that destination. Her brilliance is really in the balance of the message and the story. Her approach is very appealing in its inductive, unfolding awareness to the reader. It takes skill to not favor one over the other. Yet, Monzon uses the story to drive message which keeps a generation that does not want to be preached at firmly locked in!
Finders Keepers is a mere canvas that Sarah Monzon brushes her words onto so that we may be moved by the internal hardship and crisis that jabs at Summer’s élan vital as she struggles to find out just what is missing in herself. Having never met her father, there is an incompleteness about her that finds no rest; even in her creative nature. Summer, a young marine photographer, is seeking “the picture a lifetime” in a sunken ship to help land her that dream job she always thought would fulfill her. However, the real emptiness in Summer will need more than a picture of a treasure to fill the scant shallowness of her self-worth that has left her blinded to the secret love of her best friend, Jonathan.
Trent Carrington is your typical Rebel Rocker who blazes into the pages of the book with a lifesize chip on his shoulder at God because God refused to save his brother in childhood. Trent, a natural with the ladies, has found his own vices to fill the depths of his vacant emotional cargo. The magic of Finders Keepers is the mingling of the brokenness and deficient deformity of each others’ soul that finds not only solace in each other, but in the true treasure of Heaven, Jesus.
In offering up a dual storyline it goes to show Monzon’s vast growth as a writer since her first book The Isaac Project. This second storyline is skillfully woven into the book. It is the story of the treasure lost in 1699 that provides the storyline as modern-day Summer and Trent seek out this treasure. True to her tenor Monzon weaves a narrative of unexpected and blooming love between Captain Montoya and stow-away, Isabella. It is filled with high-seas adventure and mutiny that takes you on a gender-bending plot twist that lands you safely into “happy-ever-after.”
12 Snowmen of Christmas
12 Days of Snowmen is a short novella of the ongoing adventures of Summer’s best friend, Jonathan. Without spoiling too much of Finders Keepers , I will say it is a fitting follow up on the life of Jonathan that was needed after finishing Finders Keepers. I’ll also add, that while laws and circumstances, will vary from state to state, Monzon nailed the painting with words of what it is like to be an adoptive foster parent and the emotional roller coaster that experience brings. I have fostered three children now. Two of the children transitioned successfully back to their biological family and one, we adopted. I am well qualified to say Monzon hammered down the true to life emotions foster parents go through. This short novella is worth reading because of its emotional resonance with that process. With finesse Monzon takes the stray frills of Jonathan’s chronicles and leaves you hoping we hear from him and his family again in later Carrington novels or even elsewhere.
Sarah Monzon – Wife, Mother of two, and emerging accomplished author.
Sarah Monzon is a person I have known for over ten years now. My earliest memories of her is as a person who stayed quietly in the background, and while very sure of her identity, yet still seeking in uncertainty of its expression. In college we use to jokingly refer to her superpower as The Invisible Woman. I knew her before she emerged as a public author. I watched her own romance unfold with her now husband. I watched her grow as a person, mother, and overall rounded believer. And I have grown to be glad she is no longer invisible but rather boldly marching into the public eye as an accomplished Christian author. I am eagerly awaiting to see what Sarah Monzon brings us next because It is exciting to watch a good friend build a great writing career by bringing shades of her own personality alive on the page with a life of their own. Hopefully, there are many more great stories yet to be told! We are waiting for you Sarah! What’s next?
A moving self-recorded interview by Sarah about the moral message in Finders Keepers.