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Giveaway | Kindle Giveaway: Of Small Towns and Stars, Romance and Emotion

Giveaway | Kindle Giveaway: Of Small Towns and Stars, Romance and Emotion

For no particular reason, today seems like a good day to celebrate and have a giveaway. 

Although when it comes to books is a reason needed to have a giveaway? 

Featuring in these shenanigans, there are a few books for readers to chose from. Some of which I've read, and those I haven't, I've every reason to believe are amazing reads. (Because trusted fellow bloggers and friends write convincing reviews and endorsements.) 

Though I do have a list (below) you can choose from, when contacting the winner there may (or may not) be one or two extra to pick from. I'll confess, though I had this planned to publish this week, I didn't get the organizing work done I should have, so it's coming together last minute. 

List (Your Choice - Kindle)

- Homstands by Sally Bradley 
- The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce 
- Written in the Stars by Christina Coryell (Review)
- A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese (September 12)
- Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones
- The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo (Review)

(If you've never entered a giveaway on Finding Wonderland, read on below for the rules.)
And now let's get the rule details out of the way. (If you're a giveaway pro around here, just skip to the good part: the widget!)

The giveaway(s) is open to ALL readersThe prize will be a KINDLE copy, unless otherwise noted (US readers might have a paperback option when applicable). 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 31. Happy Rafflecopter-ing!

SHARABLES | #GIVEAWAY Enter for a chance to win a #Romance novel! #BookNerd #Bookworm via @RissiJC

Book #Giveaway | Win a "your choice" #romance novel on Finding Wonderland #Kindle #BookNerd @RissiJC

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Written in the Stars by Christina Coryell - Bittersweet Contemporary Indie with Hopeful Underpinnings

Written in the Stars by Christina Coryell - Bittersweet Contemporary Indie with Hopeful Underpinnings

Publisher: Indie Published
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Source: Rel’s Author Support (Author Street Team)
Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Unlike anything I’ve ever read before, Written in the Stars is an emotional story showered in the quiet joys of finding hope.
Tragedy is about to touch the life of Holly Christian. Her fiancé just died in a freak motorcycle accident, something she learns when the sheriff drives up the gravel road to deliver the devastating news. All around her in the “backroads” town where she lives, everyone offers sympathetic looks and a kind word. Through the haze, Holly feels one emotion: guilt. She hasn’t even cried, a reaction Holly knows isn’t normal.

Instead all she remembers are Chad’s whispered words... and the looks she’ll get if the truth comes out.

Coinciding with these changes is the return of Brooke Langdon. Returning to Hope Canyon, all she drags with her is a world weary attitude. It’s time she prepares her grandmother’s home for selling, but her past isn’t ready to let her off so easily. Instead, returning to this town of dirt roads, and fewer people, brings up memories. One of whom is Gatlin Moore.

Prior to reading ‘Stars,’ I hadn’t read any of this authors books. They always popped up in my
searches and stuck with me because of their brightly colored covers, but until now, they hadn’t shown up on my “read” shelf. When the opportunity to read this one arose, I remembered one of Coryell’s novels does sit on my shelf, which ignited the excitement for this story.  Discovering new stories is one of my favorite opportunities as a book blogger, especially when it’s in my favored genre. Because of this, reading Written in the Stars and discovering the story it has to tell is a lovely experience.

Inside these pages lies a story driven by emotions and themes of one’s past defining their character and future. Not all of which results in good memories or happiness. The characters influenced by these emotions feel very real. They’re “ordinary” people struggling with ordinary problems and complications. Each of the characters is splintered in some way. The four-person POV helps strengthen these underpinnings as the reader learns more about these people, their stories and the what or who keeps them going.

One of the lighter direction changes is the unexpected “road trip” angle. This is one “twist” I didn’t see coming, but found to be a neat addition and therapeutic for its characters. Unlike anything I’ve ever read before, Written in the Stars is an emotional story showered in the quiet joys of finding hope. When you think small town, you think cozy vibes and cheerful chatter. This story takes a different approach in its more complex themes and nature. 

It’s a story about reinventing yourself. It’s about seeking what’s missing. It’s about spontaneity. It’s about healing. It’s a story of finding reconciling what’s past, and looking for the better tomorrow, the better you. It’s a story that has so much yet to impart when these characters return in Coryell’s follow up novel, Written in the Dust. ♥

Synopsis: Roundabout these parts, dirt roads don’t just get you from point A to point B. They intersect to create a maze of life often missed when outsiders drive through a sleepy town. The number on the population sign might seem insignificant, but a few short steps from the beaten path, there’s more than meets the eye. 

Look a little closer… That sleek out-of-town convertible is bringing former pageant queen Brooke Langdon back into town for the first time in a decade. She’s dragging nothing with her but the hyphen in her last name. Gatlin Moore is running his tractor along the fence line, spending his days keeping up his parents’ farm instead of living out his dreams in Nashville. The sheriff is pulling into Holly Christian’s driveway, preparing to tell her that her life’s about to crumble. And Hunter Pearce, the guy everyone calls when they need something fixed? He’s racing to Holly’s place too, wondering if things are too broken to put back together. 

Welcome to Hope Canyon. This is our backroads story. - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to Rel and the author for providing an e-copy of this book. 
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Top Ten Tuesday | Lockers and Pencils, Pom-Poms and Jerseys! We’re Going Back to School, Bookworm Style

Top Ten Tuesday | Lockers and Pencils, Pom-Poms and Jerseys! We’re Going Back to School, Bookworm Style

With the start of September looming on the horizon, Top Ten Tuesday asks us to walk some halls. For some of us, they’re perhaps our present. For others, it’s a not-so-distant (or maybe *ahem* very distant *raises hand*) past. Either way, we’re talking about the halls of school!

Broke and Bookish August 22Back To School Freebie: anything "back to school" related - Broke and Bookish

A mash up of sort will make up my list. Some of the things on my list will be books (some I’ve read, some I haven’t) and “part two” will be all about the cinema (aka films where school is a catalyst). I’ve never been particularly attuned to the typical education personally or in terms of my reading habits. That said I have read a few books that were set in schools (boarding schools are among those I find most fascinating aka a book you’ve seen a lot here will pop up).

Another of my weaknesses is cute teen comedies. Some of the picks listed below are current and relevant (tech, terms, fashion, etc.) to today’s culture because they’re modern productions. Then there’s another that’s all about the 90s nostalgia – because, why not? No matter the title, below you’re sure to spot some favorites of the nostalgic variety – or maybe you’ll discover something new.

Read on to see what made the list.

Part One: 6 Books ➔

1. What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum | This one comes off as really cute and fun, but there’s a message inside its pages. Though my first book from Julie, it won’t be my last (already I own her other YA novel). Amazon | Goodreads 

2. Intermission by Serena Chase | This pretty has been on my shelf for far too long. It’s one I hear has as beautiful an inside as it is on the out (and one I’m particularly eager to read). Amazon | Goodreads 
We are starlight on snow. The reflection of something already beautiful—absorbed, reflected, and remade into something . . . more. 
3. Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell | This is one I have not read, but still, I’m super curious about it. Why? Well it’s pitched as Gilmore Girls meets Wuthering Heights. Though I’m no particular fan of the latter, the former is a “HECK, yes!” kind of fangirl-ism. The story is also a mystery, so I feel some Veronica Mars vibes. Amazon | Goodreads 
Gilmore Girls with magical realism! Dear Reader is an original, poignant modern-day take on Wuthering Heights, as a high school senior searches for her teacher and meets a boy who may just be Heathcliff come to life.
4. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones | LOVE. THIS. BOOK. It’s all the feels. Go read it. Amazon | Goodreads 
The day Andrew Levin arrives at Washington High, Harper O’Malley knows he’ll make the perfect starter boyfriend

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | Why yes I did work one of my all-time favorite YA novels into another of my lists. What can I say? It’s been a while. Amazon | Goodreads

6. By Your Side by Kasie West | Haven’t read this pretty yet, but since I just read Lucky in Love (so adorbs – go forth and read it fellow YA lovers) and after that, because simply reading ONE West novel wasn’t “good enough” I also read The Fill-in Boyfriend. Needless to say, this one is high on my must list. Amazon | Goodreads

Part 2: 4 Films ➜

1. The DUFF | Super cute, super fun and super sassy. Though it’s based on a YA novel, it’s not one I’ve ever read. Still this Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell led adaptation is one of my favorites – plus it has a really nice message.

2. Never Been Kissed | This is one I saw years after it released, but I love it nonetheless. It's a darling little flick featuring the charms of girl-next-door Drew Barrymore and the handsome face of Michal Vartan (aka Vaughn in Alias). 

3. The Outcasts | Quirky, cute and fun, this underrated film has a fun little story with a recognizable cast especially for those of us who are TV buffs.

4. She’s the Man | Though there isn’t much of an underlying “message” to this one, it’s one of the cutest pieces of chick click fluff you’ll find.

Publishes tomorrow afternoon; channel linked in above

Our back-to-school bookworm guide is at its close. What did you talk about today? How did you spin this week’s topic? Let me know down below, or which of these books you’ve read, loved and enjoyed. Plus leave those Top Ten Tuesday links. I’d love to meet you and visit your bookish spaces.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland  
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Dirty Dancing (1987) - 30 Years Later, Timeless Story Lives On

Dirty Dancing (1987) - 30 Years Later, Timeless Story Lives On

Today is a memorable day for many different reasons. In fact, it's even a day for the history books thanks to a certain event. On a much smaller scale, today also marks the anniversary of the iconic 1987 film Dirty Dancing

Recently ABC produced a re-boot of the familiar story (with its own perception of the tale). The masses hated this production. I did not. Following that premiere, I picked up a copy of Dirty Dancing (1987) and re-watched the iconic adaptation. 

To be honest, I see the reasons why this story is iconic. I respect those who adore this story. I even think it's a lovely, sweet little story. That said, I recognize the cracks that slip through the sense of nostalgia the film evokes. (Of course, comparisons/contrasts in light of ABC's adaptation are inevitable.)

The story takes a basic two-story outline approach. It begins as a classic girl-meets-boy tale, before then morphing into a story of a girl coming of age through the freedom she discovers while dancing (and romancing her instructor). In celebration of its anniversary, I'm sharing a snippet of my review, which was published on Silver Petticoat last week. 

Dirty Dancing (1987) – 30th Anniversary of A Timeless Love Story

Some stories have the staying power to remain relevant years after their debut. Thirty years later Dirty Dancing has this kind of sway. All thanks to the story, the chemistry between the actors, and even the soundtrack. It’s a story about a girl finding herself coupled with a love story many viewers find iconic. In the aftermath of the TV re-imagining, I revisited the classic tale, and while I walked away glad to have seen it again, I also recognize obvious albeit loveable cracks in its classic boy-meets-girl tale. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat →

Photos: Lionsgate
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Moving Target by Lynette Eason – Fast Paced Romantic Suspense at its Best

Moving Target by Lynette Eason – Fast Paced Romantic Suspense at its Best

Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance / Suspense
Source: Bought
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★★½
Quick-Witted, smart and fast paced, Moving Target is sure to entice the romantic suspense enthusiast in all of us. Buckle in and hang tight for an adventure, and the thrill of “the chase” as only suspense fiction can provoke.

Brushes with death is an experience Maddy McKay knows well. She’s too familiar with the sensation and fear. First when her life was nearly taken from her months earlier. Now, her best friend (and the man she's crushing on), Detective Quinn Holcombe is recovering from a similar experience. In the hopes this new bond they've formed will be the start of a new normal, Maddy spends her waking hours helping Quinn during his recovery.

Nothing goes as planned when a voice without a face kidnaps Maddy and Quinn, holds them on a remote island and taunts them. Now their only option is to escape a killer bent on sinister plans that chase Maddy and Quinn into conspiracies and their respective pasts.

BOOK REVIEW | Always Watching by Lynette Eason

Each of the novels I read from Eason continues to impress. Her skill in this genre has been perfected with each novel she’s released. In particular this Elite Guardian series is full of twists, turns and turmoil. A series that is, really, her best yet, and I say this aware how much I’ve enjoyed prior novels from her pen. One of the best elements of this novel is that it doesn’t limit its characters. By this I mean the setting doesn’t keep “still” in one place as I anticipated. When novels confine their “space” to one place, they do themselves a disservice. This is because they stifle the emotions and plot potential.

There’s something about this series that gives it an edge. From the “first look” (cover design), to the synopsis and interlocking stories of four female bodyguards, these stories are top shelf. This, the third book of four, follows in its predecessors footsteps and no doubt, sets a tone for Chasing Secrets (book four). As an aside, though each book tells its own stories, I'd recommend you reading them all and in order. As its title affirms and suggests, Moving Target moves at a quick pace, keeping pace with the urgency of its protagonists.

For many, because the will-they-or-won’t-they story has been a thread throughout this series, Maddy and Quinn’s book has likely been anticipated. Even amidst danger and dodging bullets, the pair still manages to have some lovely, flirtatious and witty moments. It’s these scenes we live for. The quiet moments between two people who clearly like each other. When they’re not frustrating us (with their stubborn inability to talk to each other), they’re making us smile and swoon.

Quick-Witted, smart and fast paced, Moving Target is sure to entice the romantic suspense enthusiast in all of us. Buckle in and hang tight for an adventure and the thrill of “the chase” as only suspense fiction can provoke.

Synopsis: When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don't win this game, they die. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Lynette Eason: When police officer Isabelle St. John's partner is murdered, she must work with Detective Ryan Marshall to solve a case that may force her to choose between family and justice. – Goodreads, January 2018

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Bookstagram Challenge | September 2017 #WishfulWonder Challenge

Bookstagram Challenge | September 2017 #WishfulWonder Challenge

Hello happy readers and fellow bookworm friends. Posting today to share another #WishfulWonder bookstagram challenge - because, yes, September is coming up. Fast. On the upside, you all know what this means! It's time for the eighth edition of #WishfulWonder.

My friend Tressa (of Wishful Endings) and I are pleased to announce we have put together another Bookstagram challenge. Let's have a look (but first let me try and convince you to join in).

Pressed for time? Not sure a bookstagram challenge if for you? Below I give a spiel hoping to convince you otherwise.

+ 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. (Not that you needed my permission to say this, but I thought I'd put this out there.)
+ 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're looking to meet other Bookstagrammers (people in the book community on Instagram) and bloggers, 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. 
+ Best of all, the best thing about these challenge (well, aside from the people. And the books.) is the creative outlet. You develop your OWN style of photos, which is what makes everyone's account so unique! I've seen simplistic (in terms of prop use, etc.) photos that are stunning and I've seen more elaborate shots that compliment the book and suit the style of the bookstagrammer. Plus, if you're like me, and you love creative outlets, this is an excellent way to do this. 
+ Still not convinced? Go ahead and follow our #WishfulWonder tag on Instagram or Twitter to be inspired!

\\\\\ You're invited to join our September 2017 #WishfulWonder Challenge.

Hopefully everything is self explanatory, but if you have any questions about the prompts. We’d love to see your pictures, so be sure to tag us with the usual, #WishfulWonder hashtag. Also, feel free to share this.

As we do every month, we extend our thanks to everyone who has joined our challenges. We're having so much fun browsing our tag, and appreciate your creativity and time. (If we haven't clicked that heart on your photos and/or commented, it's not because we won't, it's simply due to time restraints - summer always seems busy. BUT please know we enjoy browsing your photos, and sooner or later one or both of us will find them with that #WishfulWonder tag.)

We'd also LOVE your feedback on favorite prompts. Drop a comment down below. 
Happy day, Book Nerdigans. Join us in our fun, bookish endeavors - we look forward to chatting with you.
Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.
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Summer Villa (2016) – Miscommunication and Scheduling Leads to Happy Coincidences (and Endings)

Summer Villa (2016) – Miscommunication and Scheduling Leads to Happy Coincidences (and Endings)

Sometimes tropes are happy circumstance. Sometimes they’re precisely what one needs. This is the happy place I found myself in recently when I visited Italy. (À la armchair adventure style.)

Writer’s block is not Terry Russell’s best friend. Nonetheless it’s her constant companion these days. On the advice of her editor, Terry (Hilarie Burton) packs up her moody teenage daughter, Abby, and the pair travel to France for the summer. Given use of her editor’s family home, Terry finds the villa magical. It looks like the perfect place to regroup, find her voice again and write the next Terry Russell best seller. There’s just one small hitch in the otherwise picture perfect plan.

Matthew Everston (Victor Webster) is coming off a bad review for his restaurant. This is the kind of review that could undo all the hard work he’s poured into his business. Looking for a place to unwind and relax, he decides to travel to the family villa for the summer. Once there, he runs into Terry, and things suddenly become very uncomfortable. You see, Terry and Matthew were set up on a blind date (by her editor, his sister), a date that didn’t quote make it past “hello”...

One of the best things about the Hallmark trademark is their commitment to quality entertainment. Summer Villa is from last summer’s Summer Nights campaign, but wasn’t one I had ever had the chance to watch. One viewing later, and it has a place at the “favorites table.” There’s something electric about it, all of which I suspect is compelled in part by the exotic location.

Though I don’t know for sure, I did read this filmed in Canada (not unusual for these Hallmark films). This is no way hampers the “feel” of the French countryside; the settings are very “French.” No matter where the characters go or visit, there’s a French “vibe,” and of course, the villa itself is beautiful. It’s the kind of place that looks like something out of a storybook. The scenes of the characters walking the countryside also help “sell” the setting.

The cute character interactions (between Matthew and Terry, Matthew and Abby, and on the list goes) is part of what makes this film so darn cute. Humor is spot-on perfect as is the cast and the “bond” between everyone. Though the story is familiar, the new faces and places easily sway us to their side. It's this cast that complements the story.  I loved seeing Hilarie Burton in another of these films since she's a favorite from White Collar, and of course, Victor Webster is a favorite Hallmark leading man. He plays each of his characters with a suave kind of gentlemanly characteristic, something that fits the exotic locales well. 

A cute, culinary romcom of a film, Summer Villa is sure to make you wish you too were visiting the relaxing and tranquil sights and sounds of this French countryside. ♥

Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press
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Top Ten Tuesday | Virtual Reality, Gamers, Gaming and Sci-Fi Reads (aka, the List in Which I know Nothing of What I Talk About)

Top Ten Tuesday | Virtual Reality, Gamers, Gaming and Sci-Fi Reads (aka, the List in Which I know Nothing of What I Talk About)

Hello, happy readers and friends. Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday. Who’s excited it’s back up and running?? I know this girl is.

Broke and Bookish August 15:  Ten book recommendations for ______________

So today, on this auspicious day (aka the return of Top Ten Tuesday), what do I decide to do? Talk about a subject of which I know nothing (zippo, nada, zero) about. Because, this is completely normal, right? I’m terrible at recommendation lists. Not because I don’t like talking about amazing books or offering recommendations but rather because I seem to repeat the same books over (and over) again therefore offering boring suggestions.

The normal solution to this is to write about a subject that I know nothing about.

In the aftermath of reading a recent YA Lit sci-fi book and the buzz surrounding an upcoming release, I decided to list sci-fi books about gamers or virtual reality. Because of this (remember I said I nothing about said subject), most of my list will be comprised of titles I have not read. Also ironic that I’m making this list is the fact that I’ve recently realized I need to hone in on my reading preferences again, because (as we all are), I enjoy my reading the most when reading only the genres that I really like. (But that’s for another discussion post, one that is planned.)

Nonetheless, let’s get to list-ing.

1. Longest Shelf Life: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza | This one has been on my shelf forever. It's one I was really curious about at the time, and then, well, as we all know, new books release which distract us. Amazon | Goodreads 

2. Virtual TBR: The Leveller by Julia Durango | Next is a book I have not read. In fact, while putting this list together, I ran across this one. It caught my eye and makes me curious – especially since it’s a new-to-me author, too. Amazon | Goodreads

3. Watched: Insurgent (Film Adaptation) | Haven’t read this series (and to be honest, I don’t know that I will – the emotional upheaval might not be worth it), but this film is very tech savvy. Plus, it’s very much like a “game” in which its protagonists must outwit the “government” (Fraction) officials controlling their every move. 

4. Read: The Giver by Lois Lowry | Though the details of this book are fuzzy (because a. I read it over a holiday and b. I rushed it because I had rented the film – time limit! – and wanted to read the book prior to watching it), the film’s visualization was very tech-y. Or that’s my memory of it. Am I thinking of something else? *blogger second guesses herself* Amazon | Goodreads

5. Wishlist/Preorder TBR: Warcross by Marie Lu | This is the book that is getting so. much. buzz. I don’t mind admitting, this might not ordinarily be a novel I’d pick up, but it does interest me, so I’m admitting curiosity. Amazon | Goodreads

6. Watched: The Maze Runner (Film Adaptation) | This one might not focus on the tech aspect of the story, but it is largely about a “game” in which characters are stuck in a maze without hope of escape. Creepy, right? (No wonder mazes always seem sinister.)

7. Virtual TBR: Rush by Eve Silver | This is a book that looks vaguely familiar. While I know I haven’t read it, I do know I did read about it. The question now is: why did I decide not to read it way back when? *looks at TBR* Oh, rightAmazon | Goodreads

8. Started to Watch: Stitchers (TV Series) | I am so far behind on this one, however I loved what I saw of it (early series one). The pilot pulled me in and if the Twitter chatter is any indication, I’m going to adore the #Camsten feels going on. (Enough so that it might make me ignore the disappointing shifts.)

9. Virtual TBR: Reboot by Amy Tintera | This is another I’ve not read (as most of these are). I remember reading about it way back when (likely on one of my online window shopping sprees). Have you read it? Recommended: Yes or no? Amazon | Goodreads

10. Read: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber | This is the one novel I have read on the list and it’s a unique-to-me read. That said, I found it engrossing and entertaining. There are aliens thrown into the virtual reality game, so it’s got plenty of action working for it. Amazon | Goodreads

*publishes tomorrow; visit channel, linked above

This brings an end to my know-nothing-about-anything-subject-list. Which of these books have you read? Do you like any sci-fi/gaming/virtual reality books? Comment down below with your thoughts, opinions, Top Ten Tuesday posts or other bookish chatter.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland
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Garage Sale Mystery: Murder by Text (2017) – Jenn’s Most Curious Case Yet!

Garage Sale Mystery: Murder by Text (2017) – Jenn’s Most Curious Case Yet!

Hallmark Movies and Mysteries returns tonight with an all-new premiere. This one features the second of four Garage Sale Mystery films. In this installment, Jenn (Lori Loughlin) returns to solve a baffling case. The single clue is a text message in a case that looks to be a tragic suicide.

The suspects line up led by members of a band including their lead act, the once-popular country superstar, John Dalton and his high school sweetheart wife, Pamela. Then there’s their possibly sketchy manager Rick, and their wardrobe manager, Cassie. As the suspects line up, Jenn bounces her ideas off her patient husband (Steve Bacic) who’s in something of a loving feud with their daughter, Hannah (Eva Bourne). Meanwhile she finds herself a kind of referee not only in her own family, but to her best friend Dani (Sarah Strange) and her visiting sister, Beth (Gabrielle Miller).

TV MOVIE REVIEW | Garage Sale Mystery: The Beach Murder (2017) –Treasure Collector (and Garage Sale Aficionado) Lori Loughlin Returns to Solve New Mystery!

The same pattern I’ve said many a time over for previous Garage Sale Mystery installments is true of ‘Murder by Text.’ It’s another entertaining sleuth-y story for those of us who like a good riddle. The Shannon’s home life continues to play a role in the scripts, which grounds the story. Though I’ve probably made this observation before, I will say, I like how Jenn’s teenage son is written into the scripts. Logan is her go-to tech expert, so anytime a tech issue crops up in her sleuthing, it’s him she questions.

Of those I’ve seen, this is my favorite in the franchise. (There's two more to anticipate in the next two weeks.) I liked the mystery, and how it unfolds. I also like that Jenn isn’t in “grave danger” as a push to climax the story. Instead its more about a final whodunit proclamation, and in my opinion, this works better.

Other than this, all that’s left to say is this. Don’t forget to watch ‘Murder by Text’ tonight on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. The suspects stack up quickly, and we get to follow through with more of our favorites from the Shannon household to the endearing supporting characters. (Especially fun is learning more about Dani with the arrival of her sister.)

Amateur sleuths, find that perfect cozy nook on the couch, pick up the remote and don’t miss tonight’s premiere of ‘Murder by Text.’

Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press 
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Summer in the Vineyard (2017) – Sequel Takes Viewers Back to the Vineyard

Summer in the Vineyard (2017) – Sequel Takes Viewers Back to the Vineyard

The second original in Hallmark’s latest Summer Nights campaign keeps its plot simple, and boasts beautiful scenery. The story reacquaints viewers with the cautious, worrier Frankie Baldwin (Rachael Leigh Cook) and the optimistic Nate Deluca (Brendan Penny), who's motto seems to be “everything will be fine.” 

TV FILM REVIEW | Summer in the Vineyard (2017) – Sequel Takes Viewers Back to the Vineyard. All review text © Rissi JC; review first appears on

Since the pair went into partnership together – both in business and of the heart, as winery owners they eagerly anticipate bottling and labeling their first vintage. Frankie works to perfect her cabernet while Nate’s domain is the vines. Life becomes hectic when a twist of fate puts Sorrento Farms as the location for the annual Taste St. Madeline, an annual food and wine event. Frankie’s unhappy with the location change (and keeping a secret). Meanwhile Nate believes this event will be the making of their first-year vineyard.

TV FILM REVIEW | Summer Love (2016) – Sweet Summertime Romance in the Corporate World

It’s always fun to revisit favorite characters and discover where life's path has taken them. To see what they’ve accomplished (especially since they all have some dream, or have chosen something new by story’s end) since last we saw them. We have this chance with two such characters. Last autumn, Hallmark introduced us to Frankie and Nate in Autumn in the Vineyard, and this summer they return. Though I hadn’t seen the prequel, I sat down to watch its follow up hoping it’d still be an enjoyable experience.

Of course, I needn’t have feared anything since this is a sweet little flick sure to enchant fans of ‘Autumn.’ The script does a nice job of informing on everything viewers who didn’t catch the prequel may have missed. We learn the “why” behind the partnership, the challenges of it and why the pair tries to balance work vs. personal. Then there’s this new story intermingled with the carry over. Viewers will (no doubt) enjoy seeing more of Nate’s brother, Marco, and we meet Frankie’s cousin, Lexie.

TV FILM REVIEW | Summer in the Vineyard (2017) – Sequel Takes Viewers Back to the Vineyard. All review text © Rissi JC; review first appears on

Scripted by Julie Sherman Wolfe (The Birthday Wish, Hello, It’s Me, Wedding Bells), the story keeps true to what I suspect is the core personality of these characters. Nate is all about keeping faith everything will out without stressing while Frankie worries over the smallest upsets, and possible disasters. Their romantic life seems to get a “backseat” in many instances (the story “feels” less about them as a couple because of this), but I also realize that’s part of the films direction.

Fans will love stepping back into the vineyard, especially with Frankie and Nate awaiting them. The setting is absolutely beautiful (filmed in Canada far as I can tell) which makes all of the outdoor scenes gorgeous. In particular this is true of the final sequence. There’s some nice humor, and with this followup, these characters are sure to further cement themselves into your TV addict heart.

Catch the premiere of Summer in the Vineyard tonight (August 12th) on Hallmark Channel.

TV FILM REVIEW | Summer in the Vineyard (2017) – Sequel Takes Viewers Back to the Vineyard. All review text © Rissi JC; review first appears on

Photos: Hallmark Channel
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Can't Wait / Waiting on Wednesday | Tenth Edition

Can't Wait / Waiting on Wednesday | Tenth Edition

Hello, readers and followers! Happy Wednesday. Welcome. With another mid-week arrival, today we're joining the "Waiting On" fun with Can't Wait Wednesday. A meme Finding Wonderland occasionally takes part in.

Organized by my fabulous Bookstagram partner in crime (check out our August challenge)Tressa of Wishful Endings, here's another 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 YA sci-fi novel that releases in the near future. 

Ordinarily I might not feature this sort of novel (in fact, ironically, I have a discussion post planned about genres in the not-too-distant future), however surrounding its upcoming release, I've been hearing really (no really) good buzz about this one. Add in the fact that I recently read The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, which seems like it'd be similar, and featuring Marie Lu's Warcross seemed a natural choice. 

Warcross is earning reviews from bloggers (and reviewers) claiming it as the best of 2017, which makes my excitement level further elevated. I've also not read any of Marie's other novels. The one I have bought is Legend, and also seems to be a well-like series. The question that remains is this: why haven't I read a novel from this best-selling author?

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young  Readers
Genre: YA Fiction, Sci-Fi
Publication Date: September 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all. - Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads 

PS: Before you go... 

Finding Wonderland joins the 

Bookish Tag Talk | The Mid Year Freak Out Tag, 2017 Edition


Comment down below with your thoughts (have you read Marie's books? what did you feature today? what's your favorite YA sci-fi novel???), Waiting on / Can't Wait Wednesday blog links or anything else bookish. I'd look forward to chatting all things bookish with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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