Review: Clear To Lift

July 11, 2016 in Book Reviews, General fiction, Thriller

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Clear To LiftClear To Lift by Anne A. Wilson
on 12th July 2016
Genres: Contemporary, thriller
Format: ARC
Source: Author

Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, "Boomer" Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fiancé in San Diego.

Alison's defences start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to change course?

Alison Malone is a 28 year old Navy helicopter pilot. Her most recent posting has seen her stationed in Fallon, Nevada among the Sierra Nevada mountains as part of the Navy’s premier search and rescue squadron, the Longhorns. It’s not a post she desired, it’s more than likely a post that’s going to affect her career progression – the guys here are lax on the rules, and to top it off she’s away from her fiancé, Rich.

Ali’s father abandoned her and her mother when she was just 4 years old. Naturally, this has had a huge impact on her life and she’s forever seeking security, stability – it’s why she joined the Navy. Rich epitomises this security – an excellent job, wealth, a home, it’s exactly what she needs.

Ali and her squadron work closely with the local Search And Rescue (SAR) squad. During the winter months of her placement, she spends time rescuing climbers and hikers trapped by snow and ice in the mountains. The SAR squad specialise in this area, and none are more qualified than Will, the star of the SAR squad who has travelled the world with his talents.

From the moment they meet, Ali can’t keep Will from her thoughts. He is everything that Rich is not – but is that a good thing?

You may remember that I read and loved HOVER by Anne A Wilson last year. So when I heard that Anne was releasing a new book in 2016 I immediately added it to my ‘most anticipated’ list.

Anne A Wilson is herself a former Navy helicopter pilot. This, obviously, means that she can draw upon her own knowledge and experiences in her writing. I love that in reading her books I learn so much. The engineering geek in me loves the more technical aspects of this book.

She draws upon her own emotions too. This is a lady who knows how it feels to hold the lives of others in her hands. She knows what it takes to hold a helicopter at a steady hover just feet from an ice face. All of this comes through in her writing. It’s very ‘real’ and I, for one, love that!

This book is tense, it will keep you reading. From rescue missions to near death experiences, torn emotions to the best glazed doughnuts in the world – you won’t be able to stop reading! You may want some pastries to hand for the Erick Schat’s Bakkery scene though – I guarantee it will make you hungry.

There are some fantastic characters in this novel – I challenge you not to love Jack, or swoon over Will. Oh and Mojo the rescue dog absolutely captured my heart.

This book also weaves in some interesting military issues – what if your rescue mission involves someone you know? Do you always play by the rulebook? The death of a colleague? Homosexuality in the Navy. These are all issues that wind their way through the narrative.

In case you haven’t gathered, I loved this book. Wilson keeps us engaged from the outset. She weaves romance with real, fact-filled action. There’s family drama, gorgeous scene-setting and… oh did I mention the doughnuts?

It’s so much more than a book about a Navy helicopter pilot – SO MUCH MORE. I was so caught up in this story that not only did I let the fire go out, twice, but I banned my husband from speaking to me unless he had something “substantive to say”!!

If anything I loved Clear to Lift even more than Hover, and I genuinely cannot wait to see what Wilson brings us next. My wee emotions are in tatters, but in the best possible way!


Review: Hover

August 13, 2015 in Book Reviews, Fiction, Thriller

Review: HoverHover by Anne A. Wilson
Genres: thriller
Source: Competition Prize, Publisher

Helicopter pilot Lt. Sara Denning joins a Navy battle group with little fanfare - and that’s just the way she likes it. Sara’s philosophy is simple - blend in, be competent, and, above all, never do anything to stand out as a woman in a man’s world.

Somewhere along the way, Sara lost herself - her feminine, easygoing soul is now buried under so many defensive layers, she can’t reach it anymore.

When she meets strong, self-assured Lt. Eric Marxen, her defenses start to falter. Eric coordinates flight operations for a Navy SEAL team that requests Sara more than any other pilot. This blatant show of favouritism causes conflict with her colleagues; Sara's sexist boss seems intent on making her life miserable, and her roommate and best friend - the only other woman on the ship - is avoiding her. It doesn’t help that Sara's interactions with Eric leave her reeling.

The endgame of the SEALs' mission is so secret, even Sara doesn’t know the reason behind her mandated participation. When Sara’s life is on the line, can she find her true self again and follow the orders of her heart before it is too late?


Many of you will know that I have a degree in engineering. I worked as an engineer prior to becoming ill, and I used to do a bit of motorsport too. I love to read stories of women breaking the boundaries in a generally male dominated working environment. So when I won a copy of Hover I couldn’t wait to read it.

The author, Anne A. Wilson, is a member of the tenth class of graduating women from the United States Naval Academy and she served nine years active duty as a Navy helicopter pilot! That in itself was enough for me to want to read this book! However, the blurb (see above) also sounded fantastic.

Hover is the story of Sara, a Navy helicopter pilot. A woman who excels at her job, but keeps a low profile. She and her best friend Em are the only two women on their naval ship. They are also pilots in the same team, so when Sara starts getting more flight hours than Em things become a little strained between them. Em points out that Sara has lost herself, lost her femininity. She’s more concerned with blending in, that she’s forgotten what it is to be a woman.

I found this book fascinating. Aside from the story, which itself was gripping, I learned SO much! Not only about being a female pilot in the Navy, but also about being a pilot and about the Navy itself.

As for the actual story, I couldn’t stop reading. Sara is selected as pilot for training missions with the SEALs. Only she has no idea why, or what is going on. Furthermore, the guy running the missions is Eric, a man she’s recently met and can’t quite get out of her mind.

Naturally, the other pilots are jealous of Sara’s time in the pilot seat. Her boss is particularly unhappy to be told to let Sara take the controls. However, there is a good reason for these requests – she’s an excellent pilot. When the mission is no longer just a training mission, Sara must demonstrate her abilities, as well as face her greatest fears.

Admittedly when I saw the whole romance with Eric creep up I wasn’t sure. However, I ended up really enjoying this aspect of the book. It was done really well and added an extra element of emotion to the novel.

There were many things in the novel that opened my eyes, made me think or consider issues I’d never have thought of. For example, upon being stuck on another ship in the fleet, Sara is the only woman. She has to take an officer’s room, have a guard posted outside the communal shower and generally draw attention to herself in ways that she is thoroughly uncomfortable with.

All in all I loved this book. It was a thrilling, fascinating read. Sara’s a strong, inspiring protagonist and I really hope that we’ll see her on other missions sometime soon… I want more Sara in my life!