RIP IT or SHIP IT Book Tag! aka the Tag in Which I Rip (and Ship!) the Weird, Odd Could-Have-Been Pairings

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hello, my book loving friends and happy readers. Finding Wonderland is dressed and ready for something fun today – a book tag! It’s been a while since we participated in one of these around this part of the webverse, so today seemed as good a day as any to get this party started. weird 

The talented Emilie of CreateExploreRead (aka Thinking Thoughts) tagged me in my first (ever!) booktube tag. Many, many thanks to Emilie for the tag. If you’ve not visited Emilie’s channel, please do so. She’s not only a talented supporter of authors, and a huge support system to them, she’s also a wonderfully helpful pro to and for this community. I’ve only “known” her the last couple of months, but it’s been fun to be a newbie booktuber with her.

Emilie tagged me in the RIP IT or SHIP IT tag, which I am thrilled to pieces to have been tagged in. There are tags I really want to take part in (and did film, only to discover I look like a yellow monster because lighting!), but haven’t. Being tagged in this one is most fun though since watching this tag done on other channels is way fun. Stands to reason then that putting it together would be fun, right? 

The answer is a resounding yes. Seriously, I think this is the most fun I’ve had filming.

The rules are straightforward and simple. You place a bunch of characters from various books in a jar and draw two names. You then decide if you “ship” them (whether or not you can see them paired together) or “rip” them (the very thought makes you cringe). I put a few TV show characters in my jar (because I’m a total TV fangirl) plus various book characters.

With that said, I’ve decided to share two pairings I picked that are in my video (on my Booktube channel today!), and an "exclusive" website pairing that was cut off because I didn’t realize my camera had stopped filming. So… if you want to discover the other four I shipped or ripped, check out my video.

First Pairing

Oliver Queen: First name I pulled out of the jar was none other than my favorite, Oliver Queen. A very confident, strong character who, literally, could subdue you with nary a glance, Oliver is a protector. He’s a wealthy billionaire “playboy” who’s five years missing out on the real world (during which he was marooned on an island) has taught him a great deal.

Moving on, it’s time to draw another name from the jar (unless I can ship him with myself, and call it good??)…

Sierra: The leading lady from Jay Asher’s What Light, Sierra is a confident young lady who lives in a very different world than Oliver. Whereas Oliver comes from a dark world “ruled” by the criminal minds of his city, Sierra lives in a well-adjusted two-parent home.
Thoughts: Both are from the 21st century, but other than seeing them in a protective older brother/younger sister relationship, I’m going to…

Conclusion: RIP IT! 

Second Pairing

Beckett Walker: From Melissa Tagg’s Keep Holding On, I adore Beckett. A lawyer who’s been running from his past from far too long, despite these flaws, he’s an all-around wonderful guy. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s see who we might ship him with…

Anna of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Hiding under the veneer of a “darker” personality because she’s protesting having been sent to Paris, Anna is a sassy personality who I ship (so much) with her leading man, St. Claire.
Thoughts: Um, yeah, no. Whether or not their personalities mesh, the age gap (for me) doesn’t work. There comes a time when an age gap doesn’t matter, but at seventeen and 28? 30? (I can’t remember how old Beckett is), nope, I’m not for it.

Conclusion: RIP IT! 

Third Pairing

So I drew these two names, but encountered a filming snag meaning part of my ramble onscreen about them was cut off. This potential ship is…

Elizabeth Bennet: Since I haven’t read the Austen original, when I added Lizzie’s name, in my mind I was thinking of the Lizzie of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies who is, if possible, an even more dominant personality than the “original” Lizzie. Two words: expert swordswoman!

*goes to draw name*

Jim Avery: Familiar to those of us who love novels from Sarah Sundin (Through Waters Deep), Jim is a naval officer who (eventually) pursues the girl who’s silently been crushing on him for years. But in the meantime, many misunderstandings keep them both at arm’s length.
Thoughts: My initial thought with these two was, RIP IT! But the more I talked about them, and thought about it, I began to wonder: what if!? Could a story about these two as leading characters (sans the zombies, maybe) be interesting? I think so. True they come from different eras (she from the 1800s, he the 1940s), but for their time and situation, they’re both fighting for the greater good. In conclusion…

SHIP IT! (Because I can *wink*)

That’s a wrap on today’s post! Of course, I ramble on about MORE characters in my Booktube video, so swing by and have a watch of my “artsy” black and white video (trust me, this was needed otherwise you would have gotten freaky yellow-tonal Rissi or creepy ghostly Rissi. Darn, lighting!) to discover who they are and whether or not I RIP or SHIP them!

Let me know down be if YOU like any of these couples together, or if you've done this tag - I'll come visit! 

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

PS: important Blogger question (impromptu advice Q here), what would you all prefer. The DISQUS comment system or blogger's comment system? I'm considering swapping out, but if I go with DISQUS, the comments would then become "messy." I.E., the replies would no longer match up. Thoughts!?

Sherlock, Series Four (2017) – 221 B Baker Returns Packing a Brilliant Swan Song

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

For a number of years, Masterpiece Mystery! has been entertaining fans and viewers with a contemporary adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Originally created by a man named Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, the consulting detective Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson are an enigma that have never been seen quite like this.

TV SERIES REVIEW | Sherlock, Series Three (2013)

The game is nearing its starting point. Or so that’s what Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) says when asked how he’d know the first sign. Returned to England after nearly being exiled for his actions murdering a government protected figure, Sherlock is needed to untangle the enigma that is Jim Moriarty. Only problem is, he’s dead. So Sherlock must discover who’s behind the “resurrection” of his mortal enemy and furthermore, why someone is playing the game.

Everything at 221 B has changed, and yet, somehow, remains the same. John (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock continue to occupy their time with cases as they await the arrival of John’s baby. Upon her arrival, Sherlock along with John and Mary (Amanda Abingdon) are quickly caught up in the Morierty mystery. Or so that’s what the deductions predict until they don’t.

Were I a person of few words or if I were asked to describe this series in one word, I’d reply as follows; brilliance. As is my usual choice, I watched this on DVD, and without regret watched the three episodes in a weekend. As they aired on PBS, I saw a lot of hate for this series on Twitter which made me wonder what caused so much dislike, but not one to be put off, I still eagerly placed disc one into my Bluray tray.

As we all know I cannot end with one word, so below are some of my other thoughts which require entire sentences.

I assume this isn’t an arc that closely follows the canon. However from my minimal reading, I have discovered that many of the issues the writers have given this Holmes follows Doyle’s Holmes. True, these things may be amped up to bring them into the 21st century, but they do plague Holmes. Because of this and a myriad of other reasons, I admire the heck out of this show. It earns my (TV show) respect time and time again without breaking a sweat. Or if it does, it doesn’t show it. This season is possibly its best yet.

The one caveat I will say is, I will confess to missing the “cozier” cases John and Sherlock solve in the early days. This kind of complicated arc that overwhelms entire seasons seems to be a trend in TV shows, and usually I detest it. It takes away from the characterization and tends to inspire lazy writing. With this, because the series’ are so compact (three installments), these problems don’t show to say nothing of the fact that this writing is anything but lazy.

Since I cannot get off the script talk, let’s talk about it. All three episodes are tightly compacted and leave so many dangling threads throughout the entire show. What we think might be insignificant at the time winds through to the end of ‘The Final Problem.’ Everything comes full circle. This writing will make you laugh, cry, white-knuckle it and leave you with bittersweet emotions. That’s how good this writing is, which is, I’m afraid the best I can honor its skill.

Naturally, the acting is (again!) flawless. The depth these actors put into these characters never ceases to amaze me. Led by (the in demand) Cumberbatch right through to () as Mrs. Hudson, everyone is at their very best. While I wish I’d seen more of Molly (if that scene in the final episode doesn’t rip your heart out, I don’t know what will), I do discover my plus million reason why I adore Mrs. Hudson. As I type I’m fighting the urge to say more, but suffice to say, this woman rocks!

While there’s been no final word on the status of this show, this “feels” like an ending. Should it return for a fifth season, I will be front and center awaiting its arrival. If not, this is a satisfactory and “whole” ending that, in this fan’s eyes, doesn’t cheat us out of anything. It’s a rare storyteller that can do that.

There’s an East wind coming for The Boys of Baker Street. And the only person who can fit the pieces together is Sherlock Holmes.

Photos: BBC

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Loved + and - Than I thought I Would

Monday, February 20, 2017

Another week has begun which signals another trip to the bookish world known as Top Ten Tuesday.

Broke and Bookish February 21 | Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) -- or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else. - Broke and Bookish

There are a number of books I’ve liked more than I thought I would, which always makes for a pleasant read. On the flip side of that coin there have been books I didn’t like as much as I anticipated. And that is never a happy day - or at least it isn’t for a reader. When books don't live up to the lofty expectations it's a sad day. Most of the time, this is no reflection on the author, it's simply that the story or style doesn't suit our reader preferences, and that's okay. 

So... because I've apparently run out of things to say, let's have a look at said list.

Below are BOTH books I DID and DID NOT like. Find out which are which below. 

1. The Inheritance (-) by Louisa May Alcott | Much as I adore this story, this book doesn’t hold a candle to the film adaptation. An adaptation that could use an update considering it’s 20 years old. (Also, can I just enjoy the fact that I worked a classic lit novel on my list!? *smile*) Amazon | Godreads

2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (+) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith | Silly sometimes, but overall, I adore this story. Though I will admit, the film gets the win in my "best of" column as between it and this novel. Amazon | Goodreads

FILM REVIEW | Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) - Or the Film in Which Darcy and Lizzy Kick Butt

3. Velvet Undercover (+) by Teri Brown | Though I had high hopes going in, I REALLY enjoyed this fun WWI mystery novel. Because of that, it surpassed my already optomistic expectations. Amazon | Goodreads

4. All Fall Down (+) by Ally Carter |I don’t think I expected not to like this novel, but with the praise everyone heaps on Ally’s earlier series, I suppose I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, I did indeed think this one was a great read.  Amazon | Goodreads

5. Misery Loves Company (+) by Rene Gutteridge | This one took me by surprise in the best kind of way. It’s a cozy mystery that also manages to be “cute.” Amazon | Goodreads

6. A Noble Groom (+) by Jody Hedlund | This book is so swoon worthy, romantic and all that jazz. Plus, it doesn't hurt that its hero is (quite literally) as heroic as this cover suggests! Amazon | Goodreads  

7. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (-) by Rosamund Hodge | Given I’m more of a HEA girl, and the fact that this is inspired by Romeo & Juliet (Um, duh! *note to self: this isn’t going to end well*), I wonder at the fact that I decided to pick this one up. But it’s definitely full of unique ideas, and I’m sure many will find it the perfect weekend read. Amazon | Goodreads

8. The Affectionate Adversary (+) by Catherine Palmer | I don't know how I'd feel about this novel today because I read it so long ago, but at the time, it was one of my happy reads. Amazon | Goodreads

9. Ash and Bramble (-) by Sarah Prineas | Though I love fairy tales, this book (overall) wasn’t my cup of tea. Why I don’t know. That's not to say I didn't enjoy portaions of it, but in the end, it's not my favorite retelling. Perhaps this is one of those situations where it’s a “it’s not you, it’s me” adage. Amazon | Goodreads

10. Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between (+) by Jennifer E. Smith | This was my first and still only novel by Jennifer. I anticipated really enjoying it, but I don’t think I expected to like it as well as I did. Thanks to Jennifer for this poignant story. What books do you recommend by Jennifer? Amazon | Goodreads

11. The Merciful Scar (-) by Rebecca St. James | This was one novel I remember being really excited about because I’d listened to Rebecca’s music growing up. Sadly, it simply didn’t live up to my expectations. Amazon | Goodreads

12. The Light Between Oceans (-) by M.L. Stedman | I really wanted to like this one, and while I do respect it for many reasons, it just want’s suited to my reading style. If you’d like to read my thoughts, my review is linked in the title. Amazon | Goodreads

13. Miracle in a Dry Season (+) by Sarah Loudin Thomas | As with many on this list, it wasn't that I anticipated not liking this book, I simply thought it was the kind of book that wouldn't 100% be my "cup of tea." Happily, I discovered that I really enjoyed this one! Amazon | Goodreads 


That brings another week of Top Ten Tuesday to its close. Tell me, which books did you discover you liked more or less than first impressions? Tell me more about them down below. Or let me know if you’ve read and liked (or disliked!) any of the books I talk about. Basically, let’s talk all things bookish! I’d love to chat with you all.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

PS: important Blogger question (impromptu advice Q here), what would you all prefer. The DISQUS comment system or blogger's comment system? I'm considering swapping out, but if I go with DISQUS, the comments would then become "messy." I.E., the replies would no longer match up. Thoughts!?

Begin Again by Crystal Walton – Healing, Forgiveness and Danger Paint this Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Impact Editions (Indie)
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Series: Home in You, 2

The past doesn't frame a pretty picture for Trina Russo. It’s this that puts New York in the rear-view and sends her to the shores of Carolina. By doing this, she leaves behind a successful art studio business, and worries her friends, but she finds something precious. 

In the small coastal town, she meets Drew Anderson. A single father struggling to keep on top of overwhelming medical bills, and the family business he fears having to give up, Ti’s arrival seems almost too good to be true. Looking for distractions and a place to hide, she puts every effort into helping Drew revamp his business, but when things between them become more personal than professional, at what cost will Ti’s participation in Drew’s life come?

When first we met Ti in Crystal’s novel from last year (originally a standalone, Write Me Home), she was a fun character who made us laugh. Or so first impressions suggest. Little do we realize the extent and depth the scars of her past extend.

Ti’s story is one of pain, heartbreak, and disbelief. All emotions that have to be turned upside down so we, along with this character, can discover the joy to be found in the small things. To remember what hope looks like, to remember what it feels like to truly feel free, happy and whole. This is where Drew's unexpected role in her life makes the different. Drew’s pursuit of her is one of attraction, but also a deeper connection. He pursues her to tell her she’s worth more than her vision of herself. He pursues her to give her a place to call home. He pursues her to show her the depth love and family can mean.

Those who like Nicholas Sparks novels will appreciate this romance. It hides deeper secrets than first glance suggests and blooms into a novel of hope, and forgiveness. The author carries through on the same theme as Write Me Home in its promise of discovering home as the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Flawed in shattered ways, these characters are sure to pique romance readers interest. What they’ve gone through is heartbreak and bittersweet, sorrow and joy, and all of it comes to a head in the final chapters of Begin Again. But as any good author is able to do, Walton brings these “hard” issues full circle, and gifts us - and these characters, an ending sure to draw a smile.

Content: though nothing “explicit,” some readers may not like the emphasis on the “physical” relationship between Trina and Drew. There is a lot of importance placed on the attraction, and a good deal of kissing.

Synopsis: What happens when a free-spirited artist from big-city New York collides with an uptight business owner from small-town Ocracoke? Fireworks. The kind neither saw coming.

A single call is all it takes to drive artist Ti Russo into what she does best. Run. But hey, lying low in a beach town for a while isn’t so bad. Thanks to the distraction of playing consultant to a guy she’s determined to crack, she can almost forget about the past stalking her back home. But she never counted on the real danger being a picket-fenced life she has no business falling for.

Focus and self-preservation have gotten single dad Drew Anderson through the last nine years. With the threat of his shop’s foreclosure jeopardizing his daughter’s health care, the last thing he needs is a distracting hippie chick swooping in to shake up what he’s fought to protect. Including himself. The bank’s deadline adds enough pressure without re-risking feelings better left buried. 

But as sparks flare and secrets escalate, the race against time propels Ti and Drew into a choice neither’s ready to make: Find the faith to surrender their past or forfeit their only chance to begin again. – Goodreads

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

Love Blossoms (2017) – Romance Blooms and Mingles in Exotic Locales

Saturday, February 18, 2017

With the holidays over, and shelves emptying of heart shaped boxes of chocolate, the appeal of Valentine’s Day has worn off and with it, Hallmark’s programs of sweet romance winds down. But rather than asking loyal viewers to forgo the charms of these stories, they present Love Blossoms.

As a child, Violet Chappel (Shantel VanSanten) thought the world of her father. In the aftermath of his death, Violet has a decision to make. Her life in Boston is fulfilling, and her career as a chemist successful, which complicates everything. But her father’s legacy needs to carry on. As a leading perfumer, his company’s future and the formula (the final in a trilogy) he was about to launch, hangs in the balance.

Now Violet must choose between running her father’s company or handing the reigns over to someone knowledgeable of the business. First she needs to discover the missing element in her father’s last formula. For that she needs to hire a “nose.” This is how she meets Declan (Victor Webster). A botanist with a unique sense of smell, Dec may be just the man Violet needs to complete her complicated (both literally, and of the heart) task.

Though Love Blossoms does not fall under the umbrella of Hallmark’s Valentine promotion, this film is as sweet as its predecessors. My excitement for this one was already high. What I didn’t realize was that those expectations would be surpassed. Though there were other films hyped as the pinnacle of  the Valentine's promotion, this is one of, if not, my favorites of the group. There is so much I appreciated, enjoyed, giggled, and swooned over.

Unexpectedly added to the schedule, that didn't hinder how quickly it skyrocketed to the top of my “must see” list when I spotted Shantel’s name as its leading lady. As a fan of her character on The Flash (who else hopes she makes a return to Barry’s life!? And is there a ship name for them!?), seeing her play a character in a favorite network original was a fun surprise. Her character is as fun as that of Patty Spivot; the clumsy nature of her personality makes her especially relatable which means Violet is impossible not to like. Similarly, fans will fall head over heels for Declan. Or I know I did.

Beyond the general appeal of this story (which is vibrant and beautiful), what also makes this such a worthwhile film is the “old fashioned” appeal. The most organic of the appeal being the overseas setting. Set in Belgium, the stunning scenery and architecture sells what otherwise might have been an ordinary albeit still sweet little film. The fascinating locale ties everything together to evoke that final “finishing touch.” And as everyone knows, it’s that which neatly ties all of the ingredients together to create the magic that is Love Blossoms.

Stay in this Saturday and fall under the mesmerizing spell of Love Blossoms. It’s 100% darling and all kinds of adorable. In other (more mature speak), it’s the kind of story that makes you smile. It’s the kind of story that uplifts rather than breaks our heart. And in today’s entertainment industry, dark and terrorizing is the norm. So the exception that is Hallmark is a breath of fresh air. ♥

Catch the premiere of Love Blossoms TONIGHT (February 18th) on Hallmark Channel.

#WishfulWonder | March 2017 #Bookstagram Challenge

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hello, my book loving friends. As we've passed the midway point of another month, it's that time again; Tressa (of Wishful Endings) and I are pleased to announce another Bookstagram challenge.

Before we get to the the specifics of March's challenge, I'd like to give everyone who has and is joining in, a round of thanks for joining the fun. As always, your time and creative efforts are such fun to "see" reflected in these photos. Today, I'm sharing a couple that caught my eye recently.

A post shared by Kate (@tooreadornot) on

If THESE beauties don't convince you, allow me my indulgence in trying to talk you into joining the fun! For Those of you toying with the idea, here is my usual spiel to attempt to tempt you to join the fun. Is it working!? *smile*

+ If you’re pressed for time to participate in daily challenges, first and foremost, while we love it when you do, there’s no rule that says you must post every day. 
+ If you think you can’t participate because of it being “too much work,” try taking a handful or several days’ worth of photos for an hour. (This is generally what I try to do, which is nice and I often find I have a little “stock pile” of Instagram photos as a result.)  
+ If you are looking to meet other Bookstagrammers (people in the book community on Instagram), or build your "brand" in the book community, joining a challenge is an excellent way to do this. 
+ If you don’t think our #WishfulWonder challenge looks like a good fit for you, there are TONS of challenges on Instagram. A brief #Bookstagram or some variation of a #BookChallenge hashtag search will show this. 
+ Still not convinced? Go ahead and follow our #WishfulWonder tag on Instagram or Twitter to be inspired!

Everything for this month is self-explanatory (or we hope so!). Introducing our March 2017 #WishfulWonder Challenge.

If you have any questions about the prompts, please feel free to ask! Again the rules are simple. We’d love to see your pictures, so be sure to tag us with the usual, #WishfulWonder hashtag. Also, feel free to share this.
Happy day, Book Nerdigans. Join us in our fun, bookish endeavors - we look forward to chatting with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

The Birthday Wish (2017) – Make a Wish! (To See The Future)

The last Winterfest film I saw in Hallmark Channel’s 2017 line up, this little gem is as cute and sweet as its promo spot suggests.

Gwen Turner (Jessy Schram) has plans. Right now she’s hoping her modest successes as a creative TV commercial director turns into a win in her personal life. You see part of those plans involves being engaged by thirty. Little does she realize her boyfriend doesn’t share these plans. When he elects not to propose on the eve of her birthday, Gwen begins a new year sans a ring on her finger.

This inspires her to make a wish... to see her life in ten years. Normally a harmless notion, Gwen’s wish her a vision she’d rather not come true.

TV MOVIE REVIEW | Love on Ice (2017) – Wintry Romance about Second Chances

In her vision, Dave McKinley (Luke McFarlane) is the man next to her. Dave’s creative direction and Gwen’s director skills have been paired together (by ad agencies) professionally, but never has Gwen imagined herself dating the spontaneous Dave. What’s a girl to do when her carefully laid plans fall apart?

Penned by a familiar Hallmark scripter (Hello, It’s Me, Wedding Bells, The Convenient Groom) one of the things I like best about this teleplay is the humor. It works well on so many levels. From sappy slapstick (a desperate search for a ring) to a more realistic approach (playful competitive competition), everything blends nicely. As I watched this one, that’s the memory that stuck with me. The humor and the way the script allows these characters to shine, all of which is assisted by the talents of its cast.

Speaking of, it was great fun to see Luke McFarlane (a familiar Hallmark leading man) in this role. He’ll be familiar to those who saw Dashing Through the Snow and The Memory Book. Costume drama enthusiasts may also recognize him from Mercy Street. Fun fact: in ‘Memory,’ Luke’s co-star is Megan Ory who plays Red on Once Upon a Time. In The Birthday Wish he romances Once’s Cinderella, actress Jessy Schram (who plays Cinderella in recurring appearances on the ABC fairy tale). The careers in this film are also interesting which gives the story a new layer.

TV M OVIE REIVEW | Love Blossoms (2017) – Romance Blooms and Mingles in Exotic Locales

Futuristic romantic comedies aren’t always my cup of tea, but in the case of The Birthday Wish, I thought the blending of present and future was well done. The latter doesn’t consume the present timeline so that we remain affixed on this path rather than the back and forth of the alternating realities. The ways Gwen experiences her future prophesies is also funny and sweet.

If you love romcoms, The Birthday Wish is worth spending a Saturday afternoon in. There’s plenty of (real) magic going on in this happy-face comedy, filled with one wish you’ll root to come true. 🕯

Cover Candy, First Edition | 2017's Works of Art

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hello, happy readers, friends and everyone! Today, I'm hitting the "reset" button on my "Cover Candy" posts and starting afresh with this new year. This makes the first "edition" featured here this year, and with all of the recent cover reveals I've spotted around the interwebs, I thought I'd share some here.

Below, you'll find a mix of genres, stories and eras. There's YA novels that feature epic kingdoms and battles (on earth and space!), sweet romances and historical sagas. There's adult fiction that frames romances of a complex nature and fairytale-esque adventures sure to enchant many a reader.

Below, I discovered many favorite designs. Both because the stories sound amazing and simply for its aesthetic. There are fierce covers (Jodi's, Sarah's), sweet covers of the romancy sort (Pepper's, Sandy's) and heroic heroes sure to sweep us off our feet. I'm also fascinated by the use of fonts and the trend to "filigree" covers (use flourishes or elements) rather than feature a model. I still like the latter use of cover design no matter the mistakes in portraying characters, but the more abstract techniques are growing on me.

Some of these have been out for a long time, but I'm adding them because I haven't done a post like this for a long time. Either way, I'd love your input on favorites. Let me know down below what you think.

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings 
Amazon | Goodreads

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she's just Andi, their friend and fearless leader. 
But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder's all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation—and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi's past. 
Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two. 
Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted. - Amazon, August 2017

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Amazon | Goodreads

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. - Goodreads, August 2017

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham 
Amazon | Goodreads 

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he's ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he's managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.- Amazon, April 2017

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake 
Amazon | Goodreads

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other. - Goodreads, September 2017 

A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
Amazon | Goodreads

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn't need a prophecy to know that she's in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook's system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth. - Goodreads, September 2017

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
Amazon | Goodreads

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever? - Goodreads, October 2017

Unraveling by Sara Ella
Amazon | Goodreads

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After capturing the Void and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.
With the Verity intertwined with her soul and Joshua finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her connection with Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process? - Amazon, July 2017

Just Dreaming by Kiersten Gier
Amazon | Goodreads 

A dream traveler faces the greatest challenge she's yet encountered in this gripping third and final book of the Silver trilogy.

The course of dream travel never did run smooth—at least, not in Liv Silver's experience. Able to visit other people's dreams (whether they want her to or not), Liv has solved mysteries, unearthed difficult truths, fought madmen, and escaped life-threatening peril, all from the comfort of her own bed. But Liv's troubles are just beginning.

A rocky romance, a malicious blogger with a hidden identity, a wedding, and a classmate (or two) dead-set on revenge all await Liv in this action-packed conclusion to the Silver trilogy. - Goodreads, May 2017

The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall 
Amazon | Goodreads 

The Circle is hers.

But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found, and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had, and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.

Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack, and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.

Avery will have to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice—for the world, for family, and for love—in this thrilling conclusion to the Conspiracy of Us series. - Goodreads, May 2017

The Best (Worst) Case Scenario by Sandy Hall 
Amazon | Goodreads 

Scenario: A Musical Theater Lock-In you've been looking forward to all summer long.

Best Case: You and all your best friends have a fabulous time, you win backstage passes to your favorite Broadway show, your crush falls madly in love with you, and you get amazing material for your college applications that gets you early admittance into their theater programs.

Worst Case: Your best friend brings your mortal enemy to the lock-in and insists that you be on the same team mere hours after you learn your father's new girlfriend is now in charge of the lock-in. The drama totally overwhelms you, making it impossible to charm your crush and leaving you wanting to lay down on the floor and cry. Not exactly a formula for success.

Fans of Glee will delight in this fourth irresistibly fun and completely adorkable YA romance from Sandy Hall, the author of A Little Something Different. - Goodreads, August 2017

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge 
Amazon | Goodreads

In this modern adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Woodward and her sister Celia run a small tea salon in San Francisco but are forced to relocate to Austin, Texas. While trying to start fresh and settle in, Jane meets a dashing musician, Sean, who steals her heart, but not before catching the eye of another suitor, military veteran Ben Fredrickson. The sisters drift apart, lives collide, dashing men steer Jane off course, and she discovers that adjusting to a new life is trickier than she anticipated. - Goodreads, June 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 
Amazon | Goodreads 

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. - Amazon, May 2017

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Amazon | Goodreads 

Anna-Marie McLemore's debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate―and pulled apart by reality.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. - Amazon, October 2017

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Amazon | Goodreads


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse. - Goodreads, September 2017

Final Fall by Heather W. Perry
Amazon | Goodreads

Mori is out for revenge. Imprisoned in the English countryside, with her brothers held as leverage, she’s never felt angrier or more helpless. When an opportunity for escape arises, Mori takes it and flees back to the streets of London, where she is finally able to plot the demise of her recently freed father and his cohorts.

But after a bittersweet reunion with Lock, she discovers that he may not be the ally he once was. In the face of blackmail, threats, and Lock’s noble attempts to thwart her crusade, Mori has an impossible decision to make.

Can Mori wash the blood from her hands and walk away? Or will her final fall from grace be the end of everyone she loves?
 - Goodreads, November 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davison Politano
Amazon | Goodreads

A young woman the world has written off is secretly the most popular writer of Victorian England . . . but will her own story end as tragically as the heroine in her famous novels? - Goodreads, October 2017

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay 
Amazon | Goodreads

Plot unknown. Arrives November 2017.

Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
Amazon | Goodreads

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch. - Goodreads, August 2017

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow 
Amazon | Goodreads

Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford. - Goodreads, June 2017


Which of these are YOU most looking forward to reading? What books are you loving right now? (A bookstore trip is in my future, so tell me about ALL THE BOOKS!) Comment down below with any and all bookish thoughts. I'd love to chat with you. 

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