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Month in Review | March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

March is over. April is just around the corner, and with the impending arrival towards a NEW month, Finding Wonderland is all reading to recap its month. 


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

»Favorites from March 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. Beauty and the Beast | March was THE month. Beauty and the Beast released. I went. I saw it. I fell under its spell. Hop over to my not-so-professional review (aka, it's in "Fangirl Speak") to chat it up.

2. Bookstagram Challenge | Yep. I'm sharing all about the norm and our new Wishful Wonder challenge. Tressa and I are yet again hosting another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge for April.

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

3. INSPYs 2017 (Updates!) | TODAY IS THE FINAL DAY TO APPLY to be a 2017 INSPYs judge. Pass the word and get in your applications if you want to join us!


4. Readers and Followers | Just wanted to give you all a shout out! MANY thanks to anyone who is a new follower or reader. If you are, feel free to introduce yourself. I'd love to meet you or stop by your bookish havens.

5. Sing | I finally saw this animated flick! Feeling like a review may be necessary. 

6. Waiting on Wednesday | If you liked Jill's (from Breaking the Spine) "Waiting on Wednesday" feature, check out the newer feature "Can't Wait Wednesday" from Tressa of Wishful Endings! I took part in a few of her memes this week, and it's always a fun time, plus a great chance to meet more of the amazing bloggers in this community!

>>what I’m looking forward to<<

Looking forward to filming more for my booktube channel, working with the INSPYs ladies (we get to put together our 2017 judging panels this month!), seeing Chris Evans in a new film (provided it opens in my theater), watching Hallmark's new Spring Fling originals (what, I'm a simple girl! *wink*), Baubles, Beads and Stuff is getting ready to launch a bunch of NEW designs/jewelry (we're super excited about our new stuff! Think fangirl-y/bookish stuff), so come by and browse, and pursuing new opportunities!

Expect booktube videosreviewslistsbookstagram 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 (something I probably planned on publishing last month). 

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

1. Beauty and the Beast (2017) - Disney's Magical Live-Action, 'Tale as Old as Time' Romance | Like I wouldn't add this to my "favorite blog posts" section. *smiles big*


2. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – Contemporary YA Full of Snark, Secrets and ‘Gilmore Girls’ Vibes | Finally reviewed the second Kasie West novel I've read. SO CUTE!


3. Emerald City (2017) - NBC's Urban (Romantic!) Fantasy Remakes ‘Oz’ | Super unique (and romantic!), contemporary re-telling of The Wizard of Oz.

4. Grantchester, Series Two (2016) – Cozy British Mystery (and Romance!) at its Best | Finally review this beauty. Loved this season SO much. (With exception to AMANDA!)

5. Life After by Katie Ganshert – Emotional, Heartwarming Inspirational Fiction | Perhaps Katie's BEST novel yet. This beauty releases April 18th; don't miss it!

» Monthly Popular Posts | March 2017 «
Top Ten Tuesday rule this month's most popular. Not hard to see why; always a fun meme to join!






»Popular Posts the Week of March 24 -31«



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

>>> March's Booktube shenanigans <<<








»Books Read | March 2017 «
*cowers in embarrassment*

No this is not a mistake. I basically read TWO books this month. 
Pretty sure Jody's was a February carry over.
      

 »Around the Interwebs«

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

Articles and Lists | I wrote a list of 9 Beauty and the Beast retellings in book form that are sure to enchant; and preview Hallmark Channel's Spring Fling 2017 programs!

Film and TV Reviews | My single review this month was the TV miniseires, Emerald City (2017) – NBC Remakes ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with Magical Realism. Fortunately, it's an entertaining series!

TV Recaps | I finished recapping the beauty that is ITV's newest obsession (Victoria) and started recapping the new season of Hallmark's favorite heartfelt drama. Here's the fourth season (so far) of When Calls the Heart. Come by and catch up with us!

○ When Calls the Heart – Heart of the Community Recap – A Carnival, Outlaws, and Stolen Kisses - aired March 5th
○ When Calls the Heart, Change of Heart Recap – Matchmakers and Troublemakers - aried March 12th
When Calls the Heart, Heart of a Teacher Recap – Hope Valley Changes… and Elizabeth Leaves?  aired March 19th
When Calls the Heart, My Heart Will Go On Recap – Partings and a Standout Romantic Moment (Worth Waiting For) - aired March 26th

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. 

A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016) – Dancing Through an Iconic Fable

Thursday, March 30, 2017

If a franchise isn’t broken, why fix it? This seems to be the perpetual question behind this romcom series that was first introduced to us with the Hillary Duff led film and has since produced four additional titles (including ‘If the Shoe Fits’), all unrelated to the other but each retells the iconic fable.


Tessa (Sofia Carson) has a challenged life. Not only is she treated as little more than a servant, to make matters worse, she must be a servant to her stepmother (Jennifer Tilly) and two stepsisters. Things change when, while her step family prepares to audition for a potentially life-changing play (a re-telling of Cinderella, naturally), Tessa is convinced to audition in disguise. She auditions as a famous British pop star, Bella, which makes things complicated when she falls for her leading man, Reed (Thomas Law).

Finding a way to be both proves difficult for Tessa. But when Reed shows a greater interest in Tessa than Bella, she must find a way to reveal who she really is without compromising everything.

Despite the repetitive themes and the occasional overemphasized sappy (*insert eye roll*) moment, I really enjoy these lighthearted romantic-comedies.  This is no exception to that rule. I loved everything about this little film, including the fact that there are some “twists.” This is the fourth film following in the A Cinderella Story footsteps, and it’s easily one of the best. While Selena Gomez’s was high on (over)sappy romantics and Lucy Hale’s opted for more “adult” humor (and then there was that one that I cannot remember with the blonde Cinderella), this one finds an in-between that works. The opening is unnecessary (it’s a musical production), but once that obligatory scene is out of the way, the rest is smoother sailing.


The cast does a nice job with their roles only don’t expect anything different from the stepsister characterizations. They’re still over-the-top ridiculous, but it was entertaining to see Jennifer Tilly as the stepmother, Divine. (Tilly was immediately a familiar face from A&E’s period drama The Magnificent Andersons.) Then there is Sofia Carson, who makes a convincing “Cinderella” (all sweetness and light even as she’s ill-treated). Fans of Disney will love seeing the Descendants star in this darling bit of fluff.

Though each of these sequels have been direct-to-DVD titles, they’re worth a rental if you like this sort of production. What I liked about this one was that Tessa’s disguise was more believable than 99% of its peers make their Cinderella, and there wasn’t some dramatic “break up” ten minutes before the end. Instead the story wraps up minus this “filler,” and tells its story in its own way, which I respected. If you’re anything like me, you’d enjoy this one for your next Saturday night in. Watch it with your sister or mother (mine loved it right along with me), and simply enjoy it for what it is – silly romance that’s purpose is no greater than to entertain.

So before you go into this one, go into it with that simple premise and you’ll probably walk away with a smile.

Photos: WB

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – Contemporary YA Full of Snark, Secrets and ‘Gilmore Girls’ Vibes

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


A B O U T THE B O O K
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Publication Date:
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
E L S E W H E R E
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★ ½

For as long as she can remember it’s just been Caymen and her mother with a doll shop thrown in the mix. All she knows about her father is that he’s wealthy, and her mother had a bad experience with him and his lot. This is why Caymen has been raised with an aversion to the wealthy. Then, into her mother’s shop walks Xander Spence. Confident, handsome and so not who Caymen should be flirting with let along talking to, Xander’s unexpected presence in Caymen’s life may just be the chance encounter of a lifetime. But with secrets hanging on Caymen’s life, is Xander the typical rich boy she shouldn't befriend or is he the boy she needs?


This is the second Kasie West novel I read, and oh my stars, it’s my favorite of the two. Of course, as I have a handful left to read (a prospect which leaves me looking something like the heart-eye emoji!) plus a July preorder to anticipate, this is a ranking that could change. For now, as between ‘Distance’ and On the Fence, this underrated contemporary is a piece of happy fluff that keeps its place on my shelf.

The story is a wonderfully familiar one, but is somehow unique with its sarcastic (not overly, but enough) heroine who’s got sass. Something sure to make readers who admire feisty, headstrong heroines cheer her on. Caymen’s strength can, unfortunately, also be her weakness. The thing that’s most been engrained in her is also the thing that keeps her closed off to the possibility of a happy ending that may not be so far from her reach. Then there’s Xander.

I’ll confess, I’m quite fond of him not because of his Logan-Echolls-wealthy-boy-vibes (not that this hurts), but rather because he goes against the “bad boy” stereo type trope. Or that’s my impression of him. His friendship with Caymen is among my favorite in this genre, and feels organic despite its proclivity (as all books often do) to (perhaps) rush its timeline towards an ending that while “complete” is sure to leave you wishing for so much more.

For those of us who adore Gilmore Girls, you may also relish knowing The Distance Between Us sneaks in familiar vibes to the popular show. A theme that, naturally, I don’t object to in the least. From the mother-daughter bond to the aversion to all things related to the glitz of the wealthy, I picked up several delightful similarities! There’s also a plot twist that in some sense pays nod to the show, but talking about it would be a SPOILER ALERT! So I’ll refrain from saying more.

In case my thoughts don’t convey this, in conclusion, I loved this story. It’s fresh, cute and swoony, which is all I ever want form my contemporary fiction. Inside these pages is one of my “happy place” reads. A story that’s as charming on the inside as I wanted it to be and then some. This may be only the second novel I’ve read from Kasie, but it will not be the last. It’s a gem from first page (and snarky Caymen!) to its final word.♥


Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Kasie West: In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. 


Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --
She wins!
In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.
Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?
With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love. - Goodreads, July 2017

ADD ON 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), RissiWrites.com 

Top Ten Tuesday | The Authors I’d Love To Meet

Monday, March 27, 2017

The calendar says it’s Tuesday (or very nearly) which means we are present and ready for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, which is, quickly becoming one of Finding Wonderland’s favorite features. Or so history would suggest.

Broke and Bookish March 28 | Top Ten Authors I'm Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can't Believe I've Met  (some other "meeting authors" type spin you want to do) – Broke and Bookish



Any self-respecting reader knows that without talented authors there wouldn’t be stories. Without stories there wouldn’t be adventurous for us to discover; characters to relate to; romances to swoon over. Without these emotions, there wouldn’t be a community of fangirls, bloggers and readers to share thoughts, have conversations with and commiserate to. It’s appropriate then that the Broke and Bookish ladies turn the spotlight today on these authors.

In keeping true to today’s topic, I have to confess I haven’t met an author. Or if I have, it’s been unknowingly. Sure, I “meet” authors all the time through social media or email or here, but where I haven’t met them is at any kind of event. This is because I’ve never been to an author signing, event or expo outing. Oh, it’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy attending one of these, it’s more that I haven’t pursued attending one for various reasons.

Today, I decided to put this list together of these authors. Here are the parameters I followed while doing so. One being the authors I interact with most on social media (aka, these authors are super kind, personable and fun to “know”) and the rest (who I don’t interact with) are authors whose books I recently read and absolutely loved. There had to be some sort of “rule” set – because how else was I to narrow down this list? There are so many authors I’d like to meet!

Below are some (there are SO many more) of the authors who would be a privilege to someday meet. Only in true Typical-Forgetful-Rissi-Fashion, I missed adding some of these to my booktube version of Top Ten Tuesday. But happily, I added them in here!

1. Joanne Bischof author of The Lady and the Lionheart | Joanne is one of the nicest people I’ve “met” in this blogging world. To top it all off, she’s one talented lady.

2. Kristy Cambron author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice | Not only does Kristy write complex and compelling historical romance, she’s also a lovely lady to chat with.

3. Julianna Deering author of the Drew Farthering Mysteries | Julianna is another fabulous author, both in style and personality. She’s always up for a good Twitter conversation – and she never seems to mind the #WeHeartDrew fangirls.

4. Sara Ella author of Unblemished | I first discovered Sara Ella on Booktube where she has a great presence and her personality makes her videos fun. Since then, she’s released a YA fantasy novel with HarperCollins.

5. Rachel Hauck author of The Wedding Shop | One of (if not the first) authors I interacted with on Twitter, Rachel is a lovely person who’s books I consider favorites.

6. Jenny B. Jones author of Engaged in Trouble | Fabulous Indie author whose sense of humor is off the charts fabulous.

7. Ronie Kendig author of Conspiracy of Silence | Not only do I admire this author like none other for her dedication to writing exciting fiction that honors the military, she’s also a “present,” very generous author when it comes to her time on social media.

8. Dani Pettrey author of Still Life | Dani is an author who takes a lot of time to get her readers involved in the excitement of her new books. She does this through tours, scavenger hunts and other spotlights, all of which are always fun. Plus, she’s easy to talk to and always responds.

9. Katherine Reay author of The Austen Escape | The same can be said of Katherine as I’ve said of the previous authors I’ve discussed. Katherine indulges the fangirl thoughts as we put together random read-along groups and is always quick to offer to answer any questions we have while reading.

10. Sarah Sundin author of When Tides Turn | Copy, paste, repeat! All I’ve said until now can be said of Sarah. She writes fabulous WWII fiction and is always generous with her time when it comes to readers.

11. Melissa Tagg author of All This Time | Another author who’s humor, generous time with readers and stories makes me think she’d be lots of fun to meet.

12. Becky Wade author of True to You | Becky has a beautiful way of telling a story that translates to how she interacts with her readers.

13. Mary Weber author of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow | If you follow Mary on Instagram you know it’s a fun place to hang out. Stands to reason she’d be a fabulous person to hang out with.

14. Kasie West author of By Your Side | I recently (aka finally) read two of Kasie’s books this winter, and LOVED them. The kind of author who writes not only sweet fiction that fits into the YA market but also contemporary (MY FAVORITE!) is someone I’d like to meet.

FINDING WONDERLAND on BOOKTUBE

                           
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That’s it for today! What authors have you met? What authors would you like to meet? Comment down below with your thoughts. I’d love to know who made your list! Or comment about any bookish related stuff. I’m always game for a good fangirl session.

Leave your Top Ten Tuesday links below, or if you’re a new reader, introduce yourself. I’d be glad to visit your websites and blogs.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

When Calls the Heart Recap, Be Enchanted by THE Episode Fans Have Waited For in "My Heart Will Go On"

Ordinarily, I don't share my recaps from Silver Petticoat on Finding Wonderland. Or when I do, it's not the entire series. But currently, I'm recapping When Calls the Heart every Monday over there. If you follow this show, you know last night's episode was THE episode fans of this period drama have been waiting for. The promos said this was the episode viewers couldn't miss, a kind warning that was with very good reason.


Sunday's "My Heart Will Go On" episode broke hearts with its bittersweet conclusion, but through the tears, it also puts a wide smile on our faces as we experience THE moment we've waited four (very long) years for and hear those sweet, long-awaited four little words.
You are my life. You are my everything.

If you watch this show you know exactly what I mean. If you're behind, well then, steer clear of this recap. It's all spoiler-y with all of the goodness that was yesterday's episode. If you have seen it and still want to gush, rant or swoon over the episodes beauty, read onward or comment down below. I'd love to chat it up.
I would wait an eternity for you.
When Calls the Heart, My Heart Will Go On Recap – Partings and a Standout Romantic Moment (Worth Waiting For)

Elizabeth Thatcher’s life is in disarray. Or that’s where last week left her. She was distraught over the idea of leaving her pupils as their teacher while the end returned to her a sense of purpose. One that includes tutoring her students so that they can better excel under their newly appointed, but harsh teacher. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat → 



Photos: Hallmark/Crown Media

Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Disney’s Magical Live-Action, ‘Tale as Old as Time’ Romance

Sunday, March 26, 2017

While some may say nothing can ever surpass their childhood films, one of which includes the 90s animated film, Beauty and the Beast, I respectfully disagree. At least when it comes to something else matching its greatness. The response I’ve had to Disney remaking the classic films of our childhood has been favorable beyond my wildest dreams.


Once upon a time, there was an enchanting castle. Its occupant is a vain prince, who surrounds himself with beautiful things and people. Everything changes when a powerful enchantress places a curse on the prince and those in his household. Now in response to his rejection of outward appearances, the curse reflects the prince’s true nature; the ugliness of his heart is reflected in his outward person.

The only way to break the curse is for the beast (Dan Stevens) to find someone who will love him unconditionally before the final petal on the enchanted rose falls. When a headstrong villager named Belle (Emma Watson) comes to be the beast’s prisoner, the castle begins to feel a sense of hope. But will it be enough to break the curse?

After the live-action imagining of Cinderella, the anticipation for what Disney would next enchant us with was palpable. When rumors swirled that the next would be Beauty and the Beast, naturally, I was excited anew for the feelings of nostalgia this was sure to evoke. Of course following confirmation, social media became the place to be for cast updates plus its release date.

Needless to say when March 2017 was announced, it seemed such a long way off. Controversy also attached itself to this film. Either way, here we are. March 17th has come and gone. Beauty and the Beast has become a record-breaking hit, but the question remains, is it worth the hype?

The long and short answer is, yes! This film is magic from opening frame to the final swish of Belle’s ball gown. There’s something about this story that transfixes its audience. Whether it be its plucky, headstrong heroine or its timeless tale of unconditional love, or more simplistically, its titular song sequence, it’s a stunning example of poetry in motion picture elegance. All that to say nothing of the old-fashion fable this storytelling promotes. It’s the kind missing from the box office, but I’d be so bold as to say, it’s the kind the masses most want.

Before my adoration slips away from my control, let's chat about those controversial issues. (Only be aware, this paragraph will contain some spoilers.) These include the “exclusively gay” comment, and some of the technical complaints. The former is, as one might expect, overblown to be something entirely unimportant in the film's scope. (Blink and you may miss Lefou dancing with another dude!) That said, it will bother some people, and that’s okay. The secondary issue some viewers take issue with is the CGI. This is something that doesn't bother me. I found the beast to be, appropriately, beastly, which is precisely what his character needs. Prior to seeing this, I didn't read reviews (and I still haven’t), but I did see snippets around the interwebs which is where the information about these issues crop up.
Think of the one thing that you've always wanted. Now find it in your mind's eye and feel it in your heart.” - Beauty and the Beast
Moving on from the bothersome issues, I have more to say on the pro side. One being the cast. Dan Stevens is an actor dedicated to his craft as is further proven by his portrayal of Beast. He is wonderful as Matthew Crawley; he continues to inspire as a leading man as the tortured soul of this iconic character. In this script, he’s allowed to give the Beast character and feelings, all of which is marvelous. He and Emma share an easy-going almost flirtatious banter (“Are you making jokes now?”) that’s difficult not to smile over. 

Their friendship is developed in a way that makes the pacing seem longer than it is so that the love story payoff reads as genuine. The “who’s who” of British talent turns in amazing performances from Ian McKellen (X-Men), Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle).

Beyond all this gushing, the staging, costumes, sets and songs are a stunning replica of the original, only better because of their life form. From elaborate (“Be Our Guest”) to (wisely) simplistic magnificence (“Beauty and the Beast”), the songs are unforgettable. The latter in particular is a romantic, swoon-worthy scene that is worth experiencing on the big screen even if nothing else touches its viewer. The script keeps things mostly the same but in an effort to keep current with the times, Belle is obviously fashioned after a contemporary feminist. From her actions down to how she’s styled, the nods are there.

If you love fairy tales or the remake of Cinderella, this is sure to enchant you as a new Disney classic to love. It’s magic. It’s romance. It’s true. The message of beauty, its perception and the love that result is astounding in its truth and simplicity. Beauty and the Beast is everything a fangirl could wish for, and in my humble opinion, so much more. ♥

Booktube Talk | The Beauty and the Beast Book Tag


CONTENT: Rated PG for frightening images (wolves threaten people, they inflict harm on one person) and some "peril" (a man is purposely left in the woods in the hopes the wolves will finish his off). One man seems to embrace his femininity when he's dressed in ladies clothes.

Photos: Disney

Booktube Talk | The Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

Friday, March 24, 2017

Happy It’s-a-week-after-Beauty-and-the-Beast-Opened-Day Friday, friends. If you are reading this intro and thinking, “Nooo, she’s not talking about that, again??” You might want to skip this post altogether. However if, like me, you’re quite excited about this brand new Disney film, please read onward because a. there’s plenty of BATB (an acronym I’ll use from now on to shorten the length of the words I have to type – because lazy!) talk forthwith, and b. some of you might be tagged in my booktube video chat. 


Three years ago when Disney live-actioned (is that a term? I’m going with it) Cinderella, I came away starry-eyed. When news broke their next endeavor would be BATB, I was excited. Then casting was announced. Unlike my experience with the prince in Cinderella (I have since come to believe Richard Madden is the best princely prince ever – proof of which can be found in Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C), the prince cast in this instance was the opposite reaction.

Beloved Matthew Crawley aka Dan Stevens stepped into the role of the beastly prince.

What followed was controversy of the pairing of him with British star, Emma Watson. The age gap was a source of annoyance while I was over here, all like, “DAN STEVENS IS PLAYING THE BEAST!” *heart eye emoji x ten*

In short or to put it in a more professional manner, I was elated. Channeling all this excitement into something fun seemed a good idea so I’m doing just that.


This week, the blog and booktube channel has been BATB-fied with tags, a giveaway (closed) and this past Monday, I was over on Silver Petticoat with a list of BATB themed books on my bookshelf. If you’re as excited as I am, come along with me. There’s lots of fun down below.

This is a kind of “Part 2” of this tag since I split the prompts up. Answers to the rest can be seen in my new booktube video! Until then, join the fun and read ahead.

 “TALE AS OLD AS TIME” – A popular theme, trope or setting you will never get bored of reading


Though this totally ties into today’s topic and theme, I’d opt for the unconditional love theme. There’s something so beautiful about the story inside Beauty and the Beast. It’s such a deep, poignant and when done well, romantic (in the trust, most realistic sense of the word) trope. In short, it’s one I shall never tire of. Unlike certain other romantic tropes.

BELLE – A book you bought for its beautiful cover that’s just as beautiful inside too

Yes, I’ve seen this as the answer, but I’ll choose The Selection. The series’ covers are stunning, and the story inside is stunning too. It’s a juxtaposed blend of The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, but with a fairy tale “old world” angle that also takes inspiration from the Biblical story Esther.

BEAST – A book you didn’t expect much from but pleasantly surprised you


Probably either If I Stay or The Fault in our Stars. They probably aren’t my favorite books on my shelf, but I was pleasantly surprised how well I did enjoy them. A great deal more than I expected. (Although to be fair, I always loved the beast – even at his worst. He was just having a really bad day, something we all have, right?? *wink*)

GASTON – A book everyone loves that you don’t (Booktube answer!)


LEFOU – A loyal sidekick you can’t help but love more than their counter part

This isn’t in the same “realm” as the books I’ve been talking about because I’ve not read the books, but I’ll name Dr. Watson. Although to be honest, I don’t think I can say I love him more than his counterpart (Sherlock Holmes), I simply love him equally.

MRS. POTT, CHIP, LUMIER & COGSWORTH – A book that helped you through a difficult time or that taught you something valuable


I can remember reading Denise Hunter’s Barefoot Summer and being wowed by it. Though I don’t remember the section, in particular there was one specific point that really impacted me.

“SOMETHING THERE” – A book or a series that you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end (Booktube answer!)

“BE OUR GUEST” – A fictional character you’d love to have over for dinner


Umm, all of them?? Or at least those who I really like. How’s a girl to click “select” on a few characters? I’ll say this, my dinner party would require a very looong dinner table and set. Some of whom would include, Juliette D’Alisa (I mean, inviting a chef is practical, right??); Drew Farthering, Matthew, Col Brandon, and Mr. Knightley (gentleman represented!); Anna and Etienne (obviously); Harriet Manners; Charlie and Ella; Jem, Merida and Ray; and SO(so) many others!
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That’s it for today! Have you put together this tag? Do you like this “Tale as Old as Time”? What Beauty and the Beast (or Disney) tags or post have you put together? Comment down below with your thoughts! 

TAG! You’re it! I’ve tagged some amazing booktubers and bloggers, but if YOU are reading this and are a blogger (or booktuber!), consider yourself tagged. Swing by and let me know if you put this together. I’d love to come by and visit. Find my booktube video to see more BATB fun. 

Thanks for being my guest and visiting today. Always happy to chat with you all.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

Life After by Katie Ganshert – Emotional, Heartwarming Inspirational Fiction

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


A B O U T THE B O O K
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Publisher / Blogging for Books
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Find the Review Elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
E L S E W H E R E
Genre: Fiction; General, Inspirational
Rating: ★★★★★

23 passengers stepped on a Chicago “L” train on what seems an ordinary day. 

It’s ordinary for an elderly man who’s been married to his wife for over sixty years. It’s ordinary for a college student who’s a bright, beautiful young woman on the cusp of her whole life. It’s ordinary for a young mother and son. 

It’s not ordinary for Autumn Manning or Vivian Elliott. 

23 passengers step on the train. 22 passengers never return to their homes in the wake of a bombing. Autumn is the sole survivor of the attack, an attack that’s dubbed her the “miracle survivor,” but left her emotionally unable to “live.” When her path intersects a year later with that of Paul, the widower of Vivian, things become complicated, painful and somehow, full of joy in a combination of unexpected emotions.


Katie Ganshert is one of THE brightest and most talented authors in the contemporary inspirational (or Christian) fiction scene. Or this is my impression of her stories. Her writing is challenging, simple (again, always used as a compliment), and emotional, all of which she conveys to page with a “no fuss” kind of storytelling. It’s no surprise then that her latest novel, Life After, would be no differently composed. In fact, this may be her greatest accomplishment yet.

Life After is a breathtaking symphony of loss, hope and forgiveness told in a way that brings together so many people without overwhelming the reader by cluttering its pages. Some books can shove too many characters at us, but this is an example when lots of characters are for the benefit of the tale. The characters that come into Autumn’s life aren’t only mere figments of therapeutic release, they’re somehow made to be vital to the story even though their time “on screen” is brief, especially in comparison to Autumn (who carries much of the story) or Paul.
I guess that's what life is, though, isn't it? A whole bunch of little moments that don't seem significant or life-altering at the time, but when you look back . . . They become the most profoundly beautiful things.” ― Katie GanshertLife After
This isn’t the typical happily ever after story. Instead, it’s a mature story of love, acceptance, healing and finding our way “home.” Interwoven into this are the personal relationships and tribulations between families. The structure or “set up” of the story is well put together. From the POV switch off to the journal entries and Reese’s letters, this story has all the classic makers of a tearjerker that’s sure to, in the end, leave you with a smile. Though not everything ends up being a rose-colored glass result, I was surprised at the tenderness of how everything comes out even if it’s just a tiny bit “rushed.”

No matter what, it’s in the flaws that this story shines. Whether it’s the journey to feeling “whole” again; a teen trying to navigate the secret she doesn’t understand; or a man who inadvertently restricts a healthy healing process, the stories in Life After is an emotional heart stopper. Those who enjoy this type of fiction are missing out unless they pick up this beauty. You’ll be hooked from first page to last. ♥

Life After hits store selves April 18th!



Synopsis: On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead. 

But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones. 

Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God. - 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), RissiWrites.com 

Can't Wait / Waiting On Wednesday | Third Edition

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hello, readers and followers! I've again got another 'Waiting On' / 'Can't Wait' Wednesday post for you all. There's more fun to come later this week (a book review and Beauty and the Beast stuff), but since I love any and all excuses to feature books, this week, I wanted to again join this popular middle-of-the-week meme. 

I'm linking up with my Bookstagram partner in crime, Tressa of Wishful Endings. (Read about our April challenge!)
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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.)
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For today's meme, I'm turning the spotlight on a popular YA series. Today I'm waiting on...

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary Romance; YA Fiction
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?  - Goodreads 


WHY I'M WAITING | ok, don't judge. I've never read a novel by Jenny Han let alone a 'Lara Jean' novel. BUT I did start the first one a long time ago (SO GOOD) and plus, I mean, look at these covers?? The aesthetic is amazing. 

So, why am I "waiting" on this, a series I've not read, you ask? Well, the idea of the book is precisely one I feel I'd love, and as I own books one and two, chances are high I'll pick this one up, and enjoy binge reading the trio!
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Have you read this YA novel or anything by Jenny? Comment down below with your thoughts, Waiting on / Can't Wait Wednesday blog links. I'd love to chat all things bookish with you. 

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

#WishfulWonder | April 2017 #Bookstagram Challenge

Hello, my book loving friends. As inch towards another month, it's that time again. Tressa (of Wishful Endings) and I are pleased to announce we have put together another Bookstagram challenge.


Before we get to the the specifics of April's challenge, I'd like to give everyone who has and is joining in, a round of thanks for joining the fun. As always, your time and creative efforts are such fun to "see" reflected in the photos you take inspired by so many amazing authors and their novels.

Today, I'm sharing a couple of the photos from our March challenge that caught my eye recently.

Next, yes I am going to indulge in my usual "spiel" trying to tempt you to join us.



I learned today that months have FLOWERS? How cool! Apparently the March flower is a daffodil and there just /happened/ to be daffodils growing just outside of our house! (I guess that means it's March?) So here's some #bookandflower love paired with a nice cup of tea and some classics. 😉 . I can't believe it's already Thursday. This week has seemed extra long and far too short all at the same time, but I'm managing to write every day and that's a first for me! (Usually I only write a couple times a week...if that.) . Also, apparently today is National Book Day? And its 20th anniversary? I didn't even know about it the first 19 years! I think I might go buy a book today. 😉 To celebrate. And because there's a new bookstore in town. And it's my favorite. And because...BOOKS. Der. . 🌹🏰(p.s. Don't forget to enter my Beauty and the Beast themed giveaway! Two posts back.)🏰🌹 . . 📚#WishfulWonder - March Flower: Daffodil (book challenge by @WishfulEndings & @Rissi006) 📚#livelaughbooksmarch - children's books
A post shared by Nadine Brandes - YA Author (@nadinebrandes) on


(And there are more I could have shared! But I figured I'd best stop looking or else I'd be pasting them all in here.)

+ 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!

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

If you have any questions about the prompts, please feel free to ask! Again the rules are simple. We’d love to see your pictures, so be sure to tag us with the usual, #WishfulWonder hashtag. Also, feel free to share this.

Finally, consider letting us know what ideas you enjoy best! We'd love to have your feedback.


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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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