The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof - An Authentic Fairytale

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

About the Book:
Author: Joanne Bischof
Publisher: Mason Jar Books
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads | Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

Sometimes a novel comes along that delights, enchants and entertains. Sometimes a novel comes along that disappoints and ends in disaster. And then, sometimes, a book comes along that couples only good things and leaves its readers speechless. One such novel is The Lady and the Lionheart. This is the kind of novel that left me nervous to attempt a review because it’s that good. But as I sit down to write out my thoughts in what I hope is a coherent manner, I am again flooded with memories (these few days later) of how memorable this story is.
Inside its pages we meet Ella Beckley, a young nurse caring for everyone save for the wounds scarring her own past. Into her life, the bigger-than-life Charlie Lionheart walks. Guarding not only secrets of his own – and eventually, his heart against Ella, Charlie has more than himself to protect against the threat physically scarring his life. Having travelled with the Big Top for as long as he can remember, meeting Ella opens Charlie’s eyes to their being more to life. But with their bruised hearts, first they have to discover healing and hope before each other. 
She swallowed the burn of tears, consumed with her love for him and the way it mixed with the heaviness of loss. Of shock and broken hopes. - Joanne Bischof

Each of the novels I have been privileged to read by Joanne has been like an intricate step into yesteryear. She has a beautiful way of spinning a tale that isn’t just about the narration it’s about telling a story. Believe me, there’s a difference. The Lady and the Lionheart is brimming with greater complexity than I anticipated probably because I didn’t read a description before I opened my Kindle app and simply began reading. The journey is all the more rewarding because of this. We’re not only invited into Ella and Charlie’s story but are beckoned inside their world which is full of wonder and mythical things. Set in the circus scene circa 1890, the enchantment of the setting is only the beginning. 
Within the author’s rich tapestry, a stage is set that gently prods out the best (and worst) of these characters. The result of this is always beautiful.  Fairytale enthusiasts will also be pleased to discover this is, at its heart, a romance that looks deeper and in many ways revisions the beloved Beauty and the Beast. Ella and Charlie’s journey is not only about the romance of their growing feelings, it’s about them becoming whole people as individuals, and seeking healing. Ella is searching for forgiveness she didn’t know she needed to give, and Charlie is searching for redemption he shouldn't have to seek. 
If you like historical fiction, they don’t come any more sincere or genuine than those penned by Joanne Bischof. The Lady and the Lionheart is a superb example of what it means to artfully craft fiction. It’s messy in its imperfections and allows its characters to breathe before they are reunited. Believe me, this heartbreak is worth it. Not only does this novel reward its characters, it rewards its readers, which is the greatest gift we can ask for. ❤ 

Synopsis: Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Joanne Bischof, A Boy and Wild Horses: With his black and white landscapes celebrated beside those of the famous Ansel Adams, 21-year-old Ramsey Moss has more professional drive than most of his college classmates. Faring better behind the lens than in relationships, the west coaster believes it’s easier to capture the still earth than living things. But when a New York editor wants to contract him for a book of Southwest images—including the elusive wild mustang—Ramsey signs on the dotted line.

Having only spring break to complete the project, Ramsey is in over his head. Enter Sienna Walsh. The teen conservationist who skips prom to write articles on wildlife. With stage one Cerebral Palsy, exploring the California desert with the adventurer places Sienna face to face with her greatest limits. Yet it’s the very place she finds strength…and through that strength, Ramsey
will discover a horizon he would have otherwise missed.
– 2017   

Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 

Review text is © Copyright 2011-2016 Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon),

Book Giveaway | Joanne Bischof's The Lady and the Lionheart

Hello, happy readers! Welcome to Finding Wonderland. If you're new here and stumbled across this blog through this giveaway, thanks so much for visiting. Next month marks five years in the blogging world for this blog. We're celebrating with some fun things like posts that offer some helpful tips on blogging, personal reflections on why I blog as I do, and of course, there are some fun giveaways in the works. (At least I hope they'll be fun!) Today, we're kicking off the string of giveaways early because I read the featured novel a week ago and haven't stopped thinking about it since.

BOOK REVIEW | The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Before we get the specific book giveaway stats (the details of the book, the perpetual pesky rules, etc.), let me just say this: if you like romantic, atmospheric historical novels that dig deeper, you'll want to read Joanne's latest novel. It's a stunner.


Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging fe 
at yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
. – Goodreads  

Amazon | Goodreads
And now let's get the rule details out of the way. (If you're a pro in giveaways around here, just skip to the good bit: the widget!)

The giveaway(s) is open to all readers. The prize will be a Kindle copy, unless otherwise noted (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 (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 August 1 (release day). Happy Rafflecopter-ing.

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

#Giveaway | Joanne Bischof's THE LADY AND THE LIONHEART Enter today for a chance to win this #romance novel 🎪 🐯 🎩

Enter the #Giveaway on Finding Wonderland Features Joanne Bischof's THE LADY & THE LIONHEART #MustRead 🎪 🐯 🎩#Romance

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Top Ten Tuesday | Let’s Learn Things

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hello, fellow book nerdigans and friends. Another week of blogging is kicking off with another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is an interesting one for sure. Figuring out which books to put on the list wasn’t the easiest of tasks because there are so many books out there, and so many I haven’t read. This means that trying to come up with titles that don’t repeat themselves (from prior Top Ten Tuesday topics) is a challenge.  

Some of these will be familiar from my earlier posts, but when one loves a book that much, do we really mind overhyping them? That’s the life of a book blogger, am I right? 
Broke and Bookish July 26th Topic 

 Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do or Learn About After Reading Them

Let’s have a look at those books, shall we? 

Books Have Made Me Want to Learn 

1. Archery (inspired by The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or The Avengers Hawkeye) | Books like The Hunger Games and The Avengers’ Hawkeye have made archery seem a skill that is as much about precision as it is control. Even Miramax’s 90s adaptation of Emma boasts a hilarious scene involved bows and arrows with Emma and Knightley.  

2. Code Breaking (inspired by Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown) | Would this be a practical skill? No, but it sure seemed interesting as seen through the eyes of Samantha Donaldson!  

3. Kick-Butt Lizzy Bennet and Col. Darcy Style (inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith) | The stylized fighting in this re-spun classic tale of love and misunderstandings wouldn’t be practical to my life, but it LOOKED cool. Who wouldn’t want to learn the art of sword wielding as practiced by Lizzy Bennet?  

4. Learn all things Parisian (inspired by Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) | Between Stephanie Perkins popular YA novel and the more recent One Paris Summer (which I’m only just starting), Paris is a fascinating fictional journey.  

Books Have Made Me Want to 

1. Own a Closest Full of Pretty Dresses (inspired by Once Upon a Prince or Kiera Cass’ ‘The Selection’ series) | Raiding the closet of a princess-in-the-making is on my bookish bucket list.

2. Own a Cozy Bookstore | This is inspired by dozens of stories. Everything from Hallmark Channel’s darling romcom Love By the Book to the “classic,” Beauty and the Beast. (Ok, I know Belle didn’t OWN a bookstore, but well, Beast has one heck of a library.) 

3. Solve a Mystery (inspired by Sarah Sundin’s ‘Waves of Freedom’ series) | It seems odd to say these novels feature “fun” mysteries to solve since the timeframe (WWII) was anything but a happy time. Nonetheless, Sarah someone makes them so while still honoring those who fought for our freedoms. Who wouldn’t want to play Nancy Drew for a day? 

4. Visit a Film or TV Set (inspired by Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan) | Since reading the adorable novel by Amy Finnegan, it seemed like it might be a fun idea to visit a film or TV set. Would I want to be a part of the world? Um, no. But visiting? Sure! I could enjoy that. 

5. Visit the Circus circa 1890 (inspired by The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof) | This novel is absolutely stunning. It’s not only a visually stunning story, the depth with which the author plunges into these characters lives is breathtaking. PS: if this sounds like a book you might enjoy, return later this week because there will be a review PLUS giveaway.| 

6. Visit 1920s England (inspired by the Drew Farthering Novels or Downton Abbey) | Who wouldn't want to visit England in this era? Especially if it'd involve meeting Drew Farthering or Lady Mary.

That’s it for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. What books, stories or films have inspired you to want to learn or do something? Are they exciting tasks or practical? Share your thoughts on this random collection of things or let me know what you’d like to learn or do after being inspired by a novel. I’d love to chat with you. 

As always, you’re welcome to leave your Top Ten Tuesday links. I make every effort to visit your blogs during the week, and love visiting old blogging friends and meeting new ones.  

Thank you so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

TV Teaser | He's Back

In looking through my Twitter feed (last night) and my dashboard this afternoon, I realize I am woefully behind among the Sherlock groupies. But, since a comic-con trailer for the upcoming fourth season of Sherlock (BBC TV show) is now out in the world, I couldn't resist sharing it here. Just in case you haven't expressed enough fangirl moments. Because if not, feel free to share them here.

Or if you simply want to relive the epicness of this fourth season (What!? Mrs. Hudson telling a person in her house to GET OUT!? Um, sassy) trailer, feel free. We all no this is a teaser worth reliving. Over and over.

We need something Sherlock related to keep us curious until 2017!

Blogging 101 | An Introduction and Ask the Blogger

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I’ve had an idea bubbling for a while now. The problem was I hadn’t sat down to put words to paper sharing said idea. My idea isn’t so much inventive as it is an event that will hopefully offer interested readers a chance to ask some questions, and my fellow blogging friends a chance to offer their expertise (and more importantly to me) while also allowing me to advertise their amazing creativeness. This leads us straight into the topic.  


Are you a new blogger? Are you considering blogging? Have you been away from blogging for an extended hiatus? What would you like to know or learn more about? I want to hear from you about blogging. Do you have any specific questions, thoughts or have you been looking for a how-to guide on something?  

Please, don’t be shy! Let us know.  

Is there a blogger you’d like to see featured or introduced to the world? You can share that too! Maybe they can be featured in our “Meet the Blogger” series.
Along with myself, I've asked some bloggers to join this series, which will hopefully allow for varying opinions (perspectives new to this blog), thoughts and tips on the blogger life.

Below I’ve created a form where you can comment and share anything you’d like to know about. The purpose of this is twofold. One being to open the conversation to those of you who might be curious about the behind-the-scenes helpful-hints-and-tips for would-be bloggers. The second because I would love to try and fill in some gaps if there's anything you're looking to see more of or learn about in this blogging world. It's because of you, the readers that Finding Wonderland is still in existence, and I'm grateful you continue to return.

The form will ask for your name/email, but this will only be used in the event we need to clarify what you’d like us to write about. 


As written about above, I’d like to open some sort of series that allows Finding Wonderland to collaborate with some of the bloggers I’ve met through this journey. One way that can happen is by gathering our collective advice and tips which we've learned through the (painful) exercise of "trial and error" in this thing called blogging.    

Some of you have already been contacted and are willing to join this series. To you, I say thank you. I’m anxious to see the interest/response, and hopefully the result will allow me to showcase your talents through this series.  

In short, this is an introduction/exploratory post. I’d love feedback, to see bloggers/readers share their ideas/pitch their article requests (below or in the form) and as a fellow blogger, if you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to share them. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Five Magic Spindles - Sleeping Beauty, Re-Told

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

About the Book:
Publisher: Rooglewood Press
Source: Author and Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads | Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Fairytale, Novella Collection
Rating: 5 out of 5
There probably aren’t many of us who don’t love a good fairytale. We swoon over the romantics, become captured by the adventure and smile in pleasure over the comfort a happy ending is around the corner. Imagine then enjoying not one but five neat little fairytales captured in one pretty novel. That’s what you’ll find if you open the pages of Five Magic Spindles, the product of Rooglewood Press’ third fairytale retelling contest.

Inside these pages are five diverse and unique stories. The authors were tasked with reimagining the Sleeping Beauty legend, no small feat considering the heroine sleeps through (nearly) her entire story. Since this features multiple stories, I thought I’d break this review up to better share my thoughts about each story rather than lump suppositions in a larger scale. With that said, let’s get started.


The POV in this story is that of Emma, a good-hearted midwife who rides to her neighbor’s farm to warn him of a danger he isn’t aware of. It’s here that we meet “Sleeping Beauty,” the farmer’s daughter. Perhaps the most difficult to (blindly) accept as a retelling, Rachel has not only challenged herself by telling this story, but her readers.

Set in the rip-roaring old west, the detached perspective of a second party made this one a unique read. Instead of a prince or hero being the one to save a Kingdom, a hero arrives in the form of a midwife. Emma is a spunky heroine and those surrounding her are no different. Everyone gets fleshed out nicely despite being only inside Emma’s head. From the innocent Rosalind to the “Man,” this novel sparks with personality and unique perspectives.

What I admired most about Rachel’s story was its unafraid way of re-tooling a classic. Rachel’s deep love of the old west shows on every page as she weaves inklings of the beloved story we love so much into each page. ‘The Man on the Buckskin Horse’ is entertaining, and a wonderful start to what is, a wonderful collection of fairytales.

GUARDIAN OF OUR BEAUTY by Kathryn McConaughy

From the Old West to the Far East, Katheryn’s story introduces us to Palli, a young princess whose destiny is to rescue her people from a terrible fate. Falling into a deep sleep on her wedding day, Palli must help a hero rise to the occasion not only to save her people, but to win her hand. Prince Neriya is the younger son in the line of monarchs, but he becomes the only hero able to seek out the fated kingdom where Palli lies in slumber.

This high fantasy story is as exciting as it is romantic. The technique Katheryn employs to spin a new idea into the Sleeping Beauty legend is fantasy at its brightest. Despite being in slumber, I appreciated that Palli was “present” for much of the story. Also pleasant were the subtle intricacies woven into the elegant writing that showed the growing affection between her and Neriya.  

Beautifully established writing and great characters is sure to set ‘Guardian of Our Beauty’ apart in the fairytale realm.


Ghostly shenanigans abound in this zany little comedy. Roselee is a ghost, with few memories, trapped and on a mission to seek out a mortal hero for a mysterious sleeping princess. All of which takes place in an insane asylum no less! As Roselee searches for just such a boy, she encounters Franz. But is he the chosen one? Or will she be forced to continue searching?

Grace’s story is like an infectious personality. It’s pure delight from beginning to end. The story moves swiftly through the ghostly (and crazy!) halls of the asylum featuring an ensemble cast of loveable characters. We root for Franz to break free of his prison of brick and mortar, and for the princess to be awakened from her prison of slumber.

There’s excitement, laughter and a unique voice (pen) that the author should be proud of. 

SPINDLE CURSED by Michelle Pennington
The Sleeping Beauty of this story is Arabella, a beautiful spirt who’s been comatose for many years, protected by her loyal fairy godmother. Under the guise of assisting in breaking the curse so that Arabella might claim her rightful throne, her cousin plots behind her back. All of this might have gone off with no one the wiser had a Prince not walked in on her nefarious plans. 

Perhaps the most traditional of the bunch, ‘Spindle Cursed’ is a beautiful romance from beginning to end. Michelle’s skill in crafting a story is poetry. I admired how simplistic this story is because it was just what I craved to help make this collection complete. The beautiful romance that develops between Arabella and her hero might seem to go unnoticed, but really it’s the strength of the novella. I admired that the heroine, while lost in dreams, wasn’t lost to the reader and instead was very present in the present. This gave the story room to breathe and come alive. 

If you’re yearning for a traditional spin on the classic beauty that is the legend of the sleeping princess, discover this story. There’s dragons, and magic, to say nothing of the fact that the story allows its female protagonist to be the heroine (in part) of her own story. It’s a jewel from opening page to that iconic kiss.

OUT OF THE TOMB by Ashley Stangl

Burdened with a past that's sketchy, Tanza is a tomb raider. As a thief who knows the score in her world, Tanza believes she’s worth no more than what she has. All of this changes when she meets a prince caught under a spell that sent him into a deep sleep. Tanza chose the wrong – or could it be the right? – tomb to raid when her presence awakens the prince. Unaware of how his kingdom has changed in his absence, the prince is unprepared for what is to come, but with Tanza’s help, perhaps the two can right the wrongs of their rapidly changing world.  

Sci-fi and adventure abound in this re-telling. The classic story is turned on its head in this gender swapped tale that is uniquely coded. Who’d imagine a classic fairytale could work in a space setting? Ashley Stangl did, and she creates a whole new kind of magic because of this. Despite the heroine being in need of redemption, I loved Tanza and eventually, Auren’s presence in her life. The way in which he affects her life is a beautifully realized journey.  

If you love sci-fi stories, but are unsure about fairytales, give ‘Out of the Tomb’ a fair chance. It’s clever, humorous and not without a message of forgiveness and hope. In short, it’s a story with depth and purpose.  
From a spunky midwife in an old west showdown to the ancient mysteries of the Far East; an asylum dungeon to the romantic traditions of a castle tower and dragons, and finally to the great unknown (space), Five Magic Spindles is sure to enchant. Some of these characters grabbed a hold of my heart sooner than others. Some of the settings and sweet romance enchanted me beyond my expectations. But when I clicked the final page to the end of this collection, one thing stood out. In their own way, each of these five novellas is splendid.

To potential readers, I say this: don’t delay in snatching up this magical collection. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be mesmerized.  

Awaken the Magic!

Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can't prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.

Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day.

Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.

Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems. - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher (and author, Rachel) for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 

Review text is © Copyright 2011-2016 Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon),

Top Ten Tuesday | Armchair Journeys and Adventures

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hello, happy Top Ten Tuesday readers and friends. Welcome. It’s a new week, and around here, it’s supposed to be hot, hot, hot. What’s worse is the humidity is forecasted to soar. *sigh* This is summer in the Midwest. To combat this summer heat, what better option is there than to become lost inside a fictional world? None I’d argue. With that said, let’s discover what today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about. 
Broke and Bookish July 19th Topic:
Ten Books Set Outside the US
I love (lovelove) this topic. I am a big advocate for more stories set outside the US or at least out of the “safe” format stories tend to take (Small Town USA). Much as I enjoy the simple pleasures of fiction set in their safety net (and believe me, I do), I yearn for more books that take a few risks and step outside those lines. As I put this together, I realized I have read more than I thought that fit this mold, but still, very few in comparison.
The first seven novels on this list are the books I’ve read that center on this, the last three are books I’d like to read. Beyond this, I shall rely on all of you to recommend (enthusiasm welcome, friends!) the books you’ve loved that are set outside the good ole’ USA. Or even books inside the USA that are set in a big city or unique place. I’m also adding another “spin” on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday and recommending a film with my book choices. Why? Because it seemed like a fun idea.

That said, let’s have a look at the ten books on my list.
1. All Fall Down by Ally Carter | This one is about the granddaughter of an American ambassador serving in a foreign country. It also marked my first Ally Carter read. So. Good. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Chasing Liberty; I know this isn't the same story, but it has the same kind of feel, and involves overseas travel.
2. Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon | A popular YA novel, this is the first (of four) book in a series that follows two best friends transported to historic Scotland. It’s full of pop culture references, and retains its modern feel because the girls “contemporize” Scotland. There’s romance, too, although my favorite is the friendship between Veronica and McKenna. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Going with the classic on which this one is based, Brigadoon.
3. The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson | Set on Prince Edward Island, this one is lovely. It’s a simple (said in only the most complimentary way) contemporary, and romantic novel about finding yourself in the most unexpected places. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Anne of Green Gables. I know this one is 100% different in its era and story, but it’s Prince Edward Island. I had to use this one.
4. There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones | Another stunning YA novel from talented Jenny B. Jones, this one is a coming-of-age story about a girl reeling from loss and the (cute) boy who helps her heal. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Another film that isn’t remotely the same kind of story as Jenny’s beautiful novel, but it visualizes Ireland (and is darling in its own right). The movie is Leap Year.
5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | I’d wager a lot of people are using this one today. And it’s completely understandable – plus a worthy choice indeed. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Good question - what movie do we watch to coordinate with this darling story? Clearly, it needs it own adaptation!
6. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan | Set in 1900s Toronto, this one is a darling “period drama” read about two female detectives bulking at the rules society places on them. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Going with a TV show this time around, Murdoch Mysteries.
7. The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay | This beautiful novel (more about reinventing yourself than romance) is lovely. It has a great message, a heroine who’s unconventional and an appreciation for the vintage in life. Amazon | Goodreads
Film Recommendation: Picking the cute Letters to Juliet for this one. Totally different story (and setting), but the friendship between Claire and Sophie (movie) reminds me of Helen and Lucy (the book).

BONUS! Three Books I Want to Read Set Outside the US
8. Close to You by Kara Isaac | I’m SO ashamed that I’ve not read this novel yet. A friend recently read it and says it’s amazing (not that I doubted), so I’ve been reenergized (and determined) to make this one a must-read this summer. Amazon | Goodreads
9. Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae | Been intending to read this one since it released. It looks and sounds darling. Part of the ‘If Only’ line from Bloomsbury, it’s about a girl who dreams of falling in love with an Italian boy, only to meet the polar opposite. Amazon | Goodreads
10. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch | Just bought this one, and aww, it sounds darling! Plus, this cover and being by a new-to-me author? I'm excited. Amazon | Goodreads

That’s it for July 19th’s Top Ten Tuesday bookish epicness. What books made YOUR list this week? Which books would you recommend to this armchair adventure novice? I’d love recommendations. Comment down below with any of your thoughts. I look forward to chatting with you, and of course, visiting your awesome blogs.
Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Series One – A Character-Driven Australian Mystery Series

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Doctor Blake Mysteries

One of the things I probably spend way too much time searching out are new BBC-esque dramas. My latest find was picked up for distribution by BBC, but is actually an Australian series. Fortunately, I stumbled across this one and therefore didn't have to invest time searching it out.

This latest find is The Doctor Blake Mysteries, a crime drama that our friends, the Aussie's do up right.

The show follows a tortured hero and the people around him who try to help in his healing even as he continues to emotionally destruct. As usual, the show is top-notch brilliant. Everything from the cast to the costumes (and the cars!) are of a caliber that is sure to impress.

If you'd like to read specific thoughts on the first season, I reviewed it this week on Silver Petticoat.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Series One – A Character-Driven Australian Mystery Series

Doctor Blake Mysteries

There is something about a British mystery that calls to my inner sleuth. They’re tightly scripted, well cast and contain just the right dose of dry humor. Imagine my delighted surprise when I realized that our friends, the Aussies, also boasted some of the best crime dramas around. First came Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, then I discovered the zany gem that is Mr. and Mrs. Murder. My latest discovery is The Doctor Blake Mysteries, a brilliant period drama that deserves our attention.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries introduces us to Dr. Lucien Blake (Craig McLachlan), a doctor recently returned home to run his now deceased father’s general practice. Suffering the effects of too much drinking brought on by the loss of his wife and daughter, Lucien too frequently takes those around him for granted. This includes his housekeeper Jean Beazley (Nadine Garner), a woman no stranger to loss. Curious, but well-meaning, Jean takes every opportunity she can to learn about the mysterious Lucian only to discover a horrifying tragedy. Continue Reading ➔

Top Ten Tuesday | Blogger, Bookish and Other (Unimportant) Facts

Monday, July 11, 2016

Oh dear. Whenever I find myself the topic of some sort of “facts” blog post, my mind immediately goes blank. Why is this? Well not only do I feel awkward talking about myself (sharing opinions is, to me, a completely different thing which is why I don’t find it difficult to write reviews) and my life isn’t interesting enough for Internet consumption. I also never carved Finding Wonderland niche as a journaling outlet. All of this to say that today’s Top Ten Tuesday meme asks us to overlook these reservations in favor of sharing ten facts about ourselves.
Like I said, oh dear.
Broke and Bookish July 12th Topic

Ten Facts About Me
(bookish or just general about you facts or ten facts about you as a blogger...whatever you want) 
Below is probably a mash-up of “facts.” Such as they are – one that’s not below is also the fact that I do most of my blogging or article writing late night or wee hours of the early morning. Some geared towards blogging and bookish things others are just about life in general. Ok, let’s get this started and see what crops up!
1. 2011 | The year I began blogging. How has it been five years already? (Fun giveaways coming next month.)
2. Baking | I’ve become a tiny bit obsessed with reading foodie blogs. My favorite things to bake these days? Muffins! I’ve made more of those these past six months that I probably should have. It’s a good thing I (most of the time) use discipline and don’t overeat otherwise I’d be in a heap of trouble. What recipes are among your favorite?

3. Cell Phone | I’m probably the ONLY person on the planet who DOESN’T own a cell phone. At least not one in the normal sense. I have one primarily for emergencies and it’s one of those pay-as-you-go phones. Yeah, I’m clearly living in the dark ages (and proud of it). That said, at some point I will have to get a phone/plan, so I ask you all, the experts: what phones/plans do you recommend? 
4. Decorating | I tend to be an artistic soul, but the one thing I haven’t done is decorate my room. I painted it about five years ago now, have a collection of wall decorations, admired ideas and thought about décor bliss, but haven’t actually done any of it.

5. Fashion | BOOK NERD ALERT CONFESSION! No secret has been made about my being a book cover snob. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover and because of this I kinda’ want to raid the closets of the following characters: America Singer, Lady Kestrel or Natasha Romanoff (as seen in the 2016 adaptation, War & Peace). I wouldn’t have a place to wear all of these beautiful things, but golly, it’d be fun! Practical realist me loves Kohls.  

6. Flying | I didn’t step foot on a plane until I was 17 or 18 and haven’t since. Although I didn’t mind the experience at all – taking off was beautiful because we flew at night and seeing the lit-up skyline? Gorgeous


7. Graphic Design | The art of “graphic design” (using this term loosely for myself) is an amateur hobby I’ve grown to love in the last 6 months to a year. There is SO much material out there and inspiration because of this material. What are some of your favorite design resources?
8. Lemon Poppy Seed  (Muffins) | Speaking of muffins, while I love variety and flavors in muffins, overall, one of my favorite “sweet tooth” treats are lemon poppy seed muffins. It’s stood the test of time as my long-standing favorite.
9. Politics | There’s a lot going on in our US world today. With this, no one can legitimately argue. And I have opinions on it. In fact, some of the time I can barely restrain from commenting when I see something on Twitter, but I chose not to. The reasons vary, one of which is because I decided long ago to keep my bookish place in this community “fun.” That’s primarily what it was created for, and that’s what I want it to remain. Creating it to be something other than that was never an option: I encourage and respect differing opinion in the comments, but this subject? Well it can bring heated opinions, and I'm not sure that's Finding Wonderland's purpose. 

That said, I am thinking about writing a generalized blog post (on why I don't go this route). Thoughts?
10. TV Addict | This is moi. I watch WAY too many TV shows (the fact that I have so many started is proof of this), and when I’m feeling particularly bored (which should be never considering there’s always work to be done), I search iTunes for new shows to try. Yep, I have a problem. Still this shall not prevent me from asking the important question: What are some of YOUR favorite TV shows? 

BONUS! 11. Blogging Series | Some of you probably already know about this if you’re a frequent reader, but because I’m a blogger nerd, I thought I’d take an opportunity to mention it today. My plan is to start a kind of blogger series that invites my fellow blogger friends to contribute posts to the series. Our topics would (ideally) come from readers or newbie bloggers when I open the questions to readers (i.e., we’d ask you to ask us questions and present us with new topics to discuss or things you’d like to know more about).

Let me know down below if you have any thoughts on a blogging series; any and all feedback is MOST welcome.
That’s it for today’s Top Ten Tuesday random-all-over-the-place blogger facts! What did you share about yourself today? Let me know all about your bookish thoughts down below! I’d love to chat. 
Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

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