Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Downton Abbey Recap: Episode 4

Melanie and I are such big fans of Downton Abbey and we're having a blast recaping the episodes each week and discussing what happens. Be sure to check out our Downton Abbey Episode Four Recap over at Melanie's blog this week!

And if you haven't watched Downton Abbey yet-what are you waiting for?

Tween Tuesday: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun and add your link below.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 1/10/2012

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: May has been sent to a neighbor's homestead to help out. It's only for a few months and it's a way her family can earn some extra money. Plus, it's not like she's doing much in school anyway-she's having trouble reading, so why does she need school? The neighbor's new bride isn't liking life on the Kansas prairie and she needs help cooking and cleaning. But when a tragedy leaves May alone as winter approaches, May must rely on her wits to survive.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: May B is a book that appeals to my tween self. If I had read this as a tween, I would have devoured and loved. I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and living on the frontier (of course it was much more glamorous in my mind!) so this book was right up my ally.

May's story is told in verse which packs a powerful punch to May's journey. It works well because for most of the novel, May is alone, trapped in a snowstorm and trying to survive. I tend to not like books with little dialogue and with May on her own for most of the story, there's not a lot of dialogue happening in this book. But the verse format worked well for the story. It shows the seriousness of May's situation-she is alone and trying her best to survive.
I felt May's emotions and related to her more with the verse poetry. Each poem was like a glimpse into her thoughts instead of reading one long passage of her internal narration. I'm probably not describing it very well, but it worked wonderfully to help tell this story!

There's also a storyline that deals with May's dyslexia. May dreams of growing up and becoming a teacher, but she can't read. She's always had trouble in school and she had one teacher who has encouraged her dreams and one who has not. May has a difficult time trying to figure out who to believe and if she should hang onto her dreams of teaching. The nice thing is that her struggle with dyslexia isn't laid out all at once and told to us. We're shown slowly throughout the novel that May is struggling in school. This works well because we come to discover May's dyslexia by it being shown to us instead of being told.

The frontier aspect of the story will have lots of appeal to fans of historical fiction. May describes the household, the landscape and her struggle to survive in beautiful historical detail. Seriously, my frontier loving tween self would have loved this. I would have finished this book and immediately started planning what I would do if I were trapped in the snow! I would hand this book over to readers of Little House on the Prairie who I'm sure would love it. 

Book Pairings: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Unsigned Valentine by Johanna Hurwitz, Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley copy recieved via Netgalley

Monday, January 30, 2012

ALA Midwinter

Over the weekend, there was lots of discussion about drama at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I feel as though my thoughts wouldn't add anything new, especially when two bloggers/librarians have written excellent posts. If you haven't already, read Kelly from Stacked  and Jennie from Biblio File posts. I think a discussion needs to happen about conference etiquette and the fine line between bloggers and librarians. I find this discussion fascinating, since I'm a blogger and a librarian. And be sure to comment-both have great discussions happening!

I did want to talk a bit about what I did at ALA Midwinter Meeting (and yes, it was a meeting for me-I had so many meetings it was crazy! One day I had meetings and publisher events from 7AM to 10PM! It's a lot of work, but it's a ton of fun and totally worth it!)

This January, I finished up my second term on Fabulous Films for Young Adults (FFYA). I can't tell you how many times over the course of my two years on this committee that I heard "what do movies have to do with libraries?" A lot actually! Did you know that libraries have movies available for check out? And that lots of libraries also check out TV Shows? Did you know that libraries even host movie programs? Sometimes it's a chance to catch a movie you may have missed on the big screen on another big screen (or at least a medium screen-we show ours via our Auditorium Projector. I also love the Kansas City Public Library Main Branch-the library was a bank before it was a library and the library converted the vault into a small theater perfect for movie showings!) Or what about libraries who show movies and host movie discussions or book to movie discussions? And even libraries who host family movie events including sing-a-longs of popular films!

The goal of FFYA is to provide a selection tool for librarians and teachers as well as a program guide. Each year the committee chooses a theme. Nominations are accepted from committee members as well as the general public. Anyone can fill out the nomination form and nominate a title! (This is true for most YALSA committees, so get your nominations in this year!) This year's theme was Song and Dance. Throughout the year (from February to December) the committee takes nominations, watches and discusses the films. At the Midwinter Meeting, our committee met over two days to discuss and narrow down our list of films to 25 (we had over 100 films nominated!) If we wanted to watch part of a film, we could do so if we felt we needed a refresher. We also had the option to watch films at the meeting if the majority of committee members hadn't seen a nominated title. Our committee did a ton of work throughout the year, so we had a majority vote on all of our films! We did do a lot of refresher watching though.

We started off with an initial vote-yes or no and counted maybe's as yes. We then had the opportunity to discuss each film with each member who wanted to say something having the chance. Then we would vote again. And again, and discuss, and vote and discuss, and vote until we had our final list of 25 Fabulous Films for Young Adults.

This year the committee decided to create read alikes and listen alikes that we will be sharing throughout the year. I really like this idea of tying films together with books and think it help librarians as they plan programs.

I loved my time on FFYA! It was a fun committee to be on (you get to talk about movies!) and I got to hang out with some very cool people! Seriously, our committee rocked! If you're looking to get involved in YALSA, I highly recommend FFYA-it's a fun committee and great way to get started in committee work. If you're not a member of YALSA, you can still contribute to FFYA by nominating titles. I wish this year's committee the best of luck!

Didn't I get a chance to do anything else but have meetings at Midwinter? Yes, I did. I got to attend three different publisher breakfasts which not only are a great way to network and eat yummy food, but also to find out about upcoming titles for kids and teens. I love these breakfasts because I come away with lots of notes about books to order and tell my staff about. I also love hearing the publisher comments about titles, especially the it's this meets this blurbs they give. I also attended Random House's publisher preview which wasn't a breakfast, but a fantastic preview anyway without the food!

I got to catch up with my wonderful ILOAs (my fabulous network of librarian friends who are the most brilliant, creative and supportive librarians I know!) We had several meals together and late evenings of talking and catching up which was a blast, especially since I only get to see them twice a year!
 Photo Credit: Kelly

And of course, a trip to the exhibit hall was in store opening night. It was crazy and I left early-it was a mad house! Last year's Midwinter was much more laid back and this year seemed so much crazier and it wore me out very quickly-plus I had a committee meeting to get to!

Bright and early Monday morning I attended the Youth Media Awards!
Photo Credit: Kelly

This was my second YMAs to attend live and it was a blast. I love cheering with everyone in the audience and hearing the surprise gasps when something unexpected happens (like the Schneider award not being given out for a picture book this year)

I also did lots of networking and talking with fellow librarians who I know only online and talking about books library programs, and YA services. If you're a librarian who has never been to ALA or hasn't been involved in ALA, I highly, highly recommend it! There's nothing better than getting together with other librarians and talking about what you love and coming back to your library with new ideas. ALA is always an exhausting few days, but it's well worth it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

YA Movie News

-Melanie at Melanie’s Musings and I have been blogging and discussing about Downton Abbey Season 2. Be  sure to catch Melanie’s recap of what we both agree was the best episode so far this season!

--Jandy Nelson’s debut novel, The Sky is Everywhere, has a big name star attached to the movie adaptation. Selena Gomez is attached to produce the film and most likely star.

-The Michael Buckley tween series, Nerds,  is heading to the big screen thanks to Elton John’s production company, Rocket Pictures. 

--From Cynopsis Kids, ABC has approved a one hour drama titled 666 Park Ave, based on a series by Gabriella Pierce. The series is from Alloy Entertainment who also produce The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and Gossip Girl. The series is about a Midwestern couple who relocates to NY and find themselves in a building where the residents have made deals with the devils. I think this one could have teen appeal for sure!

-According to Diablo Cody, her adaptation of Sweet Valley High for the big screen may end up being a musical. 

-Six of the nine Academy Award nominees for Best Picture have been adapted from books,  including two middle grade novels, Hugo (from The Invention of Hugo Cabret) and War Horse (from the book War Horse).  Early Word has a great round up of all book to movie nominees in all categories. I think an Academy Award Book Club would be a great library program!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ALA Youth Media Awards

Monday morning bright and early. ALA announced the youth Media Awards. I was at ALA so I was up early and part of the crowd there to hear the annoucements live! Of course, my predictions were pretty much wrong, which is part of the fun! I'm sure if you follow kidlit and YA, you've already read about the winners, but I wanted to share my thoughts and hear yours!

The Newbery Winner:
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
-I have not read this book and honestly, it wasn't really on my radar before the Newbery. Of course I'm on hold for it now at my library! If you're read it, I'd love to know what you thought!

Newbery Honors:

-Inside Out and Back Again by Thannhha Lai-I've read this one and I really liked it a lot! I also really love seeing award love for verse novels!
-Breaking Stalin's Nose by Euguene Yelchin-Another one I'd heard of but was hardly on my radar.

Caldecott Winner:

A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka
-I'm a big dog lover, so of course this book made me have an awww moment at the end. It's so adorable! But can I share something? I don't know if I think the artwork in this book is my favorite. It's very good, but there was something a bit blurry to me. I still adore the book and I'm happy to see it honored, I just don't know that it would have been my pick, which is one of the fun parts about these awards-you never know!

Caldecott Honors:
-Blackout by John Rocco-This one I predicted and I'm so, so happy it got an honor! I love the artwork-it's just beautiful!!
-Grandpa Green by Lane Smith-Another book that I think has expectional artwork-I'm happy with this pick as well!
-Me...Jane by Patrick McDonald-Can you believe I haven't read this one yet? We recently got it in at my library, so I'll be reading it soon!!

Printz Winner:

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
-I actually read this book over Christmas but haven't reviewed it yet on the blog. I wish I had reviewed it sooner-now I'll feel like I'm jumping on the review bandwagon! This is a book that has so many brilliant storylines that feel like there's no way they can connect and yet somehow they do. It's masterfully done and I'm so excited to see what's next from John Corey Whaley! I'm also thrilled he not only won the Printz Award, but won the Morris Award as well! He was at ALA for the Morris reception and it was so cool to be able to congraulate him in person. I'm fully expecting John Corey Whaley to be the next big rock star author in YA!

Printz Honors: (of which I have read none! I need to read reading ASAP!)
-Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
-The Returning by Christine Hinwood
-The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
-Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

I'm also thrilled that Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson got illustrator love with a Coretta Scott King illustrator honor, but author love with a Coretta Scott King author win. And I love, love, love the illustrator win for Underground by Shane Evans!

I also love that Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick was a Schneider Family Book Award winner!

And I also am very happy for Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, which was a Morris finalist and the Pure Belpre author winner!

What were favorite award winners? Any moments of disappointment:?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sharing A Wrinkle In Time

I can't believe that one of my alltime favorite books, A Wrinkle In Time, is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary! To celebrate, Macmillan Books has 50 blogs writing about the book and I'm honored to be participating! Macmillan Books is excited too-so much so they released an amazing new edition of the book:

And it's not just a pretty cover. There are lots of features included that make it a great choice for longtime fans:
The 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition features:

•       Frontispiece photo*†
•       Photo scrapbook with approximately 10 photos*†
•       Manuscript pages*†
•       Letter from 1963 Caldecott winner, Ezra Jack Keats*†
•       New introduction by Katherine Paterson, US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature  †
•       New afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Voiklis including six never-before-seen photos †
•       Murry-O’Keefe family tree with new artwork †
•       Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery acceptance speech

* Unique to this edition                † never previously published

I'm telling you-if you love A Wrinkle In Time, you need to get a copy of this edition!!

I've mentioned it several times before, but A Wrinkle In Time is one of my favorite books from my childhood. For me, A Wrinkle In Time is a book that stays with you and never lets you go. It's a book I still think about as an adult. From the first words, "It was a dark and stormy night" you can't help but be pulled in and want to escape into the pages. Growing up, I was much like Meg Murray. I felt like I didn't fit in, I had a terrible temper problem, and I felt a bit lost. Reading about Meg made me feel better. Meg could go on amazing adventures, save her father, and even win the affections of Calvin O'Keefe. If Meg could do it, so could I. And yes, I had a crush on Calvin-really, who didn't?

I was a shy reader and every time I went to the library, all I really wanted was for a librarian to tell me about a great book to read or talk to me about books. But I was too shy to talk to them first. I knew where and how the books were shelved, I knew how to search the catalog, and I knew how to browse for exactly what I wanted, so I never approached the children's desk. And the librarians never really approached me.

Now I work as a youth services librarian and it's my goal every day to reach out to those kids who are wandering in the stacks. They may already know about great books, but I know they're looking for more. I always love it when I come across that special reader who I can share a secret with-"have you read A Wrinkle In Time?" It's one of those books that you have to find the perfect reader and I feel it's a special book to share with my avid readers who are ready for this journey. It's a book for readers who are looking for something new and exciting. They have to want to journey with Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace. They need to be able to accept new worlds and ideas of the tesseract. They must make new friends in Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. A Wrinkle In Time is a very special book that deserves a very special reader. I love finding those readers and realizing that they, like me, are like Meg, or even Charles Wallace or Calvin. They will read the book and clutch it to them and reread it again after finishing. I love when they come back to the library and ask if there are more and I happily tell them that yes, the story isn't over yet!

Sharing my childhood favorites with readers and reaching out to kids who I know need A Wrinkle In Time make my job the best job in the world. I hope I can continue to share Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin's journey with many readers to come.

How will you be celebrating A Wrinkle In Time's 50th Anniversary?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Storytime: Colors!

For toddler storytimes we decided to start the new storytime season off with concepts. The first concept storytime I did was colors. Here's what I planned:
Opening Song: We always open toddler storytime with Finger Poppin by Georgiana Stewart. It's a bit annoying, but the kids love it and I see them walk into storytime popping their fingers, so I can never get rid of it!

Literacy Skill: We recently rebranded and renamed our early literacy program, so our skill was Talk and Read (or vocab, if you're on the old Every Child Ready to Read language)

Book: Freight Train by Donald Crewes-my library has a big book copy of this one, which makes it more fun to read. The toddlers love the big books and the simple text and colors of this one make it perfect for this age group.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner-I sing this every week and it's so fun to watch the kids learn it!
"These are my glasses"-(make circles with your hands around eyes)
"And here is my book"-(make hands into closed book in front of you)
"I put on my glasses"-(lift circles with your hands around eyes)
"And open up my book"-(open palms into a book)
"And I read, read, read, and I look, look, look"
"Then I take off my glasses"-(move circles with your hands down from eyes)
"And whoops, close up the book!" (close palms into book in front of you)

Book: Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean-one of my favorite storytime books and great for colors!

Action Rhyme: If You're Wearing Red Today (to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man)-source: Storytime Katie
(I changed it from wearing to holding, since I have around 25-30 kids in storytime and didn't want to have to sing every color they were wearing! I cut out pieces of paper in red, green, blue and yellow and passed them around the room." This rhyme was fun and easy to do and the parents helped the younger ones stand up when it was their turn.

If you're holding red (blue, green, yellow) today,
Red today, red today,
If you're holding red today,
Stand up and say "hooray!"

Flannel Board: Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd-I made a flannel board (my first one!!) for Dog's Colorful Day using a pattern from the book Toddler Storytimes 2 by Diane Briggs.

Action Rhyme: Driving In My Little Red Car (To the tune of 'Ten Little Indians")-Source: Storytime Katie 
(I used the papers from the previous rhyme for our colored cars for the kids to "drive" They loved this one rhyme too and had lots of fun singing it!)

Driving in my little red (blue, green, yellow) car,
Driving in my little red car,
Driving in my little red car,
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.

Dance With Scarves-Song: Rainbow Connection from For the Kids

-I love using scarves-it's basic movement and music skills, you can dance fast or slow, shake them up or down, side to side, and you can use whatever music you like! I love the For the Kids CDs-great songs for kids and it's not annoying for parents!

Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr, illustrated by Eric Carle-what's a storytime about colors with Brown Bear, Brown Bear? Instead of reading this one, I sang it to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Book: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle-I end all my storytimes with this book because I love how interactive it is!

Closing: Skinamarink

Overall this was a fun storytime and the kids all really enjoyed it. The action rhymes were easy enough for the parents to learn (I wrote the words on the whiteboard so they could sing along) and the books were all a good length.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Picture Book Saturday

When I took my new position as Youth Services Manager in May, one of my new roles was to take on storytime. I'll admit I was a bit nervous to do storytime, especially for toddlers. I was used to teens and I wasn't sure I could make the transition to working with very young kids. But once I got going, I found that I really enjoy stoyrtime. This week I decided to feature a couple of my storytime staples.

-Pete the Cat is a fantastic read aloud for storytime for all ages! Pete walks along singing his song but oh no! Pete has stepped in something that will change the color of his shoes! Toddlers might not be able to catch the color changes as well as older readers, but the book has lots of repitition and has a catchy song that's fun to sing along to. It's a great storytime read and I have fun every time I read it. The kids at my preschool outreach ask for this book every time I come! I love that it has simple text that's easy to catch on to what's being repeated and it's fun to see parents and kids jam to Pete's song.
 First off, thanks to my friend Katie, who suggested I use this book as a storytime read! I end all of my storytimes with a reading of From Head to Toe and then we sing Skinamarink. I love using this as a closing book for several reasons. It's interactive, so the kids don't have to worry about coming back after crafts or activities and sitting still-it encourages them to act out the book! It's great for all ages and is perfect for parent interaction. If the kids can't do the motions, the parents can help them-plus it's fun to watch the parents encourage their kids to act like the various animals. The actions are simple enough for the younger ones to do, but the older kids can show off their skills by doing big donkey kicks! I also like that it has simple text, bright illustrations, and is tons of fun! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

YA Movie News

Welcome to YA movie news! Lots of news happening this week!

-I love this poster for the film version of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I think this movie will have tons of teen appeal!

-Interesting news came across my e-mail this week in Cynopsis Kids. Lionsgate (The Hunger Games movie) will acquire Summit Entertainmet (The Twilight Films). Anyone else think they should just become a huge producer of YA books to movies? I can't decide if I find this marketing annoying or clever.

-Speaking of Lionsgate and Summit, there may be talk about more Twilight even after Breaking Dawn is finished. I think with no more books to adapt they should stop. If it didn't come from the original author, I don't think they should make more. What do you think-should it continue?

-Publishers Weekly featured an interview with the actress who plays Rue in The Hunger Games movie. I love that she's such a big fan of the books!

-More news from Cynopsis Kids-The Hatchery and Jane Startz Productions will be producing movies, TV series and TV movies based on V. C. Andrews books. No word yet about if the movies are actually in production or just a possiblity.

-The CW does has a couple of new shows in the works for next season. Carrie Diaries and Beauty and the Beast (a remake of the 80s Beauty and the Beast series) have the go ahead.

-If you're a huge Twilight fan, you might want to check and see if your local Target store is hosting a midnight DVD release for Breaking Dawn: Part 1. Select stores will have parties which includes a new scene from Part 2.

In non YA Movie News:

-Walking Dead returns February 12. Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan got hooked on this show and I think I'm going to have to give it a try!

-If you're an avid Game of Thrones fan like me, you'll be happy to know season 2 will begin on April 1 on HBO.

ALA Youth Media Awards Predictions

It's that time of year again! Bright and early Monday morning, librarians will gather in a Dallas ballroom and hear the announcements about this year's book awards. Last year was my first year I was able to attend the announcements live and it was so much fun! Being in a room as the winners are unveiled and sharing in the gasps of shock and cheers of happiness adds to the fun. Of course, it's always fun to predict what books will win, so here's the titles I think we'll be hearing called out on Monday morning.
Printz-Who I Think Will Win:
Chime has been my front runner since I read it back in March (I still need to review it, I know!) Fantastic world building and rich characters and an original story that's a bit historical, a bit magical, and all around amazing. I think it's the book to beat.

Printz Dark Horse:

I have three dark horse books that I suspect we may hear announced on Monday:


Both Scorpio Races and Daughter of Smoke and Bone have lush, descriptive writing that I think will carry them far during the award discussions. This could be a great year for fantasy when it comes to award!

My other dark horse?

A.S. King is a YA superstar! There is so much gold in Everybody Sees the Ants-Lucky learning how to deal with bullies, discovering who people really are, dealing with the absence of his grandfather and emotionally his father, and that age old coming of age storyline that we love so much. I'm eager to see if Ms. King gets back to back honors!!

Newbery-Who I Think Will Win
This is another book that's been the front runner since I read it earlier this year. I haven't come across another book that I think stands out and Okay for Now is such a librarian favorite, there may be some revolting if this one doesn't win!

Newbery Dark Horse:

Wonderstruck is a dark horse mainly because there's been lots of discussion as to where exactly it fits into the award criteria. Will the committee deem it worthy or will they dismiss the art/text format?

With a Name Like Love is my big dark horse pick. It's a wonderful debut and feels similar to other classic Newbery winners (it reminded me a lot of Jennifer Holm or Kate DiCamillo) It's a family story as well as a mystery and the characters and storyline is all nicely developed without being campy. I'd love to see some award love for this one!

Caldecott-Who I Think Will Win

Brother Sun, Sister Moon has some impressive artwork. Each page features watercolor paper-cuts that have so much detail it's easy to pour over each page and get lost in the illustrations. It hasn't gotten much buzz, but I think it's one of the most impressive and stunning books of the year and I'm hoping the committee gives it a nod.

Caldecott Dark Horse:

OK, so maybe it's unfair to call Blackout a dark horse, because it has been getting lots of Mock Caldecott love. I loved this book though, and I think the illustrations are fantastic, especially how John Rocco makes use of the shadows during the blackout to really show how dark it is outside. There are tiny bits of light that shine through on the pages, just like the flashlights and stars and it's a book I want to look at over and over again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tween Tuesday: The Boy Project by Kami Kinard PLUS Interview and Giveaway

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun and add your link below!

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 1/1/2012

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Kara Mcallister has noticed something in her middle school. All the girls have had boyfriends except her. Inspired by the scientific method, Kara decides to observe all the boys and figure out what it takes to get a boyfriend. But Kara's plan isn't that simple. In middle school, people and friendships can change daily, observations can take a turn, and an embarassing moment in the boys bathroom can ruin your reputation.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Ah, middle school. That crazy time when friendships change, relationships of true love last a day, and repuations mean everything. Middle school can be a very tough time and Kami Kinard captures that middle school voice and angst perfectly. Sure, Kara is a bit whiny about superficial things, but so are many middle schoolers who feel as though life may end if things don't go their way.

Kara is pretty boy crazy and most of the book revolves around her trying to get a boyfriend. Her ultimate catch is a bit predictable, but it's cute to watch them get there and have Kara figure out that first impressions aren't always correct.

There is also a well developed storyline with Kara having to deal with some mean girl bullies at school. Kara gains confidence to deal with them and learns to embrace her quirky crafty side instead of trying to fit in with the popular crowd. This is a great message for tween girls that comes across without being over the top and in your face. I think tween girls will relate.

I also really liked that Kara was a big reader and that she talks a lot about the books she's reading. Reading about what books Kara liked made my librarian heart happy! I love when authors sneak in books, especially newer popular books instead of the go to classics.

If you have tweens looking for books on romance and friendship, give them The Boy Project. They're sure to get a kick out of Kara's adventures!

Get to know Kami Kinard!

What made you want to be a writer?

I think I didn’t realize how powerful imaginations could be until I learned to read. Once I learned this skill, I started creating worlds with words. For me, it is both challenging and fulfilling to arrange words into stories. So I write. I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop.

Did you ever embark on any boy project of your own in middle school?

No! I was far far too shy around boys for that! The most I ever did was to admire secretly, and from afar.

I was the same way! What advice do you have for tween girls that you wish you had known yourself as a tween?

That having a boyfriend in middle school is absolutely unimportant! It matters so little to who you become as an adult, that you completely forget that you wanted a boy’s attention way back in your tween years. When I read my old diaries, I was shocked to learn that I had cared so much about what boys thought! But reading them also opened my eyes to what my feelings had been at that point in my life. Kara’s feelings in THE BOY PROJECT reflect this and are realistic. But if I had a chance to sit down and talk with Kara, I’d tell her not to worry, that she’s a cool person, and if she likes herself, the right person will come along some day.

Great advice! What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

Ditched by Robin Mellom, Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig, Chained by Lynne Kelly, and a lot of other titles forthcoming from The Apocalypsies.

Who is your book boy crush?

Wow, great question. And one I’ve never been asked, so I really had to think about it because I don’t tend to think of book boys in this way… but ever since I read THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, I’ve always been on Team Peeta!

Yay for Team Peeta! He's one of my book boy crushes too!

Want a win a copy of The Boy Project?
-Leave a comment below
-One entry per person
-Contest open to ages 13+
-Contest ends Tuesday Jan. 24
-US Address Only

Post your Tween Tuesday Links here!

Downton Abbey Season 2-Episode 2 Recap

Welcome to Sarah & Melanie's Downton Abbey Recaps/Discussions! We're such big fans of the show, we had to talk about it! Reminder: please no spoilers if you've watched ahead. And this is a recap, so there are spoilers below!
Sarah: This episode was only an hour compared to last weeks epic two hours, so in some ways it felt like there wasn't as much happening.

Melanie: I agree, this episode dragged a bit for me.  Most of the plot lines I wanted more of were put on hold in order to introduce new characters (the soldiers) and brand new skirmishes among the characters.

Sarah: I think there was just so much going on last week, that this episode felt lighter.

Sarah: Downton is being turned into a convalescent home for wounded officers and this is creating all sorts of power struggles within the house. Isobel and Cora are fighting a lot about who is really in charge. Everyone is having a bit of a hard time giving up their home and having it overrun with officers. The way of life they have been used to living is really beginning to change as the rooms are taken over.

Melanie: I loved the look on Lord Grantham's face when he saw that one of the rooms had been converted to a rec hall, complete with a ping-pong table!

Cora and Isobel being polietly mean to each other

Sarah: I found the power struggle between Cora and Isobel interesting. I thought they had been getting along recently, but this seems to have opened up a new reason to dislike each other. I think Cora is upset over the fact that she's loosing her home and she also feels like she's loosing control since Isobel has come in and believes she's now in charge.

Melanie: Isobel was even trying to boss the dog around.  I'm on Cora's side in this instance; it was nice to see a bit more of her personality. 

Sarah: Agreed-we get to see a bit more of Cora in this episode and I think this power struggle between Cora and Isobel will be fun to watch. I liked how Matthew and Mary were joking a bit about it and saying how they had to keep their mothers away from each other!

Sarah: O'Brien suggests to Cora that Thomas run the day to day management of Downton. She agrees and Thomas gloats over his new position, believe that he can finally boss everyone around.

Melanie: I'm confused over why Thomas got the job.  Lord Grantham and Carson both know he stole from them.  Letting a caught thief back into your home seems a bit absurd.

 They never stop scheming

Sarah: Exactly. Even though Cora doesn't know about the theft, Lord Grantham and Carson do. I don't know why he got this job either. This was the most annoying thing from this episode. Anything nice I may have felt about Thomas last week is gone. He's back to his evil scheming way and I don't like that he's "in charge" at all. I did appreciate that O'Brien stood up for Cora and showed that she's changed her mind a bit when Thomas confronted her. I think O'Brien is still annoying and catty, but she's more human than Thomas.

Melanie: I think O'Brien's protectiveness over Cora is mainly due to guilt (Sarah: Agreed-I think she still feels guilty about the baby last season), but I agree on the subject of Thomas.  He's reveling in his power, even though we haven't actually seen him do anything that makes him seem to be in charge.

 Ethel the flirt

Sarah: Ethel gets excited about the fact that Downton is now overrun with officers, seeing this as a chance to flirt with the men. Anna warns her to stay away, but she can't help herself, catching the eye of one of the officers and being an obvious flirt with him. I still don't like Ethel. She's annoying and makes bad decisions and I find her to be shallow. She has not grown on me at all in this episode-I still miss Gwen.

Melanie: I miss Gwen too.  I'm a bit miffed that we haven't heard from her at all.  You'd think she'd at least write to Sybil.  She basically just disappeared.

Sarah: Yes! They could have at least mentioned her!!

Branson explains to Sybil that he's been called up but has no plans to go to war. He hopes to rebel and humiliate the army, only to discover that he has a heart murmur and won't be able to fight after all. Sybil is relieved that he won't be going to war or to prison, but Branson is convinced he needs to do something to avenge his cousin's death. Later, when General Strutt visits Downton, Anna finds a note that explains to Sybil that he is sorry. She rushes to show the rest of the staff, believe that Branson, who has stepped in as footman for the meal, has done something to the soup and will poison the General. Branson instead reveals that he mixed it with oil and was planning on spilling it on the General's head.

Melanie: My imagination really got carried away while watching this.  I thought Branson's note to Sybil was a suicide letter.  I was worried that he had a gun stowed in the soup bowl and was planning on shooting the General and then himself.  Talk about overreacting.  I was relieved to find out that he only planned to be rude, not lethal.

Sarah: Me too! I've been a fan of Branson, but this episode tried to play him in a different light and I'm not so sure I liked it. I guessed that his "murderous intentions" that they were leading you to believe that he had towards the General would turn out to be something else (I thought he was going to punch the General or something along those lines). But they way they were leading you to believe that Branson wasn't a good guy was a bit frustrating.

Melanie:  I'm wondering what Branson's punishment would be.  To be considered unpatriotic during a time of war can be incredibly dangerous.  Although it was a bit discomfiting to see another side of him, I like knowing just how deep his beliefs go.

Sarah: Agreed. I liked getting a bit more depth to Branson. I still like him though and the hope for a Branson/Sybil romance is still there.

Bates is still around

Anna believes she saw Bates in town and after Mary asks her what's been distracting her and she confides in Mary. Mary suggests that she give Sir Richard a call and find out if Bates really is in London or in town. She returns with news that Bates has been working in a pub. He claims to have new proof of his wife Vera's unfaithfulness and believes he can finally divorce her. He tells Anna it won't be long now.

Melanie: And Anna says she'd be willing to be Bates' mistress.  His mistress!  She's getting so desperate, poor woman.She did look awfully cute using Mary's curling iron, though.

Sarah: Yes, I loved how she did her hair all pretty just to go meet Bates. When she told him she would be his mistress-that was heartbreaking! This Bates/Anna thing is dragging on! I just want them to be together already! I hope Bates finally has a good plan in place.
 Stop leading him on Daisy!

William is going off to war and asks to spend his last night at Downton. Daisy thinks that William is going to propose and she's nervous because she doesn't want to lead him on. Mrs. Patmore encourages Daisy to accept, telling her again she can't send William to war with a broken heart and that he needs something to hold on to and hope for. William announces they are engaged and Daisy says they'll marry after the war, only to have William say he can't wait that long. Lord Grantham suggests to Matthew that he take William on as his servant to help protect him and watch out for him.

Melanie: I think these two would be cute together if they ever got themselves straight.  I can sort of understand Daisy; would you really want to send a young man off to war heartbroken?
Sarah: Poor Daisy. She's in such a tricky situation. I can see where Mrs. Patmore is coming from and I don't want William to get hurt. But Daisy is stuck now and she's not sure what to do. I think both of them are a bit immature and they really could solve their problems if they would just talk!!

Lavinia only owns one frumpy green dress

Lavinia's secret is revealed! She uncovered a scandal about her uncle and sold them to Sir Richard who then published them in his paper, causing the Marconi Scandal of 1912. Aunt Rosamund is convinced that Lavinia did this because she and Sir Richard were lovers. She and Violet tell Mary she should confront Matthew and share this news with him. Mary on the other hand, discusses it with Lavinia, who says yes, she did sell the secrets, but only because her father was very much in debt to Sir Richard and this was a way she could help him. She tells Mary that she was never lovers with Sir Richard, but did what she had to do in order to save her family, even if it meant implicating the Minister in the scandal. Mary has the chance to tell this Matthew, but passes on it, instead telling Matthew how perfect she thinks Lavinia is.

Sarah: Lavinia also is wearing her frumpy green dress again, and even though she seems nice enough, I want her gone.

Melanie: I knew there had to be something going on with Lavinia, and I'm so glad it's somewhat out in the open now. She's still wearing frumpy clothes, but now I think it's a deliberate attempt on wardrobe's side to distinguish the class differences between her and the rest of Downton.  (Sarah: Agreed!)

What I'm curious about now is wondering if Mary still intends to go through with her plan to marry Sir Richard, now that she knows to what lengths he'll go to get what he wants.  And I'm wondering if Lavinia is actually telling the truth.  This scandal opened up a whole new pot of worms!

Sarah: Yes, so much to think about here. Will Mary still end up with Sir Richard? I hope not! I wondered if Lavinia was telling the whole truth either-I think she still has some things she's hiding. This whole plotline was heartbreaking to watch! I really like Mary this season. She's grown up, she's not being so selfish, and she seems to care about those around her. She didn't complain about the convalescent home, which old Mary would have done. She also passed up the chance to break up Matthew and Lavinia. The rest of her family is still hoping for a Matthew and Mary reunion, and while it's clear she cares for him, she seems to see that she's missed her chance and there's nothing she can do about it. 

Melanie: Cora said the two looked so natural together, and I agree.  Throughout the episode, there are bits of dialogue, just normal chatter, that makes it so obvious how well they get on together.

Sarah: Exactly. The banter they share is so cute and it's clear they still have feelings for each other.
 Lang has bad dreams and O'Brien shows a nice side

Sarah: Lang has been suffering again with PTSD and has a few outbreaks of fits or nightmares, leaving the staff worried. By the end of the episode, he is packing up and planning on leaving Downton.

When the staff arrive in Lang's room after hearing him scream and O'Brien is taking care of him is one of the most touching scenes in this episode. Again, you see a softer side of O'Brien and I like how the staff don't immediately judge (well, except for Thomas) but instead want to help Lang.

Melanie: I liked seeing this too.  His screams were so awful and must have been such a shock.  I'm surprised Carson still let him work for awhile longer after that.  I wish him well.

Sarah: I wonder if this really is his goodbye or if we'll see more of him.

Raise a glass to Lady Edith

Sarah: At dinner, General Strutt praises Downton for their hard work and especially praises Edith for taking care of the day to day needs of the officers.  It's nice to see Edith do something good and get a nice word for it!

Melanie: I really wish Edith would get a consistent plotline going.  She seems so aimless.  I suppose that's the point, though.  I did like her a bit more in this episode and am very glad she didn't try pursuing the farmer.

Sarah: I think Edith is finally finding her place a bit. I'm glad she gave up on the farmer as well!

Melanie: What I really want to see next week is some moving forward in at least one of the romances!  Other than Lord and Lady Grantham, is anyone settled in a happy, love-filled relationship?

Sarah: I know! So many storylines that are opened and then never go anywhere. I'd love to see one happy relationship somewhere! Even though this episode was a bit slower, I'm looking forward to the drama of next week. The preview has me excited!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Picture Book Saturday

The Woods by Paul Hoppe

-I discovered this book earlier this year and decided to use it for a pajama time storytime. It's a great book for storytime. The text is simple and the illustrations are bright and colorful and perfect for a larger crowd.

The story is about a young boy who is about to go to bed, but can't find his rabbit. He decides he must venture into the woods. Along the way he comes across several scary things-a bear, giants, and a three headed dragon-only to discover that they're not scary at all. Instead they need the boys help in some way.

This is a great read about conquering your fears and using your imagination. It was lots of fun to read in storytime and I recommend it as a read aloud!

Where's Walrus by Stephen Savage

-Where's Walrus is a wordless picture book about a Walrus who goes on an adventure around town and the zookeeper who tries to catch him. The illustrations have a retro feel, which I love. Walrus's adventures are hilarious and he's easy enough to spot for younger readers. I read this with my two-year-old niece and she had a blast pointing out where Walrus was on each page. A wonderfully fun book for a lapsit with toddlers and preschoolers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

YA Movie News

-Good news Hunger Games fans! Movie tickets go on sale February 22 on Fandango.com. Mark your calendars and hopefully there will be a midnight showing in your area!

-The Hunger Games marketing team has released a new site, Capitol Couture. The password was tweeted out the other day #lookyourbest and you can sign up for when the site officially launches. Doesn't Effie look crazy yet amazing??

-In even more Hunger Games news, Mockingjay.net has a great interview up with the stars about the pranks they played on the set.

-Remember the Les Mis musical move? Well, Taylor Swift won out and got the role of Eponine and Amanda Seyfried will play Cosette. I was really liking the cast until the Taylor Swift casting. What are your thoughts? Are you still excited about the movie?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Happens in a Bookstore at Night

As a kid, I thought this was excatly what happend in a bookstore or library when the lights went out! I love this video from indie bookstore Type in Toronto.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Downton Abbey Recap-Season 2, Episode 1

Welcome to the first installment of Sarah and Melanie's recaps/reviews of Downton Abbey Season 2! We're both excited to jump back into this show and we thought it would be great to share it with other fans. Share your thoughts! There are some spoilers from the episode, so read at your own risk. Also, please no spoilers for future episodes if you've watched ahead!

Sarah: The episode starts off and we're at war and a time jump from the last episode. Two years have passed. Matthew is still alive and fighting in the war and slyly mentions that there's a girl he wants to see on leave. Will it be Mary?? I know it won't be, yet I also secretly wish it will.

Melanie: The time jump really threw me off. There's so much I feel like I missed- I was really looking forward to seeing how the Countess dealt with her miscarriage.  I was kind of surprised to see Matthew actually on the battlefield. I thought that as an heir, his blood would be too precious.

Sarah: The time jump threw me off a bit too. I had the same feeling of missing things I wanted to know where people had been, what they'd been up to, etc. Two years is a long time!

Sarah: Back at Downton the house is getting ready for a charity concert.  Bates is out at his mother's funeral and William is filling in. He's helping Grantham who has been named "Colonel of the North Riding Volunteers" William's father will not allow him to enlist even though he wants to. Grantham thinks he's going to be able to fight, only to  discover his new role isn't an active one. I felt bad for Lord Grantham as he wants so badly to help with the war effort but can't in the way
he would like. I like his heart and his good character, so seeing him realize he's getting older is a bit sad.

Melanie: Grantham really does have a hard time with this. I wish he could realize how important a strong home front is. Even his wife isn't able to console him.

Sarah: I also think this makes him more endearing-he has lots of moments like this in this episode where I just love him.

Cousin Isobel suggests to a sad Sybil that she become a nurse. I love this idea and I love Sybil's spunk. I also love Isobel for suggesting it! Now, remember that girl Matthew said he wanted to visit? Isobel has come with news that Matthew is engaged! What? Matthew can't be engaged! Now I can't wait to  see this girl...

Melanie: I completely agree. Matthew cannot be engaged. What is he thinking? I kind of hope Mary meets his fiancee and flies into a fit of jealous rage...

Sarah: Yes! A fit of rage from Mary would be awesome! We know she has a mean streak in her-I'm waiting to see what she'll do to this poor girl.

 (Naive Ethel)

Sarah: There's a new housemaid, Ethel. She's kind of annoying and I'm not impressed. Even though I'm not an O'Brien fan, I have to admit that her pranks on Ethel were pretty awesome.

Melanie: I'm kind of sad that we didn't get to see O'Brien cackling in glee over the pranks she pulled. They were pure genius.

Sarah: They were and I have to give O'Brien props for them. I think that's the one time I wouldn't mind her cackling!

Bates returns and YAY!-he proposes to Anna. Problem is he's still a married man. Oops! Bad move Bates. I wonder how he thinks that's going to work. I see drama in the future. 

 (See, it's frumpy!)

Matthew arrives with Lavinia, his fiance, in tow. She's cute enough, but we don't really see much of her and I'm convinced that now Mary and Matthew must be together! They can match wits! Lavinia just doesn't look as smart. Also, her green dress is kind of frumpy. Mary and Matthew sit next to each at dinner (oh how sly you are with the seating arrangement) and it's clear Mary is still in love with Matthew. Matthew is daft and doesn't appear to notice, although I think he does. Mary arrives at the train to give Matthew her good luck charm. I mean, come on Matthew! Can't you see how she's changed?? I can!

 (See the way they look at each other-so cute!)

Seriously, in episode one, I've had a change of heart about Mary. She's much less annoying and I like her. I feel like she's finally grown up. Matthew in turn is just happy they're friends because he's dumb. 

Melanie: Haha, I agree Matthew is not using all of his wits. I think he's kind of ignoring her on purpose. I've been a Mary fan from the beginning, so I kind of want to smack Matthew upside the head. Lavinia's too good. I think she's hiding something. And who wears frumpy green dresses? Yet another reason to dislike her.

Sarah: Excatly. She does seem too good. I'll be watching her with a suspicious eye. And I really am a Matthew/Mary fan more this season.

 (Boo! Blackmailing Vera!!)

Sarah: Bates's evil wife Vera shows up and turns out she's not going to give him a divorce. Instead, she demands he come with her, or else she reveals Mary's scandal (or as Aunt Rosamund says later-the blot on her copybook). She blackmails Bates and Bates is a good guy and doesn't want to hurt Anna. This makes me like him even more. I mean, he's going off with the evil blackmailer just to keep Anna in good standing! Man, I want them together!! Good news is, Mrs. Hughes has awesome spying abilities thanks to the vent in the kitchen and she overheard the real reason Bates is leaving. Here's hoping Mrs. Hughes will save the day later!!

Melanie: This is the one time in my life I will ever condone eavesdropping. In this case alone, rock on Mrs. Hughes!

Sarah: She shares with Carson, but I'm interested to see what she'll do, if anything, with this information. Rock on indeed!

Sybil goes off to be a nurse and swoon, Branson declares his love for her. Sybil is dumb and doesn't say anything. What's with all these Grantham girls being so dumb when it comes to love? (Edith is not exempt from this either-oh, just wait!) Sybil is worried that Branson will get fired for saying he's in love with her, so I think she really does care for him. There's got to be something there...

Melanie: Poor Sybil. She's so confused. But would she really be willing to live the life of a chauffeur's wife after growing up as aristocracy? She may be more like Mary than we'd like to think. 

Sarah: Oh no! Don't say that! Sybil is my favorite!:) But you make a good point. I wonder if working as a nurse will change her.

More romance! William is feeling down and Daisy kisses him. Oh Daisy, you're so naive. If you don't want a boy to like you, don't go kissing him. Of course he's going to think you're his girl! Daisy later confides that she doesn't like William. He's finally be able to enlist and is being sent off to war. Mrs. Patmore tells Daisy she can't send him off with a broken heart. I agree and I think there's something wrong with Daisy. She's led him on for a long time-that's just mean. Daisy, I still don't like you.

Melanie: I'm sort of on the fence about Daisy and William. They're both so immature and young. Out of all the characters at Downton Abbey, I think these two act their age the most.

Sarah: Agree! They are immature and I really don't like that she's been leading him on for so long.

Thomas is still annoying. He's been fighting in the war, but he holds his hand up with a light so he would be shot at, therefore becoming injured and being sent home. It's a tough moment to watch, but I'm not sure I like him.

Melanie: He had tea with Matthew right before doing that where they talked about the old times. Thomas' courage comes out in odd ways, while sticking his hand in the air must've taken guts, it also shows how much of a coward, ultimately, he is.

Sarah: Good point. His courage does come out in strange ways, and in some ways I feel a bit bad for him.

Time jump again. It's now 1917. There's a new footman, Lang, who is suffering from shellshock. O'Brien, in a moment of compassion, recognizes this and is kind to him. There are moments when O'Brien is very human and shows heart and I think that's what makes her character so rich.

Melanie: Absolutely. O'Brien's brother suffered from shellshock as well, making her aware of an all too common, yet at the time misunderstood, ailment.

Sarah: Thomas has returned and he's back to looking swarmy as only Thomas can. He's helping Sybil out in the hospital, helping a young soldier who was blinded in the war. Thomas and Sybil are working to help him recover, only to find out that the head Doctor is sending him away to make room for the newly injured soldiers. The young man kills himself. This leads to another moment of caring for Thomas as he shows emotion at the loss of the soldier. This show is so good at tugging at your heart strings and making you rethink what you originally thought about characters. Isobel suggests that Downton Abbey becomes a convalescent home. Violet isn't for it, but she gets voted down and I can't wait to see how this changes things at Downton. Again, this shows Lord Grantham's compassion and I think it's what makes him a great character. I always want to think that aristocracy has a  heart and showed kindess to their serving staff. Lord Grantham does this and it makes me really care about him.

Melanie: That scene where Thomas tells the blind man he can't give up give up and has to fight back gives a lot of clues into Thomas' past. It reminded me of all the strife Thomas must have put up with for being homosexual Being gay in this time period must have been hell.

Sarah: And then when he cries because the soldier has killed himself? Heartbreaking. I think we're getting to see antoher side of the conniving Thomas, again proving how rich in development these characters are.

 (Not nearly as cute as Matthew and Mary)

Sarah: Mary has made a friend in newspaper man, Sir Richard. He visits Downton Abbey along with Aunt Rosamund. Mary, feeling conflicted, seeks the advice of Carson, which is probably my favorite scene in episode one. After working himself too hard, Carson has been put on bedrest. His talk with Mary is sweet and you can see that he really cares about her. Mary also seeks the advice of Anna, who, along with Carson, encourages Mary to tell the truth about her feelings to Matthew. Mary tries to tell Matthew, but finds Lavinia crying because Matthew is to leave early. She ends up backing down and not saying anything, which is a really bad decision. Just tell him already! Mary instead gets a proposal from yucky Sir Richard. UGH! I don't like Sir Richard. He looks old and like he's wrinkly and leathery like he tans too much. I also don't trust him. Mary's not excited by the proposal, but says she'll consider his offer. I hope she turns him down!

Melanie: Carson's scene with Mary is my favorite of this entire episode too! He's almost like a grandfather to her, and it's so sweet to see. She let's him close to her. It kind of makes me wonder what Mary would be like with a man romantically if she let him close to her. She's got a lot more heart than she's showing.I'm afraid I'm not as against Sir Richard. Maybe Matthew seeing Mary with someone else would knock some sense into him. I like seeing Mary's emotional side warring with her rational brain. She definitely has a heart, no matter what Mrs. Hughes says.

Sarah: Yes, she is showing more heart this season. And good point about her opening up romantically. I think the war has made her see that she can't be a snobby aristocrat, things are changing and it is effecting her. I like seeing her emotions and her rationality at war as well.

Mosley begins to seek out Anna, lending her a book, and suggests they spend more time together. This is heartbreaking to watch, because you can see Anna loves and misses Bates.

Melanie: When Mosley hits on Anna, I kind of feel sorry for him.  Their social circle is so small, it's not like there's a bunch of available women around.  Yet it also shows a profound lack of perception on his part.  One look at Anna, and one can tell she's not nearly ready to move on.
Sarah: Edith has been learning to drive and visits a local farm to help out and drive the tractor. She begins a flirtation with Mr. Drake and they kiss one night. But silly Edith, his wife was watching and writes Edith a note that they've hired a boy and she won't be needed anymore. What's with Edith getting all the bad romances? And why does she always go for awkward old men??

 (No Edith No!)

Melanie: I know! I don't like Edith at all. Kissing a married man? She doesn't seem to be using her brain. She's my least favorite of the three sisters. I have to admit, watching her drive the tractor was kind of funny.

Sarah: It was! I was cheering her on and hoping her character would change a bit as well, but I she's still my least favorite of the sisters. I also don't think her mean streak has left her. I hope she doesn't take it out on Mrs. Drake!

Aunt Rosamond overhears a conversation between Sir Richard and Lavinia and apparently there are some secrets between them. We already know that Sir Richard was an  acquaintance of Lavinia's father. It appears that there may be some scandal in Lavinia's past and I'm eager to find out what! Maybe this will break up Lavinia and Matthew? I really hate love triangles, so I don't want this one to be drawn out forever!!

Melanie: I'm ready for some Mary/Matthew time! Lavinia's got some dark, terrible secret, I think. I want her far, far away from Matthew. I'm thinking that Richard and Lavinia may have been involved with each other at some point. I could be wrong, though. It's just a theory.

Sarah: Oooh..I wondered the same thing! I wonder how Matthew will react. I also wonder if he'll ever find out about Mary's scandal and what he would think of that!

So that's Episode 1! There is lots going on and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. So much drama, intrigue and romance! No wonder we're hooked on this show!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Downton Abbey

Sarah: Like many fellow bloggers, I am eagerly awaiting the Season 2 premire of Downton Abbey Season 2. Because we love the show so much, Melanie from Melanie's Musings and I have decided to co-host episode recaps. I've been good and kept away from spoilers about Season 2, so it will be fun to watch and discuss each episode. Being able to talk about the show adds to the fun, so we hope bloggers will join in our discussions.
Melanie: Unlike Sarah, I haven't been quite as good on keeping away from spoilers.  Thankfully, I haven't come across anything too serious, but I may know about one twist.  I can't wait to see it happen, especially since I have no idea where it occurs.
But before we discuss Season 2, we have to talk about Season 1: (SPOILERS AHEAD!!)

Sarah-I LOVE this show. I was telling a friend of mine that for some reason watching soapy drama with a historical setting feels more sophisticated. You can't deny that there is plenty of soapy drama in DA, but it's just sooo good!

Sarah-I think I would hate it if Violet was my grandmother. But boy is she fun to watch! She gets all the best lines and I kind of want to be her when I grow up. I can't wait for her snark to return!
Sarah-Matthew is a great TV Crush. I'm a bit torn on if I want the Matthew/Mary hookup to happen. She was so mean and horrid to him and I don't know that she's gained any redeeming qualities. I kind of want Matthew to go off and find some other girl who is awesome, but considering Season 2 takes place during World War 1, I don't know that he'll have much time for love. Maybe Mary will get better in Season 2? Somehow I doubt it.

Sarah-Season 1 has been a lot about Lady Mary and I'm hoping Lady Sybil and Lady Edith get some good storylines in Season 2. I want something new to create drama. I really don't know if I like Lady Edith either-so this will be her chance to win me over. Really, I think with all the bickering and backstabbing between Lady Mary and Lady Edith, I'll end up annoyed and disliking both of them. Lady Sybil is my favorite. I'm also hoping for a secret upstairs/downstairs romance with her and Branson! Anyone else with me??

Melanie: I actually kind of like Mary, or at least I find her the most interesting.  I think interesting things could happen between the family's chauffeur and Sybil this season, though. (From Sarah-we will both be rooting for this-I'm not alone!:)  They went through some pretty bonding stuff in Season 1.
Sarah-O'Brien and Thomas-the evil villians. They're so bad it's good. You can't help but hate them, yet you also want to watch them to see what they'll think of next. It really is bad guys done right-they're so dasterdly and it's fun to get mad at them. Anyone else cringe when Cora slipped on the soap and killed her baby? O'Brien is so terrible and petty, yet it makes a brilliant storyline!

Melanie: I love watching O'Brien and Thomas, the main villians, because while I agree they're mostly evil, every once in a while they'll have a very human moment that gives me hope. 

Sarah: Agreed. I think that's what makes them so great. You're so right about them having a moment where they are very human and almost show compassion. I think that's what makes them so interesting.

I also wish Daisy wouldn't be so starryeyed over Thomas. She really annoys me and I don't know if she'll get less annoying in Season 2. One can hope...

Melanie: Daisy irritates me too.  I hate it when girls fall for the wrong guy.  The other man (I can't remember his name) is always so nice to her and she brushes him off!

Sarah: Me too! She needs to stop being so in love with Thomas and see what's in front of her.

Sarah-Bates and Anna! Love them, they're adorable, yet I know there's not going to be a nice happy ending. These two are going to have to face a lot of drama. I spent most of Season 1 wanting to scream at them "can't you see you like each other!!" I hope we see more from Bates and Anna and I hope their relationship develops.

I also think the show is very lush and gorgeous and makes me want to go back in time (well sort of, only if I could be a Lady with amazing clothes, I think.) And the costumes-they're amazing, right??

Melanie: I definitely agree that I would only want to time travel if I could be a part of the aristocracy.  I've never been very good at peeling potatoes.

Sarah: Yeah, I'd be a terrible maid. I can't even keep my own house clean, let alone a mansion like Downton Abbey!
What do you love about Downton Abbey? 
Imagination Designs