Synapse – A Review

Synapse by Steven James

Released October 8th, 2019

Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an illusion?

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

My Review

Steven James is an exceptional writer. Never once did the story lag, even during long discussions of a philosophical nature. He knows how to weave together his words and story in a beautiful manner.

I enjoyed seeing from multiple perspectives, even from the criminals’ points of view, throughout the book. I rarely got confused – only with the NCB agents and that could be attributed to my not noticing their names when they first appeared on the page.

My biggest complaint about Synapse is the role of Kestrel Hathaway. Biblically, I don’t believe there is a role for female pastors. She didn’t act much like a pastor either, from what I could see, but as her character arch put her into a place of struggle, perhaps that could be expected. I did like how many times she called Scripture to mind, even though she couldn’t always say she knew her own thoughts on those Scriptures.

I would also include a warning regarding the violence of a few of the death scenes. As a thriller, one might expect deaths, but the level of detail, particularly for some of the murders, might disturb some readers.

I found the underlying premise regarding what Jordan, an Artificial, can and can not believe about God to be a fascinating topic and one that I want to think about more thoroughly. The discussions regarding existence, death, and eternity were well thought out and good food for thought.

Blog Tour

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 8

Just Your Average reviews, October 9

Emily Yager, October 9

amandainpa , October 10

Wishful Endings, October 10

Just the Write Escape, October 11

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, October 11

Pause for Tales, October 12

Mary Hake, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

For The Love of Books, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Hallie Reads, October 15

Blogging With Carol, October 15

Remembrancy, October 16

Through the Fire Blogs, October 16

Simple Harvest Reads, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 18

janicesbookreviews, October 19

Bigreadersite, October 19

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Inklings and notions , October 21

By The Book, October 21

About the Author

Steven James is the critically acclaimed, national bestselling author of sixteen novels. His work has been optioned by ABC Studios and praised by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books, and many others. His pulse-pounding, award-winning thrillers are known for their intricate storylines and insightful explorations of good and evil. When he’s not working on his next book, he’s either teaching master classes on writing throughout the country, trail running, or sneaking off to catch a matinee.

To the KING be all the glory!

~Empty Without Them…

It’s strange how memory works. Even when you’re 7.

We sat around the table, eating frozen pizza. The phone rang and my father answered it.

“WHAT?” his answer still echoes in my memory, louder then anything else in the house.

He slammed the phone down, urgency in his voice.

“Danny just died.”

My uncle hadn’t been expected to die.

Chaos. We covered our pizza with napkins. Jumped into the van. Daddy sped away from the house, my mother worried about his speed and the police.

We arrived at the hospital. My parents disappeared. My sister and I stayed in a room with family friends. Miss Stacey let me chatter to her for hours. She looked so sad.

They couldn’t get my uncle on the phone. They kept trying. No one could find him. Until they did.

He arrived at the hospital, went back to the room where his brother lay, and his grief seemed to break open a fresh layer all around me. Anguish and grief swirled around. My grandparents, my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins…

We finally left the hospital. Everyone needed food. We went to Denny’s. The yellow glow of the letters signified grief and death for years afterword. I didn’t understand why we even went; I barely understood how to picture the world without Uncle Danny in it. How could I no longer have four living uncles? Shouldn’t I be grown up first?

We didn’t go to bed until the wee hours of the morning. I felt sure I had never been up so late. I lay in bed, trying to understand how the world had changed. Like it had when Granddad died four years earlier. I couldn’t, and I fell asleep still trying to understand. Knowing a part of the world would forever remain empty without them both.

To the KING be all the glory!

Hope’s Highest Mountain – Spotlight

Hope’s Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller

Released October 2019

When Ingrid Chastain agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory, she never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. Rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, but she’s hesitant to put her trust in this man who seems to have wounds of his own.

 After tragedy struck his family, Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor and escaped to the wilds of Montana. But his self-imposed solitude is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he’s forced to call on his doctoring skills once again.

 Micah can’t help but admire Ingrid’s tenacity despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on delivering the medicine–with or without his help–he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Hope’s Highest Mountain, a $20 B&N gift card, and cute mountain cards!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed1b/hopes-highest-mountain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Tour

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 12

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, October 12

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 13

Betti Mace, October 13

Blessed & Bookish, October 14

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 14

Genesis 5020, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 15

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, October 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 16

For the Love of Literature, October 16

janicesbookreviews, October 16

Mary Hake, October 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , October 17

Batya’s Bits, October 17

Connect in Fiction, October 17

Older & Smarter?, October 18

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 18

Life of Literature, October 18

A Reader’s Brain, October 18

The Becca Files, October 19

Blossoms and Blessings, October 19

Splashes of Joy , October 19

Through the Fire Blogs, October 20

Moments, October 20

Inklings and notions , October 20

Simple Harvest Reads, October 20

Daysong Reflections, October 21

Wishful Endings, October 21

Joy of Reading , October 21

Pause for Tales, October 22

For The Love of Books, October 22

Britt Reads Fiction, October 22

Lis Loves Reading, October 23

Bigreadersite , October 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 23

Live. Love. Read. , October 24

Deanne’s Book Thoughts, October 24

Hallie Reads, October 24

Remembrancy, October 25

Mia Reads Blog, October 25

To Everything There is A Season, October 25

About the Author

After working for 13 years in the corporate world, Misty M. Beller (mistymbeller.com) is now the author of fourteen independently published Christian historical romance novels. Raised on a farm in South Carolina, she combines her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life by writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. She lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina, is an active member of ACFW, and teaches regularly at conferences and writing groups on effective book marketing.

To the KING be all the glory!

A Promise to Break – A Review

A Promise to Break by Kathryn Spurgeon

Released: July 11th, 2016

SIBYL TRIMBLE, the daughter of a wealthy banking family during the Great Depression in Shawnee, Oklahoma, promises her father to be part of a political movement to change the world. By 1932, the timing to fulfill that promise seems right. Her life consists of fashionable clothes, cruising in a Model T, and dancing every weekend at the local speakeasy.

 FREMONT POPE is a handsome, blue-eyed, down-on-his-luck hobo, and Sibyl’s life turns upside down when she meets him. Her love for him and his Christian family opens her eyes to a different way of life than she has ever known.

 Based on a true story, this historical novel follows Sibyl through some difficult choices. She must dig deep within herself to find strength to face her father and determine which, if any, of her past beliefs can be salvaged. What is more important, love or duty?

My Review

I actually decided to read this book based on the cover. That’s not something I usually do, but the cover for A Promise to Break really is beautiful.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t care for the story. I found the main character to be very self-centered, despite her repeated claims to live for pleasing her father. Her constant internal complaints about life, her husband, her dreams became wearying.

Throughout the first half of the book or so, the few Christians in the story were among the most easily offended or most ill behaved.

In the latter half of the book, the Popes showed a good example of Christ’s love in care, both by word and example. Fremont, their son and Sibyl’s husband, improved after marriage. I didn’t like him in the beginning, as he was forward and didn’t seem to stand up to most of his beliefs, but later he became a good example of a decent, godly, and hardworking man.

The story wove the various members of the Trimble family lives around Sybil, but most of the book read as a sordid tale of their sins, including Sybil’s, with a smattering of Christianity.

I wanted to like this book, but I really couldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathryn is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Blog Tour

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 1

To Everything There Is A Season, October 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 2

Through the Fire Blogs, October 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , October 3

Connie’s History Classroom , October 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 4

Betti Mace, October 4

Older & Smarter?, October 5

Blogging With Carol , October 5

Hallie Reads, October 6

Life of Literature, October 6

Genesis 5020, October 7

A Baker’s Perspective, October 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 7

Moments, October 8

Emily Yager, October 8

For the Love of Literature, October 9

Maureen’s Musings, October 9

She Lives to Read, October 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 10

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, October 10

Pause for Tales , October 11

Connect in Fiction, October 11

Reader’s Cozy Corner,October 11

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

Bigreadersite, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 13

janicesbookreviews, October 13

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, October 13

A Reader’s Brain, October 14

Batya’s Bits, October 14

About the Author

A Christian writer, Biblical counselor, teacher and speaker who offers insight, the author loves connecting to people individually and through retreats and conferences.

Kathryn’s mission is to teach that the passion of godly love knows no boundaries. Whether with prisoners, international students or those needing assistance, her platform strategy is the concept of personal, intimate encounters with Jesus. Her historical novel, “Up Town,” shows the importance of spiritual encounters with Jesus—small encounters that lead to a more mature spiritual life. Kathryn’s Biblical counseling and teaching background lends itself to this message.

She lived in South Korea for two years in her early twenties, spent time in an orphanage and adopted two Korean babies. A single mom for 18 years, she went from welfare to owner and CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation, Integrity Healthy Care. Her company took care of the medical needs of over 4,000 prisoners and during that time she counseled over 200 women.

Kathryn and her husband, Bill, hold Bible studies for international students attending the University of Central Oklahoma. They have had many different students live in their home and try to help students in all areas of their lives.

Kathryn is on the Mission Team at her home church, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, in Edmond, Oklahoma, where she has been a member for over 13 years. While attending her prior church, Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma, she was on the Finance and Long Range Planning Committees, and taught DivorceCare and Financial classes. She is a Crown Money Map coach.

Bill and Kathryn have six children and nine grandchildren at the last count, including some adopted. Their family is internationally diverse. God’s love is enormous and includes all of us.

Announcing…

I’m excited to announce a collection of Christmas novellas coming to a Kindle near you! LORD willing, coming in November, it will only be available for a short time! If you want to add it to your Goodreads profile, here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48056260-a-very-bookish-christmas

The collection includes four novellas by four authors:

Molly and Anna by Sarah Holman
Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones
Sylvie of Amber Apartments by J. Grace Pennington
Love, Jem by Kate Willis

Each story is loosely based on a classic story, with a main character who loves that same story. My story is, obviously, Gingerbread Treasures.

“It all started five years ago with the gingerbread men…”

Oliver Breckenridge is fascinated by the email he receives from the niece of an old friend. Emily Willis, whose father disappeared six years prior, writes that four gingerbread men, annually delivered at Christmastime, have disappeared from her house–along with her dog. Intrigued by the curious case, Oliver flies across the pond to the States to investigate.

A last minute arrangement allows him to stay with young Alex Lewis, who also acts as his chauffeur and assistant as Oliver begins his enquiries. While meeting Emily in person increases his resolve to solve the case, it isn’t long before his interest in the mystery suddenly plummets. An unreliable colleague from his past is entangled with the case, casting doubt over the tale of the missing gingerbread men and the treasure they supposedly lead to.

At Alex’s pleading, he agrees to stay to help locate Emily’s missing dog, but the further they delve into the search, the more they are drawn back to the gingerbread men and their treasure.

This Christmas mystery was inspired by the Sherlock Holmes case, The Sign of the Four.

I’m so excited about this project! Watch out for A Very Bookish Christmas in November! It’s going to be so much fun!

To the KING be all the glory!