Episode 58: Liminal Spaces — Sleeping Together by Kitty Cook
Here at Whoa!mance, we believe wet dreams are always better with a buddy. That’s why this week, Morgan and Isabeau took a trip to the 206 to hang out with bored pharmaceutical employees Vanessa and Altan, as they explored their sexual tension in a shared hallucinatory dreamspace. But what began as a flirtation spiraled into addiction for Vanessa as her drug induced sexcoma proved a too temping balm for the anxiety caused by her husband Pete and the aftershocks of her traumatic past. It’s a true mind fucking y’all.
Episode 57: Lithe Yet Womanly (ICEWINE #4) — Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber
Much like a long day, ICEWINE could only set in the west. This week, Morgan and Isabeau put the series out to pasture with Debbie Macomber’s 1993 novel Morning Comes Softly where Travis, a rugged non-millionaire chauvinist cowboy is seeking a wife to help maintain his shack and family in Montana; lo and behold, Mary, a shy librarian in Louisiana, responds to his personal ad and travels sight unseen to go a-courtin’. It’s a love story of proximity that will make you wish your drink was closer too. Don’t forget to recycle yr boxes, bags, and bottles y’all; ICEWINE out.
Episode 56: Author Interview — Suleikha Snyder
BRAINFREEZE — all this ICEWINE’s got to our heads y’all. This week, Morgan and Isabeau take a break from the box to rub shoulders with the courtesans in Jeannie Lin’s novel The Jade Temptress; and who better to show them around than Chicago’s very own scribe of passion Suleikha Snyder, who selected this title as a personal all-time-fav. It’s a triple shot of historical mystery romance sure to get your noggins humming, arm hairs perked, and erogenous zones titillated all to a satisfying denouement. But don’t forget to refill those ice trays now...
Episode 55: To The Lifeboats (ICEWINE #3) — No Greater Love by Danielle Steel
Before James Cameron tackled the greatest sinkable metal of the modern era, Danielle Steel did it first and regrettably, with more chastity. This week, Morgan and Isabeau board a transatlantic voyage on the Titanic for an historically accurate, fade-to-black romp through the worlds of newspapers, publishing, old Hollywood, and the constrictive gender roles of yesteryear. Women and children first this week y’all; we see your ICEWINE and raise you an ICEBERG.
Episode 54: Take a Look at These Hands (ICEWINE #2) - Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Did you know yr average box wine fits FOUR bottles of that sweet sweet Dionysian nectar? I hope you didn’t go to hard out the gate cuz we back for ICEWINE ROUND 2. This week, Morgan and Isabeau unpack Indigo by Beverly Jenkins, a novel that doesn’t shy away from posing difficult questions while managing to stand up to the harsh light of our present moment. Who says you can’t take aim at slavery, white-male-capitalist-patriarchy, and coercive sexual relationships AND get a few rocks off while you’re at it? This week’s episode is dedicated to not letting notions of propriety ruin a good time.
Episode 53: Duchess or Dead (ICEWINE #1) - Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens
Break out the Franzia and give that bag a big ol’ slap y’all because it’s time for some motherbitchin’ ICEWINE. And what better way to begin than by taking a cold look at the skewed historical reality of Stephanie Laurens’ inaugural installment of her Cynster series, Devil’s Bride. One of the many missives of the 90’s culture wars, Morgan and Isabeau unpack the novel’s opinions on female agency and sexuality not-so-tacitly coded into the stuffy life of dukes and the messy business of murder. Don’t forget to restock the ice tray! Remember: you kill it, you fill it.
Episode 52: We All Deserve French Seams — The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Break out your graphing calculators for this one y’all. Celebrated for its depiction of a non-neurotypical heroine, econometrician Stella Lane is on a quest to become a more competent lover when family pressure nudges her back onto the dating field. Enter Michael Larsen, a Vietnamese/Swedish sex worker and breadwinner for a large family and ailing mother: who better to help Stella spend her audacious salary on a trial run at intimacy? But despite the cutesy cover and inclusive narratives, there’s a kernel of Romance’s dark foundation lurking in this reverse Pretty Woman.
Episode 51: Full Frontal Floriculture — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Well if it isn’t another twofer. This week, Morgan and Isabeau are taking a trip to the flower shoppe with the first installment of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series, a novel set in the world of Baroness Orczy’s notable 1905 work The Scarlet Pimpernel. In Willig’s novel, graduate student Eloise is finishing her dissertation when she stumbles upon a communique of the notorious and as-of-yet unmasked Napoleonic-Era British spy, the Pink Carnation. Subterfuge. Disguise. Intrigue. And a hand job in a boat that gives Madame Bovary’s famous carriage ride a turn for its garter. Plus, donation tips to help realign the pain of Quasimodo’s recent furlough.
Episode 50: Author Interview — Melonie Johnson
It’s a Whoa!mance double whammy this week y’all! Not only are Morgan and Isabeau joined by the brilliant and talented Melonie Johnson, but we’re getting a guided tour of Melonie’s all time favorite romance novel: Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. Imagine if Flowers for Algernon and A Beautiful Mind were study buddies with benefits, with the bulk of the sadness exchanged for more divide and multiply. Additional ingredients include: dukes, Quakers, and at the lord’s behest, openings. Plus, we get the scoop on Melonie’s upcoming trio of novels from the source herself. Summer 2K19 can’t come soon enough.
Episode 49: But For Whom? — Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
This week’s a little bit of everything y’all. We got murder. We got Las Vegas. We got snakes. Morgan and Isabeau are joined by friend and OG Las Vegan Marie to talk about the first installment of Deborah Coonts’ Lucky O’Toole series. Did we mention the swingers? Did we mention the porn stars; and oddly, the prudishness? It’s a tour de force of repressed desires with a hard on for justice. A very, conservative hard on. Recommended for those who’ve never seen their own selves naked.
Episode 48: For the Troops - A Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey W. Hill
We’re going hard this Pisces season with some more fresh caught fish fuckery y’all. Have you ever wanted to fuck Ariel, but also Tinkerbell? Does repackaging sex as “joining magic” help or hurt one’s chances of getting a little fin? How old were you when you gave or received your first body job? This week, Morgan and Isabeau are going off the deep end for this mermaid/angel sexcapade cum theological smorgasbord that defies explanation, genre classification, and its own internal machinery. We promise you’ll never think of waterbeds the same way.
Episode 47: Fish Sticks - The Pisces by Melissa Broder
If The Shape of Water tickled your sashimi, Melissa Broder’s New York Times dubbed “romance novel for intellectuals” The Pisces will either turn you pescatarian for life or give you full blown mercury poisoning. This week, Morgan and Isabeau plunge romance’s murky depths through the depressive eyes of Lucy, a newly single academic, as she navigates the choppy surfs of Tinder, group therapy, pet care, and the dexterous tongue of a merman. Can you smell that fresh salt air? Catch of the Day: MP
Episode 46: Outsides Are Insides - The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
When something is deemed a watershed moment, that something denotes that a larger thing is forever altered; often the phrase suggests a positive evolution or advancement. But what do we do when the thing that allowed for growth and expansion, is, in retrospect, more akin to a stagnant pond than a shimmering crystal lake? This week, Morgan and Isabeau travel back to 1972 to relive the groundbreaking release of The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss: a tome that elevated Romance to a new apex in the cultural zeitgeist. But the world reflected in F&F is fraught to say the least. We’re breaking out the big guns for this one y’all.