pretty little recap: things are about to get flamey

Creeper Toby has been exposed! Maybe. Probably. The point is, Spencer basically equals sad face. A lot. Troian Bellisario is some sort of heartstring-pulling-wizard. Brace yourselves, PLLers, this is going to be painful.

3.17 Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno
Previously on PLL: Crazy Mona and Creeper Toby are totes in cahoots, which we basically already knew. We finally acknowledge the whole Stalker Nate fiasco was a thing that happened. And let's re-live the crazy shiz that happened last week with Meredith drugging Aria and Spencer finding out about Creeper Toby! There's no way this week is going to live up to that suspense!
A heartbroken Spencer will break your heart. Photo credit: ABC Family
...And of course we start with a shirtless Creeper Toby in full creeper mode, strangling our dear Spence. But also of course, it's a nightmare. Poor Spencer. Ugh. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that a lot tonight...
Aria and Emily are back on the Melissa-as-suspect train. Which is fair. But oh man. Poor Spencer. See??

Did we know that Emily's mom is working at the police station? Or is that a convenient new plot point they've thrown in? Stalker Nate's family has sent Emily a bunch of mementos that Emily had given to Alison. That's...a strange way to say "sorry my son tried to kill you". But of course in PLL land, old mementos usually = important clues so Emily should probably write them a nice thank you note.

Good ol' Ashley's back, trying to have a heart to heart with Hanna, as though she didn't recently randomly disappear for a while. As you do when you're the single parent of a notoriously sneaky teenage girl. Of course Hanna did have good ol' Handma around to watch after her. But then what happened to Handma? She left as quickly as she magically appeared... Did Ashley just say something about Hot Caleb in a cape? I can dig it. Really, Hanna should be more grateful that Hot Caleb is looking out for her. Crazy Mona is clearly a real threat. I'd take all the Hot Caleb in a cape help I could get.

Aria and Mr. Aria scene. Snooze. Not paying attention now that his dirty laundry has been aired. Sure, he's still suspicious in the way that he's always been suspicious, but he might as well be wearing a shirt that says "Red Herring" on it at this point.

Oh right. The Ezra haz kid storyline. Man, a lot of this stuff has been taking a backseat recently. But still, it can stay back there if it means we learn more about Creeper Toby and his nefarious deeds! I kind of want a whole episode where Spencer and the other liars question him interrogation room style. Too much to ask?

Ha! Just like that Hanna mentioned Handma! Oh man, if Handma has been secretly corresponding with Ali about beach hotties that would be too cool. Handma needs her own spin-off. Get on it, ABC Family. I want Pretty Old Handma!

I have to admit, I'm not totally hating Aria's dress. Her accessories are atrocious, but the dress itself? Assuming I'm not missing some hideous hidden aspect of it, not too bad. She must still be feeling feverish from last week.

Uh oh. Hanna overheard sneaky Paige talking to Hot Caleb. So many people on this show need to be schooled in the ways of being sneaky! Don't do it in public, people! Rule #1 of being sneaky is to avoid other people knowing you're up to something!

Things are getting tense between Emily and Spencer. Actually, it's mostly Spencer. They did a fantastic job making her look like she's too distraught to care what she looks like. She's clearly falling apart. Poor, poor Spencer.

Ha ha! Okay, Creeper Toby in juvie is hi-larious. What's with the do-rag? I guess doing hard time in juvie changes a man. Okay, this is starting to make sense. Creeper Toby hates Alison because of Jenna. And he probably hates the other liars too. And has been playing them all from the start. Poor Spencer! She can't even bring herself to tell Emily what happened with Creeper Toby even though it's TOTALLY IMPORTANT. Spencer, I get the whole emotional breakdown thing, but important info is important info. Get it together, woman!

Spencer's on a rampage, making accusations and causing trouble after receiving a text from "Aria" about the whole Ezra haz kid sitch. These girls should never trust text messages. If somebody doesn't say something to your face, just assume it's from a bad source. Now Ezra is all "What?" and I kind of don't care because Ezra and Aria either will be or they won't, you know? That's just how they do. And there are more important plot lines to explore! Like what colour would Hot Caleb's cape be? I'm thinking red because he's a classic superhero type.

But for now, I guess we're stuck with this plot line. I suppose it needs to be wrapped up at some point. Ezra is freaking out. Rightfully so. You really should have told him, Aria. It's easy to blame Spencer for this, but if Aria had just told him... This is why mature adults shouldn't date people in high school. Or, you know, knock up their girlfriends and then not speak to them for years. I'm not really sure what the lesson is here....

So yeah, I guess this whole Emily's mom working the police station thing is going to be important since they're bothering to show her on the job. How convenient! What was her job before? I have no clue. See? This is how they get away with it. They made her previous job so unimportant that I now just accept that she's working at the police station. Cop dude (whose name I can't recall or possibly never knew) is definitely digging for dirt. Watch out Emily's mom! I know a Rosewood Sneaky Snake when I see one (because of the obviousness) and that guy has something up his sleeve!

And we're back to, say it with me, Poor Spencer. This is a perfect example of someone who would feel better if she just explained what's going on. Clearly talking to Aria isn't going to help though, what with Aria's disastrous inability to clear the air herself. Spence is definitely working through the stages of grief. I think she's in denial. Or doing the anger thing. Or some combo of the two.

A is not a tough love life coach. Thanks Aria. But now that you mention it, I think that's definitely A's motivation. Let's just stick with that moving forward. A is all about lessons! The liars should probably write a nice thank you note...

Big reveal of the night: Was Ali pregnant when she died? Time to open another can of worms. Baby worms!

Hanna is tailing Paige and I have a bad feeling about this. It would appear there are a lot of attractive young lesbians in Rosewood. Does Emily know that Paige is (I assume) frequenting a gay bar?

Oh Spencer, no! Don't reach out to Creeper Toby! Grab a pint of ice cream, make some popcorn, watch some chick flicks, hang with your fellow liars and wallow--these are all acceptable things. But the one thing you shouldn't do is go and meet with your ex-boyfriend who you recently learned is potentially murderous! That rarely ends well.

Looks like Paige is flirting it up at the Rosewood hottie gay scene, where apparently Hanna could also clean up if she felt so inclined. Seriously, where did all these smokin hot lesbians come from?? I do love me some Hanna as comedic relief though.

Emily and Aria are discussing Ali's potential bun on the oven. It's interesting enough info. But I feel like it doesn't fit in well with the stuff we already know. I don't want the truth of what happened to Ali to be something out of left field. I want it to mesh well with the established facts. So I hope this is just a mislead or somehow works well into the main story.

Oh Spencer. Poor, sad Spencer. It's almost too much. I've never seen such a sad application of mascara. Why even bother, Spencer? It's going to be running down your cheeks within seconds. Crying while applying eye make-up is hella counter-productive.

Cop dude has Ali's notebook now. That's probably a bad thing. I'm not really following what's happening with that pic from Cape May. Is... that the cop? I'm really bad when it comes to certain characters needing to be in their usual uniforms/clothing in order for me to recognize them. But yeah, I think that's him. And I guess he's somehow connected to the beach-hottie-baby-daddy? Yeah, I'm gonna need more info on this one....

Spencer and...who is that? Okay, I fell for it. I totally thought she wanted to meet with Creeper Toby. I'm sorry I doubted you, Spence. I don't know if we've met this other guy before or not, but clearly he's some sort of P.I. My memory is not doing so well tonight or maybe it is and we legit don't' know this guy. Who knows. Looks like I need an IMDB refresher on these actors...

Oh Ashley. You try to be a good mom, but we all know you're not. Just let Hanna do what she's gonna do. Honestly, the suggestion that Hanna use a hot oil treatment on her hair is probably the most parental thing she's said in weeks (because of the not being around most of the time).

Aria + Ezra = OK? Hooray? Honestly, it's fine. I guess if they can survive this kind of thing, they'll survive anything. And they might as well. But it looks like Ezra's going to be out of the picture for a while. Hmmm. Based on Ezra's crying, maybe things aren't okay after all. Get it together, man. You're dating a girl in high school and you're the one crying? Ugh. Who knows with these two. I'm sure they'll be fine again in no time. They're totally BFFs foreva and junk.

Cue the dolls! Because A loves dolls. But again I find myself wondering why everything has to be so elaborate with A. Is it just the crazy? Is some sort of eccentric millionaire backing this operation? Uh oh. Things aren't looking good for Hanna what with the blonde doll being face-torched...

Not as suspenseful as last week's episode, and I didn't want to go there, but I will--Hot Caleb is sorely lacking! Not acceptable! But if that final scene is any indicator, it looks like things are going to be heating up (get it?) and given the target's on Hanna's back, we SHOULD get a decent dose of Hot Caleb soon as well. Until next week!

"he's not really into labeling things..."

Disclaimer: Illness refuses to leave my household. It keeps hitting us in waves. I guess this is life with a child in daycare. This post should have fallen back into step with my previous Monday schedule if I hadn't been passed out, sleeping off the latest round of sick. Sigh. To be on the safe side, let's just say, for the next little while, regular posts will irregularly occur on Monday or Tuesday, depending on what's going down... and now back to our irregularly scheduled post...

Everybody knows somebody (maybe even themself) who's been in one of those relationships where, sure, maybe the whole girlfriend/boyfriend thing hasn't been discussed, or they're panning to "see where things go", or are "keeping things casual". Sometimes these relationships develop into something more--maybe it's just a conversation that needs to happen--but often they go down the road of one person convincing him/herself (usually herself--sorry ladies, but we're suckers for romance and you know it!) that there's a commitment developing while the other is continuing to see other people (yeah, that's usually the dude). When you ask your friend how things are going, you get the full-of-denial-reply, "Oh, you know. He's not really into labeling things..." Sure he's not. It has nothing to do with him clinging desperately to his bachelorhood in the face of something he's not ready for...

The reason I bring this up is because we often find ourselves wanting to label things. It helps us compartmentalize, feel in control. It helps us to better understand a given situation. As a writer, I've often encountered times when someone would ask me what I do (or when I was in school, they'd ask what I want to be) and my day job aside, my answer would be one of two words: writer or author.

Is there a difference? I've come to think so. To me, an author is a writer, but a writer isn't necessarily an author. Let me explain. Writers write. They write poetry, the write essays, journals, articles, instruction manuals, marketing copy, novels, etc and so on. Writers are people who write...well, anything really. Authors on the other hand, are what writers become when they've achieved that occassionally-elusive next level of commitment. A lone chapter does not an author make, but a completed work? I think that does.
"Only the most committed authors proceed to down the contents of their inkwell after a solid writing sesh. Darling, please be a dear and ready the stomach pump!"
It can be a fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novel, picture book--published or unpublished--doesn't matter what, but if you haven't finished something, I'd call you a writer, not yet an author. I'm not saying one is better than the other, I'm just saying that's the difference in my mind. It's my personal separation of the two, and feel free to disagree.

That said, when I was in school, even though I'd completed written works (short stories, essays, etc), I still considered myself to be only a writer. I wanted to be an author. It was something I'd talk about in those terms: "I hope to be an author one day" which actually meant "I hope to be a published author one day".  The distinction back then was, published = author; unpublished = writer.

I think that changed around the time I completed my first YA novel. It was such a weighty accomplishment. Even though it wasn't the one that landed me an agent, it was still a tremendous amount of work. It's writing. It's art. And though I'll further revise it one day, right now, I still consider it complete. Finishing it was what made me start to think of myself as an author. And yeah, I think the label is important--it's just not necessarily important to other people. But just as the girl who wants to refer to the guy she's dating as "her boyfriend" views that label with distinction, it's important to me. I don't write as a hobby (well, I do, but not exclusively). I write because I'm an author. I'm a writer and an author.

Where does your distinction between the two land? Or do you consider them interchangeable? If you write, how do you refer to yourself?

friday5 for January 25, 2013

Lots of book-related news this week so let's see how well we can cram it in :)

1. When we think of adapting YA fiction, we most often think of film, but YA is pretty hot on TV too! (Obviously, right? PLL! TVD!) News came out this week that not only is the CW network re-ordering a pilot based on Kiera Cass's The Selection (there was a bit of controversy around this book, and this is the second go-round for the pilot), but also, FOX is looking at a pilot for Lauren Oliver's Delirium. How cool would that be?! I personally can't get enough YA on my TV :)

2. Next up: the info is really starting to flow for the Divergent film franchise. Apparently Kate Winslet is in talks for a role, but no word on which one. I'm thinking Tris's mother, but Kate's so talented, she could just as easily fill the role of villain Jeanine Matthews. Actually, I think I'd like that a lot!

3. And even more book to film news! Variety is also reporting that Chloe Moretz (say no more--she's amazing) is in talks to play Mia in the film adaptation of Gayle Forman's powerhouse contemporary If I Stay. I feel like I can't adequately express how awesome this match would be. Chloe is phenomenal and the very thought of her playing Mia gives me chills!

4. I don't recall if I've blogged about Oz The Great and Powerful on here yet or not, but can we all just agree that this film is shaping up to look stellar? This new trailer pretty much seals the deal. I'm so on board. Say what you will about James Franco, that guy cracks me up.

5. YA book rec time! Lots of great titles released this week, but I'd be remiss if I didn't lavish my love and attention on Boundless, the third book in Cynthia Hand's OMGAMAZING Unearthly series.
The covers for these books... I just.. I can't. I need a moment to recover from the awed state these beauts put me in. Have a look:

Absotively beautious!
The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all. (Summary from
If you haven't read these books, you seriously need to. Cynthia can write. As in, she can really write. She's the kind of author who makes you question whether or not you ever actually learned to write when you were in school because everything you put on the page looks nothing like what she's managed to accomplish. Just trust me. In fact, don't trust me. Read the books! And then you're more than welcome to thank me later ;)

Happy weekend!

pretty little recap: let's all be sad together

Let me set the stage for tonight's Pretty Little Recap... I've been sick on and off for the past two weeks. After a very healthy year on mat leave, I knew I'd get hit hard when a) I returned to the germy land of public interaction and b) Emmeline started daycare. And sure enough, yeah, we both got hit. She had it bad for about 12 hours and then was fine. I've been hacking and sneezing for weeks, seemingly unending.

Normally, I'm a big milk drinker, so when I get sick, I miss milk even though I don't want it. And then I know I'm on the mend when I suddenly start craving it again. And I do mean craving. Because I haven't been drinking it, it's like my body goes into a depleted state that tells my brain to obtain as much milk as possible as soon as possible. So that's the stage I was at tonight. I drank five glasses of milk during my viewing of this episode. And it was delicious..... Okay, that was really unrelated and unnecessary, but I feel like you need to understand that any and all weird comments are 100% due to the milk coma... This should be fun!
3.16 Misery Loves Company
Previously on PLL: The parents on this show are way crazier than the teenagers! Like, for reals. CPS should probably get involved in this shiz...
Uh Oh. Did Aria's closet vomit all over this bed? Photo credit: ABC Family
The liars are acting all dumpy, especially Aria. I'm surprised feverish, deathbed-y Aria isn't wearing something completely insane. Missed opportunity, wardrobe department. This was your chance to get away with putting Aria in a clown costume. Who am I kidding, they're probably saving that for Prom...

Meanwhile, Creeper Toby and Crazy Mona are speaking in monotone voices as they plot their next move... their next VERY AMBIGUOUS move. Come on guys, give us a little something... You're in safe company--can't you speak openly with each other about this crap?

Oh right, Creeper Toby and Emily were friends at one point. What is with Creeper Toby and the monotone? Did he have a lobotomy or something? Maybe he's still tired from all the random A team assignments he's been running lately. Creeper Toby, you need to sleep. Didn't you ever see that episode of Clone High?

Oooh, Emily and Spencer are up to something....

HOT CALEB! Thank goodness you're back, boy. Don't ever leave ever again! Hot Caleb is being all protective and secretive! I can't bring myself to be suspicious of Hot Caleb. He's not allowed to be bad! Especially when he's so sweet to our dear Hanna.

Is Creeper Toby shirtless in every episode now? Is anybody keeping track? I'm sure there are people out there who dig it, but I can't see the bod past the creeper.

"I hope he likes surprises..." Don't worry, Spencer's Mom. I have it on good authority that Creeper Toby loves the CRAP out of surprises.

If I were Aria, I so wouldn't let Meredith near me when I'm off my game. Bitch is up to something.

Yay Emily and Paige. Oh wait. I don't care. I try to, guys. I really do. Maybe I just miss Maya. Ha ha. Hanna saves the day with her awkward jokes. Love you, Hann.

I'm not keen on Hanna having Emily trail Hot Caleb. I don't want this to turn into a whole "you don't trust me" thing when he inevitably finds out. Then again, he kinda brought this whole thing on by having that mysterious phone call. Hot Caleb, you need to focus on being hot and avoid giving Hanna any reasons to be suspicious!

Since we have to have the whole Emily tailing Hot Caleb plotline, can it at least turn into a comedy of errors? Pretty please? Maybe Emily knocks over a whole display of soup cans at the grocery store?

Was that a fake Radley ID amidst Creeper Toby's things? Ooooh man. He's so gonna get caught soon and it's gonna be awesome!

What is with the mannequins PLL? What is with the dolls and the mannequins and the disturbing imagery? And seriously, I'm starting to question whether or not the A team is getting enough "me time". They seem to carry pretty heavy schedules full of random (and let's face it, often pointless) acts of terrorizing our liars. I hope they get to put in for vacation sometimes.

The Hot Caleb tail continues! He's looking all hot and angsty. Wonder what he's up to.... Paige? Okay, now I'm confused. Ah, it's like a significant others club. I might be able to get behind this. As long as nothing bad happens to Hot Caleb. Paige? Meh....

Interesting that Emily is suggesting an A army instead of just Crazy Mona and "her minion". First it was A, then it was the A team, now... the A army? Things are escalating awfully quickly.

Apparently, Aria plans to be sick and sleepy for this whole episode. And I never thought I'd say this, since they're the cardboard couple and all, but where's Ezra?

Oh good. Another doll. And... Alison? Whoa, what was in that tea Meredith gave Aria? Something not good. And Aria's hallucination is warning her about it? The hallucination from the tea? This just got really circular. Was Aria sleeping with the teapot and cup on her bed? Oh Aria, you don't know how to do anything, do you? Well, I guess you know how to get yourself locked in your own room...


And we're back. Meredith is getting ragey at the pharmacy. That's so like her. Crazy woman demands extra drugs, is refused, then erratically tries to buy allergy pills in bulk. Yeah, that pharmacist is definitely doing the right thing by ringing her up and not kicking her out of the store. Then again, it's Aria so....

Creeper Toby! Being scary! Spencer, get with it! You're such a smart girl, you can't keep falling for his creeper act! I have to admit, his hair is looking pretty decent. If it weren't for his creepy ways and his wonky face...nah.

Meredith is way off the deep end now. She may not be an A teamer, but she's definitely scary. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think Mr. Aria should dump her. Even if she did put Aria down with one shot. Sure, Aria's small, but she's feisty! That takes skill, yo!

Thunderstorms are never a good sign on this show. They pretty much mean somebody's gonna get their murder on.

Power outage is even worse. Get out, Hanna and Emily! Save yourselves! Aria's not worth it! Ah! Meredith! GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT! She's acting creepy and unusual! And why would Aria have gone to the basement for flash lights when the power only JUST went out?

Man, this show so gets to me. I can't take it! I have a strong suspicious that all this Meredith stuff is separate from the A stuff, but it's still freaking me out!

PVR, how are there still 15 mins left in this show?? This is insane!

Okay, I totally wanna see Hanna open a can of whoop ass on Meredith. Regardless of whether or not Mr. Aria is in on the plan (he's so not), I think the girls should start screaming ASAP. Uh oh. Mr. Aria looks disturbingly calm after what Meredith just told him. Psycho calm. But I think it's a mislead. He's her dad! Looks like they're clearing this whole thing up... or are they? Yeah, it looks like they are. I mean, really, who knows, but for now, I guess Mr. Aria is.... wait, what's up with Melissa? Hmmm....

AHHHH! Creeper Toby! Spencer! The key! Again, I have a feeling this is a mislead. She's going to think he's looking for it for some other reason. And he'll explain his A uniform somehow... stupid commercials! Oh right, PVR...

Ah! Not a mislead! This is really going down! What's going to happen now? Spencer knows about Creeper Toby! And that means Creeper Toby is free to let his true creeper out! Things are going to get crazy for reals!

Meredith gone already? That's...convenient. Mr. Aria's story about Alison makes sense. Besides, we can wrap that suspicion up now that Creeper Toby is on the loose! Out of the way, Mr. Aria! It's time to get serious! Homestretch, baby!

Oh Spencer. I feel terrible for her. She wants so desperately to believe that Creeper Toby isn't a creeper, but if he wasn't, why would he just disappear the way he did? Why wouldn't he stay and explain? Because he's EVIL, Spencer. PURE EVIL!

And there's Crazy Mona, enjoying the fruits of Spencer's foolish labour. Poor Spence.

And I guess I don't get a preview because Much Music (the channel I watch PLL on here in Canada) decided to advertise something other than next week's episode. What the deuce, Much Music?? Not cool. Like, Creeper Toby level of not cool.

bumps in the road

Even best laid plans have a tendency to go awry. There are unpredictable factors you can’t plan for, can’t foresee. So the best way to move forward in any venture is to expect the unexpected or at least train you brain to deal when things going off course.
You know how you can be headed somewhere, to do something specific and then suddenly you forget your purpose along the way? You could just stand there, unable to recall, or give up and go do something else, but it’s often helpful to retrace your steps. To remind yourself of what you were after and why. Focusing on your goal helps you get back on track.
While I was on mat leave, I was able to easily keep to a blogging schedule. My time was a little more flexible (especially when the baby was napping well). Now my time is a lot more structured. As I settle back into my day job, I realize that I’m going to have to shift my expectations if I’m to keep up. Blog ahead, schedule posts, put more thought into planning. Basically, be prepared. I knew things would be different, but until I found myself experiencing it, I didn’t know how exhausted I’d be. I didn’t know how difficult it would be to make time for blogging. But I haven’t let myself lose sight of how important it is. I knew I’d have to find a way to make time. Giving up on it altogether wasn’t an option.
The blog isn’t quite back to normal, but it’s getting there. I’m adapting to the changes that are happening. Or trying to. It’s still something I’m working on.
Sometimes writers encounter bumps along the road as they’re writing. Major life events, lost writing sessions (sorry, I know how cringe-worthy the very thought is) or just plain suffering through a major case of writer’s block. The important thing to remember is that these things happen. They’re bound to happen. We can’t let them trip us up for long and we definitely can’t let them stop us altogether. We have to find ways to get back to our primary objectives. To return our focus, even if it has to be modified to accommodate change.
There’s a world full of curveballs out there, just waiting to be thrown your way. They could come at any time. When they do, don’t let them break you. Nothing is so insurmountable that you can’t work at it over time. Keep your goals—be they writing goals or otherwise—always in view and when something takes your eyes off them for a moment, go ahead and take it in, but then go back and reminder yourself of why those goals were in your line of sight to begin with.
P.S. Speaking of bumps in the road, I can't seem to format the font in this post, nor can I seem to upload the picture I was going to include. Since my goal is to post something today, I'm not going to let these little bumps in my bloggy road stop me. Do your thing, post. Do your fonty, pictureless thing.

friday5 for January 18, 2013

Yeah, okay, I know this is being posted a day late, but let's pretend it's still Friday, okay? I had snippets of this ready to go and then on Thursday evening, when I was planning to get it finalized and schedule it for Friday posting, I was suddenly hit by the kind of head cold that makes you feel like your brain is an expanding balloon, pushing desperately against the sides of your skull as it tries to make its escape into the frigid winter air. So I apologize, but believe me, a Friday5 post assembled on a feverish brain would have looked something like this:

1. Bananas!
2. Pants!
3. Ghosts!
4. Cartwheels!
5. YA book rec = Books are amazing!

Exciting with all those exclamations, and certainly to the point, but not exactly representative of what the Friday5 is all about... so without further ado, I present to you, the belated Friday5:

1.  Let's start with the exciting news that Jennifer Lawrence is hosting SNL tonight! Remind me to set my PVR, okay? Because I highly doubt I'll still be awake. Actually, I'll go set that right now. Okay, I'm back. I love me some J-Law. And not just because she's our Katniss. If you read any interview with her (any interview), you will find yourself completely in love with her before you can even figure out what's happening. She's funny and down to earth and I really hope they write some awesome skits for her because we know she can pull off the funny.

2. The Divergent movie train keeps chugging along! Shailene Woodley (whose first name I can't spell without intensely staring at it) is talking a bit about playing Tris. I still think she's a great choice for the role. Whenever a popular book series is adapted for film, there are going to be issues/nay-sayers along the way, but so far I'm feeling optimistic about Divergent and I'm definitely hoping we'll see some images from filming as things get rolling later this spring. Especially some shots of Four!

3. First Lucy Hale played Robin's kid sister on How I Met Your Mother, now it's Ashley Benson's turn to play a HIMYM sibling--is there a way we can get the other liars on this show too? Ashley will be playing Barney's sister, who develops a thing for Ted... sounds about right. The episode airs on Monday and I think our dear Hanna's gonna rock it!

4. It's the Kristen Bell baby bump, you guys! Veronica Mars's baby is incubating away and what a sweet reminder that a baby Bell (not the cheese) will be here before we know it (okay, there's a little way to go, but that doesn't make it less exciting!) Kristen and Dax Shepard are quite possibly going to be the most fun parents ever. I can't wait to see pics of their little family later this year :)

5. This week's YA book rec is a no-brainer. I've been anticipating the release of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis since I finished A Million Suns (book 2 in the Across the Universe trilogy).

I am totally digging the green planty goodness on this cover!
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


(Summary from
If you haven't read these books yet, I just have to ask, WHY AREN'T YOU READING THEM RIGHT NOW? If you aren't up to date on a trilogy, the release of the final book is the best time to catch up because it's all compulsion and no waiting! These books are solid YA sci-fi fun with drama and romance and mysteries and crazy spaceship antics thrown in for good measure. You can't go wrong!

Well, I'm still feeling fairly under the weather so I'm going to go take it easy. I suggest you do the same. Happy weekend!

pretty little recap: still not better and definitely up to something!

Huzzah PLLers! Another new episode without having to wait months in between! I'd say it feels like Christmas morning if the real Christmas wasn't still so fresh in my memory... Regardless, there's much to discuss so let's see what lovely gifts The Powers That Lie have bestowed upon us...

3.15 Mona-Mania
Mona's train of crazy has no breaks! Let's see who she's carelessly running over this week! As always, please ignore the typos (and blame my netbook keyboard, not me).

Previously on PLL: Crazy Mona! Creeper Toby! Dead Garrett! Alison's secrets! So much DRAMA!

Fig.1. Example of someone who is up to something!
Photo credit: ABC Family

Aria is watching one of those above the fireplace TVs. They look great when they're off, but aren't they a little too high up on the wall? This probably isn't important... I should be paying attention to Mr. Aria being TOTALLY CREEPY! Watch out, Aria. He may or may not kill girls your age.

The non-Aria liars are doing a little more digging in the scary school basement. Aaaaannndd there's a terrifying hooded guy (PROBABLY Creeper Toby) who appears from the shadows and books it. Creep-o janitor is gone, Hood-o is gone and A had left yet another message for our liars, telling them to move it along.

Ah, the bike accident victim from last week. I'd semi-forgotten about that. Apparently he was up against Spencer for.. something.. captain of something? Maybe Creeper Toby sabotage? He's an A-teamer, but he also, in addition to that, but separate from that, actually does love Spencer?

Crazy Mona is claiming Creep-o janitor was stalking her. It's a pretty convincing story. We should probably believe her. Oh right, the whole crazy thing... and my cat just climbed onto my laptop. She doesn't seem to understand live-blogging.

Lucas hair is looking pouffy again, but at least it's more of a styled pout and not the voluminous pouf from last week. Anyone else starting to get the feeling that Lucas is just a nice guy who got in too deep with the wrong people? Or is he just a really good liar? He just looks too innocent...

Ah, Paige. Where've ya been? Do you even serve a purpose anymore? Should we still suspect you of doing A-teamish things? I want to think she's just a good girlfriend for Emily, but seriously, why are we pretending she didn't try to drown Emily that one time??

Aria is walking a dangerous line bringing up Mr. Aria stuff with her mom. She needs to be more subtle and seem less suspicious. I'm not surprised Aria hasn't mastered this skill. Aria doesn't do subtle. That said, tonight's outfit hasn't burned through my eyeballs yet.

Uh oh. Crazy Mona is treading into Spencer's territory. This would be a bad situation if I didn't love competitive Spencer. Heh. Hasting's face. Spencer is all about the mental spankings. It's one of the many reasons she's awesome.

So I'm confused. At this point, are the liars assuming Crazy Mona is still A any of the time? All of the time? None of the time? I know they know A is more than just Crazy Mona at work, but does that mean they no longer attribute A messages to her at all?

Where's Hot Caleb? I miss him.

It's hard to believe anything Crazy Mona says. You know, because of the crazy. But that's probably why she's telling the truth. Not curve-ball-y enough for PLL.

Aria's black dress might be cute if she wasn't wearing that belt. Another belt would even be fine, but that one? Ugh. She totally Aria'd it.

Mr. Aria is totally creepy now. The way he lurks. Was he always creepy? No, this is definitely new. It's like Aria's suspicious questions (dammit Aria! Be more inconspicuous for once!) switched on some sort of evil mode in him. Suddenly he's sleeping with a knife beside the bed and sits in a dark room staring at the wall, only for his head to swivel around backwards when Aria comes home from school... Ah! That'd better not happen!

Time for a Creeper Toby scene! Ah, the massage, it's once of Creeper Toby's many tactics for easing Spencer into a lazy comfort zone where she doesn't question whether or not he's been acting extra stab-y lately. Suspicious phone call. Suspicious looks. Creeper Toby is definitely going to slip up and show Spencer his nutso side one of these days. It's just bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to Creepy-explode.

Not sure if I'm right about Lucas or not. Again, he might be lying. but it does seem like he's just in too deep. Which is exactly why he's the mastermind. He has to be. HAS TO BE. Even if it's never proven, I'll always believe it at this point.

Oh Aria. Change your belt. Or just remove it. It's hard to concentrate on creepy Mr. Aria's ever-increasing psychopathic behavior when your belt is all up in my grill.

Seriously, where's Hot Caleb? Why is Hanna not making out with him?

Paige appears to be having some sort of panic attack. Apparently the events of Halloween seriously messed her up. Which seems weird. You'd think the Nate thing would have messed her up more.

Spencer vs. Mona. It's showtime! I still don't really know what they're competing for. Some sort of...history club? Knowledge club? Trivia club? I wasn't paying attention, okay? I just know that Spencer wins at life and therefore must win at this.

WHAT ARE THE BOTTOM 3/4 OF ARIA'S JACKET? Aria, you are making that outfit worse, not better!

Meredith is actually being helpful? And snoopy? (as in, sneaky, not the dog) More info is revealed... and Mr. Aria is not looking any better. I think Meredith has her own suspicions, but if that's true, why is she with Mr. Aria again?

For someone who is apparently now afraid of life, I wouldn't think walking around in the dark woods is something Paige would wanna do... and now the tire is slashed. She should know better. Emily should too. And yet, she's chasing after the scary hooded guy in the woods. WHO IS CREEPER TOBY! It's weird, it sort of feels like, "No worries, ladies, it's just Creeper Toby!" but wait, Creeper Toby is NOT a safe guy. All bets are off! Creeper Toby might have listed "murder" as one of his extra-curricular activities on his college apps for all we know!

Spencer is going for the kill. Or the Hastings-spank. Or rather, she was. No, Spencer! Don't choke! SPENCER NO!

I hope they do something insane with Mr. Aria because I don't think I can ever go back to seeing him as just a normal show-dad.

Well, since the Hastings-spank didn't fly, it's time for the Hanna-spank. Speaking of Hanna, where's Handma tonight? And WHERE'S HOT CALEB? I am not well pleased, PLL. I love your crazy crazy secrets, but I need Hot Caleb! Next week you owe us a Hanna-spank, involving Hot Caleb. And yes, I did mean for that to sound dirty.

The A team is going to come for Hanna. Hot Caleb had better have her back. And he's better not be on the A team. We've discussed this, PLL. That's not allowed!

Something about Emily putting Paige to bed on her floor is too parental, even with the kiss.

Who ever thought we'd end up with a Meredith-Aria bond. Maybe Meredith can take her shopping and buy her some less disastrous outfits...

Crazy Mona and Mr. Aria! What's that all about? And more creepy doll masks! Not okay, PLL! Not at all! Sometimes the stuff the hooded A-teamers do is so random and weird, it makes me wonder if they get handed A-ssignments (get it, A team? A-ssignments?) from the head A and are like, "Oh man! You want me to bury a doll mask in the woods? Why can't <insert name of other A-teamer> do that? I'm exhausted from all the lurking in basements and randomly slashing people's tires for no reason!"

Well, that's it for this week! A whole episode with no Hot Caleb. There is a Hot-Caleb-shaped hole in my heart and I'm going to need extra Haleb scenes next week if I ever hope to fill it :(

But until then, I plan on returning with a Friday5 on Friday (knock on wood) so please come back for that, and with any luck, I'll be in good shape to return with a regular post on Monday. Things are slowly settling into a groove. More on that later :)

pretty little recap: she's SO not better

Despite my bad blogger tendencies as I settle back into work, I did manage a little time to live-blog (well, live-type and post a day later because OUR INTERNET WAS DOWN FOR SEVERAL HOURS. Ahem. Apparently I get testy when that happens...) the return of our dear PLL, which is looking just as insane and awesome as always. Regular blog posts to return soon, but until then, let's dive into the...

3.14 She's Better Now
Crazy Mona's back, my PLLers (is that a thing?), and despite the title of this week's episode, she is very much so not someone you would classify as "better."

Previously on PLL: Confession time. I totally was only half-paying attention during the episode where they introduced all this Vivian Darkbloom business. So every time it's mentioned, my brain goes all, "??!?????!" I really need to rewatch it--or maybe it never made much sense. I blame Aria. Oh PLL, welcome back!

Photo credit: ABC Family
We open that an A-teamer on a skateboard? Those guys are so skilled. Oh, it's Crazy Mona. She's very resourceful in her escapades. I'm pretty sure if I were Hanna and I woke up to find Crazy Mona was SOMEHOW in my room, I'd get the hell out of Dodge..

Okay. Whoa. What is going on? I guess the skateboarder wasn't Crazy Mona? Editing-confusion. So another A teamer, maybe? Whoever it is... Creeper Toby no likey! Creeper Toby angry! Creeper Toby SMASH! Oh Creeper Toby. Seriously, welcome back, PLL.

Emily and Mr. Emily...blah blah blah Alison. Blah blah blah house arrest because the world is out to murder you, apparently.

Hooray for Spencer and Aria! Aria is at her best when she's with Spence. Her outfit does not disappoint. Stripes and...some sort of animal print? Sure, Aria, you weren't drinking in the morning again...

Wait, where did Hanna's grandma come from? Did she get introduced during that scene with Emily and Mr. Emily? Cause I totally wasn't paying attention to that conversation... I'm not imagining things, right? Hannah's Grandma (Handma?) came out of nowhere, right??

I'm glad we're not pretending the Mr. Aria and Alison thing didn't happen. Because that was super random and I NEED ANSWERS!

Hmmm. Crazy Mona looks normal enough to me. They should probably trust her. Oh wait, the whole insane-o A thing. Yeah, okay, the cold-shoulder seems appropriate.

Back when I was in school, cell phones weren't really a thing yet (except for the gargantuan Zack Morris phone). Do teachers really confiscate them as often as TV would have us believe? I would definitely keep my phone out of sight if there was a chance it would be taken from me. That would drive me nuts.

I also wouldn't use it to film somebody so openly in the hall, especially somebody who was previously-and-probably-still-is crazy sauntering down the hall with a large knife (with or without a brain on the tip). Again, I'd get the hell out of Dodge. I guess I'm just flighty like that.

The shirt Aria is wearing beneath the striped blazer totally has cheetahs or something crazy on it. And that's in addition to the animal print skirt. That's phenomenal. Aria is a phenomenon.

HOT CALEB!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss/love you Hot Caleb. Be on my TV all the time, okay?

More Halloween episode references! Hooray! Oh yeah. Aria did stab her kidnapper. I'd forgotten about that. Good stuff, PLL. This is why I love this show. They give you enough to keep you from getting frustrated. Plus Aria's wardrobe, which makes you question your own sanity/wardrobe.

Is Creeper Toby acting differently now that we know he's on the A team? Or was he always like this? I guess they couldn't make him too aggressive before or we'd have known he was up to something. Spencer probably assumes he just skipped breakfast or something. She's always letting him off the hook!

More creepy dolls. Why PLL? Why???

Aria + Ezra = snooooooooze. It's not like I have a problem with these two together, but like the Emily and Mr. Emily scene, I just have a tendency to tune out... until there's a creepy "It's a boy!" basket waiting outside! Things are heating up in the whole Ezra-Alex Mack-Baby scandal and Ezria might get interesting!

Spencer's green and rainbow-y "running shirt" is awesome. Sweaty Creeper Toby is not. "Not exactly a bubble bath." LOVE IT. I'm so using that sometime...

Jason's hair is super voluminous. I wonder if he uses some kind of styling product on it?

HOT CALEB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love his plea for Emily to feed him. Hanna should totally be making out with him 24/7. Every minute she spends scheming with the liars is wasted makeout time!

Speaking of makeouts, we move on to Spencer and Creeper Toby in a hot tub. I honestly can't tell if Creeper Toby's frustrated look at the end of this scene is because Spencer's getting her suspicion on or because he was hoping things in the hot tub would go from hot to handsy. No, Creeper Toby, just no.

Aria and Mr. Aria scenes would normally be potentially boring, but the whole Alison thing definitely has my attention. Nice digging, Aria, you phenomenon, you. For a split second I was disappointed with the lack of any revealing info, but the Mr. Aria double-take at the end was a nice, suggestive touch! That sounded dirty. I apologize.

Lucas is rocking some seriously voluminous hair too. I wonder if he's been using Jason's styling products? Is pouffy dude hair in style right now? I'm not really diggin it.

HOT CALEB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that guy has awesome hair. I promise I won't Hot-Caleb-squeal for the rest of the season. It's just been a long break :)

Aaaaand Aria is wearing an American flag skull shirt with a studded jacket. I get that this show has a wardrobe department full of crazy crap like that, just ripe for the Aria, but what teenage girl has all this random crap in her closet? I guess Aria does. Her parents should stop giving her an allowance if she's going to spend it on random crap she could probably cobble together out of upholstery fabric and old mittens. She probably does that too. Grow up and get a job, Aria.

Is Handma a thing now? Like, is she part of the A team? What is going on?? Don't get me wrong, she's gets major points for randomly singing. And bonus points to Hanna for excusing it away with "Because she can." I'm definitely team Haleb, but I think I'm also team Handma now.

Sneaky Emily might want to give Mr. Emily a few minutes to leave before crawling out the window. Rookie mistake, Sneaky Emily. I feel like that whole phone switch is going to come back to bite her in the A team, if you know what I mean.

Mr. Aria and Alison! Extortion? Is this just about Meredith? Before, I felt like we were to believe something happened BETWEEN Mr. Aria and Alison, but maybe she's just looking for a little cold, hard Mr. Aria cash.

Oooh Creeper Toby vs. Creeper Motel/Janitor Guy. You won't win with either of these gents, ladies! Stick with Hot Caleb. Or even Jason. His hair is pouffy, but he is generally less creepy.

Ah! Explosion-y fire! Commercial break!!

Emily and Mr. Emily again...... yeah. Where's Emily's mom? Where's Hanna's mom? Was I not paying attention when these things were discussed? Furthermore, where's Aria's mom? Did all the PLL moms get mom-napped? Why is nobody on top of this? It was probably A!

Pouffy Jason. Is his shirt just open for no reason? Yeah, I guess that's fine. But it feels a little forced. "Hey Spece, just hanging out on my porch here with perfectly chiseled abs peaking out from behind this designer shirt. No big deal."

Wait WHAT?????? Jason + injury + Crazy Mona = WHAT????? I take back what I said about Jason being less creepy than Creeper Toby.

That's all for this week, folks! Things are only going to get nuttier and I can't wait!

quick post from my phone!

I've never posted from my phone before so this is a bit of an experiment for me....
Apologies for the lack of a Friday5 yesterday. I had good intentions! But Thursday and Friday were my first two days back at work and they left me feeling more wiped than I'd anticipated.

The blog may be a bit wonky over the next few weeks as I settle into the new routine but I promise I will post and I will get back to my usual schedule as soon as I'm able! Plus, there's a new PLL on the horizon so I'll definitely be recapping :)

Thanks for your patience, my dear bloggies. Things should be back to normal soon!