Month in Review | February 2017


Another month is over and done with which means, it's time to post Finding Wonderland's usual "Month in Review" post. I'll confess, there's not much news-y this month in terms of new favorites I experienced or thing I did, but I guess normalcy is exciting too. Right??

So long as I have books, I'm good.


Let’s take a look at Finding Wonderland's month.

»Favorites from February 2017«
I wrote about lots of fun things this past month including Heroes of Fiction and New Ships; discovered new favorite Hallmark films and of course, am looking forward to a certain box office film releasing this month!

1. Bookstagram Challenge | Tressa and I are yest again hosting another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge for March. (I know, this is getting repetitive - what can I say. I'm waffling between blaming this on a short month or the fact that I live an ordinary life.)

If you want to know more details or see the challenges, please visit our introduction post.

2. Gilmore Girls | Finished the "original" Gilmore Girls. (Finally.) I have thoughts. There will be posts. 

3. INSPYs 2017 (Updates!) | Tomorrow the judging applications open! If you love books, or reading, we'd love for you to consider applying. 

4. Starbucks | Tried the Butterscotch Frappuccino at Starbucks. SO. GOOD. 

>>what I’m looking forward to<<
Naturally, the overwhelming answer to this is Beauty and the Beast! The live action Disney film looks better and better each time I see a new photo or clip. *swoon* If I had to guess I'd say Emma and Dan will be storybook perfect. 

Expect booktube videos, reviews, lists, bookstagram photos, and anything else I feel like writing as regards this beauty. 

I also have fun (or I think so) new booktube videos planned (tell me all the IDEAS!) and an "updated" Memorable Couples in Fiction list. 

 »Favorite Blog Posts«
 (Blog posts that, while not necessarily the most popular, were fun to write)


1. 23 Wholesome Romantic-Comedies | Put together this list of romantic comedies, which is a tough job, but you know, someone has to do it. *kidding since I adore romcoms*  

3. Love Blossoms (2017) | Yes I know this makes my "most popular" list, but it's one of my FAVORITE Hallmark's, which means I'll give it ALL THE SHOUT OUTS!

4. On the Fence by Kasie West | Finally experienced the joy and happiness that are Kasie West novels. They're my new contemporary reading bliss. 

5. Sherlock, Series Four (2016) | Gushing about this at any and every opportunity. For reasons.

» Monthly Popular Posts | February 2017 «
Hallmark and Top Ten Tuesday rule this month's most popular. Why am I not surprised?






»Popular Posts the Week of February 21-28«



»Finding Wonderland on Booktube | February 2017 «
(Click Graphics to see Videos)

 



»Books Read | February 2017 «

     

    

 »Around the Interwebs«


Silver Petticoat:  Here’s a recap look at what I contributed to the amazing webzine, Silver Petticoat.

Articles and Lists | Because January and February was so focused on Victoria, I wrote a Romantic Moment of the Week feature on them highlighting the beautiful proposal. 

Also, keeping with the romanc-y themes, I wrote about 8 Original Hallmark Films to Stay In With; tell me which of Hallmark's are among YOUR favorites. 

Film and TV Reviews | My sole review this month is a YA historical novel, The Lost Girl of Astor Street.


• When Calls the Heart Season Four: Episodes One and Two Recap – The Railway Comes to Hope Valley

As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.
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That’s an end to the month here at #FindingWonderlandBlog. What was your bookish, blogging or life like this past month? How about new bloggers? Or booktube channels??? Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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Top Ten Tuesday | Maps and Coordinates! Shelf Four, Book 19 (aka A Treasure Hunt of My Bookshelf)


Another start to a new week means one thing. We get to ring in another Tuesday with another edition of the fabulous meme, Top Ten Tuesday. The kind of party only we book aficionados knows how to throw.

Broke and Bookish February 28 | Your Choice (Freebie Topic)

After six years of hosting Top Ten Tuesday, due to personal changes in their lives, the ladies of Broke and Bookish have taken ever the briefest of hiatus. This means, today, Jamie told us to reach for the stars and create our own topics should we so desire. (Not really, but I do think the implication was there since she did tell us to indulge in Top Tuesday fun with a freebie topic should we chose.)

As I’ve recounted before, freebie topics are, for me, more difficult than the list we’re so used to. (Thank you Broke and Bookish ladies for the inspiration.) That said, while I had more elaborate ideas (next time), I decided to grab a compass, and take an easier route this week and go for “Coordinates!” Or as it's more realistically explained: Using a random number generator, I picked two sets of ten numbers. The first number represented a shelf, the second the book.

BOOK GIVEAWAY | Dani Pettrey's Still Life

With exception to one book (which was on a shelf that didn’t number as high on 17), here are the random books that resulted from that treasure hunt. 

1. Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck (Location: Shelf Four, Book 19) | Much as I love Rachel’s books, I have (sadly) not read this series. I do own copies of the revised (cover art) editions. The pretty swirled designs are begging me to read them. Amazon | Goodreads

2. Legend by Marie Lu (Location: Shelf One, Book 15) | After hearing all the hype and general good thoughts about Marie Lu’s books, I picked up the paperback of her well known ‘Legend’ series. Hopefully I’ll enjoy. Which is your favorite Marie Lu story? Amazon | Goodreads

3. Supernaturally by Kiersten White (Location: Shelf Three, Book 14) | Another series I’ve been meaning to read for eons (what book doesn’t this statement apply too??), this is a series by Kiersten White that I own all three books of. And it lingers: Why don’t I read them? Amazon | Goodreads

4. A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund (Location: Shelf Twelve, Book 15 – ARC shelf) | A super sweet “fairytale” story, this is a re-imagining of Robin Hood. The third and final novel, For Love and Honor, in the series just released, and is next in my reading queue. Amazon | Goodreads


5. Wentworth Hall by (Location: Shelf Five, Book 12) | If you don’t spy this one in my booktube video, it’s because I apparently skipped over these “coordinates” while filming. Either way, this book has been on my shelf for years, so it’s high time I read it! Have you? Amazon | Goodreads

6. The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett (Location: Shelf Eighteen, Book 9) | Yep, cut and paste applies here. The Stepsister’s Tale is another I’ve needed to read for an age now. Amazon | Goodreads

7. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Location: Shelf Two, Book 15) | They say this is Ally’s best series. *sits here wondering why I’ve not read them* Amazon | Goodreads


8. Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden (Location: Shelf Eight, Book 5) | As a fan of Elizabeth Camden’s, I always enjoy the historical yarns she weaves. This one is a unique story, as always. Amazon | Goodreads

9. Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade (Location: Shelf Three, Book 2) | Oh, you want an anecdote about this book? Um, yeah, it’s just another been-on-my-shelf-unread for, you know, years. Amazon | Goodreads

10. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Location: Shelf Six, Book 17) | Another needs-to-be-read. Fortunately for me, this one hasn’t been out for long. Or not that long. Amazon | Goodreads
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FINDING WONDERLAND ON BOOKTUBE

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That brings an end to another Top Ten Tuesday. What topic did you feature today!? Since I’ve read very few of these novels, tell me, which have you read? What should I read first?

If you put together a post, leave your links below. I want to swing by and visit. If you didn’t put Top Ten Tuesday together, but you’re a new blogger or reader, leave your website and blog links. I’d still love to swing by and visit your home on the interwebs.

Thank you, as always, for being a friend and reader of Finding Wonderland. Comment down below with your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.  
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Still Life by Dani Pettrey - Fast Paced Suspense in the Art Scene


(This post does contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure page for details.) 

A B O U T THE B O O K
Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
E L S E W H E R E
Genre: Fiction; Suspense, Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Series: Chesapeake Valor, Book 2
Rating: ★★★★★

After her professional life was derailed, Avery Tate shifted her focus to a new path that included work as a crime scene photographer. But working closely with the best forensic analyst there is, Parker Mitchell, turns out to be more complicated than Avery bargained for. Between her unrequited love, and his devastating loss that leaves him with a broken heart, a healthy relationship between them seems impossible. So she leaves. 

When her friend goes missing, Avery can think of only one person she trusts with this case; Parker. As she, Parker, and their team of elite law enforcement friends search for this missing girl, they uncover a twisted plot that’s goes beyond what they imagined they’d find.


Every book Pettrey writes is further proof of her skill as an author. First she intrigued us with her mystery that mingled with history in her Alaskan Courage series. Now, she’s proving herself as a cutting-edge suspense writer with “edgier” techniques and plots. Still Life is a fantastic novel that continues the story of a crime-solving group of friends. These include Declan, Griffin (from Cold Shot) and of course, our favorite Irish brogue speaking hero, Parker.
I want to know why you love me. Because I don't make sense without you. You're part of me.” - Still Life
Parker is, of course, a memorable and noble hero. His pursuit of Avery is pure and his acceptance of her secrets indicative of how he lives his life. Avery too is a strong, independent heroine who’s character is a woman we admire. Though it took me a few chapters to find my groove with this book (simply in coming to remember who everyone is, and their roles), once I did, the cadence flows easily and becomes gloriously familiar. The strong ties of friendship is to be admired, as is the sense of justice. All are themes that feature in this book with emphasis. It’s not just the storytelling, but each are themes that are ingrained in these characters DNA.

Aside from the mysterious angles, red herrings and whodunits, the romance in these stories works brilliantly well for one reason. This “golden rule” reason being that these characters aren’t strangers when the book begins. Whether it’s explored on page or not, we understand they share a past, which helps “sell” the realism of their shifting relationship – a relationship that has to pollinate in the span of days (thanks to the compacted story line). Declan also plays a greater role in Still Life than I'd expected, all of which is leading to Blind Spot (book three). 

It’s all of these important details that make the story, and bigger picture arc (the team seeking Luke, their missing college friend) that sets this up as a top of its class novel. Fast paced, this adrenaline laced story is sure to thrill any adventure seeker. Especially those of us who wildly cheer when, at the end of the day, it’s the good guys who win!


Synopsis: Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. 

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Dani Pettrey: FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives. – Goodreads, October 2017

Sincere thanks to the author and 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), RissiWrites.com 
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Giveaway | Dani Pettrey's 'Still Life'


Hello, reading friends and fellow book nerds! Happy Monday. I do hope your week has gotten off to a smashing start. With the start of this new week, I decided today was a great day to a. review one of my favorite new reads (of 2017) and b. offer one of you, my fabulous readers, a copy of said book.


The feature book? Dani Pettrey's Still Life. Here's the details of the novel. 

STILL LIFEBlacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. 

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. – Goodreads 


Amazon | Goodreads



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

The giveaway(s) is open to US readersThe prize will be a paperback 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 March 7th. Happy Rafflecopter-ing!

SHARABLES | Enter the Book #giveaway http://bit.ly/2lZvVDw via @RissiJC Featuring @DaniPettrey's STILL LIFE! 📷👮🏻🚨🚔

Book #Giveaway | Don't miss a chance to win one of Finding Wonderland's fav #Mystery reads http://bit.ly/2lZvVDw #BookNerd @RissiJC 📷👮🏻🚨🚔

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Hollywood Glamour | the 2017 Oscars


Tonight Hollywood royalty gathers for the 89th annual Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars.

As I've said before, every year, my internal debate is a "repeat" of what it was the year prior. My common sense, realistic self tells my movie-loving self there's no need to watch the show. Why?? Because every year, the show is a wash, rinse, repeat cycle of the same mantra. It's a tired imitation of what an award show should be like. Make it about the entertainment, not a political statement.

(Although in and of itself the entertainment industry IS a political statement.)


Something to that affect is often my thought process when it comes to this over styled, overpriced, PC, overlong extravaganza. But usually that doesn't stop me from turning on the TV. I gather my laptop and sit in front of the television to watch 2+ hours of the glamorous show. Why I do is a mystery, but I think the primary reason is, it's just way too fun to poke fun at the ludicrous nature of the show.

As is the usual case for the nominees, most are of films I have absolutely NO interest in seeing (for reasons I don't want to get into). The one I have seen is the fabulous La La Land. Though I am interested in Florence Foster Jenkins, Allied, Hidden Figures (because period dramas!), am marginally curious about Arrival (because Amy and Jeremy!), and Loving looks like a poignant, bittersweet drama. Below I'm listing some of the "big award" nominees (best actor, best actress) and the role they are nominated for, and sharing the nominees for an award we period drama aficionados might be interested in.

Best Costume Design

Allied 
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

The powers that be say Jackie is set to win this one. I have no opinion either way, but it seems fitting that a period drama should walk away with the win.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
- Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
- Ryan Gosling, La La Land
- Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
- Denzel Washington, Fences

I have a hard time believing anyone but Affleck or Washington will walk home with this time. Garfield is a still a relative newcomer (by comparison), and Gosling's role simply doesn't scream "Oscar win!" I'll give Washington a slight edge (for reasons).

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
- Ruth Negga, Loving
- Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
- Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Considering I've only seen on one of these ladies in the role for which she's nominated (Emma Stone for La La Land), two in other roles, and two I have no clue who they are, I don't know who to pick for this. Saying this without knowing anything of Huppert, I'll give the edge to Ruth Negga. Predictions say it'll be Stone (or a slight chance for Huppert), but I'm not 100% sure though I would be thrilled if it were Emma!

Best Picture

- Arrival
- Fences
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- Lion
- Manchester by the Sea

Everyone seems to predict La La Land will win. I'm not convinced. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't argue against its win, but with films it was nominated against (films that were clearly made to fuel agendas), I'm not confident it'll make the cut. That said, purely from an entertainment standpoint, I think La La Land does have everything else beat.
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Also expected (from predictions) to take home the golden statue are: 

- Suicide Squad (Best Make-up / Styling)
- Zootopia (Best Animated Film)
- La La Land (Best Original Score / Song / Director)


Tonight instead of posting this tomorrow, I thought as I watched the show, I'd do a bit of "live blogging." It's probably not likely to be overly frequent or well put together, but for something a little different, I thought this could be a fun exercise in Oscar blogging. Any updates I add while watching the show will appear below....

UPDATES

- Ok. Let's get some random thoughts, updates in.

- Not even five minutes in (for me), and the PC speeches begin. *sigh*

- YAY (and thank goodness) for the shift to Best Animated Film. Go Zootopia!

- Congrats, Zootopia and Disney.

- Production Design winner is... La La Land 

- Visual Effects winner is... The Jungle Book 

- Film Editing winner is... Hacksaw Ridge 

- More political jokes. *goes back to project aka writing*

- Cinematography winner is... La La Land

- Original Score winner is... La La Land

- Best Original Song winner is... La La Land ('City of Stars')

- Best Original Screenplay winner is... Manchester by the Sea

- Best Adapted Screenplay winner is... Moonlight 

- Best Director winner is... La La Land

- Best Actor winner is... Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

- Best Actress winner is...Emma Stone (La La Land)

- Best Picture winner is... La La Land

- Awkward... Best Picture winner (actually) is Moonlight

*Awkward mistake via the Academy Awards*

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Check back during the latter portion of the show when I'll be "live blogging" (using the term loosely) in the above section of the post about the good, bad and ugly. In the interim, I'd love to have you share any thoughts YOU have about the show thus far. The comment section is yours.

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On the Fence by Kasie West – Tomboy Finds Love With Best Friend and Boy Next Door



A B O U T THE B O O K
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
E L S E W H E R E
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★1/2

Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds may be independent, but she's never given her father cause to question her. But when she’s issued a speeding ticket, her father doesn't take it lightly. This means her father insists she get a job to pay off her ticket. Unfortunately for Charlie, this means working in a pink infused boutique. 

For the girl who can outrun and outplay any boy she comes up against, this is something of a challenge. As the youngest of four siblings (all of whom are older brothers) and the daughter of a single parent father, Charlie is a tomboy with a penchant for being “one of the guys,” which includes the boy next door who’s been more of a fourth brother.

Everything changes when Charlie begins spending her nights talking with Braden at the fence line separating their properties...


Of the two novels by West I’ve read (so far – the rest are on my immediate TBR), this is my least favorite. With that opening statement out of the way, let me say, On the Fence is still a delightful story from its opening pages to ending HEA. For months, blogging and reader friends have been urging me to crack open the pages of these novels. The reader in me “knew” these would be books I’d thoroughly enjoy, but for reasons that shouldn’t have stopped me, I didn’t make the time to read them.*shame on me*
Sometimes we expect more that people are capable of giving at the moment” - Kasie West
It took no time at all for me to realize these characters, Kasie's writing style, and the overall concept was precisely the type of story that makes my reader heart happy. *insert heart eye emoji* On the Fence is a sweet little story about girl who’s the very definition of a “tomboy.” Growing up in a household of boys and raised by a father is bound to do that to one. 

What I find so interesting about this are the ways Charlie begins to expand her horizons, realizing that just because she fit into (and felt most comfortable) in one world didn’t mean the opposite was worth nothing. She began to want some variation in her life. She found the life of being a “girl” wasn’t really so bad. This is something I liked and enjoyed about On the Fence. Her shifting personality is a natural progression.

The other pro of the story are the characters. All of them (yes, all!) play an important role in the story, and I don’t think I remember anyone who felt “unnecessary.” Another pro is that no character is unreasonable or there for mere “drama.” I felt like all of the characters were likable, and some of whom even need their own story. Of course, as is the hallmark of Kasie’s signature style, the romance is swoony sweet. (Both Braden and Charlie have scars in need of healing.) Everything ends how you “know” it will from the first page, and it’s all perfectly, simplistically perfect.

Those who love simple (used as the greatest compliment) romances with characters that support rather than hinder the story will enjoy this. It’s an easy read for those of us looking for something to read on these dreary final winter days. The joy of the story isn’t about overthinking or trying to find something sinister around the next corner. The joy is in the sweet journey these characters experience. Perhaps it’s not a life-changing one, but it does challenge the characters as they are, and sometimes that’s the best kind of result.

Content: there may be a few minor suggestive remarks/innuendo, but On the Fence is a clean PG13 or PG rated story. 


Synopsis: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high. – Goodreads

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

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


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


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.

FILM REVIEW | Doctor Strange (2016) – A Mind Bending Conspiracy of Shapes (Plus Benedict Cumberbatch!)


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
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