Welcome to the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
This hop kinda gives me the same vibes as last week’s Welcome Winter Giveaway Hop. Because I don’t exactly “welcome” winter. And my wish for it is to exit, stage right or left, as fast as it possibly can. My ideal weather progression would be for Fall to slide into Spring to slide into Fall again without stopping long – if at all – on those extremes called “Summer” and especially “Winter”.
BRRRRR! I say again. BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
So my wish for winter is that it be over, ASAP. What about you? Are you wishing for Winter to stick around a bit – or do you think it’s already worn out its welcome?
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.
I firmly object to the theme for this hop. I DO NOT welcome winter. At all. One of the reasons we live here is that winter is aware that it is not welcome here and doesn’t commit to much of a visit. That Arctic blast over the holidays was all the reminder I needed about why true winter just isn’t all that much fun.
At least for yours truly. Your wintry mileage may vary. So let us know in the comments whether you ‘welcome winter’ or not, for a chance at the usual Reading Reality prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.
It’s beginning to look – and feel – a lot like the holidays. Or at least a lot like winter, even if the season doesn’t officially start until today – at least in the meteorological sense. My friends in Anchorage have FOUR AND A HALF FEET of snow on the ground. It’s been winter up there for a while now.
I miss them but I don’t miss the weather AT ALL.
But even if all the winter you get is the “glancing blow” we get here, it’s still chilly, damp and dark too damn early. Which means it’s the perfect season for reading! Not that every season isn’t perfect for that in its own way.
So, the question for this season of books – and every season – is 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 at the top of my list for this winter of 2022-23:
What about you? What books are you most looking forward to this winter? Answer in the rafflecopter for you 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!
Welcome to the Dashing December Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
It’s not just that December is dashing by, but that the whole year leading up to it feels like it flashed by in a minute. I know that the older we get, the smaller a percentage of our total life so far is represented by a single year, but WOW! They’re starting to go by at warp speed – even if occasionally an individual day may seem to take eons.
It doesn’t help that I’m ALWAYS surprised when the winter holidays show up. Most of my life – and it’s still most by a wide percentage – and certainly my formative years were lived in places where the holidays that happened in the winter were presaged by actual winter weather. Which just doesn’t happen here.
It’s supposed to be in the high 40s or low 50s today and all next week. That doesn’t really feel like winter – or look like it. We’ll get rain but no snow, not even with that huge storm blowing across the country. (Although Anchorage sure got hammered.)
What I’m saying is that Thanksgiving, Xmas and New Year’s pretty much all manage to sneak up on me – and they did this year as well.
But speaking of the holidays, this is the final giveaway hop for the year, so before this opportunity dashes away I want to take a minute to wish you and yours a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
I see the words “Ho Ho Ho” and in my head there’s a deep voice and a jolly old man in a Santa suit booming “Merry Christmas” even though I don’t personally celebrate the holiday.
Hanukkah begins in the evening of Sunday, December 18 this year and lasts until Boxing Day, December 26 in case you were wondering. I certainly was and I had to go look it up. We kind of celebrate “December” at Chez Reading Reality, and excuse to give each other a present – if we can think of anything either of us wants. Which means that the actual day isn’t marked as it was when I was a kid.
Back to “Ho-Ho-HO!” If you’re looking for a cute grown-up book about Santa – or at least about people dressed as Santa – take a look at A Wish for Winter by Viola Shipman.
I’m digressing again, aren’t I? But there’s something about the holiday season that makes us all a bit scatterbrained, isn’t there?
Do you feel like you’re pulled in all directions during the holidays? Can’t wait to get back to “normal”? Or are you able to just “let it go” along with “letting it snow”?
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.
Officially, winter won’t be here in the Northern hemisphere until the day after this hop closes. The official start of winter this year is December 21, the day of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. But depending on where you live, it might feel like winter is already here. It might even feel like winter has been here for quite some time by this point.
Winter usually deals Atlanta a glancing blow, which is fine by me. Today feels a bit like a Seattle winter in that it is gloomy, chilly, wet, rainy and has been for several days. But climate’s what you expect, weather is what you get, and wet and chilly in the mid-40s is a considerable improvement over snow showers in the low-30s as it is in Anchorage right now. Especially considering that that represents a warm-ish front so it can snow.
I don’t miss that at all.
What about you? What represents a perfect winter day – or even just a typical one? Answer below for your chance at Reading Reality’s regular blog hop prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.
The hotel was her refuge, but scandal is afoot—and a killer stalks the halls in this charming series debut perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.
It’s 1958 and Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy has not left the Pinnacle Hotel in fourteen months. She suffers from agoraphobia, and what’s more, it’s her father’s hotel, and everything she needs is there. Evelyn’s always been good at finding things, she discovered her mother dead in a Manhattan alleyway fifteen years earlier. Now she’s finding trouble inside her sanctuary. At a party for artist Billie Bell, his newest work is stolen, and Evelyn’s fake boyfriend (and real best friend), movie star Henry Fox, is accused of the theft. But just as Evelyn sets out to prove Henry’s innocence, she finds Billie Bell dead.
The murder weapon links the crime to the hotel’s chief of security. But why would he use a knife with his initials on the handle? With her beloved home in disarray, Evelyn joins up with hotel employee (and her secret crush) Mac Cooper to get to the bottom of the case.
As Mac picks locks and Evelyn snoops around the hotel, they discover the walls around them contain more secrets than they previously knew. Now, Evelyn must force herself to leave the hotel to follow the clues—but when she and Mac set off to chase a lead, their car crashes and they barely escape with their lives. Someone snipped Evelyn’s brake lines, and now the stakes have become dangerously high.
Evelyn’s knack for sleuthing—and her playful imagination—are always hard at work, and she throws an elaborate party at the hotel where every guest is a suspect. But will the killer emerge from the glamorous lineup? If not, Evelyn just might find herself…next in line for murder.
The socialite of the title, is Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy, the daughter of the owner of the Pinnacle Hotel in Manhattan. Her penchant for finding missing items, such as a diplomat’s daughter or a supposedly stolen necklace lead to the search for a murderer when that murder occurs in her home and sanctuary – her father’s hotel where she lives in a top-floor suite designed and decorated just for her.
And her little purse dog Presley. Mustn’t ever forget Presley.
As a socialite, Evelyn lives to be seen, especially with her society page boyfriend, actor Henry Fox. Which is a bit of a problem, because Evelyn hasn’t left the Pinnacle in months. She can, but she can’t. When she was a little girl, she found her mother’s dead body just outside the hotel. The trauma has been drawing her in ever since, to the point where agoraphobia keeps her from leaving her sanctuary – the Pinnacle.
But Evelyn’s whole world teeters on a tightrope. Her romance with Henry Fox is a ruse, concocted of her need to be featured in the society columns and his need to keep the world from discovering that he’s gay. They’re the best of friends.
Howsomever, Evelyn is also friends with Mac Cooper, one of the bellhops at her father’s hotel. Mac walks the dog, keeps Evelyn up with all the hotel gossip, and is entirely too good at more than a little bit of kiss and canoodle.
So when a high-profile artist is murdered in the hotel, Mac is the perfect person to help her stage distractions, pick the locks of rooms the police have closed off, and generally assist her with her own investigation into the crime. Because Henry Fox is the prime suspect, at least until the ham-fisted police latch onto someone even better – the hotel’s head of security.
But Evelyn isn’t going to let things rest. The sanctity of her sanctuary must be restored, and she’s just the woman to do it. All she has to do is juggle Mac, Henry and whatever other secret Henry is keeping long enough to figure out whodunnit.
Escape Rating B: The Socialite’s Guide to Murder isn’t quite a cozy, but it is a light and bubbly mystery that has much of the same appeal. The Pinnacle, while not a small town, does a surprisingly good job of functioning as one for the purpose of the story.
Evelyn as a heroine embodies both the “poor little rich girl” and “bird in a gilded cage” tropes. What’s a bit different is that her cage is completely self-imposed. There’s a lot of trauma hiding behind her ditzy, spoiled persona. She’s aware that the ditziness is an act, although she’s a bit oblivious about just how spoiled she is.
Which is reflected in her relationship with Mac. They may be, probably are, falling in love with each other. And it is more than a bit frothy and bubbly, but there’s an undertone to it that gave me more than a bit of pause while reading. There’s a rather vast power imbalance between them as she’s paying him $10 or $20 every single time he does something for her. $10 doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s the equivalent of $100 in today’s terms. It adds up to a lot of money. She’s initially not at all sure whether he’s her friend because he likes her or because she’s paying him and it doesn’t feel like she worries about it nearly enough.
(If that shoe were on the other foot it would be an extremely squicky situation. It’s not less squicky because of the role reversal even if it’s intended to feel that way.)
Once I was able to let my willing suspension of disbelief set all of that aside, the mystery itself is a lot of fun. I did guess that the initial art heist that kicks things off wasn’t exactly what it seemed, but the murder that followed had plenty of tasty red herrings to fish for and tempting would-be clues to sent this reader on many an enjoyable wild goose chase.
The setting of the mystery within the confines of this great and grand hotel was a treat. It still felt like a cozy in a setting that isn’t really cozy at all. More like elegant and opulent, and it was a pleasure to read the way it all worked and how Evelyn’s world came together.
So the mystery is appropriately puzzling, the setting is different in a delicious way and the heroine and her little dog are fun to follow. If you like your mysteries with more than a bit of bubble and froth The Socialite’s Guide to Murder is a lovely little read.
And for anyone who enjoyed The Three Dahlias, Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy the amateur sleuth would fit right into their crime solving shenanigans – once she is able to leave the Pinnacle. Maybe in the next book in the series.
Welcome to the Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!
This hop always gives me an earworm. Maybe it does you as well. Whenever I see the words “Holly Jolly” I hear the perennial holiday song, A Holly Jolly Christmas. The version I remember best is the one in the included YouTube video. But this is only the original. It’s such a ‘holly jolly’ song that it’s been covered over and over (and over) and is one of the most-performed holiday songs even into the 21st century.
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.
I am, always, thankful for books. There’s a quote from Anne Herbert that’s not nearly famous enough that goes:
Most of us can’t afford to buy all the books we want to read. Certainly as a child and young adult I couldn’t even begin to buy all the books I wanted to read. That’s what libraries are FOR, and that’s why so many people’s fond memories of them involve stacks of books and many pleasurable hours reading them.
The corollary to the quote is that the books you get through the library, while they may not exactly get you through times of no money at all they do get you through times that are missing something, or a whole lot of somethings, that you need or want or miss dreadfully. Or at least that’s always been true for me – and it has certainly been true these last few years of pandemics and upheavals and everything else that has upset chunks of the world and everyone in it.
So I’m very thankful for books to get me through. I’m also very thankful for the friends that have been part of the journey, and to all of you who have followed and commented and participated on Reading Reality over these past OMG 11 years (AND COUNTING!)
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 last year for this same hop I was looking forward to our bathroom remodeling project finally being finished. Which it was. And it was lovely. At least until this morning, when the toilet paper holder fell off the wall for no reason whatsoever. At least the shower hasn’t started leaking again – which was what started the whole project in the first place!
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.