Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

For those who celebrate Easter, a slightly early Happy Easter to you. And for those who celebrate Passover, happy middle of Passover. For those who are just happy to celebrate the beginning of Spring, happy that. Longer days and warmer weather are always something to celebrate, in some places more than others.

As someone who celebrates Passover, and who has a birthday at this time of year, one of my childhood memories is of not being able to have birthday cake or a party at my birthday more often than not. At that time, there just wasn’t much in the way of baked goods that were Kosher for Passover. Except this one cinnamon crumble coffee cake that was surprisingly yummy, but not exactly birthday-cake material. Based on the offerings at the grocery store this week, solutions for this particular dilemma now abound!

But it isn’t Easter without some mention of Peeps. I still don’t believe they are a food, but they clearly make great dioramas. This one struck a chord and a funny bone, as I remember when my room did look kind of like this – except that the stairs went the other way. My room was at the top of the house when I was in high school.

Maybe you want a good book to read with your Peeps? Even when this blog hop is over, it still won’t be too late! (Especially if you like your Peeps “well seasoned”)

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And for more chances at more fabulous prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop.



Review: The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi + Giveaway

Review: The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi + GiveawayThe Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton
Format: audiobook, ebook
Source: purchased from Amazon, purchased from Audible
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: science fiction, space opera
Series: Interdependency #1
Pages: 334
Published by Audible Studios, Tor Books on March 21st 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new
universe.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible -- until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals -- a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

My Review:

My first thought upon finishing The Collapsing Empire was “Oh…My…GOD

The second was that rolling your eyes while driving is a really bad idea, especially if you do it OFTEN. Actually I had that though much earlier in the book, when I was doing a LOT of eye rolling. The ending is far from an eye roll situation, but the advice still stands.

So i’m back to the Oh My God reaction, which I’m still hearing in Wil Wheaton’s voice as the reader of The Collapsing Empire. Which I listened to, pretty much everywhere, sometimes rolling my eyes, often smiling or even outright laughing, from the surprising beginning to the even more astonishing end.

Which isn’t really an end, because it’s obvious that this is just the beginning of a much bigger story, which I hope we get Real Soon Now, but don’t actually expect for a year or more.

So what was it?

The title both does and doesn’t give it away The Empire, in this case the human empire that calls itself the Interdependency, is about to collapse. Not due to warfare or anything so prosaic, but because, well, science. The interstellar network that keeps the far-flung reaches of the Interdependency interdependent is on the verge of an unstoppable collapse.. So what we have at the moment is the story of the maneuvering and machinations as what passes for the powers that be, or that hope to be the powers that become, jockey for position (and survival) in the suddenly onrushing future.

And humans being humans, while some panic there are a whole lot of people who remain so invested in the status quo that they are unwilling to act because any actions upset their positions now, and they hope, very much against hope, that the predictions are wrong. Not because they really believe in their heart of hearts that they ARE wrong, but because they want them to be wrong so very badly.

Any resemblance between the Interdependency and 21st century America is probably intended – but agreeing or disagreeing with that statement doesn’t change the sheer rushing “WOW” of the story.

That story of the empire that’s about to collapse is primarily told through the eyes of four very, very different people (not that the side characters aren’t themselves quite fascinating). But as things wind up, and as the empire begins to wind down, we get our view of the impending fall mostly from these four, or people who surround them.

The first is Ghreni Nohamapeton, the most frequent source of my eye-rolling. Ghreni is a slippery manipulative little bastard, but he is about to be hoist on his own petard. Or possibly not. He thinks he knows what’s coming, and of course, he doesn’t. Or does he?

Kiva Lagos may possibly be the most profane character it has ever been my pleasure to encounter, in literature or out of it. And her constant, continuous cursing sounds a bit much in an audiobook, but perfectly fits her character. Kiva is also manipulative as hell, and mercenary into the bargain. But somewhere between the hells, damns and f-bombs, there’s a heart. Or at least the desire to one-up Ghreni that provides some of the same functionality.

Marce Claremont is about to be the bearer of very bad tidings – if he can survive being the chew toy between Ghreni and Kiva long enough to deliver his message. And even though he knows that the delivery of it means that he really, really can’t go home again. Ever.

And finally we have Cardenia Wu, the recent and very reluctant Emperox of the Interdependency. A woman who is about to experience the very extreme end of that old saying, “be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.” As a great man once said, “Some gifts come at just too high a price.” And that’s true whether you have to dance with the devil to get them, or just roll dice with fate.

Escape Rating A: I listened to this, and also have the ebook. I expected to switch between, but in the end just couldn’t tear myself away from Wil Wheaton’s marvelous reading. He does a terrific job with all of the voices, and adds even more fun to a book that was already fantastic.

But I need that ebook to look up all the names. It seems as if none of them are spelled quite the way they sound. And the ship’s names are an exercise in absurdity from beginning to end. (This aspect may be an homage to the late Iain Banks’ Culture series). But the first ship we meet is the “Tell Me Another One” which is this reader’s general response to Scalzi’s work. I want him to tell me another one, as soon as possible. But also, and as usual, everyone’s leg is getting pulled more than a bit, and not from the same direction.

Lots of things in this story made me smile, quite often ruefully. The scenario is painful, and as this book closes we know that the situation in general is only going to get worse, and possibly not get better. But for the individuals, life is going on. And the characters exhibit all of the sarcasm that this author is known for.

Some of it has the ring of gallows humor to it, and that’s also right. No one is likely to come out of this unscathed by the end, and that’s obvious to the reader from the beginning, even if not to the characters.

This is also a story of merchant empires and political skullduggery. And yes, there is plenty of commentary on that aspect to chew on for a long time, quite possibly until the next book in the series. Like so much of Scalzi’s work, The Collapsing Empire makes the reader laugh, and it makes the reader think, quite often at the same time.

Ghreni and Kiva both represent different ways in which the current systems of the Interdependency have been taken to their extreme limit. But Marce and Cardenia are the characters that we sympathize with. They are both operating against impossible odds, and we like them and want them to succeed. Whether they will or not is left to the subsequent books in this series.

And I really, really, really can’t wait to see what happens next.

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

Because this is part of my annual Blogo-Birthday celebration, I want to share the love. And the books. John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors, and I hope he’ll become one of yours too. To that end, I’m giving away one copy of any of Scalzi’s works, (up to $20) to one lucky commenter on this post. This giveaway includes The Collapsing Empire, but if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of Scalzi, Old Man’s War is probably the best place to begin.

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Rain Rain Go Away Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Second Annual Rain Rain Go Away Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island.

Today is my birthday. I am participating in this hop as part of my annual Blogo-Birthday celebration. Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the founding of Reading Reality and today is my birthday, so, “blogo-birthday”!

You might also call this a hobbit birthday. It’s my birthday and instead of (or in addition to) receiving presents I am also giving presents all week long. Including today.

It’s April, and as I write this, it is raining cats and dogs here in Atlanta, although so far I haven’t seen any poodles in the road. Maybe later.

But that makes this an excellent day to curl up with a cup of tea, a purring cat, and a good book. Let me know how you like to spend your rainy days for a chance at your choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 book from the Book Depository.

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

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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Spring into Romance Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Spring into Romance Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Herd Presents. In this case, the Herd is presenting a blog hop. (Sorry, I just can’t resist the puns!)

This is a hop for sharing our most anticipated upcoming reads for the spring. I’ll say upfront that not all of my most anticipated reads are romances, but maybe yours are.

In April, the books I’m looking forward to most are Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman and Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon. They are both part of reboots for series that I thought were dead long ago. In the case of the Hillerman book, the original series died because the author Tony Hillerman did. His daughter Anne has picked up the action, and it’s marvelous. Sometimes even better than the original, because the point of view has shifted from all of the men to one of the women, and it makes things very different. Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series was one of my favorite merchant space empire series, but she seemed to have finished a while ago. And suddenly Cold Welcome appeared, the first book of Vatta’s Peace.

On the romance front there’s Slow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates, The Captive Shifter by Veronica Scott, White Hot by Ilona Andrews and stretching the definition of Spring just a bit, Silver Silence by Nalini Singh and Theron and Hemi in Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad series.

What about you?

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As always, for more bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop

April Book of Choice Giveaway Hop

Happy April Fools’ Day! I promise this is not an April Fools’ joke.

Welcome to the April Book of Choice Giveaway Hop, hosted by FLYLēF.

The rules for this Giveaway Hop are wonderfully simple. Once a month, participants in the hop give away either a book of the winner’s choice to, of course, the winner, or the means to buy same. Meaning a gift card.

I always like giving away books and gift cards. And this coming week is my Blogo-Birthday, and I especially like giving away presents at celebrations, sort of like a hobbit birthday. This is my 6th Blogo-Birthday. On April 4, Reading Reality will be 6 years old! And on my birthday, April 5, I’ll be quite a few years older than that. I’ll be giving lots of stuff away this week.

But for this hop, it’s all about the books that you are looking forward to this month. What are you absolutely itching to read this month? For me it’s a tie between Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman and Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon. Both are the latest entries in series that I thought were finished, but am oh-so-glad to see continuing. What about you?

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

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop for 2017, hosted by Bookhounds.

The leprechaun may be hiding a pot of gold at the end of his (or her) rainbow, but I haven’t found it yet. And if I did my cat, Freddie the Fredinator, would probably knock it over!

I may not be Irish, but I’m lucky enough to participate in this hop. Maybe you’ll get lucky too. I’m giving away the winner’s choice of a $10 Gift Card from Amazon or a $10 Book from the Book Depository.

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And for more chances to get lucky this St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!



March Book of Choice Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the March Book of Choice Giveaway Hop, hosted by FLYLēF.

The rules for this Giveaway Hop are simple. Once a month, participants in the hop give away either a book of the winner’s choice to, of course, the winner, or the means to buy same. Meaning a gift card.

I like giving away books and gift cards, so here I am in my first Book of Choice Hop. I love the idea of this hop, but so many firsts of the month are on weekends this year. It’s kind of weird the way the calendar works.

So, what book coming out this month are you most looking forward to getting your hands on, or sinking your teeth into if you already have it? For me, it’s a toss-up between In this Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear, the next book in her Maisie Dobbs series and The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. What about you?

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And for more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this month’s hop!

Keep Calm and Hop On Giveaway Hop

keep calm and hop on giveaway hop

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day. I have presents for you!

Second of all…

Welcome to the 2nd annual Keep Calm and Hop On Giveaway Hop!

This hop is packed with amazing prizes at each stop. Be sure to check out the 3 hosts for wonderful grand prize packages. Visit daily to increase your chances of winning and good luck

This hop event is brought to you by:

The Mommy Island, The Kids Did It and MamatheFox

MamatheFox will be giving away the the following all the (1) winner!

  • $30 in assorted products from MAM
  • Go Go Bugs by Sassy – $13.20
  • Bumpy Ball by Sassy – $9.99
  • (1) Squeasy Gear (winners choice of style and color) – up to a $16.99 value
  • (1) Simply Soft Blanket by Balboa – up to a $25 value

But there’s more than just those Grand Prizes. I’m giving away my winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from The Book Depository.

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

For the Love of Books Giveaway Hop

ForTheLoveOfBooks giveaway hop

Welcome to the For the Love of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by Stuck in Books.

It will not be a surprise to anyone that I love books. I love to read and I always have. One of my favorite things about going to college was that I could finally read at the lunch or dinner table if I wanted to – and I always wanted to. Still do.

Of course, in order to continue to do that I had to marry another reader. Reading together at dinner is very companionable – even in restaurants!

But the question of what book I love the most is always a stumper for me. I love lots and lots (and LOTS) of books. Picking out one, or even just a few, is always difficult.

My first love, still and probably forever, is The Lord of the Rings. From my first read in 4th grade through my 20s, I probably read it more than two dozen times. Now that I can listen in my car again, I’m probably due for a re-listen.

There are plenty of other books that have claimed places in my heart, stories that have touched me and continue to do so. Like The Chronicles of Narnia. And Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, although not for the same reasons, of course. If someone is looking for a thoughtful mystery, I always recommend Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series. And there’s a huge soft spot in my heart for Sherlock Holmes. The list goes on.

What about you, what book do you love the most? Or what book do you love to recommend the most? Just think how big a TBR pile we can create together, if we all recommend our favorites!

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For more fantastic recommendations, and more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!