Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Once Upon A Time - A Curious Thing

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

Regina is not impressed that Snow and Charming want to announce their pregnancy NOW. She sneers that there is a wicked witch on the loose. Charming seems to think it'll rally their people. As they are discussing this a distraught Belle comes up. She's going to tell them about Neal's death right? *sniff* Belle does tell them about Neal's death and that Rumple is back. Regina's gleeful "Rumple's alive?" is contrasted with Snow's melancholy "Neal's dead?". I totally get that Regina is excited to have someone help her with the witch though. Belle admits that she is unsure about either of these things (Rumple being alive, Neal being dead) because Rumple absorbed Neal and it's confusing. She tells them about Zelena getting the dagger which, as expected, does not go over well.

Aurora says that perhaps now is not the time to announce the pregnancy. She's hiding something major. Snow scoffs that they have to do it. They don't want to give into fear, and they want to give their people hope. Charming points out that they don't know what Zelena wants. Aurora says that they do know, and what she wants is Snow's baby. Philip and Aurora tell them that Zelena threatened their baby if they didn't tell her when Snow and the rest showed up. Zelena told them that Snow's baby will be important. They apologize for their part in all this just as the witch herself shows up. She claims that she makes good on her promises and turns Philip and Aurora into monkeys! What the heck, Zelena. I hate her.

Snow tells Zelena to stay away from her baby, which gets her frozen. Charming tells Zelena to stay away from his wife, and that results in him being frozen. Regina is quick to point out that this is really between them, which (as you guessed) gets her frozen. That leaves Belle left unfrozen. Zelena creepily goes to check on Snow's baby. Tells her it'll work out quite nicely, and for Snow to take care of the baby, as she'll be back for the happy day. UGH!


Grumpy comes to give a report. They can't find anything to destroy the witch with. Snow laments that it is happening again. She's pregnant and someone is threatening her child. Regina says that to be fair she was really threatening Snow herself, everyone else was just in the way. Grumpy wants to know why everyone forgave Regina. She says it's because she's helping. Regina asks them how they had a head start on her last curse. They said it was because Rumple warned them. Regina wants to get Rumple and have him help. Grumpy is not part of this plan that involves sneaking into the Dark One's castle where the witch currently is ("the name is Grumpy, not stupid"). Snow says it's the only way. Regina realizes that Belle might know a way in since she lived there. Belle says she doesn't. Robin Hood offers that he does, as he broke in before. Regina is hilarious here and wants to know why they are listening to Robin because "he's a thief". Oh Regina, you'll be playing kissy face with him soon enough. They bicker and it's awesome. She snips that he shouldn't still be there. He snips back that he's there to save her ass, and tells her about the deadly traps at Rumple's castle. Regina snarls that her magic is way more powerful than any traps. Yup, 100 percent shipping them. Snow puts her foot down and says Robin is coming, end of discussion.

Storybrooke - Present

More kissytimes for Robin and Regina. She wants to know what he sees in her. He says that it's the same thing she sees in him - a second chance. He tells her that she's "quite a good kisser" she shoots back that he should 'just wait until she has her heart back'. Oh, these two. SO FREAKING CUTE. He wants to know what not having a heart is like. Regina tries to explain, but says it's difficult. Robin offers to let her 'use his heart for the both of them'. Henry walks in on them kissing, and it's awkward. Regina is sad that Henry doesn't remember her, and as she's leaving to go help everyone Robin kisses her one last time.

Regina shows up at the Charming's house. Snow quips that if she didn't know any better she'd think Regina was smitten. Regina tosses back "if I didn't know any better I'd swear Hagen Daz was smitten with your stomach'. Regina is the queen of one liners this episode because when Emma asks if they should wait for Hook, Regina says she doesn't have time to wait for the 'handless wonder'. Regina wants to destroy her sister. Emma wants to know why they were brought back to Storybrooke. What was the point. Regina thinks what they should be asking is HOW because Zelena had to give up the thing you love most. I am calling it. Hook cast this curse. He destroyed the Jolly Rodger in order to enact it. It was not Zelena. She doesn't love anything, except maybe Rumple, and Regina points this out. Emma is like "You didn't love much either Regina, and you manged". Charming points out that maybe it was necessity because they discovered a way to stop her during the missing year. Fair point, Charming. Totally plausible. Snow agrees and they realize that they need to break this curse and says it's good that they have the saviour. Emma says that all she had to do last time was kiss Henry and believe in magic. Regina says that it's HENRY. Henry has to believe. Emma doesn't seem into it, but Regina wants to do it. Regina asks what made Emma start to believe. Emma says it was the book Henry had. Regina says it's what got Henry to believe originally too, and wants to get him the book again. She seems happy he will remember her. Emma says that Henry remembering may not be a gift. Henry's gone through a lot (and LOST  HIS FATHER!). Regina says that there are good things too. Snow agrees with Regina, and Emma relents. I am excited we are going to see the book again!

Zelena is meeting someone. A car drives up. Oh, just Rumple who has Hook in the trunk of the car. Why does Zelena have a rose? She pushes Hook about not kissing Emma yet. She tells him that she he has until Snow's baby is born to kiss Emma or she's going to start killing people. She'll start with Henry. She throws the rose on top of Hook and tell him that if he doesn't kiss Emma soon, the next rose will be for Henry's grave. YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HENRY! Zelena really wants Emma's magic gone. She must be able to do something that Zelena needs not to happen.

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

Robin and Regina are still bickering. It's kind of hilarious. They get into the castle and find Rumple spinning straw. He's insane, and speaking in riddles. Rumple says he was so much better when he was dead, and mentions having two minds (*sniff* Neal). Snow asks for his help and Rumple says 'round and round the circle of time racing towards the finish line'. I think it'll end in a race between Emma and Zelena to see who will get to Ava first. I think Rumple is honestly telling them what they need to do. Belle wants to try to reach him by talking to him. She goes to talk to him (and I am sure I am going to cry). She holds his hand and asks how to stop Zelena and he replies by telling her to get 'light magic' (AKA Good Witch of the South). He says that she was banished 'north of the dark forest'. Snow asks how they will find her and Rumple clams up and pulls his hand way from Belle. THIS IS WHY YOU LET BELLE DO THE TALKING, SNOW! Robert Carlyle must have LOVED these scenes. He's totally stealing them.

Storybrooke - Present

Charming says that Belle does not have the book in the shop after getting off the phone. Snow tells them the story of how the book first showed up. Regina wants to go check Snow's closet. Emma goes to check on Henry who is with Grumpy. Henry gets mad. Wants some answers. He wants to know if this is all about Neal's death. Henry calls her out, says she's been lying to him this whole time. Emma tells him that she is his mother, and she knows best. Oh, Emma. Henry is not going to like this. As predicted, he asks for Emma's keys since he would like his video game if he's 'going to be a prisoner'.  My mind immediately jumps to Neal telling Emma that she could have just asked for the keys when she stole the yellow bug with him in it. *sniff*. Snow's face when Emma yelled at Henry though - she's totally disappointed (as is Regina). I don't believe for one second Henry is going to sit there and behave. This is Henry. He does go back to the room, but leaves and hops into Emma's car. Hook catches him and asks where he is going. Henry admits he's going home. Hook says he can't let Henry do that since Henry can't drive. He tells Henry that he has a better way to get out of Storybrooke. Hook, DO NOT help Henry run away. Or do, because Emma will not talk to you ever again (never mind kiss you).

Back at the Charming's everyone is looking for the book with no luck. Snow finds it after searching something Emma just looked through. Regina immediately looks through the book to see whose heart Zelena crushed. Snow and Emma talk, because Emma isn't herself right now. Emma admits she doesn't want this for Henry. Snow asks if Emma is really leaving after Zelena is defeated. Emma says yes, she's taking Henry back to New York. Snow figures out that is why Emma didn't find the book. She doesn't want Henry to get his memories back. Emma says she'll do it to break the curse, but she wants it to be easier on Henry. Snow tells her that New York wasn't home because Emma forgot about them. Emma looks sad.

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

Regina does not appreciate Snow and Charming's cuteness. They find a door at the edge of the dark forest. Snow realizes it matches the riddles Rumple was telling them. She opens the door and walks through, Charming quickly follows. Regina tries, but cannot because she is not pure of heart.

Snow and Charming meet The Good Witch of the South. She tells them Regina couldn't enter because her heart is full of vengeance. Only good witches can pass through. Snow is quick to point out that she's not a witch. Glinda says that she knows who Snow is, and she is pure (plus she's carrying a second pure heart with the baby and all, so that's extra special). Glinda reminds me of Jennifer Morrison. They look a little similar. They ask her for help with Zelena. Apparently Glinda was once friends with Zelena. She tried to prevent her from going dark, but failed. Glinda tells them that she gave Zelena a pendant to help control her magic, and her power now resides in it. They have to remove Zelena's pendant but only the person with the strongest light magic can accomplish this. My money is on Emma being that person. Oh, yup. Glinda says it's created from true love. Snow puts it together. They need Emma. Charming points out she's not in this land. Glinda says that's too bad basically. Snow is quick to point out that there is a way. Did Snow cast this curse?! That would be insane. Charming doesn't want her to do this, but Snow says they must. What would Snow have sacrificed though?

Regina thinks Snow is insane. Regina says she can't enact it because it would mean killing Henry. Snow says there has to be another way. Regina points out she wouldn't have killed her father if there were another way. Charming starts bringing up portals, beans, etc. Regina shuts them down. Says that when she cast the curse to bring them all back to the Enchanted Forest, it created a wall that prevents them from going back. The dark curse really is the only way. Charming says that Snow can cast it. She can kill him, using his heart. Snow tells him that she needs him, and the baby needs him, so no. They will find another way.

Storybrooke - Present

Emma realizes Henry is gone. Regina wants to do a locator spell. Emma's quicker and checks out the GPS location on Henry's phone. He's at the docks.

Hook is introducing Henry to Smee (who immediately asks out Peter Pan because of the movie). So Hook's plan is to get Henry out of Storybrooke so Zelena can't kill him? I get the sentiment, but Emma is still going to be pissed (so is Regina). Henry is totally okay with them stealing a boat if it means getting him back to New York. Flying monkeys come and they run to the boat house. Hook sends Henry and Smee out the back while h e goes after the monkeys. Hook shoots one. OMG THEY ARE KILLING PHILLIP AND AURORA! STOP! Emma and the gang show up and help to kill more monkeys (stop murdering the dwarves). Henry is freaked out and wants answers. Emma promises it'll make sense soon. She is going to tell him the truth. She asks if Henry trusts her. She tells him to believe in magic. She tells him that it's more than just a book. Henry says he believes in her and takes the book from Emma. It makes Henry remember EVERYTHING. He calls both Regina and Emma mom and I start to cry as everyone is hugging. Regina tells Emma to go ahead and break the curse. Emma goes to kiss Henry but Zelena shows up and magics him over to herself. She asks her wants to say goodbye to Henry first. Henry wants to know who she is. She tells Henry to call her Auntie Zelena. Regina is like 'Enough of this already' and goes to walk towards Zelena but gets zapped with magic. Emma tells Zelena that Henry had nothing to do with this. Zelena tells Emma not to blame her. It's Hook's fault for failing her. Emma wants to know what Zelena is talking about. Zelena says that Hook knew the price of him failing (meaning Henry's death). As Zelena starts to choke Henry, Emma uses some powerful magic to burn Zelena causing her to release Henry. He runs to Emma, and Zelena snarls that they should enjoy this moment together and promises that they don't have many left. Henry runs over to Regina who is knocked out.

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

They made the potion and now they need the heart to complete the curse. Charming tells Snow that she has to do this. He needs her to think of the baby. Charming is giving some pretty speech about how the baby will know him because of Snow (Shut up, Charming). They have a really heartbreaking goodbye. I am crying even though I know this doesn't happen. Regina is going to take his heart away and Snow is going to crush it. Regina actually rips it out. Snow tells Charming she loves him, more than anything. He tells her to crush his heart. Tears are streaming down my face and this doesn't even happen. WHAT? SHE CRUSHES IT? WHAT?! How is Charming alive in present day?! WHAT?! Zelena shows up now, and pretty much wrecks the potion. She tells them that Charming died for nothing. Regina says it can't be stopped when Snow starts to panic that Charming died for nothing. Zelena admits she cant stop it, but can spice it up a bit. She adds the memory element to the potion so they forget everything. She tells Snow that she won't even remember Charming's sacrifice, and they won't be able to stop her because they'll be too busy trying to piece it all together. She tells Regina to pay attention because "this is how you take away a happy ending". Ugh, Zelena is the worst, Charming's not dead though. We know this. What happened? Regina, do something.

Storybrooke - Present

Henry is screaming at Regina to wake up. She does, and they have another reunion. Very sweet and touching. She tells Henry that he's never going away again, and that she loves him. She kisses Henry on the forehead and the curse breaks! I love that. The motherly true love kiss breaking the curse just like when Emma did it back in season one. So everyone remembers the missing year now, right? Emma wants to know how Zelena cast the curse now that they can remember. Snow tells her that THEY did it, not Zelena. They fill Emma in on the whole 'light magic defeating Zelena' thing. Emma looks overwhelmed. Doesn't this mean that Charming should be dead though? Emma asks that very question.

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

Snow wants Regina to split her heart in half so both her and Charming can survive. WHAT?! How does that even make sense. Regina asks how that will even work. Snow says she believes it will and begs Regina to do it. Regina says that if Snow is wrong she'll die. Snow is crazy and says that she should do it anyways. Regina does and tears the heart in two. She puts half in Snow and half in Charming. Snow seems okay. Charming eventually comes back too, and they kiss as the curse begins to work. So basically Snow and Charming share one heart now. I wonder if one dies if the other will? I imagine so

Henry and Regina are talking about New York. It's very cute. Henry is proud of his math skills. Henry wants to know all about the man who was kissing Regina. Regina relents and tells Henry a little about Robin. Henry is excited because, duh, a young boy is going to LOVE Robin Hood. Robin walks in and Henry declares it 'awesome'. that he and Regina are dating. I seriously love Regina and Robin together. Why is Henry not freaking out about his father though? This is not okay writers.

Emma corners Hook and wants answers. She wants to know why Zelena said what she said. Asks about kidnapping Henry. Hook admits that was his idea and his way of saving Henry. Emma wants to know what Zelena is doing. Hook tells her that Zelena cursed him (his lips to be exact) because she felt he was the best person to get rid of Emma's magic. Emma says it should have been her choice to protect Henry. She tells Hook that it doesn't matter what Zelena did. She can't trust him again. Snow and Charming come over and say she's right not to trust Hook. They bring up his previous lies. They said they never sent a message to Emma via Hook like Hook said. Hook swears he got one. Wants to know who else would know where to find the saviour, and who else would have the potion. Hmm.. I still want to know what happened to the Jolly Rodger.

Enchanted Forest - Flashback

We see Zelena making a potion. Could it be her that sent Hook the note? Why would Zelena want Emma there though? It makes no sense because she wanted to keep Emma away. It is the same potion. She drinks it to remember her plans and the spell she wants to use because as Rumple points out she can't cast the spell if she doesn't remember it. She gives Rumple a bottle and tells him to drink it if he wants to, or he can stumble around blind like the rest of them. So, Rumple sends it. I bet it was Neal coming through. OMG. They are going to tease us with Baelfire. He sent the potion. He got Emma back. He is the reason that Emma can save everyone. Tears. I have so many tears right now. Neal ties the letter and potion to a bird, tells the bird to find Killian and lets it go. Neal is sucked back into Rumple's body. So I am guessing this is the last time we'll see Neal, like ever. *rages* Now I want to know why they couldn't just have Neal come out, have Rumple give Zelena's name and have Neal go back inside Rumple. It's obviously possible. It just makes me more mad. There was away around this that didn't mean Neal's death.

Emma and Henry at Neal's grave. Emma tells Henry that Neal was a hero, and that he didn't give a second thought to sacrificing himself for Henry and for all of them. Henry is sniffling. Henry wants to know if it was hard to come back. So that's it? Moving on from Neal? Good to know. Henry's father dies, and Henry barely reacts. That's awesome, writers. Emma tells him that she heard his voice in her head, that she knew how Henry would have voted if given a chance. He tells her Operation Cobra is back on. Emma says that is unsure it ever ended. Operation Cobra was bringing back everyone's happy ending. WHY DOESN'T NEAL GET ONE? Magic ruined his life (and yes, I am a broken record). Snow and Charming are watching this from nearby and Snow goes into labour. Baby Snowflake is coming!

Next week, as per the promo we get to meet Dorothy! FUN! Oh, and there are only two episodes left in this season. The question of the night though is - where is the Jolly Rodger?!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Release Date - May 13, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 248 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
Second Star immediately captured my attention by it's obvious Peter Pan similarities. As a Peter Pan fangirl I knew I needed to read this one...immediately. This contemporary twist has a lot of the same themes, and emotions of the classic story, but it was it's characters that kept me from really connecting to this unique, and promising story.

The characters themselves possessed characteristics that were immediately recognizable from the classic story. Tinkerbell's jealousy is found in Belle. Pete's charisma, and youthful charm is mixed with a under current of recklessness. Jas had Hook's proper upbringing and manners, and also much of his danger. These were plentiful and welcome as someone who adores the original story. However, I wanted something that made them feel like their own characters too. I wanted to connect with them in THIS story. It didn't quite happen. I found myself relishing the setting, and parallels to the original story instead of being drawn in by these characters. It still worked for me, but I am unsure how someone not familiar with Peter Pan would react.

Jas especially, and more importantly his relationship with Wendy, never connected with me the way I wanted him to. I never got to understand WHY Wendy would have been attracted to him. The link to Wendy's search for her brothers, and his past make him an unlikely romantic interest, and there is little character development or redemption that showed me what she would see in him. Where I could feel the attraction with Pete, the connection with Jas felt rushed, and like something was missing.

The meshing of surfing with the Peter Pan mythology seems to be tailor made for each other. The haunting, ethereal tone of Neverland and the Peter Pan story itself are complimented by surfing. The ocean has this allure, and danger to it. It's like it has a mind of it's own. It reminded me of Neverland itself, and that's what made it work. The beauty of the waves, and the ocean itself provided this novel with it's own version of Neverland, one that has just a strong a pull as the original did over the Darlings.

Part of Peter Pan's charm, at least for me, is the wonderment of all it. It's other worldliness. Did Wendy and her brothers really go to Neverland? Was it all a dream? This aspect of the mythology is woven throughout the entire story. It is primarily what drives the story, and the reader forward. I wanted to know what was real, and what really happened to Michael and John. However, the truth remains illusive. I personally think, for Second Star at least, that the stronger choice is that it wasn't real. The grief Wendy is experiencing provides a wonderfully heartbreaking backdrop that adds an emotional element that was sadly missing throughout the rest of the story. It's what I chose for myself, because it enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

A dreamy, clever nod to Peter Pan that certainly had it's moments. The only thing that kept me from falling under it's spell fully was a few issues with the characters themselves but it's wistful, enchanting pull certainly made it worth the read for me.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Release Date - May 6, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 448 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
Book hangers are a wonderful thing. As a book lover there is nothing better than reading a novel that works it's way into your heart and refuses to let go. It stays with you long after you've turned that last page because you're still living in that novel's world. This is how I felt after finishing Since You've Been Gone. It's a novel of friendship, music, romance, and finding unexpected things inside yourself.

Morgan Matson takes what ,on the surface, appears to be a fun, fluffy book and fills it with heart, and meaning. It still has those fun and playful elements you would expect, but it's also deeper and much more meaningful than I expected. It's one of those books that sneaks up on you, and it's because of decisions the author made. The characters, plot, and setting all work together to create something really wonderful, and it's because of Morgan Matson's talent.

The inclusion of playlists (and other similar bonus material) has to be done right for it to work well within the story. Morgan Matson does it perfectly in Since You've Been Gone. She allows it to compliment the story, instead of being the story. It doesn't detract or distract from the plot, but rather enhances it. I finished the novel wanting to go on a itunes shopping spree so I feel it was a rather successful inclusion.

The romance, well really adorable, is not overdone. It shares the spotlight with the themes of friendship and self discovery in a way that really works. Each is balanced so that you're getting a well round, well crafted story that doesn't need to be just one thing. Morgan Matson's talent is that she can make her story be each of these and have each be equally compelling and strong. One element doesn't suffer for the other.

Emily was someone I related to immediately. She is reserved, and content to stay in the background. She doesn't come out of her comfort zone very often. She's someone that might need to be pulled out of it from time to time. I loved that she surprised herself time and time again during her journey. It shows that it is possible to change and grow if you keep yourself open to new experiences. As she learns what friendship means, what standing on her own would look like, and  how to stand up for herself, the reader gets to really know her. Of course, that also means falling love with her (and the other characters, obviously).

The secondary characters are just as wonderful, and just as developed as Emily. The mysterious Sloane who steals the pages even when she's not there. The insecure but hiding it Matt, and the adorable and amazing Frank. Dawn is also fantastic. It's rare that you care about the group as a whole, but every single one of them became important to the story, and therefore important to me.

Friendships, especially the one between Emile and Sloane shone the brightest here. All the ups and downs of friendships are within these pages. Love, forgiveness, and that bond that exists between best friends are captured here perfectly. Emily and Sloane hurt each other, but they forgive each other too. More importantly, they are both 'in' the friendship. Each of them cares about the other, and this story makes that point glaringly obvious.

No review could be complete without talking about the 'to do list' that drives this story. It links back to Emily and Sloane's friendship perfectly with Sloane knowing exactly what Emily needs (even if Emily may not think so). As everything unfolds we see that many of the items on the list are directly related to their friendship and fears that Emily needs to overcome. It's a sweet way for them to connect and to unravel the mystery of where Sloane is now

To quote Emily and Frank - In a well ordered universe everyone would read Since You've Been Gone. It's a sweet, fun novel about friendship, finding things within yourself you didn't know where there, and taking risks. It's a must have item for your beach bag this summer that will be a perfect beach read. It's a novel that will make you want to hug your own best friend, and perhaps make a few lists of your own.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

I had some amazing books land in my mailbox this week. A huge thank you to Raincoast Books for both of them. I am excited to start reading them.

Empower by Jessica Shirvington (goodreads)
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama (goodreads)

I am curious as to how Violet's story will wrap up in Empower. I've enjoyed the journey so far and am hoping she ends up with a somewhat happy ending.

I've heard nothing but amazing things about Plus One by Elizabeth Fama. I will be diving into this one as soon as possible.

Happy weekend, and happy reading!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week Lots of pretty covers!


Cover of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (goodreads)

Love this cover. So pretty right? Totally love it. It's soft, and pretty and that bracelet on her wrist ties in with the synopsis perfectly. I've noticed books about jinn (genies) are becoming a new thing with a lot of them expected to be released in the next little bit.This one sounds amazing, and also deals with human trafficking. Cannot wait to pick this one up while at Book Expo America.

Cover and title of the third Raven Cycle novel (goodreads)

The title of the third Raven Cycle series is Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I love it, and the cover. I think it's my favourite of the three covers.


Sisterhood Everlasting movie news

I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. LOVED. The last book, Sisterhood Everlasting, was heartbreaking, beautiful, and I've totally wanted them to make it into a movie since I finished reading it. According to Entertainment Weekly, I am going to get my wish. It's apparently 'in development' and I hope it happens quickly. The original cast, especially the girls, have to return. Otherwise it won't feel the same. They are the right age, and were so perfectly cast. I look forward to more information, and hopefully casting details are next!


Book Expo America autographing schedule

Part one of the autographing schedule at BEA was unveiled. The in booth signings are still to come, but what we do have is pretty awesome already. Plenty of amazing signings that have left my head spinning with how lucky I am to attend. My nieces (one in particular) has recently gotten addicted to Goosebumps books. R.L. Stine is going to be signing one, and I going to cement my Coolest Aunt Ever status by getting them one!

Authors I am excited to meet for myself? The list is SO long but includes - Rebecca Serle, Josephine Angelini, Morgan Matson, Chelsey Philpot, and Danielle Paige. These are without the in booth list being unveiled and are just a small sample. Is it May yet?!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Geography Of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith

The Geography Of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith
Release Date - April 15, 2014
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
A life changing night. That is what happens when Lucy and Owen get trapped in an elevator together during a blackout. Something shifts in them and leaves them permanently linked. Jennifer E Smith takes what could be an outlandish, contrived plot and makes it seem not only plausible, but incredibly romantic.

There is something comforting about getting exactly what you expect out of a book. The Geography Of You and Me delivered exactly what it promises to and more. It's got the humour, heart, and beach weather appeal of Jennifer's previous novels so fans of those will devour this one. Her characterization and her ability to make you root for them is what makes her novels appeal to me, and this one was no exception.

Jennifer manages to give both Lucy and Owen their own story lines that exist outside of one another. They are each dealing with issues that send them spiraling in opposite directions. As life throws obstacles at them, Lucy and Owen struggle to remain in touch. Twists of fate, determination, and luck all weave together to create a story of how two people can come together. It's more than that, however.  It also tells the story of how they keep coming together, despite everything.

Lucy and Owen's interactions are what make the story come to life. We see them grow closer each time chance brings them together. Their situation is treated realistically, I felt, even while being adorably sweet and of the romantic comedy variety. It was refreshing to see both of them question WHY they couldn't let that one night go. They questioned what kept drawing them back. They don't claim to be in love, they just know their connection is undeniable. It's a force. Isn't that what attraction is? A force greater than yourself pulling/pushing you towards someone. It felt authentic without resorting to the insta-love that usually plagues these types of novels.

I always get wanderlust when reading books set in Europe. They make me want to go back. Sometimes it's bad, but in this case it was more of a nostalgic feeling. It was the road trip Owen is on that captured my attention. Something within his story resonated with me. I do believer that readers will, in general, have a strong urge to travel after finishing this one though. The setting, locations (even New York) shine as a backdrop to this international love story.

A cute story that left me wishing I had someone of my own to send postcards to. A sweet, charming novel that left me smiling as I turned the last page. Fans old and new will find much to enjoy about this heartwarming read.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Follow Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends.

This weeks question is:

Have any pets? Tell us or show us

I do have a cat named Aria (after the hotel in Las Vegas).

I think she's pretty cute even though she's a book eating monster. 

Happy Weekend!

Q and A with Amanda Maciel

Today I have Amanda Maciel stopping by for a Q and A about her book Tease. Here is a little about her debut novel, Tease.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.

At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.
Amanda was kind to answer a few questions about her novel, it's subject matter, and why it's important. 

1. Describe Tease in three words.

Honest, heartbreaking, humbling

2. What type of research did you do while writing your novel?

Precisely because the story was somewhat based on true events, I wanted to fictionalize my version as much as possible—which meant a careful balance of knowing what happened in South Hadley in 2010, but not reading about it too much. I also used my husband’s legal advice with the details of Sara’s prosecution.

3. Tease is a novel with an important message that I think high school students should totally read. What book do you think should be in high school classrooms?

Thank you! And I actually think there could be more room in school curriculum for student-chosen reading. I know some schools do this, but it’s so important to connect with a book that you have picked yourself—even if it’s something that wouldn’t necessarily be considered a classic or academically sanctioned. Reading should help us learn, of course, about literature and the world around us, but in order to develop lifelong reading skills, you have to love it, too—it has to have some entertainment value. I totally sound like I work in publishing, don’t I? Clearly this idea led me to my current day job. But all that said, I remember The Bluest Eye having a huge impact on me in school. More books by women authors, about diverse experiences, would also be great.

4. What was the hardest part about writing Tease?

Finding the time to do it—I have my day job, and a family, and a life I generally try to keep well-balanced. And writing a story that potentially affects so many people on a really personal level—trying to balance the idea that friends might have a strong reaction to the subject matter. It never left my mind that people would read Tease and might not know I had the very best intentions writing it. But a writer’s intentions aren’t really the point, once a book is published, so I tried to not get bogged down by that.

5. If you could travel to anywhere, during any time period, when and where would you like to visit?

Can I be wealthy and privileged? If so, you could really go anywhere. But I think early 1900s New York City would be my choice. The Teddy Roosevelt era seemed particularly charmed, and seeing a world that was growing so fast but also so isolated would be fascinating!

A huge thank you to Amanda for taking the time to answer my questions. Do check out my review of Tease which also posted today.

If you're wanting to pre-order/purchase Tease, are are some links where it is currently available.


Amanda Maciel has worked in book publishing since graduating from Mount Holyoke College and is currently a senior editor at Scholastic. She spends her free time writing, running, or riding the subway with her young son. She lives with him, her husband, and their cat, Ruby, in Brooklyn, New York. Tease is her first novel.

Tease by Amanda Maciel

Tease by Amanda Maciel
Release Date - April 29, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.

At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.
Words are powerful. They can heal, and they can hurt. Sometimes we forgot how powerful our words actually are. Tease looks at the power words have, and the true nature of the harm they can inflict. It's a novel that might make you feel a little uncomfortable, but it will also make you sit up and listen to what it has to say.

Tease is told from the perspective of Sara, a bully. A unique perspective that immediately caught my interest. What must a person who knows their actions  (at least partially) caused someone to harm themselves feel after something like this happened? I was both hesitant and intrigued to pick this one up, mainly because it requires it be done well for the novel to have an impact. Luckily, Sara's story, and the way it's written, are both done with care.

Sara is exactly what you'd expect to find with a character like this. At times she grated on me, and I found myself wanting to shake her. More worried about her life, and how it was ruined, she seemed to give little thought to Emma and how her life wasn't just ruined - it was over. As frustrating as Sara's self absorption was, it felt authentic and natural. Much is made of characters and whether they have to be 'likable'. I personally think that I can hate a character, and still want to know their story. It's understanding the character, and what motivates them that is important to me, and I feel I got that from Sara.

The 'other side' of a story like this is one that most people don't want to consider. That's why I think this novel is important. Of course the bullied party should garner sympathy, and cases like this should be taken seriously. This novel, in conjunction with showing that, also flirts with the idea of what the punishment should look like. How do you atone? Can you? Is this something that should dictate the rest of your life, or is there moving forward? The novel doesn't present any clear answers, and instead leads the reader to think about these things themselves. The idea that this should curb any future these teenagers would have is tough to swallow, and yet what happened is truly awful. I think the novel does a great job of showing that there are no easy solutions.

As Sara grows, and begins to realize the true nature of what happened, there is some hope woven into the story. The hope that talking about these issues can help others, and that education may lead to understanding. It's this aspect that made me think this book would be a wonderful addition to schools everywhere. Teens will, sadly, see recognizable elements from their own school experience in this novel, and it would be a great discussion point for classrooms.

My only issue is that I wanted the novel to go a little deeper. Maybe show the changes within Sara happening much more gradually. It was logical, and fit within the story, but I wanted just a little bit more from this aspect. The writing itself flows, and the plot movement ensured that I read it quickly.

Emma's side of the story felt lacking to me too. It wasn't Emma's story, but I wanted to know more about what she was dealing with. You get the sense that the words Sara and her friends hurled like weapons were just another layer to the hurt Emma already was dealing with. That's the message the novel is trying to send. You don't know what someone else's life is like outside of school. You don't know what's happened to them, or what they deal with everyday. Your words might just have the power to push someone over the edge. That is, I feel, what the author is trying to show within these pages. I think, with minor issues, she succeeded.

This issue might stem from the feeling I had that the issues dealt within the novel felt too big for such a constrictive space. It's one that needs to be tackled, and the approach the author took is what really ended up standing out when I had turned the last page. It's such a huge discussion point in society and I felt the author tackled the subject with sensitivity, but also didn't hold back.

Tease left me conflicted, and that means it did what it set out to do. It also made me want to talk. If this book does nothing else but start conversations about bullying, than I think it's accomplished something the author can truly be proud of.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Once Upon A Time - Bleeding Through

Regina gets some green apples delivered to her doorstep. It's kind of funny. Zelena also happens to be in Regina's house. She tells Regina that she thought she could use something better than what's on her tree. Zelena calls red apples 'sickly sweet'. Regina tosses back that green apples are 'bitter'. Regina, obviously, wants to know why Zelena is there. Zelena claims it is to make sure Regina is all right after their showdown. Regina says she's fine. Regina also doesn't like anyone touching her stuff. They bicker back and forth and are basically sisters. Zelena tells Regina that she doesn't appreciate what she's got, Regina snarks that envy isn't exactly the best super power. Zelena tells her that the Dark One has gone after her heart. All this was a distraction so that Zelena could get what she wanted. Regina rushes out of there.

Robin  is protecting Regina's heart valiantly. Since Robin won't give it up, Rumple threatens Roland. Not even a little bit okay. That tyke is adorable. Roland is forced to come forward by Rumple, and Robin is pissed. Roland's little cries for help...awww. SAVE HIM. Rumple makes Robin's arrow turn to face Roland instead (who is now stuck in the ground as that is where Rumple put him). Robin, rightfully, freaks out and tells Rumple to wait. The tension in this scene is amazing. Rumple keeps saying he doesn't want to, but he will. I feel bad for everyone in this situation. Robin hands over Regina's heart with Rumple telling Robin that he is sorry as he lets the arrow go. It stops just short of hitting Roland. Regina shows up right at that moment. Robin apologizes to Regina, who only asks if anyone is hurt. Robin keeps apologizing and Regina says nothing is worth the life of a child. Regina puts it together and realizes that if she's not dead it's because Zelena needs her heart for something far worse than crushing it.

Regina is tearing apart Gold's shop trying to find something. She mutters that everything is useless crap. Belle takes offence to that. Regina is like 'Relax, I just need to destroy my sister because she has my heart" and Belle, understandably is concerned about Regina being forced to do things. Regina says she's protected her heart from that, so she can't be controlled. Interesting. I didn't know that was possible. Regina doesn't know what Zelena wants to do so she asks Belle to help. Belle snaps that she has some self respect so why would she help Regina. Regina did lock her up after all. Regina snarks that 'bookworm's got teeth'. I love that Belle is standing up for herself. She actually kicks Regina out of the shop. Regina decides to apologize and brings up the fact that Zelena has Rumple so if Belle wants to see him again she'll need to help Regina. Belle relents and wants to know what is so special about Regina's heart. Regina wants to know where the candle is that Snow used to kill Cora. Belle hands it over, reminding Regina that the power is gone from it. Regina says it's not about how Cora died, but how she lived. Is Regina going to use this to contact her mother or something?


I am guessing this is the Enchanted Forest. Young Cora is a bar maid and she's working. She bumps into a cute guy who invites her to sit down as she is done her work for the night. He tells her that she moves like a lady even though she works in a bar. She says that she acts like what she one day hopes to be. They exchange some cute words and he subtly reveals that he is Prince Jonathan. He's been misleading Cora because he wanted her to know him for HIM not his title. He proposes to her with a ring of straw telling her that he'll exchange it for a ring of gold (turning straw into gold) when he comes back, if she agrees to marry him. She accepts and they make plans to meet up in two weeks time. Cora offers to spend his last night before he leaves in his room with him. So this is how Cora got pregnant.


Hook, Snow and Charming are sitting around. Emma walks in and makes a joke about apples as Hook is playing with one. Snow and Charming are talking baby names! Snow wants to name the kid Leopold. Charming does not approve (neither do I). Hook is 1000% done with this. Snow relents and says she would like to name it Ava in that case. Charming is like "That won't work if it's a boy". Haha. They're cute. I say let Emma name the baby. Regina brings in a tea pot. One that is used to summon the dark forces. Since Regina doesn't know enough about Zelena's past she wants to summon Cora who does. If it works, great. Will ghost Cora lie her butt off though? Because I expect nothing less.

Zelena is talking to a monkey as she admires Regina's heart. She now has 2 of the three (and I assume Rumple is the brains so 3 for 3). She gets a suit out and brings it to Rumple. She tells her that she wants to celebrate. She's got 2 items, and the third (his brain) is ready to be plucked. Does she literally want to remove his brain? Because, gross. She says she wants to celebrate having everything. Rumple reminds her that she doesn't have the baby. She says the baby will come and since it's on the way Rumple has a choice to make. He can either do as she says and have his remaining time be pleasant or a nasty alternative. Tells him to choose well. What does she want from him?!

Emma wants to know if it's so easy to talk to the dead why don't people do it more often. Regina says you need the murder weapon and the person's murderer. Snow visibly reacts to this. So, let me get this straight. We're going to dangle a way to speak to the dead in front of people who are mourning (and by this I mean Neal fans) and be like "haha, but NOT who you want to see". One second though... isn't Emma both the murder weapon and murderer? Or is that the key? Either way I totally took it to mean Neal is out. They can't talk to him. Both Emma and Charming look sad on Snow's behalf. Regina wants everyone to hold hands and focus on Cora as she lights the candle. It appears to be working as a portal opens in the ceiling and Regina calls to Cora. Regina tells Cora to not ignore her. Hook bumps the table and the spell is broken. It didn't work because Regina thinks Cora doesn't want to talk to her.


Cora is waiting at the spot where Jonathan told her to meet him. The ring of straw is failing apart and it's raining. It's sad because I doubt he's showing up. She leaves and walks to the castle. She finds Jonathan in the grounds. He seems unimpressed though. Calls her stubborn. It's revealed that he is the gardener, not a prince. She accuses him of tricking her, and taking her virtue and good name. He laughs and says that she basically threw her virtue at him and calls her a harlot. I hate Jonathan. He is a douche of epic proportions. She tells him that she is pregnant. She asks him what the real prince will say when she tells him. She wants Jonathan to pay to support the child. Seems fair. He just says good luck in finding him after she tells the real prince of his deeds. I actually feel a little sorry for Cora here. She make an last ditch effort to grab onto Jonathan and calls for the guards. He pushes her down and runs off. The guards come. Cora makes up a story about a bandit who stole everything from her. The nice guard tells her to come with him and he'll try to help her. It's revealed that who I thought was the guard is actually Prince Leopold (Snow's daddy). Cora accepts his help and thanks him.


Emma says that her magic is getting stronger everyday. She tells Regina that when this all goes down she'll be ready. Regina tells her that she better be. Emma, Hook, and Charming leave and Snow wants to talk to Regina. Regina agrees. As they go to leave the room, a portal thing appears and closes. Did the seance thing work? What is even going on?


Cora is charming Prince Leopold with some youthful stories. He notices that she is cold and he says he would build her a fire, but he doesn't know how. Cora says that she does, and starts to build one. She shows Prince Leopold how to to make a fire, and they bond. Leopold talks of when he becomes King he will have to marry right away and start a family. Cora muses that it sounds nice, and asks if he has anyone in mind (no doubt hoping he would say her). He says that he does, but it's not the name Cora wants to hear. He says he'll marry Princess Ava (Snow's mommy). Cora's face after he says Ava's name - priceless. Prince Leopold laments that he didn't get to make a choice. Ava was a choice made for him. There is an obvious attraction here between them. Imagine if Leopold had never married Ava?! Totally different landscape. It's weird that he would eventually marry Regina though. Ick. Cora tells him what is the use of having power if he can't make his own choices. She's totally hinting he should pick her.


Snow apologizes to Regina for Cora's death. Lots of tears on Snow's end. Anger on Regina's. However, Regina gives that it was complicated. Cora did kill Ava. Regina's angry at her mother too, for all the lies. She thought her mother cared about her. Regina wants to know why Cora gave up Zelena. Oh, Regina. It's because Cora wanted to be royalty and being impure wasn't going to help her marriage prospects. End of story. They hear a noise coming from upstairs that sounds like a spinning wheel. They go to investigate and it's Cora's ghost spinning. Creepy.

Emma has a hot chocolate with cinnamon. She is using magic to make it appear in the booth she is sharing with Hook. She even says BOOM after she does it (Michael Raymond James uses 'BOOM" ALL THE TIME on Twitter. A shout out perhaps?). She seems very excited that she is able to move things. Is this the same Emma that didn't want to learn all this? Emma teases Hook by making his hook vanish (she just moved it to another part of Granny's Diner) but Hook is in a bad mood and doesn't want to play. Belle rushes in saying that she's figured out what Zelena's plan is. See, this is why I love Belle. She's smart, and resourceful.

Meanwhile Rumple and Zelena are having dinner. Rumple put on the suit. Zelena certainly appreciates how Rumple looks in that suit. She's very touchy with him. Zelena knows that Rumple is there for her secret. She knows that he wants to know why she needs a heart, courage, and brain, and why Snow and Charming's baby in particular. So do I Rumple, so do I. Rumple says he really wants to know WHY it's of interest to him. She tells him that her plan will allow him to reunite with his lost son. Rumple says his son is not lost, he died. You are allowed to say his name Rumple. It's totally okay. Let me do it for you - NEAL! BAELFIRE! Whichever. I hate that they are basically pretending he didn't exist other than to casually mention him. Rumple cursed everyone for Bae. Rumple spent YEARS AND YEARS searching for him. There is no way that the Rumple we have known for the last 2 and a bit seasons would not do EVERYTHING to get Bae back and I want them to acknowledge this. She reveals that she is going to change the past. Rumple reminds her of the laws of magic. You can't change the past. She sneers that laws only exist until they are broken by someone superior (basically magic doesn't fail, people do and therefore it can be done by the right person). I know on Wonderland they did break the laws of magic, so I wonder if they'll do it here. She wants to take Rumple back with her. He gets wistful and talks about finding 'his boy'. Aww, Rumple.

Meanwhile, Cora's ghost is PISSED at Snow and totally wants to attack. Regina tells her to BACK DOWN and answer the questions. Regina asks about Zelena but Cora just pushes her aside and goes after Snow. Regina magics them out of there, and manages to hold Cora off.


Cora is admiring a ring on her finger when jerk face Jonathan shows up. He says that the ring turned to gold after all. He had to see if the commoner who said yes to Prince Leopold is the same one that said yes to him. She says that they are getting married in two days and he is going to bow down to her as a Queen. Jonathan wants to know if Leopold knows that she is pregnant, or if she was going to keep it a secret. In order to secure his silence she has to get him some money, jewels, etc and meet him tomorrow night with it. Ava is shown to overhear this and declines her carriage ride that would presumably take her out of the kingdom. So Cora was engaged to Leopold, and Ava tells him about her pregnancy or the theft and he marries Ava instead. No wonder Ava and Cora didn't like each other.


As Regina holds off Cora, Snow attempts to apologize to Cora. Regina is basically like 'Save it, my mom is not the forgiving type'. Regina tells Snow that if Cora wants to kill her she'll have to go through Regina to do it. That's character development right there. Regina has changed and grown so much. Regina again demands answers and Cora's ghost pushes her aside and she goes into Snow's body. Snow sees flashes of young Cora's life.


Leopold and Cora are talking. Word has spread that Cora is with child. She tells Leopold that she is sorry that the rumour has caused him any trouble. He tells her that he doesn't care about all that. He will marry her and honour his pledge as long as he can trust her. She assures him that there is no baby, and that she loves him. Ava comes out and accuses Cora of lying. Cora accuses Ava of being a lying, jealous brat who wants to marry the Prince. I am sure Ava does, but Cora is lying. Leopold pulls some jewels out of Cora's dress. Ava and Leopold walk away as Cora beseeches him to not let her go. Ava tells Leopold that he deserves better. That the right woman will give him a child that is as pure as snow.


Regina pulls Cora's ghost from Snow's body and forces it back into the portal it came from. Emma, Charming and Hook come rushing in and want to know what is going on. Regina fills them in that it was Cora. Charming is concerned about Snow (obviously). Snow just wants to tell everyone about Cora and what she saw. Regina wants to know what Snow found out. Charming says not right now. Belle is with them and she fills them in that Zelena wants to go back in time. Apparently during Belle's research she was able to determine that a brain, heart and courage are in EVERY time travel spell. Charming says that they have no clue what Zelena hopes to accomplish. Snow says that she does. She says that Ava told a secret just like Snow did and Cora was forced to lie. Oh, Snow you really do see the good in everyone. Emma is like "are we not supposed to be the good guys" and Regina is like "not that simple". Charming puts it together that if not for Ava than Cora would have kept Zelena. Snow puts it together that Zelena wants to kill Ava to prevent it from happening. This means Snow would not have been born. Emma snaps at Regina that she is guessing Regina won't be helping anymore. Regina tells Emma to think it through. If Snow is not born, Emma won't be and that means no Henry. This might even mean that Regina wouldn't have been born. Charming realizes that nobody has succeeded because it's their baby that makes the difference. Charming smiles and says this gives them some time to figure it out. Snow is less happy with this news because the baby is coming and SOON.


Cora has the baby, and puts it in a basket. She drops it off in the woods. Cora tells the baby she is giving her away so that Cora can have HER best chance. So basically Cora is a selfish witch (nothing we didn't already know however). It also contrasts when Snow gave up Emma for EMMA's best chance. Oh, and when Emma gave up Henry for HENRY's best chance. Cora walks away and the wind picks up and the tornado that is going to carry Zelena to Oz appears.


Rumple thanks Zelena for showing him where he was wrong. She says that it's fine and soon history will be wiped clean. Rumple tells her that a gentleman always makes amends when he needs to and starts to kiss her. As it gets uncomfortably heated (because EWWW) he tries to grab the dagger. She catches on and tells him that he just threw away his chance to get 'his son' back. Rumple says that 'his son' gave his life so that he could stop her. He sees only one way to honour that and it means killing Zelena. Zelena orders him back to the cage. Sigh... again his name is NEAL (or Baelfire whichever, but HE HAS A FREAKING NAME).

Snow saw a doctor, and was cleared. Her and the baby are both fine. She goes to help Regina clean up. They have a nice heart to heart here. They talk about how complicated their past actually is. Snow and Regina actually bury the past, and agree to move forward to defeat Zelena. Snow tells Regina that she does have a resilient heart, and that they will win. They talk about Regina's feelings and how Snow sees that Regina feels things deeply even without her heart. She tells Regina to not let anything hold her back.

Regina rushes off to see Robin. He again apologizes and promises to get her heart back. It turns into kissytimes which they are both totally into.

So with the teased time travel, and the tantalizing possibility of Baelfire coming back, do you think we'll see him? I have a feeling that it might be young Bae we see, if anything. Who knows. It is kind of annoying that they WON'T EVEN SAY HIS NAME. Sigh. If Rumple goes back to the moment where he let Bae go in the portal and chooses to hold on this time... it changes EVERYTHING. *wishes for Baelfire to be alive, even if young Bae*

Next week's preview showed Aurora being back. Interesting to see what is up with her, and Phillip since I am pretty sure they were hiding something.  Only a few weeks left before the finale. Also, HOW CUTE ARE REGINA AND ROBIN?!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Release Date - April 15, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Imagine a letter that you wrote to someone. One you never expected to send. The letter itself, while addressed to someone else, was actually for you. A means of closure. A way to get something off your mind. Now imagine that letter being sent. Scary right? Jenny Han has used this scenario to create story of love. A story of loves both lost and found, and most importantly the love between sisters.

Jenny Han's writing strength is the attention to detail she gives the reader. It creates the atmosphere, and allows the reader to clearly picture the setting. The clothes, and food described in To All The Boys especially jump off the page. It's no accident that Lara Jean has a flair for fashion, as you can tell it's something Jenny also enjoys. The little details are what make a novel, and they are peppered throughout this one wonderfully.

For a novel that has romance front and centre, I was surprised that it was not the romantic type of love that was allowed to shine the brightest. The relationship between the Song sisters is touchingly sweet, and realistic. They fight, they squabble, they hurt each other, but they always love each other. They would do anything for each other. The pressure to play a certain role in the family, the expectations you put on each other, are found within these pages right along with the unwavering love. It made me think of my own sisters and how, even though they drive me crazy, I would do anything for them.

The inclusion of the letters themselves in the story delighted me. I would have been sad to not to have the chance to read the letters themselves (and the story certainly could have worked without them being included). This inclusion served to both give insight into Lara Jean, and provided a few comedic moments as Lara Jean's words come back to haunt her. They're insightful, sweet, and perfectly capture the essence of both the character, and the book itself.

A novel about love letter wouldn't be complete without some swoon worthy moments. There are plenty of adorable interactions that will leave any YA fan smiling. The message that love appears when and where you least expect it proves true, and only serves to complicate Lara Jean's life further. It's done in a really heart warming way that left me rooting for her happily ever after. There are two boys in Lara Jean's life (don't worry, no love triangle here) and I found myself hoping for a different outcome than I expected I would in terms of who Lara Jean would open her heart to.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is as endearing as it's main character. A novel that reminds you to take the risk, and say what's in your heart, because you never know where it might lead you. A sequel is already in the works, and all I can say is...p.s. it's a date.

Monday, April 21, 2014

TV Talk With Kelly - Bates Motel

As you may know Kelly, from Kellyvision, and I are doing TV recaps. We recapped American Horror Story: Coven on her blog, and now we're recapping Bates Motel (season 2) on mine. Please note, this is more our reactions/thoughts than a true recap, and obviously there will be SPOILERS!

Kelly is everything in blue, and I am the other colour (is it brown? Whatever it is).


BATES MOTEL - Season 2, episode 7 - Presumed Innocent

We are getting really close to the end of the season. I predict that things are about to get crazy.

Only three episodes left, right?

Norma leaving Norman a message asking where he is. Um, I am predicting the police station. She’s on her way to pick up some stuff for her new ‘job’. Oh, well Norman is in the back of a police car, so I was partly right.

I can’t believe he got arrested for that.  It’s so clearly an accident.  

Haha. Max loves that Norma called Lee (the guy that died) a dick. He also knows that she got this seat in a non legit way. Romero comes to deliver the bad news about Norman. He breaks it to her as softly as he can, but it’s still rough. Norma has to be freaking out. All she wants is to see Norman.

I love how everyone but Norma knows that it’s so shady how she got the seat. And Norma’s all, “Yay! Look at how things fell into place!”

Romero and the police just following procedure, but isn’t Norman underage? Doesn’t he require a parent or lawyer be with him? Is that a thing in the USA? I know in Canada they require someone with them.

That’s a thing in the US unless you want things thrown out on appeal. :)  Because yeah, they could TOTALLY get that thrown out if they tried to.  

Norman seems even younger than what he actually is here. You kind of want to protect him.

Agreed. Freddie Highmore did a great job this episode.  (Every episode.)

Dylan’s co-worker totally knows Dylan and the boss woman hooked up. Is Dylan not in charge? Is that not what happened last episode? This seems like the dude with the blonde hair thinks he is in charge. This can not end well.

Agreed.  I am starting to really worry about Dylan and his safety.

Emma is being his usual sweetheart self. She’s worried about Norman. I agree with Emma. They pretty much have to tell Norma don’t they? Norman is 16. He’s legally entitled to it, I think.

This police woman seems really eager, isn’t she? Waking up people to get testing done. Romero even seems a little annoyed, like “Geesh lady, calm yourself”. This police woman obviously thinks Norman is not telling the truth.

I hate that police officer.  Which is ridiculous because she’s just doing her job (and doing it really well).  You know she’s going to get transferred out.  “Officer, we don’t work that hard here.”

Oh, laughing lady behind the desk I fear for your safety. You are going to piss off Norma, and she is in Momma Bear mode.

YES.  You really need to not annoy Norma.

Norma wants Norman to lie to the police about his blackouts. I get the reasoning, but if they find out he lied, it’s not going to end well.

Yeah. I would maybe not mention them but you can’t lie.  Lying to the police is a big no-no.

So if you’re not under arrest they can talk to you without a parent or lawyer? Is that true in the USA or is that a convenience thing for the show? Pretty sure that in Canada you can’t question a minor without an adult present regardless of being under arrest or not. Norman wants Norma to stay out. Side note - Norma and Romero are on a first name basis now. She just called him Alex. They are totally going to kiss soon. Not sure how I feel about that.

I think so.  But even if you aren’t under arrest, you still have the right to a lawyer.  (And a parent.) I’m guessing that Norman may have thought he’d look even guiltier if he demanded Norma and/or a lawyer.

Norman really does have a thing about protecting girls. He’s worried about Cody, instead of himself. I think it stems from not being able to protect Norma which makes a whole lot of sense. Also, Freddie Highmore SO FREAKING GOOD in this. So Cody is leaving the state to live with relatives? Does this mean we are getting rid of Cody this episode? This is happy making.

I know, right? Bye, Cody! Feel free to never write or visit!

Norma’s boyfriend just showed up. How did he know? Town gossip is what he said, but would it have traveled that fast? I guess so in that town. Norma calling Cody ‘a little bird’ is funny to me. Norma would most likely describe her another way, but I get the sentiment.

A little something. :)  Probably a little something that also starts with b.  I think it’d travel fast but probably not quite THAT fast.  I’m guessing he’s not as good as we’d hope.

Dylan seems to put himself in situations that could end in his death. Ah, so this guy knows that his sister wants Dylan to watch after him. I do not trust this guy at all. “You look like you know your way around women” Duh, cuz Dylan is hot. Everyone is warning him to be cautious with boss lady. I wonder if she’s crazy (like fatal attraction crazy) or something.

It’s possible.  Or possibly once she’s bored with you, she has you killed or puts you in situations where you’re likely to die.  Either way, she can’t be that great a person considering what she does.

Norma is asking Cody to lie for Norman. Well, not lie exactly, but leave his blackouts out of the conversation. I think Norma is more worried about Norman than she lets on (with these blackouts I mean). As Cody said, Norma thinks the death and the blackouts are connected.

I don’t think that we can trust Cody to do anything.  She might do it, but only if it helps herself, too.

Emma is the one filling Dylan in on the latest events. She wants Dylan to be there for Norman. Dylan thinks he can’t help Norman. He says that Norman and Norma only care about each other. It’s sad that he feels that way. Love Emma here though. She’s not putting up with Dylan’s excuses.

Dylan’s not entirely wrong, but I think he also doesn’t really go out of his way to try and fit into the family dynamic, either.  He realizes how messed up they both are.

New boyfriend is seeming less genuine in this episode, or is it just me? Also, Norman’s “Mother” sounded a little jealous after seeing that hug. Yeah, he’s totally jealous of George (I know his name now!). “With what” Oh, Norman.

Not just you.  I don’t really trust anyone on the show.

Haha. “Does he think I’m a murder?” “Who?” “Your friend” Norman really doesn’t like this guy. Norman also thinks that Norma doesn’t believe him. She needs to tell him why.

I think Norman hates anyone that would take away Norma’s attention.

Emma has great hair. She kind of looks like Rachel Leigh Cook. Aww, these cute little smiles, and the flirting. I think it’s the only time I’ve smiled this episode.

I love Emma.  And you’re right, she does.  (Whatever happened to Rachel Leigh Cook?) *She married Daniel Gillies and is still stunning*

Is this Cody’s goodbye? Is it bad that I am happy that she’s leaving? She’s leaving the state. This means no more Cody, right? She doesn’t even want to call or text him. This is totally goodbye. Cody is telling him to get Norma to tell him about the blackouts. I agree. There is too much hiding things going on between Norma and Norman with those blackouts. They could actually deal with it if they talked (we know they don’t though, but still).

I hope so.  They replaced Bradley with Cody and both are gone, so God only knows what we’re going to replace Cody with. :( *Oh no. I do not want someone worse*

The death is ruled accidental and it’s over and done with. I love those far away shots where you can see that they recreated the hotel and house from the movie. Such detail too. It’s fantastic.

It just occurred to me, I wonder if they let Norman talk alone so that if he WERE arrested, anything he told the cops could be thrown out because he’s a minor and there wasn’t a parent or attorney there?

Norma is happy to see Cody gone, too. Haha. Norman is confronting Norma about the blackouts. “Who am I mother?” Isn’t that the question though, Norman. I don’t think Norma knows he turns into HER though, right? Sigh. Norma doesn’t want to talk about them. She wants Norman to NEVER ask her about them again. She wants to sweep this under the rug. She’s actually angry that he asked. not good parenting. Even if it’s for what seems like good reasons.

Agreed.  I mean, I get why---we don’t want Norman to know what happens with his blackouts---but since NORMA knows what happens, she needs to try and start curbing them.

What is Dylan getting himself into? I legit worry about him every episode because he’s not in the movie. I hope he just skips town and is living a quiet life somewhere, but I doubt it. Not with the life choices he’s making right now. So they want Dylan to raid Nick Ford’s warehouse. This can only end badly. Even if they manage this, retribution is going to come. Ouch. Poor Dylan. He needs to get the heck out of there (if he was capable of it that is).

I am really worried for what will come next.  I’m just hoping at this point that he makes it through the season.  Maybe he’ll just steal a bunch of money and flee.  

WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT?! THIS SHOW! This twist changes everything. Norman’s sperm was found inside Blair Watson. It matched the sample they took. So did Norman have sex with her and leave? I still don’t think he killed her. Do you think he killed her? Am I wrong? I still say no because of the nature of the wounds (they aren’t Norman’s signature style). Why would Blair sleep with him though? Did he force her in his fugue state? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Well, judging from what we saw before she died, it looks like she was trying to seduce him.  So I don’t think he raped her.  I also agree that he didn’t kill her, but we still don’t know who did.  I’m guessing we’ll find out before the end of the season, but we only have a few episodes left.

Promo says only 3 episodes left. I am not ready for it to be over. Next week’s promo looks AMAZING (what else is new).

I do not like that either.  (Also, it must’ve started earlier this year, right? Because I think the finale was right before BEA last year.)

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