Top Ten Tuesday | ARCs I’d ALMOST Slay a – (?) – Lion? Dragon? to Get Early

Monday, April 30, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | ARCs I’d ALMOST Slay a – (?) – Lion? Dragon? to Get Early

Hey there, happy readers. Happy May first and MAY DAY! Where does time go? We’re nearly at the halfway mark of 2018. But before we reach that official point, let’s welcome May with an all new edition of Top Ten Tuesday.

That Artsy Reader Girl May 1: Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early (Submitted by Emma) 

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

This topic is SO much fun – many thanks to Emma for the creative submission. I must also say this is the perfect subject for me since anytime I have the opportunity to read a copy of a novel I’m anticipating, it’s kinda a big deal. A big deal in the sense of it’s an honor for this blog to be considered to feature a favorite author’s new novel.

It’s always an honor to, in a small way, help spread the word on amazing fiction alongside all of the fellow bloggers in this community.

Today’s top ten list subject wants us to talk a little bit about the books – novels that have a few months (or more than?!) left before launch, we cannot wait to get our bookworm hands on. My list of ten is simple but beside each number sits a book I’m curious about (for many reason) and eager to add to my collection. Some are titles I’ve been anticipating from the start, others are recent discoveries as I put this list together. Either way, I’m ready to enjoy some great upcoming fiction.

Let’s take a peek at some of the fiction heading our way.

1: Carols and Chaos by Cindy Antsey | I’ve not yet read any of Cindy’s books (my loss), but they look and sound adorable. There is one sitting on my shelf, so there’s no excuse keeping me from reading them. In stores September 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

2: Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof | Joanne's novels never disappoint. Her writing and characters are memorable. I've no doubt her latest novel will follow suit. In stores July 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

3: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Justina Chen | Only recently took a second look at this one, but it sounds really interesting - kind of like a premise that mirrors Everything, Everything. In stores July 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

4: The Truth Between Us by Tammy L. Gray | Still reading book one in this duo, but I'm loving it. (The slowness has nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with my current busyness.) It's safe to say, I'm thrilled (as I just discussed in a recent Waiting on Wednesday), book two is arriving so closely behind book one. In stores July 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

5: All Made Up by Kara Isaac | This book is a recent discovery, so I have to shout – HOW DID I NOW KNOW KARA HAS A NEW BOOK ARRIVING? Needless to say, I’m excited. Available online September 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

6: A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson | Though I'll confess I liked the original cover for this story better, the repackage in no way dampens my excitement for a new novel from Liz. This story sounds lovely - as I know it will be. In stores October 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

7: In Another Time by Caroline Leech | I say it frequently, but will repeat it. YA historical is something I’d really like to read more of. Here’s hoping one of the authors who’s books I enjoy is Caroline Leech and her WWII romances. In stores August 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

8: The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord | *ahem* Adding this one is probably a little premature. But what can I say? When Emery Lord announced a sequel to The Start of Me and You (*heart eyes*), excitement went through the roof. In stores 2019. Amazon | Goodreads

9: Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan | Rachel’s 1900s mysteries were a hoot – and cute to boot. Needless to say, when a kind of “spin off” series was announced, the Roaring 20s never sounded so exciting. In stores July 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

10: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’ Neil | This one doesn’t really fit on the list because it releases this month (therefore the “finished copy” wait is nearly over), but it was a new-to-me book that sounds so good (a Little Mermaid re-telling). Therefore I didn’t want to leave it off the list. In stores May 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

*video publishes Tuesday afternoon; channel linked above

Let’s chat about the books you’d maybe (yes or no?) slay a lion – or mayhap a dragon? – to get an early copy of. What books or authors would inspire this kind of dedication from you? Let me know all the bookish fun and thoughts down below. I’d love to chat with you all.

If you joined today’s meme, make sure and leave your Top Ten Tuesday links below so I can visit – or simply introduce your blog. I’d be glad to visit your bookish spaces.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Month in Review | April 2018 + #Booktube Talk

Month in Review | April 2018 + #Booktube Talk

Hey, there (almost) May 1! Another end of another month brings with it yet another Finding Wonderland Month in Review recap-y thing. April began to shed its winter coat, and this last week, spring seems to have shown up – those tulips are above ground. Ciao, April 2018. Bonjour, May!

Here we go.

»Favorites from April 2018«

1: British and Canadian Dramas | Recently I’ve been watching some amazing British and Canadian TV! One that belongs to the former camp is Little Women. Guys, though my review probably won’t sound like this is true, this one is so sweet. I plan to share a review soon – in celebration of its US debut. Make sure you keep an eye out.

2: Dancing with the Stars | The four-week edition of DWTS begins tonight! Who’s going to watch and who will you root for?

3: INSPYs | This past month we introduced you to our 2018 judging panels and today – YAY!! – our shortlists were announced. (Or they will be... coming soon!)

4: Instagram Stories | Over this last month, I’ve been posting a little bit more on IG stories… but I don’t feel like I post anything particularly “interesting.” Fellow book bloggers and bloggers, what do you use stories for? Let me know if there’s any tips or advice you’ve found helpful – or let me know what you’d LIKE to see on my IG stories.

5: Ugly Betty | Because there's simply no funny TV anymore (or it's rare), last month I bought a couple of episodes of Ugly Betty, and aw, it's quite cute. (Plus Eric Mabius aka Oliver O'Toole – Signed, Sealed and Delivered, co-stars. How funny is it to see him in such a different role??) Have you watched this one? Send me all of your funny TV show recommendations.

»Wishful Wonder Bookstagram Challenge«

There’s another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge. The fun begins May 1! All the details can be found in the introduction post. PS: if you’d ever like to join in as a host, let me know.

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

THROWBACK FAVORITES | aka the section in which we take a peek at what I was writing about or posting this time last year.

2: Romantic Movie Scene Feature | One of my favorite romantic moment scene features to write is this scene from First Daughter. The scene is lovely and gorgeous. Certainly memorable. 

» Monthly Popular Posts | April 2018 «

3: Romance Scene Spotlight | When Calls the Heart: The Wedding (Come by and share all your thoughts on WCTH's finale. I've read all the spoilers!!)

»Popular Posts the Week of April 23 -30 «

3: Romance Scene Spotlight | When Calls the Heart: The Wedding (Come by and share all your thoughts on WCTH's finale. I've read all the spoilers!!)

When Sparks Fly 2014
Aurora Teagarden Boyfriend Martin
Christmas in Homestead 2016
Gunsliger Girl Lindsay Ely
Jack Thornton on When Calls the Heart
Mountie Jack Thornton Elizabeth

»Finding Wonderland on Booktube | April 2018 «

»Books Read | April 2018 «

Um, nothing but some INSPY reading. Should I even be admitting this? Should I even allow myself to be claimed as an avid reader!?

»Around the Interwebs«
what else am I writing?

Silver Petticoat | Though it’s undergoing a new behind the scenes changes (including less content), there’s still plenty of amazing reads over on Silver Petticoat. Here’s a recap look at what I contributed to the amazing webzine.

Articles and Lists | We posted our seasonal “box office”preview for the spring 2018 season! Come by and share which films you’re excited to see on the big screen.

Film and TV Reviews | Reviews this month included the Amazon Prime period drama The Last Post. Though emotional and bittersweet, this one impresses. Then as is the usual, I feature a couple of Hallmark productions including The Sweetest Heart (part of their Spring Fever campaign) and the season four premiere of Good Witch.

TV Recaps | None!

As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.

That’s an end to the month here at #FindingWonderlandBlog. What was your bookish, blogging or life like this past month? What tips, advice or new tricks are you learning to keep up with the changing blogging world? Did you discover any new (and amazing) authors or reads? How about new bloggers? Or must-try new finds? Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.

Wishing you a wonderful and flower-filled new month. Hope it's spring in your part of the world.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

The Last Post (2017), Season One – Military Period Drama Finds Chaos and Romance on Remote Post

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Last Post (2017), Season One

Though it's currently the “it” thing for networks or services to do, I’m always a little wary of streaming originals. Particularly because streaming services don’t have the same restrictions networks now do. But when a new period drama crops up, I do sit up and take notice.

Today’s review takes on a little Storytime format as I attempt to share my thoughts on The Last Post.

An Amazon Prime original (at least for the stateside rights), The Last Post looked to be on the verge of “depressing,” but also boasted too many temptations for me not to eventually watch. Armed with the mental preparedness of its mature themes and emotional toll, I settled in to watch episode one. By the end I’d discovered I liked the show, but also held lukewarm feelings on the pilot. The acting was superb, but the pace wasn’t to my liking.

Weeks pass, and I don’t watch the rest of the episodes. Finally, I had to finish the series to complete a review, so I played episode two and the rest, as they say, is history. That’s all it took to convince me this was a series I really (really) wanted to continue to watch unfold.

Inside this world is one of intrigue, romance and a great deal of emotional turmoil. Whether it be the death of fellow soldiers, a difficult birth or the ill choices of an emotional alcoholic, the good storytelling stacks up. Not only is the script fantastic, the acting is beyond brilliant. The cast includes new and familiar faces. 

Among the newcomers is Jeremy Neumark Jones, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Louis Greatorex plus Jessie Buckley who turned in a brilliant performance in the recent A&E series War & Peace. Here her character arc is different, but shows similarities, and she plays Honor with class and genuine emotion. Veteran stars include Ben Miles (Lark Rise to Candleford, The Crown), Stephen Campbell-Moore (Our Zoo), Essie Davis (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), and Jessica Raine who many will remember as fan favorite Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife.

Though everyone is brilliant, it’s really Jessica’s performance that takes her character up one more peg on the messy character scale. Her performance of an embittered woman without friends or happiness is among the best of Britain performances. Beyond the acting, everything else is also quality filmmaking. The sets, scripts and costumes are gorgeous even in the harsh realities of military living.

Last week I review this series on Silver Petticoat. As always, if you want to read my “official review,” you can follow the links down below. It’s certainly one I believe deserves a second season.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. See the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Thor: Ragnarok on DVD or watch digitally on Amazon (with Prime) Video.

Have you seen this 6-part series? What were your impressions? Share all the comments down below.

One of the newer streaming series to release under the “Amazon Originals” banner, the 60s era drama The Last Postentices period drama aficionados with its superb cast. Produced by BBC, the series isn’t the usual “pretty picture” production that put stars in our eyes. That said, the series is interesting and emotional, all in the best of ways. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat →

(Content: there is adult content in this TVMA rated series. 2-3 sex scenes [episode one being the most prolonged], and in an emotionally charged scene, a woman prepares for a self-inflicted abortion [non graphic]. She also questions a doctor about abortion. There is talk of an extra marital affair. About 5 f-words are used along with some other commonplace profanity.)

Hallmark Channel Preview | 'The Beach House' and Season Four of 'Good Witch' Premiere

Saturday, April 28, 2018

As they do every weekend, Hallmark Channel is about to sweep us up into new and enchanting originals. Though one favorite TV show has ended, another is about to begin, plus there's an all-new movie premiere. 

Tonight, you can watch the premiere of the latest Hallmark Hall of Fame original, The Beach House. Based on the novel by Mary Alice Monroe's “timeless tale of love and sacrifice.” The story is about a woman named Cora, who's relationship with her mother is complicated. Believing she's left her Southern roots - and those complicated family relationships, behind.

Cora is forced to return home after she loses her big-city job. Once there, she reunites with her mother, and becomes invested in preserving wildlife. All while also coming face-to-face with her former sweetheart. The film stars Andie MacDowell, Chad Michael Murray, and Minka Kelly. This cast looks amazing - and I know I'm going to enjoy seeing Chad in something again. 

The Beach House marks a 67th anniversary for the 'Hall of Fame' collection (in this collection is The Magic of Ordinary Days, Remember Sunday, What the Deaf Mad Heard, Loving Leah, and many more). You can watch The Beach House Saturday on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. 

Then, on Sunday night, Catherine Bell stars in the fourth season premiere of Good Witch. Though I'm behind on this show, my love for it hasn't wavered. Season four picks up where the third season final left these characters. Despite not being current, I didn't feel lost in the least. The episode is as charming as ever, and full of good messages - plus all the romance. If you've liked this show in previous seasons, don't miss this fourth season premiere. It's magical.

(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I'll receive a small percentage of the sale. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can buy Good Witch on Amazon Video as the episodes air. 

Will you be watching either one of these? Let me know down below what you plan to watch on Hallmark or what you anticipate seeing on Hallmark in the coming months. 

Book #Giveaway | Travel to the Northern Front During the Civil War

Friday, April 27, 2018

Hello, readers and friends. Today we're coming to the blog with another giveaway. 

The feature book today is one written by a blogging friend. A novel that takes us back in time to the 1800s during the tumultuous time that was the Civil War. Written by Meghan Gorecki, Meghan is a blogger who I "met" through a little webzine called Femnista. Back then, blogging was barely on my radar, and so I simply enjoyed getting to know everyone thought their book havens. But when I did begin blogging, Meghan was among the first people to support the blog and extend more encouragement than she realizes. 

She is part of the reason I say this community is so welcoming. 

Congrats Meghan on releasing this story into the world.

(This post does contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure page for details.) 

Her new novel, Amongst the Roses is the story of her heart, as she has shared over the years on her website. A novel she's been so happy and proud to release to the world. It released in April, and  much to my shame, I have not had the chance to read said book (my apologies to the author). There have been too many others on my TBR, and I underestimated my  This said, I wanted to introduce you all to this novel, so today, up for grabs in the giveaway is a Kindle copy of Meghan's historical novel. 

SYNOPSIS: The War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?

Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?

The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together. - Goodreads

- Amongst the Roses by Meghan M. Gorecki: Amazon | Goodreads

This giveaway will run through May 3rd.
And now let's get those annoying rules and regulation details out of the way. 

The book will be a paperback prize, and is open to ALL READERSunless otherwise noted. US readers *may* have the option of a paperback at time of draw.
Anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment (I ask this in consideration of 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). 
+ The winner is chosen randomly (via Rafflecopter); failure to complete the "tasks" does result in disqualification 
+ The winner(s) will be contacted via the Rafflecopter email address within 1-3 days of the giveaway's close
+ Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification (you'll be contacted at the email address in the Rafflecopter form) 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 3. Happy Rafflecopter-ing!

*Or you must have a parent's permission to provide a mailing address


#GIVEAWAY Enter for a chance to win the new #HistoricalFiction novel #BookNerd #Bookworm via @RissiJC 

Book #Giveaway | Enter for a chance to win #ChristianFiction novel, AMONGST THE ROSES #NewRelease #Bookworm #Books #MustRead @RissiJC

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Booktube Talk | The Captain America Book Tag

Thursday, April 26, 2018

#Booktube Talk | The Captain America Book Tag

Hey, hey, fellow bookworms, friends and Marvel superhero fangirls (and boys!). Today’s post is perfect for anyone who can never overgush about a certain superhero named Steve Rogers aka Captain America. (He's even shown up on my "fictional crushes" list - exhibit A, exhibit B!)

(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I'll receive a small percentage of the sale. Read the disclosure page for details.) 

So, until earlier this year, I didn’t know this tag was a thing. When I finally did see it, I was overexcited and knew it would need to be a feature tag on Finding Wonderland’s booktube channel. Well, it took me a long time to put it all together – like, I filmed it months ago, but finally, it’s here. (The perfect timing too, considering Avengers: Infinity War opens this weekend.)

As is the usual “rules,” the entire tag is not below. I’ve split it up again and filmed part of the Q’s on said booktube channel and below I answer the rest of the Q’s.

Let’s get to combining books with a favorite: Captain America!!

The Captain America Book Tag Questions

Peggy Carter: a book with a strong female protagonist | There are lots of women who are strong protagonists. Women like Sofi Snow (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow) or Emika Chen (Warcross) are two who’d fit. But if I’m sticking with a theme and Peggy’s era, I’d go with the women in Sarah Sundin’s WWII novels. So many amazing characters in those stories, and strength comes in many different forms and ways. It doesn’t always have to be physical – sometimes the greater strength in an emotional experience.

Howling Commandos: a book with squad goals | Can I just use The Avengers as squad goals?? I mean, I know I only know them from the cinematic storytelling world, but technically, they first appear in books! Please, introduce me to your favorite bookish squads.
Natasha Romanoff: a book with a snarky side character | I feel like Isaac from The Fault in our Stars fits this prompt. It’s been a while since I read the book though so I could be 100% off. Remind me, does he fit the “snarky” label or am I’m thinking of someone else?

Winter Soldier: a book with a great twist (plot twist or retelling) | The recently released Olivia Twist (authored by Lorie Langdon) is a creative re-telling of the Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist.

I’m Just A Kid from Brooklyn: a book with a memorable setting/character backstory | Help! I cannot think of one for this prompt. What stories have you read that fit this question? *continues to think* 

You’ve Been Asleep, Cap: a book you love with a dual timeline/time travel | The Doon series (co-authored by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon) is a fun time travel series, and I’m super curious about Cold Summer by Gwen Cole.

I Had A Date: a book with a cliffhanger | If I Run, which is written by Terri Blackstock.

I Understood That Reference: a book with a pop culture reference | The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck has a lot of fun cultural references, but the ultimate culture reference show I’ve seen is Gilmore Girls.

Q’s answered on Booktube:

Steve Rogers/Captain America: a book with a big character transformation

Bucky Barnes: a book with your ultimate BROTP

Red Skull: a book with a cliché plot

Sam Wilson: a book with a friendship meet cute

Do You Two…. Fondue?: a book with a love triangle

Til The End Of The Line: a book with the OTP to end all OTPs

Here ends the Captain America Book Tag; kudos to the creator for such a fun (fun) tag. If you’ve put together this tag, leave your blog post link (or video) below. I’d be glad to come by and see your post (video) and see your answers.

Who’s your favorite Avenger? Are you nervous or excited to see ‘Infinity War’? Comment all the Avengers or bookworm talk below. As always, I look forward to chatting with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

Love, Life and the List by Kasie West – Colorful Artist Curates Portrait of Summer with ‘Heart’ List

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West – Colorful Artist Curates Portrait of Summer with ‘Heart’ List

(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I'll receive a small percentage of the sale. Read the disclosure page for details.) 

Author: Kasie West | Publisher: HarperTeen | Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Source: Amazon Preorder
FIND the BOOK ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★★½
Living without the things she wants most is something Abby Turner is accustomed to. This is true of her family life and her love life. Her mother is something of a shut-in who often refuses Abby’s attempts to get her to experience the outside world. Then there’s Cooper. Cooper is Abby’s best friend with whom she’s in love with, but it’s an unrequited love Cooper does not return.

Her one passion is art. But when she’s told her art has “no heart,” she’s devastated.

This summer is going to be different. Abby is weary of doing nothing special and being a bystander of her own life. This is why she creates a summer “heart list” full of daring, inspiring– and impossible, things meant to give her life more color. One of these things is to get accepted into the art show she’s already been rejected for. A show where she hopes everything will change…

Though I have my favorites, any of the Kasie West novels I’ve read have been golden. They’re the sort of stories I cannot not enjoy because they bring with them rays of sunshine that brightens any day, making the story impossible not to love. Nothing is any different when it comes to this charmer, West’s latest release.
“We’re good for each other, I think. You bring me down to earth and I make you dream big.” ― Kasie WestLove, Life, and the List
At the surface of each novel with West’s name on the cover, it appears to be all sunshine and happy emotions. Read the story and you’ll discover, there are usually poignant or deeper hardships waiting beneath that surface. Inside this portrait, it’s all about the hardship Abby has to weave through with her mother. The challenges of pushing her mother to do more without causing regression is Abby’s burden, and one she bears in the typical teenage girl fashion. Because of this, some readers might take issue with Abby; she does whine from time to time, but I read the book more as an accurate depiction of how a 17-year-old might react were they in this situation.

Sweet, and charming, Kasie’s Love, Life and the List is sure to be a sparkling delight for anyone who likes cute YA romances. The characters and map of the plot might not work for every reader, and that’s okay. I thought the DNA of the characters and story is a lovely thing to discover. Abby and Cooper’s romance isn’t the focal point some contemporary romances are, but what’s there is cute. Furthermore I appreciate the quieter, unrequited romance because these are all moments that lead to the cute ending.

Those wanting a lighthearted summertime read, don’t miss Love, Life and the List. It’s a colorful canvas of YA literary bliss.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Kasie West, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART: Talking to other people isn't Kate Bailey's favorite activity. She'd much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school's podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she'll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate's surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend ... until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West's adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere. – Goodreads, May 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) – Virtual Reality Adventure Transcends Reality

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) – Virtual Reality Adventure Transcends Reality

Twenty years ago, a little film called Jumanji made its appearance at the box office. Starring Robin Williams, the film is, to this day, one I’ve never seen. Fast-forward to seeing the trailer for the 2017 reincarnation, and I’ve discovered a new comedy to get lost in.

Through a stroke of misfortunes, four teenagers find themselves in detention together. Spencer (Alex Wolffe) is the super smart nerd who agrees to do the homework of the popular football player, Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain). Unfortunately for both guys, they’re caught by the teacher. Then there’s Bethany (Madison Iseman), the pretty and popular girl who believes she’s nothing without a perfect Instagram filter. Finally, there is Martha (Morgan Turner), an anti-social girl who earns detention after talking back to her PE teacher. While stuck together, the one thing they have in common (curiosity!) gets them deeper into trouble. 

Opening an old video game, they wind up transported to a strange place they’ll learn is called Jumanji.

In this strange jungle where everyone seems to be robotic and programmed to give game-appropriate information, these kids find they’re not themselves. Spencer is now a muscled, combat skilled man called Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); Fridge is now s small in stature shell of his former self called Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); and Martha is an attractive woman who can defend herself with ease, she’s now Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). The final member of the quartet, it’s Bethany who’s change is most drastic. Instead of the sexy professor she assumed her avatar would give her, she is a middle aged man, Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).

True of every film or story, Jumanji isn’t going to be a good fit for everyone. Jumanji was one of those films (as far too many are) that I planned to see in theaters because it looked as if it’d be a good time. As the conclusion always seems to be, I didn’t get around to seeing it on that big screen. Eventually the DVD arrived, and I settled in to watch it one Saturday night, expecting to be giggling for a couple of hours.

Funny is certainly one word that can be associated with this film. The humor is in the same vein as “slapstick,” but then this is kind of a necessity when you consider the characters. Each one is a teenager in an adult’s body. To use humor that didn’t border on silly wouldn’t have melded the story as effectively. One example of this is late in the film when two characters decide they want to be each other’s first kiss. The scene is incredibly awkward (in a laugh-out-loud kind of way), but it fits the actual mentality of the characters.

Not only are the character’s fun to experience this adventure beside, the cast who portrays them is fabulous. (Can we take a moment to appreciate Karen Gillan being in this cast list. I love seeing her in something outside of Doctor Who, where she is fantastic.) I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and find the role reversals interesting. The popular kids became incarnations that aren't anything like them. Then the nerdy kids became the opposite of their high school social standing. It’s a clever twist on the story, and a unique story cue to help in teaching the characters their valuable lesson.

Those of us who don’t mind the commonplace slapstick-like humor will discover a fun adventure awaits inside Jumanji.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Jumanji on DVD and Bluray or you can rent/own on Amazon Video.

Content: Crude humor is the main reason for the film’s PG13 rating. There are several jokes about Bethany turning into a “man,” and the new challenges she faces as a result of this. Minor and commonplace profanity is used a few times, and there is some “adventure” violence or tense moments (threats like snakes crop up). 

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