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Booktube Talk | Fight Like A YA Girl Tag

Hello, my fellow book loving friends. I’m glad you’ve stopped by today whether you’re a new reader or a devoted one, I appreciate it.

Instead of the usual book review or other ramble, today I’m finally (finally!) getting around to publishing a tag that the kind Flavia tagged me with – thank you. Remembering when she did is a little embarrassing since I believe it was over a month ago. (My apologies, Flavia.) But here we go. Today is all about fulfilling this fun tag because if there’s one thing I enjoy over here on Finding Wonderland, it’s putting together tags.

This one is especially fun because it gives bloggers a chance to spotlight some fierce YA girls (and yes, I am breaking the rules and talking about some characters who are not from YA books). So, while some of these are kind of half-hearted (Because I simply couldn’t think of MORE characters), I still had tons of fun with this tag – and just so you know, there are more tags coming because fun. Below are my answers to some of the tag questions, and of course, the rest are answered on my Booktube channel in my latest video.

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who tagged you
2. Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
3. Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
4. Tag as many people as you like!*

(*You’re all tagged, so if you join in, please come back and leave your blog link.)

Without further ado, Finding Wonderland presents.

➤➤➤Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag


Who is better suited to this title than Nym from Storm Siren or if you want a film, Gretel from Hansel and Gretel:Witch Hunters.


The first character who comes to mind is Henrietta “Nettie” Howel. I don’t remember everything about her because it’s been to long since I read this novel, but Nettie seems to fit this label really well. I also feel like Samantha Donaldson from Terri Brown’s Velvet Undercover is a good fit.


Um, aside from Katniss Everdeen, who else is a trained fight in YA lit?? *wonders* *looks* *thinks some more* Oh, there’s also Tris from Divergent.


Maddie Whittier (Everything, Everything) is a fabulous character, and I love how she takes control of her life.


The only character who comes to mind is Gwen from the Disney film, Princess of Thieves.


Ooo, this is a fun question! To be honest, no one from a book come to mind (is this a good or bad thing?). However from TV, I thought of Dorothy from Emerald City.


Tess Eckhart (The Gifting), and also Nora Bradford from True to You or Sam from The Whys Have It. None of these ladies are anywhere near the “normal” kind of strong this prompt is thinking of when asking this question, but there is more than one kind of strength.


Um, the list is probably endless, right? Sadly, I couldn’t think of a whole list, but those I did are sure fierce. 

Tris Prior! (Divergent)
Diana Prince! 


Nova from Marissa Meyer's Renegades. I mean I haven't even read any of Marissa's books, and even still, this book sounds and looks fierce!

That’s a wrap on today’s post. Hope you enjoyed it. If you’d like to join the fun (or if you have), make sure to leave your post or booktube links down in the comments. I’d love to come by and visit your spin on this tag.

What are some of your favorite fierce ladies? Let's chat below. 

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland
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Home for Christmas Day (2017) – ‘Gilmore Girls’ and Military Drama Collide in this Tearjerker

December isn’t the only time of year you’ll find Hallmark Channel hanging mistletoe. You know the adage, “Christmas in July”? On Hallmark Channel, you’ll find a plethora of fun originals (old and new!) airing on their channel. This, their latest (and second in a string of many premieres for 2017) will wreck you. In all the good ways that matter.

Despite tragedy on her life, Jane McKendrick (Catherine Bell) is doing well. She’s a realtor with successful closings to her name, and she’s raised a talented teenage daughter, Betsy (Matreya Fedor). Her one weakness is her daughter, whom she tries to protect from the world. Everything between them shifts when Betsy unexpectedly meets an enlisted soldier. She's smitten from then on.

Suffering from the loss of her husband, who was a soldier, Jane tries to persuade Betsy to focus on her school and college rather than this boy. But as Christmas approaches, Betsy falls head over heels. Though their time together is short given he’s to ship out on Christmas day, Betsy further pursues a friendship with Tyler all the while placing a strain a relationship with her mother.

Premiering on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, this original is as lovely as it is heartbreakingly bittersweet. Given its premiere location, this script was able to be a bit “freer” in the direction it took its story. By this, I mean it isn’t restricted by a boy-meets-girl plot. It was able to tap into deep emotions (scars left by devastating losses) and the serious affairs of the heart.

The first class cast not only includes Bell (who’s familiar to this channel, and is also well known from the long-running, JAG) but Victor Webster whose leading man is a favorite in the sweet romcom Love Blossoms. He and Jane’s friendship is simple yet complicated (I know, that sounds like a contradiction). Those seeking a “strong” romance (in terms of the settings or antics) might be disappointed by this script. It’s more about the serious sides of relationships and the impacts they have on us and our well-being. Personally, I see this as a beautiful story; one I couldn’t have enjoyed more.

Those who love Hallmark Channel will be swept away by this. As the second premiere for their Christmas originals (of 2017), it rises to the task of kicking off the seasonal favorites. There are some Gilmore Girl vibes (in terms of the mother-daughter bond) minus the same kind of wit, and a wonderful military theme to accompany it. Only be aware, it will break your heart into a million little pieces if you let it… and then it’s sure to slowly piece them back together again. This is its best gift of all.

All *text* © Rissi JC; review first appears on
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Bookstagram Challenge | August 2017 #WishfulWonder Challenge

Hello happy readers and fellow bookworm friends. Have you chanced a glance at the calendar? If you have, you'll notice - oh my gosh - August is nearly here. What the what?? Where did 2017 go? 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.

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.)

Next up, as is my usual habit (you know I *have* to share some of these creative beauties, right??), below I'm spotlighting a few photos that I've loved from our July challenge.

(And a special thanks to Courtney for the suggestion we add #FridayBookFace to our challenges. So. Much. Fun. *ahem* Even though I didn't get a new photo taken for the day!)

But, I digress. Moving on. As usual, I'll indulge in my "spiel," which does make the attempt to tempt you to join us.

+ 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 August 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.

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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Dear Readers

Dear Readers, 

It's been a long time since I wrote a little letter here. Suffice to say, this letter has been a long time coming… and it's past time I sat down to write it.

For weeks now, I wanted to welcome the new readers to Finding Wonderland. Welcome, and thank you for joining us here. If you're a fellow blogger, reader, writer or simply a book lover, please introduce yourself. If you blog, I'd love to visit your bookish haven. If you're a fellow bookworm, let's chat on Goodreads. If you enjoy talking about films, book recommendations or books, please know you're always welcome to chat in our of our comment sections. We love conversation around here. If I haven’t visited, it’s probably because there are no blog links in your GFC profile and if you are a fellow blogger, I’d love to visit your blogosphere homes.

To everyone who has been with this blog since the beginning or has come in later, thank you for being fabulous blogging buddies and for being a huge part of the reason this blog is still actively current. You are all such cool friends and it’s been a blast getting to know you all – I sincerely hope you know who you are. Thanks for welcoming a newbie into this circle going on six (or is it seven?) years ago.

I'll confess, the reason for writing this is twofold. First, because I so appreciate all of you who are new to our readership, and am glad to have you along (for this random, sometimes-sparse journey - thank you, especially for this latter point as I know I've been absent in the comments). To my longtime readers, thank you. Your continued support and encouragement (whether you realize it or not) is kind, appreciated and always, so much fun. 

Secondly I'd like to invite you to share feedback on this theme. You see, I've had a boatload of trouble getting it right, and I'd really appreciate knowing how it works/reads, loads and/or navigates for you. I loved the demo theme, but the loading of it and tweaking the HTML code hasn't been the smooth process I anticipated. 

If you had any trouble or you feel the former theme was easier to read and navigate, please let me know! One of the things I do strive for is not only a fun place to chat, but also an easy one that makes it a nice bookish haven.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum – YA Contemporary about Friendship and How NOT to Be Awkward

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

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

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

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.
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Casting Scoop | Little Women

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. 
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