Wednesday, December 31, 2014
In June 1948, Russia laid siege to Berlin, cutting off the flow of food and supplies over highways into the city. More than two million people faced economic collapse and starvation. The Americans, English, and French began a massive airlift to bring sustenance to the city and to thwart the Russian siege.
Gail Halvorsen was one of hundreds of U.S. pilots involved in the airlift. While in Berlin, he met a group of children standing by the airport watching the incoming planes. Though they hadn't asked for candy, he was impressed to share with them the two sticks of gum he had in his possession. Seeing how thrilled they were by this gesture, he promised to drop more candy to them the next time he flew to the area.
True to his word, as he flew in the next day, he wiggled the wings of his plane to identify himself, then dropped several small bundles of candy using parachutes crafted from handkerchiefs to slow their fall. Local newspapers picked up the story. Suddenly, letters addressed to "Uncle Wiggly Wings" began to arrive as the children requested candy drops in other areas of the city.
Enthusiasm spread to America, and candy contributions came from all across the country. Within weeks candy manufacturers began donating candy by the boxcar.
In May 1949, the highway blockade ended, and the airlift ended in September. But the story of Uncle Wiggly Wings and the candy-filled parachutes lives on-a symbol of human charity.
I first remember hearing about the Berlin Candy Bomber (Gail S. Halvorsen) when he made a surprise appearance at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert in 2012. Then earlier this year his story was a part of the movie Meet the Mormons. His story is a touching one of hope and goodwill, so I was excited for the opportunity to read his book.
The book has a focus on Operation Little Vittles, although it also includes quite a few details about Gail's entire life. It was very interesting, although I will admit to skimming at times (especially when the details about altitude and airplanes were over my head).
The book could use some editing, but it shares a story about a great event, and the inclusion of photographs and letters really added a lot.
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Monday, December 15, 2014
For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he's finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor's matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn't have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls' beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall.
Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It's about learning that people aren't always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go.
I keep waiting to read something from Rachael Anderson that I don't like. I mean, not everything can be a winner, right? Well, apparently they can, because Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined was a great read. It started in places I wasn't expecting, it dealt with heavy hard issues in an unheavy but still gut wrenching way.
This cast of characters are just great people. I loved the support system they all had going on. It made me want to be apart of this group, and just hang out with them to watch a game or something. I got excited for the changes that were going to take part in their lives. Plus, Noah was a great male lead. I really enjoyed his humor.
So...the cons of the book. Umm...I didn't love Noah's name? I know it is a super popular name right now, and I know a number of people who have used it. It just reminds me of the biblical prophet. Which, hey, he would be a good person to be named after, but since that's all I could think of I just thought I would share that random tidbit of information with you :)
Rachael's books are books that I can read over and over again, and this one is no exception to that.
Purchase Your Copy from Amazon.com
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Title: Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined
Author: Rachael Anderson
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Published: December 2014
Source: I received an eCopy in exchange for a review.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Bruno's never worried about his caste. He lives in the best neighborhood, attends the best school, and is free to choose from the best professions. Until today.
When an accidental reaction changes the color of his fire, he finds himself facing a life of slums and prejudice he never knew existed. Now an outcast, Bruno has to decide just how far he's willing to go to get his future back.
Discover another world where the color of your fire determines everything - your life, your choices, your destiny. Fast-paces and full of action, this thriller is bound to hook teens and adults from the very first page.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice, quick read - well, it was quick because I enjoyed it so much that I had a hard time putting it down. :) I enjoyed how the relationship between Bruno and his new-found friends developed and it was interesting to go along on the journey with him as he very quickly learned that life was not all unicorns and rainbows. I do wish that there had been more background given. I finished the book really wishing that I knew more about the fires and how the class system was put into place. I'm hoping that the author will go into more detail about that in the next book. All in all, I will definitely recommend this book to others and I can't wait until the next one comes out.
About the author:
RC (Really Cool) Hancock began his writing career with a story about a dead cat which his second grade teacher thought was brilliant. Convincing others of his literary genius has taken longer than expected, but along the road he has acquired a lovely wife, four entertaining ankle-biters (who, thankfully, look more like their mother), and a degree from BYU in Recreational Management & Youth Leadership (which means he’s really good at having fun.) An Uncommon Blue is his first novel.
Author: R. C. Hancock
Publisher: Sweetwater Books Marketing
Published: December 9, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Loving Luciana by Joyce DiPastena
Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.
Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.
“Loving Lucianna" is the first in my new “Hearts in Autumn” romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!”
I've read and enjoyed other books by Joyce DiPastena, so I was excited for the chance to review her new book, Loving Luciana. I thought it was a good story. It's heartwarming for two people who are quite on in years (considering the time period) to find love at last.
I might not have been in the right mood for this when I read it though. I was a bit impatient with the flashbacks used to tell about Lucianna's past. That and some sections packed with details made parts drag a bit for me.
While this was a book I could easily put down for awhile, it had a good storyline and is clean. It's worth the read if you like medieval romances and have some time.
About the Author:
Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist). Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.
Title: Loving Luciana
Author: Joyce DiPastena
Publisher: Sable Tyger Books
Published: October 11, 2014
Source: I received an eCopy in exchange for a review.
Purchase: Amazon | Kindle
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Review * Giveaway
Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson
Addie Heywood thought she was doing okay after her fiancé dumped her just weeks before their wedding, claiming he’d found someone else more compatible with his health food tastes. But when he marries the other woman three months later, Addie needs to get away. Leaving her home in Idaho, she escapes to Mitchel Creek, Georgia to visit her Aunt Janie. She just wants to spend the next two weeks enjoying her aunt’s southern cooking, not dodging the guys her aunt is determined to set her up with. Chase Nichols isn’t looking for love. His dream is to trade his computer mouse for his guitar and make it big in the country music world. If he can land a job in Nashville, he might have a shot at getting discovered. His plans get derailed when he does his neighbor a favor and picks up her niece, Addie, at the airport. Things get even more complicated when his ex-girlfriend comes back into the picture. That’s when he hatches a new plan. Since Addie wants to avoid her aunt’s matchmaking schemes, and he wants to avoid his ex-girlfriend, they’ll fool the world by pretending to date. What neither of them counts on is actually falling in love.
I'm not much of a country music fan (especially if it's twangy), but I decided to read Under a Georgia Moon because it sounded sweet, has a great cover, and I've read another book by the author and enjoyed it.
As I hoped, it is a very sweet romance, and the Southern setting was fun. There were lots of quirky characters that made the story quite entertaining. Especially Aunt Janie-she is so spunky for her age!
Chase was a very appealing leading man. He had a lot of good qualities that helped one to overlook that he lived in his parents' basement (I suppose he couldn't be perfect). ;)
I'd recommend this clean romance, and would read more by Cindy Roland Anderson.
Purchase Your Copy
Praise for Under a Georgia Moon:
“This is just the kind of sweet romance that I love. I thought the plot was fun and the writing well done, was paced well and kept me wanting more. Throw in some swoony moments and I was hooked.” –Kathy (Bookworm Nation)
“Often times when I read multiple books by the same author I am worried that the later books won't live up to the first one. That is NOT the case with Under a Georgia Moon. I was hooked on Cindy Anderson's writing with Fair Catch and then again with Discovering Sophie and now with this book.” –Sara Ebert
"I love all of Cindy's books, but so far this one is my favorite! I just didn't want it to end. Definitely a book that I will read over again." –Dana Weaver
About the Author:
Blog Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/22/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Hotwire by Cindy M. Hogan
Division spy Christy Hadden can't wait for her latest assignment posing as a student at a prestigious New York City academy and car thief extraordinaire. The best part of the mission is her attractive handler, Jeremy, and her new team. The worst part? The sociopath masquerading as the academy's most popular guy. But soon she realizes the car thieves are much more than they seem. Her simple spying mission becomes more dangerous than anyone imagined. If the organization discovers her true identity, they won't hesitate to kill her, and if she fails, others will suffer the same fate. Young Adults, teens and adults will love this exciting suspenseful adventure with a dash of romance. You won't want to put it down
A few years ago I read Watched by Cindy Hogan. I don't remember a lot about it, but I thought enough of it to review Hotwire. It turns out that the main character is the same character in Watched.
Hotwire reminded me of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series initially, but moved on and was more mature/intense.
Christy is really mature for 19. I was surprised by how intense the violence got. It wasn't over the top, just more than I anticipated for a book I thought teens would probably read.
Parts were exciting and funny. Other parts intense and sad.
The very young undercover agent was interesting. It was hard to believe a girl so young could be in a situation like this, but it was a good read.
Praise for Hotwire:
This book will take you on a crazy ride that you won't want to get off of to eat, sleep or anything else! ~Cathy Jeppson Hogan
Cleverly created characters with detail, who are both relatable and grounded. ~ the bookstalker
It’s a thriller that reminded me of a mix between Gone in 60 Seconds and the Gallagher Girls books ~Canda Mortensen
About the Author:
Cindy M. Hogan graduated with a BA in education and is inspired by the unpredictable teenagers she teaches. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. Most of all, she loves to laugh. She is the bestselling and award winning author of the Watched trilogy, a YA suspense series with a dash of romance. She has since branched off to write a mystery, Gravediggers, that won Best YA novel of 2013, a contemporary romance, Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips, and two in a spy series, Adrenaline Rush and Hotwire.
Blog Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/26/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014
As a suspect in Senator DeMarco’s murder, Sophia Naziri worked hard to bring the true killer to justice and prove her innocence. But she pays a high personal price trying to clear her name when she’s held hostage and nearly killed---and Sophia can’t put it behind her just yet.
Matters get even more complicated when classified information regarding the murder is leaked. Sophia is besieged by the press and trapped even further by the memories that won’t let her move on. In order to escape the situation, Sophia heads to a secluded cabin with Detective Colby Black so they can lay low and figure out who the leak is. But can Sophia find the peace she craves? Or will the circumstances that brought her and Colby together now drive them apart?
I can't tell you the number of times I've finished reading a book and I've wanted to know more about the characters, so I love that author Julie Coulter Bellon is writing continuations for her Hostage Negotiation Series.
From the Ashes is a continuation of Colby and Sophia's story from Ashes to Ashes. I read Ashes to Ashes about a year and a half ago, so it was a bit hard to remember the details. I wish I would have had time to re-read it as From the Ashes would have meant quite a bit more having everything fresh on my mind, but it was still an enjoyable novella.
I thought the suspense and romance were well written, and this is a great addition to the series. I also love the cover.
About the Author:
Title: From the Ashes
Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
Source: I received an eCopy from the author in exchange for a review.