Victoria, Series One (2016) – “Never Let Them Know How Hard It Is To Bear”


When the Sunday night time slot on Masterpiece PBS was sans Downton Abbey, a gem was lost. First promotions tried to push Mercy Street as a “replacement” (an unfair comparison if ever there was), and then 2017 arrived and with it, British TV’s latest crown jewel, Victoria.


At the tender age of eighteen, Victoria (Jenna Louise Coleman) finds herself not only responsible for an entire nation, but reigning as England’s queen. Her uncle has just died a childless ruler, which passes the crown to Victoria. Her German-born mother is under the thumb of her longtime adviser, Sir. John Conroy. A man who, is determined Victoria should be controlled with the use of a regent.


Unfortunately, Conroy underestimates Victoria and soon must face the reality that Victoria is no wilting violet. She refuses to let anyone dictate her rule, not even the whispers that soon she must marry sway her. The only man she trusts is her loyal adviser, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), a man she quickly loses her heart to. And then a man who doesn’t smile, but makes Victoria a better person walks into her life. His name is Albert (Tom Hughes)…

Each of the period drama productions I’ve seen from the likes of BBC or ITV are the kind of story telling one can only dream of writing. Added to their vault of brilliance is Victoria. It’s another captivating series that while special because of its relationship to actual history (fact over pure fiction) will touch many viewers. That said, as everything does, it does suffer some flaws.

Chiefly among them is the fact that, while many won’t notice or mind, for others this has formatted itself “too much” in the image of Downton Abbey. I fall into one of the former camps, but I can also fairly point out the stumbles. The fact that this script writes an “upstairs and downstairs” timeline is, perhaps, one of them. It helps that I adore all of the “downstairs” characters. The alternative stories are charming and altogether a new concept for this story. Despite the obvious throwback to the Fellowes saga (Downton Abbey), I respect, admire and appreciate the story, and furthermore “the how” of Daisy Goodwin’s scripts.   


What might most raise eyebrows is the alternative romance that captures the audience. Instead of the icon that is Victoria and Albert, before him, Goodwin offers Lord Melbourne as an option. While wildly contrary to history, I’ll confess this idea of Victoria falling for her trusted adviser a little swoony. Most especially with Rufus Sewell in the role. The “Rook Scene” is sure to shatter your heart in a million pieces, and whether you like the romance between Victoria and Melbourne or not, it’s remarkably well written and portrayed. (Plus this has the benefit of history urging you not to invest too emotionally.) The chemistry between Jenna and Rufus works really well and I adore what they have while it lasts. The genuine feelings they have for one another is what good character writing is all about.

From the top of the show pyramid to the tip of least importance, Victoria is gold. The acting (hello suave leading man Tom Hughes!), to the costumes and sets, Masterpiece again crowns itself, which is, a gem at the heart of its mantle. ♥

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Month in Review | January 2017


First month of 2017 is now in our rear view mirror. It was a full and busy month, which surprises me, but I can say, the year got off to a great start, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say. Plus, to end the month, today is the birthday of the best guy I know. So, we’ll have cake (which I made, and have since discovered still needs some tweaking), and on the off (off!) chance that my dad reads anything over here…

Happy Birthday to the best dad ever! (Nope, no bias here at all.)

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

»Favorites from January 2017«

1. Bookstagram Challenge | Tressa and I are hosting another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge. This one is ALL ABOUT THE ROMANCE! For reasons.

If you want to know more details or see the challenges, please visit our introduction post.

2. Gilmore Girls | I'm finally close to finishing the original run of this show, and have to ask: am I the only one who really wants to slap Lorelai? Like, really... Christopher!?

3. INSPYs 2017 (Updates!) | We just announced the 2017 long lists. If you've not seen them, take a look.

4. Music | Currently loving cover artists' music. My current favorites are Maddie Wilson's version of 'H.O.L.Y.' (Florida Georgia Line); Alex G's version of 'Better Man' (Little Big Town); and Megan Nicole's version of '7 Years.' Oh, and I rediscovered the song from Cinderella 'Lavender Blue.' 

What music are you loving? 

5. Sherlock | Okay, I just have to ask: who watched PBS’ (final?) season of Sherlock? I saw a lot of hate for it on Twitter, but since I finally picked up the DVD set and promptly watched it, I feel qualified to now weigh in. My thoughts can be summed up in one word: Brilliant. Naturally since I’m not a one-word kind of girl, in all likelihood, a review shall be forthcoming.

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


2. Love on Ice (2017) – Wintry Romance about Second Chances | Because who doesn't love sweet romance? 

3. The Musketeers, Season Three (2015) – BBC’s Swan Song of the Dumas Adventurer | Sad this is over, but if it had to end, this is how I'd want it to end. 

4. A Royal Winter (2017) – A Cinderella Fairy Tale (Plus a European Castle) | *Swoon* Another romance involving a prince. Of course, I'm SO there. 

5. Victoria, Series One (2016) – “Never Let Them Know How Hard It Is To Bear | This beauty is out on DVD today. In addition to reading my weekly recaps (through the season), you can now read Finding Wonderland's series one review today!

» Monthly Popular Posts | January 2017 «
Hallmark and Top Ten Tuesday rule this month's most popular. Why am I not surprised?






»Popular Posts the Week of January 24-31 «




»Finding Wonderland on Booktube | January 2017 «
(Click Graphics to see Videos)




 



»Books Read | January 2017 «

 

 

  


»Around the Interwebs«

Silver Petticoat:  Here’s a recap look at what I contributed to the amazing webzine, Silver Petticoat.

Articles and Lists | This past month I wrote "preview" articles for Hallmark Channel's 2017 Winterfest, and only yesterday, their Countdown to Valentine's Day romance line up! I also previewed some upcoming Small Screen Period Dramas plus took at look at what's opening in Theaters this Winter and what YA Books are Hitting Store Shelves in the next three months!

Film and TV Reviews | For reviews, I spent a lot of time in past eras with ITV's new The Durrells in Corfu where I visited Greece; later I took a trip to war-ravaged London with Acorn's Close to the Enemy. Oh! And I also visited a much dreamier version of Hollywood in the Golden Globe winning, La La Land.

TV Recaps | I began recapping ITV's Victoria this month. So far, there's three recaps up! If you want to catch up, gush or rant, well you knew where to find me. 


As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.
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That’s an end to the month here at #FindingWonderlandBlog. What was your bookish, blogging or life like this past month? Did you discover any new (and amazing) authors or reads? How about new bloggers? Or new booktube channels??? Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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Top Ten Tuesday | Bam! Pow! Wow! All About Heroes in Hooded Capes (aka Marvel Fangirl Feels) and Princesses


Today’s meme is going to depart from the bookish norm because apparently I’m lame like that.

Broke and Bookish January 31 | All about the visuals: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books

Though there is more than one, one of the genres I don’t read is graphic novels or comic books. It’s never been a phenomenon I’ve gotten into. In fact, I wasn’t really interested in the film adaptations that began rolling out a handful of years ago. Then I watched Captain America: The First Avenger, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since I don’t read either comic or graphic novels, and I’ve long since outgrown picture books (most of the time - shhh!), although I do still appreciate many a picture books, I thought I’d talk about super heroes in general. Because, um, is there any limit to their awesomeness?

To make things interesting, I’ve broken this week’s “animation” theme and subjects into two parts. “Part one” is all about those dashing heroes (and heroines!), and “part two” looks at five of the animated Disney stories I love best.

Let’s get started, shall we?

5 Splendid Superheroes (From the Comic Book World)

1. Agent Peggy Carter from Agent Carter | Is there a classier lady in the MCU world? I’d argue there isn’t.

2. Captain Steve Rogers aka Captain America | Yeah, putting the moral compass known as Steve Rogers on this list was a given. Plus how can I not put Steve on a list with Peggy!?

3. Dr. Stephen Strange from Doctor Strange | There are many superheroes I could put on this list in place of Dr. Strange but since I’ve gushed about them plenty (*notices that didn’t stop me from adding the Cap and Peggy*), I decided to give the good Doctor a place as one of the five. He’s an interesting character to be sure, and one who I think has much to say.

4. Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow | I know, I talk about Olly ALL THE TIME. But I think this dude gets a back rap too often, so I take all opportunity to gush over him. Plus, there’s Stephen Amell. Just sayin’. Arrow, Season One (Review) 

5. Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch | Who to give this final spot to was a debate. First it was going to go to Rogue (because that girl is one interesting, complex character), and then it was Black Widow (because she’s kick-butt awesome), but ultimately, I decided to give it to Wanda. I think she has so much more to her than first impressions, plus I thought her character arc in ‘Civil War’ was impressive.

5 Amazing Animated Stories (From Storymaster Disney)

1. Merida of Brave | Though I don't agree with everything about this story, it's still sweet. 

2. Anna & Elsa of Frozen | Sisters, a true love plot twist, a snowman who loves summertime, and fairy tale retelling. Clearly, loving this story wasn’t a problem.

3. Rapunzel and Flynn of Tangled | Who doesn’t love this Rapunzel reimagining? Or maybe the more accurate question is: who loves Flynn?

4. Tinkerbell of Peter Pan | Because who doesn't love Tinkerbell? (Also, yes, I did watch the first - and second? - animated film they made about her.) 

5. Lt. Judy Hopps of Zootopia | Despite my reservations about this, a new Disney addition, I do like this film. It’s sweet and its besties are too cute.

FINDING WONDERLAND ON BOOKTUBE 

___________________________________

This brings another edition of Top Ten Tuesday fun to a close. Thanks to you all if you made it to the end of this unusually mismatched edition. What did you chose to spotlight for today’s prompt? Let’s talk about all things animation stories, books or the like.

I always respond to your comments, and though it might take me a few days, I happily visit your Tuesday posts, so be sure to share your posts if you joined in.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.  
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Victoria 'The Clockwork Prince' Recap – Albert! ...and A Defining Proposal


Victoria Episode Three, ‘The Clockwork Prince’ Recap 

After last week’s ‘Brocket Hall’ episode, Victoria began a new romance to passionately root for.

And it all begins with a single, fleeting, but so important first glance…

The Beginning

The episode picks up immediately where last week’s left us (which was in a state of swooning). With that first, romantic glance between Queen Victoria and her cousin Albert. From the moment their eyes meet, there is a kind of wonder and enchantment that passes between them. (Of course, given this couple’s history, I also recognize that knowing how their love story blossoms makes it tough to root for any other outcome.) They don’t really know anything about each other, but there is something that lingers between them.


Thoughts

This episode is as beautiful as those that came before. I do feel like Victoria and Albert’s romance has been cheated (a bit) considering the interesting dynamic between Victoria and Lord M.

Last night’s proposal scene is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen immortalized on screen, a scene I’ll take a closer look at later this week in our Romantic Moment of the Week feature. Read this recap in its entirety on Silver Petticoat Review🠖

What do you all think of Victoria so far!? Let me know down below!




Photos: ITV. This article first appeared on SilverPetticoatReview.com 
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INSPYs 2017 | Presenting the 2017 INSPY Longlists


G'morning my fellow book nerd friends. Today is a great day in the INSPY timeline. Today is the day we pull back the mysterious veil and reveal the books that YOU nominated for the 2017 INSPYs.

Many thanks so all of you who nominated these books, and many happy congratulations to the authors whose books have made the long list cut.

Without further preamble or rambling or hype, allow me to share with you all the 2017 longlist. Read on for our official INSPYs announcement.
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Hello fellow readers, blogger and authors. Before we announce the 2017 longlists, we first want to recap our year so far. First we welcomed our newest board member, Kara and then announced the inclusion of INDIE novels to our nomination process. Like last year, the following nomination process applied to each of our seven categories.

To help simplify our nomination process, we made some adjustments to our awards program. To that end, instead of publicizing our long list of nominations as they poured in, the Advisory Board kept the list private since the method of nomination involved a process of popular vote. The number of books that received the most nominations (the top 15 from each category) came out as the winners, which then determined the long lists.

Due to insufficient nominations or ineligibility, some categories fall short of the requisite 15 novels.

From the lists below, the Advisory Board will be narrowing these respective lists down to five books per category which will become our 2017 short lists. From there, the same judging process and practices will follow.

Grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy browsing through the books that YOU nominated, propelling them into “phase two.”

Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense
A Twist of Faith (Firefly Southern Fiction) by Pepper Basham
Silence in the Dark (Revell) by Patricia Bradley
Step by Step (Tyndale) by Candace Calvert
The Wedding Shop (Zondervan) by Rachel Hauck
Just a Kiss (Thomas Nelson) by Denise Hunter
Can’t Help Falling (Howard Books) by Kara Isaac
Tell me Lies (Brown Girls Faith) by Michelle Lindo-Rice
First Crush (Bling! Romance) by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig
Finders Keepers (Radiant Publications) by Sarah Monzon
How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart (White Rose Publishing) by Candice Sue Patterson
Christmas Conspiracy (Love Inspired) by Susan Sleeman
The Heart’s Hostage (Sheaf House Publishers) by Jen Stephens
Like Never Before (Bethany House) by Melissa Tagg
Her One and Only (Bethany House) by Becky Wade
You’re the One that I Want (Tyndale) by Susan May Warren

Debut Novel
Forgiven (Cerrillo Press) by Carol Ashby
Counted with the Stars (Bethany House) by Connilyn Cossette
Slender Reeds: Jochebed's Hope (Shiloh Run Press) by Texie Susan Gregory
The Lost Generation (Elk Lake Publishing) by Erica Marie Hogan
Close to You (Howard Books) by Kara Isaac
The Secret to Hummingbird Cake (Thomas Nelson) by Celeste Fletcher McHale
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus (Tyndale) by Beth Moore
Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations (WhiteFire) by V. Joy Palmer
- Leaving Independence (Waterfall Press) by Leanne W. Smith

General Fiction
Land of Silence (Tyndale) by Tessa Afshar
Weighed Down (Elk Lake Publishing) by Laurie Bolden
The Feathered Bone (Thomas Nelson) by Julie Cantrell
Twilight at Blueberry Barrens (Thomas Nelson) by Colleen Coble
The Promise of Jesse Woods (Tyndale) by Chris Fabry
Forest Child (Woodhaven Press) by Heather Day Gilbert
Long Way Gone (Thomas Nelson) by Charles Martin
The Secret to Hummingbird Cake (Thomas Nelson) by Celeste Fletcher McHale
The Alliance (Tyndale) by Jolina Petersheim
Of Stillness and Storm (Thomas Nelson) by Michèle Phoenix
Nor Forsake (Presley Publishing) by Julie Presley
A Portrait of Emily Price (Thomas Nelson) by Katherine Reay
Song of Silence (Abingdon Press) by Cynthia Ruchti
Lead Me Home (Tyndale) by Amy K. Sorrells
The Things We Knew (Thomas Nelson) by Catherine West

Historical Romance
The Thorn Healer (Vinspire Publishing) by Pepper D. Basham
The Thorn Keeper (Vinspire Publishing) by Pepper D. Basham
A Flight of Arrows (WaterBrook) by Lori Benton
The Lady and the Lionheart (Mason Jar Books) by Joanne Bischof
The Ringmaster’s Wife (Thomas Nelson) by Kristy Cambron
The Cautious Maiden (Whitaker House) by Dawn Crandall
The Captive Heart (Shiloh Run Press) by Michelle Griep
Newton and Polly (WaterBrook) by Jody Hedlund
An Elegant Facade (Bethany House) by Kristi Ann Hunter
A Heart Most Certain (Bethany House) by Melissa Jaegers
Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media) by Keely Brooke Keith
The Sound of Emeralds (WhiteFire) by Rachelle Rea
She Walks in Power (Ransom Press) by MaryLu Tyndall
A Lady Unrivaled (Bethany House) by Roseanna M. White
The Confessions of X (Thomas Nelson) by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Literature for Young Adults
Unblemished (Thomas Nelson) by Sara Ella
The Beautiful Pretender (Thomas Nelson) by Melanie Dickerson
The Silent Songbird (Thomas Nelson) by Melanie Dickerson
A Daring Sacrifice (Zondervan) by Jody Hedlund
- I’ll Be Yours (Sweet Pea Productions) by Jenny B. Jones
Forever Doon (Blink) by Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp
Gilt Hollow (Blink) by Lorie Langdon
The Glass Castle (Shiloh Run Press) by Trisha White Priebe
One Paris Summer (Blink) by Denise Grover Swank
Siren’s Song (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber

Mystery/Thriller
If I Run (Zondervan) by Terri Blackstock
The Domino Effect (Bethany House) by Davis Bunn
Deep Shadows (Harvest House) by Vanetta Chapman
Dressed for Death (Bethany House) by Julianna Deering
Always Watching (Revell) by Lynette Eason
The Waves Break Gray (Running Girl Prodcutions) by Sibella Giorello
Tangled Webs (Revell) by Irene Hannon
Missing (Revell) by Lisa Harris
Conspiracy of Silence (Bethany House) by Ronie Kendig
The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder (Harvest House) by Rachel McMillan
A Lesson in Love and Murder (Harvest House) by Rachel McMillan
Fatal Frost (Bethany House) by Nancy Mehl
When Death Draws Near (Thomas Nelson) by Carrie Stuart Parks
Cold Shot (Bethany House) by Dani Pettrey
The Progeny (Howard Books) by Tosca Lee

Speculative Fiction
Seasons of Glory (Blink) by Lisa T. Bergren
Light of the Last (Multnomah) by Chuck Black
The Shattered Vigil (Bethany House) by Patrick W. Carr
The Calling (Tyndale) by Rachelle Decker
Accelerant (Enclave) by Ronie Kendig
Merchant of Alyss (Revell) by Thomas Locke
Rebirth (Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing) by Amy Brock McNew
The Long Journey to Jake Palmer (Thomas Nelson) by James L. Rubart
Beast (Enclave) by Chawna Schroeder
A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold (Rooglewood Press) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Far and Near (David C. Cook) by Amanda G. Stevens
King’s Folly (Bethany House) by Jill Williamson

We’d like to congratulate all of the nominated authors and thank all of the bloggers and readers who put forth their favorite reads of 2016. 

We’re ready to get to work and find the top five in each of these categories. ♥
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Love and Friendship (2016) – Austen’s Novella ‘Lady Susan’ is Adapted


When news broke that there was to be a new Jane Austen adaptation, containing my fangirl excitement wasn’t a possibility. This particular adaptation imagines how Austen’s little-known novella, Lady Susan, should be told on a larger stage.


Scandal is what Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) does best. She leaves a string of broken hearts, and colors outside the lines of propriety. Or so the gossip says. But the facts remain Lady Susan does leave her prior residence in the wake of scandal. Through it all is her good friend and confident Alicia (Chloë Sevigny), a woman who married for money, of course; and her reluctant, shy daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark).

After placing her daughter in a boarding school, Lady Susan relocates to her brother’s estate for a period of time. While living among their society she begins the chase anew with the much younger, Reginald De Courcy (Xavier Samuel). Complications beyond Lady Susan’s schemes arise when her daughter arrives, bringing with her a precipitously rebellious heart.

Romantic Moment of the Week | Lizzy Bennet and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy

After months of excitement and waiting, I finally saw this (at the time a month or better past its home entertainment release). It’s with regret that I have to report, Love and Friendship isn’t up to the task of exceptional Austen adaptations. Helmed by Wit Stillman, the style of this isn’t quite what I expected which completely threw me. As a Georgian film, this steps away from Austen’s usual comfort zone of Regency era, which I do love. It puts an entirely new spin on an Austen film with a new sense of freedom (and playful fun). Sadly, this freedom is all well and good for many reasons, but the style in which this is shot is not one of them.

Something about the filming feels “off” and quite simply, awkward. What it is I cannot place my finger on, but it’s there. As I sat down to write this review after weeks of pondering the story, I found I couldn’t remember a great deal about it. This gave me pause. To me, this says this isn’t a terribly memorable (for me) story, and that made me sad. This inspired a bit of “refresher” Google searching (because Google knows everything) and I was quickly reminded of who everyone was if not entirely the conclusions of each story.

(Never fear, I do remember enough, and feel confident enough to push ahead with this review.)


The story is said to be an epistolary one which is part of the reason the film undertakes these stylings. As is the usual Austen style, the characters have flair and personality like none other. This leads me to the actors. Everyone is top of the line. From the supporting cast brimming with new talent to Chloë Sevigny, everyone puts their best foot forward. Although none surpass Kate Beckinsale, who is wickedly good in her role as the (mostly) unlikable, Lady Susan. No stranger to period pieces, Beckinsale was able to tap into some of her Emma Woodhouse (from A&E’s Emma) characteristics with this role. What works so well is that she, somehow, makes us like her. Just a little bit.

If you’re a fan of zany period drama that isn’t afraid to poke fun at society or its players, then Love & Friendship is a darn good time. It’s got the usual “wicked” sense of humor we’re so accustomed to from Austen adaptations, but the cast goes a long way in endearing this. 
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Jason Bourne (2016) – Exciting and Exhilarating, Bourne is Back!


It’s been a drought for action fans with the exclusion of our favorite assassin turned rouge agent, Jason Bourne. When Matt Damon’s return to the iconic role of Jason Bourne was announced, there was excitement, disappointment and probably some opinions that fell somewhere in-between. Mine was, obviously, the former.


It’s been years since the CIA had a sighting of Jason Bourne (Damon). Without a name, country or family, Jason is a ghost. He's been restlessly moving from one place to other, never finding peace. Then a face from his past reenters his life. Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is working with a dark web hacker with plans to release all of the Treadstone files. But first she has to get information about Jason’s past to him.

Their reunion sparks the interest of the CIA and danger is again their normal. Particularly invested in the case is CIA Cyber Crimes head, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikandar). Underneath the establishment of Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), Heather determines to be the one to bring in Bourne. But before she can accomplish anything, she has to set about gaining his trust, which might set into motion events she never fathomed.

FILM REVIEW | Jack Reacher (2013) - Smart, Clever Scripting Enchances Tom Cruise Mystery

The hashtag of summer blockbusters was all about “Jason Bourne” or some variation of “Bourne is Back.” This was the buzz surrounding the film that has been nearly ten years in the making. Whether fans walked away feeling as if the wait was worth it or not, one thing that cannot be argued is that Jason Bourne did indeed return.

As an overarching story, I think the script overreaches. It tries “too hard” to jump back into this world, and as a result, feels like it repeats a little too much of itself. It’s really in the “smaller” happenings that this film shines. Going into greater detail seems an impossibility because I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s see if I can explain the meaning of this thought with some clarification.

Jason has always been a pro at whatever he’s doing. We learned as the series progressed that was once as a soldier, later as an assassin, and eventually as the thorn in the CIA’s side. He hasn’t lost this edge, and so it’s really in the clever intricacies of what he does that the film works best. So much of the larger story is about Bourne’s past, which I feel, as a viewer, we’ve learned “enough” about.

That said, if any series can get away with a trip or two, it’s this one. I appreciate it like no other actioner series. Perhaps this is because, this was probably one of the first series (of this genre) I ever got “into” or perhaps it’s the character. Whatever the reason, I have a soft spot for this franchise. This film hasn’t lowered my esteem in the least.

The characters remain complex, interesting beings. There is regret about one character early on before we become interested in solving the enigma that is newbie, Heather Lee. I cannot say more about her character without spoiling the story, but suffice to say, she’s one you’re sure to question more than once: I’m still left wondering, what her real motivations are!

Though I’d be first in line to see Damon return as the titular character, I do think the end is about as good as it is likely to get for him. Ideally, I’d want to see him happy as he was with Marie (from The Bourne Supremacy) but given the writer’s wanting to go for “grittier” or realism, I don’t see them giving this to us. The action sequences are all any blockbuster fanatic could ask for (albeit one does go a little too exaggerated) and the action keeps the story moving at a rapid pace. As the film concludes, and the familiar theme plays, we have a sneaking suspicion Jason Bourne is not yet done with the CIA, and whether they like it or not, he’s always got an ace waiting to best them.

Content: There are countless instances of cars being smashed and demolished. Men engage in hand-to-hand combat (sometimes with brutal results); victims suffer stab or gunshot wounds, sometimes with fatal results. Commonplace profanity peppers the 2-hour film. The film is rated PG13.
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Top Ten Tuesday | Most Read Book Reviews


Today is all about the do-whatever-list-you-want prompt. Or as the originators of the Top Ten Tuesday meme like to dub it, the “Top Ten Tuesday Freebie.”


Broke and Bookish January 24 | FREEBIE --- that super specific list you want to make?? All yours to tackle this week!

I struggled like nobody’s business to come up with a topic for today. Why? Well, because apparently I was in a creative-mode-slump. Or maybe I simply lack the imagination to come up with anything revolutionary. Or maybe it has to do with my overthinking, “But that’s been done before!” (We are our own worst critics, aren’t we!?)

This led to a myriad of possibilities. At first I was going to feature contemporary romances. But much as I wanted to feature those with a bit of a spin, I changed my mind. Then I got to wondering which of my book reviews were among the most read.

This may seem like a “boring” gauge, but for me it was fun because it allows me to revisit some books I might like to (someday) re-read, and put some books on the list that aren’t normally featured. The only downside to this feature is the great possibility these books boast cringe-worthy reviews. With bravery I shall endeavor to push ahead.

While these may not be wholly accurate (because I put the list together manually – what can I use as an analytic tool that will let me sort my most read posts by label?), I do think they’re close enough.


1. A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert | There is clearly a reason why this novel is at the top of my list. This story, likes its title and its author’s prose, is beautiful in so many ways. Amazon | Goodreads

2. Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson | Aw, this is probably one of my first book reviews ever. Because of this, I advise the following. Skip the review (*realizes this list brings up old, badly written reviews*) and go straight for reading the book. Fans of this petite gymnast will enjoy reading this biography novel. Amazon | Goodreads

3. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks | Despite my petty complaints of Sparks’ novels (in general), I do enjoy reading them. This one is no exception although overall, I like I like the film adaptation of this story best. Amazon | Goodreads

4. Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade | If this novel were an emoji, it’d be full of the heart-eyed smiley face. This book is made of swoons and sweet kisses, and still it gives its reader a deep, impacting story. A five-star stunner that is never going to lose its place on my shelf. Amazon | Goodreads 

5. Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter | Denise always writes lovely contemporary romance, so go forth and read her novels. Amazon | Goodreads

6. The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann | This marked the first novel that I read by Kristen, but it wasn’t the last. From the leading couple falling in love as marrieds to the emotional impact of the story, this book is perfection. Amazon | Goodreads

7. Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck | Anyone who adores contemporary fairy tales or fairy tales a-la Hallmark Channel’s branding should be reading this book. It’s enchanting. Amazon | Goodreads 

8. It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren | A family saga that spans six books, this is one of my favorites of the bunch. Amazon | Goodreads

9. Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren | The first book in that family saga (see book numbered “9”), this sets the tone for what’s to come in this contemporary series. Amazon | Goodreads

10. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks | And to end the list, we have another novel by prolific author, Nicholas Sparks. This is actually one of my favorite stories by him. But once again, I think (overall), I prefer the film adaptation which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. Amazon | Goodreads

FINDING WONDERLAND ON BOOKTUBE (Publishes Tuesday Afternoon)


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That concludes another week of Top Ten Tuesday here on Finding Wonderland. What did you all spotlight with this week’s up-to-you-topic? Share your thoughts down below. I’d love to chat all things books, or not books with you.

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