What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum – YA Contemporary about Friendship and How NOT to Be Awkward

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Young Adult/Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dreams haunt Kit Lowell. Dreams triggered by the unexpected death of her father. Despite this, every day, she pretends nothing is wrong. She listens to her friend’s petty complaints, goes to school and follows the same routine. Until today. Today she fits at David Drucker’s table. David is weird (or so he tells us), but as Kit sits at his otherwise empty lunch spot, she discovers he’s a “good” weird.

David is different. And he knows it. Boasting an unusual personality, David doesn’t trust anyone. He’s been on the bad end of school pranks one too many times which is why he relies on his elder sister’s “guide book” on who not to trust. Kit Lowell is on the good list. Kit is the girl David has had a crush on for years, and when she asks him to help to make sense of her father’s accident, David readily agrees.

But the answers their project gives may not be what Kit wanted to hear – nor will it cement the friendship that ties them together.

Though contemporary books don’t seem to get the attention that other genres receive, one can argue the genre has been stretching its imagination. A trend I say should be – and I hope is, commended. Most of the results have been beautifully imagined and concluded. The same can be said for What To Say Next. Unique is in its DNA and (for the most part) it all pays off.

Though she reached success with her YA debut (Tell Me Three Things), I had not read a novel by Julie until the opportunity for her sophomore release cropped up. Though I cannot speak to her debut, I will say, I was impressed with what I found inside these pages. The book isn’t a fast mover (plot wise), which is, sadly, a disadvantage. I felt “stuck” in the first fourth or even half of the story. Nothing moved towards the elements mentioned in the synopsis (or the element suggested to be the “big” conclusion), which left this reader confused.

That said, once I fell into the rhythm of the first-person switch off, I really did become invested. David’s brutal honesty won’t appeal to everyone, but he is actually a wonderful character. I found him refreshing and best of all, I love that Kit responds to this honesty. David comes into her life precisely when she most needs him, and it’s that which makes the story work so neatly. Everything falls apart for Kit, and even though her friends remain, none of them quite know how to handle “Kit 2.0.” How David jumps into their friendship and challenges her makes them all the more perfect and good for each other.

Because of the rocky start, I do feel a slight disconnect in places of the story. Nonetheless, I do want to clearly say, I really (really) like this book. It’s smart, witty and a little bit sassy. The ending is ambiguous depending on how you choose to read it. Some will love this because it allows them to write a kind of ending for these characters. Others will find disappointment at conclusion’s end. I’m in the former camp. Though I’ll confess, I was leaning towards the latter, but then a final chapter came up, and a smile again found its way to my face.

Short in its page count, the chapters fly by, but the characters work their way into a reader’s heart. Kit and David are darling, fun and definitely more multifaceted (as individuals and as a twosome) than many of their fictional peers. ♥

SynopsisSometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth? - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

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

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge – Sisters, Tea Shops, Texas and Romance in a ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Re-telling

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Publisher provided 
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Goodreads | Wordpress
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Family
Rating: ★★★★½
“Smart, sassy and sensational, Jane of Austin is a classic in its own right; a book worthy of placing next to its Austen inspired tome.” 
Change is threatening to sweep the Woodward sister’s into its vicious cycle. In the wake of their father’s scandal, the sisters reinvent their life by opening a tea shop. Now, their landlord has died and his family no longer believe they’re good tenants. Forced to leave behind their home and business, the three sisters pack up and make the move from California to Texas, where distant relatives await.

Jane is the most impetuous of the three whereas Celia is the voice of reason and then there’s Margot. A high school senior, Margot has had plenty of change in her life, but she also settles into their new life with little fuss. You see Jane detests the idea of leaving their home (and wonders at the real reason for it), while Celia has just had her heart broken by the man she thought was “the one.” As the sisters navigate their new life, they must learn how to adapt to change, new friends, broken hearts and possibilities.

Reading this book was a unique experience. Not only did I have a read along with a fellow book blogger (#BookBesties), my primary reading medium was also unusual. Part of this experience included the audio book. Time and again I’ve said I wouldn’t like audio books, but as I was participating in a read along, I wanted a way (if needed) to continue to “read” this book even when the day didn’t allow for normal reading time. Walking away from this experience was, I’m happy to report, a very good one. (As an aside, the audio is fantastic; the female narrator gives each character a little different “voice,” and Margot in particular is a spot-on interpretation.) Mixing the traditional “old fashioned” way of reading (print book) with audio enhanced the experience, and if you’re wondering what I thought of Jane of Austin, let’s talk about it.

It’s been weeks since reading this book, and still I didn’t sit down to pen a review. Why? It’s one of those books that impacts its reader (because it’s so classy) and stays with its reader long after the final page. These kind of novels are impossible to accurately put into words. The sisters are each well written, and each personality reads a little differently than the other. This is a book that’s memorable in all the right ways. Though contemporized and brought into the 21st century, Jane of Austin retells Sense & Sensibility really well. Of course, Hillary had to adjust some of the key elements because what was relevant in Austen’s world is no longer a barrier in ours. All are changes that work in the flow without sacrificing the heart of this story.

Each of the personalities is well represented. Jane (Marianne) is as one would expect a contemporary Marianne to be, only her “passionate” emotions are tamed, which I appreciated. Though some parts of her original character being carried over into this story really surprised me, each are handled well. Celia is, unfortunately, pushed to the background because of the first-person POV switch off (between Jane and a male character, Callum), but what’s there is very like Elinor. Margot (Margaret) is perhaps the funniest character in the entire novel, though all of the eccentric characters we know from Sense & Sensibility are present.
“I didn't respond on account of having a severe case of the heart flutters.” - Hillary Manton Lodge
Reading this novel is like the warm, welcoming smell of freshly baked cookies (perfect since this book continues Hillary’s signature addition of recipes) or the enveloping comfort of a favorite sweater. It’s full of beautiful quotes, and lovely characters. The bond of sisterhood is depicted as genuine with bumps and bruises, and the journey towards love is full of heartbreak and swoony smiles. If there is a flaw I have with the book, it’s that we don’t see enough of the girl’s with their loves. I understand the “why,” I just wish we’d had more page time with them, and furthermore, that this book hadn’t ended. A reader can appreciate the simple and quiet moments that bond two characters (saying who would be all about the spoilers!), but again, because these characters are so dynamic, they’re missed when it’s time to say goodbye.

Smart, sassy and sensational, Jane of Austin is a classic in its own right; a book worthy of placing next to its Austen inspired tome.♥

Synopsis: Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas. 

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away. - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

Top Ten Tuesday | Hook, Line and Sinker! Books that Intrigue at First Impression

Monday, July 17, 2017

Broke and Bookish’s official Top Ten Tuesday is still on hiatus (until August 15). Until then, we’ve been invited to put together our own topics from their backlist or imagine our own. Today I’m joining the effort with some book talk about, well, more books because as book worms, this is a sacred kind of duty.

For our subject, I thought I’d look at taglines!

One of Finding Wonderland’s favorite topics of discussion is cover art. I’m a self-diagnosed cover snob, and I admit this. Frequently. But what about those taglines? Taglines are something that seem hit or miss as part of a book’s design. More often than not, I discovered most novels don’t sport a tagline. What are your thoughts on the lack of or use of them?

Of those I did find, some are cute, heartbreaking, sassy and downright fierce. As I thought through possible subjects in my mind, I kept a cycle working (which revolved almost like a touch screen as I’d swipe one right after the other) through my mind wondering what I could feature. While I’m always glad to talk about favorite cover art or authors, I also look for opportunities to talk about books I might not ordinarily feature. For whatever reason.

All that said, let’s take a look at ten of the more intriguing… interesting… fierce… or eye-catching taglines.

“Six dangerous criminals. One impossible heist.” 
1. From Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | This is a series I’ve woefully neglected for no good reason. It sounds like my kind of read, and that tagline suggests there’s going to be some villainous protagonists turned good(?). Amazon | Goodreads
“What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?” 
2. From Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum | Not only does this book sound super cute (have you read it?), but the tagline is also heart-meltingly simple yet effective. Amazon | Goodreads
“You’ve Never Seen Watson and Holmes like this before.” 
3. From A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro | As I’m a bit of a Sherlock nerd (love Elementary and Sherlock), the idea that this series presents its reader with a “new” Watson and Holmes is an attractive and fun notion. Amazon | Goodreads
“Two Siblings, one crown. A battle neither can win.”
4. From Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau | To be honest, I know very little about this novel. Here’s what I do know. Its tagline is crazy good, the cover is all sleek and modern sophistication (I mean, really, is there a more tres chic combo than black and white?) and I almost bought a copy while out and about at the bookstore(s) yesterday. Amazon | Goodreads
“Love lives between the lines.” 
5. From Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | This one might not be a “biting” tagline in the same way as some of these other ones are, but really, how cute is it! Plus, this novel is a contemporary story that promises plenty of nods to we bookworms (a bookshop + letter writing is involved *Swoon*) Amazon | Goodreads
“Sometimes history gets it wrong... it's not easy being queen. Off with her head! ” 
6. From My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows | Ok, so technically, this isn’t a “tagline” so much as it is “saucy” quips releasing to the story… but I saw this one on my shelf, and simply couldn’t help myself. It’s simply too brilliant. Amazon | Goodreads
“A dark past. A glittering future, and the world between them.” 
7. From Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon | Aside from the fact that this cover is gorgeous (look at all the scrolls, top hat and parasol, plus gold filigree), this tagline works so well. It makes us pause and wonder, “But what stands between them?” Plus, this one is a re-telling of the Dicken’s classic Oliver Twist. Amazon | Goodreads
“Who we are is written in the stars.”
8. From The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord | Swoony and glittery and simply perfect for the story awaiting the reader (or that’s my impression as I’ve yet to read the book). Amazon | Goodreads
“He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.” 
9. From Nemesis by Brandon Reichs | Um, does the reason this one is on the list really need any explanation? *shakes head* Yeah, I don’t think so either. Who killed you???? Or is it who didn’t kill you? (Aside from this, again, I know nothing about this book.) Amazon | Goodreads
“A Beauty deadlier than the Beast.” 
10. From Hunted by Meagan Spooner | The intrigue level goes through the roof on this one. I mean, really, when have we met a Beauty deadlier than the Beast?? Amazon | Goodreads

(Publishes Tuesday afternoon; Channel linked above)

This brings us to a “wrap” of another Top Ten Tuesday edition. What did you feature this week for another week of “hiatus Top Ten Tuesday”? What suggestions do you have for future hiatus weeks? Comment down beloved with all those Top Ten Tuesday links (I’d be glad to visit), bookish – or non-bookish, thoughts! I’d love to chat with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

My Favorite Wedding (2017) – A Witty Wedding Story of ‘Errors’ Romantic Comedy

As I have been with each of the “June Weddings” titles, I am again late in reviewing this TV premiere. That said, it’s Hallmark, and knowing how much I love their originals, I couldn’t resist. In other words, given I’m a fan of romantic-comedies and the network, posting a review was a given.

Dr. Tess Harper (Maggie Lawson) relies on an organized life. With a rising career, which includes a bid for a fellowship that will bring her closer to her hometown, and a “perfect” boyfriend (despite the fact that he’s dragging his feet over a potential move), she’s got a dream life. When her boyfriend cancels as her date to her best friend’s wedding, Tess goes on alone. Once there, she’s paired with Michael (Paul Greene), an opinionated divorce lawyer whose cynical opinions of marriage are in opposition to Tess’.

Needless to say, the best man and maid of honor hope to see each other as little as possible.

Unfortunately for these two opposites, the bride has other ideas.

TV FILM REVIEW | Destination Wedding (2017) – Alexa Vega Returns to Hallmark RomCom about Second Chances

Though every one of the romances I’ve seen on this channel are cute (with personal favorites in the mix), this one is especially sweet. What helps it along is the crisp, witty back-and-forth banter between its leads. Paul Greene is a fan favorite, so to the surprise of no one, he plays another fun, easy to love leading man. However, Maggie Lawson is likely less familiar though anyone who enjoyed Psych will remember her as the enthusiastic detective on the USA show.

Like each of their productions, My Favorite Wedding is another charmer. It’s got the right elements to make it shine. The cute matchmaking schemes and “errors” that result in tossing Tess and Michael together are irresistible in the style of popular romantic-comedies, without the trouble of needless content. Cute dialogue with lots of fun sequences transpire as we learn more about these two and get to the “heart” of what makes them tick.

Paul and Maggie (perhaps the best leading lady I’d seen Paul with) are fabulous together. The wardrobe is all about unique, standout pieces, and I enjoyed the wide open spaces of the film's setting. Beyond this, there’s not much to say. What I can say is, ‘Wedding’ is another winning story. It’s easy to enjoy, both because of its production qualities and its characters, which earns this yet another recommendation from this girl, and a resounding bravo to Hallmark Channel. ♥

Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press 

The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo – Complex Study in Characters and the Grieving Process

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Author: Amy Matayo
Publisher: SYG Productions (Indie)
Source: Author provided – thank you, Amy.
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★½

At the top of the charts that command the success of his profession, musician Cory Minor has everything. Or that’s what the paparazzi and outward world sees. Inside his own private world, Cory’s life is another story. Losing himself in woman enamored by his lifestyle and the buzz of a new city every night, Cory’s life is on the fast track to disaster. Tragedy strikes when, while leaving his latest tour stop, his tour bus hits a car with two teenage girls inside.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Cory is listless. He wants nothing more than to hide and keep far away from the tabloid rumors, but first he has something to do. This leads him back to his hometown and Samantha Dalton, a woman Cory’s future is now inexplicably linked to.

Anytime you pick up a novel by Amy Matayo, you’re sure to walk away with a lot of emotions. Not all of them are of the good kind. Some slap you across the face and ask, “What if...” Each time, they become kind of questions that linger and wonder and prod, breaking reader’s hearts (just a little bit) alongside the characters whose journey Amy takes us on.

I went into this book “blind.” All I knew was it had Amy’s name on the cover, and I’d read it. So, without reading the summary (prior to reading the book, I had when it was announced), I loaded it on my Kindle and away I went. Oh, my! I didn’t expect what greeted me mere pages inside this book. Two chapters in, a waterfall of tragedy assaults the reader, which makes us sit up and realize, this story (investing) is going to be anything but easy; emotionally or otherwise.
“Last words. They can kill you with their lack of meaning, slay you with the absence of thoughtfulness, shackle you to a career of writing lyrics for the rest of your life just to hopefully one day get them right. Last words cut. Last words haunt. Especially if they're careless. Especially if you have no hope of ever having another chance to make them better.” - Amy Matayo
Cory and Sam’s respective POV (first person) switch offs help us establish where they’re at emotionally, their heartbreak (current and prior), and their mindset when it comes to what a future might mean. No matter how much I adored these characters (and I did – more on this later), I do wish they’d been expanded on more than what they are. Are they sufficiently tested? Absolutely. But I wish we’d seen more of them, felt more from them because I think they stand out as being memorable (these two are far from “cookie cutter” normal). Because of the deep roots this plants in my reader's heart, this isn't a flaw. Instead it's a sign of how good this story and its characters are.

Cory’s lifestyle diminishes the person he could be and yet shapes the person he learns he can be. Sam’s past shapes her present, but she’s also able to see, through this unique bond with Cory, that it doesn’t have to define who she is.

Don’t misunderstand; I have nothing bad to say about this novel. It’s beautiful in so many ways – reasons, and ways I cannot speak of for two reasons. The simplest being spoilers and the other is I simply couldn’t do the story justice. To discover why, you simply must read The Whys Have It. 

Synopsis: Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for. 

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own. 

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on. 

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too. 
At least that’s what she tells herself. 

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way. 

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both? - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book.

Casting Scoop | Little Women

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hello, readers. Today I'm coming to you with a random "casting scoop" post. Most of us receive instant news through whatever our chosen social media outlet is, but in case you wanted to gush some more, I thought I'd share this delightful bit of news.

BBC and PBS are adapting a 3-part miniseries of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

Yes, 'tis true, the British Broadcasting Corporation (who is always brilliant) is taking on this timeless tale for our screens, to debut, presumably in 2018. I am so freaking excited about this! Much as I adore the 90s adaptation, discovering a new take on a classic story for a new generation is always something that makes me smile.

Since there is news of its cast (most of which is filled), I thought I'd share a little bit about this all-star cast.

Cast in the role of Aunt March is Angela Lansbury who boasts a number of prestigious credits, more recently, she's remembered for her role of Jessica Fletcher from the TV show, Murder, She Wrote. (And yes, I have watched this entire series. Twice.)

British veteran Emily Watson is set to play the beloved role of Marmee. I've not seen her in a great deal of films, but those I have include Belle, A Royal Night Out, Gosford Park and Testament of Youth. From what I know of her, she seems a solid choice for the March family matriarch.

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke's daughter (thanks for the trivia, Rachel!), Maya Hawke will play daughter Jo. She hasn't been in anything that I can find, but in terms of her "look," it seems as if she'll be a wonderful Jo March.

Willa Fitzgerald is playing eldest daughter Meg. I'm familiar with Willa's work from Royal Pains, and can see her being a convincing Meg.

Amy will be portrayed by Kathryn Newton. No stranger to TV, Kathryn has played in Big Little Lies and Supernatural.

Annes Elwy will star as the sweet-natured Beth. A relative newcomer to the (screen) acting gig, Annes is again a great addition in terms of a good "picture" of who Beth is.

Finally, Jonah Hauer-King is cast as Laurie. While I haven't seen him in anything, Jonah is also credited in the upcoming Howard's End miniseries, so we'll have ample chance to see him in some great period drama!

I'm impressed with this cast list (so far). I like that casting directors and producers went with a young cast, and also relative unknowns. For this viewer, it makes the intrigue factor all the greater, because I'm going into the production without expectations (from past performances, etc.). A big hole in the cast is, of course, the role of Professor Bhaer. So, the questions remain...

Who would you like to see in this role? Anyone immediately come to mind? Do you like the cast so far?? Have you seen any of these actors in roles? Comment down below with your thoughts! ♥

Thanks for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

Author Spotlight | Nicole Deese

Author Spotlight is a bi-weekly (sort of) series that introduces readers to an author, and focuses on an upcoming or just-released novel along with their prior works. If there’s an author you’d like to see in this feature, visit our landing page for more details and qualifications.

Meet Nicole Deese

Nicole Deese writes sweet romances with emotional depth, dynamic characters, and heartfelt humor. Her books are as wholesome and romantic as they are emotionally challenging. Nicole’s latest novel is The Promise of Rayne. When Nicole was asked what she hoped readers take away from her latest novel, she replied with the following.

"By the end of this story, I hope my readers have a fresh—and perhaps—broadened understanding of the gift of mercy."
“Love isn't measured by what we gain. It's measured by how much we give away.” - Nicole Deese, The Promise of Rayne
 Fun Facts about Nicole:

+ As a child, Nicole wasn’t one to play dress-up. Nope, instead she played “library.” Girl has priorities.
+ She’s a 2014 AFCW Genesis Award finalist (A Cliché Christmas)
+ She loves Charlie Lionheart, the hero of Joanne Biscof’s latest, The Lady and the Lionheart
+ She loves the winter season
+ Nicole's next novel, A New Shade of Summer releases September 2017!

As an artist, Callie Quinn relies on inspiration to guide her wandering soul. This summer she accepts a short-term muralist job in her sister’s charming town to spend some much-needed time with her family. After meeting her nephew’s friend, Brandon, she’s eager to draw out his untapped artistic talents—however, it’s the boy’s straitlaced single father who could use a little color in his life.

Davis Carter may be the town’s favorite animal whisperer, but his experience is limited when it comes to understanding his preteen’s rebellious behavior. Desperate for a breakthrough, he follows the lead of a free spirit who claims to know the way into his son’s closed-off world. Soon, Davis isn’t the only one caught up in the hope of a new beginning.

Just as Callie considers trading her unattached existence for a life rich with promise and permanence, an unexpected visit from the past threatens to send her packing once again. Davis and Callie must learn to surrender their fears so they can find a love that will outlast the summer. - Goodreads 


Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.

Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke. – Goodreads


@NicoleDeese releases her new novel A NEW SHADE OF SUMMER in September Discover sweet #Romance! @AmazonPub 🎈 

Come by to "meet" @NicoleDeese and discover more about her novels @AmazonPub🎈

This book. It gets inside your heart and won’t let go. - Carrie of Reading is my Superpower
The tale of star-crossed lovers Rayne and Levi reflects themes of family loyalty, trust, and the unconditional love of the Savior. - Heidi of Heidi Reads 
Fresh writing, complex characters both good and bad, and a emotional journey that will leave you thinking about this book for days. - Tammy L. Gray 



Thanks for visiting Finding Wonderland

Top Ten Tuesday | Books that are Temping my Amazon Cart aka Window Shopping

Monday, July 10, 2017

The official Top Ten Tuesday weekly meme is taking a break until mid August. But the Broke and Bookish ladies have shared the official line up beginning August 15th (yay for an opportunity to get ahead of the game – even though I probably won’t), and a link up widget if anyone wanted to post during the hiatus. I decided to put a kind of Top Ten Tuesday post together this week. Just because.

Today’s topic is all about…

Recently Released Books (and the Temptation they Pose).

Soo… I have a problem. When it comes to book shopping, I’m a teeny, tiny bit addicted to Amazon. What makes it even worse is that six months ago we went ahead and bought Amazon Prime. Yeah. Now instead of 5-7 days, I get my books on a. their release date or b. in two days. Also making this bookish window shopping worse are those little carousals below the book you’re reading about that say, “Customers who bought this item, also bought.” You know the feature. It’s there. It’s full of books aka shiny, pretty tomes! And it knows exactly what mischief it’s up to.

Because I browse Amazon’s virtual bookshelves a little too often, I thought today I’d talk about ten books (excluding preorders) currently tempting (or maybe I’m stalking them?) me to hit the “buy” button. (Well, that reason applies, but also since I’m putting this together last minute, I opted for the lazy, easy topic.) Since July 11 is “Prime Day,” I’m wondering if some of these books will end up on my shelf this week. I mean, if I find any with good discounts, how can I not snag them??

Without further ago, the books catching my eye are as follows.

1. High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin | Why: Kate’s books are consistently well received, including among the circle of bloggers I trust. Add in the fact that WWI (can we say Downton Abbey addict??) is its era, and I’m all the more excited.

2. Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney | Why: Because contemporary fairytale + contemporary romance + cute cover = Way to this reader’s heart. Amazon | Goodreads

3. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer | Why: This one sounds like an incredibly unique contemporary read. It’s about a girl who writes letters to her deceased mother, only to have someone begin to answer the letters. Yeah. Like I said, unique! (And just as a means of clarification, I mean this as a positive thing.) Amazon | Goodreads

4. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | Why: Because pirates! I am still a nostalgic fangirl for Pirates of the Caribbean, and love the idea of there being a book series about a swashbuckling group of pirate-y characters. *squeal* Amazon | Goodreads

5. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Why: I’ve been eyeing this one for a while now. I’ve even had it in my hands at Barnes & Noble a time or two. But something always stopped me from taking it to the checkout counter. Given my love of BBC period dramas (even ones with “shadows” and a little bit of the “creepy” danger status), I plan to remedy this soon. Update: I've also preordered the paperback for this one, which means it's coming to my shelf in a couple months. Amazon | Goodreads 

6. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Why: I don’t tend to read a lot of fantasy, but I’ve been reading amazing things about this series, plus when the book sounds interesting, I’m all for discovering a new author. Amazon | Goodreads

7. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill | Why: Another fantasy novel, which as I said above, isn’t a genre I read much of… but this one created a lot of buzz prior to its release. Add in its beautiful cover, and a description that promises a fierce heroine, and I’m curious. Amazon | Goodreads

8. Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh | Why: Contemporary romance is my jam. Love the genre, and plus, Courtney has a fabulous contemporary “voice.” To be fair, I actually already own this one, but I added it because it’s a new release, and you should totally check it out! Amazon | Goodreads

9. A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren | Why: Because SUSAN MAY WARREN! Need we say more?? Amazon | Goodreads
10. A Name Unknown by Roseanne M. White | Why: Because a. it’s another WWI novel, and b. one of the best recommendation bloggers there is around, Ruth (of Booktalk and More), says it’s amazing. That’s all that needs to be said. Amazon | Goodreads


(visit channel, linked above)


That’s it for this random edition of Top Ten Tuesday.

Help me decide: which of these should I prioritize and add to my shelves first??

Did you join Top Ten Tuesday this week? Comment down below with your bookish thoughts, opinions and any other comments. I look forward to chatting with you!

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

With You Always by Jody Hedlund – Romance on the Railway

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author provided – thank you, Jody!
Publication Date: 2017         
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Goodreads | Wordpress
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction
Series: Orphan Train, 1
Rating: ★★★★

The New York streets are brutal to Elise Neumann and her young sisters. Following the recent death of their mother, the three girls are left orphaned. Housed by an uncle who cruelly demands more money from them, Elise decides she must strike out on her own before her family is torn apart. Leaving her family in the capable hands of a kind-hearted woman trying to start a mission, Elise sets out for unknown territory: Illinois.

Once there, she is hired to cook by the wealthy entrepreneur Thornton Quincy. Facing his own complicated challenges, Thornton cannot help an interest in Elise. Beautiful inside and out, Thornton begins to wonder if she’s his chance at true love – and to fulfill the challenges his father issues to his sons to marry for love.

Heartwarming in its elegant simplicity, this novel is again a prime example why Jody’s stories are so beloved. Her signature voice and talent is fully employed in this charming story, which launches an all-new series. (Read the prequel novella, An Awakened Heart, currently free on Kindle.) As with her Beacons of Hope series (exploring the lives of lighthouse keepers), With You Always explores a time in history that’s often left untouched by the pen of the literary world.

As she did with her recent medieval YA trilogy, Hedlund has a knack for taking undiscovered eras and making them vibrant and interesting. This story is no different. Our protagonists are placed in an untapped world of possibilities. It’s the kind of world that feels “unsettled” because paralleling their personal strife, it is an unsettled territory. But in the capable hands of a skilled writer, the story uses a barren, unformed land to pulse life and excitement into its plot.
“Maybe she hadn't known then what she wanted. But she had no doubts now...” - Jody Hedlund
These characters also assist in keeping the reader hooked. Elise’s calm grace and humble aptitude to do what’s right make her easy to love. Then there’s Thornton! He may not share traits or other similarities with his famous peer (*ahem* looking at you Mr. John Thornton), but he is nonetheless a memorable and swoon-y hero. His propensity towards caring for Elise is admirable as is his willingness to “take on” whatever responsibility loving Elise brings.

If you’re a fan of Jody Hedlund, you’ll enjoy With You Always. Each of her hallmarks are present including (though not limited too) fascinating historical details, engaging characters and of course, the cherry on top, swoony kisses! With You Always is a fascinating, and when necessary, charming and exciting beginning to a series worthy of praise and admiration. Historical fiction aficionados will love this, the latest romance novel from a familiar and popular novelist. ♥

Synopsis: A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund.

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance. 

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though. – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the author and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

Can't Wait / Waiting on Wednesday | Eighth Edition

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hello, readers and followers! Happy Wednesday and July 4th! It's nearly over here, but the day was a quiet, lazy kind of day at my house, and the spirit of the day shall live on. It was a day that ended with an episode of Major Crimes and a piece of avocado S'Mores pie (yes you read that right). How was your day?

Welcome. As we do every Tuesday with Top Ten Tuesday (only now the popular meme is going on hiatus *sad face*), this day, we're joining the "Waiting On" fun with Can't Wait Wednesday. 

Today Finding Wonderland is joining my Bookstagram (check out our July challenge!) partner in crime, Tressa of Wishful Endings with Can't Wait Wednesday. 

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. (Find out more here.)

For today's meme, we turn the spotlight on a novel that releases in the near future. 

Today I'm looking at Lynette Eason's next novel because a. they have epic (epic) covers; b. I adore these characters; and c. these stories are flat-out amazing. Add to that the fact that Chasing Secrets (the fourth in the Elite Guardians series - and please, go back and read them all) travels to Ireland(?), and I'm all the more ecstatic! Basically, what I'm trying to say is, these books are freaking amazing!

Publisher: Revell 
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense (Adult Fiction)
Publication Date: August 2017

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.  - Amazon

Amazon | Goodreads 


Always Watching (Book One) 
Without Warning (Book Two) 

PS: Before you go... Check out the giveaway


Comment down below with your thoughts (have you read Lynette's books? What books are you anticipating?), Waiting on / Can't Wait Wednesday blog links or anything else bookish. 

I'd love to chat all things bookish with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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