Moms Rock Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

I’m trying to imagine my mom anywhere near that guitar in the hop graphic and my mind just boggled. Not that my mom wasn’t plenty badass in her own way, but that was definitely not the way.

OTOH, some of my friends are moms now, and I can definitely see several of them possibly rocking that guitar.

But even moms that don’t rock certainly rule!

For those of you out there who are moms, what’s your best mom thing? Or, if you’re like me and didn’t go that route or haven’t yet, what’s the thing you remember your mom doing best?

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For more rockin’ prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

May Flowers Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the May Flowers Giveaway Hop this week, this time hosted by Review Wire Media and Chatty Patty’s Place!

If April Showers bring May Flowers, then what do Mayflowers bring? The correct answer is “pilgrims” but the wrong answers I got a couple of months ago were a lot funnier.

My favorite May flowers are peonies, even though they aren’t all that prevalent here in the Atlanta area. We don’t always get a cold enough winter for long enough for them to do well. But back in Chicago, they bloom in May and are always big and gorgeous and smell wonderful.

What about you? What are your favorite “may flowers”, or what flowers mean May or Spring to you? Answer in the rafflecopter for a chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.

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For more beautiful prizes, blooming or otherwise, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Life’s A Beach Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Life’s a Beach Giveaway Hop, hosted by  The Mommy Island & The Kids Did It!

The little gnome up there looks like he’s all kitted out for a beachy adventure! I do wonder how he’s going to keep his hat on – must be magic involved!

Beaches can be magical places even if one sometimes gets sand in places where sand seriously does not belong. Not that there’s a beach anywhere near here.

I’m not a beach-type person, I’ve always preferred to curl up with a good book in the shade. But to each their own, and some folks, like that little gnome up there, clearly LOVE the beach.

What about you? Tell us your favorite beach activities in the rafflecopter for your choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or up to $10 in Books. No sand anywhere. Promise!

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For more fabulous prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

April Showers Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the second April Showers Giveaway Hop this week, this time hosted by Review Wire Media and Chatty Patty’s Place!

We had some serious April Showers earlier this week. The rain was so torrential that it almost made me look for the little old guy leading the animals two by two.

Okay, maybe not quite THAT bad. But this is still a funny image, and I couldn’t resist putting it up for this hop. Those do not look like happy campers. We may say that it’s raining cats and dogs, but that doesn’t mean that the cats, in particular, would want to be out in it while it’s happening.

What’s your favorite thing to do while those April Showers are falling? Answer in the Rafflecopter for a chance at Reading Reality’s usual prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books!

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To be showered with even more prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


April Showers Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the April Showers Giveaway Hop, hosted by  The Mommy Island & The Kids Did It!

Looking at that cute little gnome in the hop graphic, I’d say that April Showers bring mushrooms. Which, come to think of it, they actually do! I said last month that this little guy was a real charmer, and there he is, charming all and sundry! Especially with that wide-eyed expression on his little face. That mushroom must have popped up rather suddenly.

I’ve always loved the “April Showers” theme because April is my birth month and today is my birthday. Which was sometimes a bit of a problem growing up, as Passover is also around this time of year and encompassed my birthday more often than not. Or so it seemed.

That meant no cake and no party – or at least a delay until the whole thing seemed anticlimactic. This year Passover starts on April 15 – Tax Day. (No one is going to be looking forward to THAT!) Next year it starts on April 5. It bothered me a lot as a kid, but now, not so much. We live and learn.

Our birthday tradition at Chez Reading Reality, or any occasion that is normally accompanied by presents, is that we tell each other what we want and for birthdays the birthday person gets a meal in the restaurant of their choice. The last couple of years were just plain weird, not just that going out was iffy, but also it was hard to figure out what constituted “a present” when going out was so dicey.

This year I did figure out what I wanted – thanks to Arlene’s visit in January – and it did arrive over the weekend. Now Galen needs to let me know what he wants for HIS birthday before July!

What about you? What’s your family’s birthday tradition? Or what would you most like to get for your birthday this year? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual hop prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books.

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To be showered with more prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

Blogo-Birthday Celebration and Giveaway!

Today is the 11th anniversary of the very first post on Reading Reality, then called “Escape Reality, Fiction” a phrase I got off a t-shirt, a long time ago in a galaxy, as the saying goes, far, far away. Probably somewhere in the Chicagoland area, where I lived for a fairly long time.

Last year was the BIG Blogo-versary, as the 10th blogoversary seemed like kind of a milestone. It also marked Reading Reality as the longest “job” I’ve ever had. An 11th anniversary seems a bit anticlimactic in comparison.

OTOH, my birthday tomorrow IS one of the milestone birthdays. I just hope I’m not spending it at the County Courthouse on jury duty, but as I write this on Sunday “the jury” is still very much out on that particular front.

Nevertheless, this annual Blogo-Birthday Celebration Week will still be a “Hobbit Birthday” as I will be giving away presents instead of getting them. (Galen has already given me my birthday present – a new improved keyboard case for my trusty iPad. It’s exactly what I wanted!)

I give away presents this week because I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who take the time to read Reading Reality, post comments and enter the giveaways. I appreciate you more than I can possibly say. When I started this blog 11 years ago, it was during the “Great Recession”. I had just been laid off and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with myself. Looking for a job may very well BE a full time job but it’s only fulfilling in the result and not in the daily grind of it. The blog turned out to be my salvation, and has continued to be so as I turned from being a fulltime librarian to a part-time librarian to today, a semi-retired librarian and a freelance writer.

And a book reviewer and blogger. For 11 years and counting. 

So, in thanks and appreciation to all of you, on this first day of the Blogo-Birthday Celebration Week, I have not just one but two giveaways. One is for a $25 Amazon Gift Card and one is for $25 in books from either the Book Depository or, for those in the U.S. $25 in books delivered from the book store of your choice. If you have a local bookstore that’s doing mail order, I’ll have the books or a gift certificate sent to you from them. If you don’t have a local of your own, then you can choose from one of the big regional bookstores like Tattered Cover or Powell’s, national indie Bookshop.org or get your books from the Book Depository. But books you will get! 

Last but not least, if you have enjoyed the cat pictures included in my Sunday Post, please take a minute to check out my Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook for Planned PEThood of Duluth, GA. All of the cats we have ever had have been rescues, and Lucifer and George both benefited from their services before we adopted them. So we’re paying that forward a bit again this year, and I hope you’ll consider joining us.

From the bottom of my bookish heart, thanks so much to each and every one of you who has been part of this journey. There’s plenty more to come!

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Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

There’s nothing better than your first bite into a hollow chocolate bunny’s ear – at least according to an article I found about “The Most Popular Easter Candy, Ranked Worst to Best”. And I’ll admit I’m more than inclined to agree that those hollow bunny ears are yummy – even though I acquired my lifelong preference for dark chocolate at a relatively young age. But pure chocolate is just plain hard-to-beat, and the first crunch of those hollow ears was always divine.

OTOH, plenty of people adore Peeps as a candy rather than a crafting tool. I knew someone who thought that Peeps tasted best after they’d been sitting out and desiccating for several days. To each their own, as they say. (The thought of those dried out Peeps STILL makes me cringe a bit)

What about you? What’s your favorite Easter candy? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card (perfect for getting more Easter Candy!) or $10 in Books.

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For more sweet prizes be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

Dolly Parton said it best, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” There are other versions, but that’s still my favorite. Because it’s so true – and because Dolly Parton is a national treasure.

The rainbow is the reward for putting up with the storm. Every cloud has a silver lining, which means that every silver lining has a cloud, too. Into each life a little rain must fall. (Etc., etc., etc.)

There are oodles of sayings about rain and storms and clouds. My grandmother used to say, “Rain, rain go away. Come back some other day.” I always imagined the rain-heavy clouds shouting back, “I DID!”

Whether or not you love the rain, spotting a rainbow is supposed to be lucky. See if your luck is in by answering the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books. It’s not a whole pot of gold, but it’s a lucky piece or two!

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For more colorful prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Let’s Get Lucky Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Let’s Get Lucky Giveaway Hop, hosted by  The Mommy Island & The Kids Did It!

Isn’t that the MOST ADORABLE little gnome posing as a leprechaun for this hop? (I say it’s a gnome because the organizers of the hop have taken gnomes as the theme for the images for ALL their hops this year and they are all this cute. Wait till you see April’s little charmer!)

We always feel lucky this time of year at our house, as our wedding anniversary occurs during this particular hop. It will be 17 years this March 12, and we still ask each other how we got so lucky.

As I’m typing this, Lucifer popped up on my desk to remind me that he feels lucky too, as he was living outside before a friend of ours rescued him and gave him to us. He still comes up to one of us to seemingly thank us before he eats. What was surprising was that while our friend Arlene was here he decided that she was also an acceptable human to receive his pre-meal gratitude. So he made the rounds before he ate.

So we feel lucky, he feels lucky. All our cats are lucky because they are rescues. What about you? Do you feel lucky? Is there something or someone in your life that reminds you that you are lucky? Answer in the rafflecopter for a chance to get lucky by winning the usual hop prize, your choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books. Maybe you’ll be the lucky one this time!

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For more chances to get lucky, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

Review: Dirty Work by TA Moore + Excerpt + Giveaway

Review: Dirty Work by TA Moore + Excerpt + GiveawayDirty Work (Dirty Deeds #1) by T.A. Moore
Format: ebook
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: M/M romance, romantic suspense
Series: Dirty Deeds #1
Pages: 182
Published by Rogue Firebird Press on March 4, 2022
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
Goodreads

Crime Scene Cleaner [kraɪm siːnˈkliːnə] - Cleans up crime scenes…before the cops know there is one.

People always say ‘you can’t go home again’. It turns out that doesn’t count as a guarantee…especially not during a global pandemic.

After the jobs in LA started to dry up, crime scene cleaner Grade Pulaski was forced to pack up and move home. He loves his family, but the last thing he ever wanted was to face the ghosts he’d left back in Sweeny, Kentucky.

Also, the place just sucks.

He certainly isn’t going to stay any longer than necessary. The plan is to save up enough money to move back to LA and give his business a kick-start. The problem is that, as previously mentioned, Sweeny’s a hole and the locals are anything but professional.

Now a body has gone missing, Grade’s reputation is being held hostage, and people keep asking whether his Dad really did run off with 100 grand of meth in the back of Dodge. Plus, even though you shouldn’t sleep with your employers, crime lord Clay Traynor is exactly the sort of bad idea that Grade can’t resist. Tattooed, bad news, and dangerous.

…oh, yeah. Grade’s job is to clean up the crime scene before the cops know someone’s dead. That’s why he needs to sort this out before he gets a bad review on dark net Yelp.

My Review:

“It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it,” or so the old saying goes. And then there’s the whole idea of “dirty work” which is not the same thing at all. Although when we first meet crime scene cleaner Grade Pulaski, the job he has to do is both. Cleaning a public washroom that hasn’t been cleaned since the turn of the century – possibly since the turn of the 19th into the 20th – is just a dirty job that someone really ought to have been doing all along. Cleaning up the place so thoroughly that no evidence of the headshot corpse currently “littering” the place remains to be found – ever – is dirty work all the way around.

But that clandestine clean-up job is only the beginning of Grade’s misadventures with the “Catfish Mafia” that runs everything dirty and/or operating under the table in Sweeny – and it seems like that whole region of Kentucky.

Grade’s stuck in the middle – every bit as much as he’s stuck back in Sweeny – when his truck, with the evidence sloshing around in a barrel in the back gets carjacked. (Truckjacked?)

The job he thought was going to add to his “getting out of Sweeny” fund instead starts adding to his “reasons he wanted to leave yesterday.” Along with one long, tall, dangerous reason to stay.

Escape Rating B: I don’t think I was expecting a “Mafia romance” to be set among the tiny towns of Kentucky. So I have to admit that threw me for a bit. As did the fairly graphic description of just what Grade has to go through to clean up the mess that body made – in a place that surely didn’t need to be any messier.

But once the suspense part of this romantic suspense story kicks into gear – with the truckjacking – the need to figure out just what the hell is going on sets its hooks deep. Into Grade because he has to solve it to get out of this mess alive – and into the reader because it’s just such a damn convoluted puzzle.

On top of that – sometimes literally – there’s the hard, slightly mean and a bit edgy relationship that springs up between Grade and Clay Traynor. Clay seems to be the enforcer for the local branch of that Catfish Mafia, and its his job to keep an eye on Grade until someone decides whether the cleaner is in this mess up to his neck – or whether he’s going to end up in one of his own cleaning barrels. That Clay does most of Grade-minding from up close and personal is a surprise to pretty much everyone. Especially the two of them.

But it’s that suspense plot that kept this reader turning pages. Because the situation that seemed fairly simple at the beginning is absolutely anything but by the dirty, twisty end.

Guest Post from TA Moore + Chapter 2 of Clean Hands (check out Chapter 1 at MM Romance Reviewed)

Thanks for letting me pop in to talk about my latest book, Dirty Work, which comes out on March 4. This is the first book in the Dirty Deeds trilogy and I had a lot of fun with it! It’s available online – https://books2read.com/Dirty-Work-Dirty-Deeds-Book-1 – and I hope you like it! I had a lot of fun writing it!

I also hope you enjoy ‘Clean Hands’ a short story prequel to the series.

Clean Hands – Chapter Two

Harrison sat on the floor in front of the stained couch, a slice of frying steak held to his face, Watery blood dribbled down his face and stained the pearl-decorated collar of his blouse. Grade wasn’t sure if it was his blood or cow blood.

“That’s for a black eye,” Grade said. “It’s not going to cut it.”

He did have a black eye. His cheek was also puffed out and swollen, red and shiny-tight, and his lower lip split. Old blood scabbed along his chin and down his neck. Grade looked away uncomfortably as his stomach turned.

Shannon stopped their restless pacing of the room to give Grade an aggrieved look. “It’s not going to hurt is it?” he snapped. “Or do you have a better idea?”

“Call an ambulance,” Grade suggested. 

That made Harrison move the steak away from his face. Under it his eye was swollen shut, like a golf ball jammed into the socket, and his eyebrow was split. He slurred out something that was probably an objection from the way he gestured ‘stop’ with his free hand.

“We can’t,” Shannon said, to back him up. “The accident…it wasn’t…we didn’t come off worst.”

Shit.

“There was another car?” he asked.

Shannon opened their mouth to answer, thought better of it, and pressed their lips together as they shook his head in a quick ‘no’.

“And Harrison already has a record. If it goes to court, he’ll get the book thrown at him.”

“Say you were driving.”

Shannon pulled their glasses down their nose and leaned in so Grade could get a good view of their pupils. They were huge, blown so wide that the blue of Shannon’s iris was a pencil line around them. “You think I’m gonna pass a drug test?”

Their breath was stale with weed and the hot, sweet hit of formaldehyde. Grade leaned away from it.

“Why is this my problem?” he asked.

Shannon wiped their nose on the back of their hand and sniffed loudly. They gave Grade a challenging look. “You think you’re going to find somewhere else to live this cheap? Or that my aunt will keep you on at the funeral home if I get sent down?” they said. “Not that you’ll need to worry about that when Harrison’s dad finds out you’re the reason his son’s in court. I told you he’s connected.”

That part Grade wasn’t so worried about. Harrison had also claimed, at various times, that his mother was a movie star, that he had friends in Hollywood, and that there was an A-List actor who’d take him away from all this in a heartbeat…if Harrison’s independence wasn’t so important to him. And yet he had a shitty room in a shared house with the rest of them, and he regularly stole other people’s food.

The job thing was real though. Even with his shifts at the funeral home Grade was barely able to pay rent and buy food without dipping into his savings. If he lost it he’d be on the bus back to Sweeny in a couple of weeks. If he could beg the money for a ticket off his mom.

“I didn’t have anything to do with this,” Grade said.

“That’s not what I’ll tell them.”

Grade stared at Shannon for a grim second. Yeah, that was what he should have expected.

“OK,” he said. “OK. What the fuck do you want from me?”

Shannon just stared at him blankly for a second. Then they sniffed again and shrugged jerkily. “I don’t fucking know! Something.”

It could be argued that Grade had brought that on himself. He took a deep breath and held it for a second.

“OK,” he repeated. “Maybe it’s not as bad as you think. Where did the accident happen? We’ll go out there, see what state he’s in and…”

The confused look on Shannon’s face wasn’t going to lead to anything good. Grade could just tell. He stopped for a second and wondered if it had been such a bright idea to leave Sweeny after all. LA had been the dream, but it turned out there were shitty, dumb people here too.

Except that he had to pay rent to them.

“What did you do?” Grade asked.

Shannon apparently still had enough brain cells linked up to feel awkward. They shuffled their feet and then pointed down, at the ground between their mismatched trainers.

“…it was in the garage,” he said in a small, hoarse voice like a failed whisper.

The two of them stood on the cracked concrete floor and stared at the man. He was pinned against the wall of the garage by the grille of Harrison’s dune buggy looking jeep. His torso was slumped forward from the hips, limply sprawled over the crumpled, bright yellow hood of the vehicle. In the silence Grade could hear the sound of something dripping. It might be blood. It might be brake fluid. It could be both.

Dead bodies didn’t bleed once the heart stopped beating, but they could be drained. It was what they did at the funeral home, although the method there was a lot tidier. They had a bucket, for a start.

“Maybe he’s not dead,” Shannon said. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, his shoes scuffed over the concrete floor, and chewed on the ragged edge of his thumbnail. “Do you think maybe…”

Grade pulled his attention away from the mangled obvious corpse and gave Shannon a disbelieving look.

“No,” he said sarcastically. “I don’t think he’s alive.”

He had been. That odd, quiet switch in Grade’s head, the one that he had instead of panic, had flicked on and methodically noted all the evidence that pointed to that. The smeared bloody hand prints slapped onto the dirty hood and the evidence of flesh slippage along the man’s thighs where he’d tried to pull himself free. It had taken him a while to die. That wasn’t uncommon with some catastrophic crush injuries, the body really didn’t want to deal with something like that. So it just didn’t. He probably would have died quicker if Harrison had tried to reverse–although the fact she hadn’t would not do her any favors if it got to court.

Right now, though, the man was definitely dead.

Grade shoved both hands back through his air and laced his finger together around the back of his skull. 

“Shannon,” he said. “What happened?”

“I told you!” Shannon said. “It was an accident. Sorta.”

That was such an obvious lie that Grade didn’t even bother to point it out. “Not what I asked.”

“He’s a dealer, I know,” Shannon said. They fiddled nervously with the button on the cuff of their shirt as they tried very hard to stop looking at the dead man. “I’ve bought from him before, but at work. You know? Except Harrison and I wanted to pre-game tonight, before we went out to the club. So I asked Johnny to meet me here. He had the gear, the deal went down fine, but then Harrison got back and he fucking freaked out.”

“Harrison or Johnny?”

Shannon twisted the button hard enough it snapped. They let it drop to the floor. “Both?” he said with a shrug. “Apparently Harrison had sugar-trapped him or something, stole a shitload of money. I don’t know, they were fucking screaming at each other. Harrison got in the car–to go, to run–then Johnny said that he’d be back and he’d have his boss with him…and I think it was an accident. I think Harrison just put the car in the wrong gear. You know?”

“If it was an accident, we can call the cops,” Grade pointed out. “Just explain what–”

“No,” Shannon said. “We can’t. OK? You need to deal with this.”

“Me? I need to deal with it?” Grade said, his voice thin and incredulous. He jabbed his fingers against his breastbone. “Why the hell is this suddenly my responsibility?”

Shannon looked shifty. “I don’t know,” he said. “Someone has to and you deal with dead bodies all the time. I don’t wanna touch it.”

Grade pulled a face at that and turned back to the dead man as he weighed up his options. He could ignore Shannon and call the cops. It wouldn’t actually do the dead man any good, he was past that, and it would screw them all over. And…Grade had his own reasons for wanting to stay off any cop’s radar.

“You owe me,” Grade said. Most of the time he worked to keep the Kentucky out of his voice, sanded it off with Youtube videos on elocution and careful mimicry of the rest of LA. This time he didn’t bother, it lay thick on the words. “After this. You really owe me.”

Catch the next chapter Wednesday at Two Chicks Obsessed and follow the tour for the rest of the story!

 

About the Author:

TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sector before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

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~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

TA Moore is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner on this tour!
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