Month in Review | November 2016

A single month remains in the year 2016. Whaaat!? After that, a new year will be welcomed and we’ll be partying like it’s 2017. Because, obviously, it will be. Over the next month, the mad dash to prepare for the holidays will be on. I know I am woefully behind on all things Christmas. Everything from shopping to my Christmas cards. With exception to watching Christmas movies, which is one thing I do seem to find the time for. Nonetheless, everything else is something I simply must remedy over these final two-three weeks.

Before we proceed, I must say, if you were part of the readership over the holiday weekend, thank you. For Finding Wonderland, it was a very good one! But I must confess, I'm now rethinking the whole no-new-content because of that. Another month’s close means another “month in review” here on Finding Wonderland. Let’s take a look.

»Favorites from November 2016 «

1. Better Man | I am officially obsessed with this new single from Little Big Town.

2. Beauty and the Beast Official Trailer* | Ahhh! Putting my fangirl emotions into coherent words for this one is impossible. I'm swooning over this one... hard. Since I didn't post an individual blog post for this one, adding it here was needed. What do you all think about this one?! Leave all the thoughts below. 

3. Bookstagram Challenge | Tressa and I again hosted another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge. And yes, I do realize I talk about this in every month in review post. What can I say? We’re having fun and want to share all the coolness. Plus, surprise, we’re hosting one in December too!

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

4. Booktube | The fun continued over on Finding Wonderland’s booktube channel. This past month I posted a Fall Reading Recommendations video as well as the Gilmore Girls 2.0 Book Tag, all in addition to more Top Ten Tuesday fun. Plus you can see my (rambling) November Book Haul and Wrap Up, just posted today.

5. Hallmark | I alluded to this above, but it bears repeating. I’m addicted to the Hallmark Christmas movies. We’ve already seen a handful, all of which have been cute. The cherry on top is that my cousin has kindly given me access to his account so now I don’t have to get creative in how I watch them! (Plus his wife is as big of a Hallmark movie junkie as I am. *high five* Meg!)

6. Thanksgiving | Thanksgiving was, well, Thanksgiving with my family. We’re a small bunch these days because two cousins no longer live in the area, and we don’t get together with my dad’s (bigger) family, so tradition stands that we get together with my mom’s family. Despite the small group, it was a nice day full of fun stories and of course, way too much food. Why do we never learn?

*Yes, I did add this in later. Thanks for the unintentional reminder, Cassie!

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

» Monthly Popular Posts | November 2016 «

»Popular Posts the Week of November 23 - 30«

»Books Read | November 2016«

»Around the Interwebs«

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

Articles and Lists | I previewed ALL of Hallmark Channel's 2016 Original Movies broken into two parts: Previewing Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas 2016, Part 1, and just today, Previewing Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas 2016, Part 2.

Film and TV Reviews | Tim Burton's Alice Through the Looking Glass released on DVD, so naturally, I saw and had to review this Disney sequel; I discovered and reviewed the cute romcom indie film, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong; the Netflix drama, The Crown finally released (after much anticipation), and I had the oppurtunity to add it to Silver's archives; for the first time, I watched the oldie romantic dramedy, Elizabethtown

TV Recaps | None (watch for recaps of ITV's latest gem, Victoria coming in January!)

As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.

That’s an end to the month here at #FindingWonderlandBlog. What was your bookish, blogging or life like this past month? Did you discover any new (and amazing) authors or reads? How about new bloggers? Or must-try new finds? Hope your holiday season is off to a wonderful star. Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.

Wishing you all a cheerful Christmas season.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

Top Ten Tuesday | Let’s Go Shopping (aka A Book Nerd’s Gift Shopping Guide)

Thanksgiving is over. The turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing has been consumed. The leftover pie has been enjoyed over the weekend. Millions of shoppers have been out on Black Friday, and in some cases checked off their entire Christmas lists. Then there’s me. The extent of my Christmas shopping consists of – wait for it, one whole book.

Broke and Bookish November 29th

Holiday Gift Guide freebie
(ten books to buy the YA lover in your life, 10 books to buy for your dad, etc.)
- Broke and Bookish

This is why today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic comes at the perfect time. The idea is when I “make the rounds,” visiting all of your blogs and lists, perhaps I’ll be inspired. Although to be entirely honest, I did partake in a bit of Black Friday shopping, in the classy stylings of a hot-mocha-pajama-clad-Internet kind of shopping day.

Nonetheless, I’m in my (figurative) hair-pulling out stage of panic. So, yeah, things need to be set in motion. For now, let’s have a look at the things I recommend for those book lovers in your life. One of which I’ll admit to being biased about. But we’ll get into that a little further down the page.

1. First and foremost, for the book lover shop for Books | Obviously this is a no-brainer. We’re proud book nerds, so adding books to our bookshelves is kind of an obsession.

2. If there’s a Vintage Soul or Book Collector on your list shop for (Special Editions of) Books | For example the Puffin in Bloom collection (as seen in my Booktube video) is stunning. They’ve released a handful of classics with Little Women being the lone edition I own from this collection.

3. If you have a book nerd on your list, shop Society 6 shop EvieSEO | Evie has a fabulous shop full of the ideal book nerd items. This includes pillows, clothing and for the tech lover, phone cases or laptop cases!

4. If you have someone who loves Pop Culture shop for Funko Pops! | I confess, never in a million years did I intend to become “addicted” to collecting these. In fact I swore to myself I never would. But one purchase turned into two, and of course, when I had Peggy (aka Agent Carter), she had to have her Captain. Then, of course, I had to own Hawkeye and then, well, you get the idea.

5. For the Book Collector on your list pick up a Gift Card | I know some people don’t like this – from both a shopper and giftee’s (is this even a word?) perspective. No one who shops for me (with exception to my mother) likes to gift me a gift card for (what I guess) means one of two reasons a.) they think it means they don’t care or b.) they’d rather “control” what they give. I couldn’t be more thrilled with a gift card. I understand the dilemma, but for me, it’s so much nicer because there’s no way my family knows the books I own and what I don’t.

6. For the Bookmark Collector shop for Gilmore Girls Bookmarks | There is no more perfect time than now to shop for Gilmore Girls stuff. This Etsy shop, The Oy In Poodle Shop, is a fun one!

7. For the TV Show aficionado shop for Gilmore Girls Show | If you have Gilmore Girls fan on your list, go ahead, and buy the TV seasons. I mean, sure you can watch them on Netflix, but you know you really want to own the physical sets. For reasons.

8. For the Jewelry Lover on your list shop Baubles, Beads and Stuff | Yes, this is the Etsy shop I co-own with my mother. But before you wonder at my self-promotion, I don’t feel guilty in adding this to the list since a good portion of our shop features designs from my talented mother. She finds the time to design whereas I’m more technical support; while I am a designer, right now I function as the behind-the-scenes, “everything” girl, and ensure that the shop and social media keeps running.

9. If you have a Cinema Fan on your list, shop for Movies | More specifically, shop for movies made from books. Likely I’m in the minority, but I usually wind up liking the film every bit as much as the book. Search Finding Wonderland's 'Adaptation' tag for, you know, ideas. *smile*

10. If there’s a British TV Fan on your list, shop for Sherlock | This has to be – bar none – one of THE best TV shows ever. It’s smart, clever and brilliantly acted.


That’s it for this edition of Top Ten Tuesday. What type of gift guide did you put together? Do you like any of the items I’ve featured here or are you obsessed with anything similar - *cough* like Funkos *cough* - as I am?

Comment down below with your favorite ideas, and as always leave your Top Ten Tuesday links! I’d be glad to visit your bookish havens.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

Christmas in Homestead (2016) – Small Town Charms Meets Hollywood

With close to thirty original films airing over the course of two months, there’s sure to be a Hallmark film to suit everyone. Whether it be a film about a heavenly being finding the path to rescuing herself or a woman being granted a gift of courage, there’s plenty of swoons to go round. One of their latest additions is, in my opinion, also one of their best.

As an actress known for her leading role in a popular fantasy series, Jessica McEllis (Taylor Cole) is ready for the next stepping stone. She’s about to leave California for her latest movie shoot. Not only is she playing the lead role in the film, she’s also pulling double duty and risking everything to produce the film.

Upon her arrival in Iowa, Jessica expects anything save for what she discovers. Her biggest fan lives in Iowa in the form of 10-year-old Sophie (Brooklyn Rae Silzer). A precocious girl Jessica finds herself unexpectedly bonding with. Along with Sophie and her aunt, Zoe (Katrina Norman), Jessica also finds herself drawn to Sophie’s widowed dad, the inn keeper and mayor, Matt (Michael Rady).

If there’s one thing I like more than a cute Christmas movie, it’s one with plenty of modern fairy tale elements. This script does boast just such a premise. True no one is actually a royal, but there is something of a fairy tale notion that takes root. We experience it in the Hollywood royal finding her home and heart in the homegrown Iowa town, and the good, but ordinary guy who wins her heart.

When I read the synopsis of this one, I’ll confess I had an “Oh, no! Not again!” reaction. Why, you may ask? Well, oftentimes I’m so weary of the a.) girl-comes-to-small-town ploy and b.) actress-comes-to-small-town ploy. So, yep, this one was a double whammy that, upon first impressions, didn’t impress. But I was determined to watch this one if given the chance because its leading man is none other than Michael Rady, my crush from the short-lived Emily Owens, M.D. Needless to say, up until now, I’ve been game to see Rady in anything to help soothe the whole Emily dissing him situation.

Happily, this little gem proved me wrong in so many ways. The acting is, of course, charming. Michael’s leading man is wonderful, and I respected the way he loved not only his daughter, but comes to cherish Jessica. Or at least in as much as can be accomplished in 90 minutes. Also a sweet part of the script was Matt and Zoe’s relationship. I haven’t seen such an easy-going or genuine brother/sister friendship in a film for a while. Their teasing banter and comfortable ease with each other is a testament to the actors playing the roles. Though she looks different, our leading lady, Taylor Cole will be remembered from Hallmark’s Appetite for Love. Taylor is the perfect actress for the role; she has the elegant looks to pull off a popular Hollywood star.

It didn’t take long for this script to rope me into its Christmas-y mementos, and accomplish its task which is to thoroughly enchant. I watched this one over the Thanksgiving holiday with my mother, and both of us were smiling big before ten minutes were gone. Between the cuteness of Matt’s daughter, Sophie (don't kids always make a story cuter!?) to the unique characters identifiers, this one is not to be missed. The fact that the story, though familiar in a comforting way, goes in the opposite way of clichés, is reason alone to enjoy this one. At the risk of contradicting myself, the setting also assisted in the cozy feeling of warmth and joyful shenanigans. 

In short, Christmas in Homestead is like a treasured Christmas ornament. Something you look forward to seeing on the tree year after year.

Photos: Hallmark  

#WishfulWonder | December 2016 #Bookstagram Challenge

Hello, friends! Thanksgiving is come and gone (but not the leftovers!), and we're about to welcome another month which means it's again time to announce another Wishful Wonder book challenge. December makes the third in collaboration with Tressa of Wishful Endings.

Before we get to the details of December’s challenge, here’s a shout out to everyone who has and is joining the past two month. We so appreciate you taking the time to put together your creative versions of our prompts. You’ve put together some amazing and aesthetic photos. 

For those of you toying with the idea but feeling like you don’t have the time or whatever other reason you have, let me attempt to tempt you. *Smile*

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

With all of that said (did it sway you at all!? *wink*), let’s look at the official challenge for December. Is it cool that I'm excited!?  

Everything for this month is self-explanatory, or I hope it is. Here's one explanation in case you're looking for clarification. 

8 | Book Design/Shape: Create something with your books!

Introducing our December 2016 #WishfulWonder Challenge

If you have any questions about the prompts, please feel free to ask! Again the rules are simple. We’d love to see your pictures, so be sure to tag us with the usual, #WishfulWonder hashtag. Also, feel free to share this. 
Happy Friday, Book Nerdigans. Wishing you a wonderful start to this Christmas season, and a good story.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Thanksgiving Day 2016 | Grateful

In a little over a month, we’ll be welcoming 2017. Many of us may feel ready to wipe the clean slate and begin another year. For me, while in amazement we’re this close to starting a new year, I am especially sad to see this year go. Writing this seems strange since it’s been a year of challenges for my family like so many of us.

But it’s also been a year of growth and change. A new season that has given me all the more realization that life is precious. Life lets us enjoy the simple things. Life is meant to challenge us, for without the curve balls, how are we meant to grow and learn?

It’s in the challenges that we learn the most. And it’s in the “small stuff” that joy is found most.

This year I am grateful for so many things. Not the least of which are the following people, and to make things fun, these silly, but also important things and events.

Family | To my family I am beyond grateful to have you in my life. No matter our frustrations, at the end of the day, you mean so much to me. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for sticking with me, and these aspirations of mine.

INSPYs Team | To the girls on the INSPYs team, thank you for welcoming, inviting and challenging me in all the best ways. You are people I not only enjoy working with, but admire.

Gilmore Girls | To the folks at Netflix, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, and the TV stars aligning. This fangirl thanks you for bringing back our favorite junk-food consuming, bookish and colorful Gilmore Girls.

Books | Of course, this is an obvious thanks, but all credit is really due to the authors who’s idea sparks everything else.

Period Dramas | To the period genre, if you are going to produce such breath-stealing dramas as Jericho or The Crown or Victoria, please stick around.

Music | To the recent songs added to my iPod, you are all reasons why music is such an important part of life.

America | To the Founding Fathers who fought for and succeeded in earning our independence, thank you.

Readers and Friends (aka this book community!) | Last but not least, to you, readers and friends, thank you. I’m grateful to you if you’re reading this. If you’re a new visitor and reader, welcome. I hope you enjoy your time here. 

If you’ve been with Finding Wonderland for longer, thank you. You have no idea how much your support helps inspire this blog’s existence.
Wishing all of my readers and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it’s full of family and laughter, good food and memory making. Enjoy the day, and Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Gilmore Girls, Season One (2000) – A Pop Culture Lovers Dream Come True

When everyone was buzzing about this TV show, I was still happily gazing at American Girl catalogs or burying my nose in a Janette Oke book. The appeal of Gilmore Girls was lost on me. Until 2-3 years into my blogging life, when it seemed (for a period of time) talk of the Gilmore Girls was all I saw around the blogosphere.

16 years ago, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) left home and never looked back. 16 years ago, the best thing to ever happen to her was the arrival of her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). But now Rory is a bright, bookish young girl who Lorelai wants to give only the best to. This includes the best education money can buy. Only trouble is, as an employee of a small inn, Lorelai is ill equipped to give her daughter this.

Showing up on the doorstep of her mother’s home would seem to be Lorelai’s only option. The problem? Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop). 

Lorelai and her mother have never gotten along. It stems from when Lorelai was a teenager who bucked all of Emily’s attempts to turn her only child into a debutante. But now Lorelai is desperate and in exchange for her mother and father’s assistance with their granddaughter’s education, Emily asks one thing. Lorelai and Rory must attend Friday night dinners at the Gilmore mansion where a happy family dinner is expected to commence.

Writing about this show is not something I can do properly because there’s no way my writing can, will or does do it justice. Explaining why this series is so popular and loved (even 16 years later) is no easy task, and yet I thought I’d try. Or if nothing else, simply allow myself the indulgence of fangirling over the reasons why I love this series.

There are some shows that have an “it” factor that endear them like none other. Gilmore Girls is one such phenomenon. There is something about the fast-talking, junk food consuming mother and daughter that is endearing. But I think the fascination and appeal goes beyond that. In Rory and Lorelai, many of us found someone to relate to. Rory’s quieter, bookish sort is probably someone we bookish types feel a sort of kinship towards. Similarly, there’s the more outgoing and vibrant Lorelai who is also an easy to relate to character for those of us with a more outgoing personality.

This seems to be one of the things that really fueled the fandom of this show. A devoted fandom that, sixteen years later brought the once beloved series back to the forefront in the entertainment world. And who knows, perhaps this will be of a greater impact than its original run. I am of course talking about the four 90-minute episodes set to release on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving. After the original creator left the show in its latter years, the series (with its original cast) is set to return, presumably with the ending she imagined.

CLASSIC ROMANTIC MOMENT OF THE WEEK | Gilmore Girls' Luke and Lorelai

What I’ve said is so inadequate, but I’m afraid if I let myself continue on I’ll ramble on (and on) without an end in sight. This show is, simply put, comedy brilliance. I love the cast which includes the gruff diner (aka the love of Lorelai’s life – only she doesn’t know it yet), Luke; best friend Sookie St. James (played by the then unknown Melissa McCarthy); Michel, the French dude who is Lorelai’s best work place support; and of course, all the “boys” in Rory’s life.

Usually I’m not a fan of “old” shows (using the term to describe shows of the 90s and before) because they suffer the fate of terrible film making. But while this isn’t cutting-edge perfect in terms of quality, somehow Gilmore Girls is still relevant and current even in today’s society. The reason for this is found in the million and one things that makes Gilmore Girls a memorable experience. It’s that classic humor that never goes out of style. It’s the bond between a mother and daughter. It’s the romance. It’s Stars Hollow. It’s everything that makes this show what it is. The first season grows into what this show becomes, and sets in motion so many of the relationships that follow. Some of which will frustrate you with little care to your nerves, but this is why we love the show.

It’s the imperfections and simple joys of Gilmore Girls that we find the joy of the show. Best of all, this is a ray of pure sunshine. Something that is all too infrequent on our TV screens today.♥

Content: there is adult conversation, including talk about sex and some crude refernces. But overall, the first season is reletively "clean." 

Photos: WB

Gilmore Girls Book Tag 2.0 + Booktube Video

Months (and months) of anticipation led up to the one event that will have die hard Gilmore Girls fans glued to a TV screen on Friday. That is the return of the world’s favorite fast-talking, junk-food consuming mother and daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.

Of course, with them, the familiar faces of Luke, Sookie, Mrs. Gilmore, and the forces that divides Gilmore Girls fans. Rory’s men. These include, first love and kiss, Dean. The bad boy who took Rory away from Dean, Jess (also he happens to be Luke’s nephew). Then there is Rory’s college boyfriend, Logan.

Since Friday marks a triumphant return to the world of Stars Hollow (and what a cozy world it is), I thought I’d join in by putting together this bookish tag. I’m not sure I’ll be watching the episodes now because I have a season or two of the original set to watch, but I wanted to get in on some of the fun and celebrate this most auspicious return.

I’m going about this tag in two ways. I did film a video earlier this year, and forgot about it, so that went up on my booktube channel today. But below (because I explain myself best in writing) I’ve put the tag together in written form. Some of my answers differ, and some I’m answering here that I didn’t in the video, so there are some differences.

So as we’re all wont to say, Oy, with the poodles already! Without further chatting, let’s get to the tag.


Choosing Nym from Mary Weber’s Storm Siren trilogy. Nym has, all around had a bad day, year and basically, life. She’s an indentured servant who has elemental powers that make her a danger to those around her, and worst yet, herself.


This was an unusual pick since I’m sure this prompt means more “small town,” but I picked The Hunger Games book (series) for this one. This was for one reason: Effie.


Had to go with my “guilty pleasure” read for this one, which is Kiera Cass’ The Selection.


I couldn’t think of a good on my shelf that involved an act of revenge, but now I think of it, I realize I do own The Count of Monte Cristo. I mean is there a great revenge plot than it? The book intimidates me like nothing else (meaning I’ve not read it), but the film? It’s fabulous! My video pick looks at Katie Finn’s Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend.


At the time I filmed the video, I couldn’t think of a fitting book for this prompt. Since then, I’ve read The Thousandth Floor. In the video, I spun it a little different, and went with a book featuring “Star-Crossed” Lovers.


Being all repetitive and again going with The Hunger Games. Yep, 99.9% sure I’d go into ultimate freak out mode if I was suddenly inserted into this kind of world. The only way I’d have even a 50/50 chance of survival is if Katniss took pity on me.


Makenna Reid from the Doon series. 


Any of Melissa Tagg’s books fit this, which is especially appropriate since Melissa is one of the biggest Gilmore Girls fans I know.


I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones. Jenny’s writing style is wonderful, and this, her latest novel, finds the perfect balance of comedy and emotional pull.


The only one I could think of for this is Madison from Michelle Madow's Secret Diamond Sisters series. 


Going from favorite mother-daughter duo to a favorite father-daughter duo: Keith and Veronica Mars. 


Pretending this isn’t even a question.


Who can guess this one? Of course, I’ve giving this one to Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss.


Good question. I suppose I’m going with The Hunger Games (again). I don’t really understand the phenomenon for this one.


My True Love Gave To Me is a novella collection of Christmas stories that I read last year, and for the most part, it’s super cute. Stephanie Perkins edits with a lineup of amazing YA talent penning the stories.


Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. I’ve not read this one, but reading the synopsis reveals it’s all about music. Plus I really want to read it, because EMERY LORD! *insert more fangirling over The Start of Me and You*


Um, which of the leading men I’ve met isn’t a book crush? (That’s a cool reaction, right!?) I mean, there’s Max (The Start of Me and You), Etienne St. Clair (yep, another Anna and the French Kiss gush), Alexander Bane (Against the Tide), Logan Walker (Like Never Before), Ty Porter (Meant to Be Mine), Adam (If I Stay), Seamus Ogilvy (The Mistress of Tall Acre), Prince Nathaniel (Once Upon a Prince), and of course, the likes of Mr. Thornton, Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy. (I particularly like the Pride and Prejudice and Zombie version of Darcy.) Plus MANY more.

I have no idea, but I do know Sarah J. Maas books in intimidate me like nobody’s business.


Um, nothing is coming to mind. But Kirk is a good kind of weird, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to say that.


Um, all of them!? I mean, seriously, how would one pick a mere one book? ♥

That’s it for this fun tag. I wasn’t tagged, so I won’t tag any of you* because I’m not sure how many of you are Gilmore Girls fans. But if you are, please put this together, then let me know when you post it. Or if you’ve recently put this tag together on your blog, let me know. I’d love to swing by and visit, plus chat all things Gilmore Girls.

(*But then I remembered these awesome booktubers: Emilie from CreateExploreRead; Lizzie of LizzieLovesBooks; Shannon of LeaningLights; Sara EllaJolien of TheFictionalReader; and Tressa.)

CLASSIC ROMANTIC MOMENT OF THE WEEK | Gilmore Girls' Luke and Lorelai

Let me know which of these you agree or disagree with. Or what you’re most excited about with the return of this insane (in a loveable way) Gilmore family.

Thanks for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Original tag credit goes to PinkLemonadeReads

Top Ten Tuesday | Grateful and Thankful, Top Shelf Authors

Though next to impossible to believe, we have arrived at Thanksgiving. With the holiday season upon us, reasons to be grateful and thankful flood our minds. Or it does me.

Broke and Bookish November 22nd

Thanksgiving freebie 
tell us what you are thankful for! Books you are thankful for!
- Broke and Bookish 

I have many such reasons to be Thankful for. Reasons that should remind me to be grateful every single day. Not the least of which is my family, a home and this country. I could, and will, also mention you, the people in this blogging community, without whom I wouldn’t still be blogging. So allow me to take this moment to say thank you for caring about Finding Wonderland. Of course, I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention, books! Today our topic is open-ended, but sticking with bookish things seemed easiest, something I will never bemoan the opportunity to talk about.

I decided to list ten authors whose talented pen and subsequent stories make me grateful. Without authors, this world wouldn’t exist. Without their keen insight and pain-staking patience to craft these stories, we wouldn’t be swept into exotic or familiar worlds. Their talents are what these fictional world propel from. It's because of their stories, this book blogging community has as voice.

In no way is this list a complete picture of the authors who I’m grateful to have discovered. Here are some of the authors I’m thankful for.

1. Joanne Bischof | Joanne is the kind of author whose skill with a pen astounds every time. Her latest novel, The Lady and the Lionheart (a kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling) is told in the kind of prose I wish I could write with. #IndieBooksBeSeen 

2. Kristy Cambron | Kristy’s latest novel, The Ringmaster’s Wife was one of the most beautiful books of 2016, so adding her rich writing style to this list wasn’t a difficult placement.

3. Elizabeth Camden | Elizabeth’s books were probably the first that taught me the joy of historical fiction, and in every way helped me rediscover it. Up until then, much to my puzzlement, I had been in a kind of sabbatical from its brand of old fashioned charm.

4. Katie Ganshert | Katie’s novels are stunning. In particular, I was thinking of her most recent novels A Broken Kind of Beautiful and TheArt of Losing Yourself. Both step out in faith to tell “messy” stories with some of the most beautiful themes.

5. Jenny B. Jones | The talent of this author is among the best of the best. Her latest novel I’ll Be Yours found the right balance of humor and emotional depth, which showed us yet another layer of her writing.

BOOK REVIEW | I'll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones - A Five-Star Stunner for the Keeper Shelf

6. Ronie Kendig | Ronie write’s military fiction that, to me, shines a light on the importance of our military and the sacrifices they make. Plus, it’s darn good storytelling to boot.

7. Hillary Manton Lodge | These are the perfect reads to be thankful for not just for the talents of Hillary’s pen, but also because the series focus is on family (and plenty of good food).

8. Emery Lord | Emery’s book The Start of Me and You is, without question, one of my favorite YA contemporary reads. The bookish references are a book nerds dream and the characters are still memorable. Needless to say, I’m anticipating reading more from Emery.

9. Stephanie Perkins | Like Emery, I discovered a gem in Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss.

10. Katherine Reay | Katherine’s novels are top shelf quality. Each of her novels are better and better. The character depth is astonishing. Five star recommendation.

11. Sarah Sundin | WWII novels come no greater than Sarah Sundin. She has a wonderful voice and each of her characters sparkle and all seem to come alive off the page.

12. Melissa Tagg | No one writes witty romcom better than Melissa Tagg. Her Gilmore Girls-esque humor combinedg with the classic black and white movies is unmistakable. #IndieBooksBeSeen (Also, have I mentioned her talent at adorable - and spark fueled - meet cutes?!)

BOOK REVIEW | Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg - Wit, Wisdom and Winsome Charm


Though woefully incomplete, these are a few of the authors who I am thankful write stories for the world for us to experience, enjoy and be entertained by.

How did you spin your list this week? What authors are you thankful for? Comment down below with your bookish thoughts, and all that jazz. I’d love to visit your lists too.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.  

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson – A Comforting, Contemporary Romance on the Coast

Author: Liz Johnson
Publisher: Revell
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Series: Prince Edward Island Dreams, Book 2
Rating: 4 out of 5

Change is just what Adam Jacobs needs. Luck hasn’t been kind to him, and Adam certainly has no time for God in his life. This leads him to a small bed and breakfast on Prince Edward Island. There he meets Caden Holt. On the outside, Caden seems to have it all together. She’s living her dream through her work as executive chef of Red Door Inn, and has a loving family supporting her. But underneath this Caden conceals a person looking for one final achievement, an accomplishment that would put the struggling inn on the map.

As with her debut (Revell) novel, Liz again captures a special kind of magic with Where Two Hearts Meet. The story is pleasant and the writing style suits my reading tastes beautifully. It’s an easy-going style that isn’t difficult to read nor have I ever felt as if I needed to “push” myself to flip the pages. The story is simply there (if this makes any sense), waiting to unfold without forcing itself on its reader.

This follow up novel picks up where The Red Door Inn let off. We catch up with its protagonists, Marie and Seth, as Johnson follows their journey with their passion project, the Red Door. Primarily this is, of course, Caden and Adam’s story, but as a larger picture frame job, this is also a heartwarming series about family. Those you share DNA with and those you establish for yourself. This is such a story and then some. The characters are unforgettable. I loved Caden’s internal struggles as a reader because they’re so relatable; putting on a “together” personality while beneath it all, questions linger. Is this good enough? Am I doing enough? How can I challenge myself, grow, change? Then there is Adam.

Adam is the right man for this story. He’s got a messy history. He’s got a broken history. Two emotional weights that make him a dimensional, complex and curious hero who I wanted to know more about. He won me over without trying, and I respected him all the more for the way he loved Caden. Their story was the perfect one to enjoy when I did.

Another favorite element added to the many other things I loved about Where Two Hearts Meet were the scenes in the kitchen, which were many and fitting for the tale. It was a cozy setting that offered so much insight into Caden’s and Adam’s lives, both separately, and as a couple. Then there was that almost kiss! That’s all I’ll say about that. For obvious reasons.

Where Two Hearts Meet is a special story. It has everything the best contemporary novel should and proves it’s more than a piece of contemporary romantic drama. It proves historical novels aren’t the only genre to have hidden depth. In other words, Johnson’s novel again enchants and entertains without sacrificing its emotional strengths.❤

SynopsisIn her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. 

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He's also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets. 

When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival--it might also break her heart. 

Readers will discover hope for the hurting, joy for the broken, and romance for the lonely at the enchanting Red Door Inn. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Liz Johnson: When Natalie O'Ryan returns to Prince Edward Island to plan her wedding, she runs into her childhood best friend--and discovers that the love she's been looking for is right where she left it. - 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), 

The Crown (2016) – A Netflix Romantic, Historical Drama about Queen Elizabeth

When first I saw a teaser for Netflix's The Crown, a drama that crept up on me as I didn't know of its existence until its first teaser trailer aired, I was intrigued. It wasn't until time passed, and more information, photos and I read more about the cast that I become completely immersed in the idea of this as a period drama. 

I've never been one who followed the royal family (unless seeing multiple adaptations of Queen Victoria and Albert's story counts), however the fact that this was inspired by a reigning queen's early days, plus I'd seen a drama about her father (who had the crown forced on him in many ways) and this starred Matt Smith (Doctor Who!) meant that all the ducks were in a row. It was a given, I'd  be watching this. 

I had the chance to review this with Silver Petticoat, so read onward to find a tiny review snippet (plus full review link!). Or in the meantime, simply enjoy the pretty pictures!

Netflix is making a prominent niche in the world of television and miniseries. Their most recent original, The Crown, takes a stab at period drama with a biographical drama about Queen Elizabeth II.  Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat Review

Stream The Crown exclusively on Netflix.

Content Note: There are 2-3 uses of the f-word (over ten episodes), 1-2 coarse words in a sexual context, and a handful of sexual gestures or innuendos (i.e., a woman draws a man’s hand between her legs). A woman engages in an extra-marital affair. There are two instances of male backside nudity. The show is rated TVMA.

Did you see The Crown? I'd love to get your take on this biographical drama. Let me know what you thought. 

Photos: Netflix

This review first appeared on Silver Petticoat Review.

Top Ten Tuesday | At the Movies (aka 14 Films Recently Added to my Library)

Today marries two of my favorite blogging topics: books and films. The former is represented because the meme today is none other than Top Ten Tuesday, which as we all know is famously known for its bookish topics. Films being the latter topic is an acceptable topic this week thanks to the official prompt.

Broke and Bookish November 15th

Movie Freebie 
top ten all-time favorite movies, top ten foreign films, top ten rom-coms, top ten 90's movies, top ten action flicks, top ten tear-jerkers, top ten movies your favorite actor/actress is in, top ten movies with PoC leads, etc.
– Broke and Bookish

Of course, this week we could have spun this any which way. But I decided, for giggles, to spin it as a kind of “recently added to the queue” type list. For a while I was going to do chick flicks because I proudly own several of those. Then I decided, no, how about favorite period dramas? After all that was a list begging to be created. But then I realized that wasn’t best suited either since I’ve made two videos in which I fangirl over favorite period dramas. (Going live... you know, someday.)


These dilemmas all went into the process of creating today’s list. So, down below are some of the recent films that have found a spot in my film library – the number totaling 14 rather than a mere 10. Some I’ve seen and adored. Others I had so-so reactions to, and others still, I’ve yet to watch. But best of all, going in this direction, allows for a wide array of genres.

So consider this your "admit one" ticket and let’s visit the glitz and glamour of cinema.

1. Alice Through the Looking Glass | If possible, I think I like this film better than the first from six years prior. Tim Burton returns to the director’s chair as does the primary cast. In short, this is an ideal piece of adventurous crazy for Burton to direct.

2. Ghostbusters | This is one I didn’t much care about early on, but when it came time for the DVD release, I decided I’d give it a shot. Turns out it was worth it; a fun way to spend a Saturday night in - there was plenty of laughter.

3. The Huntsman, Winter’s War | My mom and I went to see this one in the theater after seeing Snow White and the Huntsman in theaters. It was well worth the trip. The production quality was elegant, and not without its unique bits of humor.

4. Jericho | One of the best period dramas I’ve seen in a great while. The romance, the sets, the acting, everything is superb and equal to its competitors.

5. Kate and Leopold | I have had this one for a while now, but up until a month or two ago (if you can believe this), I’d never seen this contemporary fairy tale.

6. The Legend of Tarzan | Though there is some breath-catching adventure and the entire piece is really one adventure after another, this film is, surprisingly, very conscious of the character arcs. The romance is stunning, too, which makes this all the more attractive.

7. Mother’s Day | I know, I know. This one will earn some eye rolls. *smile* But if watched with no greater expectations than silly entertainment, it's actually fun. Or this is what I found.

8. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 | Super cute and plenty of nostalgia, it’s fun to catch up with this lovable family.

9. The Mystery of a Hansom Cab | An Australian mystery drama, this is a lovely period drama film that is sure to entertaining British costume drama aficionados.

10. Now You See Me 2 | Since I watched Now You See Me, seeing this one is only logical. Though I’ve not watched it just yet, but I am looking forward to it.

11. Not Another Happy Ending | I’ve had this one a while too, but it’s unusual and one I wanted to include because of its zany nature. Plus it stars Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame!

12. The Peanuts Movie | Though I’ve had this one sitting around for a while, I’ve not put it in the DVD player. Why I don’t know since once in a while, a cute animated flick is always a must.

13. X-Men, Apocalypse | Despite loving this franchise, I cannot wait to watch this latest installment in the X-Men series.

14. Zootopia | Super cute is the key phrase for this Disney animated piece of fluff. It has all the right elements to make this one sparkle including an adorable friendship between a bunny and a fox. 


Which movies did you list today? What genre did you decide to list? Have you seen any of these or tell me, what new films do you recommend?

Comment down below with your thoughts on these or any other film or book related opinions – and as always, leave your Top Ten Tuesday links! I’d love to visit.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 
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