Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fighting Fate by Linda Kage

Today, we are proud to be one of the stops on the blog tour for "Fighting  Fate," by Linda Kage, as sponsored by AToMR Tours.

Forgiving your brother's murderer may be noble, but falling in love with him borders on betrayal.

When Paige Zukowski enrolls at Granton University in honor of her dead brother, she has no idea fate will land her on the same campus with the very guy who killed him. But Logan Xander isn't quite the murderer she's always believed him to be.

A day hasn't passed since the tragedy that Logan doesn't wish he could go back and undo everything. It doesn't take Paige long to realize he's suffered as much as she has. Forgiving him for ruining her life might not be so impossible after all. But when she actually starts to like him and realizes he likes her in return, their true anguish begins.

What I loved most about "Fighting Fate," was the way the novel showcased the importance of forgiveness.  Failing to forgive oneself and others will only bring you more grief.  This is evident in the depiction of Logan's angst and remorse for his role in the death of Paige's brother and Paige's father's struggles with alcohol.  Similarly, Kage did a great job of illustrating how holding on to grief can hold one back.  In order to grow as an individual, Paige had to move past the grief she carried since her brother's death.  I also appreciated the fact that Paige worked with a "grief group," rather trying to resolve things by herself. 

I also enjoyed the realistic way that Paige and Logan's relationship grew as the two of them strengthened and grew as individuals.  The progression of their relationship was slow and natural.

I could've done without the subplot involving Paige's friend "Einstein."  This plot point seemed over the top to me.  I would've liked it if the author explored a particular incident that Paige had a party more.

Regardless, "Fighting Fate," was a great read with some important life lessons.  I'd definitely recommend it to teens and college-age readers. I look forward to reading more by Linda Kage.

If you'd like to win a copy of "Fighting Fate," by Linda Kage, head on down to the Rafflecopter for a contest sponsored by our tour hosts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Linda Kage, please visit her website.

Finally, for alternate reviews, excepts and interviews with the author, please check out the rest of the tour stops.

Please note that I received no financial compensation for this review.  I was provided with a digital ARC of "Fighting Fate," by the tour hosts in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

It's the last Tuesday in October!  I don't know where the time is going.  Don't forget to set your clocks back this Saturday night.  You'll have a whole extra hour this weekend to check out one of this week's latest reads.

Charlaine Harris tells us exactly what happened to Sookie, Bill, Eric, and many supporting players in "After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse."  This book isn't a standard novel but rather a "where are they now," type of collection you'd find in alumni newsletter.  Still, I can't wait to check it out for myself.

Over in Romance, you can find "The Way Home," by Cindy Gerard and cozy up to "Candlelight Christmas," by Susan Wiggs.

Lisa Scottoline takes us back to the firm of "Rosato & Associates," with the long awaited 12th novel in the series, "Accused," starts a whole new era for the ladies.  Look for my full review on Thursday!  "Cold Snap," by Allison Brennan, "The Moonstone," by Wilkie Collins, and "Parasite" by Mira Grant are all available in Mystery/Thriller today. 

Pledge "Allegiance," and find Beh Bernobich's new Science Fiction/Fantasy novel along with "Two Serpent's Rise," by Max Gladstone, and "Dead Set," by Richard Kadrey.

Finally, head to the Young Adult section for "Brother, Brother," by Clay Carmichael and "All the Pretty Songs," by Sarah McCarry.

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list?  Share with us! Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Good Form

3.5 "Good Form"

In this week's episode Hook tricks David into saving himself while Emma, Snow, and Regina work together to find a way to get a message to Henry. Regina embraces her evil, employing it to do good and preserve Emma's purity. Meanwhile Henry is drawn into the world of the Lost Boys and Pan flits around plotting, taunting, and being generally creepy and twisted. In flashbacks we learn the truth of how Hook first came to Neverland and the honorable reasons he took up pillaging and plundering the seas.

The big theme of the episode was the importance of family and what lengths people will go through to protect them.

David could learn some things from Hook - his noble urge to protect Snow and Emma would not have been appreciated and they aren't going to be happy at all when they discover he can't leave Neverland. AND WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?! I don't want David stuck there forever. No. Though being stuck on Neverland is better than dying I suppose.

Emma says she's willing to do anything to save Henry. At first I was really scared about them listening to Regina because her plans haven't had a very good track record recently. Or ever. And I suppose there is still plenty of time for this heartless Lost Boy plan to blow up in their faces. But I also really love the idea that she can be evil and snarky and embrace that as useful instead of trying to pretend that she's nice and reformed or completely and purely evil. I like the balance they're finding in her character this semester.

In Hook's flashback, which was by the way not even close to enough information, we see that he is willing to do anything to save and then avenge his brother. (And that he looks pretty dashing in a uniform) The shock of learning that the king you thought was so noble is planning on mass poisonings is quite a blow. But Hook's drastic turn around is driven by the loss of his brother. Although he is disillusioned before, when Liam dies, Killian (how much do I love his name!) turns against everything he's stood for, rewriting the definition of "good form" to be almost unrecognizable.

Hook faces a number of challenges related to family in the present as well, but all connected to Emma's family rather than his own. His attraction to Emma leads him to save David from his ridiculous noble tendencies. And it works. Saving David leads to the first concrete romantic connection between them, but Emma is still so broken over the loss of Neal that there is no way she is going to be ready to move forward any time soon. Then with Pan's reveal of Neal's arrival in Neverland Hook is faced with a decision. Does he prove himself the honorable man of good form that he wants Emma to see him as and effectively destroy his chances with her? Or does he keep the secret to himself with the very real possibility that Emma will find out at some point anyway and feel betrayed by Hook's selfish behavior which will prove he is the pirate and brigand David pegged him as?

Henry, meanwhile, is losing sight and hope of his family. The look on his face after hurting the Lost Boy and being told he doesn't need to apologize was so un-Henry. The magic mirror (ha) arrives just in time, but rather than sticking it in his pocket he throws it away and I'm a bit scared who will find it.

Pan is still my absolute favorite part of this season so far. I love the complete creepiness and twisted mind tricks. And I really want to know more about how Hook went back to Neverland and ended up WORKING for Pan. This permanent youth has quite the reach of influence!

Side note - was anyone else thinking how sad it was that the last Pegasus sacrificed itself for nothing?
And Hook and Regina tied once again for favorite line of the episode.
I loved when Hook said to David, "There were two of you? I can barely stomach one." and followed that up with "That you were stubborn? Yes, I gathered that rather quickly."
And Regina's statement about Emma that "She didn't. I did. That's what I'm here for. One happy family."
Also, when David and Snow are kissing and she says she wants another good sleeping curse - her dead pan delivery of these lines just adds so much humor.
Oh, and how could I forget Hook's Princess Bride reference telling Emma "As you wish." Brilliant.

And of course this episode we finally got the iconic line: Second star to the right and straight on til morning. Which I have been waiting for since the first episode.

The main question we are left with at the end is who is in the other box next to Neal. My first thought was Rumple, but I'm not sure because that seems a bit too obvious. But it looks like we might be taking a detour before we find out more. I'm equally scared and excited to see what they do with the Little Mermaid story line next week.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

If you've got some time to kill this week, you'll probably want to spend it with John Grisham's "Sycamore Row," the sequel to his classic "A Time to Kill."  Best-selling author Donna Tartt's latest, "The Goldfinch" is also available today.

Mystery/Thriller fans have plenty of new books to pass the time this week including holiday themed novels such as "Duck the Halls," by Donna Andrews and "Silent Night," a Spencer tale by Helen Brand continuing Robert B. Parker's legacy.  "Ask Not," by Max Allan Collins, "Fallen Women," by Sandra Dallas, and "The Litter of the Law," by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown debut today too.

Romance lovers will want to take time to check out "Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade," by A.D. Robertson, "This Man," by Jodi Ellen Malpas and "Cinderella Screwed Me Over," by Cindi Madsen.

You can vicariously travel through time with "Doctor Who: Summer Falls and Other Stories," by Amelia Williams or "Esrever Doom," by Piers Anthony new in Science Fiction/Fantasy today.

"Divergent" fans have been waiting for this time, today is the day "Allegiant," the finale to the dystopian trilogy is released.  "Teardrop," the first novel in Lauren Kate's new series is also available along with "Reality Boy," by A.S. King, and "Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales," by Melissa Marr.

Are any of these books on your "to-read" list?  Share with us!  Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Nasty Habits

"Nasty Habits" 3.4

This week the band of misfits sets out to find clues from the one person who has ever left Neverland alone and Hook leads them to Baelfire's cave of wonders. Rumple hallucinates and promises to do everything, including sacrificing himself, to protect Henry, prophecy or no and Neal teams up with Daddy dearest to overpower Peter Pan. Meanwhile Pan tries to get into Henry's head and finds it a lot harder than he anticipated. In flashback we see Rumple and Bae's relationship dissolving and witness the first meeting between the Dark One and Pan plus the origins of the Lost Boys.

I adored this episode and there were two main reasons: Peter Pan and Neal.
I have mentioned the casting before, but Robbie Kay plays Peter Pan with a brilliant intensity somehow capturing every nuance of the character. I actually got goosebumps during his speech with the Dark One in the flashback. You want to hate him, but you also want to love him and all I can say is that we had better get a Peter Pan origin story soon.

"Nasty Habits" was all about isolation vs. belonging. Pan obviously feels isolated. Even in the midst of his Lost Boys he has noone he really connects with on an equal level, but all he can do is keep drawing more and more boys who feel the same way. He has a hard time getting into Henry's head because Henry belongs. He has 2 mothers, a father, and several grandparents who have all proved that, no matter what differences they may have, they all agree on their love for Henry. When he really begins to accept Neal's "death" and remains isolated from his family, that is when Henry begins to be able to hear Pan's music and to slowly be drawn into the life of the Lost Boys, though I certainly hope we see him pull back. His steadfast belief in his family is too strong to be overcome so easily. Emma finds herself alone once again. Having finally found Neal she has lost him once again and her relationship with her parents is still too strained for them to be enough comfort. Which is probably why she and Hook are drawn toward each other as he is also outside, but longing to belong. And David is desperate to keep his family together as long as possible, which is why he doesn't tell anyone what is happening. And if they don't find some magical way to keep him alive I'm just saying that heads will have to roll. Ahem.

Belonging is the center of Rumple's struggle both in the flashback and in Neverland. He wants to be a family with his son, but his insecurities and selfishness effectively drive Bae away. Now that Neal has returned, it's going to take time for Rumple to prove that he really has changed. Which of course, deep down inside he hasn't quite. The moment when Rumple accuses Neal of being an hallucination and Neal just says, Papa? was completely heartbreaking. The emotional intensity of this episode had me completely engaged throughout.

The twist of Pan with his pan flute being the pied piper was such a great twist and fits into the mythos well. And the idea that only the lonely and unloved boys could hear the music adds a nice touch. And I need to know how it is that Rumple grew up with Peter Pan. I need this story. Can you imagine the casting of a young Rumple? If they do it as brilliantly as they have done most younger versions of the characters then I am really looking forward to it.

Was anyone else yelling, "Second star to the right and straight on till morning" when Baelfire's star show started? And I would just like to say that that was one impressively carved coconut shell.

And when Neal calls up the squid I admit that I bellowed, "RELEASE THE KRAAKKEN." snrk. Who knew squid ink was so powerful.

Favorite line of the night is a tie.
David's retort to Hook when he says, "And I'm plenty hot" was hilarious. I actually rewound it because I was sure I had misheard it.

And Regina's best line in a really long time and pretty much her only contribution to this episode was her quip, "Yes, because preteen Baelfire probably made lots of pasta." That one got a good long laugh from me.

And I have two final thoughts. The first is on the prophecy surrounding Rumplestiltskin and Henry. I am fairly certain that his decision to turn his back on Belle's advice and his own conscience and go after Henry is the thing that will end up becoming his undoing. When he heard the first prophecy, where the seer said that his actions would leave Baelfire without a fire, Rumple responded with the act of cowardice that led to his evil obsession with magic and power and, as we all know, led to his loss of Bae. Turning his back on Henry and choosing to try to kill him will, in the same way, be the action that could lead to his complete downfall. Here's hoping he makes the right decision in the end, because I seriously can't imagine the show without either Rumple or Henry.

My other question is in regards to Pan's declaration that Henry is there to save the magic. Why is the magic in danger? What magic is he supposed to save and how? Pan has been looking for Henry for an extremely long time, but there don't seem to be any issues with people using magic.

So many questions! And next week's episode looks really good. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Identical by Scott Turow

25 years ago, after pleading guilty to killing his girlfriend, Dita Kronon, Cass Gianis is a free man.  Meanwhile his twin brother Paul is the candidate to beat in the race for mayor of Kindle County.  Dita's brother, Hal is convinced that Paul also played a role in his sister's death.  Hal is determined to sabotage Paul's political career and launches his own investigation into what happened the night his sister was killed.  As his team digs through decades evidence, they unearth more secrets and lies than the any of the families ever suspected.

"Identical" is fantastic, it reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows,"Cold Case."  Like "Cold Case," Dita's murder was re-examined in a thorough and detailed manner.  Turow takes his time to tell this tale by slowly introducing the readers to each individual who may or may not have had a role in Dita's demise.  Each character was established like a small but necessary piece in a very complicated puzzle.  As you read, each person interviewed seemingly had motive as they reflect on that fateful day.  You'll be creating your own theories along with the detectives and placing the blame on the various characters until the very end.  It was fun trying to put all the pieces together.  Did Cass really do it?  Or was he just protecting his twin or someone else? Was it a tragic accident?  Or are Cass and Paul merely scapegoats caught in the rift of a generations old conflict with the Kronon family? 

In addition to the mystery elements of this novel, I also loved the rich family dynamics detailed in this book.  The love and resentment that sometimes develops between even the closest of families was illustrated and motivated all of the characters.  Turow also clearly uses his lawyer background to provide the interesting procedural details.  The study of DNA and forensic evidence is thoroughly explained as is its impact on criminal investigation. 

Don't miss out on "Identical," it a great absorbing read.  I highly recommend you pick it up this weekend and get comfy because you won't want to put this book down.

Please note that I received no financial compensation for this review.  I was fortunate to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of "Identical" at the 2013 Book Expo America.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

 I can't believe it's the middle of October already!! It's almost time for Halloween.  Until then there are lots of treats by way of great new books this week.

Best selling authors Elizabeth George, Jo Nesbo and Scott Turow release their latest sure to be best-selling works, "Just One Evil Act," "Police," and "Identical," respectively.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of "Identical." 

Other new releases in mystery include "Behind the Shattered Glass," by Tasha Alexander, "Dead Man's Time" by Peter James, "Backlash," by Lynda La Plante, and "Styx & Stone," by James H. Ziskin.

Over in Science Fiction, Ann Rice continues her "Wolf Gift" series with "Wolves of Midwinter."  "Copperhead," by Tina Connolly, "The Last Visit," by Stephen R. Donaldson,  "The Cusanus Game," by Wolfgang Jeschke and "Luminous Chaos," by Jean-Christophe Valtat.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor brings her "Alice," series to it's grand finale with "Now, I'll Tell You Everything," which takes us from Alice's college years to her 60's.  "Revealed," the 11th "House of Night," novel by P.C. Cast is also available along with "The Darkest Minds You'll Ever Know," by Alexandra Bracken, "The Osiris Curse," by Paul Crilley, and "Unsouled," by Neal Schusterman.

Run to Romance you'll find "Chasing Morgan," by Jennifer Ryan, "Through the Smoke," by Brenda Novak, and "Duke of Midnight," by Elizabeth Hoyt.

Meanwhile Bridget Jones deals with heartache in "Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy," by Helen Fielding. Other new fiction releases include "Christmas Bliss," by Mary Kay Andrews, "How to be a Good Wife," by Emma Chapman and "Southern as a Second Language," by Lisa Patton.

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list?  Share with us and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Quite a Common Fairy

3.3 "Quite a Common Fairy"

Tonight the band of misfits continues wandering through the wilds of Neverland watching Peter Pan move his camp from under their noses. Hook suggests finding Tinker Bell, Regina, of course, has ticked her off, and Pixie Dust is apparently the panacea of the magic world. Meanwhile Pan tries to convince Henry that it wasn't Emma, but instead her son who is the savior, and Neal uses Robin Hood's son as bait. In the flashbacks we find out why Tinker Bell hates Regina, but Snow and Emma patch everything up in about 2 seconds.

I was a little bit less enthusiastic about tonight's episode. I felt like each storyline was a little tired. Regina ticks people off. Again. Even though in this case all she really did was run away. She certainly didn't ask Tinker Bell to risk everything. Pan and Henry got barely enough screen time to remind us they're still out there and the plot to get Neal to Neverland felt stilted and ... well, boring. Except for Roland who was the sweetest. Mulan joining the Merry Men was pretty much the most exciting thing to happen in the entire episode. But the more I think about it, the more things I remember that I liked, so ...

I did like Tinker Bell. I loved the costuming and the wing effect. But crazy Tinker Bell reminded me of a certain blonde in the final season of Lost. I was kind of waiting for them to stumble across some sort of dead squirrel baby or something. (this is kind of a private joke, but I couldn't resist including it, so I apologize if you have no idea what I'm talking about).

When Tinker Bell said, "I'm a fairy. You might want to try believing in me," I just wanted to shout at Regina "CLAP CLAP!"

Of course, the episode was all about belief - belief in others and belief in yourself, something almost all of our characters are lacking. Regina doesn't believe in herself, in love, or in much of anything. You could argue that she believes in Henry, but I disagree since she continually does the exact opposite of what he asks her to do. Emma doesn't really believe that she's the savior, and after this episode we all have to wonder if she hasn't been right all along. Tinker Bell doesn't believe in much anymore either, but she has managed to hold onto a little bit of hope, if she's willing to offer a little help to the band of misfits. However, that is presupposing she isn't setting them up or trying to hurt Regina again. Henry doesn't believe he's the savior, though he's obviously shaken by the drawing Pan gives him. And David doesn't believe that he can entrust his injury to the others. I know he is trying to protect them, but have we not been through this enough times already? Please. Neal doesn't believe in love either, since he's not sure if he'll be able to work things out with Emma and Henry. It's a whole big mess!

Regina is such a liar. Like always. And always blaming other people for her own problems. But I still don't see how Regina ruined Tinker Bell's life. Would the blue fairy have been any less apt to punish Tinker Bell if Regina had left her husband and met her "true love"? However, as always, happiness=weakness to Regina. It was a nice touch to make her heart all dark and hard.

Was anyone else wondering if Regina managed to give Tinker Bell the means to hurt her really badly now?I'm rather scared for Henry.

And how does Tinker Bell end up in Neverland? I'm hoping it has something to do with Hook and that we get that story soon.

I loved that Hook was the only one who knew what had happened with David. He's so much more perceptive than people give him credit for and I need another Hook-centric episode soon!

Mini Robin Hood was pretty much the cutest thing ever and I was so glad nothing happened to him.

Though we didn't get a lot of Henry, he did get the best line of the night when Pan offers him an apple:
"I don't like apples."
"Who doesn't like apples?"
"It's kind of a family thing."
And you've gotta give Henry props for trying to shoot Pan.

It does make sense to believe that Henry is the savior of magic, though. He's the one who has always believed in it no matter what. And Peter Pan is so well cast it almost hurts. I love the creepiness he exudes, but at the same time there are these tiny little hints that he's just trying to save everything. So I don't know. But I love the character!

I do like that Neal's speech pattern is so much more modern than the other characters. Emma and Neal are much more casual with more slang, conflated words, and contractions. There's a softness in their speech as opposed to all of the fairy tale characters who are very precise and crisp.

So there's my mixed bag thoughts on the episode. What did you think? What are you looking forward to? I can't wait for Neal to be reunited with his family! And it looks like we get back to Rumple next week as well.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

September Book Club: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

 Samantha Davis was saved from poverty and disgrace when Jonathan married her after her father all but destroyed the business he had owned with Jonathan's father. Now she finds herself filled with gratitude, but is that enough to keep their marriage going? And now her younger siblings have crossed the line in taking advantage of Jonathan's good will leaving her with no choice but to finally put her foot down.
Claire Walker has spent her life defined by being a single mother to her daughter Hailey. Now Hailey is off at college and Claire has a year to write her next book. The problem is, she can't put two words together on the page. As her money goes faster than she anticipated and her agent starts to question her commitment, Claire gets more worried and more blocked. Can she break free before it's too late?
Brooke MacKenzie finds herself suddenly alone with two young girls. She's having a hard enough time balancing everything on her own and it doesn't help when her ex-husband keeps blowing off his responsibilities. But when he moves into the building with his new girlfriend, it definitely isn't any better. How can she do the best thing by her girls when she's struggling just to make it through the day?
Edward Parker owns the Alexander, a renovated apartment building in the middle of Atlanta, and runs Private Butler, a company designed to meet its clients needs in a proper British fashion. He wants to keep the memory of his father alive and do right by his own personal standards. But when someone sweeps it all out from under his feet will he be able to recover?
These four vastly different people all live in the Alexander, but it isn't until Edward starts hosting weekly viewings of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey that they find themselves drawn together - first by their growing love for the period drama, but then by their growing friendship. But are they willing to really open up with each other and find the support they all need?

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What we thought:

Rebecca T: I was intrigued by this ever since I saw it because I'm an avid Downton Abbey watcher myself. I was expecting a fairly fluffy read, but I found something so much more. I absolutely fell in love with each of the characters. Although it's actually nothing like Downton Abbey (a fact I appreciated) it somehow has the same sort of feel. I think it's because of the way that the four main characters' lives intertwine with each other but also develop their own distinct story lines as well. I loved the organic way that the friendship developed between the three women and how they grew to rely on each other. I also really enjoyed the way the secondary characters came to life, especially the other members of the screening parties. A lovely book I look forward to reading again.
Jenn N: I really enjoyed this book. I was pleasantly surprised by the richness of it. When I first heard the title, I thought it was just a gimmick to ride the wave of success that Downton is having. However, that's not the case at all. The way the different characters came to the screenings and ultimately became friends seemed very natural and not forced. With most novels you always find one favorite character, but I loved these 3 ladies and Edward. I rooted for all of them to succeed. The characters' growth throughout the novel was also realistic. I especially liked Claire's commentary on the publishing industry. I wish I could've crashed one of the screening parties! They had great snacks and drinks.
For October we are reading Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed. Join us for scandals and surprises in the early 1900s.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

Happy Tuesday everyone!  There are a lot of new books this week so let's get right to it!

Mystery fans have a lot of sleuthing to do this week as there are tons of new releases today.  Twenty best-selling authors including Lawrence Block, CJ Box, Marcia Clark, Charlaine Harris, and sixteen others have teamed up to write "Inherit the Dead."  Proceeds from the novel will benefit a domestic violence charity.  Other new releases include "Solo: A James Bond Novel," by William Boyd, "Rasputin's Shadow," by Raymond Khoury, "Pagan Spring," by G.M. Malliet, "The Double," by George Pelecanos, "Storm Front," by John Sanford,and  "The Alligator Man," by James Sheehan.

Over in Romance, Debbie Macomber gets an early jump on the holiday season with "Starry Night," the only new genre release today.

Science Fiction fans can find some of their favorite authors in the short story collection, "Old Mars," edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.  Other new releases include "Diamond Deep," by Brenda Cooper, "The Walking Dead: Fall of the Governor," by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, and  "The Republic of Thieves," by Scott Lynch.

James Dashner begins his new YA series, "The Mortality Doctrine," with "The of Minds," and "Emerald Green," by Kerstin Gier is also available.

Will any of these books make your "to-read" list?  I've got my eye on the new James Bond thriller!  Please share with us and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Lost Girl

3.2 "Lost Girl"

Tonight in Neverland, as the band of misfits tramps through the jungle trying to find Henry, they actually find themselves getting along better than they would have guessed. Odd man out, of course, is Regina who still believes that magic is the answer to everything. Because that's worked out so well for her in the past. Charming and Hook actually agree more than once, to which Hook responds in his lovable snarkiness, and Emma has to come to grips with who she is if she ever wants a chance to save her son.
Meanwhile Rumple cuts off his shadow and starts hallucinating Belle and finds that it's a lot harder to get rid of a little straw doll than you might think.
In a flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Charming uses good old fashioned psychology to trick Snow into believing herself when Regina offers her the easy way out. The dwarfs play the over-protective brother role to a T, and Rumple plays his enigmatic self.

The big themes of the week were identity and decisions and the way our understanding of the one influences the other.

When Emma is given the map by Pan, she has to come to grips with who she really is. Of course, everyone (including me) immediately think that she's still unsure about her role as the savior and as the daughter of Snow and Charming. When she lists the truths about herself, I even noted - just because she says it, doesn't mean she believes it. And I still believe that is true. However, the exercise went deeper than that and connects quite nicely to the core issue in Peter's psyche - the abandonment of a child by his or her parents.

In the original story Peter returns to his home after having left, and finds another baby in his place, causing him to believe his parents no longer want him. The issue of child abandonment, of course, runs rampant through the Once Upon a Time universe. Emma is sent to our world by her parents and grows up in the foster system, feeling abandoned. In some of her best acting to date (imo) Emma's admission to her lonely childhood was absolutely heart wrenching and brought my first tears of the season (of course I'm a softy who cries at Cheerios commercials, so what do I know ;) It makes sense that she's having a hard time calling Snow "mom" (other than the bizarre age thing). Calling her mom would remind her that for most of her life, her parents were just a dream and people she cried over. And the fact that they are here now, doesn't make up for years of feeling unwanted. They may have had some moments because of, as Snow puts it, being about to die, but it's going to take more than an apology for Emma to put all of that in her past and accept the Charmings as her parents.

Then of course, Pan references Henry's abandonment by Emma and we know that Baelfire was abandoned by Rumple. Plus Rumple himself was abandoned by his cowardly father. Regina may have grown up with her mother, but I think we can all agree that Cora's brand of motherly love left Regina feeling emotionally abandoned. And Snow, though not voluntarily abandoned by either parent, is still left an orphan who is completely abandoned by her stepmother.

The question becomes - what are the characters going to do with this? How will they let it define who they are and who they will become?

Rumple begins to hallucinate the one person who has always been able to see good in him. He recognizes his cowardice for the first time in a healthy way - of realizing that his fear has caused him to lose everything he cared about. And now he has to make a decision. Does he take Pan up on his offer and abandon his grandson the way he abandoned his son? Or does he put himself on the line and save the one person in all of the realms who has been foretold to be his undoing? Whatever that little doll is, it certainly represents something significant in Rumple's past and it's not quite so easy to simply leave your past behind you.

In the flashback, Snow's story felt a little bit too obvious to me, but it was totally worth it to see the dwarfs go all tough on Charming. In a hair aside - Snow seriously needs a comb and major conditioning. But I also appreciate the fact that it looks like she's been on the run for years and then been under a sleeping spell. But I wanted to attack her head with some major hair products. Charming on the other hand had obnoxious Prince Ken hair that I wanted to swat. That curl at the front looked absolutely ridiculous.

And the one character who just doesn't ever seem to change, no matter what, is Regina. Even after all of the disasters one after another that have come about because of her reliance on magic, it is still her crutch. She may not like being called the Evil Queen, but every single week, even when the writers are trying to convince us she's redeemable, she proves that evil is not born; it is made - with every decision she makes. And every time she decides to take the "easy" way out or to break the rules in order to get what she wants, she pushes herself farther and farther into that role and further from being the woman who could be a part of Henry's life in any significant way.

And for some lighter commentary on the episode. I adore Hook and I don't care that he has no real storyline at the moment as long as they keep giving him the snappy one-liners that he can just nail the delivery on every time. My favorite was the conversation between him and Emma when he asked how the stories depicted Hook:
"If wax mustaches and perms are your thing."
"I take it by your tone perms are bad?"

Also, the actor playing Peter Pan is so creepy. I think it's great casting.

Was it just me or did Charming look incredibly uncomfortable in those pants in that last beach scene?

And btw, if they kill Charming off I don't think I will be able to forgive them.

So what were your favorite moments of this episode? And do you think Emma will ever be able to forgive Snow and Charming?