pretty little recap: 'tis the seAson...for murder and stuff!

5.13 How the 'A' Stole Christmas
It's been a long wait PLLers (especially since Baby H being born in the summer resulted in no recaps for the first half of season 5!), but the bitches are back, forgoing their usual Halloween episode for something a little merrier and more stabby. Okay, probably not more stabby, but definitely as stabby, plus there were thrills, chills, and Santa boxers (oh my) so let's get to it!

If you want your stars to look like teens, maybe don't dress them as though they're on Dynasty. Photo credit: ABC Family 

Pretty Little Highlights 

1. This episode was so delightfully over the top. It was everything you'd expect from a PLL holiday special and more. The Ghost of Mona Past (or was she Mona Future? Or all of them in one?) was great, especially her crazy, hot mess, glam ghost look. Work it, Ghosty Mona. 

2. I'm not normally one to dig anything Creeper Toby does, but the shout out to Rear Window (or as I associated it, the 'Bart of Darkness' episode of The Simpsons) was very cool. And really, that was just a general PLL decision. Not a Creeper Toby one. He was just doing what he does best. Being a creeper.

3. Umm, I'll just leave this here:

Photo credit: Lindsey Shaw's twitter
4. Hot Caleb and Hanna making with the charity. And Hot Caleb's elf costume. It's official: he's adorable year-round.  

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. I'm again weirded out to say that I can't really bag on Aria too much this week. Aside from not doing anything stupid/ill-advised, she was the only Liar who appeared to be wearing something even remotely youthful to Ali's Ice Ball. Seriously Em, what is up with that dress? It makes you look 35. Don't get me wrong, Shay looks gorgeous in it, but I am not buying her as a teenager in that dress...

2. Oh Hanna. I love you girl, but rule #1 when you break into someone's house as part of a major plot is to always keep your cell handy. How many times do you have to be attacked by crazy hooded people before you learn that lesson?

3. Am I the only one who found it super weird when the Liars and their paramours were snowed in and Ezra was at the head of the table as though he was the dad? Like, it's one thing for him to hang with Aria, but in scenes like that he's basically just some older dude hanging with a bunch of teenagers (most of whom are or have been his students!). Isn't it weird when they're chatting about school gossip and Ezra's all "Mortgages! 401Ks!" Or is that just me?

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. Creepy mask staring at Hanna and Spence after Hanna gets knocked out. NOT COOL.

2. Ali's teamsters are willing to go behind her back. Or are they? Was it all part of a bigger plan? I'M ALWAYS SUSPICIOUS OF YOU ALI'S TEAMSTERS!

3. More creepy masks as Ali's minions provide a diversion. Stop with the masks and dolls already, people! But no, don't. Because we love how creepy it is. 


5. A decorates a mean Christmas tree. What? I found it kind of shocking. That would have taken some serious time. How did he/she manage? 

I'm certain there were more things worth mentioning, but my viewing up the episode was a bit chopped up due to teething Baby H, and now he's crying to get up from his nap, so I'll leave it at, bring on season 5b!


the horizon

The back half of 2014 has been, well, a bit of a blur. The idea that 2015 is only a few short weeks away seems impossible, but yeah, there it is. The bad news is, I've been lost in a haze of sleepless nights (thanks to Baby H falling into a textbook four month sleep regression) and busy days (rocking baby, entertaining toddler, trying to keep the house from crumbling around us). The good news is, things are finally looking up a bit.

I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting. No, I know I spend a lot of time waiting. That's the nature of publishing. Being on submission means waiting. Being on submission with a new book means more waiting. Having a newborn means waiting. At least with that last one, I know all my waiting will pay off.

Over the past few months, I've often found myself wondering how I not only finished a novel during my first maternity leave, but also found enough time to research and query a slew of agents (a process that ultimately matched me with my stellar agent, Marlene). Where on earth did I find the time to manage that? But now I'm remembering. Because I've finally reached the point (I hope) when things start to shift from feeling like I never have enough time to do anything, to the baby being able to entertain himself for 20-30 minutes at a time, and take longer naps, and suddenly things seem possible again. I've even managed to get in a bit of work on my WIP--enough that I'm now rather anxious to spend even more time with it. I have my fingers crossed that early 2015 will allow me the time to really dive in.

So what does all this mean? Hopefully, it means this blog will be back in business soon. Hopefully, it means I'll have a fifth novel under my belt before long. Hopefully, it means I can hit the ground running when the new year begins. It's an excellent time for it, don't you think?

And now I hear the telltale wail of a baby waking... he slept for a full hour this time. Not fantastic, but not bad. Not bad at all.

the writer's arsenal: digital baggage

Writers today have a plethora of digital tools at their disposal to, ideally, make their lives easier when it comes to mapping out ideas, and writing anywhere, anytime. (That's right. Plethora. Thank you, online thesaurus, for example!) But this is one of those cases where too much can potentially be a bad thing, or at least, a complicated thing, involving too many software and service options.

I recently downloaded a master password keeping app (1Password if you're interested), deciding it was time to get the minefield that is my online identity organized. The very thought of all those accounts I have out there (plus the ones I've made and undoubtedly forgotten about) is overwhelming. Services, online shops, online banking, site logins--the list goes on. Thanks to the master app, I'm now starting to feel a bit more organized with all my accounts and passwords (which I beefed up in the process) in one place, but the exercise has also brought to my attention the vital importance of a little digital housekeeping from time to time.

It's time to leave some of that baggage behind...

If spring is the time to clean house, then I propose fall be the time to organize the scope of our digital lives. I firmly believe organization is the key to productivity so if you're having trouble in that area or even if you're just feeling bogged down by all the services you're signed up for, here are a few tips to get you moving in a better direction:

1. Are your apps holding you back? Mine were. And not just because I didn't have enough space to upgrade the software on my iPhone. I simply had too many apps kicking around that I downloaded to "check out", but the problem was, most of them had been downloaded for the same purpose--I wanted somewhere to write on the go. But after a while, I had so many of them that I couldn't remember which was which. I couldn't remember which ones I liked. I couldn't remember which ones I'd synced to the cloud or which ones were even capable of that. It was time for a major purge. After categorizing my various apps into folders, I started the process of opening each one to remind myself of how it worked and whether or not I liked using it. If anything about it didn't meet my needs, I ditched it. Even if there were aspects of it I did like, I don't have time for multiple apps that do the same thing. In the end, I isolated a trio of writing apps that each serve a distinct purpose, including one for writing on the go, and I trashed the rest, deleting related accounts as I went. I then did this with the rest of my apps, cleaning up anything I wasn't really using. I could already feel the digital burden on my shoulders getting lighter.

2. Next up was cloud storage services. Most of us don't only subscribe to one, even if we didn't make that decision consciously. But doesn't it feel a bit scattered to have your online storage be so, well, scattered? I found myself signed up for several of these online storage services (again to try them out in an effort to find the one I liked best, or sometimes because of a promotion offering extra GBs for free). It got to be a bit much. So I made a list of all the services I was signed up for and started to cull the list where I could (again, closing the accounts of anything I no longer planned to use). I still find myself with multiple accounts--Google Drive, iCloud, and a few others can be unavoidable--but the ones I've kept each serve a distinct purpose and now that I've got myself organized, I can start to use each one more effectively than ever (including the use of a highly secure service, Tresorit, to back up my most sensitive documents).

3. Email. Oh email. You started out so simple once upon a time. I had one email address to meet all my needs. But that has somehow spiralled out of control to the point where I have several. As with cloud storage, there is a certain amount of necessity to it, with different emails being used for different purposes, but still, there are extras that can go. Again, I made a list of all the email accounts I've accumulated over the years so that I can decide which ones to keep and which to shut down. Even if you find yourself keeping several, as I did, it's good to have them catalogued in some way, to have them on your radar, and again, to take the opportunity to strengthen any passwords that you created back before online security was the issue it is today.

4. Which brings me to my final (for now) note about digital baggage--if you're anything like me, you have more miscellaneous online accounts than you can account for (see what I did there?). It's not easy, but it's really important (and ultimately very rejuvenating) to make a list of all the online accounts you can think of, make sure that you close accounts you don't use anymore, and securely lock down anything you do (especially if it's linked to personal information or banking info). Trust me, the very act of having an inventory of all the accounts you own goes a long way toward feeling more organized and in control of your digital footprint.

Now that that's taken care of, I can focus on writing my next WIP, and because of the work I put into cataloging/culling things now, the exercise of tidying things up again next year should be a breeze :)

What do you do to keep your digital baggage from getting too heavy?

it's amazing what you can do

Motivation is not always easy to come by. But it's something writers need to get the job done. Often we'll feel motivated at the most inconvenient times (in the shower, as we're falling asleep) but that's what mad dashes to find pen and paper are for :) The key is to stay motivated and excited about a project until you're able to see it through.

Chocolate can be an excellent motivator ;)

Motivation is how I usually decide which project to work on next. Which idea am I most excited about? Which one am I most likely to not give up on? One of the biggest problems people who start writing books but never finish experience is a sudden lack of interest in where the story is going. Some call it writer's block. But really, it's a lack of motivation. Finishing a novel is all about getting the words down on the page, no matter what. 

I've come to believe it's possible to learn to motivate yourself. I'm finally in a position where I can get myself in gear fairly easily, but with a newborn at home, I have to find creative ways to facilitate that motivation. But that's the great thing about motivation. It moves you to take action. And that's why you sometimes see witty prose scrawled on napkins, or, as I've recently discovered, the beginnings of a new WIP typed with one hand into a smartphone writing app. I'm going to have to format the crap out of it later, but at least I'm taking advantage of the motivation when it strikes :)

What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

one day at a time, with an eye on tomorrow

It's been hard to find time to blog lately. It's been hard to find time to do much of anything lately. My infant son turns one month old today. Need I say more?

I've been blessed with a baby who sleeps surprisingly well at night (so far--knock on wood) which means he occasionally doesn't sleep well during the day. I'm not complaining. But I am ambitious and I often end up feeling like I've accomplished nothing in a day. That's okay. I know the early weeks after giving birth should primarily be spent making sure both the baby and I eat and sleep and keep breathing. If that's all a new mother accomplishes in a day, she's doing her job. 

But I'm also close to finishing work on my fourth novel. Painfully close. So close I just want to finish revisions so that it isn't sitting nearly ready on my desk anymore. So I'm working on it when I can. I've learned it's possible to revise a book in small chunks. I've also learned it's possible to revise a book while nursing and with a baby sleeping on your chest. It's not ideal. But that's okay. Sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself to take things one day at a time. And if things don't go as planned, you can hope tomorrow will be better. The ability to do that is something worth valuing. Robin Williams' recent suicide was a painful reminder of the fact that not everyone is able to always see things that way. But, though cliche, it's true. Tomorrow is full of possibility. No bad day can't be conquered by that hope. But you have to remind yourself to hold onto it. It's what moves us forward. 

Another thing I've learned is that I can blog from my phone with one hand. This entire post was written that way. Again, it's not ideal, but it's okay. I know it won't be like this forever :)

the end of the tunnel (<-- not meant to be a pregnancy pun)

Well, it's been a while, but I'm happy to say the below is a thing:

That's right. The first draft of You'll Never Know Me is finally complete. It's been a long haul--and an adventure taking on a new sub-genre of YA--but I'm happy to say that I hit the ground running when I stopped work two weeks ago and managed to get it finished before baby arrives.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the radio silence on this blog. Because it's been a while. I spent the bulk of May and the first half of June exhausted from pregnancy while I worked to wrap up my day job before officially going on mat leave. Since then I've been spending every day either preparing for baby or working intensely on YNKM. So now that all of that is out of the way, what's next?

Well for starters, I'm hoping to pop out this baby sometime in the next couple of days, and hoping I don't go overdue like I did with my daughter. Being this pregnant is the opposite of comfortable. And yes, I know I have sleep deprivation in my future. I know it better than I did the first time around. But still, I can't sit for more than 20 minutes without my spinal cord feeling numb, and above all, I can't wait to meet my son.

But baby stuff aside, I'm excited to dive in on revisions and hopefully, once the newborn insanity wears off, get this blog back in shape a bit too. In some ways, I feel like I've come full circle. Though it wasn't my first trip around the query track, it was back in 2012, during my first mat leave that I finished Unnatural and landed my amazing agent. Now here I am almost two years later, enduring a very tough market and still determined as ever to achieve my dream of being published. I've written two more books since finishing Unnatural. I've seen ups and downs and I feel like in some ways I can measure my agented publishing journey right alongside my journey as a parent, from mat leave to mat leave. It feels fitting to have finished the first draft of YNKM just as I'm about to give birth again. I feel full of hope and possibility (and baby. I feel full of baby too). Though, you might want to check in with me in a few weeks when I'm getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night and see how full of hope I feel then :)

So there's my update for now. I know the coming weeks are going to be hectic so I won't make any promises just yet about returning to a regular blog schedule, but my last mat leave was definitely more conducive to that than working full time was so I'm hopeful I can get back to something of a routine.

Until then, if you need me, I'll be in my newborn/revision cave. It involves a lot of coffee.

the writer's arsenal: pitch, query, back cover copy

Call it whatever you want--as a writer, at some point, you're going to have to sum up your story in a few short, hooky paragraphs. Starting out, you'll need this fine-tuned pitch or query blurb when you're approaching agents, then publishers (though once you have an agent, they will often help you position it to perfection!), and ultimately, if you land that elusive book deal, it will likely be the beginning of what copywriters will eventually turn into magical back cover copy a.k.a. those enticing lines on the back of book that make you decide to pop it in your cart instead of returning it to the shelf.

Many authors find it easier to write a multi-page synopsis than a shorter pitch (not to mention those one-liner loglines!), though I hear complaints about having to write all of the above. It's true that writing a pitch or synopsis requires a different skill set than writing a novel. A novel is pure creative whimsy while a pitch is a marketing piece. But that doesn't mean both aspiring and experienced authors don't need to know how to do it all. I know I don't have to tell you how important self-marketing is in today's publishing landscape. In fact, it really couldn't be more important. It's not enough to write your book, you need to be able to sell it--first to an agent, then to a publisher and then to a slew of readers, which might end up being the hardest sell of all.

Because so many authors find it so hard to writing a pitch, they often wait until a book is complete before they write it. Makes sense, right? Why write a blurb about a book when you don't even know how it's going to end? Well, my answer to that, being an outliner, is that you probably should have an idea as to how it's going to end, at least enough of one that you could write an enticing couple of paragraphs. For the first three novels that I wrote, I actually found it helpful to write the pitch first, with the primary focus on: what is the primary hook of this story? Were they perfect representations of the books I was about to write? No, but there was also nothing wrong with tweaking them as I went. The reason I found writing them first so helpful is because they helped me to stay focused. Outlines are great. I'm a big fan. But sometimes when you're writing, it's extremely helpful to read a succinct snapshot of what's at the heart of the story. It's always helped me to stay on track. In fact, the blurb I have posted here on the site for Skin Deep is extremely close to the original version I wrote before I dove in on chapter one of that book.

For my current WIP, tentatively titled You'll Never Know Me, I found myself at a complete loss trying to write a pitch before starting the story. It was the first time that had ever happened to me. I knew what I wanted the story to be about, but I had a difficult time coming up with the right words to describe it. You'll Never Know Me is my first real foray into writing straight-up contemporary YA and I think that had a lot to do with my inability to write the blurb up front. With both Unnatural and Skin Deep, I knew the hook. Each is a fantasy and the hook that drives each story is really clear. With YNKM, it's a far more character-driven story, and the hook seemed far more intangible at first. But now I find myself sitting close to the halfway mark and suddenly, everything seemed to fall into place. I just needed to hit the point in the first draft process where the big picture started to really come together.

Though my first dip into the contemporary YA pool has been more of a slow wade than a dive, having a blurb (which I can now reference) prepared gives me a lot more confidence in the direction I'm headed. I feel more steady about everything that's yet to be written. And if for no other reason (though it's just nice to have it nailed down), I think that's an excellent argument for forcing yourself to write that pitch/query/blurb/whatever you want to call it well before you finish writing the book. You might just find it pulling you up and over when that inevitible case of writer's block hits.

So without further ado, here is the (working draft) pitch for my first contemporary YA, You'll Never Know Me:
Louise Dunn hasn't recognized the world around her since the morning after her brother Neil’s senior prom, when she discovered his drowned body on the front lawn, with no explanation for how it got there. Buried beneath a grief she can’t seem to surface from, she stumbles through the ensuing summer, seeking solace in anything that can’t get inside her head. Then she discovers a hidden journal in Neil’s room, along with a stack of unfamiliar comic books, and everything changes.

It was no secret that Neil was gay. He’d come out the year before his death. But as Louise delves deeper into his pastimes and relationships, she discovers that maybe she didn’t know him as well as she thought, and what’s worse—things might’ve been different if she had. Between a series of unsettling encounters with Neil’s ex, and a sudden, unexpected connection with Matt, the fanboy clerk at the local comic shop, Louise finds she’s increasingly unable to ignore the tragedy that’s slowly suffocating her, and the walls she’ll have to tear down before she can start to live again.


five though not friday

Well, I've been sick, but I'm on the mend, which is GOOD because I'm also about to head into a 10 day stretch of glorious, glorious vacation. Knowing me, this will probably result in me immediately getting sick again on day 2 (especially with this crappy, pregnant immune system), but hey, it's still downtime and that is more than welcome as my belly grows and my feet just want to be up and lounging.

It's also Easter this weekend, which should mean spring is truly here, but mother nature seems on the fence about that. I hope she figures it out soon because I plan on wearing flats/sandals from here on out, regardless. (You hear, that, MN? Socks are officially not happening anymore so knock it off with the snow!) With a lot of Easter plans on the horizon, I wanted to get in a quick post today in lieu of what would have otherwise been a Friday5 tomorrow. So this is a little off-format, but here are five wonderful book-related things you need you on radar:

1. Any concerns I had about the If I Stay film adaptation have essentially been dashed by this beautiful, heart-wrenching first trailer. I think I'm even now completely on-board with the guy playing Adam. He still seems a bit goofy, but in an indie, lovable way, so I'll allow it:

2. A clip from the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars has been released. It's not one of my favourite moments from the book, but it gives us a good feel for how Hazel and Gus are going to be portrayed. I like Shailene Woodley well enough. I do. But I am starting to feel like she's a bit one note. I'm not married to that opinion yet. The full film may change my mind, but based on this clip, I'm starting to wonder... Meanwhile, I'm really feeling this portrayal of Gus!

3.  Allegiant is going to be split into two films. Is anyone surprised by this news? No? Okay. Is anyone happy about this news? Also no? Yeah, me neither. I think it totally worked for some book-to-film series finales (primarily Harry Potter because Deathly Hallows was a loooong, content-filled book, unlike some long books that are just long...), but Allegiant? Not necessary. I shudder to think of where they might split it. Any theories?

4. MTV has officially revealed the magnificent cover for TALON, the first book in Julie Kagawa's new dragon-centric series (and movie rights have already been optioned!). Okay, seriously, this cover stands out like whoa, and I can't wait to see it finished as a treated dust-jacket. <3

5. And finally, this news is making the rounds right now (I'm counting it as book-related because I consider comic books to be books). First of all: No, C. Tates. No. You're fine and all, but you are not Gambit. My beloved Taylor Kitsch is Gambit. As far as I'm concerned, he was Gambit before he was even cast as Gambit so don't even go there. If Taylor is unable to play Gambit because he happens to be so busy filming other projects (I'm talking enough that we get Taylor year-round on our screens) then so be it, but I am not okay with a switcheroo for switcheroo's sake.

Taylor > C. Tates x infinity. That's some math you can count on. 
Nobody messes with TK. Photo credit: Eva Rinald

And that's it for this week. Have a very Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy the time with friends and family. I hope the bunny leaves you something delightful!

the friday5 for March 28, 2014

There is a lot of big news this week so I had to prioritize and cut a few things I would have loved to talk about (but may be able to include in a future Friday5) so if there's something happening that you're excited about this week, please leave it in the comments! I hate having to pick and choose on a good news week.

1. Veronica Mars. Yes, again. I had to put this one in because I haven't had a chance to write a reaction to the film now that I've seen it. Twice. And yes, it was equally awesome both times. I loved it. I do think it is more appealing to fans of the show than a general movie audience, but that's why everyone should just watch the show and then see the movie! I am thrilled that it did so well considering how few theaters it was in and I don't even know what the digital results have been. This Kickstarter Backer is extremely satisfied. The movie was pitch-perfect with the VM snark, humor, romance and cameos the fans have come to know and love. I relished every minute of it, and I'm so happy that I also have the digital download (and a blu-ray on the way) so that I can watch whenever I feel like it. Sequels please!!

2. Veruca Salt is reuniting and it feels so good. This news is a few weeks old, but again, I haven't had a chance to report on it. Veruca Salt has been one of my top ten bands since I first became a fan back in high school. It's spiteful chick rock done oh so right and I can't tell you how many times I've listened to American Thighs and Eight Arms to Hold You. The prospect of two new tracks has me so very excited and I can't wait to listen.

3. What is up with the all big March finales? I remember a time when TV event style finales all aired in May, but with season lengths varying and the way seasons are released shifting (like with PLL), being aware of when a show's final episode for the season is airing has almost become a full time job. For example, I watched the final episodes of both Girls and Brooklyn 99 this week without realizing I was watching finales until after they were over. Was this public knowledge somewhere? At least I know that both the season finale for The Walking Dead and the SERIES finale for How I Met Your Mother are just around the corner. So I guess this means finale season is officially underway. What are you most looking forward to?

4. Louis CK is hosting SNL again. I am not an avid viewer of SNL, but Louis CK hosting is all the excuse I need to tune in. Like most episodes of the sketch comedy show, there were hits and misses the last time CK hosted, but the hits were glorious and I'm really hoping they learned from past mistakes. And his monologue is bound to bring the LOLs. Yes, I just said that.

5. This week's pick for Noteworthy YA (and my final Veronica Mars recommendation for the day) is The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, which is out this week by show creator Rob Thomas and co-author Jennifer Graham. This book is an all-new (not a movie tie-in) continuation of the canon VM universe post-movie, co-authored by the same man who first brought Veronica to life on the small--and then big--screen, AND for the full Veronica Mars effect, I just found out that the audiobook is narrated by Kristen Bell. Seriously, it doesn't get better than that.

From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

(Summary from
I only just received the email from Amazon that my copy has shipped so I don't have it in my eager little hands yet, but I might just go ahead and download the audiobook as well because as much as I'm happy to have a physical copy on my shelf. I don't think I can pass up the chance to hear Kristen narrate Veronica and the gang for me. Like the film, this book probably isn't the best jumping in place for non-Veronica Mars fans, but if you're a Marshmallow already, you will want to check this out.

Happy weekend!

pretty little recap: the night she (almost) died

4.23-4.24 Unbridled, A is for Answers
And we're back. After a botched recording of last week's episode, I'm back this week to recap the last two episodes of season 4b! A lot went down in these two so we'd better dive in lest we find ourselves buried alive! (How's that for topical PLL humour?)

Freaking out is what they do best. Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. Jason is back! Too bad I don't remember much about Jason's storyline after so long, but I've always preferred bringing back old characters to introducing news ones. So I'll call this a highlight.

2. Travis is no substitute for Hot Caleb, but I do really like the guy and hope he can somehow stay on the show even after Hot Caleb returns next season (!). He is good boyfriend material for someone, just not Hanna. Or Emily. Let's not go there, PLL.

3. Emily and Hanna searching the bedroom in their wedding gowns. I think they could have done more with this, but it was pretty funny seeing them flail around in those giant skirts.

4. Paige and Emily are officially on the outs and yeah, for me, this is a highlight. Now that Ali is back, I'm curious as to where the relationship between her and Em might go, but I think I'd prefer to see Em with someone more worthy of her time. You know, someone who isn't emotionally abusive or tried to drown her.

5. Hanna and her cookies. Love her. 

6. Shifting into finale territory, really, Ali's entire story was a highlight for me so I'm not going to break it down. I loved seeing all the old faces and as someone who needs things to be neat and orderly, I liked seeing the flashbacks to that fateful night all laid out in chronological order. Of course, that's assuming you believe Ali. I think in this case, I do. But I do still have a lot of questions about that night...

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. Aria. Tartan dress. Yeah. I think that covers that.

2. The contrived charity fashion show storyline. I feel like this is just another one of those tropes that teen dramas use to get the main characters all together in one place in gorgeous clothing and then, drama ensues. Sure, there are a lot of similar tropes that I'm okay with (I've spoken before of my love of the theme dance), but the charity fashion show always feels extra contrived.

3. Spencer going into the woods when a) she's wearing a wedding dress and b) she was scheduled to walk the runway momentarily and c) why do these girls keep thinking it's a good idea to wander into the woods like that?? That said, I totally called the fact that it would be some part of her bridal outfit that got caught in the bear trap on account of her not screaming bloody murder when it happened.

4. The Spencer drug storyline needs to end. Now. Can we please move into Season 5a without its extra baggage? Thanks.

5. Oh Ali. You're not the smartest of the liars, but really, with everything you did the night you died, now that we get to see it all play out, it's no surprise you got a whack to the head. Why does nobody on this show ever just ask for help with anything? I get being scared, but come on, you're making it so much worse.

6. Do I even have to point out the fact that Mrs. D burying her own daughter is possibly the biggest mistake anyone in Rosewood has ever made? But I still don't understand if she did it on purpose or by accident or what. But there were an awful lot of hints that she was protecting someone else... another child perhaps?

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. The finger bones in Spencer's corset belt thing. Holy crap! How did she not see those when she put it on? Like, what really happened out in the woods? Cause Spencer looks way more banged up that I would have thought...

2. So we now know that Mrs. D is the one who put Ali in that grave (or... was it even Ali?). We know she was concerned about something earlier in the evening too, when she was on the phone. Perhaps another child escaping from Radley? Maybe. We know a lot of blonde girls who look similar were involved. We know a lot of these people are known liars. So where does that leave things? Still pretty up in the air, but I do feel like we're getting closer.

3. The biggest ZOMG WTF moment of the night was, of course, Ezra getting shot. But what was he doing there in the first place? And is he going to live? (I'm thinking yes.) Whoever did the shooting is clearly athletic and dangerous. The body type looked like a man, but it's hard to say for sure. Hanna sure did look like a BAMF with that gun though! My pulse was definitely racing throughout the confrontation.

4. And for our final scene we have someone (the same someone who shot Ezra?) dragging a knocked out (dead?) Mrs. D into an open grave before shoveling dirt on top of her. Ruh oh. Things aren't looking good for Mrs. D. Maybe she, like everyone else in this town, should have spilled her secrets while she still could...

And that's it for Season 4b! That seriously flew by. I'm not sure when Season 5a is set to debut, but it'll probably be close to when I go on mat leave, which means potentially more timely recaps...or at least more timely viewings. The reaction post is another story, but I think it'll be doable. Hooray!


pretty little recap: nowhere to hide

4.22 Cover For Me
Things are still tickling along at a slower pace this week, but I have a feeling it's building to something big. That's how PLL tends to do it and I have faith they'll continue to raise the stakes. But with PLL, even a relatively slower episode is full of quality entertainment...

Such a sweet, intimate moment for a one night stand... Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. Aria continues to impress. She's more laid back than we've seen her in ages and her clothes, while still not exactly "mainstream" aren't half as bizarre as they usually are (at least until she returns to Rosewood, then ick). Free spirit, recovery-mode Aria seriously isn't half bad. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this season has me liking her. Mostly. And her hot fling was kind of adorable in a hope-they-used-protection kind of way.

2. The Hanna and Emily dynamic duo. With Spencer and Aria both off in their own states of rehab, it's up to Emily and Hanna to take care of business. Love Hanna's sassiness as always, but Emily was spot on in this episode too, confronting Ezra and digging into the whole Crazy Mona stitch. 

3. Ali's mom is surprisingly crazy. Yes, we have officially been thrown on the mom-as-A train, which always colours perception of anyone on this show, but more often than not, it's a mislead. Mrs. D's comment about fresh sheets was just weird. And the whole situation that happened while Hanna was on her date was super sketchy. I don't think Mrs. D is the killer (cause Ali = alive or not, somebody died...), or even A, but she is up to something (more on this below).

4. Do the liars' SOS texts remind anyone else of the RALLY messages they used to send on Ghostwriter? Bit of an aside, but hee :)   (And seriously, Spencer's mom, you don't know what SOS means? Remind me to never hire her lawyering skills.)

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. The Spencer drug storyline is getting old. Seriously, she's too smart for this. I know it's not unheard of for overachieving high school students to go down a bad path, but we've seen many times before that Spencer puts her brain ahead of her emotions. Any drug storyline with her is unlikely to have ever been this explosive. And really, I don't know what she's so worked up about.  A mandatory vacation with extra time to sleep? Piles of dirt in the bed side, it sounds pretty good to me. 

2. Hanna's many boys. It's not that these boys aren't adorable and charming (and sure, mysterious, but who isn't in Rosewood?), but for reals, Hot Caleb needs to come back stat. Ravenswood is cancelled, so what's he still doing there anyway? (as an aside, I do hope we get a mini wrap-up of how Ravenswood would have ended if we'd been able to see it with our own eyeballs.) Also, I feel bad for Travis. Can we maybe hook him up with Aria instead?

3. Flying to NY to return an advance? It's probably because I work in publishing and no better, but the way the industry is portrayed on TV is always frustratingly inaccurate. Haven't these people heard of mailing cheques? Online banking? Did Ezra show up at the publisher's HQ with a sack with a dollar sign on it filled with singles?

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. Aria told Ezra to leave town. And she meant it. I never thought I'd see the day. Of course, now that Ezra is all mysterious and interesting, I don't want him to leave town! I have a feeling/hope that this isn't over.

2. Mrs. D in Spencer's room! What the hell??? At first I thought Spencer was hallucinating again, except that she didn't see her, only the viewer did, so seriously, what is up with that woman? Creepy. 

3. What's with the wedding dress? I didn't see the preview for next week's (I guess this week's) episode so no spoilers please, but I can't think of anyone who is poised to get married.... Hmmmmm....


the friday5 for March 7, 2014

First up, the Pretty Little Recap is a bit delayed this week (but there will be one! probably on Monday) because I haven't had a chance to watch the episode yet... no spoilers please, I've heard it's really good (which, natch, it's PLL). That said, there are lots of exciting things happening in the pop culture world this week so let's talk about a few of them, shall we?

1. You guys. YOU GUYS. There is but one week (less than one week for me) to go until VERONICA MARS THE MOVIE hits the theaters and--AND--in case you haven't heard, it will also be hitting the inter-webs and such at the same time for your home viewing pleasure. This is (almost?) unheard of, for a film to be making this kind of global debut and I hope it pays off. I really do. Because I want there to be more VM movies for me to consume. I already have my tickets for the cinema (for two shows--an early one on Thursday, March 13th and then again on Saturday, the 15th) so I will be enjoying it on the big screen. My Kickstarter reward includes the digital download and Blu-ray/DVD combo, but for me, it's still really important--and really exciting!--to see this one on the big screen. I will probably be writing a little review of the movie after I see it, but for now, let's enjoy these newly released clips from the film. I could not be more excited for this.

2. Have we talked about Reign? No, we probably haven't. Well, we're going to talk about it now. When it was first dubbed as CW's answer to The Tudors, I thought, surely it wouldn't end up being that similar, and yet....

RIGHT??? It's like a younger, opposite-gender, mirror image! But really, the surprising commonality between these two series is their raciness, despite their disparate target audiences. I suppose that's just a sign of the times, but Reign has been pushing boundaries above and beyond what other CW shows have done before. And I for one think it's kind of awesome. Maybe I just love a good scandalous storyline, but given the huge crossover audience of most YA offerings, it makes sense that things would eventually move more in this direction. And as for the younger viewers, I'm a firm believer in "teens can handle it" and "if parents are concerned they should take an interest, be aware of what their kids are reading/watching, and then talk to their kids about it openly and honestly". So  yeah. If you like a good scandalous, sexy, historical drama, Reign is a younger, hipper, possibly more historically inaccurate companion to The Tudors.
Also, this:
Marie de Guise: Mary may be Scotland’s Queen, but I am its King.
Catherine: Has Scotland noticed that its King has rather overexposed breasts?
Marie de Guise: It is beginning to.
3. Catching Fire is out today! Having only seen the film once in theaters (such is the life of a parent of a toddler), I am very excited to pick this one up on Blu-ray and enjoy it a second time. Plus, deleted scenes and extras! I just need to figure out if any retailers are selling a collector's edition that comes with a bonus homicidal monkey muttation I can call my own :)

4. Lousy Smarch weather. March is a weird month. It's good because it brings us closer to spring, but it can also be just as nasty as January and February (at least up here in the great white north) or rainy and slushy and miserable. Plus, it sometimes has a long weekend in it and sometimes doesn't, thanks to the ever-shirting Easter weekend. The years it doesn't just make the wait for the font of hope I call April and May seem even longer. So when those years come around, I make myself a long weekend (usually not coinciding with March break, though this year it does). I am very excited to be heading to the cottage for, yes, more snow, but at least some fresh country air and an extra day off on Monday. It's not much, but in the middle of a long winter, it's something. I highly recommend the impromptu March "long weekend", unless you get the whole week off for March break. In which case... I am scowling at you. But not really :)

5. This week's Noteworthy YA is the follow up to a book I featured on the blog a while back. Cured by my agentmate, Bethany Wiggins, is the second in a duology that began with Stung, and I'm going to share the covers for both because they look AMAZING together:

Seriously? How gorgeous are they? Stung is so pared down and then Cured seems to promise something miraculous and otherworldly. Just lovely. Here's what book 2 is all about:
Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers. (Summary from
Excitement, adventure, and environmental accountability--this book has the whole package :) If you haven't already, make sure you check out Stung and then, hooray, you can move right along to Cured! Everybody wins!

Happy weekend!

pretty little recap: she wasn't really all there to begin with

4.21 She's Come Undone
And we're back! Back to regular PLRecapin goodness! Things in Rosewood are falling apart so let's get to it!

Things are getting messy. Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. I am officially feeling sorry for Aria. She looks like crap (and I don't even mean her clothes.. though, a sweater with skulls all over it? Come on Aria. At least try...) and everything Ezra has done is really messing with her mind. This is definitely the most interesting Aria has been in, well, ever. Plus, the liars are rallying around her and that's always warm and fuzzy :)

2. Spencer also looks like crap! But it's for a good reason. The drug abuse storyline has finally run its course (I hope) and she is officially on the mend. Kinda. She's still in pretty rough shape but she seems to  have realized that all her crazy Spencer antics are going to start affecting her chances of getting into a good college. I don't know why she didn't think of that before. Did she not see the I'm so excited episode of Saved by the Bell?  Oh. Wait. No... never mind. She's taking the pills again. Seriously? Okay, consider this a Pretty Little Mistake.

3. Hanna being all sweet and helping the intern from Bones, even though he's not Hot Caleb. This isn't really about them being cute together as much as it's about Hanna being her usual awesome self. Okay, I admit, the intern from Bones is cute, but now that Ravenswood is kaput, I want Hot Caleb back in Rosewood stat and there can't be any interns from anywhere getting between him and Hanna!

4. I don't know what is happening this half season, but I'm not only feeling sorry for Aria, I'm really starting to feel sorry for Creeper Toby too. And this right after the whole Toby is A thing! How do the writers of this show do it? I am seriously impressed. And confused. But mostly impressed.

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. Aria's freak-out at Ezra's. Okay, I get it. You're mad, and feel betrayed. But dude, don't break all the glass in the room. You're just going to hurt yourself, dummy.

2. Emily's envelope of money. I have to admit, I'm not really following what's going on with that thing, but every time it shows up, I feel certain something bad is going to come of it. Right? It has to!

3. Emily and Paige. What is going on there? Their relationship is so hard to understand sometimes. They definitely seem to fight and not trust each other more often than they act like a healthy, loving couple. And didn't they have a whole conversation last half season about how they could never last long term? Why not just end it already?

4. Hanna kissing all up on anything with boy parts. Come on, Hanna, you're a great girl. Your self esteem and self respect should stem from that. Don't let Hot Caleb's absence make you desperate for boys' approval.

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. Spencer's drug spiral is getting violent! I am concerned for our poor girl. It's no secret that this drug storyline is not my favourite, but things are getting wildly out of control. Between this and the Radley storyline, is it possible that Spencer really is unhinged at her core?

2. Paige is getting the police involved! I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, in reality, it would probably be a good thing, but this is PLL so almost definitely a bad thing, right? I guess time will tell.

3. No major ZOMG WTF moments in this episode. The ending was kind of quiet. Sure, Aria says she's leaving town for a while, but is anybody really surprised or worried about that? I know I'm not. This felt like a bit of a filler episode, but hey, even a filler episode of PLL is better than nothing :)


pretty little recovery: catching up on season 4b

4.14 - 4.20
Hello fellow PLLers! It's been a while, but there have been many episodes of PLL that I'm all caught up on and it's time to do a catch-up recap! I recently shared my thoughts on the PLL spinoff here, and well, let's kick things off by addressing the dead black bird-shaped elephant in the room. Ravenswood has officially been cancelled. Obviously I feel a bit bad that Tyler Blackburn's show didn't make it to a season two... And I'm never a fan of when a show ends with a bunch of dangling cliffhangers and unresolved plots... But overall, am I sad about this news? Hells no. I want Hot Caleb back in Rosewood stat! The possibility of that not happening (there is no confirmation yet that he's returning, at least that I've seen, but come on! They'd be stupid to not bring him back!) is something I don't even want to think about. But enough about that, we're here to talk PLL!

These girls know how to do edge-of-your-seat TV. And look totally fab while doing it. Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. Everything Hanna says/does. It's not secret that I love the girl, but losing Hot Caleb to Ravenswood has done nothing to slow this girl down when it comes to one-liners and being the hottest little liar in town.

2. Last week's black and white noir homage episode. I didn't think they could pull it off, but they totally did. I'm generally not a fan of dream/drug-induced haze episodes, but it was entertaining enough that I let that aspect of it slide. The hair! The clothes! Even Creeper Toby played his role well.

3. Minimal Creeper Toby. Or maybe I've just been ignoring him (aside from the above mention). The only downside is that the times we do see him, he's still drawing out the Creeper Toby's mom storyline (see below). I will give him the exception of this week's episode though. I actually felt kinda bad for him.

4. I feel weird typing this but... Aria! Yes, I'm as shocked as you are. Maybe it's the fact that she's been the unknowing prey (until recently) to Ezra's hunter, but I've actually been enjoying Aria's storyline this half-season. Yes, she still dresses like a crazy person who tripped and fell into a dumpster full of designer rejects, but I've barely been annoyed by her at all during these six episodes. And the ski lift scene between her and Ezra in this week's episode was chilling, revealing, and so good! This is why I love PLL!

5. Ezra's cabin/lair. It's isolated and spooky and has made for some seriously tense scenes during these episodes. I can't help but think the whole thing is going to go up in flames before the season is out.

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. Spencer's drug problem. I was so, so over this story before it even began. I think they're trying to recapture the magic of Spencer's descent into madness last season, but it's not working. It just feels a little PSA-y to me. 

2. Emily's mistrust of everything and everyone. I get that our little liars have a lot on their plates on the reg, but Emily is handling it almost as poorly as Spencer is with the drugs. Only Emily is a lot more annoying about it. It's like she's campaigning to be the next town Aria or something.

3. Mona and Ezra. Just ick to even the thought.

4. Why are we still talking about what happened to Toby's mom? Nobody cares! Oh, you care? Okay fine. One person cares. It's still not something I'm interested in unless his dead mom is somehow A.

5. Not nearly enough Hot Caleb! Yes, this is a bit of a no-brainer and I already covered it quite a bit in my aforementioned post about Ravenswood, but it's worth mentioning again, because his absence makes me sad, even if the show is still quite strong without him. 

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. Ali is all over the place! It feels soooo weird! We go from seeing brief flashes of someone who may or may not be Ali and then suddenly there she is, having conversations with the liars like no time has passed. It feels unreal every time it happens. That said, I'm not convinced that's actually Ali.

2. Ezra is Board Shorts and has weird taste in pie/beer. Yes, we know Ezra is maybe/possibly A, but we didn't know he was Board Shorts--and now Aria knows it too! That was a big reveal and I feel it came together nicely. And made him so much creepier because seriously Ezra, have you ever dated a girl your own age? Gross.

3. Emily in the schoolhouse of horrors. Now THAT was seriously creepy. And poor Emily's dad! I was so happy when he came to her rescue, but then so certain that something bad would happen to him. And sure enough...

4. Hanna's emergency dental procedure. Again with dialing the creepy factor up another notch! Teeth stuff is bothersome enough as it is, but the thought of her lying unconscious while A worked away on her teeth is terrifying. Poor Han. Hot Caleb would not have stood for that if he'd been around!

5. Aria's brother's hookups. I don't even know what to say about this one. The Hanna bit was actually kind of endearing, but then the Mona stuff. Again, ick. Mona is a pretty girl, but she's too creepy to be with anyone in that way.

I know the above really only scratched the surface of what happened in these past episodes, but now that I'm all caught up, I hope to have some more in-depth recaps in the coming weeks!

How have you been enjoying this season so far?


the friday5 for february 7, 2014: expanded 2014 edition!

There is a lot to look forward to in 2014 pop-culture-wise so to kick off the first Friday5 of the year (and celebrate the fact that super-downer-of-a-month January is behind us!), I'm going big or going home (and here's a hint: I'm not going home). I present to you the Friday510: 2014 Expanded Edition!

1. Veronica Mars. I never thought I'd be able to say this, but on March 14, 2014, our dear, beloved Veronica is back. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. If you've never seen Veronica Mars the TV series, you need to look into it like, yesterday. Because it definitely belongs on many a "shows that shouldn't have been cancelled" list. And as a bonus, Veronica Mars books are on their way too!
Behold the trailer:

2. Rebel Belle. A new series by kickass YA author Rachel Hawkins is upon us! Rachel's Hex Hall holds a special place in my heart, being one of the books that made me realize that I didn't just want to be an author, I wanted to be a YA author! It came a time in my life when I needed something to just click, to help me find my real voice as a writer. After that, I was off to the races! Rachel's new series kicks off with Rebel Belle--how fun does this book sound?

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.  
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more. (Summary from
3. Mockingjay, Pt. 1. I would be remiss to not mention the third film in the Hunger Games franchise. Count me in as one of those people who is critical of the decision to split every book adaptation finale several ways from Sunday (it made sense with Deathly Hallows because yes, that book was massive, but everything else? Just no.), but I can't be too upset about the Mockingjay split, because really, it means more scenes will make it to the screen, more J-Law, and quite frankly, more Hunger Games! I'm not ready to say goodbye to this franchise, so if Mockingjay must be split, that's okay by me.

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2. If I have to explain this one, you obviously haven't seen the first film. You should go and do that right now. Go ahead, I'll wait.

5. More Shailene Woodley. Whether it's Divergent or The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene is rapidly moving on on J-Law's YA adaptation crown. Okay, not really. Shailene will never be J-Law, but she will be popping up all over the place in 2014. In the event that you've been sleeping under a rock all month, peep the trailer for TFiOS below:

6. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. There could not be more buzz surrounding this book, and despite the terrible "Game of Thrones for girls" comparisons I've seen thrown around, the hype definitely has my attention. Oh, no big deal, but rumour has it that Emma Waatson is teaming up with Harry Potter producer David Heyman for the film adaptation. For a book that hasn't even been published yet. Like I said, that's some serious buzz.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown. 
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust. 
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive. (Summary from
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past. I know. I know. More J-Law, but like Shailene, the girl is hard to avoid these days. There's a lot to love in this next instalment in the X-Men series, which will feature actors from across the franchise. Plus, Nicholas Hoult! And Nicholas Hoult and J-Law together with real life chemistry! I know I'm a little late to the party, but I caught up on the first few seasons of Skins only recently (thank you Netflix!) and I'm definitely 100% more aware of Nicholas Hoult than I was before (and that's even after seeing him rock the zombie look in Warm Bodies!)

8. Talon. There isn't a lot of info out there yet about Talon by Julie Kagawa, but like Queen of the Tearling, the movie rights have already been optioned and the gears are in motion. I've talked about the fabulousness that is Julie's Iron Fey series here on the blog before, but in November, Talon will introduce us to a whole new world:

The series revolves around dragons with the ability to disguise themselves as humans and an order of warriors sworn to eradicate them. The dragons of TALON and the Order of St. George have been at war with each other for centuries. The fabled creatures, whose existence is unknown by the general public, are determined to rule the world. Their foes, a legendary society of dragon slayers, are equally bent on driving the fabled beasts into extinction. However, when a young dragon and a hardened slayer unknowingly befriend each other, it has severe repercussions for both organizations. (Summary from 
9. Epic finales. Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, How I Met Your Mother, True Blood...the list goes on. A lot of big shows are ending in 2014 and regardless of which ones you tune into, there is the promise of some seriously epic final episodes on the horizon. Thankfully, a lot of the networks these shows air on have been busy replenishing their quality TV buffets with new, intriguing offerings, but that doesn't mean we won't miss these classic series when they're gone.

10. SO MANY MORE BOOKS! RT Book Reviews has posted a list of their most anticipated YA books of 2014 and I have to say, this list has me drooling (and wondering if I should invest in another bookshelf...). And to think, it's only February. There are more amazing books in the pipeline that we don't even have details on yet. Get excited, blogfriends. 2014 is going to be a good one.

Limiting this list to 10 items was a) challenging and b) something that obviously results in a lot of contenders being left out. So if there's something you're really looking forward to in 2014 that I didn't mention, please so share it in the comments! I'd love to hear about it!

Happy weekend!