Thursday, 17 April 2014

My Dream Ninja Assignment!

As part of the NINJA LIBRARIAN blog tour my assignment this week was to name which historical figure would I like to be an apprentice for? What would I like to learn from them?

One word, Cleopatra.


She was Egypt's last queen, invented many health and beauty treatments that are still used today, (mascara for one), and was the only person capable of keeping Egypt from falling to the Romans.

She fought off a brother and saved her country by swooning Julius Caesar and combining their armies. When Caesar died, Cleopatra had to flee Rome as rumors of her involvement in his death threatened her own demise.

But she didn't cower.

Mark Anthony was set to arrest her, instead...well, let's just say she gave birth to twins the following year.

She was a warrior, a scientist, a fierce leader, and has inspired generations of playwrights, artists, and archaeologists. Perhaps the most alluring part of Cleopatra is that her tomb has never been found. She died a prisoner of Octavian, supposedly after Mark Antony died in her arms. Loyal slaves smuggled in a poisonous snake at her request, so she could take her own life with its bite.

It is believed that Octavian still revered his queen and granted her the wish to be buried secretly with Mark Antony, where tomb raiders would never find them.

They still haven't.

I don't know what I'd want to learn for Cleopatra, but following her around for a day would be AWESOME!!!! 

Here are some of my other assignments which totally deserved an A+...

What animal I would take with me if I was going on an adventure? Easy peasy!

Top ten scenes from a book that I'd want to experience.

Top ten items I'd steal, borrow from books. Number one? Nancy Drew's blue convertible. Oh, yeah!

Jen Swank Downey's smart, sassy, action packed middle grade adventure is now available!

Check out webpage here. In addition to a wonderful blog trailer, the webpage contains fantastic downloadables for Ninja Librarian fans, such as an Educator Guide, Mission Activity Kit, and a special Guide to Petrarch’s Library!
You can BUY The Ninja Librarians here.
Find Jen on facebook, twitter, and her website.
Which historical figure would you like to apprentice for?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 17 “The Jolly Roger”

Or better title, "Hooked on Love"

On a darkened forest trail a man in an iron mask robs a stage coach. It's Hook and he's been reunited with Bill Smead and his crew of pirates. There's only one problem, he's lost his ship.

The celebration party at a pub includes the gang chipping in to give Hook a night with one of the bar wenches. Hook takes her out back where he pays her off and tells her he's not interested.

Oh right, he's in love with Emma.

He's soon ambushed by another women. It's Ariel and she's super mad.

Emma and David try to put together the crib for the new baby. Regina arrives and tells them she's placed a protective spell around Mary Margaret's apartment to keep them safe from Zalena.

Emma is growing tired of the defensive tactics. She asks Regina to teach her magic so they can tag team against Zalena.

Bill Smead meets up with Hook on the waterfront of Storybrooke. They argue about the missing Jolly Roger. Smead wants to leave, but Hook is determined to stay because Emma thinks he's a fun sitter for Henry. Smead stomps off.

Emma arrives and she tells him Regina is going to help hone her magical ability. Then she drops the bomb that once she helps get rid of Zalena, she and Henry will return to New York.

Hook gives her best sad eyes, “You can't pretend this never happened," he says. "No matter how much you want to return to your old life, it's never going to happen.”

Mary Margaret and David walk along the beach. A crowd has gathered. Ariel has washed up on shore.

She's been searching the ocean for over a year for Prince Eric. Since she didn't find him, she thought he must be in Storybrooke. Mary Margaret and David bring her up to date on Zalena. They also mention how Hook is the only one who still has memories of the missing year.

Behind the tavern, Ariel holds Hook at knife point and accuses him of kidnapping Prince Eric. He says she's mistaken. But she can prove it because one of his men escaped from the Jolly Roger. She gives him a dagger with the initials BB. Hook laughs because he knows it's Black Beard who has the Jolly Roger.

Bill Smead is a bit scared because you's Black Beard. Hook says the Jolly Roger is more than a ship. He needs his ship back, it's what makes him a pirate. He's getting tired of being in love with Emma. He's worried he's getting soft.

Um...sorry. My mind wandered there for a moment.

Right, so Ariel insists on coming along so she can help rescue Prince Eric.

At Granny's pub/diner/laundromat, Hook teaches Henry how to gamble with dice and french fries. David brings Ariel to meet Hook and she asks if he's ever heard of Prince Eric.

Hook gives her a wink of his eyeliner and says, “No. Never heard of him.”

*Gasp* He's lying!

Regina takes Emma into the secret vault below her mother's crypt for magic school. Regina teases her that she and Hook are sweet on each other. Emma rolls her eyes. Regina hands her a book and tells her to start memorizing.

Emma says it's a waste of time. She needs skills speedy quick.

Fine. You asked for it.

Regina magics them above a bottomless gorge. Emma's on a suspension bridge while she's safe on the other side. The bridge starts to fall apart. “Go ahead,” Regina calls out. “Save yourself with magic.”

Hook, Smead, and Ariel go through the forest. Ariel lets it slip that Hook has a reputation for being nice since he reunited Snow White with her daughter. He says, “I'm a pirate and I always will be.”

She continues to insist that he's a champion of true love. He gets upset and grabs her by the large golden clasp on her purple robe. She freaks out that he touched her. The sea creature emblem belonged to Eric and she wears his robe to help her remember him while he's away.

Belle and Ariel reunite in Mr. Gold's shop. Ariel explains that she's hoping to find an object of Eric's. Hook goes into the back room. He finds Eric's sea creature clasp hidden behind a curtain. Ariel squeals with delight that he has found Eric's royal robe.

Emma does nothing while the bridge collapses around her. Regina yells, “Use your instinct!”

Emma falls out of sight, then slowly hovers over on a flying raft built from bits of bridge. Regina scoffs that all she had to do was repair the frayed rope.

Okay, that was easy.

Belle pours the locator spell on Eric's robe. It levitates and flies off to be with its owner.

Hook admires the Jolly Roger from behind a barrel on the wharf. He grabs a sword and walks on board, demanding Black Beard show his face. A sword fight ensues. Ariel slips below deck looking for Eric while Smead just stands there.

Slash. Pare. Punch. Push. Insult. Slash. Pare. Insult.

Hook is about to kill Black Beard when Ariel comes deck side and tells him Eric is not on board. She begs him to spare Black Beard's life. Black Beard says he's on an isolated island, but he'll only tell if Hook lets him live, which no real pirate would ever do.

Ariel and Hook follow Eric's flying cape through Storybrooke and down to the docks. It ends up plunging into the ocean. Unless Eric is a merman...then...he must be...oh dear.

Hook holds her while she cries.

David is tired of being the boring baby sitter compared to Hook. He decides that Henry should take a driving lesson. It takes ten seconds for them to have a car accident.

Ariel tearfully thanks Hook for helping her find Eric's robe. She knows their story is over. She also tells him he is more than a pirate, he has a true heart.

Hook looks worried about being soft...hearted.


Hook makes Black Beard walk the plank because he wants the Jolly Roger back, plus he's tired of being called soft. Ariel pleads for him to reconsider his choice. He says love will only bring her wasted years and endless torment.

Much like being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

He's actually doing her a favour by killing her true love. He pushes Black Beard off the plank and the sharks arrive to finish him off.

Ariel slaps Hook and says he'll never know love, and THAT will bring him wasted years and endless torment.

Copycat. Can't even come up with her own insult.

She jumps into the shark infested water, determined to find Eric's mystery island.

After watching her cry at the dock all evening, Hook confesses to Ariel the true story about how he chose his ship over Eric. He tells her he'd do anything to take it back. She says she can't trust a man who doesn't believe in love.

But Hook insists that indeed, he knows all about love.

She's all, Oh yeah, then vow on your love's name.

He says, “Emma Swan.”

Ariel turns in to Zalena. She tells him Ariel found Prince Eric not long after she jumped off the Jolly Roger last year. Hook looks relieved. Then she throws a ball of green light, hitting him on the mouth.

Is that how witches kiss?

She cackles and give a long monologue with plenty of sneering.

Here's the gist of what just happened; Hook's lips are now cursed so the next time he kisses Emma all of her magic will be gone.

He says it's a ridiculous plan and that he'll tell Emma. Hook calls her bluff because if Zalena wanted to kill Emma, she would have done it long ago. Zalena leaves him with this ultimatum; kiss Emma and remove her powers or everyone she loves dies.

*Cue the green smoke bomb*

Hook arrives at David and Mary Margaret's apartment but only Emma and Regina are there. He tells them he was helping Ariel and she found Prince Eric on an island the curse didn't reach.

Regina sees this as a teaching moment for Emma. To make sure Ariel reached the island, Regina shows Emma how she can use a mirror to look into different realms.

Okay, that was easy!

Anyway, we see Ariel and Prince Eric frolicking on the beach.

Emma looks at Hook with swoony eyes. “You did this? You gave her a happy ending?”

Mary Margaret and David arrive with Henry in tow. They say the driving lesson okay. When she hears the good news about Ariel, Mary Margaret says. “Let's celebrate by eating out. Should we go to Granny's?”

Um...where the 'f' else?

They invite Hook, but he declines mumbling something about having his leather pants dry cleaned.

So, Mary Margaret, David, Emma, Regina and Henry all go out to dinner.

Hook walks the dark streets alone. He stops at the corner across from Granny's spying on Emma and the gang. He watches from the shadows.


Staring at the lips he'll never be able to kiss.



Relax, folks. We know that's not true because every rule in this show gets broken.  

Doesn't Henry think it's weird that Hook dresses like he's from The Rocky Horror Picture every day?

Also, wouldn't Henry start to question why the Mayor is going out with them for dinner?

Need more Storybrooke? You'll find my recaps for ALL of the Once Upon A Time episodes (even from the very first season) on my Pinterest page here.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

First Chapter Reveal for THE NINJA LIBRARIANS

In The Ninja Librarians,  Dorrie and Marcus accidentally bring along Moe, a mongoose, on their adventure (Well, okay, more like they follow him to the mysterious room). 

As part of the NINJA LIBRARIAN blog tour my assignment this week was to name what animal I would take with me if I was going on an adventure?
Easy peasy!

Hedwig, Boots the monkey, that big flying dog-thing from The Never Ending Story, Puff the Magic Dragon, Lassie, Cruickshanks, all three Wonder Pets, Fawkes, Black Beauty, any unicorn, the sparrow from The Happy Prince, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too!

Wait...what? Just one?!

Oh. *hangs head*

Next week I have to tell you which historical figure I would you like to be an apprentice for? What I'd like to learn from them (or get from them). Stay tuned.

Here are some of my other assignments which totally deserved an A+...

Top ten scenes from a book that I'd want to experience.

Top ten items I'd steal, borrow from books. Number one? Nancy Drew's blue convertible. Oh, yeah!

Jen Swann Downey's smart, sassy, action packed middle grad adventure hits stores on April 15!

Check out webpage here. In addition to a wonderful blog trailer, the webpage contains fantastic downloadables for Ninja Librarian fans, such as an Educator Guide, Mission Activity Kit, and a special Guide to Petrarch’s Library!

You can pre-order Ninja Librarians here.
Find Jen on facebook, twitter, and her website.
AND, don't leave yet. Below is the FIRST CHAPTER.
WARNING! You will be hooked and unable to read further until April 15th. Proceed with caution.
Chapter 1
Books and Swords
welve--year--old Dorothea Barnes was thoroughly un--chosen, not particularly deserving, bore no marks of destiny, lacked any sort of criminal genius, and could claim no supernatural relations. Furthermore, she’d never been orphaned, kidnapped, left for dead in the wilderness, or bitten by anything more bloodthirsty than her little sister.
Don’t even begin to entertain consoling thoughts of long flaxen curls or shiny tresses black as ravens’ wings. Dorrie’s plain brown hair could only be considered marvelous in its ability to twist itself into hopeless tangles. She was neither particularly tall or small, thick or thin, pale or dark. She had parents who loved her, friends enough, and never wanted for a meal. So why, you may wonder, tell a story about a girl like this at all?
Because Dorrie counted a sword among her most precious belongings. Yes, it was only a fake one that couldn’t be relied upon to cut all the way through a stick of butter, but Dorrie truly and deeply desired to use it. Not just to fend off another staged pirate attack at Mr. Louis P. Kornberger’s Passaic Academy of Swordplay and Stage Combat (which met Tuesdays behind the library after Mr. Kornberger finished work there) but, when the right circumstances arose, to vanquish some measure of evil from the world.
Dorrie regarded every opportunity to prepare for that moment as a crucial one, and the Passaic Public Library’s annual Pen and Sword Festival—always bursting with costumed scribblers and swashbucklers—afforded, in her strongly-held opinion, one of the best. On its appointed day, she pounded down the wide battered staircase of her home long before the rising sun finished gilding the rusty dryer that sat, for lost reasons, on top of it. She did so in the one tall purple boot she could find, dragging her duffel bag behind her.
At the bottom, in the vast chamber that had once served as a ballroom, Dorrie caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror that hung over a bureau by the back door, and hiked up her wide leather belt. She had buckled it over a hideous, electric-blue-and-black-striped suit jacket with ripped-out sleeves that Dorrie’s father swore he had worn proudly out in public in a bygone era. Underneath it, a shirt with great puffy sleeves and dangling cuffs screamed "pirate" loudly and well. After taking a moment to tug on the hem of the moth-eaten velvet skirt that was meant to hang to her knees but had got caught in the waistband of her underwear, she glowered into the mirror, her sword aloft. Despite the missing boot, the overall effect pleased her.
"Yo ho, Calico Jack," called her father. "Put this back in Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting room, will you?"
Dorrie looked away from the mirror to see her father, holding a tiny carved owl. He wore a ruffled, candy-striped apron that read, "You Breaka My Eggs, I Breaka Your Fast". With his free hand he was stirring a pot of glopping oatmeal in the part of the old ballroom the Barnes called "The Kitchen". Other parts of the once grand chamber served as "The Living Room", "The Office", "The Rehearsal Hall" for Dorrie’s fourteen-year-old drum-pounding brother, Marcus, and "The Playroom" for Miranda, Dorrie’s four-year-old sister.
Dorrie made her way to her father across one of the dozen rugs bought cheap from thrift stores currently living out their end days beneath the daily burden of ill-conceived art projects, the occasional mislaid plate of scrambled eggs, and books. Heaps and hills and hoards of books. Books left open on the back of the sway-backed sofa and under the piano, on the top of the toaster and hanging from the towel rack.
"Miranda borrowed it," he said, dropping the carved owl into Dorrie’s outstretched hand. Dorrie gave her father "a look." Her sister had a deeply ingrained habit of "borrowing" things. Dorrie set off for Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting room, which lay on the other side of the deteriorating mansion.
Great--Aunt Alice had invited Dorrie’s family to live with her two years ago when her sprawling home had become too much to care for by herself.
Besides the ballroom and a few bedrooms, the rest of the mansion was her territory. Just as shabby, she kept it spare and clean and orderly. Great--Aunt Alice claimed the Barnes side of the house gave her fits of dizziness.
After Dorrie set the owl back on its shelf in Great--Aunt Alice’s empty sitting room, the thick hush tempted her to tuck her sword beneath an arm and open a little stone box that stood beside the owl. Inside lay an old pocket watch and a silver bracelet set with a cloudy black stone.
The doorbell rang, and Great--Aunt Alice’s voice in the marble--floored hallway made Dorrie’s hand jerk so that the box’s lid fell closed with a small clack.
Hurriedly, Dorrie pushed the box back onto the shelf. Then, in a silly horror at the thought of Great--Aunt Alice—-who often seemed as remote and unfathomable as a distant planet—-catching her snooping, she wrenched open the lid of a cavernous wicker trunk that stood against the wall and scrambled inside, sword and all. She pulled the heavy lid down on top of her. It bounced on her fingers, trapping them, just as Great--Aunt Alice hobbled into the room. Dorrie sucked in her breath, the pain making her eyes water. She heard the sitting--room door close.
"Well, did he see you go in?" asked Great--Aunt Alice.
"Oh, he doesn’t have the imagination to suspect," said a young woman breathlessly.
Dorrie pressed her eyes to the gap made by her swiftly swelling fingers. Amanda, Dorrie’s favorite librarian at the Passaic Public Library after Mr. Kornberger, stood now, inexplicably, just inside Great--Aunt Alice’s sitting--room door. Everything about Amanda Ness was long. Her skirts, her hundred braids which hung down below her shoulders, and her nose—-which had been given the usual infant inch and had taken a mile. If a long temper was the opposite of a short one, well, she had that too.
"You should be more careful," said Great--Aunt Alice, stopping at her writing desk. She smoothed a few white hairs back toward the tight bun at the back of her head. "Has anything changed?"
"Not yet," said Amanda, sitting down on the edge of a little pale--blue sofa.
"No. Of course not," said Great--Aunt Alice, easing herself down into a straight--backed chair. "It’s patently absurd that we’re even discussing the possibility."
Amanda looked vaguely hurt.
"I don’t know what I’ve been thinking," said Great--Aunt Alice. "Sneaking around in there like a thief these past weeks."
Amanda clasped her hands together. "You were thinking that the stories might be true!"
Dorrie listened so hard that she could almost feel her ears trying to creep away from her head.
Great--Aunt Alice picked lint from a sweater hung on the back of the chair. "Well, I’m a foolish old woman." She caught Amanda staring at her. "Oh now, don’t look so disappointed."
"Give it more time!" pleaded Amanda. "He said he wasn’t sure how long it might take."
Great--Aunt Alice absently toyed with a little jar of pens on her desk. "I’m ashamed that I believed even for a moment in the possibility."
In her wonder at the thought that Great--Aunt Alice could believe in anything fantastical for even the briefest of moments, Dorrie barely felt the wicker strands of the trunk embedding themselves in her knees. After all, Great--Aunt Alice had frowned disapprovingly when Miranda asked her to clap her hands so that Tinkerbell wouldn’t die.
Amanda leaned toward Great--Aunt Alice. "But it’s obvious that something special is supposed to happen there." Dorrie held her breath so as not to miss a single word. The conversation positively bulged with mysterious possibilities.

"It’s obvious my father wanted something special to happen," Great--Aunt Alice corrected. "My believing that it will happen is as ridiculous as Dorothea believing that she’s going to corner modern evil with a sword."

At the mention of her name, Dorrie nearly lost her grip on the sword in question and had to scrabble to keep it from falling noisily to the floor of the trunk. There was a moment of silence during which Dorrie felt certain that Amanda and Great--Aunt Alice could hear the small cave-in taking place in the general vicinity of her heart, but her great-aunt only sniffed and began to talk about Mr. Scuggans, the new director of the Passaic Public Library, calling him insufferable.
Dorrie began to breath again in shallow little huffs. Ridiculous! She turned the stinging word over in her mind. Dorrie had never stopped to think about whether her desire to wield a sword against the villains of the world was sensible or ridiculous. It just was. She squeezed the hilt of her sword, drawing strength from it until the crumbling hollow feeling in her chest faded a little.
The conversation outside the basket had turned to the difficulty of cleaning the library’s gutters, and stuck there for what seemed like an excruciating eternity until, at last, Great--Aunt Alice showed Amanda out. Dorrie, her heart pounding, slipped from her wicker prison, and back through the double doors that led into her family’s side of the house.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Once Upon A Time Season 3, Episode 16 “It's Not Easy Being Green”


Or better title “Ridiculous Reasons for Rivalry”

Peasants on their way to the Emerald City find a baby after a terrible storm. But the little baby shows signs of having super powers, ie: she stops a tree from falling on them. The woman is so taken with the baby's cuteness she thinks nothing of her magical ability. However, the father is suspicious. He says, “She's not like us.”
Dude, she dropped out of a cyclone, unharmed.

Storybrooke buries Neal. Everyone takes a turn putting a shovel of dirt on top of the coffin. There's no dialogue for the first three minutes.

*cough* lazy writers *cough*

A young Zalena is shaving her father. She cuts him by mistake, but magics it all better speedy quick. Instead of being grateful for the free health care he admits he's always been afraid of her power and calls her wicked. Then he drops the bombshell that she was adopted.

She begins to cry and wishes her mother was still alive.

He tells her to dry her tears and put on a good face—this guy is all about appearances.

But Zalena's had enough. She storms out of their humble hut determined to find a family who loves her. The one and only person who can help her is—the Wizard of OZ.
Emma grieves for Neal by fanning the fire of revenge.

Yeah, because that works out so well for everyone in this show.

Hook convinces her to cool off and he offers to take Henry sailing so he can tell him about Neal. Remember Neal spent a lot of time on Hook's ship after he escaped from Peter Pan's freaky shadow thing.

Regina and Tinkerbell hang out at Granny's pub/diner/laundromat gossiping about Robin Hood. Regina knows he's her soul mate but she's reluctant to start anything with him.

Why? Doesn't matter. The writers know it creates tension.

Zalena arrives with flourish at Granny's in full witchy garb and gives a fabulous speech. She lets everyone, including Regina, know that they're actually sisters.

Regina calls her bluff since she's a murderous witch and all that. Zalena tells her it's time she learns the truth. They'll meet on Main Street at sundown for a big showdown.

Regina says she never loses. “Oh yeah,” Zalena says, “well neither do I.”

There better be some big fireworks at this showdown because nothing has really happened yet.

David, Emma, and Mary Margaret grill Regina about Zalena, but she's just as surprised as them.

A young Zalena arrives at the castle of the Great and Power Wizard of Oz. His silhouette appears behind a curtain. He knows that she's come to find her true family. He warns her that the past may be difficult to accept.

Parental discretion is advised.

Zalena sees images of Cora abandoning her in the basket before the big storm. Why is she being abandoned?

The Wizard says it's because Cora believed she didn't have the ability to become royalty.

What? And sorry, but what? I'm sure there's more to it than that...there must be.

While I'm trying to recover from that lame excuse, Zalena watches as Regina is being taught magic by Rumpelstiltskin. Zalena grows eager to meet this man who isn't afraid of magic. The wizard gives her golden shoes that have to power to transport her to different realms. For payment, she must return with something of Rumpelstiltskin's.

He warns her again, “It is not wise to become envious of things you cannot have.”

Um, yeah. That's what envy is all about, right? I mean if you could have it, then you'd have it and you wouldn't be envious anymore. Oh, never mind.

Zalena clicks her heals and ends up in Regina's bedroom. She sees all the luxurious items and becomes furious guessed it, envy. Rumpelstiltskin arrives and is surprised to see someone else in Regina's bedroom. He's upset at first, then she proves she's Cora's first born by doing some fancy magic. He's impressed and promises to teach her all that he knows.

Regina searches her secret vault under the crypt and finds a letter. She tucks it in her pocket and ignores Mary Margaret and Emma's questioning looks as she storms out.

Emma says, “What the hell was in that letter?”

Gee, I don't know. Why don't you tackle her and read it?

David locks down Main Street since there's going to be a witch rumble. Emma decides that they have to get back the dagger. Belle offers to try and reach Mr. Gold through the power of LOVE.

Regina reads the letter in the forest and Robin Hood creeps out of the bushes. He pickpockets the letter from her and after a few flirty exchanges she lets him reads it.

It's a letter to Cora from Rumpelstiltskin about how her first born is a more powerful than her. All this time Regina thought the letter was about her...but it's about Zalena.

Rumpelstiltskin takes a young Zalena into the woods for a test. She lets out a jealous rant about being abandoned and Regina having everything and never having to work for it and blah, blah...

Rumpelstiltskin's eyes twinkle at her greedily. He tells her he's been working on a very powerful curse but he needs a skilled witch to cast it.

After Zalena's past the anger test he asks her to think of something happy.

She's stuck so she asks him about his happy moment. I thought he was going to talk about Baelfire, instead he says it's the memory of tasting meat pies from the spinsters who took him in as a boy.

He says, “It was the only time I forgot I was a boy who wasn't wanted by his papa.”

Zalena feels a kindred connection with this glittery, speckled goblin. She tells him her happy moment is when he agreed to train her.

Aw. *barfs in mouth*

Belle rushes to Mr. Gold's cage. He tells her to run because as long as Zalena holds the dagger he is helpless to resist her orders. Belle gets him to hold her hand. Then Zalena comes out of the shadows cackling. Belle takes off with Mr. Gold screaming a warning, “The next time anyone tries to stop Zalena I'll be made to kill you all.”

And to all a goodnight!

Henry grows bored listening to Hook talk about how to navigate by using the do I. Hook is terrible at telling stories, he lets the name Baelfire slip out a few times. And Henry figures out that Hook wasn't a boyhood chum of Neal's.

Hook get misty eyed and tells Henry he knew Neal after he'd just lost his father. It was sailing and navigating that brought him comfort. Henry is touched that his dad had the same fate as him...or something like that. The soft music was playing so I assumed it was a tender moment.

A young Zalena makes a meat pie dinner for Rumpelstiltskin. She's upset to find out that he's still training Regina. She tells him that she deserves the curse since she's the better witch.

Your insides are starting to show, he warns her. All of her envy begins to leak through, turning her skin green.

Zalena arrives to a crowded Main street with Mr. Gold. She announces that if Regina doesn't show up in five minutes everyone will die.

Everyone will die. How many times have we heard this threat? So far only one person has died. Liar!

Here's an obvious question: Why did everyone show up unarmed for the witch rumble? And where is Ruby? A werewolf would be helpful right about now.

Emma challenges Zalena. She has magic powers, plus she's the saviour—so there! Zalena pushes her away easily.


A young Zalena arrives at Regina's bedroom and holds a knife to her throat. She's says she's more powerful and is the one Rumpelstiltskin will pick to place the curse. Still, she kills Regina just to improve her chances. But surprise! It's Rumpelstiltskin pretending to be Regina.

He tells Zalena this is the end of her witchy career. In order for the curse to work, she has to give up what she wants most. And Rumpelstiltskin knows it's him. She pleads with him but he still turns her down. Then she shows him the golden shoes that can take him to see the Wizard. He changes his mind, but it's too late for takesies backsies.

She clicks her golden heels and heads back to Oz.

Meanwhile, back in Main Street, Zalena beats up Regina. She says she doesn't want to kill her, only destroy her. And that means taking her heart.

But guess what?

Regina has buried her heart. Cora always told her, “Never take your heart to a witch fight.”

And wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident.

Outraged, Zalena takes off on her broomstick promising revenge.

And that was the big showdown. A few broken windows. No one died.

Mary Margaret gives us the ending monologue, "Zalena has Charming's sword of courage, she wanted Regina's heart..."

Hmm who's brain will she use? Oh, right, Mr. Gold's.

Regina knows she's collecting ingredients...but for what?

Skin brightening cream?


Okay, this whole plot is ridiculous. The inciting incident is Cora giving Zalena away. Why? Because Zalena couldn't give her what she wanted the most—for her daughter to grow up worthy enough for a prince. How can you tell this from a baby? Wouldn't it have made sense to just have Cora an unwed mother?

Plus, remember Cora was married to a Prince when she gave birth to Regina. So the whole plot to get Regina to marry Snow White's father was bogus ridiculous as well.

Just sayin'...

What do you think Zalena is going to do with courage, a heart, and a brain?

Need more Storybrooke? You'll find my recaps for ALL of the Once Upon A Time episodes (even from the very first season) on my Pinterest page here.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Top Ten Book Scenes I'd LOOOOVE to Experience

As part of the NINJA LIBRARIAN blog tour my assignment this week was to name ten scenes from a book that I'd want to experience.

Last week, I made a top ten list of favorite items I'd steal from books. Number one? Nancy Drew's blue convertible. Oh, yeah!

Plus, I wanted to show off my official NINJA LIBRARIAN badge. Jen Swann Downey's smart, sassy, action packed middle grad adventure hits stores on April 15!

Check out the trailer here.
You can pre-order Ninja Librarians here.
Find Jen on facebook, twitter, and her website.

Top Ten Scenes I'd Like LOOOOVE to Experience.

1. Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth and she turns him down. BAM!

2. Every Christmas feast at Hogwarts.

3. When Anne hits Gilbert Blythe over the head with the slate. I'd holler from the back of the school house, "Go, redheads!"

4. The entire fifteenth chapter of THE PRISONER of AZKABAN when Harry wins the quidditch cup by beating Slytherin. AWESOME!!!

5. To be alongside Lucy when she walks through the wardrobe for the first time. Narnia!

6. Being rocked by Aunt Beast in A WRINKLE IN TIME. (I love a good nap in space.)

7. Front row at the Reaping Ceremony. When Primrose's name is called, I'd volunteer before Katniss, and therefore Peeta would fall in love with me....and Katniss can have Gale or whatever.

8. Go to the chocolate factory with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, then eat candy grass, mushrooms and tea cups with Willy Wonka.


9. When Elizabeth Bennet has the showdown with Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the garden.

"He is a gentleman and I'm a gentleman's daughter, therefore we are equal."

How Elizabeth kept her wits in this scene is beyond commendable.

10. When Laura Ingalls sees Almanzo Wilder for the first time in THE LONG WINTER. *heart swells* Even though she was more smitten with his friend, Cap Garland...still, I smile every time.

What are some of your favorite scenes?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 15 "Quiet Minds"

 Or better title, “Someone Dies"

Emma and the others try to figure out how Mr. Gold is still alive. Hook mentions how he overheard Neal talking about trying to bring back his father when he and Belle were headed toward the Queen's castle.

Zalena stands at the edge of Storybrooke and uses the dagger to summon Rumpelstiltskin. But guess what? Mr. Gold has broken free of the hold the dagger has on him and is running amok in the forest.

I thought that was impossible.

Emma and Hook arrive to tell Belle that Mr. Gold is alive. She vows to search every inch of his shop for any kind of clue. Hook stays with her in case the witch shows up.

One year ago, Belle and Neal go through Rumpelstiltskin's castle to figure out how to bring him back. Belle says she loves all of him, even the dark parts. When the enter the library, a candelabra comes to life calling himself Lumiere.

How original, ABC.

Neal storms through the door at Mr. Gold's shop and collapses to the floor.

Emma brings Henry a bagel and hot chocolate. She arranges a play date for him with Grumpy. Henry tells her he knows she's lying and something is up. He begs her to tell him the truth. Emma asks him to trust her and that she will tell him everything...but not right now.

Emma visits Neal in the hospital, but he's just as clueless as everyone else. He doesn't remember anything that happened in the last year. His palm has a triangular scar that looks like the 'Deathly Hollows'.

Ten points for a Harry Potter reference!

Emma tells Neal that Henry doesn't have any memory of his old life. Neal is upset that Henry thinks he's basically a deadbeat parent instead of the grandson of Peter Pan.

Belle finds it interesting that she's never seen Lumiere before. He said he was cursed by Rumpelstiltskin and hidden away for years. He can only come to life when his candles are lit. Belle explains that she and Neal are trying to bring Rumpelstiltskin back to life because he's warm and cuddly now.

Lumiere says he'll help since Rumpelstiltskin is the only one who can restore him to his human form. Lumiere reveals a magical book with a key inside. This key will unlock the vault of The Dark One. The end has a symbol of a triangle.

After Neal and Belle blow the candles out and leave the room 3W shows up and it's clear he's a small part of her diabolic plan.

Zalena arrives at Mary Margaret's apartment with orange juice. Mary Margaret is upset because she wants to be hunting down the wicked witch instead of hanging out doing nothing. Zalena touches Mary Margaret's belly and says she's not having this baby without her.

Raise your hand if you think Mary Margaret's baby will have bat wings and a monkey tail.

Regina goes to the farm house to find 3W. Instead, she finds Robin Hood. They decide to track 3W together. There's a spark and they wonder if they met during that year no one can remember.

Hook and Neal discuss the pros and cons of using dark magic to bring back the Dark One. Neal is determined to leave the hospital. Then things get weird when Hook hugs him. Hook had a thing with Neals' mom, remember? And then he sort of helped raise him after he landed in Neverland. And now they're trying to date the same girl.


Belle and Neal walk through the enchanted forest talking about how Mr. Gold ended up sacrificing his own life to save the whole town. They come across a frozen lake and Lumiere tells them the vault is under the ice.

Emma and David also walk through the woods discussing what's best for Henry; should they tell him the truth or let him return to New York and be blissfully unaware? They hear a scream and run to find Mr. Gold having a break down. He says his head is filled with voices. Then flying monkeys show up to complicate matters. Mr. Gold escapes while Emma and David are busy fighting the monkeys.

Regina goes through the pantry looking for traces of magic. Robin Hood mentions how Regina doesn't seem so evil to him. Regina said she used people's fear as a tool, and she earned the name of the Evil Queen. There's a spark between them. He figures they should have a drink of whiskey.

When he hands her a glass, his sleeve rises to reveal his tattoo.


She has a flashback to her time with Tinkerbell and the true love episode. She freaks out and splits.

Thank you. Takes a bow.

Emma finds Neal in the woods and she tells him his dad is running around crazy.

Lumiere gives Belle and Neal directions to the vault. They're about to use the key when Belle figures out Lumiere is lying. He spills the beans and says 3W forced him to trick them. Neal doesn't care, he only wants to get his father back. Belle warns him that using magic without considering the cost is the same mistake his father made.

He turns the key and it burns his hand, leaving the triangular scar. The ice melts and a form rises from a inky pool.

Emma tells Neal that she and Henry had a great life this past year. Neal pries if they were happy. Emma tells him about her demon boyfriend. They laugh and this is followed by a moment when they just stare at each other.

Belle calls Emma and says the scar on Neal's hand is pictured in a book she found in Mr. Gold's shop. It's a key used to open the vault of the Dark One. But here's the catch, if you take someone from the vault, you have to replace it with another life. Neal collapses in front of Emma.

Rumpelstiltskin comes out of the vault holding his dagger. He runs to Neal and Belle. It soon dawns on them that Neal is going to die as payment.

3W arrives and gleefully watches the scene. Rumpelstiltskin tries to use his dagger to magic Neal better, but she tells him he can't have Neal and the dagger. He ends up absorbing Neal's body and the dagger flies to 3W.

She picks it up and says, “You got your son, but you lost yourself.” Rumpelstiltskin begins his crazy talk. She then orders him to kill Belle.

Lumiere has had enough. He does a fire curse thingy and binds 3W allowing Belle to escape.

Emma realizes that Neal and Rumpelstiltskin are the sharing the same body. She does her magic—no not the lie detector thing, the convenient magic thing.

Neal begs Emma to 'magic' his father out of his body even though he knows it will kill him. It's the only way they'll know who the real witch is. Mr. Gold appears and Neal collapses.

As he dies the music gets intense. Neal tells Emma it's okay that Henry doesn't know who he is and he thanks his father for showing him what sacrificing yourself for true love is all about.
Emma and David rush to tell Mary Margaret she's hired the wicked witch to help deliver her baby.

Zalena arrives and taunts Mr. Gold over Neal's corpse. Mr. Gold says it's only a matter of time before Emma and the others come for her. She says she doesn't care because she has him under her control and that's all the power she needs.

Mary Margaret and David go to tell Belle that Neal is dead and Mr. Gold is a slave to Zalena.

Emma goes to see Henry. She sits him down and tells him that she was on a job to help his father, but instead of being the dude who sent her to jail he was actually a hero. She then says he's dead and the person who hurt him got away. Henry nods like this is completely normal. He asks what they're going to do now.

Emma gives the horizon a steely eyed glare and says she's going to stay and get the person who killed his father.

Whoo-hoo! Wild west gunfight here we come!

Need more Storybrooke? You'll find my recaps for ALL of the Once Upon A Time episodes (even from the very first season) on my Pinterest page here.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Once Upon A Time, Season 3 Episode 14 "The Tower"

Or better title "Face Your Fear, Lose Your Sword"

Charming searches the castle for a crying baby. He finds the nursery empty, but Emma is there fully grown and wearing a gown. She asks him to teach her to dance because her first ball is tonight and she's nervous.

They have a daddy/daughter dance and Emma tells him all of this was taken away from her because he failed her. The sky darkens and she tells him not to fail the next baby.

He wakes in a cold sweat. Snow White is by the window, super happy to be back in her castle. She tells him that she's pregnant. He's excited but Emma's lingering warning echo inside his head.
Emma and the others play Nancy Drew, trying to figure out which person is 3W (Wicked Witch of the West). Regina suggests someone watch out for Henry since flying monkeys are kidnapping people and a crazy witch is on the loose.

Zalena taunts Rumpelstiltskin with his dagger (while it's in her possession, she can control him). She shaves him with the dagger and monologues about how it's important to hide the rotten ugliness that lingers inside their souls. She has a diabolic plan but she's keeping that a secret for now.

Darn her!

Rumpelstiltskin starts to spin gold, slowly going crazy.

Zalena enters Mr. Gold's shop and strikes up a conversation with Belle. She wants to buy a baby gift for Mary Margaret since she'll be the midwife. Belle graciously offers to find something. As soon as her back is turned, Zalena freezes her and heads straight for the safe.

She magics it open and retrieves a lump of...something?

David, Hook, and Emma search Regina's office for clues. They find a holly berry. David knows exactly where they grow, not far from the toll bridge. Mary Margaret calls, telling David he has to come back to the apartment to meet the midwife.

Really, Mary Margaret? He's looking for a witch.

Charming sneaks to the royal barn to have a few nips from his royal flask. Robin Hood shows up with his golden arrows from the Queen and they talk about how tough it is to be a dad in fairy tale land. Charming confesses he's losing confidence and can't ignore the overwhelming sense of dread.

Me too, Charming. Me too.

Robin Hood tells him of a root that will help overcome any fear, but he needs to be careful because that part of the forest is haunted.

Pfft! Haunted shmaunted.

Zalena and Mary Margaret giggle about boys until David shows up. He questions why Mary Margaret would hire a stranger to take care of their baby with a mysterious witch on the loose. Zalena makes them cups of tea with her own special blend.

Oh, that's what the lumpy thing was in Mr. Gold's safe.

How stupid are these two?

Charming finds the magic root without too much difficulty. He hears cries for help and discovers a tower with no door, only a high window. He climbs the thick brown rope. He makes it to the window and discovers the rope coils along the floor and is in fact a braid belonging to a young woman.

The princess says her name is Rapunzel. Her parents rule a distant kingdom. Her older brother was supposed to be the next in line for the throne, but a terrible accident occurred and now Rapunzel will inherit the kingdom. Worried she would not be a good Queen, she sought the night root to quell her fears of inadequacy. But before she could return home a witch attacked her and chased her into the tower. And she's been trapped for years. 

*cough* info dump *cough*

Scary music tips off Charming something sinister is about to happen. The cloaked witch arrives and begins to climb up the tower.

Zalena has a Dr. Phil episode with David and Mary Margaret. She tells them it's unhealthy to keep fear bottled up.

It's also unhealthy to take a drink from a stranger.

David finishes his tea, gives them a smile, and goes back to the woods to look for flying monkeys. 

Regina takes Henry for ice cream. They meander about Storybrooke talking about how small towns are better than a big city like New York. 

No one normal would ever say that.

Henry lets it slip that Emma is awesome, but he'd really like to have a bigger family.

Hook and Emma find the holly berries and start looking for a house. She confronts him about his lost year on the Jolly Roger. He says nothing, but she knows he's lying.

She has that super power, remember?

They talk about Emma's ex-boyfriend and Hook says he's glad she back on the market. It starts to snow and they stumble across a farm house.

David tracts their progress but he's being followed by the cloaked witch from Rapunzel's tower. Luckily he has his sword and cell phone. He leaves Emma a message that he's about to fight the wicked witch.

Back in the tower, Charming refuses to leave Rapunzel. He fights the hooded figure. At the same time, David fights the hooded figure in the woods. 

When do you think he'll realize he's fighting his fear and not an actual witch?

Hook and Emma approach the farm house. Emma notices the storm cellar is locked. Hook convinces her it's best to wait until they have magical back up in case flying monkeys come out at them. She uses her cell phone and hears David's message.

David attacks the hooded figure. The hood falls back and he sees himself.

Back in the tower, the hooded figure looks just like Rapunzel. Charming tells her that she is the witch, it is her own fear that is keeping her prisoner. The night root makes it happen. 

He tells her she has to defeat her fear of ruling the kingdom. She has to kill the witch in order to escape.

David tries to fight his own fear. He wins when he confesses that he's afraid he won't be a good father. He stabs the cloaked figure and it disappears...but so does his sword. 

Ta da! Spell broken. 

I guess Zalena put night root in his tea.

Rapunzel confesses that she was drowning and her brother jumped in and saved her, but he ended up dying. Her fear is that her parents will not forgive her. Charming brings Rapunzel back to the castle where her parents are waiting. He sees Snow White and confesses his fear of being a father. 

Cue the soft piano music.

Snow White tells him not to worry because they're going to do this together. 

Through the magic of conveniently written dialogue, we learn that when David faced his fear all of his courage was transferred to his sword, but unfortunately that sword is not in the possession of the mysterious witch.

Got that?

Zalena oozes with charm with Mary Margaret.

Why? Because she has a sword full of courage, that's why.

Hook, David and Emma return to the storm cellar. The lock is busted. Inside they find an empty cage full of golden straw. 

*Light bulb moment*

Need more Storybrooke? You'll find my recaps for ALL of the Once Upon A Time episodes (even from the very first season) on my Pinterest page here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...