Category Archives: Books!!

Book Insecurities

Okay, I have a confession to make. There are some books that I’m kind of scared to read- not because they don’t look amazing, but because I’m so afraid that I won’t like them. That they’ll disappoint me, that they won’t live up to my expectations. Or that I’ll disappoint them. Books like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and Inheritance and The Monstrumologist. Books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Salmon of Doubt and Ender’s Game. Books that my library has, but I pretend that I’ll never be able to get my hands on. And I know what you’ll say- you’ll say, “Ellen, what are you talking about? Number 1, I know that you have good taste in books, and number 2, books don’t have feelings, anyways.” But they do have feelings. Because the people and things inside of them are real in their own way. And it’s happened before: with If I Stay, with Divergent, with Before I Fall. After I finish a book like that, a book for which I had such high hopes for that turned out just boring, a book that all my friends and teachers and everybody loved but I couldn’t seem to get into, I feel terrible. I honestly felt like those books were just staring at me with their bland pages, saying, “I can’t believe you, Ellen. I thought you were smarter than this. I thought you could recognize a good book when you saw one.” I want to like books like that, and why shouldn’t I? If so many other people loved it, then why did it just whoosh right over my head? Did I completely miss something important that would actually make me care at least a bit about the characters and plot? Did I just sleep through all of the action? And so I end up putting a lot of books off for quite some time because of this. Like, I’m a quarter of the way through with The Casual Vacancy, and it is beautiful, but a few weeks ago, I just put it down because of some really rude comments I’ve heard. And since then, I’ve been too afraid to continue to read it, because what if those awful obnoxious people said. Which isn’t a good reason at all… But it happened. ūüė¶¬†


Writer’s Block Fixers: Write about a blue-coloured object

I’ve been battling mind crushing Writer’s Block for the better part of the past year. So, in order to hopefully work my way PAST it, I decided to use this website¬†for inspiration.

#31: Write about a Blue-coloured Object

There’s a couple blue objects I’m particularly fond of: the TARDIS and my copy of John Green’s¬†The Fault in Our Stars.


The TARDIS, for those of you out there who are not Whovian or really have never had any exposure to¬†Doctor Who, is a Time/Space Ship. TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. It looks like a London Police Box from the ’50s or ’60s. It is a pretty, deep, dark-ish blue. Sort of like Midnight Blue and Royal Blue mixed together. It is the most beautiful shade of blue, in my opinion. The TARDIS is also the most fantastic machine ever! Imagine traveling to any¬†place in the universe to any point in time! All the things you could do! All the places you could see! As a (wannabe) anthropologist, it would be a marvelous¬†opportunity¬†to study humans through the ages! in all different places, too! I could meet Queen Nefertiti (“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” 7.02) or Cleopatra, or Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Mead…¬†ANYONE!¬† I could meet so many awesome people as children (or adults…).

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

For all those of you out there who have never heard of John Green, or about his latest (and arguably, his best) YA Novel,¬†The Fault in Our Stars, read on.¬†TFiOS is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year old girl dealing with a rather rare type of cancer as well as Not Having a Life syndrome, Not Being a Regular Teenager syndrome, as well as Feeling Alienated From People Her Age syndrome. Her mom forces her to go to a Cancer Support Group for Under Eighteens, where she meets Augustus Waters. Needless to say, he is a HOT person, who happens to have a thing for symbols, and insists of holding an unlit¬†cigarette between his teeth because it is unlit, therefore not able to kill you. Needless to say, it is pretty much the best YA book I’ve read in a while.

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The End of Summer (is almost here)

Just looking at your calendar you might have realised it was coming: The End of Summer.

It can’t be!

It’s only August!

When did this happen?

When did the months of doing nothing (or everyhing, if you’re that type of person…) go?

Is it true, that I won’t be able to wake up at ten a.m. and go to bed at midnight? that I won’t be able to spend the whole day watching¬†Criminal Minds and inevitably falling in love with Matthew Grey Gubler? or watching (hideously DOBLY-ed)¬†Bones re-runs with my Bonehead grandparents? Or yelling at BBC Entertainment (because they don’t get BBC America in South America…) for not playing¬†Doctor Who, but instead showing endless episodes of¬†Dragon’s Den, or¬†The ‘F’ Word, or the mind-numbing¬†Top Gear¬Ļ? Or actually just laying on the couch like a useless lump? Are you serious?


Do I really have to start getting ready for¬†SCHOOL? Getting ready as in going to bed at not-midnight, and waking up in time to go to the gym with Mom? and then walking the dog(s) and making breakfast and, like, studying? Has the world gone mad? I’m sure it has, but there really is very little you can do asides from becoming a hermit, or getting home-schooled. ¬†If you have no interest in either of the two previously mentioned options, you can only make the most of whatever is left of your summer vacation, which in my case is about two weeks. Here are some ideas!

‚ÄĘAre you a Whovian? even if you’re not, be sure to watch the Series Seven Premier: “Asylum of the Daleks” sometime on the 25¬≤th (of August). Have a viewing party with your fellow Whovians, or try to convert your friends.

‚ÄĘRead! you do know¬†The Perks of Being a Wallflower is coming out as a movie in september, right? go to your library and find it! or The Hobbit! or even stuff you know you might have to read in school at some point, like say,¬†The Great Gatsby or¬†To Kill a Mockingbird or¬†Franny and Zooey! there are so many good books out there that can get you back in the swing of things, so that come September you don’t feel like a drone looking at words on pages. If you don’t like classics try any one of John Green’s books (which will ideally make you ). Or Harry Potter, or Douglas Adams’¬†Hitchhiker¬†“trilogy” or really anything by Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson and Kathy Reichs and ALL OF THOSE AMAZING YA AUTHORS OUT THERE!

‚ÄĘLearn how to cook. I’ve learned how to make lasagna and Actual-Not-From-The-Box Mac & Cheese. I also might have food-poisoned my cousin, or he might actually be lactose intolerant, and should not pursue a carreer in acting. I go for the latter.

‚ÄĘGo all DIY Queen/King. Ellen posted some really adorable DIY’s earlier this month, so go check them out! You can also check out Rookie Mag’s Denim Jacket DIY, or this Brain Soap DIY, or THIS STRAWBERRY JAM one!or you could learn how to make ZINES!, or CARDBOARD ROCKET SHIPS!¬†and even Saddle Shoes¬†and Bee Hives¬†and Hair Bows. Rookie has so many awesome DIY ideas! just search DIY and go through eleven months’ worth of archives. Personally, I’m very tempted to make a Nerd(fighter) Denim Jacket.

‚ÄĘExercise. I’m not a big fan of this one, but I do know that after two months of doing Nothing, my body needs to get used to doing Something. And paying attention to What I’m Doing. Also, all this Doing Nothing hasn’t made me any less Neville Longbottom-ish.

‚ÄĘStudy. Not a big fan of this one either, to tell you the truth. Especially when it comes to Math. However, this year I’m determined to get, at the very least a B. Maybe then I can convince my parents to let me go to Midnight Showings at the local Movie Theater, or you ¬†know, LEAKY CON 2013!

‚ÄĘWrite. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that, with this blog. I’ve also tried to get back into writing fanfiction, but unfortunately I haven’t had either the time or the inspiration, as per usual during The Most Dreaded Summer Hiatus Time. As soon as¬†Bones starts up again, on a hopefully NOT SUCKY NOTE, I should have a few pieces up. Also, looking at pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jim Parsons being their adorable selves makes it impossible to write.

‚ÄĘWait. Wait for your school ¬†schedule (try saying that with a posh British accent!) to come out! wait for your favourite re-runs of¬†Gilmore Girls or¬†Star Trek¬† to come on. This is why my sister and I live glued to the iPad. WE CAN WATCH ONE SHOW ON THE TELLY AND THE OTHER ONE ON THE IPAD AND ANOTHER ONE ON THE LAPTOPS.

‚ÄĘHave Fun. You can do that by doing pretty much everything on this list.

Have any other ideas? LET ME KNOW!!!!

Also, READ THIS! I read it over fifteen times, at different points of my freshman year, when I was feeling very teen-ager-y, and moody and weird.


¬ĻI don’t know very much about cars, except how to drive them. I’d be perfectly happy with a tiny, adorable car, without having to know how many horses it has, and how balanced, or whatever it is. BTW, If I had a Bug, I would get it eyelashes.

¬≤The BBC America web page is giving me a headache. IT WON’T TELL ME WHEN IT AIRS!

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Harry Potter Pictures!!

The lovely Laura sent me these pictures long ago, for me to use for my own blog. However, then my school decided to block Blogger from our computers, and I was too lazy to make a¬†WordPress¬†blog (I only had like 5 readers… and since they all went to my school, they couldn’t read it anyways so I just stopped…)

It won’t let me upload all 100 or so of them.. So this is just the beginning!!

On the Ethics of Shipping (Harry Potter)

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling!! Today is Harry Potter’s 32nd Birthday and J.K. Rowling’s 47th!!!

And yesterday was Professor Neville Longbottom’s 32nd Birthday, so Happy [Belated]¬†Birthday to him, as well!!! ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

Shipping in the Harry Potter fandom to me¬†seems to be¬†just amazingly complicated. For¬†instance:¬†Sure, I ship Severus/Lily but would cry for WEEKS if Harry Potter ceased to exist! Wouldn’t anybody? And also: How are you supposed to ship Dramione if this means Scorpius would not be born? (And: Is partial shipping even possible? Like, by definition, can I ship Remus/Sirius SOMETIMES¬†instead of¬†ALL THE TIME?? Because I love Tonks, I really do…) But¬†I seem to always be able to find a way around this; my real shipping ethics don’t¬†come into play until Harry Potter himself comes up.

In general, I consider myself a Fairly Strong Shipper of Harry/Ginny. I mean, it’s near impossible to imagine them not together; it would be simply Not Right. However, I absolutely despise most Harry/Ginny fanfiction. I mean, I would rather read Hermione/Ron fanfiction than Harry/Ginny, and I HATE Ron. ESPECIALLY with Hermione.*

[*This goes back to me hating Ron’s personality, I think. He’s really mean and obnoxious and insensitive and just plain immature¬†for most of the time. Specifically towards Hermione. And I know what you’re saying, that¬†young boys express their feelings for girls by making fun of them, but you know what? I could make that same argument for Draco, who is less mean and obnoxious and insensitive and immature towards Hermione and instead just likes picking on her. So if that was true, wouldn’t it be Draco who liked Hermione? Exactly.]

The main reason I dislike most Harry/Ginny fanfiction¬†is probably because Ginny is a very hard character to write. I would know. I’ve tried. Her personality is less simple and defined than Harry’s, always the Determined Hero, or Hermione’s, the Bookworm, or even Voldemort’s, the Heartless Bad Guy. Instead, she’s¬†something of a¬†mix between several archetypes. She’s a bit of a Tomboy, but she’s also Independent and a¬†Fiercely¬†Loyal Friend. She is Sporty and has had LOADS of Boyfriends. So all in all, she’s pretty confusing. This makes it exceptionally hard for people who are not J.K. Rowling to write her completely In Character; the only really great Ginnys¬†I have read are written by Dramione authors, who mostly focus on the Fiercely Loyal Friend part of her character.

That being said, I much prefer to read Harry/Hermione fanfiction, although I do not ship Harmony in canon¬†AT ALL. I have no idea why this is. I guess I might like the fluffiness that is usually present in these stories? This shipping is certainly much different from my OTPs¬†(TTPs?), Draco/Hermione and Artemis/Holly, as¬†the fics¬†are¬†pretty much Pure Fluff without any Sarcastic Humor¬†and Sharp Wit. And so in that way, it may be me Looking For Something Different. But it also might be just because it’s so interesting to think about how Harry and Hermione’s friendship could have, under different circumstances, developed into Something More. So I really have no clue about the reasons behind my unorthodox attraction to Harry/Hermione fanfiction. But I do know that reading it is far more enjoyable than reading Harry/Ginny fanfiction.

Happy birthday again to Harry, J.K. Rowling, and Neville!!

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Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling!

The Stories we love best do live in us forever. So if you come back by film or by page, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

-J.K. Rowling at the HP&HBP Part II London Premier

Forty-seven years ago, a genius was born in Gloucestershire, England. Her name was Joann Rowling, and she would grow up to be one of the most inspiring, fantastic, and ¬†imaginative writers to date. As a girl, Joanne constantly wrote stories, primarily for her younger sister Dianne’s enjoyment. She studied at Exeter University, where she earned a French and Classics degree. Later, as a post-grad, she moved to London where eventually she would start writing what would become her Great Masterpiece: The¬†Harry Potter saga.

In the early ’90’s Jo moved to Portugal to teach English as a Second Language. In 1992, she got married, and a year later she gave birth to her daughter, Jessica. ¬†Shortly thereafter, her marriage ended, and she, along with Jessica, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was there, that the first volume of the¬†Harry Potter¬†series was eventually completed.¬†Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone¬†was first published in June 1997 (US: September ’98), under the now-famous (and slightly pointless¬Ļ) pseudonym: J.K. Rowling.

It is worth noting, ¬†that despite rumours that Rowling completed¬†the Philosopher’s Stone in cafes because she was unable to rent a flat with heating, she herself has stated (repeatedly) that although she did have¬†heat in her flat (Edinburgh during the winter…) she liked writing in cafes, because going for walks was the only way Baby Jessica would fall asleep. Also, she didn’t use napkins for writing, she used actual paper.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets¬†was published the next year, in July 1998. It stayed on the UK ADULT BESTSELLER LISTS for over ¬†a month after its publication. When it was published in the US, on 2nd June, 1999, it sold incredibly well. ¬†When¬†The Prisoner of Azkaban came out on July (and September in the US) of 1999, the Boy Wizard as well as Rowling herself were garnering world-wide acclaim and press attention. Meanwhile,¬†The Philosopher’s Stone topped bestseller’s charts in the UK, and all three¬†Potter books occupied the Top Three spots in several US Bestseller’s Lists.

The Fourth Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published in the UK, the US and Australia on August 8th, 2000. It reached a record 1 million copies printed in the UK, and about 3.8 million copies printed in the US.  The Goblet of Fire also set records with the sale figures within the first week of publication.

It was three years before she would release the fifth book:¬†Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It became the fastest-selling book in history¬≤, as well as the longest in the series, with a page-count of 766 pages.In my personal opinion, this is also the saddest and darkest book in the series. ¬†In July 2005, Rowling’s sixth book,¬†Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince¬†was released. It set record-breaking sales. It also gave us Ronmione shippers hope, while breaking our Harmony shipper’s spirit. It unleashed a very confusing period that still isn’t over. For the most part. Actually I’m pretty okay with how things ended up. Anyways, moving on…

The last and Most Awaited Book Ever (okay, probably not EVER…):¬†Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows¬†came out¬†¬†was published in the UK, USA and other English-speaking countries on 21st July 2007. The book is the fastest selling book in the UK and USA, with 8.3 million selling in the first 24 hours and 11.5 million in the first ten days. THOSE, in case you were wondering for some reason, are INCREDIBLE FIGURES. They are MIND-BLOWING.

Thanks to J.K. Rowling¬†millions of kids that never read (like, ever!) actually started reading… a lot! Thanks to this woman’s never-ending creativity millions of people have been able to get into this ongoing journey/experience of pure unadulterated Amazing-ness. Her works have allowed us to¬†connect with people around us; I’ve made friends based on our mutual LOVE for J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter and Hogwarts and LITERALLY EVERYTHING (including weird ships…), After my mom, my dad, and my sister read the books we were able to discuss them in-depth and get to understand how we each feel about different things, and how we react to certain things. We even got to emotionally bond over stuff like ships. LAST TIME I CHECKED MY MOM WAS A DIE-HARD HARMONY SHIPPER.

So, I just want to take a little time (and space) to thank Her Majesty The Queen of Pure Awesome J.K. Rowling for creating this universe that has literally been like a home to so many of us.

‚ô•‚ô•Thanks, Jo! Happy Birthday!!!‚ô•‚ô•

¬ĻThe main point of having a pseudonym is to remain anonymous. In this case, Jo’s publishers believed she would have a greater male audience if she didn’t reveal her gender. ¬†Geesh. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

²Apparently the current Fastest Selling Paperback is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Twilight Porn. (Did I mention I hate Twilight?)♦

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An Open Letter to Samwise “Sam” Gamgee

Dear Sam,

Although you weren’t the biggest or the strongest (physically, at least) of Frodo’s companions on the Trip To Rivendell, you are, I daresay, the most loyal and pleasant hobbit. You put Frodo and everyone else’s needs above your own. You were always Skeptical, especially when it came to strangers like Aragorn, and everyone at Bree.

You are really the Greatest Sidekick, for all that you do for Frodo, The Fellowship and all the Others. If there was an award for Greatest Sidekicks it would most definitely go to you, instead of some Vampire or, I don’t know,some other¬†Not-Incredibly-Awesome Person.

This letter will definitely be continued, after I get further into The Fellowship of The Ring.

By the way: Throwing that apple at Bill’s face was really Brave and Awesome.



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My first encounter with Harry Potter, famous wizard, The Boy Who Lived, occurred one fateful afternoon at my family’s rental beach house. I was around six at the time that I met him, and it would be nearly four more years until I fell absolutely head-over-heels for the green-eyed legend. (Of course, at the time, I had no way of knowing the true color of his eyes, seeing as Daniel Radcliffe’s are blue.) But that’s beside the point because we didn’t even watch the movie (which we found behind the aptly sand-colored couch on the first day at LBI) until the summer after I turned 10.

One and a half years later, we had very nearly forgotten about Harry. Or at least we thought we had until he showed up on our doorstep along with a ton of clothes and books my sister’s Pre-K teacher’s daughter didn’t want anymore. (Did she really expect that we would dress him in oversized girl’s clothes?) This time, he came in the form of two barely even opened books; clearly, Kristen hadn’t loved him like I would come to.

Even so, it took me (and pardon me if my math’s wrong here) two and a half more years before I actually opened the first book and leapt into the truly magical world of J.K. Rowling’s creation. But when I finally did, I fell completely in love.

Once I started reading The Sorcerer’s Stone, I found it impossible to stop. I begged my mother to take me to Barnes & Noble to buy books three and four; I purchased books five and six at my school’s spring book fair. By the end of the month (May), all six books had been read and reread, and I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the seventh book. (Of course, my mother had to draw it out even longer by refusing to give me my preordered copy until the trip to LBI in August.)

But this was, in a way, fitting; the place where Harry first entered my life would be the place where I would eventually say goodbye, or at least until I saw the next film. As it so happened, however, our parting would not last long. We were reunited that very same vacation when my parents finally agreed to take me to see The Order of the Phoenix at a nearby theater.

It was around the start of the fifth grade when I first entered into the Harry Potter fandom. I dived right into the HP community, immediately boarding the great ship Dramione. Quite honestly, I had always loved the characters of Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger, and the shipping only elated that feeling. To this day, Dramione remains my OTP.

Since then, Harry has followed me wherever I’ve gone. I sat in my fifth grade classroom and read The Deathly Hallows alongside my first Real Boy Crush (as opposed to Book Crush like, say Draco*), formed a lasting friendship with theadorkable timelord through our shared love for Harry Potter and his wizarding world, been both Hermione AND Bellatrix for Halloween, totally fangirled out when the last three movies entered the theaters, screamed ridiculously loud when Pottermore was announced (and doubly as loud when I got sorted into Ravenclaw) – the list goes on and on.

[I would write up an extremely long post about how great and deep and amazing of a character Draco Malfoy is, if I didn’t know that theadorkabletimelord would veto it immediately. She doesn’t like him very much… Wait – nevermind, she actually said okay! Well then, there is definitely a Draco Malfoy post in the near future! :P]

The final movie in particular meant so much to the scores of Harry Potter fans, including myself. It was the end of an era. Harry Potter had gone out with a bang, leaving a hole in all of our hearts that I truly believe can never be satisfied by any other phenomenon. This was made clear at the recent MTV Movie Awards, where Harry Potter was voted Best Hero, beating out even Katniss Everdeen fromThe Hunger Games by a landslide. Because even though there will be no more books or movies centered around our boy wizard to look forward to, the Harry Potter fandom remains strong. The hole left by the completion of the series is at this very moment being filled with fanfiction and fanard and real life Quidditch matches and all sorts of other contributions in honor of Harry. And now, one year after the premiere ofThe Deathly Hallows Part 2, the fandom is more dedicated than ever.

Harry Potter is far frome gone; J.K. Rowling’s creations continue to and will continue to live on in the loyal hearts of their fans. And I can say with utmost certainty that there will never be another hero quite like Harry Potter.

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Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian Out Now!!

The eighth and final Artemis Fowl installment, Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, is now out!!! XD

Artemis Fowl is a series by Eoin Colfer which follows the adventures of a young genius as he discovers the fairy world. Colfer’s fairies, however, are vastly different than any others you’ve read about-they are a race of high-tech individuals quite literally living underground. You will fall in love with this series’ diverse cast and will be pulled into a world of adventure you’ll never forget.

I really loved this series, and I hope you will, too. Please go out and support your local Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million (or any other bookstore near you) by buying your copy today! (Or maybe even the entire series, like I did!!) : ) Happy Reading!‚ô¶

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Both J.K. Rowling and Kathy Reichs have books coming out!

J.K. Rowling’s first adult-aimed novel, about the not-so-idyllic English town of Pagford. Out September 27, 2012!

Nearly five years after the publication of the last Harry Potter book,¬†Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling’s latest book is finally coming out on the 27th of September–just two days before my own birthday!

Virtually nothing is known about Rowling’s first non-YA Fiction works, except what little its publishers–Little Brown Book Group–have let on, which in all fairness is not much:

”When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa√ßade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”

So far it brings to mind Ellen Raskin’s¬†The Westing Game. Neighbours fighting against their neighbours, for something that remains largely unknown throughout the story. And of course, the Mysterious Character’s Death, which causes strange events to take place, and such.

I’m already starting to think Fairbrother’s death was by murder, not by natural causes.

Too many Kathy Reichs books, perhaps?


Kathy Reich’s Fifteenth Installment of the Temperance Brennan series finds our favourite Forensic Anthropologist in the middle of an awkward love triangle, and on the trail of three dead babies’ runaway mother.

¬†For the last ¬†fifteen years, Kathy Reichs has been providing readers with a more realistic take on Forensic ¬†procedures, than they are offered by popular Procedural TV Shows such as¬†CSI,¬†CSI: New York, CSI: Miami,¬†Castle, and¬†of course, Bones. ¬†This latest installment revolves around Tempe’s ability to examine and identify the corpses of three babies found in Montreal. The investigation is complicated by the fact that Dr. Brennan’s long-time love interest, Detective Lieutenant Andrew Ryan is investigating the babies’ mother. To further complicate matters, the mother flees, and causes a Royal Canadian Mounted Police sargeant with whom Tempe had had an ill-advised fling over a decade earlier to join the investigation.¬†

Like all of her prior novels, Bones are Forever seems to have the just the right balance between Forensics, Drama and Love-Triangle-ness that the show lacked throughout the last season.

Look for it on August 28!

Continue reading

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