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Sep 12 2014 1:45pm

Drink Up! Boardwalk Empire and Jamie Brenner’s Gin Lovers

Boardwalk Empire

**Note: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Jamie Brenner's Gin Lovers, proceed with caution!**

It is the fifth and final season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. The glitz and the glam, the booze and bullets will be no more. Six years have passed since the shocking end to season four, but the blood and booze are still pouring, Nucky style.

It’s 1931, and the Great Depression is in full swing, beloved characters are dead (Who can forget Richard Harrow dying? My all time favorite character on BE and maybe all of television. His literal two faces; light and dark, deadly and loving… Le sigh). The remaining characters  are trying to reinvent themselves in the aftermath of the Stock Market Crash. Enoch “Nucky” Thompson is especially in a pinch. No more of that money flowing as free as the whiskey. Times are tough and Prohibition is an even tougher game, and more deadly.

[Ruh-roh, that doesn't sound good...]

Jan 21 2014 3:18pm

Sleepy Hollow 1x13 Thoughts: “Admit It, You Appreciate Me a Little”

Ichabod and Abbie in Sleepy Hollow 1x13

Note: This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night’s season finale, 1x13, “Bad Blood.” Enjoy!

“Good day. This is Captain Ichabod Crane, Esq. If you’d be so kind to please leave your name, rank, and an address where I may reach you, and I will return this correspondence in a timely manner…Now what do I press? Pound? What’s pound?”

Ichabod is none too happy with his antiquated cell phone. I mean, it still flips up! Abbie gives him that 'Oh Ichy' smile and offers to lend him hers for the weekend if he can figure out how to use it. I am going to miss these openings, where Ichabod gets in a kerfuffle about the modern era. He and Abbie banter like two kindergarteners about to pull each other’s hair. Sigh.

Said flirtatious banter is halted when they are reminded that Ichabod is supposedly destined to turn Abbie’s soul over to Moloch. Buzz kill. Ichabod does find another secret message in Washington’s Bible. One where he, after his death as some zombie, drew a map to purgatory. Said map is buried with him. If Ichabod can retrieve this map, he can save Katrina!

[White Knight Ichabod Crane to the rescue!...]

Dec 10 2013 1:15pm

Sleepy Hollow 1.10 Thoughts: Ship Interrupted

Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow**This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night’s episode, 1x10, “The Golem.”**

Oh, the holidays. Some love it, while others loathe it with the strength of a thousand suns, like poor Ichy. Ichabod is hacking away at firewood when Abbie appears. She senses his dismay about finding out he had a child, something Katrina had kept from him. When Abbie calls him a Scrooge he goes into one of his 'I have no idea what gibberish you are speaking of' adorable rants. This week’s revolutionary history lesson? The origins of eggnog. Love when Ichy gets all Mr. Smarty Pants. While yielding an ax, even better. Ha cha cha!

Abbie calms Ichabod like only she can, with empathy and sincerity. She couldn’t imagine, can’t imagine, all Ichabod must be feeling. He awoke and in an instant, all he knew was gone. All those he loved. Now, add to that, a child he never got to know because he never knew he existed. Because she cares so much and understands the loneliness Ichabod feels, she agrees to help him find Katrina in purgatory to found out what happened to his child.


[Ichabod might be headed for Maury with this family dynamic...]

Nov 19 2013 1:15pm

Sleepy Hollow 1.08 Thoughts: Shippin’ Ain’t Easy!

Abbie in Sleepy Hollow 1.08**This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night’s episode, 1x08, “Necromancer.”**

Well, there is not too much in regards to any Shipping News between Abbie and Ichy. Not as much as I’d like anyway. They were far too busy trying to keep that demon without a head, aka, the Headless Horseman, trapped in the basement of their secret layer. That said, the opening scene has a tender Ichabbie moment: elated over the capture of said headless menace, Abbie teaches Ichabod the fist tap. He grins in that way only he can and she returns with that smile that’s almost a giggle. Funny, they only do that in each other’s presence. Sigh…

In other places, Irving and Jenny team up to stop those endless supply of minions from cutting the power to what’s keeping NoHead from escaping, the ultraviolet lights. Was it me or were there some sparks between Irving and Jenny? Wishful thinking, maybe, or perhaps it’s withdrawal from the lack of shipping this week with Ichabbie. I’m not sure, but I sense something may happen there. Skeptic Captain and Certifiable Sister? Could be one hell of a couple.

[So many possibilities...]

Nov 12 2013 11:47am

All We Really Get Is One Another: Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow Season 1, Episode 7

Ichabod and Abbie in Sleepy Hollow Season 1, Episode 7**This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night’s episode, 1x07, “The Midnight Ride.”**

Ichabbie was in full effect this episode; Ichabod is still acclimating to the 21st century and this week he is perplexed with paying for water, the internet, basic computer function, voicemail, and how our generation has “defiled” Mother Earth. Oh, and he gets his knickers in a bunch when visiting a Colonial History museum and the tour guide gets Paul Revere’s midnight ride all wrong. He also flips out when he learns Thomas Jefferson had an affair with Sally Hemmings. Poor Ichy got slammed this week, but Abbie was there, as usual, to be his guide, snark and all.

Now that Ichabod’s ties to the Horseman have been severed, Abbie is taking no chances with her new partner’s safety. They have to get to the freemasons and find out what the Horseman’s weakness is. Abbie can’t hang with the all boys club—for obvious reasons—and Ichabod assures her he will “rectify” the situation. He leaves the most politest voicemail in history, agreeing that her exclusion from meeting with the Masons to save humanity is a bit much. Ichabod respects his Leftenant and wants her to be with him on all investigative fronts. How cute.

[Can't help but 'ship it...]

Nov 5 2013 5:45pm

Ichabbie!: Ichabod and Abbie Grow Closer in Sleepy Hollow

Ichabod and Abbie hug in Sleepy Hollow 1.06**This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night’s episode, 1x06, “The Sin Eater.”**

Sleepy Hollow is finally back! I missed my time-traveling hottie, Ichabod Crane, and his kick ass “leftenant” Abbie Mills. And yes, he is pronouncing it correctly. Leftenant is the old English way of saying lieutenant. How do I know this? Google. Anyhoo, I missed Abbie and Ichabod so much I found myself annoyed they weren’t together so much in this episode. But the tension and buildup were well worth it. The first five episodes showed us their awkward way around each other physically; by the end of this episode, they hug! Yes, they actually hug, and the emotion that brings them to this point is a turning point in their relationship. By the end they are shown they are destined to be together...on this quest to save mankind, at least.

The episode opens with Abbie and Ichabod at a local baseball game. Abbie gets all up in the ump's face and Ichy is all like, How rude, he’s just doing his job and I don’t understand baseball.

This is the Abbie and Ichabod I’ve come to know and love. Their banter has a unique opposites attract-style chemistry, like that of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting. They’re not a couple, yet, or maybe even ever with Katrina, Ichy’s ghost-goth-witch wife, popping up now and again. But we can’t deny there is something between them that keeps up guessing. Even Abbie’s sister Jenny sees it.

[Can't deny that chemistry...]

Nov 3 2013 9:00am

Outlander-ish Dialogue: Jamie Fraser’s Jamie-isms

Sam Heughan as Jamie FraserFans of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon are familiar with the oh-so-sexy Scottish brogue of Jamie Fraser, Jamie-isms, many of us call them. His turn of phrase, wit, and heartfelt whispers to his beloved Claire make us laugh sigh, and swoon every time.

Who is this man behind such memorable words? He is a twenty-something Scot with attitude, a keen sense of humor, a confident sense of self, loyal to a fault, and so in love with his woman. He can take the most tense or sexy situation and find a way to make you (and Claire) laugh in spite of yourself.

My favorite line is from Jamie and Claire’s wedding night; our hunky virgin hero isn’t even at a loss for words during such a delicate moment. I snort out loud every time I read this!

[This I gotta read...]

Aug 28 2013 4:30pm

A Mother/Daughter Relationship Done Right: Lorrie Thomson’s Equilibrium

Equilibrium by Lorrie ThomsonEquilibrium is a work of women’s fiction, a family drama, and a sweet romance all rolled into one beautifully written novel. I love books that meld genres together. Books that aren’t exactly this or that. It’s refreshing and makes for a really fast paced read. What really kept me turning the pages is that the points of view of both mother and daughter are explored. A widowed mother and a grieving teen.

Laura and Darcy’s voices are fresh and distinctly written. From angsty teen Darcy’s POV we get a taste of the Young Adult genre. Thrusting you back to the days where prom, partying, and when to finally do the deed occupied a teen’s entire existence. Add to that poor Darcy is grieving for her father. Then she meets the new kid who is a very bad boy. The temptation to escape her grief in the arms of her first love and great and the stakes get even greater when she contemplates losing her virginity. Thomson isn’t afraid to be blunt about teens and sex. All the fear, hormones, frustration, pressure, and all those really hot making out sessions.

[Ahh, the good old days…]

Aug 6 2013 1:00pm

First Look: Carolyn Turgeon’s The Fairest of Them All (August 6, 2013)

The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn TurgeonCarolyn Turgeon
The Fairest of Them All
Touchstone / August 6, 2013 / $15.00 print, $9.73 digital

In an enchanted forest, the maiden Rapunzel’s beautiful voice captivates a young prince hunting nearby. Overcome, he climbs her long golden hair to her tower and they spend an afternoon of passion together, but by nightfall the prince must return to his kingdom, and his betrothed.

Now king, he weds his intended and the kingdom rejoices when a daughter named Snow White is born. Beyond the castle walls, Rapunzel waits in her crumbling tower, gathering news of her beloved from those who come to her seeking wisdom. She tries to mend her broken heart but her love lingers, pulsing in the magic tendrils of her hair.

The king, too, is haunted by his memories, but after his queen’s mysterious death, he is finally able to follow his heart into the darkness of the forest. But can Rapunzel trade the shadows of the forest for the castle and be the innocent beauty he remembers?

Carolyn Turgeon takes traditional fairy tales and turns them on their head, taking a look at the other women in the stories—previously, she's tackled Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and Princess Margrethe, the other woman from Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. This time she has outdone herself by mashing up two tales into one, making Rapunzel the wicked stepmother of Snow White.

[Say what now?!...]

Jul 22 2013 12:05pm

True Blood Season 6, Episode 6 Recap: No They Didn’t!

Sookie and Lafayette in True Blood Season 6, episode 6.****SPOILERS****

We've got your True Blood fix right here! Let's discuss.

Missed an episode? Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x036x04, and 6x05. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x06, “Don't You Feel Me”:

The episode starts off right where we left off last week, with Sookie getting baptized by a Daddy Stackhouse possessed Lafayetteberg (You know you think of Whoopi Goldberg from Ghost every time you see Lafayette in a housecoat and flashy makeup when communing with the dead).

Anywho, so right away Billith senses her danger. I think we have our first official Bill Compton, “Ssssookieee” moment of the season. But what we find is Warlow tossing Laffayette in the air against a tree and saving Sookie. He is so gentle about it. Sookie pleads with him to blast him to get Lafayette unposssessed. It works. Then Sookie tells him to get the frig out of her life forever.

[Sookie's not messin' around these days...]

Jul 17 2013 9:00am

Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation: Lifeguard Romances

Lifeguard on Duty by Matt AlbianiI’m stuck in the city and I need me a beach fix fast. I need me a delectable distraction that reminds me of my Jersey Shore—the place where I dig my toes into the cool sand, hide under the umbrella because I’m like a vampire and allergic to the sun, and where I people watch, compiling future plots and characters. One particular character archetype is in abundance at the shore. In the voice of Homer Simpson, mmm, lifeguards.

Who hasn’t dreamed of being saved by abs of steel on a hot summer day? Soft salty lips breathing life back into your body, that starry gaze when you come to, it all ending with love at first sight?

Lifeguards sit on their wooden thrones and keep watch over us. They’re our knights in shining tanning oil. They’re lean, tan, and we swear they’re checking us out as they pan the waters. You know they really are. By nature, they are trained to protect and serve.

[Surf, sun, sand, and romance...]

Jul 13 2013 10:00am

If the Shoe Fits: Cinderella Tales

Godmother by Carolyn TurgeonCinderella may have been the first maid to snatch up a rich and royal husband, but she certainly wasn’t the last. Ever since that famous fairytale, little girls have been searching for Prince Charming to save them from a lifetime of sweeping and scrubbing floors. Cindy broke social barriers and is the true fairy godmother of the trope.

What is it about this storyline that never gets old? The underdog winning? Love being blind to social status? Waiting to see if the rich will give everything up in the name of love? The juicy tidbits of gossip whispered between the help and their masters? We salivate over the scandalous details and inevitable fallout. Where will they secretly meet? Who will find out? Who will vie to destroy them? How will it all end? Will they be rich or poor? Will true love conquer all?

The smash hit Downton Abbey is a testament to the longevity of these familiar plots—a whole family of privilege dressed to the nines and a full staff for their every beck and call. Within each social structure we see the hierarchy, who’s got the power and who craves it. With no cell phones or iPads to distract, there’s nothing to do really but talk, whisper, fall in love, leaving room for all those plot twists Downton Abbey’s famous for. I’m still reeling from the season finale.

[So say we all...]

Jun 27 2013 8:30am

Mixing Up the Tropes: Jeannie Moon and Jennifer Haymore

The Temporary Wife by Jeannie MoonWho doesn’t love a good remix? Take something you like, kick it up a notch, and voila; you have the next dance hit waiting to earworm us all summer long. Romance novels do a bit of remixing as well. Tropes are a staple of the genre and every now and then authors blend them to make for a more intricate and fast-paced read.

In Jeannie Moon’s debut novel, The Temporary Wife, she mixes up marriage of convenience, the rich hero falling in the love with the maid's daughter, and reunited childhood sweethearts. Moon weaves these plotlines together seamlessly which resulted in a two day read and ignored family members.

Megan Rossi was the maid's daughter. She grew up with the family's children, Jason and Molly. They were her best friends. Jason was her first love. Her mother quit her job when the family accused Meg of gold digging the moment her high school romance with Jason was exposed. To add more salt to her wounds, Jason didn’t fight for her.

Years later, Megan has custody of Molly’s daughter after her tragic death. And the family doesn’t like it and is fighting her for sole custody. In swoops Jason, vowing to honor his sister’s last wishes. He’s independently wealthy and knows the one thing that will ensure his niece’s future—his protection in the form of marriage. But marrying the girl that got away gets more complicated than he bargained for. Especially when they can’t keep their hands off of each other.

[Those pesky feelings, always getting in the way of marriages of convenience...]

Jun 24 2013 10:26am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 2 Recap: WTF Billith, Fairy Godfathers, Nanny Lafayette, and Glamour Proof Contacts

Tara in True Blood 6.02****SPOILERS****

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

The episode opens with a soundly sleeping Sookie, clueless as ever, and a glowing golden script of letters by her nightstand. She doesn’t even realize that they’re glowing because she’s having such a peaceful sleep. But as they glow, a ZZ-Top stunt double vamp materializes on the bridge—and it’s Warlow. He is in desperate need of a shave and a hair cut.

Jason gets zapped by the geriatric hitcher, who he thinks is Warlow. But we soon find out he’s his effin’ fairy grandfather. Bippity Boppity, huh? Jason asks old dude to prove he’s his kin and the dude proceeds to read off a shopping list of some of Jason’s most private moments. Which is funny because Jason gets all Jason laughing and cringing at them. Old Fairy G’ then scolds Jason for his recent behavior. Jason still has his 'I can kill all vamps' chest puffed out and Gramps basically tells him to chill out.

[Yeah, Jason, chill out...]

May 31 2013 8:30am

Sand Between the Toes, Books in the Hand: Perfect Beach Reads

Little Gale Gumbo by Erika MarksNothing screams summer more than a great beach read. My favorites are those that actually take place on the beach. Romantic women’s fiction bookshelves are brimming with covers of a lone woman or group of friends strumming their toes through the sand. When I see them, remembrances of salt air and the squawk of gulls fill me longing for my beloved Jersey Shore of The Wildwoods. Two tales I’ve read recently really struck me as romantic, timeless, and I shall be reading them again this summer, on the beach, ignoring my family and friends.

Erika Marks’s Little Gale Gumbo is a mix of history, southern charm, magic, and of course romance. Dahlia and Josie Bergeron continue their mother’s legacy, a Creole café on the island of Little Gale, Maine. Her passing left a gaping hole in their hearts, but they make it work even though they fight all the time and couldn’t be any more different. Josie is pale like her father, whereas Dahlia is dark like her mother. Josie is rooted to family and tradition and Dahlia is a free but cynical spirit, never having time for their mother’s voodoo spells and potions. As only sisters can, they even fight about the unspoken; the one who got away from them both. Matty, the boy they grew up with, loved Dahlia and Josie loved him. A sisterly love triangle, ooohhhh the drama!

[Summer lovin', had me a blast...]

May 10 2013 9:15am

First Look: Amy Sue Nathan’s The Glass Wives (May 14, 2013)

Amy Sue Nathan
The Glass Wives
St. Martin’s Griffin /  $14.99 print / $8.89 digital / May 14, 2013

Evie and Nicole Glass share a last name. They also shared a husband.
When a tragic car accident ends the life of Richard Glass, it also upends the lives of Evie and Nicole, and their children. There’s no love lost between the widow and the ex. In fact, Evie sees a silver lining in all this heartache—the chance to rid herself of Nicole once and for all. But Evie wasn’t counting on her children’s bond with their baby half-brother, and she wasn’t counting on Nicole’s desperate need to hang on to the threads of family, no matter how frayed. Strapped for cash, Evie cautiously agrees to share living expenses—and her home—with Nicole and the baby. But when Evie suspects that Nicole is determined to rearrange more than her kitchen, Evie must decide who she can trust. More than that, she must ask: what makes a family?

The title of Amy Sue Nathan's The Glass Wives is wickedly clever. Glass is fragile. Glass can break and shatter. Glass wives can, too. The premise alone—that of an ex-wife and a widow—had me thinking, could I do that? Could I share my life with someone who caused me so much pain? Could I share my grief over the death of an ex, the father of my children, with the woman he left me for and her newborn son?

[What a tough call...]

May 9 2013 12:30pm

Fertility in Fiction: Interesting Conditions from Weiner, Simons, and Hannah

Then Came You by Jennifer WeinerRegardless what you’re reading right now, I guarantee there is something in it, whether prevalent or miniscule, that has to do with baby-making. Not sure if you know this, but sex can sometimes result with making a baby. Shocking, but true.

Somewhere in a novel someone is doing it—trying to prevent it, planning it, contemplating if they are it, or a mix of the above. Some people get it without even looking. Some try to no avail. Some pay someone else to do it for them. Some take someone else’s as their own. Some want no part of it at all. Yup, we’re talking about pregnancy.

Women’s fiction shelves are busting with novels that tackle these themes. They delve into how fertility can affect us: our psyche, marriages, families, friendships, work environments, and especially our bodies. I’ve had my ups and downs with motherhood. I have a beautiful teenage daughter. We tried to have another a little late in the game with no luck. I know friends who always seem to be pregnant and some who can’t get pregnant at all. I even have the ones who never want children. Just pets. We all know these women. We are these women and I LOVE reading about them all.

[We can all relate...]

May 7 2013 1:00pm

First Look: Beth Kendrick’s The Week Before the Wedding (May 7, 2013)

The Week Before the Wedding by Beth KendrickBeth Kendrick
The Week Before the Wedding
NAL Trade / May 7, 2013 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

After enduring a chaotic childhood, Emily McKellips yearns for a drama-free life, complete with a white picket fence. Her dreams are about to come true: She has a stellar career, a gorgeous house, and a fiancé any woman would die for. But as friends and family arrive in picturesque Valentine, Vermont, for her wedding, an uninvited guest shows up.

Ryan is Emily’s first husband from a disastrous starter marriage. They wed on a whim, only to discover that combustible chemistry couldn’t ensure a happily ever after. But Ryan is no longer the headstrong boy she left behind. He’s now a successful film producer who just happens to be scouting a resort in Valentine with his adorable retriever in tow.

As the bridesmaids revolt and the mothers of the bride and groom do battle, Emily is surprised to discover new sides of both her ex and her fiancé. She thought she had life and love all figured out, but the next seven days might change her mind—and her heart.

While The Week Before The Wedding is the first Beth Kendrick book I've read, it won't be the last.

[Really? Tell us more...]

Mar 28 2013 4:09pm

Secrets, Family, Love: The Richness of Historical Women’s Fiction

Outlander by Diana GabaldonYou’d be hard-pressed to find a rake, a rogue, or a scoundrel in most historical women’s fiction, but it doesn’t mean that they’re boring, fact-laden yawn fests either. Most of these tales of yesteryear, told from the female point of view, still have romance and sexy leading men.

Some of the most applauded historical novels, whether completely fictional or loosely based on actual historic figures, have been debated in romance circles for decades. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is very sexy and romantic, but also deeply grounded in history and even fantasy. Jamie Fraser to this day is one of the most celebrated leading men of the genre, even in traditional romance. I’d have to agree with that. I love me some Jamie Fraser. Ha cha cha! Philippa Gregory’s tales of King Henry VIII’s court have even made it to the silver screen. I wouldn’t mind being The Other Boleyn Girl, with Eric Bana of course. Paullina Simons's epic trilogy of Tatiana and Alexander, about a couple falling in love in World War II-era Leningrad and their tale of survival up to Cold War America, is gut-wrenching and heartwarming and sexy, and I’ve re-read the series twice. The sexy parts many more times.

Popular historical women’s fiction of late tells two tales simultaneously. A present-day female lead finds something or someone in the past to investigate or revisit. Women during a time of strife looking to their own family history for answers and hope and along the way discovering juicy bits of history that Mama didn’t want anyone to find out. Murder. Adultery. Debauchery. Oh, my!

[In other words, scandalous! Intriguing...]

Mar 13 2013 3:30pm

We Love Them Like Crazy: Neurotic Heroes in Romance

Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory“You so crazy / I think I wanna have your baby”

—Salt-n-Pepa, “Whatta Man”

Salt-n-Pepa said it first, but I don’t think that they necessarily meant they wanted to procreate literally with men with some mental issues. But crazy guys need love too, don’t they?

Tony Shaloub as Monk surely needed someone to care for all those things he feared. Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets was so OCD he was compelled to make a certain waitress fall for him—and all his quirks. Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory has issues with touching. I think he’s a little OCD with ADHD with a little narcissist sprinkled in. Even Dexter needs someone to tame his Dark Passenger. I mean he really needs to find someone who can stick with him long enough to live through it. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man has severe autism, but still had time to flirt with his brother’s girlfriend. Even Bill Murray in What About Bob? has his own diagnosis for all the issues he claimed to have.

But the above list of men, while intriguing and worthy of affection, wouldn’t exactly make it onto the cover of a romance novel, would they? Imagine any of them shirtless with a sexy leading lady next to them and it’s just plain awkward. And that’s not based on their outward appearance; they’re extremely over the top characters, or really caricatures we can’t take seriously, shirtless or not. There are everyday Joes who struggle with their own neuroses. Some romance novels have been brave enough to showcase them.

[Which ones?...]