Welcome to the Wish Big Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
At this moment, I’m wishing for wellness – an excellent thing to wish for no matter what the season. I pulled my right hamstring about a month ago, and I’m finally at the point where it mostly doesn’t both me – although I’m still annoyed at the things I can’t quite get back to doing. I’m also just getting over the truly nasty cold that’s been going around. If there’s anything more annoying than being snotty all the time, I haven’t found it. Not that it’s life-threatening or anything terrible, but it’s one’s nose, and one just can’t away from one’s own nose no matter how much one might want to.
Also, whenever either of us sneezes, it scares ALL the cats half to death themselves. It’s like all them suddenly have 16 legs each, all madly scrambling in opposing directions, all at the same time!
So, what’s at the top of your wish list right now? Share in the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual giveaway hop prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books.
There are holidays, and then there are ‘Hallmark Holidays’. You know the ones I mean, the ones that seem like they exist solely for the purpose of selling greeting cards. Groundhog Day is actually on the list of Hallmark Holidays, and I’m suddenly wondering what those cards look like and who one sends them to? The people who take care of Punxsutawney Phil?
It seems as if Valentine’s Day may be falling into the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ zone – along with Sweetest Day, which I remember my parents making a big deal of back in the day, but not a holiday you hear much about anymore. Except in the greeting card aisle of the grocery store, of course.
What do you think? Is Valentine’s Day in danger of falling into the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ zone – or is is still a big deal for you and yours? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at a bit of love and/or cheer from Amazon, courtesy of Reading Reality.
Welcome to the Heart 2 Heart Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
This name of this hop is a bit of an earworm, isn’t it? The song “Heart to Heart” by Kenny Loggins was everywhere back in the day. Now it’s stuck in my head and I can’t get it out. I’m hoping that by sharing the earworm it will migrate to someone else’s head and leave mine alone, because it’s been running through my brain for days at this point.
But this month is Valentine’s Day, so there are going to hearts and flowers everywhere – and not just musically. What’s the romantic or Valentine’s Day song that is stuck in your head? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual giveaway hop prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books.
Welcome to the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
Anyone actually wishing FOR winter this year has probably already had all they can stand. And if they haven’t, there are plenty of places available where they can get all of it they could possibly want for the season, all in one weekend! With encores!
Personally, I have never wished FOR winter – at least not since I was no longer in a position to be hoping for snow days off from school.
Because BRRRRR! I say again. BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Mostly, I wish for winter to be over. And for there to be oodles of lovely books to read while I’m inside my cozy house drinking blissfully hot tea or cocoa with as many cats as possible crammed into my lap. Because they don’t like the cold any more than I do.
What about you? Are you wishing for at least six more weeks of winter – or have you already had more than enough?
Share your thoughts in the comments for your chance at Chez Reading Reality’s usual giveaway hop prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in Books.
Welcome to the New Year, New You Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
2023 kind of just zipped by, didn’t it? Some years seem interminable – I’m trying so damn hard not to think of 2020 because YEESH that was a year I hope we never revisit – while others, like this year just passed – seemingly pass in the blink of an eye.
It’s been a good year here at Chez Reading Reality. There have been good books (as evidenced by last week’s Best Books list). Everyone is well and as happy as we all can be. Even George and Lucifer who had their regular vet checks over the weekend. (They even seem to have forgiven us for the whole capture and car trip thing.)
Looking ahead to this year, April 4, 2024 will be the OMG THIRTEENTH Anniversary of Reading Reality’s first post back in 2011. So, in the hopes that 13 will be lucky instead of unlucky, I’ll be trying something new – or new for Reading Reality, at least – starting with this very post.
I’ve had an Instagram account for a while, but haven’t gotten into it. I’m still more about the words than I am about the pictures. But in the wake of this year’s inanity and insanity at the service formerly known as Twitter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see X go to a pay for play option. Not that there aren’t plenty of other reasons to get the hell out of that particular Dodge already.
Once upon a time, this was the Month of Books Giveaway Hop, now it’s the Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop, with the hops starting on the days the seasons change. Today is the first official day of Winter no matter whether or not it’s cold and/or snowy where you are. I’m in Atlanta so the leaves that are going to fall finally have, which gives the cats a much better view of the wildlife that comes up into our backyard from the creek.
But the question this season is the same question it’s always been for one of these particular hops. What book or books are you most looking forward to this season?
I’m never looking forward to just one thing when it comes to books. Here are a few that are at the top of my list for this winter of 2023/2024:
What about you? What books are you most looking forward to this fall? Answer in the rafflecopter for your choice of either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books so you can get one or two of the books on your list!
Here we are at the second giveaway hop for the month and we already have another earworm! (There’s one more hop coming this month and I’m VERY happy to say that it won’t be poking me in the ear or brain afterwards, as two songs stuck in my head are definitely enough!)
The song this time around, the holiday favorite “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” was so irresistible that it was recorded by not just one but two members of the Rat Pack back in the day – Frank Sinatra in 1950 and Dean Martin in 1959, as well as Jessica Simpson in 2004, the cast of Gleein 2011 and Michael Bublé in 2021. The song has clearly been around and gotten around.
Which isn’t really a surprise because it’s a light and bubbly little song and has the virtue of being utterly non-denominational while still managing to be totally associated with Christmas at the same time. Which makes a great deal of sense, as it was written in July in 1945 during a heat wave, in an attempt by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne to imagine being somewhere considerably cooler than they actually were.
It’s what humans do, after all, wish that it were warm when we’re cold, wish that it was cool when we’re warm. It’s kind of why we ended up in Atlanta. We’re just far enough north to experience all four seasons, but the winters usually JUST get cold enough to remind us why we’re happy not to get the full experience of the season that we did in Anchorage and Chicago.
And everyone is usually pretty happy to see the rare snowfall here, because it stays just long enough to look pretty – and then it’s gone!
What about you? Are you happy to “let it snow”? Or would you rather “let it go” and be someplace sunny?
Tell us how you feel for a chance at our usual holiday prize – and all year ’round – the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.
Welcome to the Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
The theme of this hop always gives me an EPIC earworm of Burl Ives singing that holiday favorite, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”. You probably remember it too, if not that original version, than one of the many covers, including Alan Jackson, Jerrod Niemann, Lady Antebellum and the second most popular version after the original, the one by Michael Bublé.
I wouldn’t say that “Holly Jolly Christmas” is my favorite holiday song – I’m not sure I even have a favorite. What about you? What’s your favorite holiday song? Answer in the rafflecopter – even if your personal fave is “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” – for a chance at Reading Reality’s usual prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card (possibly to get more holiday music!) or up to $10 in books.
It’s the winter solstice in Shady Hollow, that magical time of year when creatures of all shapes and sizes come together to honor the season and eat as much pie as possible. Reporter Vera Vixen is eager to experience her first holiday in town and is especially looking forward to the unveiling of the solstice tree. But then disaster strikes. The year’s tree—the tallest in the forest—has disappeared without a trace. Can Vera, her best friend, Lenore, and Deputy Orville Braun find the tree and save the season? Or will this year’s solstice be especially dark?
Today is Black Friday in the U.S., that unofficial holiday after the official Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Traditionally, this was the day when holiday decorating ‘officially’ kicked off, and anyplace that had not already started playing Xmas carols started doing so with a vengeance. So, as this feels like the right day, at least to me, to start reviewing holiday books, I’m kicking off my holiday season with this Shady Hollow winter solstice story.
This is explicitly not a Christmas story, just as Phantom Pond was not explicitly a Halloween story. The historical and religious underpinnings of both of those holidays in our world don’t exist in the animal-centric world of Shady Hollow.
But that doesn’t mean that something like those holidays wouldn’t, doesn’t or hasn’t arisen in other cultures – and that particularly applies to the winter solstice. Many, many traditions have holidays around the solstice, and Shady Hollow wouldn’t be exceptional in marking the shortest day of the year – even if they might be a bit exceptional in just how they do that marking.
Along with the touch of mystery that makes the series so very much fun!
The tradition in Shady Hollow is to ‘walk’ the specially chosen Solstice tree from the surrounding woods to the center of town, where it will be decorated and feted and brightly lit to chase away the darkness of the longest night.
The trees are chosen decades in advance and tended lovingly by specially appointed treekeepers until their appointed day as the center of the whole town’s attention and celebration.
But someone has stolen this year’s tree – all FIFTY FEET of it – the night before its celebratory walk. The whole town is enraged, incensed, and practically in mourning over the loss of their tree.
It will take the efforts of every animal in town, from Police Bear Orville Braun to ace investigative reporter Vera Vixen to all the birds around town, led by night-owl Professor Heidegger and bookstore owner Lenore the Raven to find the tree in time.
The longest night comes early in Shady Hollow, and time is running out.
Escape Rating B: Shady Hollow may sound a bit twee, but it’s really a LOT more like Zootopia – at least if the movie had been set in Judy Hopp’s rural Bunnyburrow instead of Nick Wilde’s big city. A reflection that reporter Vera Vixen frequently makes herself, as she used to be a resident of one of those big cities but has found cozy Shady Hollow to be a lot more to her taste.
The Shady Hollow series as a whole, are lovely, charming, and very cozy mysteries – and Evergreen Chase is no exception. At the same time, the use of animals as people gives the author all sorts of opportunities to include comments about human behavior hiding in plain sight – or under the bare covering of a pawkerchief.
Like many of the stories in this series, there’s a mystery, but it’s a gentle one. No one is dead, no one is likely to end up dead, but the town’s collective anguish is still VERY real, as someone has literally stolen one of their beloved traditions right out from under them.
That the town pulls together to celebrate the solstice with or without the tree is all part of the series’ charm. That they have their own solstice miracle just adds to the sweetness of both the story and the holiday season – both theirs and ours.
So this feels like its a short story for the many fans of the series, of which I am mostly definitely one. And it turned out to be the perfect start for my holiday reading. (As much as I enjoyed The Wishing Bridgereading it last week made me want to give myself a ‘ten-yard penalty for rushing the season.’ Reading Evergreen Chase felt like a ‘proper’ start to the season.)
It did also remind me of another lovely holiday story that uses animals to tell an entirely different but equally charming human story. If Shady Hollow sounds charming but you’ve never watched Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, well, let this be the season to get the song, “There Ain’t No Hole in the Washtub” stuck in your head, just like it is in mine this time of year!
~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
Black Friday is just a weird day. It’s not a holiday, but it still feels like part of a holiday. Unless one works in retail, because it’s most definitely, absolutely not a holiday under those conditions! Also weird, but along the U.S./Canadian border, even though there is no Thanksgiving Thursday in Canada (Canadian Thanksgiving is in mid-October), there is mostly definitely a Black Friday complete with Black Friday sales.
But it’s a day when not many people may be reading blogs – possibly because in the U.S. they are either still in a turkey coma or because they’re off trying to grab the best Black Friday deals. So, for those who are staying home, I have a bit of a giveaway for you.
It’ll just be a little something to put in someone’s holiday stocking, but it’s just a way to say ‘THANKS!’ to all of you who have spent a bit of time with me over the year at chez Reading Reality.
Welcome to the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
Hopefully, we all have things to be thankful for this holiday season! In our house, we’re thankful that everybody’s healthy, we have all the things we need and just enough of the things we want to make life run more-or-less smoothly. Or at least as smoothly as five cats in the house allow it to be.
Looking back at my post this time two years ago for this same hop I was looking forward to our then upcoming bathroom remodel. Last year I was lamenting the sudden discombobulation of one minor bit of said remodel. This year I’m just thankful that things are one an even keel and all is well at Chez Reading Reality this holiday season.
I am also thankful for each and every one of you who drop in on Reading Reality from time to time, and especially those who follow and comment. Thank you everyone!
What about you? Is there anything special in progress or coming up that you are particularly thankful for? Answer in the rafflecopter for a chance at the usual Reading Reality prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.