<i>Christmas Brides</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Christmas Brides: Exclusive Excerpt Alexandra Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch, Elizabeth Essex and Valerie Bowman "She rushed up to him and brushed a kiss against his mouth." <i>Gentlemen Prefer Curves</i>: Excerpt Gentlemen Prefer Curves: Excerpt Sugar Jamison "It was him. Carter Lancaster. Her first and only love." <i>Night Sky</i>: Excerpt Night Sky: Excerpt Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann "Oh God, I asked him, did I make you kiss me?" <i>Sweeter Than Sin</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Sweeter Than Sin: Exclusive Excerpt Shiloh Walker She can’t ignore the urgent heat between them
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Showing posts by: Rachel Hyland click to see Rachel Hyland's profile
Mon
Aug 19 2013 11:46am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: Let’s Put on a Show!

Grace and Cliff in Cedar CoveDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4. And now, onto her recap of episode 5, “For the Sake of the Children”:

Well, it had to happen sometime. Eventually, we had to be introduced to my least-favorite couple from the books, Rosie (Kendall Cross) and Zach (Lochlyn Monro). They come before Judge Olivia (Andie MacDowell) seeking a divorce, and it’s all a lot of he-said/she-said and so very painful to watch, as they rehash the minutia of their fractious suburban lives, assigning blame for their current state of impasse. Of course, there is realism in it, too – who among us wouldn’t prefer to remember ourselves as the calm, solicitous one, and paint our adversary as the unfeeling, irrational jackass? But when the breakdown of a marriage comes to us as a result of pizza delivery and missed soccer pickups, it’s hard to get too invested in either side’s struggles.

The case, which should have been so “cut-and-dried,” per Olivia, becomes complicated when Rosie decides to go after sole custody of their two kids, teen Allison (Matreya Fedor) and pre-tween Eddie (Sean Michael Keyer). Allison we met briefly last week, and it is clear that her parents’ breakup is having a profound effect on her. So much so that she skips school to hang out at the town library, which Librarian Grace (Teryl Rothery) allows, because she’s cool that way. And because, with Rosie currently duking it out in court over whether she or her husband is a worse parent, Grace is short one volunteer to help with Story Time.

[Gotta recruit 'em while they're young?...]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 4:30pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Who Framed Richard III?

Queen Anne in The White Queen episode 9****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 9****

Seriously, who would ever want to be a king? Or a queen? Or the mother, sibling, child or spouse of either? Horrible jobs, the lot of them, taking the worst parts of working with family and mixing them together with cutthroat Wall Street–style office politics and the constant threat of imminent imprisonment or beheading.

I honestly cannot think of anything worse.

You know, I think Lord Robert Stanley (Rupert Graves) has the right idea here. Oh, not in that anything he does is right at all—he’s a bad, bad, sneaky and duplicitous scoundrel who makes dead serial traitor Lord Warwick look like Pollyanna—but in that he is perfectly happy being the power behind the throne, raking in the titles and the riches and the accolades without aspiring to have his face on the money. Either of his two faces.

(Need to catch up? The White Queen originally aired in the UK and is now airing in the U.S. on Starz. Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, and episode 8.)

You may perhaps recall that Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) married Lord Stanley three episodes back, and since then they have been colluding together to bring about an end to the reign of York and usher in another Lancastrian era, with Maggie B’s son Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) on the throne. Still exiled in Brittany, Henry awaits only his mother’s machinations to set sail across the Channel and defeat the king-in-residence’s army, whether that army be loyal to Richard III (Anuerin Barnard) or the nephew he callously disinherited last time around, Edward V.

[May the forces be with you...]

Sun
Aug 11 2013 9:55pm

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: The Art of (Possible) Murder

Jack and Olivia in Cedar CoveDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2, and episode 3. And now, onto her recap of episode 4, “Suspicious Minds”:

Wow, it is all happening in Cedar Cove, WA, this week, with a dead guy and an art show sending the citizenry into a positive frenzy of excitement. There’s also some really mean treatment of Jack’s (Dylan Neal) poor lost son Eric (Tom Stevens), and now I don’t like Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Grace (Teryl Rothery) much anymore. In fact, I think they’re total bitches of the first order and I don’t even want either of them to settle down happily with the men they are promised from the books, because they don’t deserve it. Maybe this show will take a total True Blood-ian turn from the source material and, I don’t know, have Jack and Grace’s eventual love interest – whom I won’t spoil for you here – fall in love with Olivia’s mother Charlotte (Paula Shaw) and Grace’s daughter Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) respectively, while the women themselves end up savaged by vampires? At this point, I’m so cross with them that I’d almost rather see them dead than the random guy at the B&B. I mean, give the kid a break!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

[Let's rewind just a bit...]

Sun
Aug 11 2013 12:23am

Summer Lovin’: Summer TV Premieres, August 2013

Broadchurch~As hard as it may be to believe, considering Summer Premieres, May/June 2013Summer Premieres, June 2013 (Part 2)Summer Premieres, June 2013, (Part 3), and Summer Premieres, July 2013 (whew!), but there are still more first-run television shows premiering on US networks this summer, most of them this very weekend.

Here they are…

Broadchurch
BBCA
Series Premiere: Wednesday, August 7

Broadchurch is a small town on England’s Dorset coast. When an unthinkable crime is committed, the entire community is drawn into the mystery, and recent transplant from the big smoke, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant), must come to terms with his new life in a town where most everyone is a suspect.

Where’s the love? You know what? I’m not going to tell you. I don’t want to ruin the “surprise.”

Reason to tune in? This is one of the most captivating and addictive shows in recent memory – a series-long murder mystery along the lines of Twin Peaks (without the crazy) and The Killing (without the worst detective in the world). Cannot recommend this enough.

[What else is premiering this August?...]

Fri
Aug 9 2013 12:00pm

What Happens in...Angela Quarles’s Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, Nevada!

Beer and Groping in Las Vegas by Angela Quarles

We’re reading our way across America…one romance at a time.

Nevada: Beer and Groping in Las Vegas by Angela Quarles

I know there is more to Nevada than just Las Vegas. There’s Reno, and Great Basin National Park, and one side of the wonder that is Lake Tahoe. But when it comes to the sexy, there’s not much that beats out Sin City, and so when I happened upon the puntastic title of this e-book, how could I resist?

Especially when further investigation proved that its hero and heroine were genuine, bona fide geeks. Or at least, so claimed the blurb:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she accidentally makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It's granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they're surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Now, I am a fan of all of those things—well, maybe not so much Star Wars—and I am quite fond of romantic comedy as well, so without investigating any further I ponied up my $3.99 for the Kindle edition and dove right in.

[And what'd you think?...]

Mon
Aug 5 2013 11:47am

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: Trust is a Four-Letter Word

Richard and Anne in The White Queen episode 8***SPOILERS***

Dread. That is the overwhelming feeling that seizes me as this episode runs through its Previouslies... First, we are reminded that our Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) already had two sons prior to marrying King Edward IV (Max Irons)—oh yeah; where have they been?—and then we are bombarded with a flurry of disquieting recollection: doubts as to the legality of the royal marriage; the King’s favorite mistress, Jane Shore (Emily Berrington); the King’s brother Richard (Aneurin Barnard) looking sinister; the departure of the young heir to the throne for Wales, under the care of Elizabeth’s brother Anthony (Ben Lamb); and Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) scheming to rid the world of all Yorks in order that her Lancastrian son might become King.

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6, and episode 7. The series is currently airing in the UK; it premieres on Starz in the U.S. on August 10, at which time we'll repost the recaps weekly.)

Then: reading! For the first time in the series we get expository text that goes beyond a mere date and place, establishing for us that it is now 1483 (roughly a decade after the last episode’s events) and the realm is at peace. The young Prince Edward (Sonny Ashbourne Serkis) is still immured in Wales under the guardianship of his Uncle Anthony, along with his half-brother Richard (Dean Charles Chapman)—oh, there you are, one of Elizabeth’s other sons! The other aspiring heir to the throne, Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus), has grown into a man in exile, but has now been invited back to England by an Edward clearly weakening in his hirsute and rotund old age. Elizabeth looks barely a week older than when the series began, but Edward has here been given the full fat suit and glued-on beard treatment; throw on a red hat and he’s pretty much Santa at this point. (He’s not the only one for whom beard=old, by the by; Anthony and Jasper Tudor both get bushy growths to signify their advancing years, as well. It’s not attractive.)

[Where's all this headed? Nowhere good...]

Sun
Aug 4 2013 4:39pm

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Fathers and Sons (and Woodworking, for Some Reason)

Jack Griffith in Cedar CoveDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiere and episode 2. And now, onto her recap of episode 3, “Reunion”:

Oh, Cedar Cove! How is it possible that so much and yet so little happened in this episode? There was a new arrival and some actual – gasp! – kissing, as well as death, petty larceny and a mystery to be solved, but when the end credits rolled it felt like nothing of consequence had really transpired. Actually, that may be an accurate tagline for this whole series. Cedar Cove – Nothing of Consequence. Still, a mostly enjoyable nothing…

We kick things off at what seems to be the town’s one and only restaurant, where Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Jack (Dylan Neal) are holding hands and smiling at each other coyly – I also suspect some footsie under the table. They touch lightly on last week’s Big Though Easily Resolved Conflict: the fact that he, a reporter, reported negatively on her, a judge, and her judgment regarding the town’s historic lighthouse. “Let’s just hope it doesn’t cause problems in the future,” Olivia says somewhat foreshadowingly, with which Jack is in desperate agreement, declaring shop talk off limits and going on for a while about his new hobby. Quite how he expects them to carry on a relationship without being able to discuss their jobs, I don’t know, but let’s give him his woodworking monologue here, because a) it must have some importance to the future plot, what with its repeated, though largely pointless, mentions this ep, and b) there’s an unexpected Star Wars reference, when he calls his teacher a “woodworking Jedi master.” Nice one, Cedar Cove! And they say there’s nothing in here for the menfolk.

[They don't call it CEDAR Cove for nothing, eh?...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 2:03pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: Sex, Lies, and Drowning in Wine (But What a Way to Go)

Elizabeth and Edward in The White QueenDamn it, History, why must you be so upsetting? You know what it is? Everything has gone to hell since Lady Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) died last episode. Missing you already, awesome witchy mother of Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson)! Her life really sucks without you.

Now, the “Previously on...” here gives us Lizzie’s hopeful “Death to George” spell of lo, these many episodes ago, so – and I’m just taking a stab here – perhaps she is finally going to be rid of that pesky brother-in-law of hers this episode? Also, we flashback on Richard (Aneurin Barnard) and Anne (Faye Marsay) marrying for love, as well as see Lady Margaret (Amanda Hale) tie herself to Lord Stanley (Rupert Graves) entirely for convenience, vowing to make her fanatical Lancastrian self agreeable to the House of York. Oh, where will this all lead? Let us find out!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5, and episode 6. The series is currently airing in the UK; it premieres on Starz in the U.S. on August 10, at which time we'll repost the recaps.)

It’s 1473, and there is an orgy a’happening in the royal chamber. Edward fools around with two young court beauties (one is the bewitching Jane Shore [Emily Berrington], of last episode’s unfaithfulness) while a sulky George (David Oakes), an impassive Richard and a titillated Lord Stanley look on. Indeed, if there has been anything creepier in this show than the look on Lord Stanley’s face as he enjoys this live sex show it is... well, the look on George’s face as he watches this live sex show and strokes his dog at the same time. (That is not a euphemism; he actually brought along a dog!) Richard’s face is unfathomable, but likewise creepy. It’s just a very uncomfortable situation all around.

[Okay, yeah, AWKWARD...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 10:14am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Mayberry Is Revolting

Andie MacDowell as Olivia in Cedar Cove episode 2, ReunionHallmark's Cedar Cove, based on the sweet small-town romance series by Debbie Macomber and starring Andie MacDowell, debuted last week. Check out Rachel's recap of the 2-hours series premiere here. And now, onto her recap of episode 2, “A House Divided”:

Our second episode of Cedar Cove opens all pretty scenery and pretty Olivia (Andie MacDowell), and then hey there, important new character! Unlike most everyone in the last episode, you are given a name and a job description and a marital status all within the first few moments of us meeting you. So, your name: Grace. Your job: town librarian. And your marital status: divorced, and not at all happy about it. Also, you’re played by Teryl Rothery, the erstwhile Dr. Janet Fraiser of *Stargate SG-1, so we like you already.

Grace and Olivia clearly go way back; the former comforted the latter through her long-ago divorce, just as now the favor is returned. Indeed, Olivia comforts the hell out of Grace all over town this episode—oh, and hey there, another important new character! Except we’ll have to just call you Grace’s Daughter for the present, because AGAIN with the no names. (Damn you, show! ) We do have a couple character traist, though: constant tardiness and an aversion to kitchens being painted. Plus, there is the colt-like beauty of a nascent supermodel. The Cedar Cove gene pool is a particularly blessed one.

[It's a good ol' meet and greet...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 10:14am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Mayberry Is Revolting

Andie MacDowell as Olivia in Cedar Cove episode 2, ReunionHallmark's Cedar Cove, based on the sweet small-town romance series by Debbie Macomber and starring Andie MacDowell, debuted last week. Check out Rachel's recap of the 2-hours series premiere here. And now, onto her recap of episode 2, “A House Divided”:

Our second episode of Cedar Cove opens all pretty scenery and pretty Olivia (Andie MacDowell), and then hey there, important new character! Unlike most everyone in the last episode, you are given a name and a job description and a marital status all within the first few moments of us meeting you. So, your name: Grace. Your job: town librarian. And your marital status: divorced, and not at all happy about it. Also, you’re played by Teryl Rothery, the erstwhile Dr. Janet Fraiser of *Stargate SG-1, so we like you already.

Grace and Olivia clearly go way back; the former comforted the latter through her long-ago divorce, just as now the favor is returned. Indeed, Olivia comforts the hell out of Grace all over town this episode—oh, and hey there, another important new character! Except we’ll have to just call you Grace’s Daughter for the present, because AGAIN with the no names. (Damn you, show! ) We do have a couple character traist, though: constant tardiness and an aversion to kitchens being painted. Plus, there is the colt-like beauty of a nascent supermodel. The Cedar Cove gene pool is a particularly blessed one.

[It's a good ol' meet and greet...]

Wed
Jul 24 2013 4:30pm

Spreading the TV Love: Romance Novel Series as Television Series

Television series adapted from novels are plentiful indeed. But while the Crime, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Historical and Young Adult markets are always well represented – even if we only look at the shows airing this summer, we have Longmire, King and Maxwell, Rizzoli and Isles, Under the Dome, True Blood, The White Queen and Pretty Little Liars as examples – the percentage of them that are pure Romance has long held steady at a resounding zero.

Oh, there have been TV movies, of course: Danielle Steel’s books are a staple of the genre, and Barbara Cartland’s particular brand of historical hijinks have made their mark in the medium (we’ll always love you, Lord Vulcan!). A select few Harlequin Mills and Boon novels have made it to the small screen, and romance-based mini-series abound, with the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice perhaps the most glowing example—though certainly the fractious family sagas of Judith Krantz, Jackie Collins and Catherine Cookson, among others, have enlivened many a Sunday night. But when it comes to weekly television series, Urban Fantasy is close as we have come to seeing Romance on the regularly-scheduled air, with Blood Ties and the aforementioned True Blood the most prominent examples.

The strange thing is that romance novel series lend themselves beautifully to the television format, which makes it so peculiar that they have so far been left so unexploited. Not only do they have self-contained stories crying out to be season-arcs, but they also have an enormous built-in audience: the romance novel industry is worth over US$1 billion annually, which is a lot of highly desirable female viewers waiting to be tapped into by a clever network. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Hallmark may well be that network, with their July 20 premiere of Cedar Cove, based on Debbie Macomber’s popular books. And up in Canada, an adaptation of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series is currently under way, which if nothing else will make for a fun game of “Hey, I know that guy from The X-Files/Stargate/Supernatural/Lost Girl/Degrassi Junior High!” (And boy does that kid they have playing live-action Clay have some big shoes to fill.)

Here, some more favorite romance series that could so easily make their way to our small screens...

[Go ahead, picture it...]

Mon
Jul 22 2013 4:06pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 6: Kill All the Mothers

King Edward and Queen Elizabeth in The White Queen(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3, episode 4, and episode 5.)

As last week’s installment of The White Queen concluded, our Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) watched in shock and horror as her husband, King Edward IV (Max Irons), along with his royal brothers George (David Oakes) and Richard (Aneurin Barnard), smothered the old, ailing and utterly deposed King Henry VI in his sleep. This episode opens with no mention of this heinous, if perhaps sensible, act, and instead we see Elizabeth beset by several other trials to her grace and temper.

For example, the reappearance of Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) at Court has the Queen still full to the brim of vengeful spirit. Despite the death of their treacherous father, Lord Warwick (James Frain)—oh, how we shan’t miss his snide chicanery—Elizabeth still hates unto the next generation, and longs to forestall Anne’s happy reunion with her sister, Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson), wishing them only misery. Had she known that Anne was going to find no kind welcome in the calculating Izzy’s company, nor enjoy her treatment under the iron-fisted tyranny of her new guardian, Izzy’s petty husband George, then perhaps she would have been better disposed to this development—none of which shows Lizzie in any kind of charitable light. Surely she, of all people, would know how Warwick utterly manipulated his daughters, and that they had no power over him, nor their own marriages? Izzy no more wanted a loveless marriage to George than did Anne want to wed the now-deceased, super-creepy Edward of Lancaster. Give them a break, Lizzie! We can’t all marry the men of our dreams.

[Unless you live in a romance novel, anyway...]

Mon
Jul 22 2013 11:44am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: Playing the “What’s Your Name?” Game

Andie MacDowell in Debbie Macomber's Cedar CoveHallmark's brand-new series, Cedar Cove, premiered on Saturday night on the Hallmark Channel. Here to recap every lovely moment of it is Rachel Hyland. Let us know what you think! And check back next week for a recap of episode 2.

Welcome to Cedar Cove, Washington! The windswept, Technicolor jewel by the sea where everybody knows your name. (Except the viewers, who oddly don’t learn some of them for an unconscionably long time.) In this 2-hour premiere, Debbie Macomber’s book 16 Lighthouse Road is brought to semi-life, as Judge Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell) denies a divorce decree, meets a new man, gets offered a promotion and—surprising no one—turns it down in order to remain in her picture postcard-perfect hometown.

Now, not all of this actually happens in this book, and there is a lot missing that may or may not appear in later installments. But here’s the thing: I am going to try not to care. True, I am rather a passionate advocate of Macomber’s largely passionless tales, but I have steadily come to realize, as yet more and more live-action adaptations are made of my favorite written works, that there is nothing more tiresome than constant annoyance at the discrepancies that inevitably arise. Especially in something like this, where the exact order in which events take place really doesn’t matter too much. As long as the general tone of the novels is upheld (and so far, it has been), then I will forebear from too much “But that wasn’t in the book!” griping, and take the show for the slightly Alternate Universe version it is.

So.

The abovementioned divorce is being sought by the young Rendalls (first names as yet unknown), the one an earnest Naval officer (Jesse Moss), the other a willowy, woebegone waitress (Katherine Isabelle), mourning the loss of their infant daughter. Something in their story gives Olivia pause, and she decides to delay granting their divorce for 90 days, despite the fact that Mr. Rendall is about to set sail for six months on his next assignment.

[Did you watch? What did you think?...]

Sat
Jul 20 2013 10:00am

Perfect Unions: Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Obsidian in West Virginia

Obsidian by Jennifer L. ArmentroutWe’re reading our way across America…one romance at a time.

West Virginia: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux, Book 1)

All I know about West Virginia—thirty-fifth state to join the Union – has been gleaned from that John Denver song (it apparently has country roads) and Chris in the Morning (John Corbett) from Northern Exposure (it is home to handsome and well-read jailhouse philosophers). Oh, and it’s where Kate Bosworth was working at a supermarket rejoicing in the bizarre name of “The Piggly Wiggly” when she won that date with Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), and it is also the setting of The Deer Hunter and several particularly harrowing episodes of The X-Files. So, basically, West Virginia doesn’t have the most glowing of reputations, pop culture-wise.

Something Obsidian, I’m afraid, is unlikely to change.

I was actually more than a little excited when I first came upon this book. (West Virginia-set romance novels are not particularly prevalent, by the by. Take it from me.) It’s a YA paranormal romance, which is so very my thing, but more than that, it’s a YA paranormal romance with aliens, and aliens are even more so.

[But we're guessing no tiny green men appear...?]

Fri
Jul 19 2013 3:15pm

The Sweetest Town in America: Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Series

16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie MacomberDebbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series has enthralled readers for years. Now the series is coming to the Hallmark Channel with the TV show Cedar Cove, starring Andie MacDowell and starts Saturday, July 20 (keep an eye on the site for Heroes and Heartbreakers recaps of Cedar Cove's first season!). See why Rachel Hyland loves the series by Debbie Macomber...

I don't like sex.

No, wait. Let me clarify. I don't like sex in romance novels. It's always been this way with me, for as long as I can remember. Just to be clear: I am not a prude. Nor am I a hundred years old, or with objections based on philosophical or religious grounds. I just...don’t like it. I’ll put up with it, if need be, to get to what is otherwise a really good story, but frankly, I prefer a closed bedroom door policy in my reading, like in old Hollywood movies. I mean, I obviously love to read Romance (and its often close cousins, the various kinds of Fantasy)—else what, exactly, am I doing here at H&H? But I'm in it for the intriguing characters, the clever dialogue, the frequently exotic settings and the occasional mystery surrounding our often fraught and fractious couple as much as I’m in it for their eventual connubial bliss. Hell, I could read about a hero’s secret longing for his secretary/childhood friend/neighbor/business rival all day long, and I am equally interested in our heroine’s reluctant adoration of the man she just last week detested above any other. But when it comes to the bulging of manhoods, the caressing of silken thighs and any form of lovingly (lustingly?) detailed dominance and/or submission, with or without a ballgag...yeah, I pretty much just skim those parts. In fact, with only vanishingly rare exceptions, I usually just skip straight to the afterglow.

[Afterglow isn't a bad place...]

Mon
Jul 15 2013 12:32pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: In the War of the Roses, Some Actual War

Elizabeth in The White Queen(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3, and episode 4.)

It’s sometimes funny to think how much of History hinges on infants. These newborns don’t yet know how to open their eyes, and yet they control the destinies of the great and the good, the ambitious and affluent, just as surely as if they were Warwick, or Walsingham, or any other legendary courtly puppetmaster. Did you manage to inherit a Y chromosome, infant? You did? Excellent, the succession is assured! God Save the King!

So with deposed-Queen Elizabeth’s (Rebecca Ferguson) latest kid having been a boy – his name is Edward, you know, because there just weren’t enough of those in this story already – deposed-King Edward IV (Max Irons) is able to rally his Yorkist supporters against the turncoat Lord Warwick (James Frain) and the restored Lancastrian Queen, Margaret of Anjou (Veerle Baetens). Margaret of Beaumont (Amanda Hale) is especially saddened by the birth of Elizabeth’s son, convinced as she is that her son shall rule, causing a minor crisis of confidence: “If it’s God’s will for Henry to be King,” she asks her beloved Jasper (Tom McKay), with a flash of uncertainty, “why does he put another obstacle in the way?” An excellent question, Maggie B! And one that I venture to answer thusly: “Duh.”

[Succession is such tricky business...]

Mon
Jul 8 2013 2:00pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: The Good Pawn, The Bad Queen, and the Mad King

Elizabeth and Edward in The White Queen(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2, and episode 3.)

Well, we’ve now made it through to the Year of Our Lord 1470 (though, to be sure, no one looks any older than they did back in 1463; what I wouldn’t give for Middle Ages air quality!), and boy, stuff is a’happening right and left. The overriding theme of this episode is Being a Kid is Not Awesome, and no, it really isn’t. From Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Anne (Faye Marsay) suffering at their father’s ambitious hands, to young Henry Tudor (Oscar Kennedy) being put in the care of a stranger, to “Oh yeah, Elizabeth had those sons from her first marriage, didn’t she?” going off to war with their stepfather, the King, because there was no such thing as Xbox Live, there is a whole lot of duty and sacrifice and obedience that makes me pretty glad I never really had to deal with any of those things. The kids of this era are an odd mix of too old and too young for their ages – the girls are expected to conceive at puberty and the boys to fight battles before they can shave, and yet they have no say in whom they marry (or fight) and are treated as chattel by parents, king and country until, as far as I can tell, everyone older than them that is related to them dies.

Good thing this is the War of the Roses then, isn’t? These kids’ll be Emancipated Minors before you know it! 

[It's all just a matter of time...]

Wed
Jul 3 2013 12:00pm

Summer Lovin’: Summer TV Premieres, July 2013

The BridgeYou may have thought that surely, surely the first run TV well had run entirely dry for this summer, considering the many, many premieres previously detailed in Summer Lovin’: Summer TV Premieres, May/June 2013, Part 1, Summer Lovin’: Summer TV Premieres, June 2013, Part 2 and Summer Lovin’: Summer TV Premieres, June 2013, Part 3. But, er, no. Not at all.

To wit:

Siberia
Series Premiere: Monday, July 1
NBC

I think the official NBC description says it all, really: “Sixteen reality-show contestants arrive in a Siberian forest and quickly discover the adventure is not what they signed up for.” Oh, and the show’s tagline? “What happens when a reality show goes horribly wrong.” (So, it’s The Bachelor?)

Where’s the love? Given the multi-racial, multinational cast of multitudinous beauty and camera-ready charisma... somewhere, no doubt.

Reason to tune in? Haven’t we all secretly wished that those reality show contestants’ lives were in actual peril? Come on, I know it’s not just me.[

[Check out what other TV shows are premiering in July...]

Mon
Jul 1 2013 1:15pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me (Where “Me” = “King Edward”)

Elizabeth in The White Queen episode 3

Note: The White Queen is currently airing in the UK and will air weekly on Starz beginning August 10 in the U.S. We will re-run the recaps then, but until then, American readers, beware of SPOILERS.

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1 and episode 2.)

And now, on to the recap of The White Queen episode 3:

People in History are a bunch of jerks. Idiots and scoundrels and just plain jerks. They kill at the drop of a crown; they are snide and supercilious and selfish; they do evil in the name of good—the name of God. So basically, they’re people, except the ones we know most about from way back when had titles and ruled Kingdoms (or at least attempted to rule Kingdoms) and so it is their particular brand of jerkity that we know best—and by which we, perhaps unfairly, judge all of their contemporaries. And yet I am sure there were as many altruistic humanitarians back then, per capita, as there are now, especially when you consider that the threshold for such was way lower: if you simply didn’t try to usurp a throne or plot to kill a small child, you were probably in line for a Nobel Peace Prize, had such a thing yet existed, which it didn’t, perhaps kind of disproving my point.

Moving on.

We kick off this episode not long after the harrowing events of the last, namely with King Edward IV (Max Irons) held captive by his cousin, the Earl of Warwick (James Frain), who is attempting to wrest the throne from his not at all cold and dead, but rather warm and alive, thank you very much, hands. Quite why his hands are not cold and dead is something of a mystery—surely a suitably innocuous reason could be given for his sudden and tragic demise, and it’s rather surprising that Lady Warwick (Juliet Aubrey) didn’t go all Lady Macbeth on him, so convinced is she of her husband’s rectitude. But then again, we must recall that this tale is what we can charitably call Historical Fiction, and that maybe Lady Warwick was a perfectly nice woman, actually, so Edward’s continuing existence ceases to be a puzzle. He’s all arrogant and grandiose, insisting Warwick call him “Your Grace” (mental note: look up when British monarchs went from being addressed as “Your Grace” to “Your Majesty”) and chuckling patronisingly over the plan to convince the Parliament that his sulky younger brother George should be King. (Result of above mental note: it’s a bit complicated, but basically, Henry VIII—four Henries from now!)

[Bring on more of The White Queen!...]

Mon
Jun 24 2013 4:24pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: The Brothers’ War, and Kids Getting Married

Elizabeth in The White QueenEarlier today we presented you with a recap of the first episode of The White Queen, a new historical show based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, and now we're following that up with a recap of episode 2, which debuted last night on BBC One. Please let us know what you think of both! 

Note: The White Queen is currently airing in the UK and will air weekly on Starz beginning August 10 in the U.S. We will re-run the recaps then, but until then, American readers, beware of SPOILERS.

And now, on to the recap of The White Queen episode 2:

Remember Lord Warwick (James Frain)? He of the saturnine face and uppity manner, the one everyone called “The Kingmaker” because it was he who set our good friend, his young cousin Edward IV (Max Irons), on the throne? Well, as we saw in Episode 1, he is none too pleased with his young puppet’s recent trend towards independent thought, especially as the new queen, Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) has a large family—both immediate and extended—who have come to Court to take some of his influence for their own.

Danger, King Edward IV! Danger! (Not that you’ll take notice, in a terrifyingly Ned Stark kind of way. And we all know how that turned out...)

Anyway.

[Watch your back, Edward...]