Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Orangeberry Blast Off – Sam’s Top Secret Journal: We Spy (Book 1)


Sam’s Top Secret Journal – Book 1: Sam Spies by Sean Adelman. Join Sam as she embarks on her first big adventure in this middle-grade mystery full of fun, suspense…and just the right amount of spying! Sam is a middle school girl living a normal life-except when she is occasionally bullied for the differences kids perceive in her. Sam has Down syndrome. See how she and her brother John work together to find some stolen money, help a new friend and escape real danger in this exciting adventure!

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Genre – Middle Grade Mystery

Rating – G

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Website http://www.raiseexpectations.com/

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar Chronicles: Book 2 by Jeff Gunhus

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar chronicles: Book 2 - Jeff Gunhus

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - YA, Fantasy

Rating - PG

4.6 (14 reviews)

Free until 30 May 2013

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

For the Future Generations (For a Generation) by Anastasia Faith (Excerpt)

Introduction: The Middle Country - 5.1.3014

In a sleeping chamber with walls made of a bluish-white metal, a young teenage girl sat on a suspension bed covered with white linens. Outside her window, the sun had just risen over the horizon and the moon had disappeared, taking the home of the lunar district from sight. It cast its first rays over her hometown, the region of Goltem in the district of Gresle. Goltem was the capital region—better known as “city to most—of Gresle. (The federal government of the girl’s country had changed many commonly-known terms to keep its subjects separate).

The girl lived in a nation known as “The Middle Country”, which had taken over what had once been the United States. The girl gazed the brightening sunlight through her sleeping chamber window, then looked down at her lap, in which she held her mobile device, a combination of a phone, music player, calculator, messenger, and global positioning system. She tapped the touch-screen twice, the equivalent of right-clicking on a computer mouse. When a control menu appeared, the girl browsed the options until she found the one she needed. She tapped the “new journal document” option and tapped it. A new document appeared, and the temporary title—”new journal entry”—highlighted, allowing her to rename the document. The girl paused as she thought of a name, then typed over the highlighted field and erased the default title.

“Matthia’s Blog”, she typed on the on-screen touch-keyboard.

Matthia tapped the screen to open the journal document and began to write her first entry:

Matthia’s Blog - 5.1.3014 - <mghbe1>

There is a world where we are trapped under government control, learning only what they tell us of the countries outside, which is not much.

This is a world where it is normal to enlist child soldiers to fight. Here, child labor is a major contribution to the economy. Some sources say most nations forbid this practice. Euthanasia, controlled birth, and abortion after the first time a couple gives birth are also acceptable and enforced, even if it goes against the moral convictions of the victim or those performing the act.

There is no fostering care for orphans. If a relative or friend won’t assume their care, or can’t because they already have a child, they are forsaken to die or are sent to an orphan farm. Technically, from information I’ve scrapped together, this is supposed to be the church’s job. But with religion outlawed, that’s not an option.

This world, the residents are taught, is far superior to any other countries or powers. This is The Middle Country, where the United States used to be. This is the world where I, Matthia Hefner, was born.

Now that you have been introduced to the basics of my world, here’s a little bit about my life, and my world in detail:

My world’s population control policy has always caused a lot of confusion in me, because I cannot justify ordering people with opposing beliefs to conform to law. With that said, let me explain my nation’s most foundational laws:

The Middle Country government restricts the number of times a couple can give birth, not the amount of children they can have. Since the most children a couple can give birth to at one time without fertility drugs is five, that being extremely rare, and because the statistical number of multiples born decreases when fewer people are born, there is no need for selective reduction laws.

This “number of births” law also applies to adopted children. You can only adopt one child, or one set of multiples provided you don’t already have one. Middle Country teens are released to the work force at fourteen, but are not emancipated from their parents until the age of sixteen when they can legally operate a transport. They are no longer counted as a one of the times their parents gave birth.

As you can probably imagine, it required enormous amounts of clearance from the local ruling offices for my father, a Scandinavian-descended man to marry my mother, a half Georgian, half French woman. We are all legally united into one country, but the fifty district-level governments are particular. My parents married during our country’s transition from a republic to a totalitarian government with strict regulations on marriage and family life (The Middle Country had fully shifted to a dictatorship a few months after I was born).

However, my dad worked as an intelligence agent at the time. He managed to maneuver around the law so he could marry his girlfriend, who is now my mother. It all worked out in the end and my parents—Weston and Kiana—were married about a year and a half before I came along.

Obviously, being of Eastern European and Middle Eastern descent, Mom has the dominant genes. I look mostly like her with lighter skin and blue eyes. As you can imagine, my mom and I stick out like sore thumbs in our city. I’m outgoing and sarcastic, mainly because my best friend from seventh grade on is extremely sarcastic. I have a photographic memory. I can be brutally honest but I love to have fun, though I sometimes come off as hyperactive and obnoxious. I know four languages: Swedish, English, French, and Georgian. I tend to think–and speak, to friends’ irritation–in a combination of all four.

I attend Regional Learning Institute Third-Level .001, or as it is known among students: the Government Indoctrination Center, abbreviated “GIC” (it doesn’t require geniuses to know that they are withholding information from us and don’t allow us to form our own opinions).

A third-level school is a preparatory school where students are trained for factory, farm, educating, clinic, law enforcement, and government service jobs (If you’re wondering what “.001″ means, government-run business centers are numbered according to region).

The students are evaluated prior to third-level school for job placements based on their personalities and interests and trained accordingly. They usually receive placements at the end of the first year.

Government service usually means working as an intelligence or investigation agent, or as a judicial. Intelligence agents will usually fill additional positions such as store clerks, library download monitors, realtors, transport dealers, record-keepers, data entry clerks, construction workers, computer programmers, accountants, and salespeople as cover jobs. Robots that the factory workers build do any other work that needs to be done for the city, such as security, postal carrier jobs, or kitchen personnel. Those who are gifted in other areas viewed as unessential to society such as authors, musicians, athletics, singers, and dancers are not allowed to pursue their talents for a living. The only sport allowed is fencing, which doubles as a self-defense course and trains competitors for defending the nation. Musicians, singers, and dancers may work for the dictator for his own entertainment purposes and for officials’ banquets. Nobody practicing these occupations is paid, and everyone—regardless of job status—receives the same pay. Those who cannot work receive the same amount in government assistance. The work ethic here is very poor at best.

Students placed in the government field or the law enforcement field receive two to three years of schooling. They are educated for the first year in their local regional learning institute, and finish their education in advanced classes.

Students placed in the clinic receive two to four years of schooling, depending on the position. Nurses must complete a year and a half of third-level classes, while med techs must complete two years of third-level classes  along with two years of advanced education.

Those who receive placements in factories, farms or as groundskeepers are educated a maximum of two years in third-level classes. The dictator of The Middle Country put this in force about a school year ago, during my eighth grade year.

I am about fourteen years old. The government confiscated all calendars shortly after my birth, so. I’m not exactly sure of my birthday. I know the season spring of 3000. I know that sometimes the snow has melted by the time my birth celebration comes, and sometimes it hasn’t, so I’m guessing around the third month. I only know the year because my father secretly keeps track of significant dates using a homemade calendar based on the Roman lunar calendars Americans used to use, another trick he learned in his years in government service. (He has given me as much information as he can get by with and has told me to keep a journal blog for future purposes.)

I know the calendar month numbers because they are the main point of reference for the GIC schedule. As you can guess, calendars are ANOTHER thing the government keeps out of our reach. They are afraid that if we attain enough information, we may be able to revolt.”

In a thirty-first century dictatorship where population control is enforced and knowledge of truth is prohibited, a teenager discovers secrets about America’s past and her own nation’s future.

In the first book of the “For a Generation” series, fourteen-year-old Matthia Hefner has discovered the grim truth about abortion and its effects on society. She embarks on a time travel mission to the past with a plan to save a nation destroyed by abortion, as well as to glean knowledge to save her own country. Can she save the nation and its people in time, or will it be forced to suffer the consequences for its actions?

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Genre - Christian YA Fiction

Rating – PG

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Connect with Anastasia Faith on Facebook & Twitter

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Intoxicated by Alicia Renee Kline (Excerpt)


“So you are really going ahead with the roommate thing?”  Matthew’s voice crackled over the telephone.

Blake wasn’t sure if her brother’s words were garbled due to her faulty cell reception or if they were laced with emotion.  She had, of course, announced with a flourish approximately six months ago that it had been the appropriate time in her life to purchase her own place.  Up until then, they had been roommates themselves.  But her wildly independent streak as well as a buyer’s market had persuaded her to take the leap into homeownership.  That and the fact that Matthew was still best friends with her ex.

She just never expected to feel so alone.

“Yes, I guess I am,” she replied as she paced her floor.

“And you’re sure about this?” he pressed.

Blake sighed.  No, not really.  But posting a room for rent online and actually having someone sign a lease for it were two entirely different things.  So what if someone was coming to look at the place tomorrow morning?  If things didn’t feel right, she could always lie and say that she had been fielding a lot of calls and that, unfortunately, she had chosen someone else.

“You’re not having money problems, are you?” he continued.

“No,” she responded quickly.  Now that had upset her a little bit.

“Just be careful.” Matthew warned.

Despite herself, Blake chuckled.  If anyone should be giving that advice, it should be the other way around.  Matthew’s indiscretions had been the whole reason that they themselves had been roommates.  Although it had been a terrible, uncomfortable time in both their lives, it had been the beginning of their beautiful friendship.  There was no one else that she trusted as wholly and completely as her brother.  Their past had forced them to lean on each other in a way she never would have imagined when she was younger, and they had ended up on the other side as better people for it.

Matthew either chose to ignore the giggle or he found the irony in the situation.  There was silence on the other end of the line until Blake whispered her response.

“Always am.”


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Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Alicia Renee Kline on Twitter

Website http://aliciareneekline.com/

Author Interview – Chris Wager

How did you develop your plot and characters? Well, I didn’t develop, a plot. At the time I developed the main plot and the subplots together. Okay, the main plot was like a Christmas tree and the subplots hung on it like ornaments. With that said, if I didn’t balance the ornaments on the tree, it would appear lop sided or fall over. At the same time, I tracked the subplot carefully as the story progressed so most would conclude a head to the dark moment and climax. I spent a lot of time on actor development, thinking about who these people were. Staying true to the time in which they all lived and who I intended them to be. I tried hard to see none of them acted out of character in order to move the plot forward. I try to drive the plot forward with circumstance, not by lazy author tricks.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? I wrote this book for my son, at the start my son was ill and I wanted to give him something to be a part of when he wasn’t able to be a part of so many other things young boys like to do. Making him the main actor and letting him help in the story development gave him something to be excited and happy about.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? The hardest part was getting up to speed on my technical skill as a writer. I had never finished high school, I left to go to work.  Before I started writing I knew there was a lot I needed to learn. So, I went to college for writing then attended a two year workshop and read everything I could get my hands on. One thing I decided was if I were to write a novel I wanted it to be the best I could do. I still read a lot about writing and I enjoy doing different types of writing.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Yes, I learned writing takes a whole new level of commitment. I didn’t want to be the guy who says he’s writing a novel and never finishes it. I also discovered the joy that goes along with writing fiction. Writing offers a creative release many other forms of art just can’t give.

Will you write others in this same genre?Yes, I started out writing How to Books. My jump to fiction has opened up a world of possibilities for me as a writer. In a sense you get to play God. On the other hand I think writers are a little crazy, as I have learned thinking for a dozen people can be a challenge.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?Yes, I wrote the book’s foundation based on Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of survival. It starts at the bottom with fulfilling the basic needs of food, shelter, water, and security. Then, moves up until a person is faced with moral decisions which affect a group. This is the path Ben, my main actor, follows until the climax of the book. The message is well I don’t want to give the whole book away…

How much of the book is realistic? All of it. I wanted every scene to be actor driven. I didn’t want any writer short-cuts to get in the way of the actors living their lives, chasing their dreams, and dealing with circumstances as they came. I want it to feel as real to the reader as possible. It’s a great adventure story based in every day reality. No wands or vampires, what I give the reader is a roller coaster ride.

Benjamin Holt is an average thirteen-year-old streetwise kid living in Lower Manhattan during the 1930′s. His world is turned upside down, when a simple case of mistaken identity by the cops has him accidently taking refuge in the belly of the tramp steamer U.S.S. Alexandria bound for the wilds of Africa. Along the way, Benjamin must face the challenges of living at sea, a captain’s dream of treasure, and a first mate who would just as soon feed him to the sharks.

Ben’s troubles are only beginning when he is taken hostage by an evil German colonel. He survives a daring escape, only to find himself on a volcanic island battling bloodthirsty natives. Things go from bad to worse as this explosive adventure unfolds around him. Ben must find it in himself to become the most unlikely hero before it is over if he is to make it home again.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

Connect with Chris Wager on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://briggscomp.wix.com/stow-away-page