Monday, October 20, 2014

Saint and Soldiers: The Void Giveaway!

Saints and Soldiers: The Void is the third installment in the Saints and Soldiers franchise and was released on DVD October 14th. Have you seen this movie? Or any of the Saints and Soldiers movies? They are heart-wrenching and riveting, but this one is particularly outstanding. If you're not familiar with this movie, you can click here to go to their website for more info and to see the theatrical trailer.

Here's is the plot summary: Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, Sergeant Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. As the Germans bear down on the Americans, Owens fights the Axis powers for a freedom he and his fellow African American soldiers have never felt.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

To celebrate the release I'm going to give away a DVD of Saints and Soldiers: The Void.  All you have to do is tell me in the comments what was the last movie you saw that you loved.  The winner will be chosen on Oct. 24.  (Open to residents of the continental U.S. only)

If you can't wait that long, you can buy the DVD here

You can like the Saints and Soldiers' Facebook page here

Follow them on Twitter: @saintsandsoldiersmovies

Or Follow on Instagram: @Saintsandsoldiersmovies

Don't miss this one!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hawaii Five-O Review: Change of Heart

We start out the episode with Steve going over to Danny's house to find him sitting around looking at the thirteen million dollars he's got spread all over the floor.  Apparently, he's five and a half million dollars short in order to save his brother and doesn't know what to do.  (Here's what I would have suggested, why not do some detective work? Follow the money? Five and a half million dollars is a clue.  Look at banks, deposits, I don't know, try to figure out if Reyes even has Matt!  But, you know, whatever.)  The next day they show Danny going to a loan shark for the five and a half million he needs, but the loan shark turns him down. Chin meets Danny in the parking lot and says he might be able to help.  Poor Chin and his never-ending illegal money stories.  At least he looked good on his motorcycle. He always has that for a fall-back.

Cut to a guy being pulled aside at an airport by some TSA guys.  They take him to a little room and show him that they found the hidden compartment in his luggage that has a gun and a sound silencer.  Which is against the law to have. The guy goes for innocence, "I've never seen that before in my life," but when they tell him they'll detain him, he pulls a Jason Bourne and takes out all five guys. (Although Matt Damon is a lot cuter than this guy, but I digress. Also, those TSA guys had no clue how to use their weapons and were kind of wimpy.  All five of them!)

But our team is on it and quickly figure out that this Jason Bourne wannabe works for one of the original crime families, the Begosa syndicate, and he is a hitman, although his official job is listed as a construction worker. He hasn't been convicted of anything substantial.  Kono tracks him to a mall, where McGrover go to head him off.  Steve wants to go for his gun as soon as they spot him, but Grover reminds him there's a lot of potential collateral damage if they do that, so they watch him.  I really love the dynamic of McGrover. They watch the hitman until he sees a police car pull up, which makes him look around and he easily spots Steve with his earpiece in.  Then he runs.  And this leads to one of the best moves I've seen on Hawaii Five-O yet.  They corner the hitman on the street, but before they can cuff him, he's shot in the chest by another gunman. Steve opens fire and clips the shooter on a parking structure, but the guy gets away in his car.  Super SEAL Steve chases him on foot, and has to HOP UP ON THE HOOD OF A MOVING POLICE CAR to avoid being hit. It. Was. Awesome. Anyway, the shooter gets away. 

Back at HQ they figure out that the shooter also works for the Begosa crime family and the agent they have on the table phone says he is a well-known hitman with over a hundred kills that no one can pin on him. He doesn't take trophies, there's no ego at all, he just kills.  Now everyone is scratching their heads as to why one Begosa hitman would kill another one.  Steve and Grover are discussing it, with Grover throwing out ideas. Grover kind of took over Kono's usual duties this week, and though I was happy that Kono wasn't attached to the table, we barely saw her. Cast balance is something I wish this show did better.  (And did I forget to mention that Jerry was on several times doing surveillance on the bookstore and "helping?" Yeah, I meant to do that.)

Anyway, the shooter's name is Nick Mercer and he kidnaps two EMTs to treat his bullet wound. They sneakily call 911 while they're treating him, but he realizes it and knocks them out.  Stealing the ambulance, he takes off with McGrover in hot pursuit.  The McGrover convo in the car was funny, with Steve not wanting to be criticized for his driving and Grover denying that he was doing any criticizing. It doesn't end up being much of a pursuit, though, because the guy nearly bleeds out at the wheel.  They take him into custody and call for another ambulance. Ironic, as Grover says. Ha!  

During questioning at the hospital, Nick tells the team about how he got a heart transplant two years ago, and his donor heart was from this awesome do-gooder, who taught in a difficult school, volunteered at the soup kitchen, and built houses for homeless people. It changed Nick so that he couldn't pull the trigger on his contracts anymore.  Instead of killing them, he's made his own witness protection program to save them.  Begosa found out and sent a hitman, so that's why Nick took the Jason Bourne wannabe out---so he could keep his people safe.  He won't tell Five-O where the hidden people are.  (And I really thought this guy playing Nick had an expressive face. He did really well telling his story.)  And it was funny when the team is deciding whether to believe this guy and Grover was all, that's a nice campfire story. All we're missing is the marshmallows. Ha!

Kono lets them know that Begosa's plane has taken off and is headed their way.  It's off radar so, you know, that's probably not good for Nick and his hidden people.  (That sounds like the title of a children's story or something. Nick and His Hidden People. Ha!) They go back and tell Nick he has to let them know where the hidden people are, and in order to show that Nick can trust them to keep the people safe, Steve takes his handcuffs off.  Then Nick can go help bring them in!  Who doesn't want a reformed hit man on their team, right?  All I can say is, this guy is a quick healer, since he's recovered enough from massive blood loss and a shoulder wound to go in the field with Five-O.  Not to mention he's a heart transplant survivor.

Begosa's men get off the plane with Begosa, and they are loaded for bear to go to kill Nick's people, but Five-O have set traps and take them all out. Nick gets his confrontation with Begosa, but doesn't kill him and they are both taken away.  The team gets a nice shot of all the people Nick has saved waving to them as they go by in a convoy of trucks. The look on Nick's face was so awesome. Like he'd really come to see them as people and he'd done right by protecting them.  I, however, kept thinking, dang, that's a lot of people living in isolation on an island.

Meanwhile, Chin has gone to Halawa prison to talk to Gabriel and ask him for the five and a half million that Danny needs. Gabriel originally turns him down, but then changes his mind after he gets beaten for being related to Five-O.  Chin gives Danny the money and Danny says a heartfelt thank you before him and Steve head off to Colombia. 

Steve and Danny are carrying some heavy duty duffel bags into this teeny basement with only one light shining down on Reyes. It's creepy and if he's such a rich guy living off drug money, why doesn't he have a better place? Was the eighteen and a half million Matt stole his only income? Has he been searching for it all this time and now he's reduced to living in a shack? Anyway, Reyes' goons check the bags, then Danny demands to see Matt. The goons go back in the darkness to "retrieve" him and Danny is calling out to Mattie until they roll out a steel drum.  Reyes asks if they want him to ship the barrel somewhere and Danny tries to attack him.  Both him and Steve are held by the goons and Danny says to kill him because if he doesn't, Danny will put Reyes in the ground.  Reyes says go back to Hawaii or else he'll go after Grace.  The goons take Danny and Steve upstairs where we hear a struggle and gunfire.  Reyes calls out for his men and one of them rolls down the stairs, dead or at least bloody and unconscious.  Then Danny comes down saying What did I tell you?  He has Reyes backed over the table, a gun to his head, and keeps repeating look at me.  Reyes looks at him and then Danny shoots him in the head.  

Honestly, this disturbs me on so many levels.  First of all, Danny had no proof that his brother was in the steel drum.  He did NO DETECTIVE WORK AT ALL on this case.  Who knows if Reyes even ever had Matt!  Who knows if Matt isn't somewhere in the world right now, thinking of turning himself in. It's just poor writing to have a detective who doesn't even try to verify the facts of any case, brother or not, and it makes Danny look gullible.  It should be second nature, especially to Danny who has been a detective for a long time and has been on an elite task force for four years!

Second of all, I thought it was interesting that the show had a reformed hitman who had caused so much death and destruction having a change of heart and trying to make up for his deeds and juxtaposed this with Danny who has been good and helpful and honorable for the most part, change in the blink of an eye to a murderer.  He shot an unarmed man and made Steve an accomplice to the murder.  Is Danny becoming what he's been fighting against?  I guess we'll see, but this episode's ending was dark and not something I've come to expect from the show. I hate to see Danny brought to this and hopefully the writers can help us see why they are taking this direction for our heroes. 

Did you watch? What did you think?  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Freebie & a $250 Giveaway!

Today's Friday Freebie is The Man From Shenandoah Book One of the Owen Family Saga by Marsha Ward.  She is an award-winning western author and I'm excited to read this one.  Here's the back copy:

Young cavalryman Carl Owen returns from the Civil War to find the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father determined to leave the Shenandoah Valley to build a cattle empire in Colorado Territory. Crossing the continent, Carl falls in love with his brother's fiancĂ©e while set to wed another girl, but he might lose everything if the murderous thug Berto Acosta has his way. Carl battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.

"I finished The Man from Shenandoah at half-past midnight because I couldn’t put it down." - Utah Reader

"This is a book to prize, and not only for its gritty realism, exciting action, and compelling characters. The story further engages us by examining the ties that hold family and community together. Not many Westerns do that. Heartily recommended!" - Western Writer's Newsletter

If this one looks interesting to you, you can click here to download your free copy!

And once you are done with that, scroll down for a chance to win $250 Paypal cash!  With Christmas just around the corner, that would be a nice nest egg for your gift-giving budget.

25 fabulous bloggers, authors and publishers have joined to offer you one fabulous prize.

One lucky winner will win $250 in Paypal cash!

Sponsor List

I Am A Reader
Author A.B. Whelan
Auggie Talk
Barefoot by the Sea
Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Simple Wyrdings
YA Author Fabio Bueno
Hearts On Sleeves Book Blog
Hope To Read
Jennifer Faye, Romance Author
Julie Coulter Bellon
Kate Tilton, Connecting Authors & Readers
Owl Always Be Reading
SFK Books
Pauline Creeden, Author
Sarah Ballance
Aubrey Wynne: Romance Through The Ages
Award-winning Author Kim Cresswell
Krysten Lindsay Hager, Author
Rockin' Book Reviews
Taking Time for Mommy - Books and Movies
Rae Lori

This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader.

Giveaway Details 

$250 Paypal Cash

Ends 11/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. 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, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Giveaway for a $300 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

I don't usually do so many giveaways, but I just couldn't help but pass these ones along to all of you! Next week we will be back to our regular blog schedule, but in the meantime, what are you waiting for? Go enter!

28 authors have come together to give you a
 reading list of FUN FALL FAVORITES!


Click on the image to read a summary of each book :)


$300 Amazon Gift Card 
OR PayPal Cash

GIVEAWAY ends 11/17/14

No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older and legally able to receive and use an Gift Code. This giveaway is not associated with Rafflecopter, Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway was organized by I Love to Read and Review Books :)
and is sponsored by the following authors ~

(While we can no longer ask you to "LIKE" Facebook pages as an entry~ Facebook links are below ~ as "LIKES" would be very much appreciated :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

This is one of my most favorite giveaway hops of the year! Yay!

What can you win on my blog?

A Spooky Booklovers Basket including:
  • Gourmet hot chocolate
  • A new warm fuzzy blanket, 
  • and the first two books in my Hostage Negotiation Team series!

You know you want this Booklovers Basket, so what do you have to do to win?  It's easy! Enter the rafflecopter below.

Now you can head on over to the other blogs in the hop and enter to win their cool prizes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Castle Review: The Invisible Man

All right, last night had me fooled.  I had watched the sneak peeks and was thinking this show was going to be a little edgy. As in, for my scaredy-cat heart, maybe a little scary.  It wasn't. It was funny and awesome.

We start out with this guy playing pool in his apartment when he hears a knock at the door. He looks out the peephole and there's no one there. So, he opens it.  Doesn't he know you should never do that? All of the sudden he says, nooo and runs back into his apartment.  Next thing we know, Caskett is getting a phone call (interrupting their romantic, yes, I'm ready moment) to head down to the crime scene.  The pool player was killed with a pool cue. (What a terrible way to go!)

The place is trashed, but Castle notes that the glass is all left to right, like this guy was trying to defend himself and trashed his own apartment.  So weird. Ryan finds $20,000 in the guy's sock drawer and it isn't long before they figure out that the murder victim, Will, was a pool hustler.  He usually hustled in uptown joints, but the proprietor of one tells them that he asked Will one time where he got his talent and he says he made a deal with the devil.  And that his time was up and the devil was coming after him. Spooky.  Especially when you see the security footage of Will's door opening and closing after the murder, but no one was there.  The devil? Maybe.

The team finds a couple of leads.  Will's girlfriend from MIT mentions that Will used to go there until he had a breakdown. They'd recently reconnected, but she hadn't heard from him for a couple of days and had been worried.  He'd been acting paranoid, but maybe he'd been right all along, she said. Maybe someone had been following him. Ya think?

Ryan tracks down the guy that Will hustled the $20,000 from--Jiggy.  Now that's an awesome nickname. They bring Jiggy in for questioning and he tells them that Will offered to give the money back for information on how to break into someone's house. (Because Jiggy has a history of B&E and is known as The Ghost.)  When they look closer, our team finds out that there was, in fact, a break in at Tom Talmadge's house where he was beaten, but refused to provide a description or press charges. Caskett goes to visit him and he doesn't want to tell them anything because it will sound crazy, and Castle is all, "you won't believe the stuff we've heard." Haha. Isn't that the truth?  They get him to admit that an unseen force attacked him.  Another clue pointing to the invisible man as the murderer!

Caskett goes back to Will's apartment to get his work keycard and while there, Castle gooses Beckett and is all, "did the invisible man goose you? How gauche."  So. Funny. They find the card, but before they can leave, Beckett is attacked by the unseen force. Castle thinks she's kidding at first, but then realizes it's not an act and rushes in to help her.  He shouts, whatever it was, I touched it! Haha and then gets punched to the floor and is struggling himself with the invisible man.  Beckett is standing there awkwardly with her gun. It was so realistic and well-done. I mean, what would you do if the invisible man was attacking your partner?  The invisible man gets away and Beckett thinks he got the keycard, but Castle managed to hang onto that. The guy got Castle's credit card instead.

They start investigating where that keycard came from and after a few brick walls, it leads them to a secret government facility. Where they are inventing an invisibility suit! It is so cool! Castle is having a heyday and the techy stuff really was awesome.  Will didn't have a breakdown, that was a cover. He was really a talented quantum scientist recruited by the government. Unfortunately, his death sets the project back years, especially since there was also a virus downloaded to their files.  They think it comes from the Chinese, but Castle figures out that Will's neighbor downloaded that virus.

They track the neighbor down through an online game like Clash of Clans and Castle gets to battle with him in virtual reality and then in, well, real reality. I love it when Castle gets those moments. He just looks so little boy happy.  The neighbor, Henry, confesses that Will asked him to help on the project and they figured out the last equations needed to make the invisibility suit work.  Then they used it to break into Tom's house to get revenge. Apparently Tom stole some info for an app that cost Henry billions, but he couldn't prove it. So, he just beat the guy up, instead.  But he swears up and down he didn't kill Will.  They just worked on the research.  He makes a comment about how who knew cuttle fish had the key. Oh wait, the girlfriend had cuttle fish.  Uh oh.

Caskett heads to the girlfriend's office, where they've put the pieces together. She was mad because Will used her.  Oh, and they found Castle's credit card in her office. She runs away and gets the suit on, then tries to kill Caskett in her lab.  They get the fire extinguishers out and realize they can see her, even in the invisibility suit because of the "smoke" from the extinguishers (or whatever that stuff is called) so then they are able to take her down. It. Was. Awesome.

The government people come and take the suit away.  And Espo gives Ryan a gift for his new second job as security for a strip club, protecting male strippers.  When he finally admitted what he was doing to Espo, his comment that those women acted like the male strippers were the last men on earth made me laugh.  But Espo's gift of a little bikini bottom with security across it made me laugh harder.

Caskett has been trying to get back to where they were in their relationship (even going so far as to wonder if they were being watched in their bedroom, so Castle set up a bunch of pots and pans on strings. His zombie apocalypse preparation weekend wasn't for nothing after all! It was hilarious, especially when they caught Martha.)  Anyway, they finally get their alone time.  I love them. They are so sweet together.

This episode was full of laughs and charm.  Caskett is back on their groove with all the one liners. Castle says he missed their connection when they both figured something out at the same time, and I thought, me too! It was a really fun episode.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Loving Lucianna

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am in a turkey daze. So. Much. Food.   But I still want to tell you about this awesome book, Loving Lucianna, by one of my favorite historical romance authors, Joyce DiPastena.  This one is a bit unique because it's a love story of older people, in their forties and fifties, but I still found an amazing hero and a strong, yet tender heroine.

I love how carefully Ms. DiPastena researches the time period.  The setting is truly like another character in the book and makes the time period so real, which adds another dimension to the story. Her characters are her true talent, however, and they jump off the page with their depth and emotions. I really enjoy Ms. DiPastena's writing style and I know that I need to clear some time if I'm going to start one of her books because I won't want to put it down!

I was pulled into Loving Lucianna from the first chapter.  Lucianna has had a difficult life, but finds a friend in Elizabetta.  Fast forward twenty years or so, and Lucianna is helping chaperone Elizabetta's daughter, Siri, when the unthinkable happens---Lucianna falls in love with Sir Balduin.  She is so happy, until her brother shows up to ruin everything and force Lucianna to face the secrets of her past.  I felt so sorry for Sir Balduin who truly loved this woman, even when she was making him crazy with all her secrets.  There is so much great dialogue between the two of them. I especially loved the misunderstandings when Lucianna was trying to teach Sir Balduin Italian  So funny!

The other thing I like about Ms. DiPastena's books is that they are romantic and clean.  I can get lost in the story without having to worry about having to skip pages.  And this is definitely a book worth reading.

Here is the back copy:

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!

If you are interested, you can click hereto buy the book for $1.99