long time, no update!

Well, Jen and I have really been neglecting this website of ours — oops! — but we’ve been doing lotsa stuff elsewhere…

Over on Wattpad, we have been posting up a storm: after our Taylor Swift fan fiction Know You Better wrapped up (and we’re at 222,000 reads!!), we kept up the Swift party with an excerpt from our bio on the Fearless One with our version of Cliff Notes, our Swift Notes to Red! But that wasn’t enough! We love the Wattpad community and all the feedback on our stories, so we decided to try something new and awesome: a choose your own adventure style Taylor Swift fan fic — Sweeter than Fiction. We’re only up to chapter three, so there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action and help decide what Taylor will get up to next. We’re having a laugh and a half coming up with wondrous ideas of what fun lurks around the next corner.

While it’s been a while since we blogged about Pretty Little Liars, that doesn’t mean we are not still deeply invested in it. I joined Heroine TV’s Lucia and guest host Tash to talk ALL about the Halloween special and about the first three episodes of the spin-off series, Ravenswood, which I am loving. Tune in here!

And not to be left out in the cold, check out this review of our Mortal Instruments companion guide, Navigating the Shadow World, over at Between Dreams and Reality

Navigating the Shadow World is an indispensable book for all the TMI fans and it’s an excellent companion guide.

Woot!

And next up on the agenda: Catching Fire! Only two more sleeps…

xo Liv
a.k.a. Jen & Crissy

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Pretty Little Liars Season 3B So Far…

Crissy here! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged on Pretty Little Liars, but that does not mean I have not been loving season 3B so far. Some highlights and questions…(with spoilers up to and including “Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Inferno”!)

poorspence

  • The whole Byron mystery freaked me right out of town. The relationship between Aria and her pops has been such a huge part of the show since the beginning, and the revelation that he saw Ali the night she died was sooooo creepy and felt like such a betrayal. Especially after they finally reconnected! Even though it was great and creepy, the Meredith Is the Crazy One wrap-up was a little unsatisfying, and frankly I still do not entirely trust Byron.
  • Because on PLL, can you really ever trust anyone? Not Toby… I’m glad it didn’t take too too long for Spencer to find out about him, and it is gutting (and totally realistic) to see how destroyed she is by his betrayal. Even if in the end there’s some altruistic reason that he’s on the A Team (and trying to run over Lucas and terrorizing Emily and Paige and Hanna…), I don’t think I could forgive a guy who put me through that.
  • Oh Spencer. She thinks school is pointless! Spencer Hastings! When she tore up that picture of herself — so symbolic! ::tears:: I’m glad she hired the private eye to find A’s lair, rather than going to see Toby (ya, I thought she was texting him…). But not telling the girls that Toby is on the A-Team? Not cool. That just puts your best friends in serious serious danger.
  • Where is Melissa? Meredith’s AWOL in Mystic Falls, and Melissa’s AWOL in Rosewood. I need some Torrey DeVitto onscreen in one of my favorite crazy fictional small towns!
  • Who is Ali’s baby daddy? Is it Wilden? Was she really pregnant? Was she so desperate for money from Byron because she needed money for an abortion?
  • When will we meet the Mysterious Lady in Red who’s pulling the strings of the A-Team? Soon please! And more CeCe. I love her. (Is CeCe the Lady in Red? I’m hoping for a bookish twist instead…)

Is it Tuesday yet??

xoxo

13 Favorite Things about Pretty Little Liars 3.13, “This Is a Dark Ride”

Happy Halloweeeeen! What better way to celebrate this candy-and-costumes holiday than re-living our favorite parts of last week’s Pretty Little Liars Halloween extravaganza — “This Is a Dark Ride.”

13. The spookified opening credit sequence — loved it last season, and love it this year. PLL tradition!

12. Spencer’s hair. These gifs pretty much say it all. Epic. Even when being blown every which way on that windy, windy train. Troian’s hair is always impressive, but she was flawless in this episode.

11. Creepy blonde ghost girl!! What was the deal with poor little cold tortured ghost child? Was she really there? Or has Ashley gone crazy and somehow just imagined the very same little girl we saw in last season’s Halloween episode in Ali’s creepy story about the twin sisters who fought over their dolls? Are we going down a twin path, PLL?

10. Nothing scarier than creepy masks and this episode had, like, every variety of creepy. Pick your poison! The zombie-baby-doll returned, plus Caleb’s phantom-type mask — also worn by his handsy imposter! — and the masked creeper who drugged Aria and Mona’s freaky homemade mask and that shiny mannequin mask. Make the nightmares end!

9. The flashbacks to the night Ali died! Instead of just giving us a fun but fluffy Halloween episode, we got serious clues. Can we trust what Garrett told Spencer to be true? How scary/awesome was the field hockey stick moment with Ali making Garrett fake her death? Twist!

8. The body bag in the ice. Did not see that coming. And poor Jason.

7. The awkwardness of watching Toby dance to Adam Lambert. Really liked overthinking this moment: like, Toby is all on the A Team and plotting dastardly plans and stuff, but OMG it’s Adam Lambert, better make the floor burn!

6. The twisted allegation that Byron Montgomery was somehow involved in Ali’s death. Ew. And also, yuck. But maybe…? There was certainly a weirdness about Ali’s obsession with Byron’s affair — especially when you consider the whole trash-Byron’s-office thing. Was Ali keeping more secrets about Byron than Aria knew?

5. Mona’s singing the teddybear picnic song. That childhood favorite will never be the same. If there was an award for simultaneously being the creepiest and prettiest singer, Janel Parrish would win. Her asylum-Mona portrayal is perfection.

4. The train! Just totally the perfect setting for the episode. They’re trapped with A; it’s such a classic murder-mystery thing (hello, Agatha Christie!) and a Hitchcock thing; and it’s got that retro allure. If only trains were guaranteed to be A-free . . .

3. Paige beating up A. Last we saw Paige she was the victim needing rescue, so it was satisfying to see her turn the tables. Is it dangerous that Emily’s told her all about A? Answer: of course. it’s A.

2. Ashley’s outfit and how she was just owning it. She’s dating a pastor; she’s a grown-up; she’s spending the night at home handing out candy to the under-10 set — and she’s dressed as a sexy nurse. And looks amazing.

1. Aria in the crate. With Garrett’s corpse. Terrifying. As if that wasn’t enough, girlfriend has to saw the tape off her wrists using a surely rusty nail. Get a tetanus shot, Aria! And post-traumatic stress counselling!

Least favorite part of the episode? Remembering how much Pretty Little Liars is so totally enthralling and then having to wait til the winter for new episodes.

Love from the PLLers for Rosewood Confidential

Remember the time Keegan Allen a.k.a. Toby Frickin Cavanaugh instagrammed/tweeted about our book? We do. We shall never ever forget.

Remember that other time when Andy Reaser, writer on Pretty Little Liars, twitter-surprised us (that’s a thing, right?) with enthusiastic and kind words about Rosewood? We do — because Crissy screen-capped that day-making glory. (Nerd, yes.)

 

It is a surreal/awesome thing for the people who make Pretty Little Liars to be reading our book about the show — and that folks like Andy and Norman Buckley like the book? It makes our hearts explode. Thankfully not literally.

Pretty Little Liars Extra Credit: Hedda Gabler

One of our favorite parts of writing Rosewood Confidential was diving into the literary & film references on PLL. First up was It Happened One Night, and now it’s time for Hedda Gabler …

In “Blood Is the New Black,” Ella’s English class is studying Henrik Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler. First published way back in 1890 in Norway, on the surface it seems like it may have little to do with present-day Rosewood, Pennsylvania. But that’s the trick with this play: while things appear to be rosy on the surface, just beneath there’s a world of tension, battles for control, and adept manipulation stemming from the woman at the center of the story, Hedda.

The play begins with Hedda and her new husband, Jorgen Tesman, returning from their lengthly (and boring, if you ask Hedda) honeymoon. Rich, beautiful, and headstrong Hedda has married ‘below’ her class by choosing Tesman over her other suitors, and she is not happy about her decision. She’s distant with her husband, she deftly lashes out at Tesman’s sweet old aunt — making her feel poor and ashamed with just one small comment in a way that would make Alison DiLaurentis proud — and yet Hedda isn’t totally unsympathetic. You can feel how trapped she is, how out of her own control her life has become as she moved from her father’s house into her husband’s.

The plot thickens when Mrs. Elvsted shows up, upset that Lovborg (former drunk and current literary sensation) is missing — alone in a city full of temptations. Hedda, a former love of Lovborg, is jealous of Mrs. Elvsted’s relationship with him, and sees Lovborg’s success as a threat to her husband’s potential. Without spoiling the dramatic climax of the play — which is shocking, even when you know what’s coming — Hedda uses her powers of manipulation to trap them all, herself included.

So how does this 122-year-old play relate to Pretty Little Liars? Just like our four heroines, Hedda’s main objective is gaining some kind of control over her life again, and just when she seems to have it in her grasp, a more powerful force foils her plans. Though with less honorable intentions, Hedda uses the same strategies as the PLL girls when they’re on the hunt for clues: she lies, she manipulates, she alters the truth just enough to get to what she needs to know. There’s also a lot of Hedda’s character in both Melissa Hastings and Alison — beautiful, smart, and powerful young women, trapped in a smaller life than they’d imagined for themselves, and all capable of great cruelty.

The secrets Hedda unearths and what she chooses to do with that information is ultimately destructive — to those around her, those she once loved, and to herself. Will the girls’ quest for some kind of agency in their own lives lead them to the same fate?

Want us to do a little PLL homework? Make a request in the comments!

Pretty Little Liars Extra Credit: It Happened One Night

One of our favorite parts of writing Rosewood Confidential was diving into the literary & film references on Pretty Little Liars to figure out the influences and insights on the episodes. So we’re going to keep doing it for Season 3! Expect posts on Rear Window, Ethan Frome, Hedda Gabler, and The Remains of the Day — and we’re open to suggestions! Request something in the comments below!

In today’s class, we fill you in on the 1934 Frank Capra classic It Happened One Night. It was a landmark film, the first to sweep all the main Oscar categories (a feat not replicated until 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Allegedly Clark Gable also single-handly undermined undershirt sales when he removed his shirt to reveal a bare chest. Luckily he helped the economy in another way: Greyhound bus travel seemed much more romantic after the film’s success. (It seems travelers were in for a big disappointment there.)

PLL has referenced the film twice: Mr. Fitz is an awkward date for Aria and Ella when they go to see it in “The Jenna Thing” (1.02), and the season 3 premiere, “It Happened That Night,” plays on the film’s name. Unfortunately there aren’t too many connections between the big screen version and our PLLs. The most obvious: one night can change everything. But beyond that you’ll find divided loyalties, wrong first impressions, duping unsuspecting parents, and love overthrowing all.

Sounds great, right? It really is. Here’s a brief low-down on It Happened One Night to pique your interest:

It Happened One Night

The movie opens with one of the great spoiled brat scenes of cinema: new money socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is aboard a family yacht, having a table-tossing row with her dear papa. He’s unhappy she’s married “King” Westley (given the guy’s name, I kind of sided with Dad) and is working to have the marriage annuled, and she wants to prove Daddy can’t control her or end her marriage. The best way to do that? Running away, starting with tossing herself overboard — sploosh! — and exiting by sea. Now that’s good old-fashioned gumption.

As she’s running away from Dad and toward King Westley, she runs into a smart alec reporter, Peter Warne (Clark Gable), who’s just been fired. Ellie’s rich girl upbringing hasn’t prepared her for the real world of taking buses and budgeting her money, so the resourceful Peter offers to help her get to New York if she’ll give him her exclusive story: a break that could get him his job back.

They hit the road on a Greyhound bus, and though this clash of worlds leads to a lot of verbal sparring, it’s clear we’ve got a bit of a Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett situation going on: the two are falling for each other. The on the road antics are most of the fun here (contrary to the title, the journey actually takes more than one night), though here are my highlights:

Peter teaches the heiress how to dunk a doughnut:

Dunkin Donuts

(This is the scene I remembered best from when I first watched it 10 years ago. It’s adorable.)

Ellie teaches Peter how to hitch-hike:

Hitchhiking 101

(Spoiler: She got results)

I won’t ruin the dramatic conclusion … but it’s definitely worth making like the Montgomerys and checking it out.

— Jen