Life’s a Beach Giveaway Hop

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

Last year’s hop image was a cat with sunglasses. We’d just gotten George, and he resembled the cat in the picture a bit. I was thinking that when he grew up he might look like the cat in the image – minus the shades, of course. George still has way too much big kitten energy to sit and pose with things on his face!

And now that George is full grown – or close to it – it’s easy to see from the pictures that he isn’t quite as pale and isn’t nearly as chill!

Speaking of chill, it’s a bit chilly outside here in Atlanta today (Monday, May 3). It’s also pouring rain and there’s a tornado watch. Not exactly a day for going to the beach.

Tuesday and Wednesday aren’t looking so hot either. C’est la vie.

So this isn’t exactly beach weather. It’s more like stay indoors and read weather, which is just fine with me!

Whether you want to get something for future days at the beach, or just want to curl up and read, fill out the rafflecopter for a chance at the usual prize here at Reading Reality, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books.

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

Rain Drops on Roses Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Rain Drops on Roses Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

We’re not so much for the “rain drops on roses” in this house, but we have PLENTY of whiskers on kittens!

Even if they are grown-up kittens. Big kittens. In George’s case, huge kittens.

But the theme of this hop mixes the whole “April Showers” thing with the opening lines of the classic song from The Sound of Music, as Maria sings that “Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens” are just a few of My Favorite Things. Well, her favorite things, but mine too.

This is a hop where I get to give away one of my favorite things, either a book from the Book Depository, or a gift card from Amazon, where the winner can, naturally, buy more books. Or a bit of whatever one of their favorite things might be.

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For more chances at a whole host of possibly new favorite things, 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.

Review: The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear + Giveaway

Review: The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear + GiveawayThe Consequences of Fear (Maisie Dobbs #16) by Jacqueline Winspear
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: hardcover, large print, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical fiction, historical mystery, mystery, thriller
Series: Maisie Dobbs #16
Pages: 352
Published by Harper on March 23, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

As Europe buckles under Nazi occupation, Maisie Dobbs investigates a possible murder that threatens devastating repercussions for Britain's war efforts in this latest installment in the New York Times bestselling mystery series.
September 1941. While on a delivery, young Freddie Hackett, a message runner for a government office, witnesses an argument that ends in murder. Crouching in the doorway of a bombed-out house, Freddie waits until the coast is clear. But when he arrives at the delivery address, he’s shocked to come face to face with the killer.
Dismissed by the police when he attempts to report the crime, Freddie goes in search of a woman he once met when delivering a message: Maisie Dobbs. While Maisie believes the boy and wants to help, she must maintain extreme caution: she’s working secretly for the Special Operations Executive, assessing candidates for crucial work with the French resistance. Her two worlds collide when she spots the killer in a place she least expects. She soon realizes she’s been pulled into the orbit of a man who has his own reasons to kill—reasons that go back to the last war.
As Maisie becomes entangled in a power struggle between Britain’s intelligence efforts in France and the work of Free French agents operating across Europe, she must also contend with the lingering question of Freddie Hackett’s state of mind. What she uncovers could hold disastrous consequences for all involved in this compelling chapter of the “series that seems to get better with every entry” (Wall Street Journal).

My Review:

In London, in September of 1941, fear was a constant companion. Every person old enough to be aware, including any children past toddlerhood, has to have felt at least some level of fear every waking minute. Fear of bombs, fear of losing someone dear to them – likely because of a bomb, fear of being made homeless and losing everything they owned – due to a bomb.

Fear that Hitler would invade Britain after softening up the target with – yet more bombs. Fear that Britain, standing alone, wouldn’t be able to hold back the tide of Nazi Germany any more than King Canute could hold back the ocean’s tide by ordering it so.

Maisie Dobbs, once upon a time a battlefield nurse in World War I, now serves as part of the checks and balances at the Special Operations Executive, vetting agents who are about to be sent to infiltrate occupied Europe as secret radio operators, saboteurs – and spies.

She did her bit in the first war, and she’s doing it again. Just not quite as near the front lines, although every bit as heartbreaking.

Maisie has spent the years between the wars as a private investigator, trained by her mentor Maurice Blanche, to ferret out the secrets that people have been keeping, sometimes even from themselves, in order to resolve personal issues they bring to her, and crimes brought to her by the police, or, in the case of her interviewing for the SOE, by the government.

The story here is about Maisie attempting, not always successfully, to balance her government work, her private clients, her family out in the country, and her American lover in the Diplomatic Corps of his own country.

It is also a story about the ways in which those responsibilities come into conflict. A country that expects her to drop everything at a moment’s notice in order to send people into situations where death is almost certain. A country that expects her to keep its secrets even from those she loves. A country that expects her to help cover up a murder in order to protect an alliance that it considers strategic.

It’s that last stress that proves to be more than Maisie can live with. The question becomes whether or not she, or anyone else involved, will die for it.

Escape Rating A: This is Mystery & Thriller week on Goodreads, and the image being used looks a lot like a piece of the cover for this book. I fully admit that I had no idea when I was picking out this week’s books that I would be echoing this theme, I just wanted books that I knew would be good and it turned out I struck a theme.

It took me most of the book to get how the title related to this particular story. Everyone is afraid at this point in the war. Things are pretty dark, and in spite of the famous British “stiff upper lip” the situation does not look hopeful.

But the fears that drive this story are not all about the war, even though they circle back to it. There’s a murder in this mystery, and everything about that murder is a result of fear. The murderer fears the loss of his honor, and the exposure of that loss. The witness fears that the killer knows he is a witness, and that the murderer is out to get him as well. And Maisie fears that her emotions are clouding her judgment, and most importantly, fears that the war will rob her of her second chance at happiness.

All three act out because of their fear, and act on their fear at the same time. This entire case and its outcomes are all consequences of those fears.

The ending is not all heartbreak as one might expect from the beginning, although the piper does get paid.

The story closes on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. The Americans, including Maisie’s lover, are scrambling to prepare America’s response to the attack. The entire war has changed irrevocably, along with Maisie’s life.

I’ve followed Maisie’s adventures from her very first story, fittingly named after this singular character. This is a series that follows the history of both its character and the world she inhabits, and sincerely rewards readers who get involved at the very beginning. This is not a series to pick up in the middle, especially as the last few books in the series, from A Dangerous Place onwards, show the shadows darkening over Europe as Britain prepares for the inevitable that no one wants to see.

This turned out to be a fitting close for the theme of this Blogo-Birthday Celebration Week as well. Both Maisie Dobbs and Sebastian St. Cyr are coincidentally at the 16th book in their respective series, but more importantly, both are atmospheric historical mysteries set in periods of great upheaval featuring compelling and fascinating protagonists.

Maisie also links back to, not Susan Ryeland or Atticus Pünd in Moonflower Murders, but rather to the author of the series, Anthony Horowitz, and the TV character he created, Christopher Foyle of Foyle’s War. Although a police detective rather than a private investigator, Foyle is another compelling character who served in WW1 and is now, in the second war, investigating crimes on the homefront – and occasionally working for the government – just as Maisie is.

I expect Maisie’s war to be every bit as dangerous, and to include every bit as much crime and punishment as her between the wars life has done. And I’m certainly looking forward to reading about Maisie’s war now that it is finally and officially here.

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

Today is the final day of my Blogo-Birthday Celebration Week. This is a series that is near and dear to my heart, making it a perfect ending to a week of giveaways. I love this series and am thrilled to share a bit of that love with one lucky winner.

The winner of today’s giveaway will receive their choice of one book by Jacqueline Winspear (up to $25 US to include The Consequences of Fear) whether in the Maisie Dobbs series or her standalone or her nonfiction. If you haven’t met Maisie, I would recommend starting with one of the early books in the series, either the collection of novellas in Maisie Dobbs, or the first complete novel that features her, Birds of a Feather.

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April Showers Giveaway Hop

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

It’s not raining today here in Atlanta. It’s not supposed to rain until the weekend – because of course it’s going to rain on the weekend.

I remember my grandmother teaching me the rhyme that goes “Rain, rain, go away. Come back another day!” and thinking that the rain might shout back, “I DID!” and then just pour harder. C’est la vie.

This is the April Showers Giveaway Hop, so in honor of the name of the hop, I’m going to drag out another oldie but goodie.

“If April Showers bring May Flowers, then what do May Flowers bring?”

I’m looking for wrong answers only, please. I’m hoping for some funny ones.

Your answer, funny or not, will give you a shot at the usual prize here at Reading Reality, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books from the Book Depository.

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For more great prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop. AND remember to come back here every day this week for more giveaways in Reading Reality’s 10th Anniversary Blogo-Birthday Celebration!

Reading Reality’s 10th Anniversary Blogo-Birthday Celebration + Giveaway

OMG, where on Earth do I begin?

Technically, I already did. That’s kind of the point. On April 4, 2011, Reading Reality’s (then called “Escape Reality, Read Fiction” first post was posted, with the title “It’s Always About the Story” which is still true. For me, it’s still always about the story, whether I’m telling it or especially when I’m writing about it. That’s why most of my reviews get into what I believe the book was about, or at least what the book was about for me. Which may, of course, turn out to be wildly different from what the author intended. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is readability in the eyes – or the mind – of the reader.

It’s hard to believe that first post was ten years ago. This blog is now, officially, the longest “job” I’ve ever had. And I do my best to treat it with the responsibility that I would a job. Showing up every day, making my deadlines and fulfilling my commitments, doing my best work. If you’ve been with me for a while, I sincerely hope that you are enjoying the results!

Today, April 5, is my birthday, which is how the whole “Blogo-Birthday” thing got started. I like to celebrate this double event as a Hobbit Birthday, meaning that I give stuff away. I give stuff away ALL WEEK LONG!

So, for this opening day of this extra-special anniversary Blogo-Birthday celebration, 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!

One final note before I let you get to the Rafflecopter. For my birthday, I have a Birthday Fundraiser going on Facebook for Planned PEThood of Duluth GA. If you have enjoyed the cat pictures I post as part of my Sunday Post, Planned PEThood was part of both Lucifer’s and George’s journeys. Lucifer was checked out by their vets before his original rescuer brought him to us and the TNR cage used to trap George and his siblings was provided to our neighbor by them. So we’re paying that forward a bit and I hope you’ll consider joining us.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has been part of my journey and Reading Reality’s journey. Please stick around for future adventures!

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Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

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

Since this is the Honey Bunny Hop, let’s talk about bunnies! Specifically, let’s talk about CHOCOLATE bunnies. And chomping down on them for Easter. Or just because you like chocolate, shaped like a bunny or not.

Where does one begin to eat a Chocolate Rabbit?

It’s been studied. Of course it’s been studied. Because, well, humans. The study was not exactly serious, but it was published in an otherwise respected publication. (If you’re curious, it’s titled “Seasonality of auricular amputations in rabbits“, published in a professional journal for Otolaryngologists (that’s what ENTs, ear, nose and throat doctors are officially called). That journal is The Laryngoscope.

So the article is real – or real-ish – but the study wasn’t exactly on the up and up. Rather more on the tongue in cheek.

It’s been a while since I had a chocolate bunny, but I know I went for the ears first. Most people do. What about you? Answer in the rafflecopter for a chance at your choice of the usual prize, a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books from the Book Depository. This giveaway is open everywhere the Book Depository ships.

Hey, if you win the gift card, you could even get some chocolate bunnies and test it out yourself!

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For more fabulous prizes, be sure to hop on over to 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!

Considering that St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, I think this hop is more about chasing what’s supposed to be at the end of the rainbow rather than chasing the rainbow itself! And also in spite of the fact that a lot of places celebrated over the past weekend and didn’t wait for tomorrow. The city of Chicago even did its traditional dye job on the Chicago River. They did it as a surprise so that crowds wouldn’t gather. Next year should be better on that front, but we’ll see.

But this month’s giveaway hops have managed to be all about luck in one way or another, both the recently completed Lady Luck Giveaway Hop and the Let’s Get Lucky Giveaway Hop. And this hop is no exception.

So try your luck in the rafflecopter for a chance at the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books from the Book Depository. This giveaway is open everywhere that the Book Depository ships!

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For an even bigger rainbow of 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!

What does it mean to you to be lucky or to get lucky, beyond the obvious salacious double-entendre?

Galen and I regularly ask each other how we each got so lucky as to have found each other. We’ll be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary while this hop is going on, and I think we both feel just as lucky, if not more so, now as we did when we got married. And COVID Times, as strange as they have been, have made that feeling of being lucky with each other even more profound.

We’ve also been very lucky with our fur-children, and they are certainly lucky to have found us – or at least someone like us – as they are all rescues. Lucifer seems to be the one most aware of his good fortune, as he was living “rough” as an adult cat. where the others were all rescued as kittens. Lucifer always comes to one of us to thank us before he eats. I know I’m anthropomorphizing, but it really does seem that way. It’s one of the many reasons that he’s the sweetest demon in the whole world.

Along with being the luckiest.

What’s the luckiest thing that ever happened to you? Answer in the rafflecopter for a chance to get lucky and win the usual Reading Reality prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book up to $10 from the Book Depository. This giveaway is open anywhere the Book Depository ships.

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

Lady Luck Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Lady Luck Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

The theme for this hop made me think of Luck Be a Lady, a song from the “Great American Songbook” that’s been covered over and over (and over) again since it was first performed by Robert Alda in the musical Guys and Dolls all the way back in 1950 – on Broadway. The version I’m hearing in my head is the one by Frank Sinatra, as it became one his signature songs, so I probably heard it, well, over and over again. You might have heard that version too, if you ever saw the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, as it’s the one that’s used in the film.

The classics never seem to die, they just get repurposed. That’s what makes them classic.

Whether luck is ever a lady is certainly open to question. She is when she’s running in your favor, and she isn’t when she’s in someone else’s. That’s Life, or so another classic song of the same era  – also popularized by Sinatra – goes.

But this is a giveaway hop, so luck might be a lady for you. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter for a chance at Reading Reality’s usual prize, the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 book from the Book Depository. This giveaway is open to everywhere the Book Depository ships!

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For more chances to get lucky, 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.

Wish Big Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Wish Big Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

There’s an old saying about wishes – honestly there are probably LOTS of old sayings about wishes – that goes, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” At least that’s the version I remember.

We make wishes in all kinds of situations, blowing out birthday candles, seeing the first star at night, seeing a falling star, throwing a coin in a well. It’s a bit of superstition, but it’s generally a harmless one.

The results of a wish all depend on what you do after you make it, doesn’t it? Some wishes are close to impossible to fulfill. Others can be helped along, if we’re willing to do the work to turn the impossible into the possible. There’s another saying about this very thing, this one attributed to Mary Kay Ash, “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

If you wish for a chance at the winner’s prize here at Reading Reality, all you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter for your chance! This one is easy-peasy!

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You can wish for more prizes at all the other stops on this hop!

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