2015 Emmy Snubs and Flubs: The More Things Change…

The many faces of Maslany

The many faces of Maslany

Award nominations are always a crap shoot. As someone who’s been involved in several smaller-scale award slates, I can testify to how complicated and idiosyncratic the process can be. But all of my knowledge—and the world-weary acceptance of a long-time TV and movie fan— doesn’t help when the Emmy and Oscar ballots come out and some stellar performances get overlooked for tired always-haves.

The 2015 Primetime Emmy nominations were announced today and the list saw some joyous inclusions — like Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, who plays several distinct clones with a mind-blowing talent and Taraji P. Henson, overlooked and underused on CBS’ Person of Interest and a force to be reckoned with on FOX’s Empire as Cookie Lyon.

Praise Cookie.

Praise Cookie.

I am beyond thrilled for Tatiana, Taraji and How to Get Away With Murder‘s Viola Davis. But the status quo hasn’t really changed. Where are the nominations for Orphan Black and Empire as shows? The latter brought in unprecedented numbers and had viewers riveted. Was Mad Men sincerely better this year? The Academy continues to rely on the Homeland/Modern Family/whatever-we-did-last-year model of nominations. We again see premium cable and Netflix cleaning up, without any recognition some of the year’s most breath-taking performances on network and basic.

 

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Page Against the Machine: April and May Reads

Thanks to some bumps and bruises and the recovery time therein, basically ALL I did during April and May was read. Here’s what made an impact on me besides the sidewalk. ;)

GravePhantomsOne Week in Hawaii by Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly & Alexandra Haughton (contemporary romance anthology, e-book)
Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett (paranormal historical romance)
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen (new adult contemporary romance, e-book)
Working With Heat by Anne Calhoun (erotic romance, e-book)
The Professional by Kresley Cole (erotic BDSM romance)
Night of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper (paranormal historical romance)
TakingtheHeatTaking the Heat by Victoria Dahl (out 7/28, contemporary romance)
The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton (historical romance)
New Avengers: Breakout by Alisa Kwitney (comic book tie-in/romantic suspense)
Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry (erotic romance, e-book)
Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper (paranormal romance/urban fantasy)
Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai (erotic romance, ménage/poly, e-book)
ServingPleasure_LargeServing Pleasure by Alisha Rai (out 6/16, erotic romance, e-book)
The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz (gothic romance, e-novella)
The Orphan Pearl by Erin Satie (historical romance, e-book)
Never Loved by Charlotte Stein (out 6/23, new adult contemporary romance, e-book)
Busted by Shiloh Walker (contemporary romance)
Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon (erotic BDSM romance, e-book)

And last, but not least, I did a tour through Amy Jo Cousins’ Harlequin backlist, checking out At Your Service, Calling His Bluff and When the Lights Go Down.

Justified, My Love (Sorry! Couldn’t Help Myself!): Saying Goodbye to the FX Series

JustifiedlogoAfter six seasons, FX’s Justified came to a perfect close this week. Though buckets of blood bathed the episodes leading up to the finale, the last hour was all about quiet, hard-won farewells. Viewers said goodbye to so many memorable characters. Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens, the gunslinger who, despite his white hat and noble intentions, was never quite the good guy he hoped to be. Joelle Carter’s Ava Crowder, the fierce survivor who struggled to look out for #1 and damn the consequences. Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder, the charismatic black hat to Raylan’s white and the other side to his coin. Tim, Rachel, Art, Wynn,  Loretta…this season’s Big Bad, Sam Elliott’s Markham. Justified was a veritable community of personalities, almost impossible to leave — just like Harlan County itself, constantly drawing its residents back into damnation.

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All the World’s a Page: March Reads

Man, I read a bunch this month. It was a nice mix of releases from the past few years and books still to come.

CodenameVerity

Be prepared to cry. Seriously.

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong (young adult urban fantasy)
Private Politics by Emma Barry (contemporary romance, e-book)
Blue-Eyed Stranger, by Alex Beecroft (contemporary LGBT romance)
Soulbound by Kristen Callihan (historical romance, steampunk/paranormal romance)
Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole (out 5/4, postapocalyptic new adult romance/LGBT romance, e-book)
Radiance by Grace Draven (fantasy romance, e-book)
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep (out 4/28, young adult urban fantasy)
The Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy (out 5/26, fantasy romance)
A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin (out 4/21, historical romance)
Her Russian Protector: Dimitri by Roxie Rivera (erotic romance/romantic suspense, e-book)
Her Russian Protector: Yuri by Roxie Rivera (erotic romance/romantic suspense, e-book)
Deliver Me, by Farrah Rochon (contemporary romance, e-book)
Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein (young adult historical fiction)

Never a Dal Moment: A Recipe and a Reflection

-BBC

-BBC

Dal, a lentil-based soup, is a staple of Bengali cooking — at least in my family. It didn’t matter that we grew up in Ohio, about as far from Kolkata and Dhaka as you can get, we had dal with dinner almost every night. Moog dal, musoor dal, cholar dal, toor dal, yellow split-pea dal. You know that whole Forrest Gump riff on shrimp? That was the Bhattacharjee household’s relationship to every kind of lentil in existence. It was one of my late father’s favorite dishes, and my mom liked to joke that he could eat just dal-bhaath (lentils and rice) for every meal. Me? Not so much. I looked upon dal with the kind of horror that middle American white kids saved for their broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

The only way you could get me to enjoy lentils was in khichuri, a classic Bengali comfort food that combines dal, rice, spices and ghee and usually comes with a side of something fried. Let’s face it, fried potatoes on the side make any dish a winner.

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On Grace Draven’s Radiance and Sharing the Light

RadianceCoverWhenever a book is hyped all over the romance blogosphere and Twitterverse, I get a little nervous. Once bitten, twice shy. I’ve bought a few books based on trusted squee and ended up burned. Fortunately, that was far from the case with Radiance, Grace Draven’s first Wraith Kings novel, which came out in January. It’s good. It’s really good. A gentle love story laced with political intrigue, Radiance finds Brishen of the Kai and Ildiko of the Gauri wed to cement an alliance between their countries. Fortunately, they approach this arrangement with practicality and good humor — which carries through the entire tale.

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