Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'll Know You By Heart
Kimberly Job
  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Valor Publishing Group;
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935546139
Stephanie covered her head, knowing Mark liked to kick her when she was down. Sure enough, she felt the first kick on her left side, just below her shoulder. She braced herself for another one when she heard Tyson's voice. "Stop, Dad!"
"Uncovering her face, she was shocked to see Tyson holding a huge kitchen knife to his father's back.

Stephanie has been married to Mark long enough to have three children, including 16-year-old Tyson. Long enough to know just what Mark is capable of, even though in her heart she knows that she deserves it all. But the kids don't deserve it and she knows she has to leave and take them out of danger.

Across town, Jared is adjusting the role of single father after the death of his wife, Cheryl. After six-weeks off to help four-year-old Katie through the trauma, he is returning to work and needs a part-time baby-sitter.

Jared and Stephanie meet for the first time at a doctor's office, but each feels he/she has known the other one for a long time. But is either of them ready to let someone new into his/her life?

This tense new novel, I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job, wastes no time in getting into the world of domestic abuse. The author is vivid in her descriptions of the horrors and realities of the abuse that goes on behind closed doors of "good families." At the same time, she makes the passages short enough that the reader can keep reading. The love that Stephanie and the children still have for Mark, in spite of everything, threatens to put the family back into their old life.

I'll Know You By Heart
is listed in the Romance genre, which is hard to believe in the beginning, but out of the chaos and sadness, a romance slowly blooms. Stephanie gets a glimpse of how a man should treat a woman and finds that she likes it. Mark starts to show a kinder side in an attempt to win Stephanie back. I won't spoil the ending here. You'll want to read this one yourself. Just be sure to reserve enough time to finish the whole book.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Thorn

The Thorn
(Book One - The Chronicles of Gan)
by Daron Fraley
302 pages
Valor Publishing Group; 1st edition

Again, I did prophecy to my sons, saying: And in that day when the three brothers make war with one another, and a great evil arises in the land which threatens to destroy all peoples, the Holy One shall be born upon the footstool of hi creations, and the sign of his coming shall be given in the heavens.

Thus began the new book, The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley ...and almost ended my reading of it.
Not that it was written badly, but I was almost scared off by what I thought might be a “preachy” type of book. (I have a hard time with books like that.) Not so. Once the pseudo-scriptures were done, the action started. And kept going.
The author paints an almost-Book of Mormon type of picture. Wickedness and warriors. Good versus evil. A people in a world of twin suns, one azure and one aqua, but a world very similar to that in the scriptures.
Jonathan, the main hero , is charged with the task of guarding the Thorn, a symbol which ties in to the coming of the Holy One, as prophesied in the scriptures. The wicked Gideonites want it for their own so that they might rule over all the peoples of Gideon, Uzzah, and Daniel. Wicked King Manasseh and General Rezon and their armies move to take over the throne of Daniel, kill the heir, Jonathan and find the crystal scepter with its embedded thorn.
The action keeps on going from there as Jonathan rescues his old friend Eli and in doing so, makes a new friend out of an enemy. They band together to try and stop the war.

Although I don’t normally choose to read a book of this genre, I was pleasantly surprised that it held my interest and I kept turning the pages, finishing it up late one night. Along with the action, there was a taste of romance. Granted it was a guy’s view of romance, short and with little courtship, not the steamy emotion-packed Harlequin novel-type of romance, but it was enough to make the reader care about the characters, both male and female.

The Thorn was an easy read; the plot was not too complicated and the words flowed. A nice book to read for a relaxing afternoon.

I cyber interviewed Daron and found out some interesting information.

Mary: Why did you decide to write this book?
Daron: The basic idea for the story came from this quote by Neil A. Maxwell: "How many planets are there in the universe with people on them? We don’t know, but we are not alone in the universe! God is not the God of only one planet! I testify that Jesus is truly the Lord of the universe, 'that by [Christ], and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God' D&C 76:24" — Neal A. Maxwell
I thought a long time about this, and wondered what it might be like on another creation. My desire to write a book, and the decision I made to actually do so, happened to coincide with the time I was thinking about these things.

Mary: Have you been writing long?
Daron: I have been writing as a hobby on a very occasional basis since High School. My creative writing teacher got me going. But it wasn't until about 7 years ago that I decided I wanted to write a book. I actually made a written goal to do it. It took me a long time to finish it because I still treated it more as a hobby . . . but I did get it done!

Mary: What is your writing background?
Daron: I discovered that I like to write in High School, and that I wasn't too bad at it, when I placed second in a short story contest at a local community college. It was an event for young writers. But the word "background" takes me back a lot further than High School. How far would I have to go? All the way to the beginning, I suppose. I don't think any person on this planet lacks a heartfelt desire for self expression through the creative process. Some create art or music. Some create a magnificent bridge which spans a harbor. Some create a stunning flower garden to grace a home. Others create beauty in the lives of others through service. It is who they are. But the talents with which we enter this life may not be noticed for many years. American folk painter, Grandma Moses didn't discover her talent for painting until in her seventies. Perhaps there are readers out there who are great writers, but they just don't know it yet. :)

Mary: How did you choose the setting for your story?
Daron: The setting of my story is a binary, blue star system loosely based on Mintaka (Delta Orionis), the right-most star in Orion's belt. According to the astronomy websites I have read, and from what the experts can tell with current data, Mintaka is actually a quad system (a pair of orbiting stars which orbits another pair of orbiting stars). In The Thorn, the two suns for the planet Gan are a class-O and a class-B orbiting pair. I have learned that blue binary star systems are quite common. No, I am not an astronomer. My interest is merely another neglected hobby.

Mary: Tell me some other things you would like me to know.
Daron: Every name in the book is Hebrew, although not every one of them is found in the Old Testament. Some are simply uncommon Hebrew names (like Eder). Coming up with the names was a fun process. A few of the names are indicative of the characteristics of the person named, but not all. I wouldn't think Rezon makes a very good prince, although he does have a secret.

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