Review: Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold + Giveaway

Review: Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold + GiveawayMira's Last Dance (Penric and Desdemona #4) by Lois McMaster Bujold
Format: ebook
Source: purchased from Amazon
Formats available: ebook
Genres: fantasy
Series: Penric and Desdemona #4
Pages: 87
Published by Spectrum Literary Agency on February 28th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

In this sequel to the novella “Penric’s Mission”, the injured Penric, a Temple sorcerer and learned divine, tries to guide the betrayed General Arisaydia and his widowed sister Nikys across the last hundred miles of hostile Cedonia to safety in the Duchy of Orbas. In the town of Sosie the fugitive party encounters unexpected delays, and even more unexpected opportunities and hazards, as the courtesan Mira of Adria, one of the ten dead women whose imprints make up the personality of the chaos demon Desdemona, comes to the fore with her own special expertise.

Fourth novella in the “Penric and Desdemona” series.

My Review:

Mira’s last dance is very nearly Penric’s undoing, and not in any of the ways that the reader, Penric, or his current companions might have originally thought.

Penric, as introduced in Penric’s Demon, is a Learned Divine of the Bastard’s Order. Lord Bastard is the “master of all disasters out of season” and one of the five gods who are worshiped in this world. While the Father, the Son, the Mother, the Daughter and the Bastard may be deities, do not mistake them for either theoretical or hands off types. They are real in this world, they can manifest to their worshipers (and sometimes to their doubters) and they perform real acts in and on the world.

Penric started on the road to becoming the man he is now by the agency of one of those unexpected disasters. One day on the road, ten years ago, he encountered a dying old woman far from any other assistance. When the old woman died, Penric was the only one around. And he found himself the host to Learned Ruchia’s chaos demon, making him suddenly both a Divine of the Lord Bastard, and a practicing sorcerer who needed a lot of practice.

His life has never been the same, but it certainly has been an adventure. Penric’s current circumstances are no different.

Mira’s Last Dance (the book) takes up immediately where Penric’s Mission, thoroughly off the rails, left off. Penric, along with the exiled General Adelis and Adelis’ widowed sister Nikys, are on their way from Cedonia to the neighboring country of Orban. They rightfully fear that agents of Cedonia are hot on their trail.

Penric’s original mission to whisk Adelis away from Cedonia to Adria has gone completely bust. Penric, his patron and Adelis were all in the midst of someone else’s machinations, and not to their benefit.

And poor Penric has fallen in love with Nikys. Nikys is caught in the middle between finally doing something that she wants to do, and continuing to do her duty by following and caring for, Adelis. Penric thinks he’s still trying to convince at least Nikys if not Adelis to change course for Adria. Mostly he’s trying to convince himself.

In the middle of all this mess the very motley trio is forced to go to ground in the small town of Sosie. Even more unfortunately, the only place that Penric can convince to take them in is a whorehouse with a very bad case of lice.

That’s where Mira comes in. And Desdemona. Desdemona is Penric’s chaos demon. Up until Penric, all of Desdemona’s 12 hosts have been female, although the lioness and mare don’t contribute much to Penric and Desdemona’s internal, and often heated, discussions. But one of those 10 women was Mira, a famous courtesan over a century ago. And when Penric needs to disguise all of them to get them out of town, it’s Mira the courtesan who comes to his rescue.

Leading him right into the arms of the general of the local military garrison, who can’t take no for an answer. And Nikys can’t decide whether she can live with what Penric has done to captivate the general – whatever that might be.

Penric may be in love with Nikys, and Nikys may be in love with Penric, but she just isn’t sure can live with him and all 12 of the voices in his head – or the things they drive him to do.

Escape Rating A-: My one complaint about this series is that each of the stories is just too short. I’m always left wanting more, and knowing it will be months before I get any.

As much as I enjoy Penric as a character, and I do very much, part of the fascination with this series is the number of very interesting issues that it manages to scoop up as it goes. This series is one of the very few in fantasy that deals with its internal theology without being preachy or judgmental. And while being very entertaining and still exploring complex questions of morality. Again, without being preachy in the slightest.

This particular entry in the series also delves a bit into both gender identity and people’s perceptions of it. Penric is, without a doubt, a cisgender (as we would term it today), heterosexual male. But the 10 discernible voices in his head, his demon, are or were all female. When he needs to play the part of the female courtesan, he lets them not just help him, but take over and direct his actions. Not because he can’t bear to play the woman, but because he just doesn’t know how.

We never do discover exactly how he kept that general entertained, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is everyone else’s reactions to Penric’s actions. And while Adelis feels the expected shudders at Penric’s expertise in pretending to be a woman, it’s Nikys reactions that matter to the story. And those reactions are quite interestingly nuanced.

Because the novellas in this series are short, it is easy to read them from the beginning. It’s also necessary, as the stories layer on top of one another, making the world, and Penric’s perspective of it, more complex as it goes.

Also, unlike the first two books in this series, Penric’s Demon and Penric and the Shaman, the story in Mira’s Last Dance as well as Penric’s Mission which immediately preceded it, are not complete in themselves. Mira’s Last Dance comes to a reasonable break, but it doesn’t really feel like an ending. The action has paused, but there is so obviously more to come. I hope it comes soon.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

For the final day of my Blogo-Birthday week, I am giving away a copy of the complete (so far) Penric and Desdemona series to one lucky commenter. This series is ebook only, so the prize will come from either Amazon, or B&N. I have followers all over, so if you have a way to accept an ebook gift from one of those etailers, you are welcome to enter. And thank you for celebrating my Blogo-Birthday with me!

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Review: The Island Deception by Dan Koboldt + Giveaway

Review: The Island Deception by Dan Koboldt + GiveawayThe Island Deception by Dan Koboldt
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: ebook
Genres: fantasy, portal fantasy
Series: Gateways to Alissia #2
Pages: 352
Published by Harper Voyager Impulse on April 11th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
Goodreads

What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. But what happens after you step through a portal to another world, well…
For stage magician Quinn Bradley, he thought his time in Alissia was over. He’d done his job for the mysterious company CASE Global Enterprises, and now his name is finally on the marquee of one of the biggest Vegas casinos. And yet, for all the accolades, he definitely feels something is missing. He can create the most amazing illusions on Earth, but he’s also tasted true power. Real magic.
He misses it.
Luckily—or not—CASE Global is not done with him, and they want him to go back. The first time, he was tasked with finding a missing researcher. Now, though, he has another task:
Help take Richard Holt down.
It’s impossible to be in Vegas and not be a gambler. And while Quinn might not like his odds—a wyvern nearly ate him the last time he was in Alissia—if he plays his cards right, he might be able to aid his friends.

I loved last year’s The Rogue Retrieval, and when I finished it I found myself desperately hoping for a sequel that did not appear to be on the horizon. So when the author contacted me to request a review of that sequel I was hoping for but not expecting, I was all in.

Then I looked at the publication date and realized that introducing others to this world would make a perfect Blogo-Birthday giveaway, and the author and publisher graciously agreed. So first you’ll read a bit about what I loved about The Island Deception and the marvelous world of Alissia, and then you’ll have a chance to win a paperback of The Rogue Retrieval or ebooks of both The Rogue Retrieval and The Island Deception.

But first, my review…

The series title gives just a bit away. The Island Deception is the second book in the Gateways to Alissia, and that’s what this series is, gateway or portal fantasy. There is a gateway, or portal, between our post-industrial, non-magical world and pristine Alissia, which is seems to be just pre-industrial, (our 1600s or 1700s) and definitely magical.

Not just magical in the sense that everyone who travels through the gateway falls in love with the place and wants to stay, but also magical in the sense that magic works.

That’s where our hero comes in. Or came in for The Rogue Retrieval. Quinn Bradley is a stage magician in our world, who discovers in Alissia that the part he has been playing as a magician is surprisingly real. He may be a very late bloomer, but it looks like he might be a real mage. At least on Alissia.

He’s determined to get back there and find out. So when he gets called back to the gateway, this time he’s more than happy to go.

And CASE Global still needs him, because that rogue agent his group was supposed to retrieve in the the first book is still out there, and is gathering power at an astonishing rate. CASE Global’s original concern was that Richard Holt would reveal the existence of advanced technology, and contaminate the world they were studying.

Now it looks like he’s planning to do much more than that. It looks very like he has seized political control in Alissia for the express purpose of preventing CASE Global (and their competitor Raptor Tech) from using their advanced tech to take over Alissia and milk its resources for their own ends.

Or just fight over it until there’s nothing left to save. It doesn’t seem to matter to either of them. But it matters to Richard Holt quite a lot. And, as it turns out, to Quinn Bradley as well.

It looks like it’s time for everyone to decide whether someone else’s bad ends justify their own participation in horrible means, and figure out where their true loyalties lay.

Before it’s too late.

Escape Rating A-: I gave The Rogue Retrieval a B+, because as much as I really enjoyed the ride, the antecedents felt just a bit too clear for me to push it into the A’s. The Island Deception has done a much better job of melding its predecessors into a thing of its own. If you like any of what came before, you’ll like this too, but it also feels more like its own “whole” and not just the sum of its parts.

There’s still a lot of S.M. Stirling’s Conquistador in Alissia, but there are also significant differences. The high-tech world, our world, finds the less developed world in a much more primitive state than happens in Alissia. And the presence of people from the high-tech world is much more exploitative from the outset. It ends up being a place where exiles from our world go to practice deliberately exploitative forms of governance that have been overtly consigned to not the dustbin of history, but the garbage dumpster of history, here. Things like slavery. And apartheid. And the complete subjugation of women, natives, non-Christians and pretty much anyone with brown skin. Or any other color of skin than white.

Alissia, at least for most of our interaction with it, has been left alone to continue its native development, while it gets studied in depth by our world. That appears to be about to change, and could have been predicted to change from the very beginning, but it hasn’t happened yet, and could still be prevented.

The parallels between Alissia and L.E. Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio are much clearer in this book, particularly between the magician’s island on Alissia, The Enclave, and the Imager Collegium as portrayed in the latest Imager trilogy, beginning with Madness in Solidar. Alastor’s dilemma at the Collegium is very much the same as that of the head of The Enclave in Alissia. How does one provide a safe haven for a small but powerful population of magic users in a world where they are vastly outnumbered by mundanes who often fear or envy their powers? Is alliance with the powers that be safer than strict neutrality? And if so, what happens when the powers that be change their course? There are no easy answers, and Quinn Bradley finds himself caught in the middle between his desire to learn magic and his desire to protect his friends and comrades on both sides of the gateway.

Although there are other members of the team, the story rests on Quinn. Even though there are points where the action follows others and he is not present, it is his perspective that we return to, and his character that we know best – at least to the degree that Quinn knows himself. Quinn himself is a bit of a rogue, always sure that his glib tongue can get him out of any trouble. It’s only when both his glibness and his technology fail him that he is able to finally reach inside himself and find out what he is really made of.

But if you like your heroes touched with a spark (or snark) of anti-hero, Quinn is a gem. Whether he’s real or paste is anybody’s guess – sometimes even his own. I can’t wait to discover how Quinn’s adventure plays out (hopefully in The World Awakening next year), whichever side he decides he’s on.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

And now for that giveaway. Dan and Harper Voyager are letting me give away the winner’s choice of a paperback of The Rogue Retrieval or ebook copies of both The Rogue Retrieval and The Island Deception (Island isn’t out in paperback yet!). So it’s your choice whether you want to whet your appetite with that paperback or get caught up on all the action in Alissia with ebooks of both. Enjoy the ride!

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Sixth Annual Blogo-Birthday Blast

On April 4, 2011, Reading Reality, as “Escape Reality, Read Fiction”, posted its first post. 2011 seems like the proverbial long time ago in the galaxy far, far away. Although it wasn’t THAT far away. At the time, we were living in Gainesville, Florida, and planning a move to Atlanta. Our first move to Atlanta.

Between 2011 and now, we moved to Seattle for a couple of years, and then right back here to the Atlanta suburbs. We even live in the same burb we lived in back then, just at a different address. It’s still near Galen’s work, and now mine as well. And we’re both immensely glad not to need to take the Atlanta not-so-Expressways to work every day, especially after that disastrous fire and collapse on I-85 last week. It’s going to take a long time to clean up that gigantic mess.

As much as we like living here, one of the big things I miss about both Chicago and Seattle is their efficient public transit systems. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for the Atlanta region, but I doubt it. We’ll see.

But this isn’t a traffic blog, or an Atlanta living blog. It’s a book blog. Six years and counting.

In those six years there have been over 2,500 posts, most of them reviews. And over 17,000 comments. I know I need to do way better at responding to comments. Ironically, I usually know just what to say when I’m reviewing a book, but still come over self-conscious when responding to an individual. We all have our quirks.

But speaking of reviews, this week I decided as a present to myself (my birthday is tomorrow) that  I would only review books I really, really wanted to read. So it’s all science fiction and fantasy this week, because those are still my go-to genres. Both The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek have a lot to answer for when it comes to my reading preference.

And, in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings, this is a hobbit birthday. Meaning that instead of getting presents, I will be giving out presents this week to you, my readers, followers and friends. I hope that you enjoy the books and gift cards every bit as much as I have enjoyed writing this blog.

Live long, and prosper! And read LOTS of books!

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Review: The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King + Giveaway

Review: The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King + GiveawayThe Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell, #14) by Laurie R. King
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss, publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical mystery
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #14
Pages: 384
Published by Bantam on April 5th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Laurie R. King’s bestselling Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature’s most beloved teams. But does this adventure end it all?

Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.

And what of the other person to whom Mary Russell has opened her heart: the couple’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell’s faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson’s son.

What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him—as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. And when the scene is discovered—a pool of blood on the floor, the smell of gunpowder in the air—the most shocking revelation of all is that the grim clues point directly to Clara Hudson.

Or rather to Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street.

The key to Russell’s sacrifice lies in Mrs. Hudson’s past. To uncover the truth, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper’s secrets—to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away.

There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed.

And nothing will ever be the same.

My Review:

This book felt like two stories for the price of one. With part of a third thrown in for added body and spice.

The first 55% of this book details the life of times of Mrs. Hudson before she became Mrs. Hudson. In the Holmes’ Canon, Mrs. Hudson springs fully-formed, as if from the Head of Zeus. Or Arthur Conan Doyle. In the first half of The Murder of Mary Russell, we finally get to know who she was before she became Holmes’ and Watson’s mostly unflappable landlady – and what a story it is.

As Mary finally discovers, the woman that Clara Hudson really is, well, is a much different person than the one that Mary has loved and taken for granted these last ten years. We never see our parental figures as they see themselves, but Mrs. Hudson’s revelations are much more of a surprise than the usual. Then again, little turns out to be usual in Sherlock Holmes’ and Mary Russell’s world.

Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott", which appeared in The Strand Magazine in April, 1893. Original caption was "'HUDSON IT IS, SIR,' SAID THE SEAMAN."
Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Gloria Scott”, which appeared in The Strand Magazine in April, 1893. Original caption was “‘HUDSON IT IS, SIR,’ SAID THE SEAMAN.”

But as we read about Clara’s early life, and as Mary eventually discovers, beneath the plaster saint that Mary has somewhat assumed Mrs. Hudson to be, there beats the heart of an adventuress.

In addition to the story of Mrs. Hudson’s early life, and the true tale of how she first met the young Sherlock Holmes, we also dive back into Holmes’ first case, The Adventure of the Gloria Scott. A whole lot of people get much-needed closure in this old case of bank fraud, mutiny and murder on the high seas, and blackmail.

But the resolution of that old case is part of the second half of the story, as Mrs. Hudson’s former life comes crashing into her current life, with nearly devastating results for everyone involved. When the smoke clears, a life is over.

Escape Rating A-: The Murder of Mary Russell, in spite of its alarming title, does not appear to be the end of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. But it certainly closes a chapter.

beekeepers apprentice by laurie r king new coverIt is also not the best place to start the series. If you have not had the pleasure, I enthusiastically recommend starting with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, where Sherlock Holmes meets a 15-year old orphan on the Sussex Downs, and first mistakes her for a boy. And second takes her as his apprentice.

But The Murder of Mary Russell does reach back into the past, and a past long before Mary herself comes into the picture. The story of Mrs. Hudson’s early life, while incredibly illuminating as regards a central figure in both the original stories and the Russell Kanon, just doesn’t have the same flair as is usual for this series. The complete and often sad story is necessary for the rest of the book, but it just doesn’t “sing”, or maybe that’s “zing” the way that Russell and Holmes usually do when they are together. When a very young Sherlock Holmes enters the story, just past the halfway point, the book suddenly picks up the dramatic pace, much as Holmes runs non-stop when he’s on the scent.

In other words, the first half of the story was interesting but a bit slow. The second half ran away with me, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. Once all the players are finally together, the game is not merely afoot, but seems to sprint towards its climactic finish. The story, and the life and times of Mrs. Clara Hudson, wrap themselves up with both a literal and figurative “bang”.

For those who have followed this series from its beginnings, the end of this book, and the end of this chapter in all of their lives, is surprising and satisfying and sets the stage gloriously for more adventures yet to come.

I can hardly wait.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

This is my birthday book. As in, when I saw the release date, I just about squeed in delight, because I have been waiting for this next book in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series since the minute I finished the previous book, Dreaming Spies, last year. Because my birthday just happens to fall on a Tuesday, The Murder of Mary Russell is being released on my birthday. And what a marvelous present it turned out to be!

As part of my Blogo-Birthday Celebration, the publisher agreed to let me give away a copy of The Murder of Mary Russell to one lucky U.S. commenter. I love this series and hope that you do, or will, too!

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Fifth Annual Blogo-Birthday Blast

Blogo-BirthdayThe teddy bear and I welcome you to my fifth annual Blogo-Birthday celebration! I still have the original bear somewhere in the house. I’m sure he’s holding down a bookshelf somewhere, as he should be.

booksbear.jpg

Today is Reading Reality’s 5th birthday. Tomorrow is my 50-something birthday. Here on the blog, I celebrate birthdays Hobbit-style, meaning that I give away presents instead of getting presents. Today’s prize is a $15 Gift Card or a book of the winner’s choice, up to $15 in value, shipped by the lovely folks at The Book Depository. The rest of the week I’ll be giving books away, either courtesy of the publishers, the authors or my own self. There should be something to tickle every reader’s fancy.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 whole years since I started this blog. And also the fact that none of this technology was even a gleam in an inventor’s eye when I was born, 50-something years ago tomorrow.

I helped build my first PC from a kit in 1979. The joke was that the first program most people wrote for their new computers was a program to calculate the payment schedule. Home computers were very much a niche item, and they weren’t cheap. The other joke was that one’s dream computer cost around $5000, and it probably still does. But we’re able to dream a lot bigger when it comes to computers than we used to be. And $5,000 isn’t what it used to be either.

I’ve written a lot of posts in 5 years, and a lot of book reviews. There have been over 2,000 posts on Reading Reality in 5 years, most of them written by yours truly. While I’m sure there’s a word counter somewhere in the Jetpack Site Stats, I’m not sure I want to know. There have been not quite 13,000 comments in 5 years. And over 120,000 page views. I’m not sure whether this is a “time flies when you’re having fun” kind of comment, or something about how big the numbers get if you just leave them alone awhile to multiply. It’s still staggering.

My best day, at least so far, was November 15, 2015. The Gratitude Giveaways Hop had just started, and that brought in oodles of traffic. My best month, at least since I got Jetpack, was January 2016. Hopefully there will be even better days in the year ahead. No matter how the stats add up, there’s no statistic that measures just how much fun it is to write every day, and how much joy (and occasional frustration) I’ve gotten from all the books I’ve read and all the comments I’ve received.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures and fun books in the year ahead!

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4th Annual Blogo-Birthday Celebration + Giveaway

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for four years!

On April 4, Reading Reality turned a proud four years old. And on April 5, I turned a few times that many. My birthday.

Which is where the term “blogo-birthday” comes from. The blog has a blogoversary, and I have a birthday and a new word is coined. Ta-Da!

I was kind of hoping to have a bloggish makeover to reveal, but since I didn’t think of that brilliant idea until mid-February, I couldn’t get on the waiting list in time. Soon. Soon-ish.

But this is definitely a day to celebrate. As usual, this is a Hobbit birthday. Which means I give presents to people who come to the party. Because it’s Reading Reality’s fourth blogoversary, I’m going to give away four $10 prizes. It will be the winners’ choice whether they want an Amazon or B&N Gift Card, or a book from The Book Depository, which makes this an international giveaway.

Because this is an anniversary for the blog, it’s time to look back and forward. The question in the rafflecopter will be me asking you for suggestions or pointers. What do you like? What sort of things would you like to see that maybe I don’t do, or don’t do often enough? I would love to hear your suggestions and comments!

Thank you so much for following Reading Reality, and especially for stopping by to celebrate with me!

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Stacking the Shelves (83)

Stacking the Shelves

Today is my birthday, so I’m not going to say much, just go off and celebrate.

If you want to celebrate with me, my annual Blogo-Birthday giveaway started yesterday. I’m giving away a $15 gift card and a selection of books. I hope you’ll take a look!

For Review:
2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties #2) by Jenn Bennett
Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers
Shaman Rises (Walker Papers #9) by C.E. Murphy
Tanya by Rebecca Rogers Maher
The Keys to the Realms (Dream Stewards #2) by Roberta Trahan
The Marriage Pact (Brides of Bliss County #1) by Linda Lael Miller
The Perfect Hostage (Super Agent #5) by Misty Evans
The Promise (Thunder Point #5) by Robyn Carr
The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane (Life in Icicle Falls #5) by Sheila Roberts
Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastien de Castell
The Well of Tears (Dream Stewards #1) by Roberta Trahan

Purchased:
A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance #1) by David Dalglish
Thunder Mountain by Dean Wesley Smith

Blogo-Birthday Celebration and Giveaway

blogo birthday one day

Today is, believe it or not, the third anniversary of the founding of Reading Reality. In other words, it’s my blog’s birthday!

Tomorrow, April 5, just so happens to be my own personal birthday. (Three years ago, this was a pretty busy week!)

As is my custom, I’m having a Hobbit birthday for us. That means that instead of getting presents, I’ll be giving some away. I want to share the joy.

I also want to share a few books that need to get out and be loved by some lucky reader. These are my review copies, but because I usually get ebooks from NetGalley or Edelweiss, these are all unread, and waiting for someone to read them.

So, how is this giving stuff away thing going to work?

I’m giving away a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card to the first prize winner. Second prize gets to pick 4 books, and third prize is three books.

Which books? Forgiving Lies and Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams, Dash of Peril by Lori Foster, Retribution by Anderson Harp, and a signed copy of Tarnished by Karina Cooper. I also have 2 copies of The Clockwork Wolf by Lynn Viehl, so both winners get one copy.

In the rafflecopter, just let me know which book you would pick first if you get to choose!

And thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me!!

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The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 4-7-13

Sunday Post

This weekend is part of the Reading Reality Blogo-Birthday Celebration. Sunday’s part of the celebration is that I get to tell you, one more time, all the chances that you have to win one of the bookish prizes!

About Last Night by Ruthie KnoxFrom the Blogoversary part, you have a chance to win a copy of either Ruthie Knox’ RITA nominated About Last Night, or her brand new Strangers on a Train story, Big Boy (review on Tuesday) or a $10 Amazon Giftcard.

From the Birthday part, you have a chance to win a copy of the entire (and entirely yummy) Devil DeVere series by Victoria Vane. Or another $10 Amazon Giftcard.

And, just for extras, there is also a chance to win a print copy of the first book in Robyn Carr’s new Thunder Point series, The Wanderer.

You have until April 13 to put your hat into the rings, or your entry into the rafflecopters, for all the prizes.

BTW, Mikki D. won the ebook copy of Temptation by Kathryn Barrett from Kathryn and Entangled Publishing.

Eternally Devoted by Stacey KennedyNow for the complete recap of last week’s posts:

B+ Review: Mystically Bound by Stacey Kennedy
B Review: And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens
A- Review: Eternally Devoted by Stacey Kennedy
Blogo-Birthday Celebration and Giveaway Day 1
Blogo-Birthday Celebration and Giveaway Day 2
B+ Review: The Wanderer by Robyn Carr
Guest Post: Q&A with Robyn Carr + Giveaway!

The Blogo-Birthday won’t come around for another year. Boo-hoo. But there are still more good things ahead!

This week I’ll have reviews of Ruthie Knox’ Big Boy and Victoria Vane’s The Trouble with Sin. It’s only fair after dropping hints about both stories last week in the giveaways. They are both definitely worth getting!

What She Wants by Sheila RobertsAnd in the middle, Sheila Roberts will be back to talk about the theme of friendship that runs through her stories, and she’ll be giving away a copy of her latest book, What She Wants. I’ll also have a review of this story of poker buddies turning to romance novels to figure out what women want. Does it work? Come and find out!

Blogo-Birthday Celebration and Giveaway Day 2

Reading Reality Blogo-Birthday

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me!

Oh that sounds strange, doesn’t it?

Today is the second day of Reading Reality’s Blogo-Birthday celebration. This is, rather obviously, the birthday part.

(For a complete explanation of the Blogo-Birthday phenomenon, and to enter yesterday’s giveaways, click here)

It’s my birthday and I’m sharing the joy by giving away more books that I loved.

Devil Devere

Victoria Vane’s Devil DeVere series (A Wild Night’s Bride, The Virgin Huntress, The Devil You Know, The Devil’s Match) has been absolutely oodles of fun to read. There have been moments when I have wanted to shake some of the characters until their teeth rattled, but that’s definitely been part of what has made this series such a blast! Her characters are ones that you want to talk back to. And sometimes choke. Or slap. That’s what made me list the Devil DeVere series as one of the Best Ebook Romances of 2012 in my annual wrap-up for Library Journal.

Victoria is letting me give a complete (as of now) seven-book set of the currently released titles in the Devil DeVere series to one lucky winner for my birthday. Someone is in for a real treat!

Devere collage2

In addition, I will be giving away another Amazon gift card. Two more chances to win.

Can I throw a party or can I throw a party?

a Rafflecopter giveaway