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Showing posts by: Aliza Mann click to see Aliza Mann's profile
Aug 19 2013 4:14pm

True Blood Season 6, Episode 10 Recap: All is Revealed?

Sookie and Warlow in True Blood Season 6 episode 10, RadioactiveIf you watched last night’s Season 6 finale of True Blood, you know the episode began with a fitting end for one character.

Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x01, 6x02, 6x03, 6x04, 6x05, ;6x06, 6x07, 6x08, and 6x09. Read on for the recap of Season 6's episode 10, “Radioactive.”

At Terry Bellefleur's funeral, Alcide took a seat beside Sookie after Jason failed to arrive, and then went on a walk with her. After an intense conversation about the pros and cons of telepathy (brought on by Sookie’s impromptu coming out to the town), Alcide makes it clear that he would love to be a telepath so that he could know what’s rattling around in Sookie’s mind. It was a nice refresher after Alcide spent an entire season—or at least the better part of one—with his head up his derriere. Funny – the better he acts, the better he looks.

During their walk (which is what looks suspiciously like a pre-hookup conversation), the pair happen upon the Compton estate, where the newly freed vamps are partying and canoodling, still hopped up on Billith blood. Sookie insists that she head over to see what’s up and why everyone is partially clothed. Alcide wants her to stay or at least take him along for protection.

True to this season’s new, stronger Sookie 2.0, she reminds him that she can take care of herself, before heading off into the sun-worshipping vampire fray.

[You tell him, Sookie...]

Aug 5 2013 9:59am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 8 Recap: Scratch ’n’ Sniff

Sarah Newlin in True Blood****SPOILERS****

We opened where we ended last week—with a distraught Eric crying over a pool of sister Nora (how many hands for destroyed Eric who, while sobbing, broke my heart and made me want to hug him?) in Bill’s home.

Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x01, 6x02, 6x03, 6x04, 6x05, 6x06, and 6x07. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x08, “Dead Meat”:

In true alpha-male fashion, Eric erupts the second Bill brings up their “job” of saving the rest of the vampire race. Honestly, he probably should have waited until Eric washed his sister's remains from his body. As you’ll find, this was the episode of the f-this/f-you/f-the world, with Eric responding to Bill— “Fuck off!” As Bill explains the whereabouts of Warlow’s whereabouts, Eric lashes out, telling Bill he doesn’t want to pick a fight with his precious Sookie and basically that his God complex is a pile of crap. To which Bill responds by insulting Godric (big no-no), floating Eric all over the room, slamming him to the floor and rescinding his invitation to his home. I guess it doesn’t work in the same way as a human rescinding, because Eric had time for a snappy comeback (Bill: Leave my house. Eric: I’m already gone.) before his hasty departure. Watch this scene again and again for bereft Eric preparing to take on the world. It’s a whole ball of fun.

[Go ahead and watch it again. We'll wait...]

Jul 8 2013 9:00am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: A Whole Lotta Wha...?

Guys, there's this thing....****SPOILERS****

Missed an episode? Catch up with last week's recap of True Blood episode 6x01, 6x02, and 6x03. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x04, “At Last”:

Talk about opening with a bang! Picking up where we left off last week, Jason is passed out on the floor. Thankfully, Ben (I don’t quite trust him yet…) is there to help Sookie get him to the couch. As Sookie runs to the kitchen to call 911 for medical assistance, low and behold – Ben’s fangs snap out and he bites down into his arm to give Jason a dose of vampire blood. (Yes, y’all - He’s a vampire and he can walk in the sun.) I’m going to watch later to see if I can find out whatever happened to that ambulance.

Picking up on the chase occurring in the woods, Niall catches up with Nora. After she explains that Warlow is the only person that can kill Billith since he’s her progeny, she catches a whiff of faerie blood and gets that glazed look in her eyes. Neill zaps her ass into next week—actually into the path of a waiting LAVTF gang. They zap her one more time.

[You can never be too sure about these things...]

Mar 11 2013 1:30pm

Wild Cherry, Please: How Christian, Gideon, and Tony De-vanillafy Their Heroines

Vanilla on Top by C.J. EllissonI can still remember the day I heard that men, in the old days—I mean, really old days, would bite the ear lobe of their lovers whilst de-flowering them. Sounds...barbaric.

But, if you think about it, men often do things that take us out of our normal, or push us into a different mindset. Like when he said he likes short dresses, so you go out and buy ten new mini dresses. At times, it’s not even what he said, it’s more what he made you feel while doing a thing, and the slightest insinuation can make you want to try something new. I don’t mean in a bad way, like encouraging a mate to do something dangerous, but in a way that is adventurous and outside of the traditional manner of doing things.

Since art imitates life, it’s no wonder that as readers we find outselves drawn to heroes that push the envelope on their heroines' ‘normal’, and thereby awaken something inside of these women that makes them feel more desirable, more confident, more open to new experiences. And if we put this in terms of, say, ice cream, these heroines go from vanilla to rocky road or wild cherry.

The book at the very top of my list of case-in-points would have to be the first novel I read in 2013 that made me pull an all-nighter: Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson. In the book, nice girl Heather is encouraged by her friends to attend a speed-dating event, where she meets Tony. He’s hot, of course, and she is kind of hot, but she's not awakened just yet. Kind of like a lot of us, right?

[And that's where Tony comes in...]

Jan 3 2013 12:00pm

Bridget Jones’s Twitter Feed: Chick Lit for the 21st Century

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingEons ago (okay, 2001 or so), there were books that summed up the plight of women who weren't married by age thirty. “Singletons,”’ we were called, and women everywhere united in our common cause—to take control of our sinking ships, become independent and learn to embrace the women that we had become. It was liberating. It was the dawn of modern day chick lit.

Of course, you know the stories—Bridget Jones's Diary, Good in Bed, Baby Proof, and on and on. And with each of these heroines, we cried, yelled, and identified right alongside them as we flipped each engaging page.

As with most movements, eventually we grew tired of these women. I don’t know if it was the readers or the publishing houses, but chick lit and its maturer counterpart, women’s fiction, somehow fell from grace. Yes, their stories were vibrant and interesting, but most women (and publishers) eventually yearned for something new.

Women became interested in the somewhat evolved heroine; we wanted heroines who were already self-aware and damned proud of it from page one. Enter Anita Blake, Katniss, Stephanie Plum. Yeah, they had issues that ranged from post-apocalyptic starvation to vampire hunting woes, to the lack of a car payment forcing you to become a bounty hunter for your sleazy cousin.
We’ve started and ended at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

[As is our prerogative...]

Oct 6 2012 2:00pm

Reducing the Naughty Bits: New Adult Bridges the Gap Between YA and Adult

Wasteland by Lynn RushThere’s something that's worse than Chinese water torture in my mind. And that is the day that my sweet little girl—the one who used to play in my high heels and whose hair I styled in a thousand different styles of ponytail—picked up my copy of A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day, or flipped through my Kindle and said, “Wow, Mom. Fifty Shades of Grey? I heard this was an awesome book!”

As you may have guessed, she’s no longer allowing me to put ponytails in her hair. Nor is she reading Harry Potter or Twilight. True, she’s not yet ready for, ahem, my collection, but I can’t exactly pawn her with a set of The Vampires Assistant novels from Darren Shan and expect them to hold her interest.

But now there's a new, upcoming genre: New Adult. One that will keep her interested and will also keep me from freaking out at what she's reading.

[New Adult, you say?...]

Aug 16 2012 9:30am

Ordinary Heroines are Special Too: Romance Heroines from Harris, Bell, and Moning

Sookie in True BloodOne of the most common types in romances as of late is the extraordinary heroine. Heck, maybe it’s always been that way, but heroines are either exceptionally smart, incredibly rich, overwhelmingly beautiful or all of the above. In paranormal romance, the trend is usually that she is ten times more fabulous. And there’s really nothing wrong with that, except that it can give the reader the notion that being a woman, with our weight issues, job woes, relationship struggles and what-have-you isn’t quite good enough.

While there are women in the real world that are close to perfect, I think there is something to be said of the rest of us who make up the ninety-nine percent of normalcy. Ordinary women, the women that we meet, hang out with and that are fabulous in their own right, in all their real-world glory, deserve love and to be loved by someone.

[Let’s put the ordinary back in “extraordinary”...]

Jul 18 2012 2:30pm

Genre Experiment: H&H Blogger Aliza Mann on Suzanne Brockmann’s The Unsung Hero

The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

H&H’s bloggers are all avid readers, of course, and each has their favorite genre.

So, of course, we challenged them to read outside of their favorite genre—to read a book, in fact, in a genre they never read in. And we asked another H&H blogger who does read in that genre to choose the best book for the neophyte to read.

We’ll be posting the results of the Genre Experiment as each blogger finishes—or does not finish (DNFs)—their book. Today, Aliza Mann reads the first book in Suzanne Brockmann’s romantic suspense Troubleshooters series, The Unsung Hero, as recommended by several fans on Twitter.

The Heroes and Heartbreakers team recently threw out a challenge, one that I wholeheartedly accepted. If you have ever had the opportunity to read any of my posts here at H&H, you may notice a definite preoccupation with vampires. I generally lean towards paranormal, but on the off chance I read something outside of that subgenre, the story usually has strong erotic elements. I am not a fan of sweet romances or anything too light. If we had to put it in terms of music, I prefer Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift. Yes, yes, I am a little monster.

So the genre selected for me was Romantic Suspense, specifically Suzanne Brockman’s The Unsung Hero. The book offered a few things that made me want to keep reading until the end: One of the secondary characters, Mallory Paoletti was an absolute firecracker. She was a rebel, misunderstood and a person to whom I could relate—she did not have it all together, had no idea of what direction to take in her life and was not a size four, or whatever the average size for a heroine goes for these days (I do realize that I just referred to her as the heroine, even though she was a secondary character, but she was a heroine in my eyes).

[Good enough for us...]

Jul 9 2012 12:30pm

Maya Banks Returns to the KGI World in Echoes at Dawn

Echoes at Dawn by Maya BanksI like to look at the makings of a good romance novel in the same manner as that of a truly great cake.  As a woman with roots in the South, I know how difficult it is to find the perfect balance between precision measurements and perfect timing and finding yourself with, after an hour and a half, a perfect mess. If the recipe calls for a pinch of salt, two cups of sugar and a cup of flour, it is best if you follow those precise measurements. 

It is exactly the same for romance novels. Writers love to say that the story tells them what POV to use, the personality of the characters and the location.  I prefer to believe that a little skill, in addition to the writer’s own intuition, is required to come up with a good mix of characters and the sweet accents that voice, setting and overall tone bring to the story. 

Echoes at Dawn by Maya Banks is perfectly blended, and returns to the suspenseful KGI world she last explored in Whispers in the Dark. She brings fabulous main characters, Rio and Grace, together with a supporting cast that is as rich as a triple-layer German Chocolate cake. 

[A zero-calorie triple-layer cake, at that! YUM...]

Feb 28 2012 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Lora Leigh’s Deadly Sins (Feb. 28, 2012)

Deadly Sins by Lora LeighLora Leigh
Deadly Sins
St. Martin’s Press/Feb. 28, 2012/$7.99 paperback, $7.99 digital

Logan Callahan has fought hard to forget what happened that fateful day, so long ago. But every night he tries to sleep, he relives the nightmare. Every time he closes his eyes, he sees the woman whose life he could not save…

A newcomer in town, Sky O’Brien is a mystery to Logan. Like him, she is a night owl. Like him, she is fighting her own demons. Like him, she hides a secret in her eyes—a fire that consumes him with every glance. Could she be the one to heal him?

When Logan’s ex-girlfriend is brutally murdered, his past implicates him as suspect—and his new neighbor Sky may be the only person he can turn to. Together, they share an attraction that can’t be denied. But as he searches for the real killer, he discovers that Sky is tracking down a murderer too—and she intends to use him to do it…

As romance readers, you know that it’s one thing to tell a story, but quite another to become completely immersed in the plot, so much so that you feel as though you are living the action alongside the hero and heroine.

What makes us feel that way?

It’s the syntax, baby! Syntax is, in a nutshell, the manner in which an author organizes the sentence patterns to transport you into the minds and souls of the characters.

[Who knew linguistics could be so sexy?...]

Feb 8 2012 11:15am

Ex-SEALs in Love: Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops Series

Live Wire by Lora LeighFollowing yesterday’s coverage of Lora Leigh’s SEALs series by PFC Dolly Sickles, we’ve got more hot Leigh heroes to share with you today.

I’m not really sure when I personally developed the affinity for uniformed men, but I think the first time I noticed it, I was looking back over my dating life with some girlfriends and a bottle of wine. In my stupor, I realized that I had dated in consecutive order, a sheriff, a policeman, a fire fighter (whoa, he was the hottest by far), and finally a postal worker. With the demise of those relationships, I resolved that perhaps the best uniformed men for me could be found in the pages of a book.

While I didn’t exactly end up with the Marine of my dreams, I have managed to identify some supplemental versions (not Marines, and completely de-uniformed) in the smoking hot team members of Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops series. iSwoon as iType. These guys are fan-freaking-tastic and have spent more than a few nights with me.

The series centers on a team of operatives (Elites at that) who have no identity and have signed off on the lives that they formerly knew for the sake of their team. This team of previous Navy SEALs under the command of Captain Jordan Malone are hardcore Alpha males. 

[Get to know Noah, Micah, and John...]

Aug 6 2011 11:00am

The Deliciousness of Dallas is Returning to Television!

Dallas Cast 2012Fans of ’80s nighttime soaps remember having to wait through a whole summer in 1980, and an actors’ strike, to find out who shot J.R. Ewing. There were t-shirts, magazine article speculation, bets taken, and even suspension of the Turkish parliament (really!) so the members could get home in time to watch.

It turned out to be Sue Ellen, one of my fave characters of all. And now Dallas will return to television next year, courtesy of TNT—we’re gonna get to see what’s happening with the Ewing gang at Southfork Ranch now! I know, right! I’m as pleased as punch. I threw myself at the mercy of the Supreme H&H in order to bring you the dish on this epic show. I can hardly contain myself.

Dallas ran a total of 13 seasons after its initial airing as a five-part miniseries.  Even though I was young when it aired, I was still hooked—I’d sit in the corner, really quiet and pray that my mother wouldn’t send me to bed. It was the one night out of the week that my parents relaxed the reins and allowed us the opportunity to experience real life, and not the wholesome, watered down happenings of the neighbors and my mom and dad’s boring, old relationship.

So what kept me glued to the TV every week?

[Let’s take a trip down memory lane...]

Jul 31 2011 6:00pm

The Women of True Blood: Tara vs. Arlene

Tara and Arlene in True BloodWe’ve often focused on the men of True Blood, and for good reason—an inability to wear shirts, serious sexual charisma, and many, many abs. But what about the ladies? So we thought we’d represent them as well, and do a H & H Throwdown on which True Blood woman you like the best. First we had vampire Pam pitted against faery Sookie. Now we’ve got Merlotte’s waitresses Tara and Arlene in the ring. Let us know in comments which is your favorite, and that winner will go against the winner of the next round. 

[May the best woman win...]

Jul 23 2011 2:00pm

The Men of True Blood: Bill vs. Eric

Two go in, only one will leaveEarlier this year, we did a throwdown between the Brothers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. So we thought it might be fun to have a similar contest between our favorite hotties from True Blood. First up, we’ve got the Sookie’s suitors: Bill and Eric. Which will you choose?

Let us know in comments, and we’ll announce the winner who’ll be matched against the winner of the next round.

[Round 1: Eric the Viking Vampire vs Bill “Deep South” Compton]

Jun 25 2011 3:00pm

Game of Thrones Season 2: Anticipating What’s Next

Joffrey Baratheon in Game of ThronesLike arch-enemies the Lannisters and Starks, Aliza and I—A.J.—fought to the bitter end for the right to pen this post, but alas, it was a tie, the result of which is that both of us will be offering our perspectives—as avid viewers who haven’t read the books—on what happened during Game of Thrones Season 1, and what might happen in Game of Thrones Season 2.

A.J.: I’m a die-hard Game of Thrones fan, so much so that I’ve bought all of the books—and for one who loathes surprises, and ALWAYS reads spoilers —have not yet read them. I want to wait, yes, the queen of spoilers thrives on the anticipation of what is to come. Very rare indeed!

[But speculation is fair game!...]

Jun 13 2011 11:48am

True Blood Season Four: A Bloody Mess?

True Blood Season 4Some of us have been concerned, to say the least, about Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series. There have been times when some of us have threatened, and carried out our threats, never to return to Bon Temps. I may be having one of those moments. But I’m not referring to the books; I am talking about those first six minutes from the HBO Season 4 of True Blood


First, the alternate universe that we see Sookie in at onset bothers me. I don’t like that glowing fruit, the fakey background, or the fact that the fae are laden with so much fabric. After the startling array of set design talent that we’ve seen on Game of Thrones, it’s ridiculous that we are subjected to sets that are comparable to Bewitched and Leave It to Beaver. After a full year of waiting, we get the set of Xena: Warrior Princess?

[What else is in store?...]

May 25 2011 9:30am

Anticipating True Blood (Waiting Sucks!)

True Blood Season 4Right around this time of year—for the past three seasons anyway—my blood starts to course rapidly through my veins. Fear of withdrawal symptoms impel me to watch HBO OnDemand (along with 12.7 million other viewers), for hours and hours. I read my old Stackhouse series books—including Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris's most recent—to try my darnedest to figure out what will happen in the new season.

Yes. I’m waiting on HBO’s True Blood series to begin again.

This is a vampire series, but trust me when I tell you that it ain’t just about my bloodsucking friends Bill Compton and Eric Northman. As the season ended last year, Sookie had just broken up with her yummy vampire suitor, Bill. Considering she’s only just found out she’s a faerie, all sorts of doors are bound to open up for her. We’re wondering exactly whose supernatural arms she’ll end up in for Season 4.

[Let the fun begin!...]

May 11 2011 4:35pm

Charlaine Harris’s Dead Reckoning was a Satisfying Read for This Sookie Fan

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine HarrisI looked forward to May 3, 2011, for a long, long time.

That's the day the latest in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series was slated for release. (It doesn't hurt that True Blood is also one of my favorite shows—that series returns June 26). Dead Reckoning is the eleventh book in what is now titled the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series.

Even after all this time, people simply adore Sookie. I have to admit, she is a bit of a bumpkin and has some issues with decision-making, but she’s a nice girl, and a great protagonist, with ills and woes that rival most romance heroines.

So when I found the release date, I pre-ordered the book, but I was still in the middle of another book when May 3rd rolled around.

Talk about conflicted; I’d heard from the early reviews that this book  wasn’t as captivating as the others. Some people have even sworn off the entire Sookie Stackhouse series! But I wasn't conflicted when I saw it populated in my Kindle—I came close to doing a cartwheel.

This was the fix I needed to quench my bloodlust while waiting for the return of True Blood. Even though I only had two chapters to go in my other novel, I opted to forgo them to start Dead Reckoning.

[Spoilers! Bloody spoilers!...]

Mar 28 2011 9:00am

Romance To The Rescue: The Thomas Crown Love Affair

The Thomas Crown AffairIn 2003, my divorce became final. I was happy to be away from my personal tyrant, but having suffered a great blow to my crystalline image of love, relationships, and marriage, I found it difficult to imagine finding a new guy. I don’t even think I wanted to find a new guy.

A year later, I’d rejected several different suitors. I was afraid and guarded and was about to turn my back on the greatest love affair of my time because I was scared.

It sounds super-melodramatic. And it was; I was enrolled in a Grad Business program and a particularly charismatic classmate asked me out. I was interested too, of course, but I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge into a relationship. Sure, I’d dated, but none of the guys had ever made it home, to meet the kids, to meet my parents. Most of them didn’t make it past the first date.

But I agreed.

[How did it go?! . . .]

Mar 19 2011 11:00am

Tinkerbell Need Not Apply: Faerie in Paranormal Romance

Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse in True BloodWhen someone says “faerie,” 'fess up: Do you think of Tinker Bell? A tiny little blonde who hangs around with a tribe of cute and helpful, frolicking pixies?

Those are not the particular brand of fae I want to discuss. So put all that sweetness and light out of your mind, and head with me to the darker side of faeries.

Perhaps the most well-known and recent occurrence of faerie is in Season 3 of True Blood, where we discovered that Sookie is part-fae, and then some other fae strolled into Bon Temps, Louisiana, and tried to destroy the town and its inhabitants.

[No sweetness and light here . . .]