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!

let's talk ravenswood

The time has come. Let's talk Ravenswood, shall we?

I know I don't need to tell you how...displeased I was with the idea of Hot Caleb leaving Rosewood for the distinctly murkier backdrop of Ravenwood, population 74923 (but really, more like 8). There are so many reasons this was not a good thing as far as I was concerned, the main one being that the Haleb relationship would surely suffer. How could it not? But as with all spinoffs of shows I adore, I had to give it a shot once it aired, and now that we've reached the 10-episode winter finale benchmark, I think it's finally time to weigh in with some thoughts:


1. Is there really any way to start this list other than with the below video? No? Good, I'm glad we're on the same page (apologies for the excessive video bookends--this was the only version I could find online!):

2. All Hot Caleb all the time. I love getting to see plenty of Tyler Blackburn on my screen when I'm watching Ravenswood. It makes up for all those episodes of PLL when he was curiously absent, and not to get into The Bad while we're still discussing The Good, but Tyler is really carrying this thing. Boy can act and sure, he's (mostly) not making out with Hanna (though see point #4!), but he is getting a chance to show off his skills beyond ridiculously attractive computer hacker boyfriend extraordinaire and sometimes bromancer of Creeper Toby.

3. It's actually quite spooky. PLL still takes the prize for most creepy points overall, but Ravenswood is paying its dues with scary imagery, terrifying little blonde girls, and plenty of things that go bump in the night. My only issue here is that sometimes the creepiness leans a little too far toward horror, which I'm personally not a fan of, but I think they're still finding the right balance. Overall, the fright factor seems a bit more adult than on PLL, and that allows the show to stand on its own two legs.

4. Occasional appearances/mentions of the irrepressible Ms. Hanna Marin. Thank goodness there was no attempt to move Hot Caleb to Ravenswood with nary a mention of the love of his life. One of my main issues with a Hot Caleb spinoff is that PLL had done such a good job of building up the Haleb dynamic so that it was interesting and enjoyable without the show having to keep breaking them up for drama. Sure, that happened, but only when it really made sense to the plot. The rest of the time, they were an excellent representation of how a strong couple works. To break that apart for the sake of a spinoff felt wrong, but I'm happy to say that the show runners are handling the separation with a lot of respect, keeping Hanna on Hot Caleb's mind and occasionally in his sights. Their deep, complex and passionate relationships seems to be weathering the transition okay. At least for now.

5. Miranda. I know, I know. Not where you thought I'd go with this, right? Yes, Miranda is "the other woman", and part of me hates her for that, but again, this whole situation has been handled fairly well so far (hell, Hanna was even the one to push Hot Caleb toward Miranda in the first place!). Obviously, as a diehard Haleb fan, I do not want to see Hot Caleb and Miranda together, but Miranda as a character on her own? I actually kinda dig her. Aside from Tyler Blackburn, and a few of the adult actors on the show, she's the only other person who's really bringing something to table here. And hey, based on that finale, maybe she'll hook up with Flashback Caleb and leave Hot Caleb for Hanna. That way everyone gets a Caleb and everybody wins! I am on board with this idea.


1. The kids who aren't Hot Caleb or Miranda. I tried to give these guys a chance, but so far, I'm not feeling it. There's a certain spark that's lacking here. A certain dynamic that exists between the Liars that the Ravenswood crew just doesn't have. They aren't as quippy, aren't as fashionable, and aren't as easy to be emotionally invested in. And sorry, Olivia, but you're no Spencer Hastings, so step off with that hair and those clothes. They don't even compare.

Accept no imitations!
2. Remy's sleep issues zzzz...... I just. can't. bring. myself. to. care. If it had been a 1-2 episode arc, sure, that would have been fine, but they drew the whole Remy is having nightmares that may or may not kill her and everyone she loves thing out for waaaay too long. Or maybe it just felt that way because it was boring. Remy is fine enough as a character for the most part, but she can also be kinda bland and cardboardy. I wish she had a bit more spunk, and a little less sleep drama.

3. Rehashing the same issues. I have to admit, I may have some of my facts wrong because I tend to tune out when Olivia, Luke and Remy are on the screen without Hot Caleb or Miranda, but how many times are they going to rehash the fact that Olivia and Luke's mom didn't kill their father? Hasn't she been arrested at least twice at this point? Can we introduce a few more characters and start steering away from trampling already worn-out tropes to death?

4. Luke's kind of an asshole. I have no idea if this will be a super unpopular opinion or not, but Luke can be questionable at times. Maybe he just seems dull in comparison to Hot Caleb and his amazing boyfriending skills, but Luke also seems to fail as a brother and a son on a regular basis. Not only does he suffer from not being able to sit still long enough to listen to reason, but he does things like get jealous over the fact that his twin sister had sex before him (How dare she? She's a girl!) and then tries to leverage that info to re-open a discussion about getting it on with his girlfriend, who, by the sounds of it, has already made it perfectly clear that she doesn't wanna cash in her v-card until after graduation (which seems arbitrary to me, but you gotta respect the gal's decisions).

5. Where is this all going? I understand that the point of a spin-off is to have two successful shows under your brand instead of just one, but seriously, where is this spin-off going to go? The basis for Ravenswood is this old curse, which apparently Hot Caleb is a part of, but correct me if I'm wrong, it didn't seem to have any effect on his life prior to moving to Ravenswood. So by that same token, wouldn't the whole curse thing kinda just go away if everybody affected by it moved out of Ravenswood? I guess I'm just not seeing the longterm plan for this show. I suppose the same could be said for PLL and its mystery-at-large, but PLL has so much more going for it that I don't care if they find stupid ways to drag that story out.


In conclusion, I'm not 100% sure I'm feeling it with Ravenswood, but I'm going to stick around for Hot Caleb and the hope that the show is still working out its kinks. I'm not planning to recap it on a regular basis as I do with PLL (season catch-up recap coming soon!), but I'm sure I will mention it from time to time, especially as it effects our favourite Little Liars.  For now, I'm okay with Hot Caleb and Hanna being apart, but I would be pleased and quite impressed if the shows manage to maintain that cross-show connection without slowly pulling away from it to allow Hot Caleb to be with Miranda and Hanna to be with that guy who I'm pretty sure was on Friday Night Lights or something. Basically, as long as Haleb still have a shot at being endgame, I'll go along for the ride. But I still think Miranda should hook up with Flashback Caleb. He's a ghost and everything! What more could a modern post-mortem girl want? :)