Category: Reviews

Review: Dumplin’

Posted December 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Dumplin’ (2018)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, Odeya Rush, Luke Benward
Director: Anne Fletcher
Release Date: 7 December 2018
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Movie Type: Comedy, Drama, Musical

Willowdean (‘Dumplin’), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.

I’ll be honest, I went into this movie a little hesitant because the last big girl movie that I tried watching, the big girl pissed me off. I didn’t want another Sierra Burgess is a Loser so I crossed my fingers and hoped Jennifer Aniston wasn’t going to let me down. I’m super happy to report that this movie, Dumplin’ was exactly what I hoped Sierra was going to be and I adored watching it. I didn’t read the book so I can’t compare them but I really enjoyed the movie. I thought the actors portrayed their characters well, the acting itself was great and the story was solid.

So this movie follows our main character, Willowdean Dickson. Will works at a diner, has the bestest best friend and a mother who is a former beauty queen who is still very active in the beauty pageant world in their small Texas town. She also has a giant crush on her coworker and friend, Bo. Will has a bright personality and her love for all things Dolly Parton was delightful.

The movie revolves around her Aunt dying and Will trying to move on while finding some common ground with her beauty queen mother. They are as different as night and day. Will is bigger than her size 0 mother and not at all into the things that her mother is into so they don’t have a lot in common and that gets in the way of them having a close relationship with each other. Will’s Mom won’t talk about Will’s Aunt Lucy and Will desperately wants to connect with her Mom over their shared love of Lucy but she never gets the chance because her Mom is so unwilling.

Will gets made fun at school because her Mom continues to call her Dumplin’ so when she’s at her lowest, she comes across an unsubmitted beauty pageant application of her Aunt’s and she decides that she’s going to sign up for the beauty pageant herself. She’s going to finish what her Aunt Lucy couldn’t.

Aunt Lucy and Will were close. Aunt Lucy understood Will in a way that Will didn’t think her mother did and Lucy raised Will to be kind and to be happy. She introduced Will to Dolly Parton and introduced Will to Elle. Will and Elle became the best of friends and I really loved the strong friendships we see in this movie. From Will and Elle to Will and her weirdos Millie and Hannah, Will’s friendship game is strong.

I loved seeing Will come into her own. I loved seeing her gain the confidence to be happy with herself and letting others around her be happy with her as well. I adored the tiny romance between her and Bo and though Bo was fantastic and adorable, he wasn’t in the movie long enough to take over my adoration for Peter Kavinsky. The movie was more about Willowdean and the romance was such a small part of that but when she gains the confidence to return Bo’s crush, I cheered because I was super happy for her.

This movie was all that and a bag of chips for me. I adored the girl that played Will, I loved seeing her bond with her Mom and I loved that her Mom wasn’t the villain. I loved that the Mom really did love Will and was so proud of her, but didn’t know how to connect with her. I loved that they got it right in the end and this movie was just the bomb. Lots of fun scenes mixed in with sweet scenes, this movie isn’t to be missed.

Movie Trailer

My Rating

4.5 out of 5


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Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Posted December 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah DessenOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin, Viking Books for Young Readers on June 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 358
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

You guys, before we jump into our monthly buddy review of Once and For All by Sarah Dessen, please join me in wishing one of my favorite book pimps, Ames, a very happy birthday as today is her special day!!

I hope you have a brilliant day because you’re a brilliant friend and deserve all the brilliant things in the world. Big hugs from California and don’t freeze too much in that Canadian madness that is winter. Love you long time, Ames!

Here’s some birthday Bana for you sweets!

Now…on to the review.

Louna Barrett is working the summer before her first year of college for her mother’s wedding planning business. She’s busy preparing for events and spending as much time with her high school friend Jilly before she’s off to another city for school. She is in no way looking for any kind of romantic entanglements, even though Jilly keeps trying to get her to put herself out there. Louna had an amazing boyfriend but that relationship ended in tragedy. But when Louna meets Ambrose at a wedding, will she be ready to open herself up to new possibilities?

Ames: All right Wena, what did you think of Once and For All.

Rowena: I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good one to read after coming back from a long Sarah Dessen hiatus. I enjoyed getting to know Louna and while Ambrose was a bit much at times (all of that girl juggling), I still really liked him as a character. I thought he was good for Louna too. The bet was fun and meant to get them both out of their comfort zone, not meant to hurt anyone at all so I was okay with it.

What did you think?

Ames: I had mixed reactions to this. First of all, its been a looooong time since I read Sarah Dessen. Like maybe 3 or 4 years. But having starting this book, I felt like Louna was a ‘typical’ SD heroine – and by the end of the book she really is. However, I liked the world Sarah created for us, with Louna’s wedding planning mom and all that went along with it. I really enjoyed that. And Ambrose was a fun character. I love that he rescued a dog and I agree, the girl juggling was a bit much but he was a great guy underneath it all.

My main complaint comes with the relationship between Ambrose and Louna. Yes they had a bet (that was fun, I liked that) but I honestly didn’t feel any sparks between them. I didn’t see the way Ambrose acted towards her as a guy who was interested. So when the big reveal came at the end? I was like “WTH, for reals?” So I think if there had been a bit more there, I would have believed it more. Also, the way she freaked out? That was over the top for me.

Rowena: Yes, I agree about how interesting the world of wedding planning was and I thought Dessen captured that part of the book really well and you’re definitely right about Louna being a typical Sarah Dessen heroine because I felt the same way about her character. I remember thinking while I was reading the book, “Here we go, another Sarah Dessen heroine that is going to annoy the snot out of me” but in the end, I liked her so it was all good for me. I did think that the whole Ben thing was pretty dumb. Like, really, really dumb.

Other than that though, I could feel the vibes from Ambrose for Louna…or maybe my romance-loving heart pictured it all there because I wanted them to get together? *shrugs* Either way, I still enjoyed this one. Was there anything else that you didn’t care for?

Ames: Seriously, if I hadn’t read the blurb and realized Ambrose was supposed to be the love interest, I wouldn’t have expected it. I felt like William telling Louna that Ambrose was into her even made me realize he was…I honestly didn’t see it before William said something. AND what made Louna different to Ambrose from all the other girls? What made her someone he wanted to commit to instead of just enjoying all the beginning parts of a relationship…I wanted more in regards to that relationship. However, I didn’t hate the book.

I thought Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother, was super cute. The way he called out Jilly for not wanting to spend time with Ben and Louna had me cracking up.

I’m giving Once and For All a 3.75 out of 5. What about you?

Rowena: I thought Ambrose was taken with Louna from the very beginning. I could see his interest in her when she walked right up to him at his Mom’s wedding and dragged him away from that girl he was talking to. He wasn’t used to girls being mad at him, well girls that weren’t related to him so I bought his interest and crush on her from the jump. I think because the entire book is from Louna’s POV, it’s harder to get what Ambrose feels and what he thought. I would have liked Ambrose’s POV.

I adored Crawford and the rest of Jilly’s family. It would have been nice to get more from them as I thought they were more interesting than Louna’s family but all in all, I can’t complain. I enjoyed it all so I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Book Boyfriend: Adam Hauptman from Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Posted November 23, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

This feature fell off for a little bit because I haven’t been doing as great a job as I planned on keeping track of my book boyfriends lately. I’m still planning on keeping this feature going so you guys are getting a new, well almost new, book boyfriend of the week today.

Book Boyfriend: Adam Hauptman from Silver Borne by Patricia BriggsSilver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #5
Published by Penguin, Ace on March 30, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 342
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, never knows what the day - or night - may bring in a world where "witches, vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist). But she is about to learn that while some secrets are dangerous whose who seek them are just plain deadly...

Mercy is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful fae she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secrets - and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Samuel's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she may not have many more...

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of Mercy Thompson reading after taking a long break from them and I have fallen head over heels back in love with Adam Hauptman.

In Silver Borne, Mercy is going through it. She’s being attacked on all fronts by the fae, and more closely, by Adam’s pack. They’re using the pack bond to get her to do things she wouldn’t normally do and Mercy is not a fan of that. So because Adam is their leader and she’s pissed off at them for scaring her with what they can do to her as part of the pack, she needs a breather. She doesn’t completely understand how pack magic works and being a fiercely independent person, she needs space to figure things out. On top of all of that, her and Adam’s mating bond is acting up and that scares her so yeah, space is needed.

Throughout this entire series, Adam has been firmly fixed in the Team Mercy camp and I freaking love him for it. There isn’t a thing that he wouldn’t do for her, there isn’t a thing he would change about her because his love for her is all-encompassing. He loves everything about her. Here are some quotes from the book that seriously hit me in the feels.

“Heart turned to me, his face thought­ful. “Yes­ter­day morn­ing. Yes, that means that Daphne hadn’t been home for two days be­fore that.” He smiled at me. “You were sup­posed to be the Al­pha’s eye can­dy.”

Adam laughed.

“What?” I asked him. “You don’t think I’d be good eye can­dy?” I looked down at my over­alls and grease-stained hands. I’d torn an­oth­er nail to the quick.

“Hon­ey is eye can­dy,” said Ben apolo­get­ical­ly. “You’re . . . just you.”

“Mine,” said Adam, edg­ing be­tween Heart and me. “Mine is what she is.”

“Adam has always had . . . heroic tendencies.”

I touched Adam’s arm. “He’s my hero.”

There was another pause. . .

“That is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard you say,” Bran said. “Be careful, Adam, or you’ll turn her into a real girl.”

Adam looked at me. “I like her just the way she is, Bran.” And he meant it, greasy overalls, broken fingernails, and all.”

“One more month,” he said finally. “And then they—and Samuel, too—will just have to get used to it.” His eye is the color of a bitch with dark chocolate, worst few years and he leaned forward. “And you will marry me.”

I smiled, showing my teeth. “Don’t you mean, ‘will you marry me?’”

I meant it to be funny, but his eyes brightened until the gold flecks were swimming in the darkness. “You had your chance to run, coyote. It’s too late now.”

Can you see why I love him so much? He’s seriously the best. My favorite thing about him is he’s so alpha and sure of him but with Mercy, there’s a vulnerability about him that just gets me. I freaking love it and I love the way that he loves Mercy.

Get you a man that looks at you, the way that Adam Hauptman looks at Mercy. There’s a lot of things that happen in this book and all of it is pretty good so if you haven’t read this book (and this series), I highly recommend it. It’s good stuff, I promise!

Hero Casting

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

Mercy Thompson Series

four-stars


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