Search This Blog

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Better than fiction FB cover About the Book

Book: Better than Fiction
Author: April W. Gardner &  Michelle Massaro
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Better than Fiction coverImagining him was harmless…until it wasn’t.
Romance novelist Meghan Townsend’s marriage is slipping, and no amount of prayer seems to help. She aims to recapture her husband’s waning attention by getting in shape and finds escape by crafting her own fictional love story. Taking inspiration for the hero from a new friend—the attractive, spiritual, and attentive Curtis Jameson—she pours her yearnings onto the page, and craves the kind of pulse-pounding romance found in her book, Racing Hearts…
In 1916 Corona, California, motorcars are all the rage, and racing them is what Meghan’s hero, Russell Keegan, does best. But when his competition vandalizes his car, the only mechanic available is a greasy woman in a man’s overalls.
After a racing accident claimed her father’s life, Winifred became the sole breadwinner for her family. She is disdained as a female mechanic, but her daddy’s trade is all she has left. Can she swallow her hatred of the races and take up Russell’s offer of big bucks to fix his car, or will she lose everything to mounting debt?
Under Meghan’s skillful pen, these two embark on a thrilling, adventurous romance. But she finds that writing those love scenes with Curtis’s face in mind takes her heart places it shouldn’t go. Will she realize in time that real life can be better than fiction?

About the Author

April headshotApril W Gardner writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our southeastern Native tribes. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and mother of two who lives in South Texas. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Michelle MassaroMichelle Massaro writes contemporary fiction, soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.

More from April and Michelle

April and Michelle get a lot of questions about how exactly co-authors write a book. Who writes which part? Did you have any trouble, any conflict? Valid questions! But in the case of Better than Fiction, it was no trouble at all, and neither author can remember a single heated disagreement. In part, because they’d been critique partners for eons and were already working together seamlessly.
It also helped that the story is made up of two intertwining novellas. Each author had her own blank canvas to color on with the other looking on and offering feedback. The most enjoyable part of the process was the challenge of making sure the events in the life of Michelle’s contemporary character (an author) influenced the characters’ decisions in April’s historical plot.
Why intertwining stories? The idea behind it was to show what it’s like to live in the mind of a writer, how her real life makes its way into her stories. The theme of emotional affairs was a good fit, as it is often all too easy for women—even Christian woman—to be drawn to another man and justify it as harmless friendship rather than admit she is looking to this person to fill a need that only God and her husband are meant to fill.
They decided to set the story against the backdrop of Michelle’s hometown of Corona, California in 1916 and the real-life Corona Road Race that took place in April of that year. It was the third race and, due to tragedy, the last.
From concept to “The End,” it took a span of about four years for Michelle and April to publish Better than Fiction, and as far as teamwork goes, it went off without a hitch. April was able to fly from her home in Georgia to stay with Michelle’s family and do research, and later, Michelle flew to Georgia for a concentrated writing weekend. The two had an amazingly fun time writing and working together.
Another question the authors get…will there be a sequel? Only time will tell.


I have really enjoyed this book and how two authors worked together to write stories that intertwined with ease. Meghan has a dream to become an author and get published. She tirelessly works on her manuscript in her spare time. Meghan becomes disappointed that her husband Steve doesn't seem to be supporting her. I could easily see how Meghan started to feel lonely in her marriage.  The enemy finds anyway he can to put doubt in your mind and cause you to start questioning trust. I liked how the author introduced Curtis in the story who became someone Meghan started to find interesting. I knew danger was waiting around the corner as Meghan seemed to be drawn to him. 

The other part of the story is set in 1916 and lets us have a front row seat in Corona, California. Winnie works hard at her family's mechanic shop. It was very uncommon to see a woman as a mechanic in those days, but she sure could do circles around anyone when it came to fixing cars. Russell needs someone like Winnie to help him get his car ready for the race. They don't exactly get off to a good start. Winnie is strong willed and doesn't back down from threats. Someone is trying to sabotage her shop and cause bodily harm to her. I did like the slow pace of their relationship as we discover the loss Winnie and her family has suffered.

The authors have done such a great job of tying both stories together that I had a hard time not jumping ahead to see what happens. The concept of a person writing a story and we see the characters come to life is worth praise. Meghan sets her story in 1916, and we get to join her as she writes about Winnie and Russell. Both women are similar in the fact that they have low self esteem and always seem to think nothing good will ever happen to them. They both want someone to love them and notice them. They both work hard at their dreams but lack the ability to believe in themselves.

The lessons in the story are powerful as we see a marriage start to crumble and temptation seep in. Instead of communicating with her husband, Meghan jumps to conclusions . I didn't like where she was headed emotionally , but liked getting to see her turn to God for help. Winnie finds herself in danger and Russell could be the answer to her prayers.

I won't say what happens to these two couples, but I will say that both authors give us a look into trusting God, believing in yourself and being reminded that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Communication is key in any relationship  and it will be a lesson both women will experience. I thought the book was very well written and hope the authors' team up again and write a book together.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, October 9
Genesis 5020, October 10
Betti Mace, October 11
Artistic Nobody, October 12
Remembrancy, October 15
Maureen’s Musings, October 16
Godly Book Reviews, October 17
Moments, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 18
Texas Book-aholic, October 19
janicesbookreviews, October 20
A Reader’s Brain, October 21


To celebrate their tour, April and Michelle are giving away the grand prize bundle of a $20 Amazon gift card, themed mug and bookmarks, and handmade throw pillow that says, “Books, my happy place”!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Synapse FB banner About the Book

Book: Synapse
Author: Steven James
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi
Release Date: October 8, 2019
cover SynapseThirty 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.

About the Author

stevenjamesSteven 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.
Learn more at
Facebook and Twitter: @readstevenjames
Buy the book:


When I was growing up it was hard to believe that in the future I would live in an era where cell phones were so small they could fit in the palm of your hand or laptops that you take with you and were able to connect with a click to the web. I remember watching The Jetsons and thinking how cool it would be to have flying cars that whisked you away to your destination. With the above mentioned subjects,  the  author has given us a glimpse into a world that isn't that far fetched of what it could be like in ten or twenty years in this wonderful display of creativity.

The book may not be for everyone but I really enjoyed reading the story and letting my mind imagine what would happen if we had "Artificial robots that helped us through hard times. Kestrel is a pastor of a church who is grieving the loss of her child. I know people will say she was in sin because she had a baby out of wedlock. What the story portrays is a look at sin in a different way. I wasn't sure at first where the author was taking us. As I began to learn more about Jordan, I understood how the author took something that wasn't suppose to have emotions and gave Jordan everything a human could feel. 

Jordan's curiosity about God was one that many of us have wondered before. Why would God allow bad things to happen and watch His people suffer?  Can Jordan really experience everything a human does? With technology taking leaps and bounds everyday, it is not too far fetched to have an Artificial pop up in the market place. Do you remember when a test tube baby was unheard of? The author expands our thoughts and allows us to question our beliefs. I found the story to be emotional at times and loved the secondary plot of a terrorist threat. The twists at the end are unexpected and really enhanced the story. 

I don't want to ruin anything that may give the book away so I will leave you with these thoughts: The story is rich in faith and really takes  a look at the question many have asked. Is God real?  In this thought provoking science fiction book we are able to look past what we can see  and get a sense of what it is like as characters experience faith, grief,  forgiveness and  hope.  

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, October 9
amandainpa , October 10
Wishful Endings, October 10
Pause for Tales, October 12
Mary Hake, October 12
Hallie Reads, October 15
Blogging With Carol, October 15
Remembrancy, October 16
Texas Book-aholic, October 18
janicesbookreviews, October 19
Bigreadersite, October 19
A Reader’s Brain, October 20
By The Book, October 21

Thursday, October 17, 2019

No Turning Back FB BannerAbout the Book

Book: No Turning Back
Author: Katie Vorreiter
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: December, 2016
No Turning BackChronic panic attacks have stolen Livvy Fischer’s classically trained soprano voice and derailed her life. Due partly to a mix-up, partly to her crush on Pastor Lucas, Livvy joins a worship team bound for the chapel at San Quentin. But when a full-scale riot breaks out, she is separated from Lucas and the rest of her group. Survival becomes this song bird’s sole focus.
Snatched from the chapel by an inmate, Livvy doesn’t know who to trust. Tobin says he’s protecting her, but she’s been blindsided before. She struggles to put her trust in God, while all too aware that free will can wreak horrible consequences. Tobin wants her to hide and ride out the prison storm, but Livvy becomes the obsession of another inmate who is a serial killer. Will God protect her? Will Tobin?
It’s one thing if Tobin is turning his life around behind bars. It’s quite another to fall for him.

About the Author

Katie VorreiterKatie Vorreiter is an award-winning writer and copyeditor. She makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children rapidly morphing into young adults, and a ridiculously adorable cockapoo. No Turning Back is her debut novel.

More from Katie

I’m often asked where on earth I came up with the premise of No Turning Back. My good friend and pastor had me spellbound with his stories of taking softball teams into San Quentin, the maximum security prison for men. What a ministry! He had a few funny tales, but what stood out to me were the cautions the team was given upon entry: they had to sign a form acknowledging that in the event they were taken hostage, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would not negotiate for their release.
Say what?
That got me thinking about what it would be like for a woman in such a situation. There are female corrections officers, certainly, as well as woman food service workers and volunteers in a range of capacities. But I wanted a true fish-out-of-water character, and thus Livvy was born. Because of a terrible event in her past, she’s hypervigilant about her personal security. She’s also tiny and, of all things, an opera soprano.
Once I had my Livvy, I threw her into a full-scale riot at a men’s correctional facility. Poor thing. But, of course, she’s got God on her side, and he tends to tip the scales. Yet, as all Christ followers are aware, prayer, even unto the God of the universe, is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Pun intended. We know—all too painfully sometimes—that Jesus was right when he said we’ll have troubles here on earth. God is with us through the storm and works all things together for good, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll remove the storm and it’s often hard to see the good when we’re in the middle of not-so-good.
What role, then, does prayer have in the face of the free will of a person intent on evil? If you want to know the answer, read the book. Just kidding. The story is a fast, fun ride and delves into some deep areas, but I don’t pretend to answer the questions of the ages. If you like chewing on these kinds of issues—on your own or with friends­—check out the No Turning Back discussion questions on my website.
Don’t worry: the story isn’t all dark. In most situations, I can’t stay serious for long, so you’ll find some humor, as well as not one but two hunky romantic options. I really hope you like it. If you want to chat, drop me a note on Facebook or on my website.


What a roller coaster ride this story is. The thought of going into a prison to minister is not high on my list. I admire people who feel called to do this. It is important to share the gospel with everyone and hopefully the people incarcerated can find forgiveness. 

I was intrigued by the setting of San Quentin as it is a famous prison. What a shame that such a place is overcrowded and understaffed. It was easy for me to sympathize with Livvy and all the things she is dealing with from her past. Panic attacks are scary and often  leave you feeling withdrawn. The gift God has given her to sing is one she treasures, but it has been hard to go out in the public to share that gift. Someone has hurt her and she is trying so hard to overcome her fear. I was quite surprised that she decided to go on the trip with the church to the prison. Maybe God has a reason for her being there. 

Lucas is a compassionate pastor and is happy to have Livvy join him and others on the trip to minister to men at the prison. The author does a good job of using faith throughout the story. There is definitely an attraction between Livvy and Lucas but I felt that Livvy was holding back a bit.

The story gears up when a riot breaks out while the church group is there. Tobin who is an inmate becomes a focal point of the story. He takes  Livvy under his wing and tries to protect her from other prisoners. There is a high volume of intensity in the story and very dark moments that only God can help get them through. It wasn't easy for Livvy to trust Tobin but I don't think she had any alternatives. 

I was very impressed with the author and her debut novel. It is hard to believe that this is her first book. She writes characters with flaws and slowly allows them to explore their faith. She  takes people through forgiveness and shows how free they feel. The author takes a convicted man and uses him to protect others without thinking of the consequences. It is a great story that made me think how God can use anyone. Forgiveness is a good focus in the story and I loved how the author used an unstable environment to see how people can change. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Betti Mace, October 5
Remembrancy, October 6
Quiet Workings, October 8
Sara Jane Jacobs, October 10
Emily Yager, October 11
Godly Book Reviews, October 12
amandainpa, October 13
Bigreadersite, October 13
Pause for Tales, October 14
Older & Smarter?, October 16
Texas Book-aholic, October 17
janicesbookreviews, October 17
A Reader’s Brain, October 18


To celebrate her tour, Katie is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.