THE ALIENIST (TNT)

Series Premiere: January 22, 2018
TNT

In turn of the (20th) century New York, a proto-psychologist – known then as an “alienist” (Daniel Brühl) – teams up with an illustrator (Luke Evans), the police commissioner’s fiery assistant (Dakota Fanning) and two intrepid proto-forensic scientists (Douglas Smith; Matthew Shear) to solve a series of grisly child murders. Based on the 1994 novel by Caleb Carr, it’s basically old timey Mindhunter.

Where’s the Love? Evans’s John has a history with Fanning’s spunky Sarah, who has a particular admiration for Brühl’s Dr. Lazslo Kreizler—who in turn is adored by his beautiful, wordless housekeeper Mary (Q’orianka Kilcher, which may be the best name in the whole damn world).

Why You Should Watch: The bleakness, the darkness, the all-pervading sense of doom and depression. It is all very atmospheric and evocative, a wholly immersive and thoroughly disquieting experience.

Why You Shouldn’t: The bleakness, the darkness, the all-pervading sense of doom and depression. It is all very atmospheric and evocative, a wholly immersive and thoroughly disquieting experience.

BASED ON THE NOVEL BY CALEB CARR

SEE THIS REVIEW, ALONG WITH ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS AND SO MUCH MORE IN ROMANTIC INTENTIONS QUARTERLY. ISSUE 1 — OUT NOW!

CLAIMING HIS HIDDEN HEIR BY CAROL MARINELLI (April 17, 2018)

This book is a curious spin on the Secret Baby trope. The majority of the narrative deals with the unwanted romance between property magnate, Luka Kargas, and his efficient secretary, Cecilia Andrews. The “claiming of the hidden heir” is relegated to the last third of the book, which wraps up all the loose ends almost ludicrously swiftly. Despite this, the story-line is enjoyable, the hero hard yet vulnerable, the heroine the epitome of the buttoned-down secretary ripe for breaking free of her self-constraints. Worth a read. – Megan Osmond

3 1/2 stars.

READ IT HERE

Claiming His Hidden Heir by Carol Marinelli
Harlequin Presents | Contemporary/Category | April 17, 2018

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MY BOYFRIEND IS A BEAR BY PAMELA RIBON AND CAT FARRIS (April 17, 2018)

Don’t you just hate it when your boyfriend has to hibernate in the mountains for three months out of the year? Twenty-something Nora does, when her newest love — an actual black bear; this is not a euphemism, except that the whole story is pretty much a euphemism — is forced to leave their cuddlesome honeymoon phase to obey his primal urges. Magical realism at its most absurd, but adorable, My Boyfriend is a Bear is hilarious, bittersweet, completely relatable and utterly bizarre all at once. A pure delight. – Rachel Hyland

5 stars.

READ IT HERE

My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris
Oni Press | Graphic Novel | April 17, 2018

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TOP 10 ROMANCE PARODIES — #10

Obviously, we all love Romance as a genre. None of us would be here if we didn’t. (Here, as in reading this magazine; not here as in alive and in the world.) But loving something does not mean we cannot mock it, or enjoy it when others do so for us. In fact, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then parody must surely be the sincerest form of affection; to spoof anything really well you must know it inside and out, and such thorough acquaintance with the minutia of anything can only lead to – or, more likely, be born of – a deep and profound fondness.

Here then, the Top 10 romance parodies that are funniest when you know enough – and love enough – to really get the joke:

10. 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL (2013)

Parody of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

This stage parody promising live BDSM (“Best Damn Songs and Music”) was a hit in Chicago before making its way to Manhattan, the New York Post reporting that “the opening scene centers on a middle-aged ladies’ book group, then plunges, like a cougar’s neckline, into sketches making fun of the erotic, best-selling novel.” Conceived by musical improv comedy troupe Baby Wants Candy, the show features songs like “Red Room” with lyrics such as “How much can you take/How much can you handle?/Clamps upon your nipples?/Hot wax with a burning candle?” Rarely, if ever, has soft-core erotica been so jaunty.

GO TO NUMBER 9…

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KULTI BY MARIANA ZAPATA (2015)

SPORTS

A European soccer star fallen from grace. A US women’s soccer team in need of a coach. A player infuriated by her new coach’s arrogance, and then intrigued by his cries for help. All of which is a recipe for compelling workplace entanglement in Kulti by Mariana Zapata, a breakout indie hit and essential read for sports romance fans.

5 stars.

READ IT HERE

Kulti by Mariana Zapata
Self-Published | 570 pages | March 20, 2015

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BLAME (2017)

Abigail (nascent auteur Quinn Shephard), an outcast high school senior with an unspecified and eventually forgotten mental illness – kids can be so cruel – is drawn to her handsome, if nebbishy, substitute drama teacher (Chris Messina). The angst is electric as the boundaries of their relationship are explored and the audience is cast in the role of cheerleader for what is, when all’s said, a deeply inappropriate relationship. Or is it? Yes, of course it is! Except! Is it? Damn you, movie.

4 1/2 stars.

SEE IT HERE

Blame
Written and Directed by Quinn Shephard
Limited Release | 100 minutes | January 5, 2018

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LOSING ADAM BY ADRIENNE CLARKE (April 4, 2018)

Newly in college, Adam is hearing voices. Specifically, one voice: the Snow Queen, right out of the fairy tale. His girlfriend Jenny is determined not to let him slip away, but with Adam’s intruder getting ever more insistent, will she lose him, the real him, forever? A well-told and fully-realized story of two young people learning to deal with mental health, with first love gone wrong and with starting over after everything falls apart. Excellent. – Maura Tan

4 stars.

READ IT HERE

Losing Adam by Adrienne Clarke
Self-Published | New Adult | April 4, 2018

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THE LIADEN UNIVERSE® BY SHARON LEE AND STEVE MILLER

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller would probably not thank me for labeling the books in their outrageously addictive Liaden Universe® “romance.” Indeed, when I once asked them about the designation “Futuristic Romance, ” as applied to their early books, Miller replied dryly: “I suspect ‘Futuristic Romance’ was coined by PR hack or a desperate editor. We write Space Opera, or Science Fiction.”

Much as I hate to disagree with one of my very favorite authors of all time, I have to say, “Futuristic Romance” isn’t all that far off the mark. Oh, there’s a lot more going on here as well, most notably the aforementioned Space Opera, a major subgenre of SF. (It’s hard to quantify what it is, exactly, but if you’re a sci-fi fan, you know it when you see it. Battlestar Galactica, for example, is Space Opera.)

True, these tales of Liaden awesomeness should in no way be pigeonholed solely as Romance (let’s not scare off anyone not a fan of the genre), but there can be no denying that at the very heart of almost every one of these entrancing, enchanting, compulsively readable tales lie courtships full of adventure, sacrifice, cultural divide, spirited debate and studied, elegant gallantry. They are love stories for the ages, and often ones that involve a soul-deep lifebond, as well.

If that doesn’t make these books Romances of some sort, then I don’t know what does.

Read More “THE LIADEN UNIVERSE® BY SHARON LEE AND STEVE MILLER”

MARRY IN SCANDAL BY ANNE GRACIE (April 3, 2018)

Lady Lily Rutherford dreams of marrying for love, but she questions if her dream will ever be realized. Lily, who has a learning disability that made it impossible for her to read, is convinced she is stupid, fat, and unattractive. When she is drugged and abducted for her fortune, Lily proves brave and resourceful and manages to escape. Just as she is about to be recaptured, she is rescued by her brother’s friend, Edward Galbraith, and despite all efforts to prevent scandal, Lily’s reputation is at risk. Edward, who is charmed by Lily’s sweetness and enticed by her curves, offers marriage. Lily, against the objections of her family, accepts, hoping he can learn to love her as much as she already loves him. When the survivor’s guilt that has haunted Edward threatens marital happiness, Lily once again proves her resourcefulness and rescues her hero from himself. This second book in Anne Gracie’s Marriage of Convenience series skirts melodrama a few times, but ultimately Gracie’s characteristic mix of humor, poignancy, and engaging characters make this another keeper from an author whose books consistently delight her readers. – Janga

4 1/2 stars

READ IT HERE

Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie
Berkley | Regency | April 3, 2018

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THE COMPANION’S SECRET BY SUSANNA CRAIG (April 3, 2018)

Camellia Burke just wants to finish her novel, The Wild Irish Rose, which she hopes will go some way to reconciling England and Ireland after years of bloodshed and dispossession. Needing a more realistic English villain, she begins to make a study of Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, who is courting her cousin to save his estate, but finds himself falling in love with Camellia—little realising she has cast him as her villain. The charm of this book is that Gabriel is completely honest with himself (and therefore the reader, too), and his dilemma is real: accept the pragmatic but unwanted reality of marrying for convenience to save everything his has held dear, or follow his heart and risk it all for love with a very unsuitable woman. An excellent read and well worth your time. – Megan Osmond

4 1/2 stars

READ IT HERE

The Companions Secret by Susanna Craig
Rogues and Rebels #1
Lyrical | Regency | April 3, 2018

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