Month in Review | May 2016

 Hello, blogger friends! I do hope the month of May has been a good one for you all. With yesterday’s Memorial Day holiday, we’re reached the unofficial start of summer – and of course, another new season for new books! 

Another month’s close means another “month in review” here on Finding Wonderland. 

…..Favorites from May 2016….. 

1. Armchair BEA 2016 | I joined the Armchair BEA even this year, and really enjoyed it. If you'd like to check out my posts there, feel free to do so. They're all readily found under the 'Armchair BEA 2016' tag.

2. Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer | Yes, this was a highlight of May. Disney’s live action adaptation of this timeless classic is going to be stunning. Of this I have zero doubt.
As proof of just how excited I am about this one, I wrote a thing on Finding Wonderland, and on Saturday, I wrote something about it on Silver Petticoat.
3. The Blog (Update) | I'm still going through a lot of the blog and either updating old reviews (because they're SO bad) or trying to fix old links. But I do still have a collaborative event blog post stuck in my mind. Hopefully soon-ish it'll be published.
Reviews like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. even got a little "review graphic" during my behind-the-scenes blogging work.
4. Captain America: Civil War | Saw this one on a whim in the theater, and OhMyGosh. How amazing it is. Guess this means I should be sharing my review, huh? Tomorrow, maybe.
5. Pride + Prejudice + Zombies | This movie is finally on DVD. Today. I cannot wait to pick up a copy, and hopefully, power through the book prior to getting my little hands on said DVD. Do we think I can do this!?  

…..Favorite Blog Posts…..
(Blog posts that, while not necessarily the most popular, were fun to write) 

1. Alice in Wonderland (2010) | I had fun revising this review and publishing it this past week. 

2. Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering | LOVED this novel, and learned there's not going to be one more in the series but two. Oh happy day. 

3. Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge | Beautiful story in every way. 

…..Monthly Popular Posts (May 2016)…..

1. Armchair BEA, Day Four | Giveaway (Closed)

…..Popular Posts the Week of May 24th-31st…..

1 . Top Ten Tuesday | In the Good Old Summertime 

2. Alice in Wonderland (2010) 


.......Books Read.......
May 2016

Someone Like you by Victoria Bylin
Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering
Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge 
…..Around the Interwebs….. 

Silver Petticoat:  Following in the footsteps of the norm, I enjoyed a fun month at the amazing-ness that is Silver Petticoat. Let’s take a quick look at what I contributed.

Articles and Lists | 10 Upcoming Small-Screen Period Dramas and 8 Upcoming Live-Action Fairy Tales (in production) were my "list" contributions, and on Saturday, I wrote about Beauty and the Beast with the piece Exploring Disney's Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer (because is there such as thing as "too much" discussion when it comes to BATB?) 

Film and TV Reviews | The 5th Wave (a YALit adaptation based on the best-selling novel); Can't Help Singing (a musical classic starring Deanna Durbing); David Copperfield (PBS Masterpiece adaptation); and What a Girl Wants (throwing it back to this lovely "classic" starring Colin Firth).
Romantic Moments | I contributed one Romantic Moment of the Week series with The Choice's Gabby and Travis from Nicholas Sparks' film adaptation.  

TV Recaps | I finished writing my series five Call the Midwife recaps on Silver Petticoat. *sniff* What a beautiful albeit emotionally taxing season. You can find them all by using the 'Call the Midwife recap' tag on Silver Petticoat. 

As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.
That's it for a look back at the month here on Finding Wonderland. I'm not sure what next month will bring since I'm still in a state of blogging disorganization, but either way, I'll be here, and as always, thank you for continuing to read Finding Wonderland, which enjoyed a great month because of you.
Thank you.


Top Ten Tuesday | In the Good Ole Summertime

Top Ten Tuesday

Happy Memorial Day, readers and friends! I trust you all enjoyed a safe, happy and wonderful holiday weekend. Hard to believe it’s now over. With May 30th coming and going on our calendar, the unofficial start of summer has begun in earnest. We’re now deep into the season of picnics, BBQ, pool parties and all those other lazy days that feel so good during the humid summer months.  

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday meme doesn’t really aptly apply to moi since I don’t go to the beach (I know), plus I don’t really know what defines a good “beach read.” For my purposes, I’m going to look at a beach read as a lighthearted, fun contemporary. Everyone seems to like contemporary in the summer, right?  

Broke and Bookish May 31st Topic 

Beach Reads Week
top ten great beach reads, ten books I plan to read on the beach, ten beach reads for those who don't like typical ~beach reads~, ten authors who are my go-to for beach reads, etc. 

This list is a mash up variety. Here’s why. (A) it’s partially a list of books I’d like to read this summer (and is therefore a kind of summer TBR) (B) it’s a selection of books I’d imagine WOULD be good beach reads and (C) a few of these I actually DID read, and they seem ideal candidates for a day at the beach. Let’s get this party started.  

1. The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof | Including this stunner because it’s on my must-read TBR, and it looks gorgeous! It’s online in August. So, don’t miss it. Amazon | Goodreads 

2. The One by Kiera Cass | Yes, it’s an embarrassment how often these show up on my Top Ten Tuesday posts. Why? Well, because, obviously, this means I’ve still in need of reading these final series beauties. A “guilty pleasure” read seems the optimal kind of YA read to enjoy on the beach. Amazon | Goodreads 

3. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han | I’ve long since wanted to read a novel by Jenny Han. This one sounds like something altogether lovely to start with, and seems to mesh well with a beach read theme. Amazon | Goodreads

4. Just One Summer (Novella) | This novella collection is pure summer delight from beginning to end. Think Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants only we never get to "see" these besties together. Amazon | Goodreads  

5. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones | I've bragged about this novel quite enough as far as my readers are likely concerned, but methinks it could always use a bit more. Amazon | Goodreads

6. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson | Aren’t all of Morgan’s perfect “beach reads”? This one was really cute. Amazon | Goodreads 

7. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Cannot wait to add this one to my collection. The design is so fun and colorful, which immediately catches your eye! Plus, this one sounds like fun too.  Amazon | Goodreads

8. Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan | Yes, this one was on my list just last week, but since I fully intend to read it this summer and it releases in June, I simply “had” to add it again. Amazon | Goodreads  

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | As usual, I’m dying to, and haven’t yet, read this novel. If it’s HALF as good as ‘Anna,’ I’m going to be one happy reader. Amazon | Goodreads 

10. Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins (Edited and co-authored) | I’ve read some not-so-good things about this novella collected. However I really enjoyed the Christmas collection, so reading this one (at some point) seems a must. Amazon | Goodreads 

11. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler | Don’t know a thing about this one except that it sounds interesting – and, I mean really, could there be a more perfect YA “beach read” than one about mermaids!? Amazon | Goodreads

12. From the Start by Melissa Tagg | Super cute story. Super cute book. Super fun author! Don’t miss this one. Amazon | Goodreads
13. Her One and Only by Becky Wade | Nearing the end of this one now. It’s sassy, smart and superb. What more could you ask for in a romance novel? Watch for a review (plus GIVEAWAY!) later this week. Amazon | Goodreads

Your turn. What books can you toss my way for beach read recommendations! I want to hear them all. Leave your Top Ten Tuesday posts if you joined in. I’d be glad to visit.
Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland (2010) - Tim Burton's Fantastical, Colorful World

Alice in Wonderland

Disney is known for bringing fantasy adventures to life with a kind of finesse that makes audiences and critics alike take notice (Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean). Couple with this, almost always, families can be assured Disney backing this ensure the promise of a fabulous time at the box office. 

Nightmares plague young Alice, intricate ones which involve white rabbits in waistcoats. Her father is the one person who comforts her in these moments, “pinching” the bad dreams away. Now ten years later with her beloved father gone and a mother who drags a reluctant Alice to the proper social functions, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) learns that her future has already been mapped out sans her knowledge or approval. Just as her beau is proposing marriage, Alice spots a white rabbit, and she promptly dashes after it. When the sneaky creature disappears down a hole, Alice peers down the dark opening only to fall headlong the never-ending hole that leads straight into Wonderland and strangely, her dreams. 

Under the tyrannical reign of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), Wonderland is not what it once was. She seized the kingdom from her peaceful sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) who remains in seclusion. Escorted by a pair of disputing twins, a harried rabbit and a tiny, but fearless mouse, Alice learns she is here to fulfill a prophecy, but the small band comes under attack while all of Alice’s companions are captured leaving her to wonder the strange place alone, while seeking the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) to set things to rights. 

Any major blockbuster has to have multiple things one thing going for it, not unlike that of the trade of a skilled juggler. Things that help include an impressive budge and film work, an all-star cast to carry it, and of course, the inevitable promotion. Add in the Disney name and you have a recipe of magical brilliance. Alice in Wonderland has been a story loved for generations, so it was only a matter of time before it would transition to the big-screen in a live-action picture. Earning the title of highest grossing movie to date (in 2010), one can see just why it garnered such admiration. It’s a fantastical adventure overflowing with all kinds of mishaps, danger and an epic battle, but above all is a lovely little Victorian costume drama that maybe suffers its greatest fault in trying to be a “proper” Victorian piece.


Alice in Wonderland

In the overall scheme, I wasn’t fond of the costume design, nor was the filming adequate in the style of a refined pastime, which might have transported us into the midst of a garden party with its simple beauty. Its opening therefore leaves something to be desired, never quite accomplishing or exuding confidence of its representation. The director instead depicts cloudier settings where Alice stands out overmuch during this sequence. Granted she should being the heroine, still it’s almost painfully apparent in comparison to the other party goers. Neither her dress nor hairstyle appropriately matches her surroundings, nor does her pale appearance help things. Later established aspects are shown as to why these are a purposeful detail.  

Having said that the costume design is unique, this cannot be argued. One of the prettiest is Alice’s “red dress” as seen when she attends the Red Queen. The White Queen’s wardrobe is always angelic, while the Mad Hatters’ is so bright and quirky. Costume designers pull together a design that compliments everyone. (Perhaps the most important wardrobe piece was the Hatters’ hat, he isn’t quite right without it, you know.) The special effects are incredible, even those filmed with a green screen are impressive. Backgrounds were very intricate and imaginative as one expects of director Tim Burton. Though everything eventually works itself into a better pace (after a rough beginning), once we set foot in the mythical land, nothing is quite the same again. Unlike the classic cartoon, this is more of a “grown-up” story of a beloved heroine who takes a self-examining journey. She discovers who she is, and of more importance, who she wants to be.

Alice in Wonderland Johnny Depp

As per usual of anything of this caliber, acting is first-rate, but we do experience some unease where newcomer Mia Wasikowska is concerned; she plays Alice with a sense of disorientation in the first ten to twenty minutes, perhaps explained away by her character unhappy in her circumstances. As usual, Johnny Depp is fabulous (these “wacky” roles always suit him), while Anne Hathaway gives her usual lovely performance. Even Helena Bonham Carter is an outstanding villain – there is just something about her shouting “off with his head!” or “I need a pig here” that is spot-on for her character. (Talented actor, Alan Rickman also lends his voice in a distinct manner.)  

If asked if this would be something I’d recommend, I would without question, so long as it would be to the right person, because no matter what, it cannot be argued, this is different. It’s the kind of different that isn’t soon forgotten and a journey, we wish to experience all over again. It’s like a grand painting that comes to life with beautiful nuances of bursting color where everything is seen in a whole new way.  

CONTENT: There are some “terrifying” creatures that might frighten youngsters. The film is rated PG.

Call the Midwife, Series Five (2015)

Call the Midwife

Every time I sit down to watch a new season of BBC’s Call the Midwife, I underestimate the sway it holds. By now I should have long since learned excellence is commonplace. There hasn’t been a time I didn’t sit in awe of what a beautiful and poignant series this is, and yet with each new season, I’m reminded anew at depth and strength of its emotional impact.  

Christmas is again upon Poplar. But there are strict rules and traditions the midwives and nuns of Nannatus House must observe. This means there will be no tree put up until a week immediately preceding Christmas. Already ill, this upsets Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt), who wanders off leaving Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) sick with worry. Elsewhere, the midwives are all busy with patients and new pursuits. Patsy (Emerald Ferrell) is still working through heartbreak, but has a patient expecting twins, which keeps her and Sister Mary Cynthia (Bryony Hannah) occupied.  

Meanwhile Shelagh (Laura Main) is busy organizing a Christmas program that Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) has learned the BBC plans to film for television! Naturally, this causes quite a flurry of anticipation and excitement in the small village. Trixie (Helen George) and Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) meet with rocky territory when, slowly, a friendship develops between Barbara and the pastor, Tom (Jack Ashton), who happens to be Trixie’s ex-fiancé.
TV SERIES REVIEW | Call the Midwife, Series Four (2014) 

Call the Midwife
There are so many beautiful moving parts of this series. Not the least of which is its two best assets. The writing (scripting is from frequent BBC talent, Heidi Thomas) and the characters, and by proxy, the actors who portray them with such class and finesse. Heidi Thomas never ceases to amaze me with the scripts she brings full circle week after week. Series five as a whole unit is no different. There are so many connected events and nuances that skipping one episode is something of an impossibility. There’s something about this show, quiet though it is, that keeps us glued to our television the many weeks it airs.  

The nuances the players give their characters, and by equal turn, the journey’s everyone goes on this season is beyond beautiful. I was, and still am, in awe of the way these characters arcs play out. From the challenge facing Dr. Turner (professionally), and a heartbreaking misfortunate befalling Sister Mary Cynthia to the cute albeit bittersweet story Nurse Phyllis Crane experiences, everyone is given a chance to shine even if only for one episode. Then there are my two favorite stories (if it’s even legit possible to choose when it comes to this show) are the darling romantics between Tom and Barbara, and Trixie’s journey. The former gives us many a lovely “romantic moment” (not to mention these two are perhaps better suited than Tom and Trixie?) and the latter is a cathartic experience, both for the audience, and more importantly, Trixie.  

Seeing Trixie spiral so far out of her depth in series four was heartbreak. Watching as she grew into a stronger person because of her weakness was lovely. She has earned so much respect. When this season begins, we’re immediately pulled into so many of these stories, one of which being babies being born with deformities. It’s these cases that tug on our heartstrings most.
Call the Midwife

From beginning to end, series five is beautiful. There’s nothing about this series I can think to change. It’s evolved and became next to impossible to nitpick or criticize. It’s real (with the understanding some sense of creative license has been taken), gritty and well portrayed. Series five may indeed be the best season yet, and given how brilliant the earlier seasons are, that’s a high mountain for series creator and the writers to climb. Yet they do, and it all cumulates with tears, and a memorable season of joy.

CONTENT: Some pregnancies are the result of out of wedlock relationships, and there is an episode that deals with the contraceptive pill being introduced. A man brutally beats up numerous women (off camera); prostitutes are involved in some cases. Every episode involves a scene of childbirth, some more intense than others. There are plenty of thematic, more "mature" themes presented throughout.

Top Ten Tuesday | Anticipatory #BookLove

Top Ten Tuesday

As I’m sitting here writing, I’m in a state of surprise to be participating in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme. Why, you ask? Well, this week’s topic just didn’t scream my bookish name. Oh, it’s a great topic, but I’m not much of a re-reader. Not that I don’t want to, it’s just I keep quite busy with new novels, and it's fabulous fun to discover new worlds upon new worlds. But then, as I’m whimsically prone to do, I got to thinking, and decided skipping wasn't an option (this week). Living by Lady Grantham’s famous words (“I’m a woman… I can be as contrary as I want.”), coupled with the fact that this weekly blogging opportunity is among my most favorite, it seemed an ideal situation. 

MOVIE NEWS | Disney's Beauty and the Beast

So, here we are. We’ve arrived at today’s Top Ten Tuesday post epicness. Because BOOKS.
Broke and Bookish May 24th Topic

Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.)

Instead of going the traditional route (since I don’t reread as I already explained), I chose to feature books that are poised to be my favorite kind of reads. Or in other words, below are ten reads I’m 99.9% sure I’ll adore. Apologies in advace if everything here and on out is scattered. This will, again, be a rush job. Let’s get started on the bookish fun.

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard | This one looks fierce. 'Nuff said. Amazon | Goodreads
2. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof | Cannot wait to read the lovely Joanne Bischof's next release. It looks beautiful, sounds amazing, and I'm excited. (*hint*) Watch for a giveaway closer to its release! #IndieBooksBeSeen Amazon | Goodreads
3. The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron | A novel set in the circus scene? Yes, please! Amazon | Goodreads
4. The One by Kiera Cass | I've read books one and two in this 'Selection' series, and have as yet to read this third and final (of the original series) book. I'm excited to finally read it (because I heart The Selection and The Elite) as well as they  two "spin-off" novels. Amazon | Goodreads
5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | I've eyed this one for a long time now, and still, I've not read it. The fact that it's a Beauty and the Beast inspired re-telling leaves me excited (plus that new trailer for the live-action adaptation), so someday, perhaps I'll read it. Now's your chance to hype this one if you were a fan. Amazon | Goodreads
6. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Loved 'Amy and Roger.' Looking forward to another unexpected bit of bliss from this contemporary author. Amazon | Goodreads
7. Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry | I've never read one of Katie's novels, but see them on Booktube all the time. Add in the fact that I'm a contemporary reader through and through, and I've got to wonder: why haven't I? Amazon | Goodreads
8. Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan | Love Rachel's easy-going style and "cozy mystery" feeling. This June 2016 novella promises to be amazing. Amazon | Goodreads

9. Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin | This one is next on my TBR. It has that 40s style done to perfection, plus its hero isn't bad to gaze at either. Not to mention the fact that I already know the story inside will be lovely. Amazon | Goodreads
10. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | How cute does this one look?! (In stores July 2016.) Amazon | Goodreads

Tell me, which of these have you read, loved, hated or felt differently with time? What are some of the books your feelings have changed for? Whether good, bad or ugly, I’d love to know. Comment down below with all of your bookish thoughts. Plus, feel free to leave your Top Ten Tuesday links, I love meeting new bloggers, and would be glad to visit. 

As always, thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Movie News | Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

A very good morning to you, readers. Today, I'm writing with some exciting upcoming film developments. What are they, you ask? Well, as you'll remember, I've already gushed, fangirl-ed and loved sharing about the cast line-up for Disney's (2017) live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. If I could were to drop any sense of comporting myself as a "professional," this blog post would be a string of incoherent excitement. As it is, I'm managing to remain composed. For the most part.

CASTING SCOOP | Beauty and the Beast

Why this excitement? Today, over a year after I posted said casting news, Disney dropped its first trailer for Beauty and the Beast, which is (as of now) set to release March 2017. Below you can see the trailer (just in case you haven't yet). I think it's absolutely smashing. It gives away nothing, but tells so much, all captured within these all too brief frames, but what is here looks gorgeous. I like that Disney is keeping this as "under wraps" as they can. This makes the anticipation all the greater. Let's have a look again at the cast, and detailed information.

Beauty and the Beast Emma Watson
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast Dan Stevens
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon from a screenplay by TBD based on the 1991 animated film, the film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017. - Disney Movie Trailers (via YouTube)
Have a peek at the trailer
What do YOU all think? The comment section is now yours. Have thoughts? Want to gush or rant?
Sound off below. I'd love to chat this one up with you.
Happy Monday, friends.
Thanks for visiting Finding Wonderland.

What a Girl Wants (2003)

What a Girl Wants

Every once in a while, I review a film that I "grew up" on, and it gives me #AllTheFeels. One such movie is What a Girl Wants. I first saw this one years ago during my teen years, and continue to love it to this day. My mother and I recently enjoyed a re-watch (after years of none) of it, and I think I speak for the both of us when I say, we're still enamored with its contemporized version of a fairytale.

There's something about this movie that continues to outlast those that have come since (within its pool of peers). From the heartwarming antics and complexities of the father/daughter relationship to the journey of "finding" oneself (and of course, the sweet romance doesn't hurt), this one is pure sunshine from beginning to end. Plus, I know many of us consider this one a favorite simply for Colin Firth.

Naturally, since I had a review due with Silver Petticoat today, I thought it the perfect avenue and chance to share some timeless fangirl feels. If you experience some of the same opinions as I of this one, comment down below with your thoughts. I've love to read them all.

What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants (2003) – A Contemporary Fairytale with Colin Firth

Regardless of being part of the millennium era of filmmaking, some films earn their place as a “classic.” What a Girl Wants is one such film (for me). Though it’s been many years since it came out (it released in the middle of my teen years making any re-watch of this a trip down memory lane), What a Girl Wants has resolutely weathered the storm. Some of the movies I once loved I’ve since grown out of; this isn’t one of them. What a Girl Wants has a staying power akin to that of The Princess Diaries. Fortunately, that’s not the only similarities to be drawn between these two films.

What a Girl Wants introduces us to 17-year-old Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes), a native New Yorker who grew up in Chinatown. Since she was born, it’s always been Daphne and her mom, Libby (Kelly Preston), a childhood Daphne has documented through a collection of photos. But that doesn’t mean Daphne has stopped dreaming of the day her father (growing up she repeatedly heard the romantic story of how her parents met) might find her. Daphne somehow believes that if she meets her father, she will finally know who she is. Continue Reading ➡


Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering - Ideal for Fans of ITV's Marple or Grantchester

Dressed for Death

About the Book:
Author: Julianna Deering
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery, book 4
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Mystery
Rating: 5 out of 5 

When Julianna Deering released Murder at the Mikado, I was certain we’d see the last of proper English gentleman Drew Farthering. Sad as it was, I was resigned (in a good place) to this because the story ended in a wonderful kind of way. Much happiness was mine (and likely many other readers) when the author announced there’d be not only one additional novel, but two. That was a happy day indeed. The first of those two novels released a couple of months back, and this story is the result of that winning announcement.  

Married life is good for Drew Farthering and his American bride, Madeline. For their sixth-month anniversary, Madeline ropes Drew into attending a regency house party hosted by the parents of Drew’s school chum. Needless to say, the idea of dressing in frills and 100-year-old costumes doesn’t appeal to Drew, but for Madeline he’s willing to do anything. With his best friend, Nick at his side, Drew’s knack for mystery again flairs up when the fiancée of his friend, Talbot Cummins, dies under mysterious circumstances.

Was it an accident or murder? Further complicating things is the arrest of Tal’s father, Mr. Cummins, a man Drew once respected now accused of dabbling in the drug trade, which leads Drew into a mystery that tangles deeper than he’d ever imagined.

As always, revisiting the world of the dashing Drew Farthering is a rare delight. No secret has been made of my crush on Drew, and concealing that now isn't something I'm prepared to begin. (I don’t mind saying the #WeHeartDrew hashtag should be a trending thing.) Set in the 1930s England, these novels are about as period authentic as I’d ever be able to imagine this era being. From the crisp, elegant language (including Drew calling Madeline “darling” *insert all the heart eye emojis*) to the settings, and afternoon tea, everything is spot-on lovely. 

If you enjoy visits to yesteryear, no one does historical escapism quite like Julianna Deering. If you were worried that a fourth book would get caught in a rut (because of the same setting/characters), you’ve nothing to fear. Everything is shaken up because of the trip into Regency era playacting. Plus, there are lots of Jane Austen references, which is always a bonus, right? In short, this novel is a delight from beginning to end. It does take its time in setting up the mystery (meaning there's a lot of purposeful and conversational sleuthing for clues rather than "action"), but it's never a boring journey.
If you like Marple, Grantchester or any cozy British mystery series, this one is dripping with snazzy British charm. From the accents (which you can totally "hear" because this is that well written) to the art deco cover design that is perfection, you're sure to enjoy Drew's latest adventure. It's one not to be missed.  
BOOK REVIEW | Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

Synopsis: Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone's concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal's father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what's going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear. – Goodreads 

Coming Next from Julianna Deering:  Drew and Madeline go up to Yorkshire to investigate mysterious happenings at Bloodworth Park Lodge. - Goodreads, 2017 

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes. My apologies to the author, and the publisher (sorry, Amy!) for the delay in publishing this review.

Giveaway | Julianna Deering's Dressed for Death

Hello, happy readers! Tonight I am finally posting all of the fun stuff I've been meaning to post all day long. Various delays (read: the busyness of life as we're all dealing with) prevented these happy events from happening. Fortunately, I'm finally getting around to that. Since I'm terribly late publishing a review for the fabulous Julianna Deering's novel Dressed for Death, by way of making up for that, I've chosen to host a little giveaway (for a copy of the book). If you'd like to know my feelings about the book (hint: it's all good), you can read the just published review. If you've not read these books yet, I simply have to ask and state: (a) why not?! and (b) wait no longer.

BOOK REVIEW | Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

If you've not read the books, you can also choose from the first three books in the series. However since Julianna's fourth novel is the spotlight, I'm highlighting it below with Amazon and GR links to the earlier three books. Let's get started. First up? A book synopsis, links and all that jazz.


Dressed for Death
Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone's concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal's father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what's going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear. - Amazon

Amazon | Goodreads

Rules of Murder, Amazon | Goodreads
Death by the Book, Amazon | Goodreads
Murder at the Mikado, Amazon | Goodreads

And now let's get the rule details out of the way.

The giveaway(s) is open to all readers. The prize will be a Kindle copy, unless otherwise noted (when applicable U.S. readers might have a paperback option). I do ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - there have been a few people I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification before another winner is randomly chosen.
To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget, which you'll find down below. The Giveaway ends May 28th.

Tweet any of the following "shareables" (if you use this as an entry, make sure to enter them in the Rafflecopter widget):

#Giveaway | Julianna Deering's Dressed for Death Enter today for a chance to win Drew & Co's new adventure. 🎩

Enter the #BookGiveaway on Finding Wonderland Features Julianna Deering novels! #WeHeartDrew #MustRead 🎩

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