After 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.
Man, I read a LOT this month. It was a nice mix of releases from the past few years and books still to come.
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)
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)
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.
Whenever 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.
It’s that time again, folks. Daylight Savings. When we lose an hour of sleep and gain an hour of bleary-eyed resentment. To that end, here are five things I would much rather spring forward into:
1. A plate of bread pudding.
This past month was all about playing catch up, so I mostly read a mix of books from last year and older releases.
If It Ain’t Love by Tamara Allen (LGBT historical romance, e-short)
A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
Echoes by Laura K. Curtis (out 3/17, romantic suspense, e-book)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (paranormal fiction)
The Duff by Kody Keplinger (young adult romance/coming-of-age)
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (erotic romance)
A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin (out 5/1, historical romance)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (young adult cyberpunk/SFF)
Cress by Marissa Meyer (young adult cyberpunk/SFF)
Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau (LGBT sci-fi romance, e-book)
When The 100, based on the book of the same name by Kass Morgan, premiered midseason in spring 2014 I—like many others—was on post-apocalyptic teen angst overload. Though a longtime supporter of The CW network and its mixed bag of shows, I had a full belly of Hunger Games-eque dystopian fiction and mediocre sci-fi television shows. No thanks, I thought. I’ll pass. It’s amazing how, when you suddenly find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, you start to second-guess that kind of decision. Less than a year after shrugging off The 100, I found myself marathoning 24 episodes in two days. It took me four days total to catch up to the second season as it aired. “I’ll pass” became “I’ll pass out if I don’t find out what happens next.” Why? Continue reading