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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Five Things I’d Rather Spring Forward Into

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.

breadpudding

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What’s My Page Again?: February Reads

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,)
A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
CressEchoes by Laura K. Curtis (out 3/17, romantic suspense)
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 4/21, 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)

The CW’s The 100 Knows How to Make It Count

the100promoimageWhen 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

Putting the Cherry on Top: Karina Cooper’s Transmuted

TransmutedTransmuted, by Karina Cooper, in stores today, sees the end of the St. Croix Chronicles, the tumultuous journey of collector (aka “bounty hunter”) and high-society outlier Cherry St. Croix through a steampunk Victorian London. I’ve been a fan of the series from the first book, Tarnished—which my former colleague and always-cohort Regina Small insisted I read—and it’s been wonderful to see Cherry grow and change and to follow the loops and swirls of Cooper’s prose.

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Book Ends: December Reads and a Look Back

RadioSilenceMy last book post about 2014. Gasp. First, here’s what made my hot list in December:

The Companion Contract by Solace Ames (out 2/9, erotic romance, e-book)
Unfixable by Tessa Bailey (new adult contemporary romance, e-book)
The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen (new adult LGBT contemporary romance, e-book)
Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole (out 2/2, post-apocalyptic new adult romance, e-book)
Flirting With Disaster by Victoria Dahl (out 1/27, contemporary romance)
Say Yes to the Marquess, by Tessa Dare (historical romance)
A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (historical romance, e-novella)
OneKissRockStarThe Obsession, The Enslavement and The Fulfillment by Liliana Lee aka Jeannie Lin (erotic romance, e-novellas)
One Kiss With a Rock Star by Amber Lin and Shari Slade (erotic romance, e-novella)
The Secret Heart by Erin Satie (historical romance, e-book)
Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (contemporary romance, e-novella)

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The Big Sleep: Sleepy Hollow’s Least Shocking Death

Jenny-Abbie-Irving

“Are we allowed to be here? Should we leave?”

As FOX’s sophomore supernatural hit Sleepy Hollow breaks for midseason, it seems to have taken the “hollow” part of its moniker to heart. The show that surprised and charmed millions of viewers in the fall of 2013 with its combination of solid character work, whimsy and genuinely creepy lore — cinched by the chemistry of leads Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison — has lost its soul in its second year, becoming a rote, tiresome exploration of Crane family pathos.

Looking at an interview with TVLine, it appears that executive producer Mark Goffman may have no idea why that’s a problem. “One of the things I think we’ve looked at over the course of the season is what a really difficult position Katrina’s been in,” he says, going on to talk about how “this season is really about family, redemption and duty versus family.”

By “family” he must mean “the Cranes,” not the back-burnered Mills sisters and the harrowing history that was contained to one episode and then dropped. If he spent a lot of time thinking about Katrina’s position, he must’ve forgotten Abbie’s…thereby losing the series’ through-line. Because the foundation of season one Sleepy Hollow was a strong, female police lieutenant in a small town being thrust into an otherworldly situation and a partnership with a man from the past. Viewers saw that relationship from the very beginning, unlike the purported star-crossed love of Katrina and Ichabod, which largely played out before the first episode and is only parsed out in flashbacks over the course of a season and a half. Retroactive investment in a true love or a marriage is a lot harder to foster than the tangible thread of a friendship and mission we see from its inception. ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland made a similar mistake, packaging Alice and her genie lover as root-for before we even had a chance to care about who they were as individuals.

People tuned into Sleepy Hollow last year in for Abbie and Crane teaming up to fight demonic crime. Katrina and Crane’s epic reunion and the fate of their whack-a-doodle son were far lower on the list. Those issues were key, sure, but not worthy of taking over the entire canvas like they have this year. Certainly not at the expense of Abbie and Crane’s partnership, Abbie’s journey as a character and her relationships with her sister and her police captain. And definitely not to position Katrina as heroine in Abbie’s stead.

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