Sunday, March 29, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Best Laid Plans

4.17 "Best Laid Plans"

There's been a lot of build up during this half of the season about Snow and David's big secret. Tonight we got the pay out for that. It was bad. Really bad. But honestly the previews spoiled half of it. Meanwhile in the present, Regina's thinly played undercover plot goes bad, the author is released, and Emma's trying to deal with the massive betrayal she feels. It's a good thing she's got Killian there.

So in the flashbacks the Charmings seem to be obsessed with wearing fur. It looked weird.

I had a feeling something was up with that peddler (other than that he's Phil from the Dharma Initiative), but didn't see the twist of him being the author.

In a move that continues to blur the lines between the heroes and the villains, Snow and Charming harm an innocent child in order to try to protect theirs. Whether it was a dragon or a human, it was still a pretty villainous move. And without making reparations of some sort to Maleficent, that guilt has obviously still hung over them. You can do other good deeds all you want, but it doesn't erase the consequences of the bad choices you made. However, just as making a couple of good choices doesn't erase all of the bad ones, so too making a couple of bad choices doesn't eliminate good ones. It's becoming more and more developed that being a villain is centered in making consistent selfish choices.

I know I'll step on some toes when I say this, but just like Snow and David aren't villains because of this choice (this horrible, giant, evil choice the repercussions of which they are still dealing with), so too Rumple is a villain despite the few good, selfless choices he's made. It's the pattern of the life that matters. And Regina is one example how someone can change the course of their life by changing the choices that they made.

As Rumple was talking to Belle, he said that magic has a cost and that he's so far in debt he can never get out of it. But - BUT he keeps using magic and making choices (not all, people aren't all good/all bad, even here in Storeybrook) in a selfish fashion. No, you're never going to get out of debt if you don't stop spending. And while I believe that Rumple could still redeem himself, he would have to completely change his decision making paradigm and if he wouldn't do it for Belle or for his son, I don't see what else could give him the impetus to do so in the future.

As for Emma and the possibility of "un-savioring" I think that Killian is going to have a huge impact on that, which means he's most definitely going to continue being a target, especially from Gold. I really appreciate the growth in Emma's character and the way she's claiming responsibility for her actions and choices. How much that will matter if and when more magic gets involved we shall see. I liked the way they casually worked in Emma's friend Lily in the earlier conversation because, at least I'm assuming, that this was the very Lily who is Maleficent's daughter. I mean, nothing else would make sense for this show. Though, of course, we don't know how she ended up being separated from her adoptive parents.

Back to Emma - I did have a couple of questions about this, though. If the potential evil all went into Lily, then how does Emma have the potential to go dark? And if they both still have the potential to be evil or good, then what was the point of that spell? And since Emma wasn't raised by David and Snow, then was the whole thing completely pointless?

And can we just have a moment of appreciation for Henry please? He's gotten far too little screen time in my opinion. He knew what to do when the sleeping curse fell, he found the key, he helped keep up the ruse just long enough to get the book back to where it needed to be. I would have liked to see him give David a little bit of sass when David was so rude about the book/key, but I also like that he trusts his grandparents. I'm hoping he gets to play a more active role in coming episodes. (Also, Henry's middle name is Regina's first love?! *cries quietly in the corner*)

I think I was most disappointed in David this episode. He was doing far too good a job of justifying, both in the past and in the present. I'm just glad Snow came to her senses and had two lines that were pretty significant for this episode:
"Heroes do what's right. Not what's easy." It's all about the choices. And, connecting to what I was saying earlier, "None of that matters. What matters is what we did." And that's the difference between a hero and a villain. Not that they don't make bad choices or mistakes. It's that they take responsibility for those actions. No matter what was going on around them, all of the circumstances that led them to do what they did, they are responsible for doing the wrong thing. Hiding it, making excuses, lying - those are the hallmarks of a villain, and I'm glad Snow realized this. Though I have a feeling we won't be so glad that the author has been released.

Speaking of the author, it's really a shame August didn't share some of this knowledge earlier. That was a rather hastily and contrived info dump, which the show is usually pretty good at avoiding. Though I did appreciate the nod to Walt Disney (along with others). Also, it seems to me that the author would need that magic quill in order to actually make things he writes down happen. So I wonder where that quill is?

Next week is Resurrection Sunday, or Easter if you prefer. So no new episode. We're back the second week in April and I'm already trying not to gag at the thought of the return of Zelena. Those episodes seem to bring out the nasty edge of my snark so I apologize ahead of time :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What I'm Reading Now: March Edition

I have been on a bit of a reading frenzy recently, which also means I have more books on my plate than normal. I just can't seem to help starting something new even if I'm already juggling more books than is probably good for me. Nah - I can totally handle it! Here's a look at what I'm reading now.

On my Nook: Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera - On my alphabetical saga through my e-books I started this on my lunch break today. It's a middle grade adventure with Andy McBean, recently in remission from an as of yet unspecified type of cancer, being faced with a full on invasion from outer space and his first potential crush. The tone is light, but also dealing with some larger real-life issues such as how over-protective Andy's mother is since his hospitalization. Looking forward to seeing how things play out. I think my favorite parts so far though have been the snippets where we get to see one of the invader's perspectives and I'm hoping there will be more of him as the story progresses.

On my phone: A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower by Alison Weir - My Nook froze up Sunday night, so I was relegated to reading on my phone's Nook app during my lunch yesterday. I started this book in my alphabetical saga (my phone uses articles in alphabetization whereas my Nook does not?) and I really just want to sit down and power through it. I love Alison Weir's historical fiction and with her scholarly background I also feel that the time period rings a little more true than some other historical fiction I've read. Weir's book Innocent Traitor about Lady Jane Grey is probably my all time favorite historical fiction novel and I have recommended it countless times. Loving where this book is going and curious as to how she is going to weave together the story of the two Katherines.

In Print Fiction: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George - speaking of my Nook freezing up. I was settling in to read before going to sleep when it happened, so of course I didn't want to walk all the way out to the other room to get the print book I've been reading in the mornings, so I grabbed this off my shelf of last year's BEA treasures. I adore this series and I got this ARC signed, which makes it even better. This is the third book in the series and continues the adventures of young Celie and her griffin and the mysterious castle with a mind of its own. I've barely started it, but there have already been some startling turns of events so it's looking to be another fantastic read.

In Print Fiction: Dangerous by Shannon Hale - There are a lot of authors I like, but there are only a handful whose books are must buy immediately, and one of them is Shannon Hale. This book had slipped through the cracks and I snagged it on one of my last days working at the bookstore before moving to my new life. I finally pulled it out and it's seriously amazing. It's about a girl who gets chosen to go to space camp and then she and a small group of other kids get chosen to go up to the space station and then they get invaded by alien tech. Oh and did I mention that she is super smart and happens to have been born with one arm and is home schooled and bilingual and there is everything good about this book so far and isn't this the coolest cover, too? I'm dying to finish it.

In Print Non-Fiction: The Librarians Guide to Graphic Novels for Adults by David S. Serchay - I've become the graphic novel specialist for our library where we're trying to develop that section from very small to less small. I've been given almost complete reign and have spent time talking to faculty who use GNs in their classes as well as browsing for award winners, best-of lists, etc. So far this book gives some nice overview to the genre, though I haven't yet read much I didn't know already. It's still an interesting book I get to read as part of my job (I still can't get over that this kind of stuff I get paid for).

On Audio in my Car: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi - Picked this up at the library on a whim and I'm completely fascinated by this story. It's about Italy's Jack the Ripper and there is such an interesting weaving of history and culture and mystery that I kind of just want to drive around so I can hear more of it.

On TV: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Okay, so technically I already finished this since I binge-watched all 12 episodes in 3 days *cough cough* BUT it's so good I just want to keep talking about it. I am not a big sitcom person, so when I find one that makes me crack up consistently it makes me super happy. Tina Fey is the creator and it's a Netflix Original. Basically it's about a girl who was kidnapped by a crazy doomsday preacher who locked her and 3 other women up in a bunker for 15 years telling them a nuclear apocalypse had wiped out all life on earth. They're rescued and Kimmy decides to stay in New York rather than return to Indiana where she will always be known as one of the Mole Women. She finds a job with a crazy rich family (they're crazy, and crazy rich) and becomes roommates with a big gay black dude whose dream is to play in the Lion King on Broadway. Oh, and they rent their apartment from Carol Kane. Warning: The theme song will get stuck in your head for days. Literal days.

So what are you reading/listening to/watching?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Poor Unfortunate Soul

4.16 "Poor Unfortunate Soul"

Tonight we got another glimpse at Hook's back story along with the connection between him and Ursula who is apparently a conflation of herself and Disney's Little Mermaid which leaves Ariel out in the cold and not the daughter of Triton? (did this come up before?) Anyway. In the present, Regina is still part of the cohort of villains, though they obviously don't trust her, and August becomes a puppet and then a real boy again and gains a few nose inches. Killian finds how hard it is to shed his villainous past and many more questions are raised about whether any villain truly can have a happy ending.

First I would just like to say that Snow talking in Regina's voices was so bizarre.

Revenge is the theme of the episode - what will people do to get it, how much are they willing to sacrifice, who are they willing to hurt? Rumple continues to be so focused on revenge that he's completely unable to see anything else. In the flashback Triton destroyed his relationship with his daughter because of his desire to avenge his wife's death. In the flashback Killian destroyed Ursula's happiness because of his blind pursuit of Rumple, but in the present he's reminded that revenge will only destroy him. As I've been saying for a while, this is the main difference between Killian/Regina and the other villains - they are learning how to do things in a non-villainous way.

Ariel's comment to Killian was key. He said, "Maybe Ursula was right. Villains can't get their happy ending," and she responded, "That's because villains go about getting things the wrong way."
EXACTLY. Just look at Regina. She wants Robin, she wants her happy ending. But instead of killing Marian or blasting around town, she started doing research and working with others to find a way to get a happy ending without hurting everyone around her. This is why she no longer fits with the villainous crew. Who knew she'd ever be so uncomfortable with evil plots.

Meanwhile Snow and David are keeping a horrible secret and because they aren't going about things the right way, every decision they make is tainted. Their conversations, their plans - all feel wrong, and they're going to destroy something before this is all over. Actions and motives speak louder than larger labels like hero or villain. Or so it would seem.

So can villains get a happy ending? Ursula's turn of events would certainly seem to lead us to believe they could. And of course, Killian has his happy ending (though I see it more as a middle or even a beginning than an ending, but you get the point). When Emma asked what his happy ending was I wanted to bang my head against the wall. duh it's you silly. But hearing Killian say it was so sweet I'll forgive that moment.

On two lighter notes, Maleficent won for best line of the episode when she told Regina, "If you're having trouble sleeping, I have something that might help" HA

And Emma's EPIC MAGIC CASTING POSE will never not be funny to me.

Next week it looks like we'll get to see what Snow and David's deep dark secret is. Here's hoping it's actually deep and dark after the doom and gloom build up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10 Things I Loved About Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

One day I forgot to bring my book to work with me, so I needed something to read on my break. I wandered up to our Juvenile Fiction section at the academic library where I work, and pulled this book off the shelf. I ended up reading only 2 chapters, since I spent most of my break chatting with a coworker, but it intrigued me enough that I borrowed it and brought it home, where it's been sitting in my stack of library books for a while. A couple of days ago I picked it up again, started reading, and didn't want to put it down. This book consumed me as I consumed it.

Set roughly in the 60s or 70s, this book is about a group of fourteen year olds as their lives criss and cross and interconnect and disconnect and reconnect along with all of the strange, quirky, confusing, wonderful, challenging things that happen in a small town as you're growing up.

You can check out Lynne Rae Perkins website HERE.

  1. The format: This is such a unique book in its format. There are strings of dialogue, snippets of conversations, feelings, drawings, songs, prose, poetry, pictures - all woven together just like the lives of these teens are woven together. Somehow it makes something bigger than the sum of the parts.
  2. Debbie: If I had to choose a protagonist, she would be at the top of the list. She's trapped in the in between stage of childhood and adulthood and just trying to figure out who she is. She's settling into the person she's going to be and reaching for the person she wants to be. I found her so distinctive and yet she also feels a little bit universal of how many girls seem to feel at that age.
  3. Hector: He ties at the top of the list for protagonist. At the beginning of the novel he's moved by music and sets out to learn how to play the guitar. He starts with chords, he starts writing songs (or at least the choruses of songs). He starts seeing the lyrical in the world around him. It's not as though he hadn't seen it before, but that it's clear to him in a different way because of the way he's changing and growing up and music opens the world up for him.
  4. The setting: I love that it's set in past decades, because, if anything, it adds to the feeling of universality of what the characters are going through. Maybe it's not your neighborhood, but it could be. And these could be your friends, And this could be you. Maybe it was. Maybe it still is. Maybe it's who you're going to be. I love the connection with the characters while the characters are still themselves, not just universal types, yet somehow they function that way too.
  5. Dan: I loved the ambiguity of his character. While each teen is a bundle of possibilities poised on the edge of what they could become, Dan walks the razor edge. He could fall or he could surmount. And it's not clear which way he's going to turn. There aren't any easy answers. He still has a chance to choose to become something powerful and good rather than powerful and mean. But he has the capacity for meanness and only time will tell who he decides to be.
  6. The illustrations: They add such a whimsical touch. And sometimes, you have to really look to see how the drawing connects to what is being said or thought in the story. It's like a little puzzle to decode that enhances your engagement with the text.
  7. Different intelligences: I liked that different characters were shown to be smart in different ways. It wasn't just book-smart or academic intelligence that was portrayed (though it's not excluded either), it is also mechanical knowledge, musical knowledge, the understanding of human behavior, emotional intelligence - so many different ways of being smart, each of which plays its role in the things that happen. And many characters have a combination of these and by using their knowledge, they're able to help those around them and gain confidence in themselves.
  8. The friendships: Even though there are obviously some closer connections between some of the characters (like Patty and Debbie), I liked that it felt like a real town. Where you see the same people all the time and in school and in your neighborhood, so you spend time with someone because you like them. But it doesn't have to be because you like them. In fact, if anything, romantic love is diminished. What is important is relationships between people. And they don't have to be romantic relationships to be important.
  9. Beauty in the details: I loved the way little things have significance. The way Hector and Debbie and Lenny see things like combs in the street or the way an engine works or the strange shape of a wrench and see the beauty in something many people would just look over or disregard.
  10. The message: While I think that the criss crossing of life and the interconnectedness of us as humans is a huge part of the message that comes across in the story, for me the thing that stood out was the reminder that it's the little decisions we make that can have a huge impact on who we are. Big sweeping exciting events don't have to happen for us to do something important or become the person we want to be. Every choice we make has an effect on the person we are becoming. So we need to make decisions that make us the person we want to be.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Enter the Dragon

5.15 "Enter the Dragon"

Tonight the dark forces continue to work together to bring about their evil plan while Regina tries to prove she can still bring the bad, Rumple does some impersonation work, the good guys run around not doing much of anything, and we welcome back an old friend. Meanwhile, in the flashbacks, we finally get a glimpse into the middle space between Snow's betrayal of Regina and Regina's full-on Evil Queen bit.

I do have to say that I loved how worried Emma was about Regina. They've really gotten close and become friends - something no one could have expected. And Regina, though undercover with the big bads, is feeling mighty uncomfortable. Because she's not one of them any more. And with the flashback we see glimpses of the innocent young girl who lost everything. Yes, her broken heart broke her before, but she has grown so much as a character that I think Rumple is wrong - I don't think the broken heart will be enough to break her this time.

The biggest difference I see is the one thing Regina has learned that Maleficent and, especially, Rumple have not learned - that revenge is not the same as a happy ending and destroying someone else's happily ever after can't fix yours.

I know it's weird to say, but I'm glad they knew Regina was just looking for information. They're all too smart not to have seen through her. If they had actually bought her story I think I would have been rolling my eyes.

At first I was all proud that Killian was kind of a bit ahead of everyone. Obviously they'd be after the dagger. That's using your head. But then something just felt ... off? I especially didn't feel like he would be going behind everyone's (EMMA'S) back anymore. So as Belle was showing him the dagger I knew what was really going on. And Rumple takes the risk to go back into the center of Storeybrook to have a last conversation with Belle and try to find out how serious her thing with Will is. That part was sort of sweet, but honestly, the charm of Rumple and Belle has worn off. Rumple's continual return to being The Dark One has me pretty much convinced he doesn't deserve a happy ending - not because he's "A Villain" but because he continually makes choices that place him in the villain role.

Which leads me to what I thought was the most significant quote of the episode - when Regina tells Emma, "They're taking a page out of the hero's playbook. They're working together. We have to take a page out of their playbook and break some rules." If there is one thing they all should have learned by now, acting like a villain will never ever turn out well and will never get you what you want.

On another note: It does seem like Maleficent should be thankful to Regina, so I'm looking forward to the flashbacks that show us how everything between them imploded.


I know I'm looking forward to next week's episode!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

10 Quotes I Love from Gaston Bachelard

I discovered Gaston Bachelard quite by accident. I honestly don't even remember how I stumbled across his book The Poetics of Space, but I did and I fell in love. I was working on my Master's thesis for my English degree when I did and his philosophy of space and reading and dreaming fit so perfectly into my discussion of L.M. Montgomery's Emily trilogy that it's a little crazy. I recently read Poetics of Reverie and reaffirmed my love for his way of looking at things, but, being the philosophical (for lack of a better word) non-fiction work it is, it doesn't lend itself well to a traditional 10 Things I Loved post. So I thought I'd take a different approach. So here are 10 quotes from the 2 Bachelard books I referenced above.

But we still have books, and they give our day-dreams countless dwelling places. Is there one among us who has not spent romantic moments in the tower of a book he has read? The Poetics of Space

Words, beautiful words, great natural words believe in the image which has created them. The Poetics of Reverie

Behind dark curtains, snow seems to be whiter. Indeed, everything comes alive when contradictions accumulate. The Poetics of Space

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading: a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company. The Poetics of Reverie

Objects that are cherished in this way really are born of an intimate light, and they attain to a higher degree of reality than indifferent objects ... From one object in a room to another, housewifely care weaves the ties that unite a very ancient past to the new epoch. The housewife awakens furniture that was asleep. The Poetics of Space

One word leads to another. The words of the world want to make sentences. The dreamer knows it well, that dreamer who makes an avalanche of words issue from a word that he dreams. ... everything lives with a secret life, so everything speaks sincerely. The poet listens and repeats. The voice of the poet is a voice of the world. The Poetics of Reverie

But every good book should be re-read as soon as it is finished. After the sketchiness of the first reading comes the creative work of reading. We must then know the problem that confronted the author. The second, then the third reading ... give us, little by little, the solution of this problem. The Poetics of Space

For us, a book is always an emergence above everyday life. A book is expressed life and thus is an addition to life. The Poetics of Reverie

A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space. The Poetics of Space

How can you be objective in the face of a book you love, which you have loved, which you have read at several different times in your life? Such a book has a reading past. In rereading it, you have not always suffered in the same way--and above all, you no longer hope with the same intensity in all the seasons of a life of reading. Can one relive the hopes of the first reading... Above all the great books remain psychologically alive. You are never finished reading them. The Poetics of Reverie

And a bonus because I couldn't leave this one out:

Does there exist a single dreamer of words who does not respond to the word wardrobe? The Poetics of Space

If you are a lover of language, of houses, of dreams, of memory, of childhood, of homes I highly recommend Bachelard's works!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Laydown Lowdown

Well it finally happened, after a seemingly endless winter, the temperatures finally rose to over 40 degrees this weekend and the trend seems to continue throughout this week.  I feel like dancing around and celebrating!! What better way to celebrate the thaw then with a new book.

In Young Adult, both Lauren DeStefano and Lauren Oliver have new titles out today.  DeStefano's latest "Internment Chronicles" novel, "Burning Kingdoms" is available along with Oliver's latests "Vanishing Girls."  Other new releases in Young Adult include "The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise," by Matthew Crowe, "Tether," by Anna Jarzab and "The Alex Crow," by Andrew Smith.

Over in Romance, things get steamy with "Confess" by Colleen Hoover and "Last One Home," by Debbie Macomber.

Best-selling author Dennis Lehane's follow-up to "Live By Night," "Last One Home" is available today.  Other new releases in Mystery/Thriller include "Cold Betrayal," by J.A. Jance, "All the Old Knives," by Olen Steinhauer, and "Lacy Eye," by Jessica Treadway.

Look out for "The Fire Sermon," by Francesca Haig in Science Fiction/Fantasy today as well as "Persona" by Genevieve Valentine.

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, March 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Unforgiven

5.14 "Unforgiven"

Tonight we find out that the Charmings aren't quite as good as we thought they were while Cruella and Ursula work with Rumple to free Maleficent. Emma is finally settling into who she is and beginning to trust and Regina's making strides away from evil queen.

Though we don't get the whole story, the Charmings saved Emma at the cost of Maleficent's child. I'm just wondering who the father of Maleficent's child was. And I'm sure we'll get more pieces as the season progresses. For now, though, the secrets and lies are really starting to pile up and, of course, this is all going to blow up in their faces when Emma finds out the truth. Because she of course will find out.

It really was amazing to me how many times David and Snow lied this episode. Pretty much more than they've ever lied in the previous four seasons. Even with Emma calling them on their bologna.

And, by the way, Emma's become like a human lie detector - she knows when people are hiding things from her. But she's also much more trusting than she's ever been. She and Hook are freakin' adorable together. I just want them to walk down the street hand in hand with those big smiles on their faces forever.

Which means they're going to have something horrible happen to rip them apart, right?

I find it convenient how many times the challenges to get to the magical tree (or whatever) match perfectly up to the people needed to face those challenges - like the 3 challenges last week that Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella had to face.

I was loving spunky Belle giving Cruella and Ursula all that sass. But her and the Knave? Isn't that moving a little too fast? That kind of creeped me out.

Cruella won line of the day when she called David "Sheriff Chisel Chin."

Isn't there some sort of memory spell they can cast to help Pinocchio remember what August knew? Hopefully Regina finds something in the things Gepetto held onto. Her apology was definitely a step forward. Each week she does something else to cement her desire to be a hero instead of a villain. Will all that go down the tubes when she goes under cover?

I guess we'll have to wait and find out!

Downton Abbey 5.9 Finale Recap

 The end is here! What are we going to do for a year while we wait for the next installment in our favorite historical house? The season 5 finale was a good one. Let's dive in and talk about everything that happened this week!

Jenn N: So should we start with the highlight of the finale? Carson and Mrs Hughes' sudden but endearing engagement! I just about melted when Carson said he couldn't imagine life without her.

Rebecca T: I found it odd how pushy Carson was being about buying the cottage/bed & breakfast, but I really didn't expect that proposal! It was so sweet to find out about the way Mrs. Hughes has been taking care of her sister all these years. Mr. Carson crying completely made me believe in this story line.

Jenn N: Despite being treated  poorly by Lord Sinderby, Rose really saved the day for him by sparing him the embarrassment of his illegitimate child being revealed in front of society. I know in real life that our Rose is hoping that Cinderella  launches her movie career. While I wish nothing but success for her, I hope we can get her back at Downtown for an appearance now and then.

Rebecca T: I love Rose and Atticus and I hope we do get to see more of them. I was thinking that at least Lady Sinderby was trying to make peace and smooth things over as much as she could, but Lord Sinderby is totally on Rose's side now. Oh yes, having an illegitimate son is probably on par with having a divorce. And I loved Robert's comment that Rose would love Lord Sinderby forever, if he would let her. It's so true. But Thomas seems to be back to his old tricks again. I hope some of his good humor sticks around.

Jenn N: I'm hoping next season brings happiness for Edith. Maybe a relationship will bloom between her and the young man she met on the  hunting trip.

Rebecca T: I definitely saw a spark between Edith and the agent. And considering how the family has come to accept Tom, I don't think they would balk too much for her to marry someone below her station. I do think that if Edith could just claim her motherhood she wouldn't be quite so dithered over it I think. I loved Robert's talk with her and his acceptance of Marigold. It's so nice seeing Edith happy for once. I loved the way Robert got around telling people that Marigold is Edith's daughter while still allowing her to behave as a granddaughter - asking Sybbie what Marigold should call him. People will accept it on a holiday from a cute little girl who is about to move better than if they just started having Marigold call him Donk. And Donk is the cutest name for grandfather ever.

Jenn N: Jenn N: Tom is off to America with little Sibby much to the family's and my sorrow.

Rebecca T: I can't resign myself to this at all. I hate that they're leaving. I was terrified through much of the episode that something was going to happen to Robert that would force Tom to stay. So as sad as I am that he's leaving, at least everyone made it through the episode in one piece.

Jenn N: And of course Mary met someone too. However did anyone else feel a little uneasy when he showed her his car collection? All I could picture was poor Matthew.

Rebecca T: That was exactly what I was thinking. The expression on Mary's face should not have been happiness. It should have been a touch of horror or at least sadness. I felt that scene really didn't make sense myself.

Jenn N: You'd think Princess Kuragin would've been a little more grateful to Violet for rescuing her. Although if my husband would rather I was still missing so he could romance someone else I guess I'd be pretty bitter too.

Rebecca T: Finding out the whole sordid past with Violet was quite interesting. And I understand where the Princess was coming from, but honestly.

Jenn N: Fortunately Violet still has her favorite frenemy as Isobel turned down Lord Merton's proposal after receiving a nasty letter from his son Larry.

Rebecca T: I love the friendship that's developed between Violet and Isobel. And Violet's comment was hilarious: "I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?" As for Isobel, it would be so uncomfortable if she were to marry Lord Merton. Isobel doesn't want to marry into misery. It's really too bad he has a jerkface for a son.

Jenn N: Moleseley was really smart to check out all those pubs with Baxter to find a witness to help Bates. Maybe now Moleseley will get the respect he deserves and hopefully get the girl too.

Rebecca T: I was so glad Mary showed Anna such solidarity. Quite the revelation about Anna and her stepfather. But having Anna and Bates together at Christmas was a true miracle. And I hope the Mr. Green thing is over.

Jenn N: I too am hoping that Anna and Bates can finally put the Mr Green debacle behind them. Hopefully their Christmas  miracle will last forever. And now we wait until 2016 for Season 6. I'm already suffering withdrawal!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Laydown Lowdown

It's the first Tuesday in March and there are lots of great new books to start this month off right.

Heat things up with new Romance titles such as "His to Take," by Shayla Black, "Binding Ties," by Shannon K. Butcher," "Heartbreak Cove," by Lily Everett, "Stealing Rose," by Monica Murphy, and "Darker Than Desire," by Shiloh Walker.


Keep your pulse racing with The Assassin," by Clive Cussler  and Justin Fox or check out "An Exaggerated Murder," by Justin Cook, "Leaving Berlin," by Joseph Kanon, "Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses," by Diane Kelly and "Dying for a Cupcake," by Denise Swanson in Mystery/Thriller.

Pick up a "Vision in Silver," by Anne Bishop in Science Fiction/Fantasy along with "Dead Heat," by Patricia Briggs, "The Crow of Connemara," by Stephen Leigh or "The Suicide Exhibition," by Justin Richards.

Head to Young Adult to find "Mosquitoland," by David Arnold, "The Dead I Know," by Scott Gardner, "An Uncertain Choice," by Jody Hedlund, "Terminal," by Kathy Reichs, and "My Best Everything," by Sarah Tomp.

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Darkness on the Edge of Town

4.13 "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

And we're back! The second half of the season is starting off with a bang. In flashbacks we see Gold do what he does best - exploit other people's strengths and then betray them when it suits his interest. In the present we see Cruella and Ursula inexplicably teaming up with him again. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, everyone is having a lovely time, having coffee, looking for the author, and finding the spell to set the fairies free of the magic hat. Until they also set a demon free (of course) and the town's back on red alert. Again.

It really was nice to see everyone in the town having a brief moment of happiness. Even Regina's gleeful destruction of the bird painting was delightful.

But there are still shadows. Hook is feeling guilty for the things he did while under Rumple's power, Belle is dealing with the fact that the love of her life had to be banished in order to protect everyone. And Regina has still been deprived of her happy ending with Robin.

I was rather underwhelmed with the super secret ceremony to release the fairies from the hat. There wasn't even a spell or anything. Though the show runners seem to like having characters stand in the woods in a circle around some sort of glowy thing.

Here are the dangers of getting your information from unknown online sources, kids. You just might release a demon into the world.

Also, I would just like to say that it is quite obvious no librarians work on the show and there are problems with having paraprofessionals run your library. Can anyone ever find anything in that place? Because I can't figure out the cataloging system. Ahem. Sorry, librarian rant over :)

I love the little moments of the town gathering together and the sweetness developing between Emma and Hook.

And I love Regina's response when they hear the demon roar, "I suppose we should go out and see what's killing property values this time."

Also loved Emma learning that the hat is a one-time use: "Great. So our best defense against evil beasts follows the same rules as chicken pox?"

I'd also like to say that if the town didn't have monster procedure down by now I'd really be worried. As Hook said, "This isn't our first monster bash."

And for my final favorite quote of the episode, I had to crack up when Regina asked, "Is there a dwarf called Evilly?"

I understand them giving Cruella and Ursula a chance. After all, they are the second chance town. What I don't understand is why on earth they didn't take the scroll back after letting them in. These are the stupid things they do that drive me crazy because the characters are too smart for it. They just become plot points and it makes me want to scream.


Snow and David Charming have more dark secrets. *sigh* I don't know how I feel about them wedging more out of the backstory of these two. We'll see how it goes.

But speaking of backstory. I'm totally surprised that Cruella and Ursula even said a word to Rumple without running him through. After what he did to them?

I like the concept of Cruella having control over animals - I was wondering if they were going to tweak the character in some way.

And the three of them on a road trip? Hilarious. And shout out to Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack. Nice hearing "Have a cluckety cluck cluck day" again.

So Rumple's back in Storybrooke and we've got two new baddies. Regina and Henry are hunting down the Author and the Wizard is still wandering around somewhere. Plenty of ground to cover in this half of the season.

What are you looking forward to?

Downton Abbey Recap 5.8

The season is almost over! We can't believe there's only one episode left. But if this one is anything to go by, the finale should be interesting. Let's jump into episode 8 shall we?

Jenn N: The minute Anna's presence was requested at Scotland Yard, I knew it was bad news. If I was her, I would've just said, I can't make it. But she went sans lawyer. I keep forgetting that it's only 1924 and they're in England and the "Miranda" case hasn't happened yet. Therefore, the cops were not required to advise Anna of her rights.  Poor Anna was forced into a line up with other women. I wanted to tell her to just run, run off with Mr. Bates.  The two of them should just flee the country and change their names. It seems a cloud of bad luck keeps following them. When Poor Anna was subsequently arrested. I was as outraged as Mary.  However, I did have a chuckle when the cop told Mary a protesting Mary that he didn't give a damn about her title he had to take Anna to jail. (Mary's self important attitude has gotten on my nerves a little this season - can you tell?)

Rebecca T: I just can't believe that Anna actually had anything to do with it. She certainly had a motive, but  she just couldn't. Besides, her obvious relief when Bates assured her he didn't do it couldn't have been feigned. I'm so very sick of this story line. It has felt forced all season. If there isn't something bigger behind the scenes explaining why they're so very interested in the death of a valet I'm going to be miffed.

Jenn N: This episode also fast forwarded a month. Rose and Atticus went from getting engaged at the end of the prior week's episode to being just days away from the wedding in this episode. I guess when you know, you know. Don't get me wrong, they're an adorable couple but I couldn't help but think, slow down! What's the rush, go on some dinner dates but the Crawleys seem to move a lot faster than my glacial dating pace.

Rebecca T: It was a quick jump in time. And a short engagement. I'm not really that aware of the normal timetable of these kinds of things during this period, but this show has made me much more curious. How long were normal engagements in this class at this time? How did people court/date? I'm going to have to go read up on it!

Jenn N: However, my desire for them to just slow things down a bit had nothing on Rose's mother Susan's plan. Susan set up Atticus to make it look like he was in a very compromising position with a "professional." Rose initially panicked as any bride would but good old Tom encouraged her to talk this over with Atticus as there must be a reasonable explanation. Please don't leave us Tom!! You're smart, your ridiculously handsome in those suits and you somehow manage to get along with both Mary and Edith.

Rebecca T: Seriously. I really don't want Tom to leave. He brings such a nice balance to everyone. And Rose's mother? Talk about trying out for worst mother of the year award. She is so miserable that she can't let anyone else in her life be happy. That's just so wrong and selfish.

Jenn N: Rose and Atticus fortunately worked things out and Rose discovered her mom was the saboteur.  I really don't understand why her mom is so miserable and nasty.  She makes Thomas seem fuzzy. Speaking of Thomas, he -shocker- did something nice this week!! Violet's crazy new lady's maid was using temporary footman Andrew as a gambling patsy. She manipulated him to gamble away his savings while she drank her weight in "free" booze. After hearing about this, Thomas won Andrew's money back and told the manager about Denka's scheme.

Rebecca T: Denka really grates on my nerves, but I can't really put my finger on exactly why. This episode didn't help raise her in my estimation at all. But Thomas... I'm surprised to see the change in him. I am all for character growth and development, but it feels very ... abrupt. I'm curious to see how long/if this new helpful streak will last.

Jenn N: In other rapid romances, Prince Kuragin basically tells Violet that he's not all that keen on the fact that she may have found his missing wife as he'd rather just run away with her. Again, does no one do dinner dates? And what has the Prince's wife been thinking about all this time?

Rebecca T: I'm hoping we get the rest of the story of what happened between the Prince and Violet. This has been quite the year for Violet and Isobel. 2 proposals of remarkably similar, yet distinctly different tones. It's nice to see something happening with the 2 of them other than commenting on other people's lives, though. Especially Violet.

Jenn N: I was just as touched as Mrs. Patmore was when Robert unveiled the special memorial for her nephew adjacent to the war memorial.

Rebecca T: Seriously. Robert's solution for that was so beautiful. I was crying right along with her. I was also crying when Mrs. Patmore cried in the kitchen at the thought of Daisy leaving. I want good things for Daisy, but I don't want her to leave, so I'm glad she decided to stay.

Jenn N: Yes. As much as I want Daisy to continue her education and possible career advancement, I'd also miss her just as much as Mrs. Patmore if she were to leave.

Rebecca T: And finally, Edith is so lovely as a mother and I'm very glad Robert knows the truth now. I wonder if Mary would have more or less sympathy if she knew the whole truth though. I'm curious to see what will happen when that eventually comes out.

So many threads hanging to tie up in the finale. We're excited to see how it all plays out!