May I introduce: Lisa Orchard "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber"


The Super Spies and the High School Bomber
By Lisa Orchard 
What a delight to have one of my daughter's favourite author as a guest on my blog this week. I often have to listen to "Mum, have you asked her when the next book's coming out?"

I'll do that right now ...

1 - The Super Spies series are very successful. When can we expect book #4?

I’m going to start book #4 as soon as I finish my Coming of Age Young Adult Novel that I’m working on. I’ve finished it and I’m in the editing stage right now.

2 - What inspires you when you write for the younger generation?

My inspiration comes from lessons I’ve learned in my own life or something I wish I learned sooner! LOL! I’m hoping that by writing these stories it will help young girls make good decisions for themselves when it comes time to make them.

3 - Tell us about your current project.

My current project is about a seventeen-year-old girl who hasn’t had many advantages in life, but she hasn’t let that stop her from becoming a talented musician. It’s the story of her growth, perseverance, and the difficult choices she has to make in order to see her dreams come true.

It’s for an older age group than my Super Spies stories, but it’s got a great message in it as well. I really love this story and I can’t wait to see it in print!  J


 This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?



Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then.  “The Super Spies and the Pied Piper” is the third book in the “Super Spies” series. Her first book was published in March of 2012 and it has received rave reviews.
  After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side.  The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on her fourth novel, a Coming of Age Young Adult Novel. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.







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 “Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.

Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.

“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”

Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”

She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.

“What in the world happened?”

Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”

The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.




“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.

Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.

“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.

“There was an explosion at the high school.”

“There was an explosion?”


“How do you know? Was it a bomb?” Sarah brushed her hair away from her face and watched as more dust cascaded to the floor.

“I heard it on the police scanner.”

“Was it a bomb?” Sarah asked again.

“They don’t know, but what else causes an explosion?” Jackie said with a voice edged with apprehension.

“Crap,” Sarah gasped, as the energy seemed to drain from her body, replaced with heavy dread. Sagging against the kitchen wall, she clutched the phone as if it were a lifeline. “Uncle Walt.” She choked, and then turned toward Lacey and stared.

 “Sarah? Are you there? Are you all right?” Jackie yelled from the phone.

“Sarah?” Lacey’s lip quivered.

Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes as she spoke to Lacey. “There’s been an explosion at the high school.”

“What? No way!” Lacey shook her head and swung away.

“Sarah, I’m coming over!” Jackie screamed.

 Sarah nodded numbly as she watched Lacey. Her sister’s breathing was labored and her face turned pale.

“I feel like I’m going to faint.” Lacey’s knees buckled and she reached for the kitchen chair.

“Put your head between your knees!” Sarah dropped the phone, grabbed Lacey and helped her to the floor. She gently pushed Lacey’s head down between her knees. Her sister’s face and knees disappeared behind the curtain of her long blonde hair.

“Now, take deep breaths.”

Lacey inhaled deeply and let her breath out slowly. The two girls sat like that for a few minutes, Sarah holding her sister’s head down and Lacey breathing.

“Thanks. You can let go now.” Lacey raised her head and smiled at Sarah.

Sarah nodded and peered into her sister’s green eyes that were so much like her own. “Better?”

“Yeah.” Lacey let out a long shudder. She sat back on the floor. “I’m not ready to get up yet.”

“Jackie’s coming over.” Sarah picked up the phone and pushed buttons with a shaky hand.

“Who’re you calling?” Lacey whimpered.

“Uncle Walt’s cell.”

Sarah listened to the phone ring, as her stomach tightened into a knot. “It went right into voicemail.” She gulped as the enormity of the situation hit her. Fear ate away at her self-control and her stomach clenched tighter. Taking some deep breaths, she wondered what she should do next. Without a doubt, Sarah knew that Lacey was going to lose it at any moment, and someone needed to take charge. “We have to call Aunt June.” The quiver in her voice betrayed the fear she tried to hide.

“I hope he’s okay,” Lacey whimpered and then sobbed as she sagged against the cabinets. Rocking back and forth, she tried to calm herself.

“I’m sure he wasn’t near the explosion.” Sarah cast a sideways glance toward her sister, hoping to reassure Lacey, but her words rang false in her own ears.

“He went to school early today,” Lacey whimpered as she rocked. She rubbed her hands together as if they were cold.

Sarah dialed her aunt’s office and waited for Beatrice, the receptionist, to answer. Pacing, she chewed on her nail. What was taking Bea so long? While Sarah waited, the wails of police sirens and the blare of fire truck horns filled the air as they rushed past. Panic gnawed at her gut. She fought to keep it at bay and won for the moment.

Beatrice answered the phone and informed Sarah that her aunt was with a patient.

“Bea, this is an emergency.” Sarah’s voice cracked. “I really need to talk to her.”

“I’m sorry Sarah. I didn’t recognize your voice. Just a second. I’ll interrupt her session.”

Sarah waited on hold, listening to the elevator music filtering through the phone. She paced and chewed her nails. “Let’s go in the den.”

 Lacey, still wobbly from her near faint, stood and clung to Sarah, as Sarah guided her into the den.

“Turn the TV on and see if there’s anything on the news,” Sarah instructed.

She paced back and forth while her sister stumbled toward the TV. Lacey walked hunched over and slow. With a trembling hand, she finally pushed the power button on the television.

Stifling an irritated sigh, Sarah peered at the TV and caught a glimpse of a scroll at the bottom of the screen. It said Harrisburg High School and Jr. High School closed today due to faculty meeting. Please stay away from the High School. There has been an explosion and emergency personnel need to be able to get to the scene.

Sarah stifled a growl of frustration. That’s it? That’s all they’re going to tell us? She continued her pacing, growing more agitated by the minute.

Sarah chewed on her lip as frantic thoughts ran through her mind. It was her first day at her new school and it explodes? What is going on?

Her aunt’s voice came through the phone. “Sarah? What’s wrong?”

Sarah let out a strangled sob. The sound of concern in her aunt’s voice was enough for her to lose control of her emotions. “It’s Uncle Walt. There’s been an explosion at the high school and all of our windows exploded!” Sarah sobbed. Her best efforts to keep it together were unsuccessful.

 “An explosion? What kind of explosion?”

“I don’t know,” Sarah cried. “I just know there was some kind of explosion.”

A low moan escaped her aunt’s lips. “Oh, no. Walt!”

Snippet Sunday - My WIP "Auf Wiederseh'n" 23/02/14

Welcome to Snippet Sunday !
The story so far is, Sadie, born and raised in Australia, found her grandma's diary after her mother's passing. Intrigued by the diary and her mother's German background, she's on her way to Germany to meet her family over there.


The lady’s gentle touch on my arm wakes me and she informs me we’re about to land in Singapore. I thank her and look around taking in the commotion on the plane. It’s busier than the Vic Market in Melbourne. Honestly!

Anyway, I grab Grandma’s book and curse that I wasn’t careful enough and it slipped on the floor when I’d fallen asleep. But a good check-up tells me it’s still in good order. I carefully pack it in my bag and follow the flight assistant’s instructions. My ears give me a hint they don’t like it and the momentary discomfort distracts me from the bumpy landing and the nauseous feeling creeping up in my stomach.

“Honey, are you right?” the lady asks me.

I nod. “All good. Just not made for flying,” I joke.


Thank you all for stopping by!


(No) Review: Lee Child "Bad Luck and Trouble" (Reacher #11)

Publisher: Bantam Dell Random House

ISBN: 9780385340557

My rating:  n.a.

From a helicopter high above the empty California desert, a man is sent free-falling into the night…. In Chicago, a woman learns that an elite team of ex–army investigators is being hunted down one by one.... And on the streets of Portland, Jack Reacher—soldier, cop, hero—is pulled out of his wandering life by a code that few other people could understand. From the first shocking scenes in Lee Child’s explosive new novel, Jack Reacher is plunged like a knife into the heart of a conspiracy that is killing old friends…and is on its way to something even worse.
A decade postmilitary, Reacher has an ATM card and the clothes on his back—no phone, no ties, and no address. But now a woman from his old unit has done the impossible. From Chicago, Frances Neagley finds Reacher, using a signal only the eight members of their elite team of army investigators would know. She tells him a terrifying story—about the brutal death of a man they both served with. Soon Reacher is reuniting with the survivors of his old team, scrambling to raise the living, bury the dead, and connect the dots in a mystery that is growing darker by the day. The deeper they dig, the more they don’ t know: about two other comrades who have suddenly gone missing—and a trail that leads into the neon of Vegas and the darkness of international terrorism.

For now, Reacher can only react. To every sound. Every suspicion. Every scent and every moment. Then Reacher will trust the people he once trusted with his life—and take this thing all the way to the end. Because in a world of bad luck and trouble, when someone targets Jack Reacher and his team, they’d better be ready for what comes right back at them. (
My thoughts
This is kind of very hard to write ... but there won't be a review for this book. As hard as it is to admit, this books was not for me.
The reason I'm posting it, is simply for continuance as I've written about the previous ten books on my blog. I didn't want to leave a "gap".

May I introduce: J.F. Jenkins "The Dark Hour"

The Dark Hour
By J.F. Jenkins 

What or who inspires you when you think of a new story?
I tend to think of my inspiration as divine inspiration. I get it at night, usually when I sleep, and I believe firmly it is a gift from God because my dreams are just too interesting to be something my brain makes up on its own. Then I start to put pieces together over time, and eventually start writing and putting out the story. 
Do you have a favourite author?
 I have a few authors I love and admire for the work they've done. In terms of technique and just attitude, I love Stephen King. I don't read all of his books, but I do love his style, his ability to break the rules, and his blunt way of talking about writing as a process in general. We've got a lot in common.
Tell us about your current project
My latest project is a science fiction story for Young Adults. It's coming of age and deals with a lot of conspiracy theory stuff. I can't really say too much more about it because then it would spoil the entire book. 

 Becca Simpson is a not so average teenager, and she knows it. In fact, she embraces it. She was cho-sen to be a Keeper, one who keeps the gates sealed between the magic world and the "normal" world. The only time she isn't safe from the dark creatures of the Other Side is the Dark Hour. Every night, at the same time, the gates between the two worlds open and Becca is left vulnerable until the gate closes and the minions disappear. But that's why she has Erik Manchester. As her Guardian, Erik is in charge of making sure no one, or no thing, comes after her to take her away. Because waiting for her on the Other Side is a tyrannical emperor, looking to use her status to meld the two worlds into one.
With Erik, Becca feels safe, but suffocated. There are rules she has to follow in order to keep out of the hands of the emperor. Then Kyne walks into her life and challenges everything she knows. Not only does he know things about the Other Side, but he's from there. And found a way to stay in the normal world without frying.
J.F. Jenkins lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with her husband, son, and two cats. She graduated from Bethel University in 2006 with a degree in Media Communication with minors in both writing and film. When she is not busy writing, she spends her free time playing games, reading, and spending time with her family. 
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Review: Jill Shalvis "Her sexiest mistake"

Publisher: Grand Central

ISBN: 978-1455529636

My rating: 4/5

Mia Appleby finally has the life she always wanted. She’s escaped her trailer trash childhood and built a nice life for herself with a marketing job and a cute, little condo. But no matter how much baggage she’s ditched from her past, she still hasn’t managed to shake her greatest weakness-men. So when her new neighbor turns out to be single and oh-so-sexy, Mia’s worried she’s playing with fire…
Kevin McKnight can’t get enough of his gorgeous neighbor, but after one amazing night, she’s already showing him the door. Something tells him this is the way she handles most men. But Kevin is far from your average guy-and he’s ready to prove it to Mia. When a blast from her past shakes up Mia’s life in a major way, will she stick with her self-sufficient solo act . . . or take a chance leaning on Kevin’s strong shoulders? (

My thoughts:

Gotta love her... and I do!

Mia grew up in a trailer and always wanted to be better... and away from her family. Years later she's got it all, including a sexy neighbour, who turns out more than just a one night stand.

She believes she's got it all, until her niece Hope stands in front of her door - escaping the same life her aunt escaped from years earlier.

What initially reads like "a-lodda-sex" book, really surprised me half way by the depth of character "development" of the four main characters. Mia's whose life isn't that perfect after all, her neighbour Kevin, who's got a tendency to care too much for others, his deaf brother Mike and, of course, Hope, the teenage niece, who steals the show on most of the pages.


PS - the cover (both I've seen so far) doesn't do the book any justice though!

May I introduce: Kelly Martin "The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe"

The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe
By Kelly Martin 


I have no idea how she does it, but she's like the Energizer Bunny - tirelessly promoting Astraea Press, bestselling author -  not to mention family and work.
It's an absolute pleasure to have Kelly as a guest today.

1 – What gave you the idea to the story?

I watched an episode of the Vampire Diaries from the first season. It was when Damon and Stefan were in the basement of the church because that's where they thought Damon's (and Stefan's) vampire girlfriend had been the last 150 years. She wasn't... That night I had a dream about a girl in white in the basement of a church and a boy named Shane who found her and had to take care of her. That's basically how LIZZIE was born :)

2 – What is it about the genre young adult that draws you to it?

I'm one of those people who believe the 90s were less than 10 years ago lol Meaning, I never grew up and I never left high school behind. I love reading YA stories. I love writing them. It's something about that age. Your whole life is in front of you. It's an exciting (and very dramatic) time.

3  – Tell us about your current project. 

Oh... I have a lot of projects lol. I'm going to have a very busy year. The sequel to Saint Sloan called Saving Sloan comes out March 4th. I'm SO excited for that book to come out! In April, I have the first of a series called HINDSIGHT. Think of it as a 3 episode TV 'season'. There will be 3 books in the first 'season'.... 3 in the 'second' etc (You know.. if it gets renewed ;) ). Hindsight: Out of the Blue comes out April 8th. The other 2 in this season will be titled The Black Heart and Red Scarlet. AND, I'm working on the sequel to The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe (I couldn't end it like 'that' could I? ;) ). I'm planning on having it out in October. ALSO, I have a Christmas book planned with Wendy Knight and Leah Sanders..... ANNNNNNNNNNNND, I'm working on my first regency. It has been so fun to write! I hope it's fun to read. Shew....

 If Shane Davis had it to do over again, he wouldn't have gone out that night. He wouldn't have burned down the church. And he sure wouldn't have taken the annoying dead girl home with him.
Now that Shane has her, he has no idea what to do with her. He can't release her into the "wild" because people will recognize her (being a hundred and fifty year old town 'legend' will do that). He can't send her away because she can't take care of herself yet. And she can't stay because if people find her, they'll know he burned the church. Being eighteen now, Shane definitely doesn't want that fact coming out.
Unbeknownst to Shane, someone has figured out the girl's secret and will do anything to get it for himself... even kill the girl who isn't so immortal after all.
Kelly Martin is a bestselling author of four young adult novels: Crossing the Deep, Saint Sloan, The Deception of Devin Miller, and Big is Beautiful. Saving Sloan, the Saint Sloan sequel, will come out in early 2014. The first of the Hindsight series, Out of the Blue, comes out in February 2014. 
Twitter: @martiekay
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 Shane jumped to his knees, but Lizzie grabbed his arm to keep him from attacking Drake. She wasn’t worth it.
Shane looked down at her, his face hard. “He needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.”
Lizzie opened her mouth to speak, but Drake beat her to it. “And I bet you are the one to teach me, right, Davis?”
“Shut up,” Cheyenne said, stepping in front of Drake. “You two just cool it. You’re acting like children.”
“He started it.” Drake sat back down on the rolling chair in a huff. He ran his hands thought his hair and sighed.
Lizzie tugged on Shane’s arm to pull him down to her. He complied, but didn’t seem pleased about it. He wrapped his fingers around hers, holding her hand. If Lizzie’s heart could beat, it would have beat out of her chest. Even though he was holding her hand, he kept his eyes on Drake and Cheyenne. Lizzie wasn’t even sure he knew he was holding her hand, but Lizzie knew and she didn’t try to let go.

May I introduce: Claire Fullerton "A Portal in Time"

A Portal in Time
By Claire Fullerton 

I'm very pleased to have Claire on my blog today. Her current novel is set in the wonderful town of Carmel in California - a must-see-place in the US according to my best friend.
1 –  What draws you to Carmel?
Carmel sits like a Cotswold village on the hauntingly beautiful, Monterey Peninsula in northern California. Although it is known for its unique facets of architecture throughout the town as well as in the residential area ( think picturesque Hansel and Gretel fairy cottages made of stone with pitched, shake roofs) I love the immediate environs.  There are pine tress and cypress groves everywhere, and there is typically an ethereal mist in the air, and always, the sonic ambience of the sea.  There is a sense of history to Carmel that is unmistakable. It would be the rare individual who wouldn't get swept up in the surreal feel of Carmel's personality!  
2 – “A Portal in Time” is a historical romance. What made you decide to write a historical romance?
Great question! The answer is: there was no other way to tell this story other than to construct it in two time periods!  In current time, young newly-weds check into an opulent, historic hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea where the spirited, naturally intuitive Anna circles around the lobby as her husband checks them in;  she can't shake the feeling that the hotel is haunted, and her curiosity becomes overwhelming. The reader comes to realize that Anna has a " dependable intuition" ( which I say many of us do!) that connects her with the history of the hotel where an incredibly unusual story is etched indelibly in the very air. The premise of "A Portal in Time" is a recollection that incrementally unfolds as the two time frames are bridged in what seems like pieces of a mysterious puzzle.

3 – Tell us about your current project.
I am thrilled to report my second novel, which is set on the western coast of Ireland, will be published this year. It's title is "The Spiddal Pier," and it tells the story of a twenty-five year old American who moves to Galway to work in the music business, and falls in love with a regionally famous, Irish traditional musician who won't come closer nor completely go away!  Everything feasibly compelling to an outsider to Ireland is in the novel.  I think the universal story will speak to many!  Also, I am writing my third novel, which is set in the American south. It's a rich, layered, family saga, of sorts with the title, "Mourning Dove."  
When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we loved before?
Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California's Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel. Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before. As Anna's memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that's eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.
Claire Fullerton is a two-time, award-winning essayist, a newspaper columnist and a contributing editor for numerous magazines. She hails from Memphis, Tennessee and now divides her time between Malibu and Carmel-By-The-Sea, California with her husband, two German shepherds, and two black cats.
Claire is a Ballet dancer, a Pilates teacher, and a former radio disc-jockey who is feverishly at work on her second novel.
Readers can learn more about Claire and her upcoming books by visiting her website. 
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Review: Rachel Gibson "Simply Irresistible"

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN:  9780380790074

My rating: 3/5

Georgeanne Howard, charm school graduate and Southern belle extraordinaire, leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she just can't marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, no matter how rich he is. John Kowalsky unknowingly helps her escape, and only when it's too late does he realize that he's absconded with his boss's bride. At the height of his hockey career, this bad boy isn't looking to be anybody's savior but his own, no matter how beautiful this angel may be. But a long night stretches ahead of them--a night too sultry to resist temptation.
When Georgeanne and John meet again, she is on her way to becoming Seattle's domestic darling and he is past his hellraising days. But he is shocked to learn that their single unforgettable night in paradise produced a daughter, and he is determined to be part of her life. Georgeanne has loved John since the moment she jumped into his little red Corvette seven years ago, but she doesn't want to risk her heart again. Is he really a changed man? And will he risk the wrath of his boss, and one final chance at glory, to prove that this time his love will be everlasting? (

My thoughts

Another nice summer read, but I have to admit it reminded me A LOT of  Rachel Gibson's "No Man of Mine"

Georgeanne  meets John Kowalsky, a Chinook player when she runs away from her wedding. Although John knows he plays with fire, as the husband-to-be is Virgil Duffy, the owner of the Chinooks, but John can't keep his hands off her - the result, as he finds out seven years later, is a little girl "Lexie".

The characters are okay, but without any depth, yet I loved the moments between father and daughter. That was well done! And the dialogues between Mae and Hugh had some good pinch to them.

Bottom line - if you have read No Man of Mine ... you've read this one. Nothing new.

Also, lots of sudden scene changes confused me at times, so much that I the re-reading was annoying and I put the book aside. But I'm not sure whether that was just me.