Festive Stocking Filled with Candycanes and Gingerbread Man

Multi-Cultural Romance: Alyssa’s Picks

This month my picks range in pub date and length – some are old, some are new, some are full-length and some of super shorts. But they are all filled with unforgettable characters and make my list for must-reads.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season Finale

The show opens with a nice war montage: shots being prepared, guns being loaded. An epic Revolutionary War fight scene plays out, with Ichabod being a bad ass and busting Redcoats in the face as he searches for the Hessian with a mark on his hand. This is somewhat familiar, as it’s a throwback to the shows first episode. A lot of this final episode of the season (and perhaps of the series?) goes back to the original well, both as a love letter to the fans and as a way of starting from scratch...

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Season 2, Episode 17

Alyssa Cole is here with a recap of last night's episode: "In the wake of destroying Jefferson’s fenestella, which housed all the information they would ever need as Witnesses, Abbie and Ichabod go to a local book store to search for some of the tomes they saw there. Ichabod is looking through books about time travelers, i.e., men out of time. When they leave, they once again reaffirm that nothing is more important than their bond...."

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Season 2, Episode 15

Last week’s show provided a return to the SLEEPY HOLLOW of old: Abbie, Ichabod, and Jenny working together to solve crime; the welcoming of Irving back into the fold -- of the living, if not the Apocalyptic Witness crew; and the departure of Hawley to chase after his Oedipal issues…I mean his guardian-turned-monster. I enjoyed last week’s show, but was it a case of one step forward, two steps back? Let’s find out!

SLEEPY HOLLOW’S Scariest Monster: Inconsistency

So, as many of us have noticed, the show we once looked forward to every week has changed. Before it was fun and ridiculous and boundary pushing, but now it’s just ridiculous. Where did things go wrong, and can they be made right? I’m hoping that tonight’s episode steers the show back towards the right bearings, but here’s my brief overview of some things I think have contributed to the show’s decline. Add your opinions in the comments!

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 13

  Okay, this has been my least favorite episode so far this season, although not very many of them have been crowd pleasers. It starts out with an art restorer working on a painting of a man working on a painting. How meta. (There’s a term for this, but I’m too annoyed to Google.)The man in the painting starts bleeding; in fact the whole painting starts gushing blood and instead of running away the restorer tries to stanch it. No, dude. First rule of art restoration: get out of there if some antique piece you’re working on starts going all stigmata on you. Also, don’t use your fingers to touch said blood. Shouldn’t he be wearing gloves? The bleeding stops and the blood disappears, leaving the art restorer confused. Back at Corbin’s cabin, which Katrina… Continue

Best of the Year 2014

As we get down to the final days of 2014, we’re thinking back on all the books that have inspired our lust, our love, our laughter, and our tears. R@R contributors found it hard to pick just one; some just had to include a runner-up (or two!). Here are our picks for Best Books of the Year.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 11

So, I was wrong last week! There was another episode before the winter break. So we get to imagine running our fingers through Crane’s luxuriant mane once more.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 10

"Okay, it’s here folks: the winter finale, leaving us bereft of Ichabod’s fabulous wigs, Abbie’s fleek-tastic , skeptically lifted brows, and Jenny’s self-assured badassery. Some of us will miss Hawley’s sarcastic Golden Retriever enthusiasm as he follows after Abbie, others Henry Parrish’s ability to veer from jealous adolescent to the Horseman of War. Most of all, we will miss Headless Horseman abs. All in all we have a great set-up for the inevitable stomach-dropping cliffhanger."

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 7

We open with what is presumably a flashback: Katrina and Ichabod are in bed, serenaded by the sweet sounds of neighing horses as they try to get morning loving before he leaves for battle. No, instead of getting it on, they talk about how cool their future children will be. We soon see this isn’t a flashback, but a nightmare, when the jincan spider (shout out to Amanda for hooking me up with Jincan/Gu info on Twitter!) crawls out of Ichabod’s mouth and Katrina wakes up screaming. We cut to our devoted Witnesses exorcising their electoral duty at a polling center. Ichabod rants about how he fought for the right to vote and now Americans are too lazy to do it. Abbie calls him out on, bringing up the fact that she wouldn’t have been… Continue

DESTINY’S CAPTIVE by Beverly Jenkins

Destiny’s Captive is the third book in Beverly Jenkins’s wonderful Destiny series, which follows the travails of the three Yates brothers and the strong-willed women they fall madly in love with. The books are set, for the most part, on the California ranch of matriarch Alanza Yates; Alanza has spent most of her life working hard to make her ranch profitable after a fall from grace from the Spanish gentry. Each installment has offered a fun, unique romp through the history of the American West, with memorable characters and Jenkins’s signature penchant for fast-paced adventure. In Destiny’s Embrace, Lanza’s rancher (step)son Logan falls for the virgin seamstress his mother has bought in from Philadelphia to be his housekeeper. In Destiny’s Surrender, lady’s man lawyer Drew loses his heart to Billie the sharp-shooting whore… Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 6

In the last episode, Ichabod had to deal with the ex from Hell (or one of its adjacent circles) and confront the fact that his wife has straight-up lied to him on several fronts, so it makes sense that we open with Abbie and Ichabod getting hot and sweaty together: they’re doing yoga. She’s trying to help him to find some inner peace because he’s been anxious since his argument with Katrina. He says he’s fine, but Abbie encourages him to just talk about his feelings, and yoga gives way to an impromptu therapy session in which Ichabod reveals he’s disappointed and hurt and doesn’t know if he can fully trust Katrina anymore. They end up at a bar, because drinking a beer is much easier than standing on your head, when a fight breaks… Continue


When I first started reading A Bollywood Affair, I groaned inwardly; The hero and heroine displayed two of my pet peeves: Mili manages to be completely beautiful and graceful, while at the same time self-effacing and so clumsy she can’t walk for two steps without ending up in the emergency room. That kind of heroine. The hero, Samir, is a womanizing Bollywood dude-bro with some seriously misogynistic views who is bored by all of the skanks around him until he sees our special snowflake of a heroine. That kind of hero. But as I read (and read and couldn’t put the book down), I was completely pulled into the story by Dev’s wonderfully detailed writing — it’s beautiful, really — and her skillful storytelling. Mili and Samir weren’t that kind of anything. They were… Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 5

In the last few episodes, Abbie and Ichabod have had to deal with a Franklinstein’s monster (still funny, guys) and a Pied Piper, as well as a nasty inner demon transmitted via coin. Tonight’s episode dips into folkloric monsters again, and brings a blast from Ichabod’s past.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 4

This week, we have a great IchAbbie-centric episode. Yes, Hawley, Henry, and Irving make appearances, but there is no focus on Katrina and Headless, or the new sheriff in town, or Abbie and Jenny’s past and present relationship. The storyline focuses on two buds just hanging: listening to world music, hiking in the woods, having coffee dates…okay, this is Sleepy Hollow, so things aren’t that simple, but the bulk of the story focuses on our duo, with the Apocalypse serving as a backdrop after dominating the first three episodes. The show starts off with a young girl walking out of a big house into the misty woods, but then cuts to something a bit more fun—Ichabod is learning to drive! After Abbie gives him a pep talk, he’s ready to roll: “Let us release our… Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2,Episode 3

This week in Sleepy Hollow our characters encounter money woes, trust issues, evil lawyers, and a new, scruffalicious guy in town. All caught up on your previous recaps? Okay, let’s go! The show kicks off with Henry Parrish painting a model of the Tarrytown Psychiatric Hospital—Hey, even Horsemen of the Apocalypse need a hobby, folks. Cut to the actual hospital, where Ichabod and Abbie try to visit Irving but are informed that they’ve been barred from visitation by Irving’s lawyer, a.k.a., War. Apparently, Henry’s interaction with Irving in the last episode wasn’t entirely a ruse—he’s hung up his shingle as an attorney! (“If you’re in so much trouble that you’re willing to hand over your soul, call 1-800-SIN-EATER.”)  They discover Henry is representing their friend, and instead of blowing the place open and getting Irving… Continue
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Lady Jane’s Salon Author Roundtable

When Romance at Random invited me to blog on Lady Jane’s Salon®, the New York City romance reading series I co-founded nearly six years ago, I leapt at the chance. An opportunity to spread the word about our passion project in a forum founded by and for romance lovers from all areas of the industry—talk about win-win! Each month, I’ll be interviewing our Salon guest authors, asking them my same five questions—plus a few totally random fun facts—and posting their responses exclusively here at Romance at Random. Recently I caught up with our October 6th readers: Alyssa Cole, Sara Jane Stone, and my Lady Jane’s Salon Co-founder, Maya Rodale. Here’s what they had to say.   At what age did you read your first romance novel? Was stealth required e.g., flashlight under Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season 2, Episode 2

(Note: first, I would like to issue an apology for not mentioning the confusingly hot alabaster hunk of beef that was Headless without a shirt. Honestly, he seemed so comfortable, just a headless man relaxing without the constrictions of a shirt or an axe, that I let it slide.) This episode has a slower pace than the season opener, and thank goodness for that. We need a moment to re-center ourselves in a post-Purgatory Sleepy Hollow. A lot still happens, though, because slow is a relative term in Sleepy Hollow. The show opens with headless dragging Katrina to a fiery circle where she is manacled and a creepy Henry presides over the joining of their blood, which would sanctify the union of Katrina and Headless. “You must be like him in every way,” Henry says… Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Season Two Premiere

When last we left the Sleepy Hollow gang: Abbie was trapped in Purgatory; Jenny was bleeding out in an overturned car; Captain Irving had turned himself in for murders he didn’t commit; Henry had revealed himself to be the second Horseman of the Apocalypse, War, as well as Ichabod and Katrina’s long lost son; and Ichabod had been wrapped in vines, stuck in a wooden box, and buried alive. Oh, and Katrina has been carted off by her creepy ex, the Headless Horseman. Given that, this episode starts off with a disorienting, banal intro. Although Ichabod’s initial “Leftenant” firmly reminds us of the relationship they built in the previous season, instead of fighting demons, Abbie is holding a cupcake and wishing a supremely irritated Ichabod Crane a happy birthday (more on that in a sec).… Continue

SLEEPY HOLLOW, A Season One Primer

Were you one of the people who saw a preview of the Fox show Sleepy Hollow and thought, “That looks like trash,” thus missing out on the most awesome show of last year? Fear not! If you haven’t had the time or inclination to watch season one, but don’t want to be stuck at the loser’s table when everyone else is swooning over IchAbbie (except for the one person who keeps insisting Katrina is the love of Ichabod’s life—nah, man): read this handy dandy guide to Sleepy Hollow, season one. If you watched season one but forgot all the crazy shiz that happened and want a refresher: read this handy dandy guide to Sleepy Hollow, season one. Because this show is wonderfully insane, there was a lot cover. This first post will recap episodes… Continue

Remembering Your First Time: Gateway Romances

Do you remember your first time? That first taste of love conflict, and lust in textual form, often right under your parents’ very noses? What I’m asking is: do you remember your first romance novel? If you’re anything like me, maybe you don’t. I went through books like a moth in a trunk, consuming everything in my path. But in my word-hungry ravaging of any library I could gain entry to, there are a few books that stand out in my memory. The ones I read again and again in pre-adolescent wonder, hoping that one day I’d find a love as sweet or tender or fiery hot as the ones between the flaking pages in my hands. Fifteen, by Beverly Cleary. I wonder if Beverly Cleary could have ever imagined that her sweet teen romance,… Continue