Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Reading Now: February Edition

So what's on my Currently Reading list? Take a look!

On my Nook: The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L.M. Montgomery - This came up alphabetically, but I was quite happy it did as I've been wanting to read it. And since I'm preparing for a conference proposal on L.M. Montgomery it's good for me to finally get to it! It's so fascinating read a little bit more about her life and childhood and get a feel for how many things Montgomery used from her own life in her books.

On my phone: A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist - I really enjoy Gist's Christian historical fiction. I think I read this once a long time ago as it's been vaguely familiar, but it's thoroughly enjoyable. Constance sneaks away from her father's house to bid her uncle good-bye and in the process she is kidnapped and carried off to the new world as a bride. When she's forced into a marriage, Constance prays that she is able to survive until her world can be set right. However, Drew isn't quite what he originally appeared and it might be harder for her to stay unattached than she plans.

On audio in my car: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien - I'm loving the reread. The narrator is fantastic. I'm remembering how much I loved this story. Especially the retaking of the Shire by the Hobbits (which of course was glossed over in the movies). I'm heading into the appendices and am very excited about those as well.

In print - non-fiction: The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and Cosmos by Gaston Bachelard - I am completely in love with Bachelard's writing. I read The Poetics of Space a few years ago, and it was basically the foundation of my MA thesis. This is just as beautiful and thought provoking. It's basically the philosophy/psychology of waking dreams and his way of presenting things never fails to stir my imagination.

In print - fiction: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins - This short story collection of holiday stories has been quite entertaining so far. Many of my favorite YA authors have stories in here and the variety of stories makes a nice collection.

On TV: Star Trek: The Original Series - I've been slowly working through this for a while. I had been watching it with my parents before I moved and a few months ago I picked up where we had left off. There are really some fascinating story lines and remarkably forward thinking, especially considering when it was being filmed.

What are you reading? Anything good? Do tell!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Downton Abbey Recap 5.7

Jenn N: I couldn't fathom a worse dinner guest than Ms. Bunting but then we  had the displeasure of meeting Lord Merton's elitist anti-Semitic  son  Larry. After insulting the entire family and being cursed about by Tom, Isobel seemed to be questioning her engagement. I wouldn't be racing to call Larry son.

Rebecca T: You know, it takes a complete jerk to bring a family together. That was crazy. I was kind of waiting for Violet to say something, but Tom getting into it worked too. I think he's really starting to realize both why he might want to leave and why it will be extremely hard for him to do so.

Jenn N: Tom is also planning a move. I don't understand  why he wants to take little Sybbie to Chicago. Life seems good for him right now.

Rebecca T: Life is pretty good, but I think Tom feels like he can't really be himself as long as he's living within the system he used to hate so much. He wants to get back to his roots and he just can't really do that at Downton. Having said that - I don't want him to leave! He and Sybbie playing Pooh Sticks was the most adorable thing.

Jenn N: Meanwhile  we learned that Violet isn't upset that Isobel's social standing will rise by marrying Lord Merton. As I suspected , she's going to miss her unlikely bestie. For once I completely  relate to the Dowager. When your bestie gets married and moves away, it's a major bummer.

Rebecca T: I was thinking there might be something bigger, but seeing Violet open up like that was so unexpected and sweet. I've never seen her express so much emotion. I totally teared up at that point. And Violet was cracking me up this week. "He's a man; men don't have rights."

Jenn N: And like Lord Merton and Isobel, another couple racing to an engagement was Rose and Atticus. They're an adorable  couple and they seem to have a lot of fun together but doesn't anybody date anymore?

Rebecca T: I don't think dating was really a thing? But this relationship is moving very quickly. However, Atticus is one of the most adorable things ever. I think he's my favorite man to have been on the show. But I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop (other than the challenges facing them with an inter-faith marriage).

Jenn N: Anna and Bates believe they can put the Mr. Green debacle behind them. Let's hope so. I'd really like to see them live the future they've begun to plan.

Rebecca T: My favorite line from that conversation was Bates saying "Whenever I see a problem, you see only possibilities." I also thought it was interesting how many of the staff are planning for a future beyond working in a big house. the Bates' have been talking about buying a place for a while, Mrs. Patmore is buying a house, Carson wants to go in with Mrs. Hughes on one (side note: Mrs. Hughes is my most favorite person on this show). I loved the visit to Mr. Mason. I have such a soft spot in my heart for him. And I love his relationship with Daisy. But I'm totally not believing the "new and improved" Thomas. It was so bizarre seeing him offer actual helpful suggestions for once.

Jenn N: Cora cooks up what I think is a crazy plot for Edith to basically adopt her own daughter under the guise that the Drewe's can't afford to care for her any longer.

Rebecca T: I don't see how they can expect this to fly. Also, Mary's attitude toward Edith is really driving me crazy.

Jenn N: Fortunately  Robert was too preoccupied  with a sick Isis to see through this ridiculous story. Unfortunately the love of Robert 's life, Isis is dying of cancer. It was heartbreaking and sweet when Cora invited Isis into their bed.

Rebecca T: Heartbreaking and sweet was EXACTLY how I described that last scene. But I also had this sudden horrible pang that the one comment sounded terrifyingly like foreshadowing of something horrible coming for Cora.

What do you think? Do you trust the reformed Thomas? Do you think Isobel will go through with the wedding? What roadblocks could be in line for Rose and Atticus?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Laydown Lowdown

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!!  There are lots of great new books to throw your beads at today.

Over in Mystery, you can check out "Lies That Bind," by Maggie Barbieri, "Last Days of the Condor," by James Grady, "Nobody Walks," by Mick Herron, "Dreaming Spies," by Laurie R. King, and "The Whites," by Richard Price. 

Race to Romance for "The Diamond Ring," by Primula Bond, "The Master," by Kresley Cole," "I Do," by Rachel Gibson, "Cinderella and the Ghost," by Mariana Myles, and "Enchanters Echo," by Anise Rae.

Swing through Science Fiction/Fantasy for "Half the World," by Joe Abercrombie and "Fortune's Blight," by Evie Manieri.

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Downton Abbey Recap 5.6

Jenn N: What I noticed this week (similar to your camera work note last week, Rebecca) was that this past week, we spent a lot of time in the characters private space.

Rebecca T: I hadn't noticed that, but now that you mention it, that's an interesting observation. We're getting much closer to some of these characters - and, for many of the characters, their lives are moving beyond the house, so what they do outside of Downton Abbey itself is becoming more important than it used to be.

Jenn N: And as far as the private space goes, we got an intimate  look inside the Bates home as Anna and Bates finally discussed what happened with Mr. Green. Shockingly, Bates didn't kill Green?! Woah! I would've defended him even if he did it. I hope the infamous train ticket doesn't lead to an arrest.

Rebecca T: I'm so relieved Bates didn't do it. I felt like Anna - totally unsure whether he had done it or not. As soon as I saw him going through the drawers in the cottage I knew he was going to find the birth control, but I didn't expect it to go the direction it did. But I am glad that this got things out in the open. I really hope the detectives just let it drop.

Jenn N: Back in Cora and Robert's bedroom we learn that Robert has been sleeping in a guest room. Cora finally had enough and told him that if he can honestly say that he's never given a woman the wrong impression  then he can stay there. Otherwise she wants him back in their room. Until this moment I forgot that Robert once kisses one of the maids. He must've remembered  too as he returned to Cora.

Rebecca T: I think that was Robert's dressing room that he was staying in. I remember him saying something to that effect last episode. When Cora called him out that way I think I literally yelled, "Oh Snap" at the television. But I'm glad they had it out and are back together again.

Jenn N: Mary's haircut.

Rebecca T: Maybe it's just me, but Mary's new look reminds me of Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, especially when she had the hat on during the point to point. Illustration:

Jenn N: Could Mary have picked a worse time to debut her new look?  I know Mary and Edith aren't close but Mary could've at least feigned some sympathy. Mary practically became became a hermit while mourning  Matthew but couldn't give Edith the tiniest bit of sympathy over Michael's passing?! That was really cold. You would think Mary could at least draw on her past loss to give a little sympathy to Edith but apparently  Mary is too busy juggling Gillingham  and Blake.

Rebecca T: Ugh. Yes. I couldn't believe how cold Mary was being. I thought she and Edith had at least called a truce by this point, but apparently not. Not that I'm excusing her behavior, but I also don't think that Mary had any idea how close Edith and Michael had gotten. She wasn't really paying attention to Edith at that point and, of course, has no idea the time they spent alone together. But, all she should need to know is that Edith is upset and at least have, like you said, even the tiniest bit of sympathy. And what is up with Charles?

Jenn N: Blake continues his odd plan to force himself, Mary, Mabel and Gillingham together in social  situations. He's even gotten the group together at the castle. I'm not really sure what he's up to. Mary's made it clear that she's done with  Gillingham and may be interested in Blake so why does Blake care who Gillingham and Mabel date?

Rebecca T: I can't figure out his end game, that's for sure.

Jenn N: And poor Thomas. I finally felt sorry for him. He's lucky that Baxter overlooked all the grief he's put her through and helped him out. Maybe he'll finally be a little nicer?

Rebecca T: I... I just can't with Thomas. But I do hope his character has a chance to grow a little. He's become almost a caricature of a person. Though I do love the chance to see more of who Baxter really is.

Jenn N: And Isobel has said yes to Lord Merton. I wonder what this will mean to Mr. Clarkson when he hears the news?

Rebecca T: I'm kind of surprised she said yes. I think Dr. Clarkson knows he didn't really have a chance there. But I'm curious to see how Violet deals with this.

Jenn N: I was panicking  for a minute when Edith was telling Tom to pass along her farewells to the family. I was worried  she was planning on taking her own life since she set her room on fire. Instead she made the bold move to take Marigold and flee to London. I'm happy for her but I know she'll face some serious  repercussions.

Rebecca T: Almost from the beginning of the episode I was so afraid Edith was going to commit suicide. I can't believe she thinks she can do this. I know she has a source of income now, but she can't keep a child a secret, especially in a place where she is known. And I felt heartbroken for and then proud of Mrs. Drewe. That was just a situation that could not continue. And one last thing - I absolutely adore Atticus. The more I get to know him the more he makes me happy. I hope there are no deep dark secrets and that he and Rose can have a fairly smooth and happy relationship with little drama.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 Picture Books I Read Recently and Loved

I was thinking about what book I wanted to review next and I just read a bunch of picture books I really enjoyed so I thought I'd just list 10 of the ones I've read recently that I loved (in no particular order).

1. The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer
This twist on the classic "Boy Who Cried Wolf" tale will have youngsters giggling. Tim describes the crazy things he sees and his parents don't believe him. Does he have a really big imagination or could there actually be truth in his tales?

2. Edgar Gets Ready for Bed by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Ron Stucki
Edgar is your typical toddler (though he is, of course, a raven). Whether it's getting ready for bed, cleaning up, or eating dinner he adamantly replies "Nevermore!" Besides being a cute read, the hidden Poe references will have adults chuckling along (look for a Poe jack-in-the-box and a wobbly house of Usher).

3. Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
As someone who grew up in a household where we often played with cardboard boxes, I fell in love with this book the first time I read it. Found it in our library and reread it recently and loved it just as much. What is a cardboard box? Anything you want it to be!

4. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The bear has lost his hat. He goes looking for it, asking every animal he comes upon if they've seen it. He's about to give up when he realizes that he's seen his hat and knows exactly who took it. The ending may go over very young children's heads, but slightly older children (and those reading the book to them) will be able to read between the lines and enjoy being in on the joke with the bear and the author.

5. My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown
Bobby and his teacher don't really get along. He's a little ... spirited, and he's sure she is a monster. But when they bump into each other outside of the classroom, Bobby is forced to take another look at the person he thought he knew so well. The subtle morphing of the teacher in the illustrations adds nicely to the gentle message that teachers are more than just their classroom persona.

6. Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry
Turtle is all alone in a giant ocean, so when a boat full of animals crashes on his shell he's excited to make new friends. The animals like Turtle, but they miss their families so they set out to head back home, leaving Turtle alone again. But the animals have a surprise in store! The beautiful watercolor backgrounds add to the gentle feeling of family and friendship built through the story.

7. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss
This collection reprints stories that were never completed as picture books. Light on the images because of this, it's still a delightful read. No one rhymes like Dr. Seuss!

8. Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
The three bears get carried away and accidentally break their mother's favorite shell. They set out on a grand adventure to replace the shell and meet many interesting characters along the way. The artwork is gorgeous with nods to Melville and LeGuin. And while the three siblings do face appropriate consequences, the love between them and their mother leaves the ending on a happy note.

9. Found by Salina Yoon
Bear finds a lost stuffed bunny and sets out to help the toy find its way home. But as he carries the bunny around and it becomes part of his life, Bear isn't quite ready to let go when the bunny's owner finds him. With a true Toy Story 3 type twist, Bear and bunny have a happy ending.

10. Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers
This is the kind of book where you just feel like these people got together, started spit-balling ideas, and then came up with something utterly ridiculous and are brilliant enough to make it work. With additions to the "original" illustrations and changes to the dialogue, the innocuous "Birthday Bunny" turns into a battle of epic proportions. (Besides this book really reminded me of my favorite StrongBad episode)(Seriously, click on that link)

Have you read any good picture books recently? I'm always happy to add more to by TBR pile!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Laydown Lowdown

Valentine's Day may just be a few days away but ironically there are no new Romance titles this week.

However, you can still get your heart racing with a new Mystery/Thriller such as "Twelve Days," by Alex Berenson, "A Woman Unkown," by Frances Brody, "Pardon the Ravens," by Alan Hruska, "Obsession in Death," by J.D. Robb, "The First Wife," by Erica Spindler, and "Crazy Love You," by Lisa Unger.

You can escape to another world with the latest offerings in Science Fiction/Fantasy: "Righteous Fury," by Markus Heitz, "The Eternal Files," by Leanna Renee Hieber, "Finn Fancy Necromancy," by Randy Henderson, and "The Glittering World," by Robert Levy.

Over in Young Adult you can be "One of the Guys," by Lisa Aldin, "The Red Queen," by Victoria Aveyard or pick up "All That Burns," by Ryan Graudun, "The Shadow Cabinet," by Maureen Johnson, and "The Ruby Circle," the latest "Bloodlines" novel by Richelle Mead.

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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Downton Abbey Recap 5.5

This week I (Rebecca T) wanted to start with an observation. Normally I don't pay too much attention to the cinematography of a show I'm watching (usually because I'm so focused on what's happening, I'm thinking of the characters and dialogue), but I started to notice that this particular episode felt a little different. And then I noticed that there were so many shots of doorways, thresholds, passages, gates. I'll give you 3 examples - 1. When Edith comes downstairs to make the phone call, the shot holds back with her in the foreground, then Anna standing in the doorway, and then Daisy behind her, just in the other room - all framed around that door. 2. At the Dowager's dinner, there is a long moment with Mrs. Crawley and Lord Merton heading through the door to the dining room and Violet and Dr. Clarkson just this side of the door, talking. 3. The part of the episode we'll discuss shortly - Mr. Bricker, and Lord and Lady Grantham in the bedroom. Robert comes through the door, Bricker is headed toward the door, Cora talking to Edith through the crack in the door. And these are just a small sampling of the shots I noticed.

And I started to think about it. Almost every character is in the middle of or about to make (or be forced to make) a major decision that could change the course of their lives. This season and this episode in particular seemed to be about thresholds - lines you cross or don't cross that affect who you are. I thought the cinematography did a good job of subtly emphasizing that.
And speaking of crossing lines...

Jenn N: Should we start with the wildest part of the episode? The part that made me actually yell out an expletive. Mr Bricker crossed the line. In fact I think he ran over it, backed up and ran over it again. He apparently  took Cora's innocent interest in him to mean she'd welcome him in her bedroom.  She told him to leave but of course this is the exact moment that Robert decides to come home early. In my opinion Robert justifiably punched Bricker in the face.

Rebecca T: I was clutching my hands together internally screaming (so I wouldn't disturb my neighbor) about that part. I think Cora was appreciating the slight flirtation, but I don't think she ever expected Bricker to go that far. And while I think Robert has been blind to Cora's needs, I was totally on his side for that punch. But honestly. Did Cora have to tell Edith that she and Robert were just "playing a silly game"? I mean, really? Just say you knocked the lamp over. I was shaking my head at that. But I am curious to see how Robert and Cora's relationship is affected by this. I hope Robert doesn't continue in his stupidity like he did at the cocktail party.

Jenn N:I'm worried about the changes for Bates and Anna. We saw the really sweet conversation  about them planning a family. However earlier Anna was questioned about her whereabouts  the day Mr. Green died. I'm concerned  that they'll try to pin the "murder" of Anna and Bates will confess to protect her.

Rebecca T: I just want this whole business to be over with. There is way too much attention being paid to Greene's death for no reason that I can ascertain. There has to be someone feeding information in the background. I am sure there are many more crimes that deserve more attention than one that is based on such vague suspicions.

Jenn N: While I as a viewer understand Edith's interest in Marigold, I don't understand  how Edith thought bringing Rosamund by would help. Maybe she thought Rosamund would tell Mrs. Drewe the truth? I suspect Edith is going to try and runoff with  Marigold.  I watch a lot of soaps so maybe this another crazy idea of mine but could you imagine if Edith runs away to parts unknown and that's when Michael returns alive and well with a valid explanation for his disappearance ?

Rebecca T: Well, I kind of consider Downton a period soap opera. And no, I totally see that happening! I just know Michael is going to show up. And if he doesn't, I'm going to be very disappointed. I don't know what Edith's plan was, but I just feel rotten for her, even though she's brought a lot of this on herself. I completely understand that she would want to be a part of her child's life, and it's sad that she lives in a society that would shun her for trying to do the right thing now that she's gotten to this point.

Jenn N: Speaking of society and shunning. Apparently  Thomas ' s syringe has something to do with him trying to change his sexuality.  It's awful that it was illegal at that time for him to be his true self. Now that I think about it? This would explain why he is so miserable all the time. He just wants to be loved just like everyone  does.

Rebecca T: I understand what you're saying, but I don't think, at this point, that any excuses can be made for much of his behavior. He's just been plain mean and cruel to so many people. I just can't feel sympathy for him. However, I did think that Baxter has a remarkably progressive view of the situation for a woman of that time period. Maybe she's been picking up some progressiveness from Sarah. And I'm sorry, but I have to say it YES SHE'S GONE!

Jenn N: I felt a tiny tiny bit bad for Ms. Bunting. It seems she really did love Tom. I thought it was great when Tom reminded her that his daughter is a Crawley. So her hatred of the family as a whole is inappropriate.  I thought it was sweet of Daisy to defend Sarah and I was worried that Tom would cave but he made the right choice by letting Sarah go.

Rebecca T: Daisy was sweet. And I think Sarah thought she loved Tom. But if you love someone you also have to think about the people they care about, which Sarah never did. I also was terrified that Tom was running after her to stop her and relieved about his decision. He realized that, while he can't forget his ideals, he's also learned a lot and sees a bigger picture and can't judge a whole class the way he used to. I also thought that another tiny stride was made toward a possible connection between Tom and Mary. They have these great little moments and, while I can't see them romantically involved, they make such a great partnership.

Jenn N: I also thought it was great when Dr. Clarkson asked Violet if she was just jealous that Isobel's social ranking would increase should Isobel marry Lord Merton. Violet said no but I think it does have a bit to do with it. Plus I also think that Violet has really grown to like Isobel and is slightly jealous that she might have to compete for Isobel's time in the future,

Rebecca T: And I think she really is a little concerned that Isobel won't be happy if she accepts. I think Lord Merton is more interesting than some people give him credit for, but Isobel is a middle-class woman living with the upper class. And I think there would be a lot of things about being Lady Merton that wouldn't sit well with her. Violet has a lot of different motives going on, but I think she does care for Isobel's well-being.

Jenn N: I'm also interested at seeing how Rose's relationship  with Atticus develops. I wish I paid more attention in history class so I could better understand  why his family had to flee Russia.

Rebecca T: I'm not really familiar with that period of history either, so I'm no help there. I did adore the look on Atticus' face when Rose obviously didn't have a single thing to think about his family being Jewish. She's so naive in the best possible way and I'm also curious to see how their relationship develops (though I miss the jazz player!).

Jenn N: Charles Blake had the misguided idea to get Mary and Tony ' s ex together for dinner. It was the definition  of awkward. I can't believe he expected Mabel to just take Tony back after he broke off the engagement. Mabel held her ground though. She's quite saucy and I don't know how we'd see more of her but I sure hope we do.

Rebecca T: When I heard Mary was having dinner with Charles I just wanted to bang my head against the wall. She's better off alone than with him or Tony at this point. And Mabel is a bit too sharp tongued for my taste, but I also have a feeling we haven't seen the last of her.

So what do you think is in store for us tonight? Can't wait to find out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Laydown Lowdown

Yesterday we got approximately 12 inches of snow here and today the temperatures are in the single digits.  If that's not a good excuse to cuddle up with a fluffy blanket and a good book, I don't know what is.  Fortunately there are plenty of new reads to escape in this week.

Choose from "Paper or Plastic," by Vivi Barnes in Young Adult plus "I'll Meet You There," by Heather Demetrios, "Invaded," by Melissa Landers, "How Not Fall In Love," by Lisa Brown Roberts and "Something True," by Kiernan Scott.

Take the edge of your post Superbowl withdraw with "Quarterback Draw," by Jaci Burton.  Other new releases in Romance include "Overcome," by Lora Leigh, "Closer Than You Think," by Karen Rose, and "Hero," by Samantha Young.

Find yourself "Among Thieves," by John Clarkson and pick up "Death of a Liar," by M.C. Beaton, "Crash & Burn," by Lisa Gardener, "The Chessmen," by Peter May or "The Replacements," by David Putman in Mystery/Thriller.

Check out "Dark Intelligence," by Neal Asher, "Trigger Warning: Short Stories and Disturbances," by Neil Gaiman, and "Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," by Judd Trichler in Science Fiction/Fantasy.

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Downton Abbey 5.4

Jenn N: It always cracks me up when aristocratic  rich people like Rose 's father have silly nicknames. How do you take anyone called Shrimpy seriously? I guess it was just the time period but I don't understand  why the scandal of divorce would just impact Shrimpy's social standing and not his soon to be ex-wife's social standing. I loved the heart to heart talk that this prompted  between Rose and her father. His relationship  struggles gave him the understanding  Rose needs as she starts moving into the modern dating scene where love and not social standing dictates a decision  to marry.

Rebecca T: I too loved the father/daughter talk. Though I'm not sure a "blank check" is such a good idea, knowing how impulsive Rose is. But I'm sure she will end up making an unorthodox choice, so at least she should have her father on her side. I hadn't thought about the nickname Shrimpy myself. In regards to the divorce, I wonder if it will affect him more since he's the one divorcing her rather than the other way around (I get that feeling anyway), so she will be more pitied perhaps? I'm not sure. I'm also really glad Rose will be staying on at Downton for now. I wasn't sure about her last season, but she's calmed down in all the right ways and she really brings some much needed levity to the upstairs part of the household.

Jenn N: And for all his modern dating ways, Lord Gillingham didn't take getting dumped very well. I initially  had a little sympathy for him as he really  does seem to love Mary but his anger and refusal to accept her dismissal of him really put me off.
Mary is still struggling to figure out who she wants or what she wants out of life now after Matthew died. Tony really should've been a little more sympathetic.

Rebecca T: I've been behind the Tony/Mary connection, but not "shipping" it per se. But his reaction has totally put me off as well. I couldn't believe he would say some of those things. And wasn't the whole point of their little private excursion together to make sure that they truly wanted to be together? However, I do find it a bit ironic that it's actually just from spending time with him (not sleeping with him) that makes Mary realize they don't have as much in common as she thought they might. I hope he isn't going to cause problems.
Also, I thought Blake was an absolute jerkface this episode as well. I honestly wanted to slap him with his little jabs at the fashion show. Both her suitors from last season have lost all credibility in my mind.

Jenn N: Mary and Tom make a really good business  pair in their work the estate with Mary trying to keep traditional  while trying to keep moving forward  and Tom inputting some of his progressive  ideas into the fold. I know Tom is considering leaving but I wonder what would happen if Tom and Mary got together  romantically .  It probably  won't happen but I think their differences  are good for each other. Plus, the family  wouldn't have to worry about  him ever taking off with the baby.

Rebecca T: You know, this crossed my mind briefly last season - wondering if the two of them would make a couple. I don't think I could see them romantically involved, but I could see them agreeing to a marriage of "convenience" as partners. Either way, I agree that they make a great pair and I really don't want to lose Tom (and Sybbie!).

Jenn N: I loved seeing the dress show that Mary went to. I don't know why it never occurred  to me that they had runway shows then just as they do now. The 20 ' certainly had some beautiful  gowns.

Rebecca T: It was really cool seeing the dresses and I too hadn't thought about them having fashion shows. I love the attention to fashion in the show. It's just fun. But back to romantic entanglements, what do you think about Lord Merton's proposal?

Jenn N: I was just as flabbergasted  as Isobel when Lord Merton proposed. His proposal  was sweet but I think he should've asked her on some dinner dates first.

Rebecca T: Ha! You know, I thought it was interesting that he said it was a love match, but honestly, they've talked for like what, five minutes? I mean, Violet went out of her way to keep them apart. How on earth can he know he loves her? I agree. I think it would have been better if he had maybe asked permission to court her or something. But they are both widowed and older so he's probably thinking he doesn't want to waste much time? It seemed very abrupt!

Jenn N: Ms Bunting just needs to go. I dislike her as much as Robert does now. She's just flat out rude.

Rebecca T: I cannot stand that woman. At all. She is making wide, sweeping judgments about people she hasn't had the courtesy to get to know. PLUS, calling Daisy and Mrs. Patmore up was just out of control. In the midst of her "progressive-ness" she doesn't seem to care at all about the people she's supposedly helping. She didn't stop to think for a second that it might be stressful to Daisy.
But, I loved Daisy's answer. So much. And I love the way she's really interested in what she's learning. I just wish she had a teacher who had even the smallest amount of common courtesy.
Also, I'm really curious to see where Tom ends up falling in the Sarah conflict. It's obvious he connects with her political ideals, but it's also obvious that he doesn't appreciate her demeaning the people who have become his family. He even specifically asks her to be nice and she thumbs her nose at his request. Tom is a fairly soft-spoken person, but I see an explosion in his future (or I hope for one - I would love to see him tell Sarah off).

Jenn N: And is it just me or does anyone  else find it ridiculous  that the London police would put this much effort  into finding out what happened  to Mr Green. They put the equivalent  of an undercover  cop at Lord Gillingham 's apartment  in case anyone suspicious  came by?!   That just doesn't seem like to me.

Rebecca T: That does seem an awful lot of money/manpower for something they have virtually no real evidence for. Maybe someone is pressuring them?

Jenn N: Meanwhile  poor Edith  got the bad news that Mrs Drewe  doesn't want her around anymore .  Edith  deserves some happiness  - please send her some goodness soon writers!!!!

Rebecca T: I agree. Edith, Anna, and Bates all need some happiness.

Jenn N: I'm interested  to see what  develops between Violet and the Prince. Part of me hope he finds his wife but another part of me would like to see him rekindle something with Violet.

Rebecca T: I can't see Violet in a relationship. It just doesn't compute in my brain! But I would love it if she was able to reunite him with his wife.

Jenn N: I'm don't think Thomas has that syringe for medical  purposes. Although  there was a mention on the development  of insulin a few episodes  ago but Thomas never looked sickly.

Rebecca T: Ooh! I had never considered it not being medical. He did look pretty horrible when he came back from his trip. I was wondering if it was something like syphilis since he's acting so embarrassed and he made some comment (don't even remember what it was now) that somehow made my mind go that way. I did like that Baxter was the one who was concerned, but I honestly couldn't care less. I'm kind of over Thomas at this point. It's stealing away from time on people I actually care about.
Like Mr. Molesley with the first footman nonsense! That was getting annoying, but it made the point. And I had to laugh over the fact that it was Carson who was teaching someone else about the importance of changing with the times and not getting caught up in tradition. There's a switch!

So will you be hanging out in Downton tonight? Or will you be cheering on the Patriots or Seahawks and catching up with the Crawleys later?