Monday, 30 April 2012

Book Review-Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

eBook
Release date: May 1, 2012 (originally published in 1972)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Translated by: Olena Bormashenko
Author: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Thank you to Net Galley and Chicago Review Press for providing this eBook for review.


Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of the extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty,” something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.

            First published in 1972 and immediately acclaimed as a science-fiction classic, Roadside Picnic is included on almost every list of the hundred greatest science-fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. It was the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky’s filmic masterpiece Stalker and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games, which have proven immensely popular.

            This brand-new translation, which corrects many of the errors and omissions of the previous one, has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin, and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of its publication in Russia. Finally, one of the greatest science fiction novels—and one of the most popular pieces of Russian fiction—is back in print in an authoritative edition.

This book is my toughest review yet. I feel like I just read something profound and important, but I can't quite grasp exactly WHY I feel that way.

Roadside Picnic is a refreshingly unique book. I feel odd using the word 'refreshingly' for what's considered a classic, but that's the only word I can use to describe it.
The plot is amazingly genius--Like nothing I've ever read before. I mean, c'mon...Aliens have visited the earth and left behind....stuff. Alien stuff that no one knows exactly what to do with. But some of it is worth a LOT of money...and some of it is deadly.
To get to the good stuff, you have to brave the deadly stuff. Like, literally crawl through slimy puddles of deadly guck-stuff. 
How cool is THAT??

Because the novel begins awhile after the actual alien visit, I almost felt like I'd started a book in the middle, which was a bit distracting.
For the first quarter of the novel I felt a bit lost, but the story sucked me in after that and my brain quickly adjusted. ;)

The characters didn't exactly jump out at me, and I didn't really feel invested in them at all, but again, the story grabs you and keeps you turning the pages.

The best parts were the journey's into the Zone. That's when your heart starts to race and your palms get sweaty and you stay up way past bedtime to find out what happens next. ;)

This translation is just okay. You can definitely tell it's a translation and, at times, that's distracting. The words don't 'flow' as well as they could and sometimes there's a choppy-feeling as you're reading.

But!
Because this is classic sci-fi and the story itself is just so amazing, I definitely recommend Roadside Picnic to all sci-fi lovers.
It's most definitely worth the read, and I'd REALLY love to discuss this book with like-minded geeks! ;)
There's a TON of fodder in this book that would make for some great debates and conversations!


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Once Upon A Time: The Stranger


Okay, who else was a sobbing mess by the end? Lets see a show of hands.
Yeah...it was the ugly cry. Have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE this show??


Let's begin in Fairytale Land.

A terrifying storm is tossing a raft on treacherous seas.
The raft contains Gepetto and puppet-Pinocchio. The storm is too bad. They have to abandon the raft.
Gepetto tries to give Pinocchio the only life vest, but Pinocchio saves his father instead and is swallowed by a whale.

Gepetto washes up on a beach and spies his son, the wooden boy, lifeless in the water.
As he's sobbing with the boy in his arms, the Blue Fairy (Um. Was anyone else worried her boobs were going to pop right out of her dress while she was flying!?) comes and turns Pinocchio into a real boy.
"Be brave, truthful and unselfish. So long as you do that you will always remain a real boy."

Back at Gepetto's shop, the father is teaching the boy to repair a clock. Pinocchio fixes it and out pops poor Jiminy, all tied up. It appears that Pinocchio isn't always the best at being a good boy. ;)

The Blue Fairy arrives and Jiminy takes Pinocchio upstairs.
She tells Gepetto about the curse the Evil Queen plans to use on the kingdom. She asks for Gepetto's help. He must make wardrobe from an enchanted tree.
This tree will protect the saviour child--Emma--from the Queen's curse by sending her to a place where there IS no magic.
She explains that when the child turns 28, she will return and save them all.
The problem is that the tree only has enough magic to protect two people--Snow, who's pregnant with Emma, and Charming.
Gepetto refuses to build the wardrobe until the Blue Fairy agrees to allow Pinocchio to be one of the people the magic saves.
He's worried that once the curse hits, Pinocchio will turn back into a lifeless puppet.
The Blue Fairy must lie to Snow and Charming, and she tells them only one of them can be saved from the curse.

As we all know, it's Emma herself who's saved after Snow gives birth early.
The Blue Fairy must return to the fairies to make preparations because the curse is almost upon them, and she begs Gepetto to tell Snow that she must keep the baby safe.
Gepetto decides not to do as the fairy asked, and instead saves Pinocchio.
He makes Pinocchio promise that he'll take care of the saviour and protect her until she's grown. That, in 28 years, he will make her believe.
Jiminy tells the boy that, as long as he's brave, truthful and unselfish, he will not fail.
Just before closing the wardrobe door, Gepetto tells his son, "You will find me there. And on that day, I will look at you with pride."
The door closes and when it's reopened, Pinocchio is gone.

(There's something in this scene that made me rewind and check a bunch of times.
Just before the Blue Fairy leaves Gepetto, she says, "All we can do is hope that one day, the saviour will restore all that we have lost."
RIGHT after she speaks that line, she looks in the direction of the crystal (?) unicorn mobile and nods towards it.
Is she nodding at the mobile, or at the enchanted tree behind it?
I've seen that same mobile in Gold's shop a hundred times.
This could be a clue...or it could be nothing.) 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In OUR world, we see part of a tree's trunk break off and Pinocchio climb out.
The first thing he sees is a plane fly overhead (Flight 815?! Ha!), and he's terrified.
He tries to climb back in but the tree won't allow him to. The curse has fallen over his kingdom.
Baby Emma cries inside the tree and Pinocchio gently takes her out.

In an orphanage months later, Pinocchio soothes Emma when she cries. He tries to fix her old, shoddy crib but gets in trouble from the mean old foster father.
An older boy comes and shows Pinocchio a wad of cash. He's stolen it and he's buying bus tickets for all the kids to get out., but Emma is too young and can't come.
Pinocchio struggles with the decision briefly, but in the end decides to go.
He kisses Emma goodbye and leaves her there.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over in Storybrooke, August assists Emma and Mary with installing a new Regina-proof lock.
The three talk about Emma's plan to take custody of Henry when he suddenly calls an Operation Cobra Code Red on Emma's walkie-talkie.
As she walks to meet Henry at  Granny's, August tries to convince her to take a day off and go with him on a trip.
She declines because Henry needs her.

In the diner, Henry shows Emma that the book has been changed. Someone has added an unfinished story to it.
The story is about Pinocchio.

Flash to August.....who's staring at a hat. An oddly familiar hat, isn't it? ;)
And there we have it, folks. Finally, the truth. August IS Pinocchio.
He calls Mr. Gold and asks him to meet to talk about Emma.
As he's leaving the room, his leg again goes wonky. He pulls up his pant leg and this time we SEE that it IS turning to wood!

Next we see Mary, in the schoolyard. Regina comes up for a little chat, looking for Henry.
Mary's speech here is AMAZING.
"(...)But I forgive you.Even if you can't admit what you did, I forgive you anyway. Your life must be filled with such incredible loneliness if your only joy comes from destroying everyone else's happiness. It's so sad, Mayor Mills because, despite what you think, it won't make you happy. It's only going to leave a giant hole in your heart."
I mean, come ON. How Snow White is that speech?! Perfect!

Regina gives Henry his lunch (TRON lunchbox!) and she tells him she wants to transfer him out of Miss. Blanchard's class.
Henry calls Regina out, calls her the Evil Queen and tells her the curse will end and good WILL win.
Yay, Henry!

Back we go to August, entering Gold's shop. And who's in the shop with Gold? Marco--Gepetto's Storybrooke persona--with a very familiar clock.
Gauging August's reaction, Gold finally figures out who August really is.
Marco, of course, doesn't recognize his son. In this world, he HAS no son.

After Marco leaves, August asks Gold for help. It seems that Emma plans to go to Gold for legal advice regarding Henry and August needs him to steer her in the right direction.

Later, Emma is in Gold's shop. She asks for his help but he refuses to take the case.
As planned, Emma goes to August and agrees to take his trip.

EWWWWWW BLECH!
Next up is Regina, who's having car trouble. David comes to the rescue and gives her a ride home.
She manipulates him into staying for dinner, after which she attempts to put the moves on him.
She's preeeeeeeetty pissed off when he turns her down.

August and Emma--the only two who CAN--leave Storybrooke. When Emma asks, he tells her he's going to tell her HIS story.
They stop at a diner. August takes an article out of his pocket and tells Emma that it's the diner she was brought to as a baby.
He tells her HE was the 7 year old boy who found her.
August brings Emma to the exact tree they came from. He does everything he can to make her believe,

"You're asking me to believe that you're a fairytale character."
"Pinocchio."
"Right. Pinocchio. Explains all the lying. You're the one who added the story to Henry's book!"
"I needed you to know the truth."
"The truth is that you're out of your mind...and you're not even a very good liar! Why not write the end of that story?"
"Because THIS is the ending, and we're writing it, right now."
"How does this story end?"
"With you believing."
LOVED!!!! That whole exchange was amazing. Magical. Wonderful!


He tells her that he's sick. He knew the exact moment she decided to stay in Storybrooke because at 8:15am, his leg started hurting. The exact time time started again in the town.
He pulls up his pant leg to show her what's happening to him...but she doesn't see. Her denial is too strong.
Pinocchio has failed.

Emma doesn't want to be responsible for saving everyone. It's too much for her to deal with.
"You're our only hope."
"Then you're all screwed."

August goes to Marco's house and sees him in his garage trying to repair that familiar clock.
He tells Marco how to fix it and it works.
August tells Marco his father taught him how to fix it.
"Your father must be very proud."
"Oh, I don't know about that. I don't think I became the man he wanted me to be."
"Have you tried to make it up to him?"
"I made him a promise....a long time ago. By the time I got around to making good on it, I think it was too late."
"But you kept your promise. You realized your mistake and you tried to fix it. That's important. If I had a son, that would be enough for me."
(Aaaaaaand, cue my sobbing.)
August asks Marco if he needs an assistant. Marco says he can't pay. August is okay with that and Marco brings the boy man into his garage and starts showing him around.

In the last scene, Henry is in bed asleep when Emma calls a Code Red on the walkie-talkie.
He meets her downstairs and she kidnaps the boy, telling him they're leaving Storybrooke.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, HOLY MOLY did we get a LOT of answers in this episode!! And many, many more questions!

Highlights:
-The CGI in the FTL opening with Pinocchio and Gepetto in the storm.
-Mary's speech to Regina in the schoolyard.
-The way Gold figures out who August is.
-August's face when he first sees Marco.
-August and Emma on his bike with the 'Leaving Storybrooke' sign behind them. Poignant, no?
-Regina calling David her "knight in shining armour'. Ha!
-The use of flashback in this episode was wonderful!
-LOVE that August is BOTH Pinocchio AND the boy who found Emma. Nice touch!


What questions do we have after this episode?
-Did Regina REALLY think her seduce David plan would work? :P
-How will Henry convince Emma not to leave Storybrooke?
-How will Henry/August convince Emma the book is real?
-Will Emma save everyone?
-What on earth do the writers have planned for NEXT season?!
-How will Emma save August from completely changing?

Only two episodes left, Oncers! Here's the promo for next weeks episode, An Apple As Red As Blood.


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Ahem....See you back here next week!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Supernatural: The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo


Ah, Felicia Day. The woman all girl geeks want to be. How amazing was she in this episode?! LOVED.

We finally get another Leviathan episode, and what an episode it was!

Charlie Bradbury--Geek girl extraordinaire--finds that her hacking ways have come to the attention of one, Dick Roman.
You see, Dick has gotten his hands on Frank's hard drive, but it's so protected that only an expert hacker can break it. Enter Charlie.

When Charlie attempts to hack in, the hard drive automatically sends an email to Sam and Dean and brings it to their attention.
With the help of Frank's hard drive, they track Charlie down--AFTER she's read Frank's data and realizes exactly WHAT Dick Roman is.

Bobby is finally able to tell the boys everything he's learned about the Leviathan's plans--How they're planning to pretty much take over top spot on the food chain and keep us all as cattle. Ack!

Because every single Leviathan on earth knows the Winchester's, they must recruit Charlie to hack into Dick's email to find out when a certain package will be delivered.
After some hilarious scenes with Dean in the van coaching Charlie, a lesbian, as she flirts her way through the guard near Roman's office, she easily hacks into the head Leviathan's email and discovers where and when the package is to arrive.

The boys, of course, get to it first and in its place, leave a Borax bomb that explodes in the Leviathan's faces.
Take that, nasty teethy-monsters! Ha!

Once safely away, the boys discover that the package Roman was waiting for...Is a lump of red clay.
Er...wut?

Of course, I can't call this a recap without mentioning Bobby, who was with Charlie through the whole thing.
He sneaked his flask into her bag and went with her as she hacked into Roman's computer.
Luckily he was there to distract the guard momentarily as she finished up.

Unluckily he was there to break her arm and go all vengeance-spirit on Roman's ass.
Um, that's not a good thing. :(
And so I must apologize to Dean for last week's post. Dean, you were right to be worried. Can you ever forgive me? ;)

In the last scene, Sam and Dean wonder how they'll deal with Bobby once he becomes a problem...And I can't help but wonder as well.

All in all, I enjoyed this week's episode.
I loved the humour and Roman's snark.
I've never wished I was Felicia Day more than
I did during this scene...
I loved Felicia Day...Pretty much playing herself.
I loved that we finally got another Leviathan episode.
I loved that it was a lighter episode.

I didn't love that Felicia Day pretty much carried the whole episode.
I didn't love the Bobby plot. :(

Please forgive me if this recap leaves stuff out. I accidentally deleted the episode before I could rewatch, so I'm going by memory! :(



Best Lines:
-"Perfect. It's in the middle of the Death Star"-Dean
-"Pretend he has boobs."-Dean
-"I was drunk. It was Comic Con".-Charlie
And so may more that I can't remember!

Questions we have after this episode:
-What's with the red clay?!
-Is Bobby going to go crazy?
-How will the boys stop the Leviathans?
-Can we please have Charlie back in future episodes?!
-How will the boys deal with Bobby?
-How will they wrap up the season with only 2 episodes left?!
-When will we see Cas again?


Here's the promo for next week's episode, Reading is Fundamental.





HOLY $&#$%&$^&$%^$%^U%^!!!!!!!!


See you here next week, Winchester fans!





Friday, 27 April 2012

YA Book Review- Partials by Dan Wells

Paperback
468 pages
Release date: Feb. 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins Childrens)
Series: Partails #1
Author: Dan Wells



Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. 
Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.


Wow, was this a FUN book! Well, fun in a kind of 'end-of-the-world-humans-are-dying-off' kind of way. ;)

It's no secret that I love dystopian novels, but even I get tired of the same old thing after awhile. Luckily, although it's yet another post-apocalyptic book, Partials feels fresh and different.



As the blurb above says, it's a bit reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica, and in that way, it felt a bit like coming home (Yes, I LOVED BSG).

Kira is a great character. Strong and smart and clever, but also very normal with flaws and fears and doubts.
Life in 2036 is tough, made even tougher for Kira, who works in the maternity ward, watching babies die day after day of the dreaded RM virus that's killed off 99.9% of the world's population.

What was very, VERY cool about this book is how, at only 16 years old, these children are essentially adults.
They have adult jobs and adult lives and adult intelligence. I LOVED that Mr. Wells realizes that teens, when faced with tough situations, ARE strong enough to learn to adapt and deal with life just as well as--perhaps even better than--'adults' do.

There's not a ton of romance in this book--and, forgive me, but I was MORE than okay with that.
I find it a bit tiresome when a dystopian novel--which is supposed to be dark and even disturbing--is full of mushy BS. Forgive me, but if the world has all but ended, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be smooching it up in the middle of the apocalypse. ;)

The supporting characters are also really well written and believable.
This is a story that you will easily fall into and find yourself invested in.

There IS a great twist, so watch carefully. You'll see it coming if you're paying close enough attention.
And that's all I'll say about that! ;)

The end is GREAT, and it'll leave you desperately wishing Mr. Wells would write faster so you can get your hands on book 2 of the series.

I highly recommend Partials to teens 15+, and to you moms, too. The subjects brought up in this book would make for some great conversations with your teens.

Have you read Partials? Let me know you're thoughts about it in the comments below if you read it!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book Review: The Headmaster's Wager


eBook
Release date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Author: Vincent Lam
Thank you to Net Galley and Doubleday Canada for this advance copy!


Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English school in Saigon. He is also a bon vivant, a compulsive gambler and an incorrigible womanizer. He is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of the Chen Academy. He is fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, and quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, choosing instead to read the faces of his opponents at high-stakes mahjong tables. But when his only son gets in trouble with the Vietnamese authorities, Percival faces the limits of his connections and wealth and is forced to send him away. In the loneliness that follows, Percival finds solace in Jacqueline, a beautiful woman of mixed French and Vietnamese heritage, and Laing Jai, a son born to them on the eve of the Tet offensive. Percival's new-found happiness is precarious, and as the complexities of war encroach further and further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see.


I love historical fiction. Have I ever mentioned that? And I especially love Asian historical fiction.
The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Shogun...I loved them all.
But I've never read a book that takes place in Viet Nam, and I've never read a book about an Asian father and son.
That's why I was looking forward to The Headmaster's Wager.

Giller prize winning Vincent Lam has a way with words that will whisk you away. His characters are wonderful, the setting is amazing and the history is rich and tragic.

Percival lives his life with his eyes closed, completely oblivious to the events happening around him. His blind faith in his ancestors is tested time after time, yet he continues to believe that they will bring him the luck he desperately needs and will keep his son safe.
There were times when I wanted to reach into the book and slap him to try to get him to wake up and SEE the world around him!

This story told a part of the Viet Nam war that I never knew. Reading it was devastating, heartbreaking and REAL.
The love-story intertwined with the horrid effects of the war is touching and beautiful. I loved Jacqueline and I adored Laing Jai.
The twist in the story was brilliant, and one I didn't see coming at all.

The most surprising thing was how thrilling one specific game of mahjong is in this book! I know nothing about mahjong, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

I think the end of this book might cause issues with some readers, but I wasn't one of them. I LOVED the way it ended and I'm glad Mr. Lam decided to go the way he did.

If you enjoyed the books I mentioned above, I think you'll love The Headmaster's Wager. It's about a father, a son, a lover, a war...and it will tear at your heartstrings.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Once Upon A Time: The Return



As I was watching this doozey of an episode, I couldn't help but think to myself...It's not since Lost ended that I've been put through the wringer like this while watching a TV show.
So, THANK YOU, Jane Espenson, for this brilliant, BRILLIANT piece of work. WOW, right?!

Let's start in Fairytale Land, shall we?

Baelfire is playing ball by himself when the ball goes into the street. He chases after it, and he's almost run over by a merchant's donkey cart.
The merchant apologizes when he realizes who he'd almost hit, but it's too late.
Rumpelstiltskin has seen everything.
Despite Bael begging for his father to leave it alone, Rumple has noticed Bael has a cut on his knee. He turns the merchant into a snail and steps on him.

Bael and Rump return home. Rumple wants to heal Bael with magic, but the boy declines.
He tells his father how different he is now. Rumple retorts, explaining to Bae that he alone stopped the Ogre War. He led the children home and saved a thousand lives.
Bae's not convinced and begs his father to stop hurting people. To find a way to go back to what he once was.
Rumple explains that the only way he'll ever change is if someone kills him with the knife and takes the dark power from him.
The boy asks his father if he could find a way to get rid of the power that wouldn't hurt anyone, would Rumple do it.
Rumple agrees--all he wants is Bae's happiness--and they shake on the deal.

Later, father and son are walking in the woods. Rumple tells the boy to join the other kids while he takes care of some business nearby.
The kids run off when they see Bae arrive, and he sits alone until a girl joins him. The same girl we saw taken away to the Ogre Wars in 'Desperate Souls' (Ep. 8), as a matter of fact!
She tells him about the Reul Ghorm. An ancient being who rules the night. If anything can help change his father back, they can.

Rumple returns and Bae notices bloodstains on his boots. Rumple tells him they'll need a new maid because the last one overheard them talking about the knife.
Bae says the maid was mute and couldn't have said anything. Rumple replies, "Even mutes can draw a picture.", with his trademark Rumple flourish.

That night, Bae calls on the Reul Ghorm. Lo and behold, it's the Blue Fairy!

She tells him that the only way Rumple will ever go back to being what he once was is to leave. To go somewhere there is NO magic.
She gives him the very last magic bean that's known to their kind and tells him to follow wherever it leads them.

Baelfire rushes home and tells his father that he's found a way to make things the way they were. He tells Rumple about the Blue Fairy and Rumple tries to get out of the deal.
Bae asks him if he's backing out and Rumple says no.

The two go into the forest where Bae uses the bean. The CGI here is WAY cool! The way it looks like a whirlpool beanstalk?! Awesome!

Rumple is terrified. He can't go through with it. Bae almost falls in and his father hangs onto him. Bae begs Rump to go with him and Rumple just keeps saying he can't.
Bae gets angry and calls his father a coward.
Rumple's grip slips and Bae slides into the vortex alone. It closes directly after, and Rumple then changes his mind and yells for his son, "I'm sorry, Bae! I want to come with you!"

Rumple calls the Reul Ghorm and asks how he can follow his son.
He guesses that a curse will get him to the world Bae went to, and the Blue Fairy tells him that he would have to sacrifice all of Fairytale Land to get there.
She says that such a curse is beyond his abilities. Rumple replies, "Oh, for now. But I've got ALL the time in the world. I will do nothing else. I will LOVE, nothing else...."
And now we know WHY he rejected Belle!

He blames the Blue Fairy for taking his son from him and tries to stab her with the knife. She flies away with Rumple screaming after her, "I WILL FIND HIM! I WILL FIND MY SON!"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over in Storybrooke, August wakes in pain. Apparently his leg is doing that owie thing again. Didn't I mention that would be important in future episodes? ;)
He calls...someone....and tells them they need to accelerate the plan.

Next we see August and Henry plotting. Henry runs into Mr. Gold's shop and distracts him while August goes in the back door to look for...something.
Of course August is caught in Gold's office, but he casually talks his way out of trouble.

Later, Regina and Gold are arguing. Regina wanted Kathryn to die, and she's upset that Gold backed out on the deal.
Gold adamantly says he's only ever broken ONE deal in his life (and we know which deal that was now, sadly), and that this wasn't it. Regina never specifically said the words, 'kill her', and so he just had Kathryn abducted. "Murder seems so much worse here though, doesn't it. You can't just...turn someone into a snail and then step on them." (BWHAHAHAHA! Er, wut?) ;)
Regina's ticked that, because Kathryn's back, all fingers will now point to her. The key left in Mary Margaret's cell, the fingerprints, the planted knife...And she's right.

Emma goes to visit Kathryn in the hospital, who remembers nothing.
Next up is David, and the two have a talk. David apologizes for everything, and Kathryn forgives him.

Flash to a party at Emma/Mary Margaret's place.
David shows up, but Mary doesn't want to see him. Emma diffuses the situation by making him take Henry home.
Gold and Emma have a chat and Emma asks if he had anything to do with Kathryn's return. Gold asks her if she's accusing him of working with Regina or against her. Emma replies, "I don't know. Maybe...diagonally." I LOVE that line because that's EXACTLY how I feel about what Gold is doing.
We can see that he's clearly not working WITH Regina, exactly, but he's not working against her either!
Well done, reading our minds, Ms. Espenson! ;)

Gold then asks Emma about August and she tells hims that she trusts the writer much more than she trusts Gold.

Later, Gold breaks into August's room at Granny's and finds a drawing of Rumpelstiltskin's knife.
Dun dun DUN. ;)

Emma finds Sydney at the diner and confronts him with the bug. He tries to deny it and Emma realizes that he's doing it for love.
She gives him an ultimatum--Either help her or she'll bring him down with Regina.

Gold follows August to the convent and spies him talking with the Mother Superior--who just happens to be the Blue Fairy in Fairytale Land.
Rumple confronts her and finds out that August seems to have found his estranged father and was seeking advice because there are unresolved issues between them.

On the street later that evening, David finally talks to Mary Margaret.
She tells him how betrayed she felt when he didn't believe her. He apologizes and tries to move forward. She tells him it's like something in the world just doesn't want them together.
He tells her he loves her and she says that that is what makes it all so sad.
Aww. :(

Next we see Gold in a place I never thought I'd see him...At Archie's office. He almost walks away right after he knocks, which, in my eyes, shows how serious he is about talking to Archie.
I guess this really IS getting to him, huh?
Gold explains as best he can about the possibility that his estranged son has returned. He explains that he's spent his whole life trying to fix it and now that his son might be here, he doesn't know what to do.
Archie tells Gold to be honest. To tell his son exactly what he just said to Archie, and ask for forgiveness.

Gold finds August and tells him he knows who he is and he knows what he's looking for.
August looks up and calls Gold 'Papa'.
Gold says that Bae was right. He was a coward and he never should have let him go.
He says that he's been looking for his son every waking moment, and asks for forgiveness.
The two hug and cry and I shed many, MANY tears.
My GOD, how amazing is Robert Carlyle in this scene?!? PERFECTION!

....and this was when I knew something was going to go horribly, horribly wrong. :(

Gold and August dig up the knife (and now we know what Gold buried all those months ago!)...and the whole time I'm talking to my TV, "Ohh, this is bad. Something bad is about to happen. Horrible things are coming. I just know it. Ohh, bad, bad things...." and so on and so forth. :P

Gold hands the knife to August...and it happens. August tries to use the knife against Gold to harness him and his power.
And the HUGE red herring that got me and pretty much EVERYONE I know slaps us in the face.
August is NOT Baelfire.

Gold goes all Rumple on August's butt and tells him that he knows he's not Bael because Bale would never do that to him, and he would know that the knife wouldn't work in this world because there IS no magic in this world.

Gold takes the knife away from August and wants answers.
Gold realizes that August is from Fairytale Land and that's how he knows about the knife.
August tells Gold that he's sick....he's dying. He needs magic to be healed.
he was trying to get the saviour--Emma--to believe, but he doesn't have time to convince her.
When Gold hears that, he lets August live to try again to convince Emma.

Next we see Regina in Emma's office. She tells Emma that she has a confession....and in walks Sydney to confess.
Apparently HE abducted Kathryn, stole Regina's keys, planted the knife, had someone Doctor the DNA on the heart...all because he wanted to be a hero and find Kathryn himself.
Wow. Regina really IS that powerful. Poor Sydney. :(

Of course, Emma doesn't believe a word, but there's nothing she can do....or is there?
Emma realizes just how dangerous Regina really is, and she decides it's time to get her kid away from the madwoman.
"I'm taking back my son"
WHOA!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, I MUST praise Ms. Jane Espenson for her fantastic writing in this episode! This is the woman who gave us That Still, Small Voice (Ep. 5), Desperate Souls (Ep. 8), my beloved Skin Deep (Ep. 12) and Red-Handed (Ep. 15).
Are you seeing a pattern here? ALL of my favourite OUAT episodes are Espenson episodes!

So, here's what I wrote in my notes at the beginning of this episode-- "Bael's leg in Fairytale--Red herring?
Bael/Rumple story--Red Herring?"

Ha! I knew not to trust them right off the bat, as sad as it is. I REALLY thought August was Baelfire, but as soon as I saw that this story was ABOUT Baelfire, I knew it was going to be a red herring.
That doesn't mean I wasn't sucked in with the rest of you, though! When August said, "Papa", I was shouting in joy at my TV...and then ten seconds later, I was wary and begging that tiny, nagging voice in my head to shut up and let this FOR ONCE be the truth.
But, being a Lost fan, I KNOW how these things happen and I knew something horrible was coming.
So sad. :(

And now we know WHY Rumple gave the Queen the spell. To find his son. God, he's SUCH a complicated and wonderful character!

So WHO is August?? My last guess...Pinocchio. Is it possible this 'sickness' is somehow turning him back to wood?
If he IS Pinocchio, how did he get out of Fairytale Land?

And the opening this week, that I FINALLY noticed, was a person on a motorbike. ;)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Highlights of the episode:
-Robert Carlyle, once again. The man deserves a damn Emmy.

-Dylan Schmid as Baelfire. Especially the scene with the whirlpool/beanstalk. Wow.

-The Mickey Mouse phone in Mr. Gold's shop. Ha!

-Henry's card for Mary, "We're so glad you didn't kill Mrs. Nolan." LOL!

-Mr Gold, "Murder seems so much worse here though, doesn't it. You can't just...turn someone into a snail and then step on them."

-Emma, about August, "Typewriter wrapped in an enigma wrapped in stubble." LOVE!

-The Blue Fairy to Bae, "YOU are the part of him that keeps him human. That little light inside of him that still glows...that's his love for you."

-Archie, "Are you here for the rent?"
Mr. Gold, "Why does everyone ask that?"

-Mr Gold to August, "If you know who I am...then you know who I am...then you know that the chances of surviving this encounter are pretty slim."


What questions do we have after this episode?
-WHO is August? (See above)
-Who did August call after he fell out of bed?? Who is he working with?
-What happened to the other magic beans?
-How will Emma take Henry from Regina?
-What will Regina do to Emma for taking Henry?
-Will Mary Margaret forgive David?
-Where is the real Baelfire?


There are only THREE episodes left this season! What am I going to do all summer without my OUAT fix?!

Here's the trailer for next week's episode, 'The Stranger'.


Whoa. Looks like it's Pinocchio's story and we find out, FINALLY, who August is!
Another red herring?

See you back here next week, Oncers! 


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Supernatural: Of Grave Importance


Tonight's episode...wasn't what I expected. And honestly, I wasn't feeling it. :(
Was I the only one?

So the boys get a call from another hunter, Annie, who, er...apparently gets around. ;)
She has some things of Bobby's and they all agree to meet the next day for lunch.

Speaking of Bobby--Yup. He's still hanging around and still trying to get the boys to notice him.
When Annie doesn't show up for lunch, the guys figure something's wrong and go investigate her motel room.
They find info on the case she was working and head there with Bobby in tow.
Of course, it just happens to be a creepy old haunted house.

Bobby sees Annie and she discovers she's dead. Of course, that doesn't stop them from trying to help Sam and Dean.
With the assistance of one of the more coherent spirits, Bobby learns to manipulate objects in the real world. While Dean is taking a shower, Bobby writes a message on the fogged up mirror, "Annie trapped in house."
Of course, the boys are a bit freaked out by this, so they ask who wrote it.
The reply? "Bobby."
Do you even need to ask? YES, I teared up, okay?! :P

The boys head back to the house and speak to Victoria, yet another ghost who's more powerful than Bobby and Annie and who can make herself seen.
She relays the message from Annie about the evil ghost who's killing people and trapping their spirits in the house.
Apparently he absorbs the spirits, which makes him more powerful.

The boys head off to find the bones, unknowingly bringing the evil ghost along for the ride.
While he's gone, Bobby and Annie find the bodies of those that have been killed in the house.
As they're preparing the burn them, evil ghost reappears and starts to absorb Bobby.
Luckily, the boys find the bones in the nick of time.

The boys return to the house and, lo and behold, they see Bobby sitting there on the floor.
Yes, apparently he's strong enough to be seen now!
Annie gets a hunter's burial and Dean confronts Bobby. He's angry that Bobby stayed when he could be having a beer in heaven.
Bobby poofs away in anger.

In the car, Sam and Dean talk about Bobby's choice.
Of course, Bobby has returned and overhears them, unbeknownst to the boys. :(

So...WHY was Dean so pissed that Bobby had decided to stay?? With the way he's been since Bobby died, you'd think he'd be happy to see him and glad Bobby was back to help out.
I didn't find that at all convincing.
I think the boys would of AT LEAST tried for a hug or something!

ANYway...

What questions do we have after this episode?
-How will Bobby convince the boys to let him help?
-Will Death give Bobby his life back?
-Will ANYONE give Bobby his life back?
-How is Cas doing?
-Why aren't the boys going after the Leviathans more?
-What are the Leviathians up to?

Best Lines:
-"That's a lot of foxholes." -Dean
-"Balls. This is exhausting."-Bobby
-"Right, ghost juju."-Bobby
-"Alright now. I can kill werewolves, fix a Pinto and bake cornbread. I'll be damned if I can't get zen."-Bobby
-"Slimer?"-Dean
"-Suck on that, Swayze."-Bobby


What did you think of tonight's episode?

Next week, the amazingly awesome Felicia Day guest stars! SO EXCITED! 
Here's the promo.



See you next week, Winchester fans!
  

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

YA Book Review- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


eARC
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Author: Julie Kagawa
Thank you to Harlequin and Net Galley for providing this eARC.



Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.



Who's sick of vampire books? Yeah, I was, too.... Until I read THIS vampire book!

Holy frak, did I LOVE The Immortal Rules!

Allie is pretty much my idea of a perfect female character. 5-foot-nothing, tough, rough, strong, smart, and STILL sweet, kind, caring and feminine. 
She takes what life throws at her--which is a LOT--and STILL comes out on top.
The setting and background of the novel are refreshing as well. The story is just different. I loved that.

A post-apocalyptic world where vampires rule and humans are kept as blood-slaves? Epic!
The battles and fights are ah-MAZING. You can almost feel the blood and gore spatter as you read. A big plus for this horror lover! ;)

And the romance! Finally a non-gushy, non-wishy-washy, non-instant-love romance. An actual believable, realistic (er, as realistic as it can be with vampires involved), heartfelt romance.

As the first book in the series, it does wrap up quite nicely....However, you ARE left anticipating book 2, and you WILL have many questions, about three characters in particular, who are certain to have big roles in the next novel.

Honestly, there was not one thing about The Immortal Rules that I didn't like. We all know THAT doesn't happen often! ;)

This would be a great book for older teens--because of the blood and gore mentioned above--And you moms will enjoy this one, too!




Monday, 16 April 2012

Small Blogs, Big Dreams Giveaway Blog Hop!


Welcome to my very first blog hop! Just A Girl Geek is excited to be a part of the Small Blogs, Big Dreams hop!
This hop is hosted by Walking On Bookshelves and is specifically for smaller blogs! Hooray for small blogs! The hop takes place from April 16- April 21, 2012.

Because this is my first hop, I'm giving away some VERY awesome stuff!
You might remember me gushing about the AMAZING new book, Starters...But if not, you can read my review here.

A few weeks ago, I won a bunch of awesome swag from the author, (Thanks, Lissa!) and this hop is the perfect opportunity to give it away!

Winner #1 will receive a brand new paperback copy of Starters by Lissa Price (from Book Depository), two rubber bracelets, two bookmarks and one pin!



Winner #2 will receive two Starters bookmarks, one rubber bracelet and one pin.


And winner #3 will receive one Starters bookmark.




Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!




Saturday, 14 April 2012

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods


This is probably going to be the weirdest review you've ever read because I'm going to tell you pretty much NOTHING about this movie.

Those of you that are on the bubble about seeing it, or are already planning to see it--Stay off Twitter. Stay off Facebook. Don't read ANYMORE reviews. Don't talk to friends who have seen it. Don't even watch the trailer again.
You NEED to walk into this movie knowing NOTHING.
I'd heard that from people who were able to attend advanced screenings and I didn't understand why. I GET IT NOW!
To hear about this movie secondhand will just completely mess you up. You won't understand its brilliance, it WON'T do the story justice and you'll be missing out on an amazing, fun, thrilling experience.

I promise you that this is like no other horror movie you've ever seen, and for you Whedon fans, this is PURE Joss at his absolute best.
This is like Hush x a million.

What I WILL tell you about the actual movie itself is this:

The cast is brilliant. I fell in love with Fran Kranz all over again.
Amy Acker is...well, She's frickin' Amy Acker! And I missed her and she's perfect in this movie.
Tom Lenk is and always will be adorable.

There IS gore, and lots of it. Cover your eyes for those parts if you have to, but don't let that deter you from seeing the movie!
And there are scares. Some great ones. ;)

And, in true Joss form, he pays homage to some of our favourite Joss moments. (At least that's what I'M reading into it). ;)

I went to see The Cabin in the Woods alone, and it was SO worth it. I don't think I'll ever look at horror movies the same again, and nothing, NOTHING will ever compare to The Cabin in the Woods.

And PLEASE, if you see it, tell me! I MUST talk about this movie with someone!! I'm DYING here! :P

Thursday, 12 April 2012

YA Book Review- Emerald City by Alicia K. Leppert


eBook
Expected Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Cedar Fort (Sweetwater Books)

Thank you to Net Galley and Cedar Fort for allowing me to read this eARC.



Olivia Tate is a broken shell of a girl haunted by the tragic events that fill her past.  She has closed herself off from the world, each day grasping at something—anything—to live for. Convinced there will never be a way out, she seeks solace in the depths of her medicine cabinet. 
When she wakes up days later in the hospital she is introduced to Jude, the quiet stranger responsible for saving her life. She never could have guessed then that her mysterious rescuer would end up saving her life a second time, while simultaneously turning her world upside down.


This book deals with some dark, dark stuff. Olivia's life has been...well, rough doesn't really even cover it. The girl has seen things no one should ever see and because of that, she's quickly spinning in a downward spiral.

Luckily, Jude is there to step in and save her from herself.

Being honest, until about halfway through this book I was comparing Olivia to Bella from Twilight (did I really even need to explain who Bella is?).
Thank GOD the author went in a completely different and better way!

I connected with Olivia from page one. I definitely sympathized with her struggles. I was impressed with the way Ms. Leppert wrote Olivia in the first-person, bringing the reader into her pain.

Jude was....cute. That's really the only word I can use to describe him. I didn't fall in love with him, but he didn't drive me crazy either. I just felt very distanced from him, probably because of how 'mysterious' he is.

The first half of Emerald City is a bit slow. The 'supernatural'  element  isn't even mentioned until you're well over halfway through the book.
I did see the 'secret' coming, but it was a nice secret nonetheless.

I feel pretty neutral toward this book. I didn't love it, but it was a nice little read.

I would recommend this book to teens 14+, and for you parents, reading this with (or before) your teen would be a great way to broach the difficult subjects discussed in Emerald City.

(You can purchase Emerald City here.)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book Review--Westlake Soul

eBook
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Chizine Publications
Author: Rio Youers
Thank you to Net Galley and Chizine for providing an Advance Copy for review.


All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. 
I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a "body like a wet paper bag..."
Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you think he's just a regular dude, think again; Westlake is in a permanent vegetative state. He can't move, has no response to stimuli, and can only communicate with Hub, the faithful family dog. And like all superheroes, Westlake has an archenemy: Dr. Quietus - a nightmarish embodiment of Death itself.
Westlake dreams of a normal life - of surfing and loving again. But time is running out; Dr. Quietus is getting closer, and stronger. Can Westlake use his superbrain to recover... to slip his enemy's cold embrace before it's too late?

Sometimes--it happens very rarely--but sometimes you are privileged enough to read a book that touches your soul.
A book that makes you feel blessed to have experienced it. A book that makes you look at life in a completely different way.
Westlake Soul is one of these books.



Westlake Soul is the story of a man--named Westlake Soul--trapped in his own mind.

After a surfing accident, Westlake's brain suffers too much trauma. He goes into a permanant vegetative state.
Unknown to his loved ones, Westlake is very aware of his surroundings--and he's developed a superpower.
He can leave his body and go anywhere. Anywhere in the universe. The moon? He's been there. The ocean floor? He's seen it.
But the one thing Westlake desperately wants to do is the one thing that alludes him. He wants to show his family that he is still here.

Rio Youers has a way with words that awed me.
The battles Westlake has with his nemesis, Dr. Quietus, are epic and wonderful.
The writing in these scenes is especially brilliant.

This book also has some very emotional scenes and, because of the fabulous writing, you'll feel like you're right there with Westlake--and you WILL need tissues. Possibly a whole box of them.

And the end? Wow. Just...wow.

I truly hope that the publishers of Westlake Soul do everything they can to get the word out about this amazing book.
This is something that NEEDS to be read by as many people as possible.

Thank you, Rio, for writing such a touching, awesome, heartbreaking story.

In closing--READ WESTLAKE SOUL!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

My First Book Signing Giveaway!

I went to my first book signing today! It was at Indigo in Yorkdale Mall in Toronto.


The signing started at 2pm and the line-up wasn't too bad, considering I slept in and didn't arrive until after noon!


Luckily, the girls in line behind me, Csilla and Shanelle were friendly and fun! We talked books (of course), TV, and they told me about Hot Subway Guy. Thanks, girls! ;)

Finally, after a 3.5 hour wait, it was my turn to meet Kelley! SO EXCITING!


I said hello and told her I was originally from Sudbury, where Kelley was born.


She noticed my True Blood tee-shirt and she told me she'd seen the cast at SDCC! Of course, I HAD to geek out and we talked Comic Con!


She's making another appearance this year, so if you go, be sure to say hi to her! She's really sweet!


I then got my photo taken with her...and a HUGE thanks to the staff member who was taking the photos for the fans! She took ALL of these pics with my own phone while I was talking to Kelley!

Of course, I HAVE to mention that she signed my copy of The Calling, and I squeed a little bit. You guys, this is the FIRST book I've ever gotten signed IN PERSON! How amazing is that for lil old me?!


Of course, I didn't forget YOU all, so look what else I picked up!


That's right! BOTH books in Kelley's YA series, Darkness Rising! The Gathering and her brand new book, The Calling!

Oh, but that's not all...


Yup! I asked her to sign book 1, The Gathering, just for YOU! Pretty awesome, right?!

So! Who wants to win these books? ;)

Just fill out the rafflecopter form below!


Monday, 2 April 2012

Book Review--The Last Hiccup

eBook
Publisher: ECW Press
Release Date: April 1, 2012
ISBN 1550229737 (ISBN13: 9781550229738)
Source: Net Galley
Author: Christopher Meades


Set in 1930s Russia, this darkly humorous, tragic, and ultimately heroic novel tells the tale of Vladimir, an eight-year-old Russian boy suddenly stricken with a chronic case of the hiccups. He soon finds himself spirited away to a Moscow hospital by the famous physician Sergei Namestikov, who puts him through a series of extraordinary--and often bizarre--treatments in an effort to find a cure. When Sergei's chief medical rival, the brilliant Alexander Afiniganov, discovers that beneath Vladimir's blank eyes lurks a pure, unbridled evil, he takes steps to remove the child from polite society. Abandoned by everyone but his hiccups, Vladimir decides to return to the world he once knew, encountering many strange people and situations along the way. Funny, poignant, and surreal, this is a close look at the nature of good and evil filled with a dazzling cast of characters.


I went way out of my comfort zone when I snagged this book. WAY out. As you can see from the blurb, this is far from the usual novel I review.
To be honest, I only grabbed it because, aside from sounding intreguing, it's Canadian and, as a Canadian, I want to have at least a BIT of CanCon on my blog!

But, I really enjoyed this book!

Little Vladimir sucked me in at once, and the humour, while subtle at times, had me laughing out loud during some parts. Without being spoilery, I can say that the scene in the barn and the killer cat had me giggling with glee.

Christopher Meades's writing feels like an artform in itself, with the way it flows and paints beautiful pictures in your mind.
His characters are wonderfully endearing and this story almost has a folktale feel to it.

Of course, with the good must come the bad, and in The Last Hiccup, sadly, there IS some bad.
It's just not long enough. Mr. Meades skips full years that I would have LOVED to have read about.
I also found there was too much detail in the beginning about Valdimir's Doctors and not enough about Valdimir himself.

But the ending...Ah, the ending. That completely makes up for any faults or shortcomings this book may have.
It's beautiful and touching and almost serene. The perfect ending for such a wonderful novel.

If you enjoy dark-ish humour, Canadian literature or books that are just different, this is the book for you.

You can purchase The Last Hiccup here.

Once Upon A Time: The Stable Boy


Whoa. WHOA! What an ending!! WHOA!!

And how absolutely perfect was Bailee Madison as young Snow? The similarities between her and Ginny are uncanny! She knocked it out of the park in this episode!
And Barbara Hershey? She's so good at being so evil!

I also have a confession to make. It appears that I'm not as observant as I thought I was! Am I the only person who never noticed that Once Upon A Time has a different opening every week?
I only noticed it because I remember it being the dwarfs during 'Dreamy' and it was a running horse with a female rider for this episode. Looking back, I also remember a wolf, a spinning wheel and a person wearing a cloak.
So, I apologize for that! I promise from now on to pay more attention and mention the opening sequence here every week.

Now, lets begin, shall we?


In Fairytale Land, we meet a young Regina--and HOLY. They did an amazing job, making Lana look 25 years younger! Very impressive! I wonder if I can hire those make-up people to follow me around. Hmm..
Er, anyway!

We meet a young Regina who's NOTHING at all like the Regina we've come to know.
This girl is sweet and carefree and kind and fun. I found myself pretty much in love with THIS Regina.
Of course, we then meet her mother, who appears to be the Regina we DO know in all but physical appearance. Cora is mean and manipulative and conniving and just not at all nice.

After making Regina feel like dirt, Cora uses magic to lift Regina off the ground after Regina tries to walk away from her.
So...Mommy's got power. Interesting.

Regina runs back to the stable where we meet the stable boy in the title, Daniel, and the two share a steamy kiss.
Aww. Young love.

Later, the two lovebirds meet in a field and as they're talking about telling her mother about them, a runaway horse bolts by with a young girl clinging to its back, screaming for help.
Regina rides to the rescue and saves the girl, who's name is Snow White.
So...who else got goosebumps at that? Just me? Oh.

Some time afterwards, Cora helps Regina dress because the King has decided to visit the person who saved his daughter, Snow.
The King has been looking for a wife and, because Regina was so nice to his daughter, he asks Regina to marry him. Cora accepts. Sheesh, controlling much, Cora?!

After she can get away, Regina flees to the stables and tells Daniel what's happened. The two decide to run away and get married, and Daniel gives Regina a simple ring he takes off a saddle.
Snow overhears and spies the two kissing, and she runs off with Regina close behind.
Regina catches up and explains true love to young Snow, who promises to keep the secret from Regina's mother.

Next we see Snow and Cora having a little chit chat. Cora manipulates Snow using the love Snow had for her deceased mother. And Snow, in her innocence, trusts and believes every word Cora says.
Snow tells Regina's mother everything. :(

That night, as Regina and Daniel are about to leave, Cora catches them in the act.
First, she's very angry. Then, being evil and all, she makes the couple think she understands their plight and that she believes that true love should win.
Of course, we all know she's a big fat liar and we yell at the TV for Regina to stop her fast...but it's too late. Cora pulls Daniel's heart right out of his chest and kills him.
What? Oh, none of you were yelling at the TV? Oh. Er, okay. Um, neither was I. Then. Wut?

The next we see Regina, she's standing in a wedding dress during a fitting. (And what a GORGEOUS wedding dress it is! LOVED!)
Snow happily gushes over Regina, telling her how happy she'll be with Daniel. Then Snow gushes over Cora and Regina puts two and two together.
Snow apologizes for telling Cora, but explains that she didn't want Regina to lose her mother.
And in that moment....in that very moment, we actually SEE Regina transform from the sweet, kind, caring girl she was into the mean, hateful, evil person she's become. What a powerful, amazing scene. Lana Parrilla did that wonderfully.

Regina tells Snow she's not mad and then lies to her. She tells the girl that Daniel was only an infatuation, that he ran away, and that the three would be a family now.

Cora overhears the exchange and seems to be proud of her daughters new-found evilness.
Regina confronts Cora about setting up everything...From the horse running away with Snow to the King coming to the castle. Cora denies it and Regina says bitterly, "I should've let her die on that horse."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over in Storybrooke, it's one week ago. Regina is in her window, looking at a very plain ring.
From behind her, Mr. Gold asks if it's 'remembrances of things past'. Well now we know that it is, Gold. Thanks for the heads up! ;)
With a few Rumple-like hand gestures (Ha!), Gold makes a deal with Regina. She gets rid of his battery charges and he gets rid of her Mary Margaret problem. 

Flash to present day Storybrooke, Emma brushes off David and heads to her office/the jail, where we see Regina is sitting, watching Mary sleep. Creepy.

Mary wakes and Regina tells her to confess. Mary refuses because she's innocent and asks what she ever did to Regina to make her hate her so much.

Gold arrives later that day and, while Emma is busy taking a pretty vase of flowers from Sidney (who is still playing secret agent for Regina and lying to Emma about it), convinces Mary to speak to the DA.
And who walks in at just that moment? Why, the DA himself, of course! Who is none other than King George's alter-personality! *gasp*

The DA presses Mary Margaret until, in a fit of anger, she blurts out that, yes, she did want Kathryn gone--"Is that what you want to hear?!"
Poor, poor Mary.

Next we see Emma, sitting on a bench in the rain, looking through Henry's story book.
August comes to say hello and assists her in realizing that she needs to think things through differently.
The two decide to go back to the t(r)oll bridge, where the first of a few weird things in this episode happens.
As they're walking down the hill, August seems to tweak his leg somehow. He says it's nothing...but NOTHING is never nothing in Once Upon A Time! Trust me, people! This is a clue! This is either a foreshadow to a future episode--perhaps the one where we finally find out WHO August is--or it's a clue from a previous episode that I'm somehow missing! Or perhaps it's a telltale for which Fairytale character August is!
More on this below, in the questions bit of this post!

Emma digs around a bit where Ruby found the heart, and finds a piece of broken shovel. The two head to Regina's later that night and, with Henry's help, get into Regina's shed. And what's in that shed? Why, a broken shovel, of course! They've got her!

First thing in the morning, Emma shows back up at Regina's with a search warrant...and finds the old, broken shovel has been replaced with a brand spankin' new one.
D'oh! Foiled again!

Emma goes to August's room at Granny's and confronts him, thinking he was the one who told Regina.
And here's the second of the weird things that happens in the episode!
August says to Emma, "I would hope that you would have enough faith to know that I would never betray you.", and then he looks--first, completely stunned and then second--like he's almost let something slip by saying that to Emma. Did you all notice that?! (And that was some GREAT face acting by Eion Bailey, by the way!)
Again, more on this below in the questions bit of this post!

Back at the jail, Mary is in tears when Regina walks in. Again.
Regina is at her bitchy best and Mary finally realizes that the Mayor IS indeed out to get her for reasons unknown.

Back at Regina's house, she's once again standing in her window, clutching her ring. She whispers, "We got her Daniel. We got her."

The police take Mary away in cuffs and Emma and Gold have words.
After Gold leaves, Emma throws the flower vase (remember the flower vase I mentioned above?) in her anger and, lo and behold, among the shattered pieces she finds a bug! Darn that Sidney!

Emma finds August at the diner and apologizes, showing him the bug.
Suddenly the two hear screams. They run around the corner, where Ruby is pointing to someone lying on the ground in the alley.
Emma turns the person over.........and it's KATHRYN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And there was much yelling and cursing in my house at that!
GREAT episode! Loved it! LOVED!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Highlights: 
-Bailee Madison as young Snow. Did she study Ginny beforehand?! Is that how she got Snow White down so perfectly?! Amazing!
-Barbara Hershey! Evil never looked so good!
-The costumes (again!). The wedding dress! Regina's riding coat! Young Snow's costumes!
-Gold's little Rumple flourish!
-Lana Parrilla's amazing acting as she changes from sweet Regina into the Evil Queen.


Questions:
-WHO IS AUGUST?!
-What was with the scene where he tweaks his leg? Is there a fairytale character I can't remember who had a hurt leg? Or who couldn't use his legs? At first, he was acting a bit wooden after he'd 'hurt' it, so of course I though Pinocchio....but I don't think that's who he is.
What about Baelfire, my theory on who August is. Did Baelfire have a hurt leg? Or will he? Argh!
-Why did August say what he did to Emma? Why would he think she should 'have enough faith to know he would never betray her'? That sounds like she's supposed to KNOW him, doesn't it? If she is, why doesn't she remember him? Double ARGH!
-What is Gold/Rumple doing? He's playing all sides of the coin. What is his end game?
-How did Kathryn get back? (Rumple?)
-How is she alive?! She has no heart!
-Will Mary be released now?
-Will Regina be charged?
-Where WAS Kathryn??
-Cora was a miller's daughter...In the Rumple fairytale, didn't the MILLER'S DAUGHTER have to guess his name? Is she THAT miller's daughter? If so, was Regina the first born she would have had to give up? Or maybe Jefferson?! (Remember how I said it seemed like they were related?!)
-How did Cora get magic? (Rumple?)
-What deals did Cora have to make to get them out of poverty...and with who? (Rumple?)
-What happened to Cora? She went to live with Snow, Regina and the King, I assume...but she was no longer around when the Evil Queen cursed Fairytale Land.
-Is Regina's grudge against something a child did 40 years ago the whole reason she cursed a WHOLE WORLD?!

No new episodes for THREE MORE WEEKS! Blah!
Here's the promo for 'The Return':


Looks AMAZING!! Was I right? IS August, Baelfire?! I can't wait to find out!

And what did you think of The Stable Boy? What are your thoughts on the many questions we have after this episode?

Comment are VERY welcome! I must debate this show! ;)

See you back here April 22, Oncers!