Tag Archives: thriller

Book Review: Synapse

21 Oct

About The Book

Book: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi

Release Date: October 8, 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.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions:

A futuristic techno-thriller that explores questions as old as time, Synapse will keep you on the edge of your seat. I found Steven James’ latest novel a mind-bender as I sought to process the interactions between Artificials (cognizant robots), Naturals (humans), and Plussers (specially-augmented humans) and the search for terrorists with varied agendas and motives. The basic premise is simple — Purists (those who oppose the spread of technology) are out to prevent a leading tech company from unleashing new advancements — yet this book has so many twists and turns along with thought-provoking questions on God, that its complexity requires a careful reading. Readers will find themselves questioning the technology that makes our lives easier, and in turn, as a couple of characters state, reflecting on the distractions that keep us from thoughts of eternity. I especially found main character Jordan, a cognizant robot with free will, intriguing. In Jordan, James has created a machine that feels, thinks, and aspires to what humans should. See, I said mind-bending. The novel is action-packed, and will appeal to those with a preference for the thriller and dystopian genres. And the faith messages shared will certainly make any reader re-think any conceptions they have on the goodness of God in a fallen world.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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.

 

 

More from Steven

“James is a pro at creating suspense.”

Criminal Element

 

“stimulating tale…thrilling story of greed and corruption”

Publishers Weekly STARRED review

Read my op-ed on robots and faith in the New York Times

 

I grew up reading and loving science fiction stories. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence, but as I’ve thought about it over the years, I’ve realized that our lives are not based just on what we know, but also what we believe. So, I started asking myself, “What would the world look like if machines developed artificial belief?” Within a few decades, advanced AIs might very well have consciousness and self-awareness. At that point, what will they choose to believe about the meaning of live, God, and the afterlife?

All of these questions were in my mind as I wrote Synapse, a story that takes place 30 years from now in a world very much like our own. This is a cautionary tale with implications that are both chilling and revealing and I think that if you like suspense, you’ll love this near-future thriller.

Steven

Learn more at stevenjames.net

Facebook and Twitter: @readstevenjames

Buy the book: https://www.tnzfiction.com/synapse-a-novel/

Blog Stops

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: The King

12 Aug

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers has matched wits with some of the most violent serial killers in history — and one of them has never forgiven him….
 
Patrick Bowers has pursued the nation’s fiercest serial killers — and now one elusive foe is back for revenge.

Settling into a new post at the FBI academy, Patrick and his fiancée, Lien-hua Jiang, are planning their future together with his stepdaughter, Tessa.

But just when his life seems normal, a demon from the past returns to draw him down a dark road he hoped had closed forever. Forced into a desperate hunt to save the two women he loves most, Patrick is in a race against time to stop an international conspiracy from becoming the most widespread act of terrorism in U.S. history.

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

My Impressions:

The King is the fifth installment in The Bowers Files series, and while some series lose a reader’s interest the longer they go, Steven James manages to keep his readers thrilled, shocked, and on the edge of their seats book after book. This edgy Christian thriller is full of action, suspense, and a deep look into the criminal mind. Another winner by James.

The King has everything that long time fans of James have come to expect — complex characters, suspense-filled drama, and thoughtful insights into the human psyche. In this novel, the author really puts his characters through their paces, emotionally and physically. There are some cringe-worthy scenes that are not for the faint of heart. My husband, also a big fan of the series, said “poor Lien-hua!”.  LOL! If you are loved by Patrick Bowers, you have a target on your back. While the twists and turns of the cases Bowers is investigating keep the pages turning, I especially liked the philosophical conundrum that is explored — just what makes man a beast? Patrick also gets hit by Tessa as she confronts him about his lack of spiritual guidance in her life. That is an especially great argument that will make you think.

As always, one main storyline is completed, while another continues — more shiver-y reading to come.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — Clear Confusion

24 Jul


Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour (and Giveaway!) for Clear Confusion by Kathy M. Howard, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Clear Confusion
Author:
Kathy M. Howard
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date:
July 1, 2019
Genre: Inspirational Suspense/Thriller

What am I going to do, God? Who am I?

Charlotte Hallaway needs to come to terms with her father’s death. He had been her only family, and she wasn’t handling her grief well. It was just supposed to be a few weeks of peace and quiet to process it all, but then she saw them-a drug deal and a murder within seconds of each other.

And they saw her.

Now running for her life, Charlotte boards a bus to escape her pursuers and wakes up the next morning in the woods of Jennings, Georgia, without a memory of how she got there or of who she is. All she knows is an underlying fear she can’t seem to shake.

When two hunters find her battered and scared, can she put aside the clear confusion she’s experiencing to trust them? She wants to trust them, especially Nicholas, but fear is holding her back. Trust is incredibly hard when one is so clearly confused. Could it be he and his friend are not who they claim to be?

Who are they really . . . and who is she?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook

 

EXCERPT

1:40 p.m. 

“Did you find the girl yet?” he asked, fearful of the answer. 

“No! Last time I saw her was when she disappeared into that crowd at the bus terminal. Man! I almost had her, too. Ya think it’s poss’ble she got on a bus instead of drivin’ off in a car?” 

“I doubt it. She didn’t look like the type to take a bus.” He shifted the phone to the other ear. 

“Well, keep your ears low to the ground. No one’s lookin’ for us at the moment. She’ll pro’bly talk, if she ain’t already. Don’t know what she’d say, though, other than what she saw us do. You’re convinced she didn’t see our faces; and if that’s true, she won’t be able to identify us. Kinda hard to pin something on us without an ID.” 

“It was an accident. Maybe she’ll just forget about it and let it go.” He tried sounding hopeful. 

“Accident or no accident, Roland don’t like it when we get sloppy. And he definitely don’t like it when there are witnesses.” 

“Did you tell him about her yet?” 

“Nope. Was hoping to take care of her on our own without lettin’ him know we messed it up. Just keep an eye out, will ya? Let’s don’t worry about Roland right now,” he nervously suggested. “I’ll fill him in soon enough.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy M. Howard resides in south Georgia with her husband and two children. She has been involved in some form of education since 1998 as an elementary school teacher, a private school principal, and presently as a homeschooling mom. As a child, she despised reading, dreading every assignment the subject gave. As an adult, Kathy finally learned to appreciate the written word, so much so that she is rarely seen without her nose in a book.

She loves the Lord and wants to share Jesus where she can, using words written and spoken. By God’s goodness and with the support and love of her family, she has written two novels, From Dishes to Snow (October, 2014), and its sequel, From Driftwood to Sapphire (August, 2015).

CONNECT WITH KATHY: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy (US only)
plus (1) additional winner will receive an ebook

Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 23, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 30, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Print US only. Ebook available internationally.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

2019 Carol Award Finalists!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the talented authors who are finalists for the 2019 Carol Awards. Sponsored by ACFW, the winners will be announced at the annual conference in San Antonio. Your summer TBR stack just got taller!

Contemporary

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

Miles From Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Historical 

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

 

Historical Romance

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Across The Blue by Carrie Turansky

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Cascade by Janice Boekhoff

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Novella

In Sheep’s Clothing from A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

Her Redcoat from The Backcountry Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

MissTaken Identity from The MissAdventure Brides Collection by Kimberley Woodhouse

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

 

Romantic Suspense

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

 

Short Novel

A Widow’s Hope by Vanetta Chapman

The Rancher’s Surprise Daughter by Jill Lynn

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

 

Young Adult

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Common by Laurie Lucking

 

Debut

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

First Line Friday! — The String

28 Jun

I’m a little late to First Line Friday today. But hey, it’s still Friday at my house. 😉 A lot going on around my home and work, has kept me busy and off the blog. I can’t wait for things to settle down so that I can do all things books! Today Tonight I am featuring a new-to-me author, Caleb Breakey, and his novel The String. I received a copy in the mail this week courtesy of Library Thing Early Readers and Revell. It looks very intriguing. I actually had to include the first two lines — you’ll understand when you read them!

 

Welcome to the string, a game of impossible decisions and deadly consequences. Let’s go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.
Rule #2: If anyone refuses to play, all threats will come to pass.
Game on.

Get ready for a deadly social experiment as a sociopath known as The Conductor delivers disturbing threats and twisted moral dilemmas to unsuspecting students and staff.

As a powerful instinct for self-preservation sweeps through the campus, one man has a grave decision to make. Will university cop Markus Haas play the game to protect those he loves? Or will he break the string and incite massive chaos–and even death?

In the great suspense tradition of Ted Dekker and Steven James, Caleb Breakey’s explosive debut novel will have you turning pages into the night.

Caleb Breakey is a former journalist and the author of Called to Stay and Dating Like Airplanes. He’s passionate about leading, challenging, and inspiring others to follow Jesus in super intentional ways-especially in how we do church, relationships, and careers.

 

If you are still hanging around the First Line Friday sites, leave me a comment with the first sentence of the nearest book, and then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

Book Spotlight — The Thirteenth Guardian

21 Jun


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Thirteenth Guardian
(The Thirteenth Guardian #1)
By K.M. Lewis
Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Thriller
Paperback & ebook, 307 Pages
June 11th 2019

DA VINCI’S SECRET PALES. Michelangelo concealed an explosive truth in his famous Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Eve did not cause the fall of man. She carried a far more devastating secret for millennia — one that will change the world forever.

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt,” Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation. Under sacred oath, The Guardians — a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory — protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

The Thirteenth Guardian is Book One of a daring new Trilogy that will shake you to your core.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

 

Excerpt

“Please, Ma’am, I must confirm that you are safe in the bunker before I can leave.” The officer motioned for Mariko and the kids to head into the bunker and lock up.

He verified that the door of the bunker was secured from the inside and then got back into the military truck and left in haste.

Mariko walked down the dimly lit passageway that opened up into a well-appointed bunker. The lights automatically came on when she and her three daughters walked in. The space was designed like an apartment with couches, beds, a kitchen—everything that one would need over a period of several months. In the middle of the kitchen was a black phone.

She led the three girls to a small adjoining room. “You all get fifteen minutes on your iPads, and then it’s night-night time.” She tried to remain as normal as she could so that the children would not detect the sense of fear that now fully consumed her. Mariko went back into the kitchen, picked up the phone, and dialed her husband’s mobile number.

 

About The Author

K.M. Lewis has lived in multiple countries around the world and speaks several languages. Lewis holds a graduate degree from one of the Universities featured in his book. When he is not writing, Lewis doubles as a management consultant, with clients in just about every continent. He does much of his writing while on long flights and at farflung airports around the globe. He currently resides on the East Coast of the United States with his family.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterInstagram

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Two winners will receive an ebook of THE THIRTEENTH GUARDIAN
Ends June 26, 2019

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2019 Inspy Awards Shortlists!

4 May

A big congratulations to all the talented authors whose books are represented on the 2019 Inspy Award Shortlists! So many great books Now you have your summer reading list! 😉

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Debut Fiction

Among The Poppies by J’Nell Ciesielski

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Historical Romance

Romancing The Bride by Melissa Jagears

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Literature for Young Adults

The Edge Over There by Shawn Smucker

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Mystery/Thriller

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Speculative Fiction

Fierian by Ronie Kendig

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin