Apr 25, 2010

Book Review: "The Thorn" by Daron Fraley

Genre:  Speculative Fiction
Publication Date:  March 2010
Author's Website:  http://www.daronfraley.com/

First Sentence:  Another rumble of thunder, this one closer than the last, caused the final bird near the garden fountain to take flight.

About the Book:

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown world - Earth - is about to appear in the heavens

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe named Rezon - a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others.

In the end, Pekah's selfless bravery is the means by which all the tribes are united. But there are dissenters, and Rezon escapes a well-deserved fate. When the promised heavenly signs appear, will there be peace at last, or will the malefactors once again threaten the safety of them all?

My Opinion:

I'll preface my opinion by saying that Daron and I have the same publisher.  Be assured that this did not affect my review.  In fact, I honestly wasn't really looking forward to reading it because I thought it was a fantasy novel, which is my least favorite genre.  I really don't enjoy reading about other worlds.  I want to read about familiar things to which I can relate, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I've heard The Thorn described as the Old Testament on another planet.  But, while it takes place on another planet, the world is very similar to ours.  They speak the same language, call animals by the same names, don't have magical powers, and have landscapes that all seemed familiar.

Daron is a very descriptive writer which made it easy to imagine the setting because of his rich, vivid descriptions.  I also really appreciated the themes of family, faith, and friendship throughout the book. 

Probably because I'm a romance writer, there were occasional moments where I wished there was a little more emotion, and I would have liked to see women characters earlier in the book.  But overall, The Thorn is a very engaging story, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

The Thorn can be purchased on Amazon, and will be available in bookstores soon.  To learn more about Daron, visit his website

Apr 19, 2010

First Sentence Frenzy

I've been reading a lot of book reviews. One reviewer always includes the first line of the book. I think it's a great idea, and might even start doing that myself.

It got me thinking about the importance of the first sentence. As a writer, you only have a few pages to grab your readers attention. If you can hook them with the first paragraph, or better yet, the first line, it's even better.

Some ideas:
- Show a character in trouble, pulling the reader in for more.
- Use a bold statement that has some shock value to make your reader laugh or worry.
- Start at the moment a story becomes inevitable.
- Start in the last moments of a peaceful world, just before everything falls apart.

If you're having trouble getting started, start with the second paragraph. Just because you have to write the first sentence sometime, doesn't mean you have to write it first. It may even be a good idea to leave the opening line for when the story is done. Then, when you know where the story ends up, you'll know where to start.

Here's a sample of first sentences from the books in my reading pile. After reading them, leave me a comment with the first sentence from your book, or another book that you love.

"Ida Mae Babbitt didn't know what cookie to serve with bad news." Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

"It was time to say goodbye.  She could feel it--the inevitable separation had begun." I'll Know You by Heart by Kimberly Job (Yep!  That's me, and I cheated and put the first two sentences.)

"A cool February breeze blew over the desert and swirled around me as my assailant slashed by scarf into strips with his knife."  The Sharp Edge of a Knife by D.N. Giles

"Muffled voices outside my door that October morning woke me and took me from a peaceful place to one I'd come to hate."  Far from You by Lisa Schroeder

"My breath came faster as I stared ito the shoebox sitting on the counter at my antiques box."  Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes

"Today it finally hit me:  I have worn nothing but jammies for an entire year." Gravity vs. the Girl by Riley Noehren

Aren't those great?  They all make me want to know more.  Now, leave me a comment with your first sentences.  I really want to read them.  I'll pick my favorites and post them here on my blog.

Apr 18, 2010

Book Review: Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

When I heard about Annette Lyon's new book, Band of Sisters, I jumped at the chance to read it.  I've long been a fan of LDS fiction, and it's authors like Annette who have helped to create a better impression of the quality of writing that is now coming out in the LDS market.

About the author:

Annette Lyon has been writing ever since second grade, when she piled pillows on a chair to reach her mother's typewriter. A cum laude graduate from BYU with a degree in English, she has had success as a professional editor and doing newspaper, magazine, and business writing, but her first love is creating fiction. She's perhaps best known for her historical novels centered around the four old Utah temples.

In 2007 she was awarded Utah's Best of State medal for fiction. Spires of Stone, her fifth novel, was a 2007 Whitney Award finalist for Best Historical Novel. She has received three publication awards from the League of Utah Writers and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the LDStorymakers, a guild for LDS writers.

About the book:
When the war on terror calls their husbands to duty, five LDS women are left behind to fight battles of their own: Kim, newlywed and pregnant, frightened of what the future might bring. Brenda, struggling to manage three unruly boys and a crippling bout of depression. Jessie, secretly grappling with mixed feelings about her crumbling marriage. Marianne, wrestling with a rebellious teenage daughter. And Nora, the seasoned Army wife with perfect hair, an immaculate home—and an ill-tempered mother dying of cancer.

Knowing the separation of deployment is extremely difficult, Nora gathers the wives every week to share lunches and burdens. In good company, they worry over safety in the field and stability at home and offer one another counsel and comfort.

But as their personal crises build, each woman faces the risks of forming deep bonds of trust. And when tragedy strikes, they must confront the painful realities of war that pull families apart and bring friends together as sisters.
My opinion:

I thoroughly enjoyed Band of Sisters.  Luckily, Annette is an amazing writer.  I was never pulled out of the story by that pesky editor in my head, because Annette's writing is flawless.

She did an amazing job giving each of the five women in Band of Sisters a distinct personality.  The women vary in age.  Some have children at home, while others don't.  Some are happily married, and others, not so much.   I was able to relate to each of them in a different way, but Jessie was my favorite.   They seemed so real to me because they each had their own set of difficulties, with the common thread of husbands being away at war. 

I love the way they uplifted and supported one another, and the strong friendships that were created.  It showed that we have each been blessed with our own unique talents that can be used to improve the lives of others, even at times when we don't feel like we have much to give.

Band of Sisters is a moving story about the unique power of women, and the strength we can gain from relationships with one another.  I highly recommend it.

For more information about Annette and her other books, please visit her website and blog.

Apr 17, 2010

Feelin' the Love!

I love all of my bloggy friends!  I've met so many amazing people.  Some live far away, and I'll likely never meet them in person, but that doesn't negate the effect they've had on my life. 

I received a couple of awards this week, and want to pass them along.

First, I received the Happy 101 award from my friend, Nichole.  Isn't it cute?

Here is how it works:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and use a link to their blog.
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and link to their blog.

10 Things That Make Me Happy:

1.  A clean house
2.  Making others happy
3.  Snuggle time with my kids
4.  Summer evenings
5.  Comments on my blog
6.  When a chapter turns out just the way I wanted
7.  When my children set a good example for their friends
8.  Laughing with my critique group
9.  Late night talks with my amazing husband
10.  Happy endings
I'm passing the award to:

Don at 90,000 Words of Delusion
Tracy at A Blissful Life
Crystal at A Book a Day
Melissa at Breath of Life
Carolyn at Checkerboard Squares
Cindy at Dragon Dreamer
Loni at Loni and Tyler
Marta at Marta Writes
Jane at Mother's Daze
Robyn at Our Homeschool Home

I also received the Blogger BFF award from Bethany at Shooting Stars.

I'm not sure if there are any rules for this award, but I'm passing it on to a select group of bloggers who I will always call my best friends.  I count them among my choicest blessings.

Nichole Giles
Keith Fisher
Tristi Pinkston
Heather Justesen
Danyelle Ferguson
Autumn Ables Weber
Karen Hoover

If you need some fun new blogs to follow, be sure to check these out!

Apr 16, 2010

Writing Tips!

I love writer's blogs! I learn so many great tips on all aspects of writing. My friend, Stina at Seeing Creative had a link to this video on her blog.

The video originally came from Becca Fitzpatrick, YA author of Hush, Hush.

Watch it and see how many authors you can name.

Apr 13, 2010

Catch the Tooth Fairy!

I saw this on Saving Dollars and Sense today, and thought it was so cute I wanted to share. 

Imagine the look of wonder and surprise when your children see a photo of the Tooth Fairy in their very own room! Catch her flying overhead, peering over a pillow, or blowing a kiss.

Simply take a photo of your child sleeping, then go to this website, to add in the Tooth Fairy.

This usually costs $9.99 but it is completely FREE when you use the code fairy-proof.

Even if your child doesn't have a loose tooth, you can make the picture now while it is free and save it until you need it.

Apr 12, 2010

Book Review: Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

I read and review a lot of books, but Tristi Pinkston's latest release, Secret Sisters, is unlike anything I've ever read.  It's a story about a Relief Society Presidency who turns to espionage in order to properly take care of the women in their ward.

About the Book:
Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd Ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low and she learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods, well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

With the help of her counselors Arlette and Tansy, Ida Mae soon learns that there's more to the situation than meets the eye. It's all in a day's work for the Relief Society.
About the Author:

Tristi Pinkston is the author of four published novels.  She is a popular presenter at the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference, and has presented at numerous other conferences and workshops. 

Tristi enjoys good movies, taking long naps, scrapbooking, and teaching other writers how to dig within themselves for the very best they have to offer. 

Tristi and her husband, Matt, have been married fourteen years and together they have four adorable, smart, talented, creative, home schooled, wonderful children who keep them busy.

My Review:

If you've followed my reviews, you know that fantasy is not my favorite genre.  I like to read contemporary novels about things that could really happen.  Secret Sisters is the perfect mix of reality and an entertaining story.  Is it likely that a Relief Society presidency will spy on the sisters they visit teach?  Probably not.  But it could happen.  The unlikeliness of the situation is what makes Secret Sisters so hilarious. 

Tristi has created characters that you can't help but love.  Ida Mae, Tansy, and Arlette each have their own distinct personality, and Tristi has done a remarkable job giving each of them a voice that you can recognize. 

While Secret Sisters does include a mystery, it is not the focus of the story.  The zany antics of Ida Mae and her cohorts will keep you laughing throughout the entire book.  Tristi also includes some real life lessons throughout the book.  I finished the story feeling uplifted and happier, and I think you will too.  It's a quick, entertaining read, and I highly recommend it.  It's definitely going on my shelf of books to keep and read again and again. 

Secret Sisters is the first in a series of books.  I'm part of Tristi's critique group, so I've had the privilege to read the other books in the series, and I can tell you, the fun continues--you won't want to miss it!

The characters from Secret Sisters have their very own blog!  If you need a smile, be sure to check it out.  You can also learn more about Tristi by visiting her blog and website.

Secret Sisters can be purchased here.

Apr 10, 2010

Love this Quote!

I found this cool quote on my friend's blog and LOVED IT!!  Autumn is an amazing writer and friend, and one of the most creative people I know.  You need to check out her gorgeous blog.
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!"

Apr 8, 2010

Did Someone Say PARTY??

Thanks for partying with me! I love meeting new people . . . so leave a comment and I will hop on over to your blog party too .

A little about me--I'll make this quick, because I know you have a lot of blogs to visit.  My name is Kimberly Job.  I recently married the love of my life, and we now have a combined family of TEN children ages 6-17.  It's definitely crazy, but lots of fun too. 

I'm also an author.  My first novel, I'll Know You by Heart, was just released last month.  You can read more about it here.  I blog about writing, motherhood, combining families, marriage, and whatever else I feel like rambling about.  I also post weekly book reviews.  If any, or all of that interests you, become my follower.  :)  (Over there--on the sidebar!) 

You are all invited to join the blog party! Click here for details.

TONS of prizes are being given away, including a Toshiba Laptop, Hilton Hotel stay, Restaurant certificates, and handstamped jewelry.

I'm also giving away a copy of my book, I'll Know You by Heart.  Just leave a comment, and you'll be entered to win!

Apr 7, 2010

Heartfelt Personal Reviews

It's been fun following all the reviews of my new book, I'll Know You by Heart.  The three most recent have all had something in common--each of the reviewers have had personal experience with abuse. 

Here are a few comments from the latest reviews:

Daron Fraley, a fellow Valor author said:
"I am qualified to judge one element of this book, and that is the part which pertains to the abuse portrayed in the story. . . .In fact, I almost put the book down after the first chapter, never to pick it up again. Why? Not because Kimberly did a poor job with the story. Quite the contrary. She did an excellent job. Her portrayal of the situation is spot-on. So much so, that it was painful to read. And for me, it was very personal.

. . . Two thumbs up for Kimberly’s story. She did a fantastic job with it. The characters are real. The emotions are real. Read the book. And if you feel inspired to do so, maybe you’ll even share it with someone who might need it. You may just change their life forever." 
Read the entire review here.

Lori Nawyn from Forethought and Purpose said:
"I’ll Know You by Heart, the debut novel of author Kimberly Job, struck a nerve with me because I once found myself in the same situation. . . . Enduring spousal abuse, being trodden into submission by the man who is supposed to love you, is heart wrenching and demeaning; one of the deepest betrayals of trust.

Kim deftly shows the inner struggles both Stephanie and Jared experience as they strive to maintain emotional equilibrium. And she has penned a cast of well-crafted family members, from children to in-laws, whose lives are also impacted by the inherent anguish and scars of violence, divorce, and loss. The story is testament of the power of love and the strength of the human spirit."
Read the entire review here.

Danyelle from Queen of the Clan said:
"This book is so much more than a romance. It's such a true to life story, with raw emotions and a mother's struggle to survive & recreate a life for her and her children - all while also trying to escape the negativity and poor self-esteem which results from years of abuse. By the end of the first chapter, I knew Stephanie was a woman I could personally connect with as a survivor of abuse. The turmoil and emotional upheaval she experiences - Kimberly Job did such an excellent job detailing and pacing it throughout the book. I love that she also showed Stephanie's journey back to rediscovering her worth as a daughter of God."
Read the entire review here.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these heartfelt, personal reviews.  I've often been asked what I hope readers will gain from reading my book. I hope that readers who are in the midst of, or have previously experienced abuse, will find hope in its pages and know that there can be happy days ahead.

Apr 6, 2010

Service Soapbox Baby Shower

Service Soapbox is proud to announce its first ever Blogger event--and it's one you won't want to miss!

The Teddy Bear Den helps to prevent birth defects by giving low-income women baby-related incentives (diapers, baby clothes, wipes) for participating in prenatal care and for avoiding unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking during pregnancy.

Grab a pack of diapers, baby clothes, blankets, or anything else baby related (see the wish list here), and join the Service Soapbox bloggers as we gather baby items for the March of Dimes Teddy Bear Den. Come socialize with your fellow bloggers and enjoy food, door prizes and lots of fun.

Anyone can join in by participating in the Virtual Baby Shower!

The week after the event, we'll be holding a virtual shower. Anyone who donates baby items to the Teddy Bear Den will be eligible to win great prizes from PC Laptops, Ulta, GiftTree, Target, Marilee Jean, Bellybuds, Minutes with Me, and many more.   Click here to see how to participate.

If you'd like to become a Service Soapbox blogger, click the image below for details:

I'm a Service Soapbox Blogger

Apr 2, 2010

More Reviews!

I'm having fun reading all the reviews of "I'll Know You by Heart" that are showing up online.  Here are a few snippets from the latest ones:

Chantele from There is Always Something to Read said:
"The story had me at the very first page . . .It's a story of courage, faith, and love, and I am looking forward to see what this author writes next. Powerful, moving, and emotional, this book is a great debut by Kimberly Job."

Read the full review here.

Crystal from A Book a Day said:
"If you want a page-turner, this is the book for you! I could NOT put it down! I was frustrated that I had to put it down at points to deal with real life. This story is gripping from the first few pages and will take you on a journey of heartache, pain, love lost and love found again. If you want a good read this IS the book! Congratulations Kim on a fabulous first novel! I enjoyed every page and look forward to the next great book!"
Read the full review here:

Hillary from LDS Women's Book Review said:
"This book begins with an INTENSE and dramatic gut-wrenching first chapter and doesn't really slow down. . . . The story is unique and authentic. It has a way of drawing you in and making you forget that it is a story."
Read the full review here.

Apr 1, 2010

My virtual book tour has begun!

Today is the first day of my virtual book tour!

All month, I'll Know You by Heart will be featured on someone's blog. All of the participating bloggers are listed on my sidebar, and I'll also be sharing portions of the reviews here on my blog.

Today's review is found at Why Not Because I Said So. Sheila Staley is one of the awesome ladies from LDS Women's Book Review and Podcast.   I first officially met her at my book launch party, but felt an instant connection.  She's a sweetheart.  Sheila had this to say about my book:

"To say that this story touched me would be an understatement. . . .this is not your typical love story of a single girl meets a single guy and and they dance around through the whole book and fall in love at the end. This is a love story of two people that have had their hearts broken. This man and woman meet and are still trying to heal. Through their support and growing love for one another you will read of a tender romance. You will be moved to tears often through this book."
You can read the whole review here.

Conference Helps for Kids

I love Conference. I love that I can spend the weekend in my pajamas, cuddled up with my sweetheart, listening to the words of the prophet, and recharging my spirit for the coming months ahead.

But, I do have little kids, and I know there’s always the challenge of deciding whether it’s best to let them play in another room so that I can watch Conference in peace and quiet, or if I should make them watch it with me, because it really is for them too.

Over the years, we’ve used a variety of methods to keep them quiet, but still actively involved. The Friend magazine usually has some conference ideas for families, we’ve also played Conference Bingo with Skittles for markers. This year, I found some amazing conference packets online at SugarDoodle.net. They have packets geared to all ages—youth, Sr. primary, and Jr. primary. Check it out!

Also, check out these resources:

LDS.org General Conference packet and games
Conference packet from Scriptures4Kidz
Fun Conference packet!
Beehive Messages Conference packet

What about you?  What fun Conference ideas have you tried?  I'm always eager to learn something new.
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