Month in Review | December 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Here we are, waiting out the final hours of 2016. As I sit here writing this, I’m in awe of the rapidity of this past year, but also extremely grateful for the kind of year it’s been. I trust it’s been a memorable year for you as well, and hope you’ve had a joyful and wonderful holiday season.

Another month’s end is all about a “month in review” post here on Finding Wonderland. Let’s take a look at the happenings. Such as they are.

»Favorites from December 2016 «
all about the simple joys

1. Bookstagram Challenge | Tressa and I again hosted another #WishfulWonder Bookstagram challenge. We shared about it prior to Christmas and also just this past week.

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

2. Booktube | The fun continues over on Finding Wonderland’s booktube channel. This past month I posted a about all the Christmas stuff including Christmas books and films, in addition to more Top Ten Tuesday fun and today, it was all about that Decemberbook haul. (Come by to have a look.)

3. Christmas | Quiet, simple and somehow, ordinary was my day. But at the end of the day, that’s precisely what I like best about a day spent at home with those who know me best.

4. Hallmark | Still watched a ton of Christmas flicks, and loved My Christmas Love, and Operation Christmas this past month. Is it weird that I'm already excited for Hallmark's Winterfest  movies?

5. INSPYs 2017 | Nominations for the 2017 INSPYs Awards have opened!

6. La La Land | Saw this in theaters, and have thoughts. A review will, at some point, show up.

7. Thank you | Yesterday I wrote a thing. It was just a little note written with great appreciation for all of you. I want to thank you all so much for the Finding Wonderland support, comments and friendship these past five years. I’ve enjoyed it all so much and appreciate that, by your enthusiasm Finding Wonderland is still in existence. I’m grateful you’re still interested.

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

» Monthly Popular Posts | December 2016 «

1. My Christmas Love (2016) – A Festive Romance Inspired by Lyrics | Not at all surprised this one was so popular this month. I adored this Hallmark film. 

2. Top Ten Tuesday | The Best of the Best at the Cinema and Small Screen | This was such fun to put together. Glad it earned some readers. 

3.Top Ten Tuesday | 14 Anticipated Reads of 2017 (aka, a *Few* of the Books That Already Own Bookshelf Real Estate) | These books aren't ALL of the 2017 reads I'm looking forward to, but they do already own shelf space so there is that. 

4. Top Ten Tuesday | Memorable Stories of 2016 (New-to-Me Authors) | Who else loves discovering new authors every year?

5. Top Ten Tuesday | Here Comes Santa Clause (aka Give Me All the Books *Grabby Hands*) | Because who doesn't love making their list for Santa? 

»Popular Posts the Week of December 24 - 31 «

»Books Read | December 2016 «


»Around the Interwebs«

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

Articles and Lists | My only article this past month was a Romantic Moment feature, but oh, what a good show it spotlights! The feature was on Annie and Johnny from ITV's Jericho

Film and TV Reviews | I reviewed Hallmark films, some new period dramas, and the pilot for SyFy's latest. Here's what I talked about; saw and really enjoyed the Christmas special, A Very Merry Murdoch Christmas; the pilot of Incorporated was enough to intrigue me; also I reviewed the Hallmark originals, A December Bride and Finding Father Christmas. Finally I also reviewed The Living and the Dead, BBC's mystery series starring Colin Morgan (Merlin).

I also reviewed the book Within the Veil, which is a sweeping and so romantic historical. 

TV Recaps | Nothing there (but next month we begin recapping Victoria!). 

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? Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.

Wishing you all a magical, and confetti filled New Year!

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

Dear Readers | Saying Goodbye to the Old and Partying Like its 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dear Readers,

It seems impossible that in a matter of hours, we say goodbye to another year.

I'm flabbergasted that 2016 is at its end. Yes, I realize I am now well past being a broken record. (What is the catch phrase for this?) It's been a year that, while challenging (when shouldn't we be challenged?) hasn't been unkind.

Personally | Though I can speak for no one but myself, 2016 was actually a really good year. Were there unexpected ? Yes. As is the case with everyone, there were - and still are, challenges in my life. But rather than let them be "for the worse," I think, in many respects, I learned things that changed me. Hopefully all leaning towards a better, more mature season of growth.

Blogging | 2016 has been incredibly nice to my blogger life. This is all due to you, readers and friends. Allow me to take this moment to say, a million thanks for this. It's because of you I can continue blogging. Finding Wonderland has never been a smash success, nor is that something as a blogger I "need," but it has enjoyed a growth spurt this year, and if I don't express this enough or say it enough, I'm always and forever grateful for that.

To those of you who may be a new reader, welcome! If you have blogs, please feel free to introduce yourself and your blog. I'd love to come by and visit.

To those of you who are long time readers, thanks for the support, and for sticking around.

To those of you #BookBesties (you know who you are!), thanks for being a source of encouragement, being a friend, and for all the fangirl fun.

...and finally to those bloggers who are no longer a part of blogging, thanks for being among the people who gave this little space a start, and who so kindly welcomed me into this community.

2017 | In this next year, I hope to continue on all of these paths. I hope to chase more opportunities, discover new creative ways of presenting material, and most of all, continue to learn.

As 2017 knocks on our doorstep, I wish this and more for all of you. I hope this year is all that you are looking for and then some.

Now, grab those party hats (or if you're like me, it's more like your favorite movie and a cozy night in), and prepare to ring in the new year. It's almost here, and there's a little bit of magic in the air as it prepares to descend on us, and maybe, just maybe, take us on an adventure.♥

Happy New Year

- Rissi

Geek Girl by Holly Smale – A Story for the Nerdy Girl in All of Us in the Style of ‘Princess Diaries’

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Author: Holly Smale
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2015 (US Publication)
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary YA
Series: Geek Girl, 1
Rating: ★★★★★

If there is one thing Harriet Manners knows, it’s this: from the top of her head, to the tip of her toes, she’s a geek. She’s no one’s best friend save for Nat, the one girl who has become Harriet’s one and only friend whether she likes it or not. Not only does Harriet deal with mean girls at school, but she also has a stalker-who-has-a-crush on her, which makes her life rather difficult.

But everything changes when, while accompanying Nat to an event for aspiring models, it’s Harriet who is “spotted.” Soon Harriet’s life is a mirage of makeup chairs, flamboyant people wishing to “manage” her, white lies that tumble into very big lies, and a mysterious, but cute guy!

This is one of those novels I’ve intended to read for years now. Ever since I saw the cute British covers, I was sold on this book being one I’d thoroughly enjoy. It has the kind of swagger all contemporary novels should. For me, this was, purely, a fluff piece (which is always a pro) kind of read that is not only hard to put down, but impossible not to 100% love.

Geek Girl has the kind of confectionery styling that makes one smile, laugh and root for its heroine. For me, this is because despite her fame, Harriet is, at heart, a simple girl who’s something of a klutz. Yep, like I said, relatable.  Before I even read this synopsis on Goodreads (included below), I described this as a Princess Diaries esque story, which made it was interesting to read it in the official blurb. This comparison is easy to draw, and for me, makes this novel all the more attractive. Though I’ve never read the Meg Cabot books, the Princess Diaries was a big part of my younger years, and a film that made my fairy tale loving heart swoon.

In a word, this contemporary “fairy tale” is catnip. Or it was for me. Harriet’s first-person narrative is warm, funny and easy to follow. Nat is a fierce, if not slightly melodramatic, protector, and then there is the curiosity that is Nick. His role is minimal at best, but in the end, I felt interested to discover where his character goes (or effects) as regards Harriet’s new normal.

Those who love, and maybe even miss, the kind of books that make you smile with nary a glimpse of spiraling into darkness are sure to discover a gem inside these pages. Late to this party or not, Geek Girl is without hesitation one of my favorites of the year. ♥

Synopsis: Geek + runway = a runaway UK hit! Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious, internationally bestselling series that's perfect for fans of Louise Rennison and the Princess Diaries series.

Harriet Manners is a geek. She always has been, and she thought she always would be—but when she's discovered by a modeling agent, she leaps at the chance to reinvent herself. There's only one problem: Harriet is the definition of awkward. Can she transform from geek to chic? – Goodreads

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

Best of the Best | Finding Wonderland’s 2016’s Most Memorable Books

Best of the Best | Finding Wonderland’s 2016’s Most Memorable Books

Every year, one of the most anticipated blog posts I put together is a “Best of” lists. Earlier this week I shared my favorite films of the year, so today, I am of course, sharing the most important thing – books!

This year, I discovered I didn’t have as many books as I expected, but those I did rediscover were top shelf, brilliant reads. (Plus I have zero doubt I am - even still - shamefully missing some books that deserve a spot on this list.) So many of these novels I’m sharing about today are the kind of stories that stick with you long after the whoosh caused by the flip of that final page.

The wide array features a “little something” for everyone, and spotlights several stellar examples of talent including Indie and traditional authors plus young adult literature. Without further ado, let’s have a look at those books!

(If available, book reviews are linked in title.)

1. What Light by Jay Asher | Super sweet, the inside of this novel is as charming as the outside suggests. Amazon | Goodreads

2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith | 100% fun, and sometimes that’s all we need. Amazon | Goodreads

3. The Lady and theLionheart by Joanne Bischof | This novel is an elegant and authentic fairy tale. Amazon | Goodreads

4. The Ringmaster’sWife by Kristy Cambron | Perfect for fans of stories like Water for Elephants, this novel is expertly written with a fascinating backdrop. Amazon | Goodreads

5. Unblemished by Sara Ella | One of 2016’s debuts, this YA fantasy novel is what Shadowhunters (TV show since I’ve not read the books) wished it could be. Amazon | Goodreads

5. The Art of LosingYourself by Katie Ganshert | Emotional and beyond beautiful, this novel is just another reason why Ganshert is one of the best. Amazon | Goodreads

6. A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund | A sweet Robin Hood esque fairy tale, this is, so far, my favorite of the accomplished Jody Hedlund’s YA novels. Amazon | Goodreads

7. The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter | RomCom bliss with a heart-tugging emotional side, this story is wonderful – and one I’m glad to have finally read this year! Amazon | Goodreads

8. Close to You by Kara Isaac | Intelligent and lovely, Kara Isaac take’s us on a journey – of the literal sort and of the heart. The results are memorable. Amazon | Goodreads

9. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones | Brilliant writing, and storytelling, this is one of Jenny’s best novels to date. And all of her books are amazing. Amazon | Goodreads

10. Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge | Hillary always gives reader’s a roller coaster of a story (in the best way), and this is no different. Her final novel in the ‘Blue Doors’ trilogy is wonderfully and complete. Amazon | Goodreads
11. The End of theWorld by Amy Matayo | This book was one I wasn’t sure would be for me because I liked “happier” stories (in general), but I’m ever so glad to have experienced it. It’s one of the best contemporary novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Amazon | Goodreads

12. Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey | The start of a new series, Pettrey’s first book is, perhaps, her best yet. Amazon | Goodreads

13. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay | Anything Reay write’s is literature perfection, and her latest follows in the footsteps of her earlier works. Amazon | Goodreads 

14. Geek Girl by Holly Smale | After months (or years?) of saying I wanted to read Geek Girl, I finally read it this past week. So much fun! Amazon | Goodreads

15 / 16. Keep Holding On and Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg | Melissa released two of her signature romcom’s this past year, and of course, I couldn’t pick just one, so I include them both. For reasons. Amazon | Goodreads, Amazon | Goodreads

17. Her One and Only by Becky Wade | Last but not least is the final novel in the Porter family series. Amazon | Goodreads


As I’m wont to do, I shamefully forgot to add these novels on my “official” list (video, list above). This in no way means I enjoyed them any less, it simply means I’m terrible at sitting down and plotting these lists.

1. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown | Really enjoyed this WWI mystery novel, plus I’m such a novice when it comes to YA historical reads, so it was nice to be immersed inside such a world. Amazon | Goodreads

2. Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering | How I could forget this lovely novel I don’t know. Amazon | Goodreads

That’s it for Finding Wonderland’s favorite 2016 reads. Did you love any of these as much as I did? What books surprised you this past year? What books made your best of 2016 lists? Comment down below with your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland. 

Giveaway | Winner's Choice, a #Bestof2016 Read

Seasons greetings! I hope everyone enjoyed a merry, bright and joyful Christmas Eve and day. As we look to the future that is 2017, today as a way of saying thank you for a wonderful year here at Finding Wonderland, I'm offering a little giveaway fun. 

I'm going about that by offering a "Winner's Choice" #Bestof2016 book giveaway. You can discover WHAT (Kindle) books you can choose from by visiting Finding Wonderland's "Best of 2016" book post.

PS: you can also enter the Booktube channel giveaway for an additional chance to win a paperback of A Portrait of Emily Price!

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

The giveaway(s) is open to All readersThe prize will be a Kindle copy, unless otherwise noted (US readers might have a paperback option when applicable). I do ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - there have been a few people I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification (you'll be contacted at the email address in the Rafflecopter form) before another winner is randomly chosen.

To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget, which you'll find down below. The Giveaway ends January 8th. Happy Rafflecopter-ing!


Enter the #Bestof2016 Book #Kindle giveaway (Winners Choice) via @RissiJC Featuring @Melissa_Tagg and MORE! 📚

Book #Giveaway | Don't miss a chance to win one of Finding Wonderland's #Bestof2016 #Romance @RissiJC 📚

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Operation Christmas (2016) – Joyful Story about Faith and Love

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Early on in Hallmark’s Christmas movie campaign, this was among their 2016 debuts starring Marc Blucas. It wasn’t until Christmas Eve that my mother and I sat down to watch what we hoped would be one of our favorite films of the season.

Seeking a “new normal” for her family is single (and divorced) mother Olivia Young's (Tricia Helfer) priority. She takes her two kids off on a Christmas adventure rather than stay home hoping to find this. While at the wintry wonderland resort, she meets Scott McGuigan (Blucas). Scott too is a single father of a young daughter, only difference being he’s an Army Ranger whose job and duty takes him out of the country at any given moment.

Nearly a year passes during which time, the two don’t see each other again, until today. Into her new office, Olivia walks in to find the handsome face of Sgt. McGuigan. Scott explains why their special Christmas plans were cut short, and Olivia has to find a way to work with the Sergeant. You see, he’s been appointed her liaison of the military donation project she’s tasked with.

TV FILM REVIEW | Sleigh Bells Ring (2016) – Small Town Romance with Magical Matchmaking

Though the calendar says Christmas is over (what!?), this isn’t a technicality I’m going to let detract sharing this, what should be, my last Christmas film review of the season. If this does hold (I make no promises), I have to say this is quite possibly the best one to end the season on. There is a depth to this story that never bogs the viewer but rather inspires, makes us laugh and root for that seemingly elusive happy ending.

Written by TV film veterans, this is a quality, favorite teleplay in this genre. I realize I’ve already said that about some of the films this season, but this one really is wonderful. Perhaps it’s the uniform and its representation, but give me a soldier as a leading man and portray the military with honor, and I’ll love the story forever. This is something along the lines of my reaction to Operation Christmas. As a believer in and of the military, and someone who is grateful beyond words for what they do, I appreciate stories that honor even a glimmer of this life.

Beyond what is the more “serious” side to this story, there are plenty of heartwarming and romantic moments in this film. I adored the cute matchmaking schemes of the kids, and the genuine relationship between Olivia and Scott. Also fun to note, this isn’t Blucas and Helfer’s first time sharing screen time. They were also co-stars in the short lived ABC series, Killer Women. Their chemistry might be completely different in this story, but it works nicely.

Lest I continue on, I’ll wrap this one up. Those who love Hallmark films or more specifically films like Soldier Love Story or The Christmas Card are sure to appreciate, respect and discover a gem in Operation Christmas. I know, without reservation, I can say that about this memorable, flawless and touching drama. ♥

(This post does contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure page for details.) Purchase Operation Christmas on Amazon Video.

Photos: Hallmark 

Year Seven! INSPYs 2017 Nominations are Now Open

Morning readers and friends. With Christmas past and the New Year upon us, it's time for another year of the INSPY Awards. 

There were some changes this year, so be sure and check those out changes on our website. As always, thank you so much for your support of this program. Know that we are grateful. Until then, you can read our official "nominations are open" article down below!

Hello, INSPY readers. The advisory board is excited to open year seven of the INSPY Awards, a program for the bloggers’ “best in fiction” award is welcoming a new year and opening the nominations for 2017.

The Inspys were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith and were designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith-inspired literature of today.  This program is organized and judged by book bloggers who have considerable experience and knowledge of books published for both the CBA, general and INDIE markets.

If you haven’t nominated a book in the past year, please not, we’ve made a significant change to our nomination process. For you, the nominator, the rules remain the same, only difference you’ll note is the lack of a publicized long list. This is because the advisory board will be collecting our long list from the top 15 nominated novels in each category. So, even if you know someone else has nominated your favorite read of 2016 or you’re certain it’s already been nominated, go ahead and add your voice because that nomination could be the 15th vote that gets the book into the top fifteen.

Once the task of the top 15 is calculated and complete, we will publicize our long list, which will be then narrowed down to five books and from there, the same judging process will apply. For more information on the changes, please refer to our announcement post.
Please read through our Nominating Refresher post, and the nomination rules before nominating.

The dates of eligibility include books published in print between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. If a print book was released as an ebook prior to 2016, it is ineligible.

Books may be nominated in any of the following categories:
Debut Novel
General Fiction
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Historical Romance
Speculative Fiction
Mystery & Thriller
Literature for Young Adults

For more detailed description of categories please see the Revised Nomination Categories. If you’d like to read more about the nominating process, read our blog post with some tips on nominating the right books in their best categories. Pull out those lists and let’s begin!

The deadline to nominate a book is January 16. Winners of the seventh annual INSPY awards will be announced June 28, 2017.

To stay up to date with all things INSPYs follow along with us on Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads Or email us with any questions:

We look forward to your nominations. Besides nominating the best in faith-driven literature, another way to help today is to spread the word — blog about the INSPYs, tell your friends.

Go forth and NOMINATE NOW!

Top Ten Tuesday | The Best of the Best at the Cinema and Small Screen

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ahh, the end of the year. It’s finally here. For Finding Wonderland, this means the annual “best of” lists that are so popular around this awesome blogging community. Today our Top Ten Tuesday topic gives us a nudge to put together said list.

Broke and Bookish December 27th | Top Ten Best Books Of 2016 (you choose -- best books overall of what you read regardless of pub date, of a particular genre, 2016 debuts, 2016 releases, etc) – Broke and Bookish

Instead of spinning some sort of Best of 2016 book list, I’ve decided today to look at some of the best films – from the big and small screen, and TV shows of 2016. Don’t be alarmed, I will still be publishing a Best of 2016 Book List (because isn’t this a requirement of all book bloggers?), it will simply not arrive until tomorrow or the next day. Either way, I invite you to return to read that list. Or you know, just to hang out for a while.

LIST | Best of the Best (Finding Wonderland's 2016 Favorites in Books)

Read on for my list of favorites in the cinematic realm (if available, reviews are linked in titles). Only be aware, things are about to get long. Read at your own peril, fellow book nerds.

1. The 5th Wave | This is one of those completely unexpected films that I watched early on in 2016.

2. Alice Through the Looking Glass | Though I’m not the greatest fan of this storybook tale, I do like Burton’s adaptations (because they’re tailor made for him) and Depp as the Hatter. Plus, this one is, in my opinion, far and away an improvement over the prequel.

3. Allegiant | I’m probably the only girl who still enjoys these. But what can I say. They’re entertaining – and I love Tris and Four as a YA Lit couple.

4. Ant-Man (2015) | Yet another one I didn’t see until 2016. It’s one that, long after the credits roll, I asked myself the following question, “Why?” (As in, why'd I wait so long!?)

5. Brooklyn | Beautiful in so many ways. This story is one of the best romances I’ve seen in a while.

6. Captain America, Civil War | It’s Marvel, Captain America is involved, and then there was THAT kiss. Enough said.
7. The Choice | Yep, I’m a Nicholas Sparks junkie, and found a partner in crime in my cousin who’s as big a fan as I am. But on a more serious note, I thought this was one of Sparks best yet.

8. Dr. Strange | Finally saw this one, and am all too aware I need to post my review. It’s Marvel though so that should give you a hint of what said review will be like.

9. Ghostbusters | Wasn’t sure what to expect from this comedy, but I wound up enjoying it. My favorite part though wasn’t the women (though all of them were fabulous in their roles), but Chris Hemsworth. Something I’d elaborate more on if I would ever publish a review. *Adds to list*
10. The Huntsman, Winter’s War | Speaking of Hemsworth, he led the way in this Snow White and the Huntsman sequel that oddly enough, was void of Snow. Huh.

11. Jason Bourne | Just watched this one on Christmas day, and as is always the case, I loved it. Reasons are sure to be given in followup review.

12. Joy | This is probably the first “adult” role I’ve seen Jennifer Lawrence in, and I thought she was fabulous.

13. The Legend of Tarzan | Beautiful is the only word I can think to describe this one. Ironically, it was also the film I thought would be “too ridiculous” to be good.

14. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies | A super fun romp so long as you don’t take this one too seriously, I was ridiculously excited to finally watch this one this past summer.

15. Suicide Squad | Recently watched this one when it released to DVD. Needless to say, I adored it. Although I will say, Suicide Squad is quite a bit darker than Marvel (in general) as its peers and DC Comics tend to be. Still, if you like Arrow or The Flash, you should enjoy this.

16. Zootopia | Too cute for words. What more is there to say?


1. Bull (CBS) | Sadly NCIS alumni Michael Weatherly said goodbye to his long time character, Anthony DiNozzo this past year. But for those of us who are fans, you can now see him on the (really good) CBS drama, Bull.
2. Chesapeake Shores (Hallmark) | This is probably my favorite Hallmark series yet.

3. The Crown (Netflix) | A brilliant period piece about the early days and marriage of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
4. Doctor Thorne (ITV) | From Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, this one is, as one would expect, charming, in a lighthearted kind of way.

5. Frequency (CW) | Haven’t seen the film on which this is based, but I thought the pilot was fabulous.

6. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Netflix) | Adding this is anticipatory since I’ve not watched the four films that constitute this miniseries. (You can check out my fangirl-y season one review or my "Classic Romantic Moment" article.)
7. Houdini and Doyle (Fox) | Love this humorous period drama, short lived status notwithstanding.

8. Jericho (ITV) | I’ve gushed about this one more than enough. Suffice to say, it’s worth the “cliffhanger” ending (and no future seasons!).

9. The Living and the Dead (BBC) | Recently watched this one, and surprisingly, I wound up really enjoying it. Sadly, I took down the star rating a bit because the final 5-10 seconds “ruined” what otherwise would have been a nice ending.
10. Mercy Street (ITV) | This one played at my house last winter, and really surprised me. I didn’t think it was worth toting as the “next Downton Abbey” (because the comparison isn’t fair due to the subject/genre), but it’s a nice Southern drama nonetheless.

11. Second Chance (Fox) | The idea for this one is a contemporary take on the Frankenstein legend. Or that’s how I understand it. Either way, I really liked this short-lived series.

12. Timeless (NBC) | Despite the similar plots already “out there,” this is a really fun show to binge.

13. Victoria (ITV) | Technically this one doesn’t premiere for the states until January 2017 (and is again being pushed as a ‘Downton’ replacement), but I’ve been watching it these past couple months, and heavens. All I can say is this: don’t miss this masterpiece.

14. War & Peace (BBC) | Another period drama (question to self: trend much?), and a beautiful one at that. I loved how “lighthearted” this story begins before the real drama and tragedies bombard our screens.



What films did you love from 2016? Comment down below! I’d love to know, and chat them up with you. Also, leave your Top Ten Tuesday links. I’d be happy to visit your bookish havens.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

The Living and the Dead (2016) – An Emotionally Haunting BBC Thriller starring Colin Morgan

The psychological thriller genre isn’t one I gravitate towards. But now and again I make an exception. When I chanced upon this latest production from the BBC, without knowing anything about The Living and the Dead, I decided to watch the 6-part miniseries and give it a chance.

The series opener introduces us to Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan), a man whose return to his ancestral farm incites darkness. Shortly after his return to the country home he grew up in, his mother dies which creates a choice for Nathan. Stay or return to a successful psychologist practice he operates in London. Soon, his wife Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer) arrives. With no disagreement from Charlotte, the loving couple decides to make a home for themselves in this valley.

TV SHOW REVIEW | Dickesian (2015)

Given that I went into this “blind,” I didn’t have any expectations of what this series would be about or its quality. Of course, the fact that BBC is emblazoned on the cover means the value, sets, and “look” of the production are sure to be gorgeous. Everything they set out to do, they do beautifully. But the story isn’t always so fortunate. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat →

Content note: One scene shows a nude man swimming (from the back and side). There are about 2-4 sex scenes. Several scenes involve spirits, and another depicts dozens of people strung up in trees. A woman runs into the “v” of a tree, hanging herself; a girl is taken over by demon spirits and later suspended in the air by an invisible rope.

This review first appeared on Silver Petticoat ReviewPhotos: BBC

Merry Christmas 2016!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Every year I sit down and look through a catalog. The purpose is to seek inspiration for Christmas cards because apparently I'm old fashioned, and still go through the task of sending cards out. (I should point out that the gang of Signed, Sealed, Delivered, otherwise known as the #POstables, would likely be proud.)

Sometimes I find inspiration from an actual card design, other times it's the trends I see. Sometimes I build my card around colors and other times it's around a clip art graphic I simply must own or a stamp. Whatever the case, I make them.

This year, the blogging world has been kind to Finding Wonderland. It's been a modest year of growth and change (for me personally, and 'Wonderland') for this corner of the web, which I am so grateful for. This is all due to you, the readers and friends.

I wish I could send a card to everyone I've met through the blogging world, but I simply can't. This is the next best thing.

Wishing you all the joyful season greetings this Christmas. Much happiness and excitement for 2017. I hope your Christmas day is full of laughter, family and many doses of jolly.♥

Merry Christmas

Sleigh Bells Ring (2016) – Small Town Romance with Magical Matchmaking

From small towns to the big man in red himself, the 2016 programming on Hallmark Channel has covered every angle, plot and concept there is while throwing in some unique markers to every respective story’s DNA. 

Premiering last week, I finally watched Sleigh Bells Ring, a fun little romp with a sprinkle of magic.

Holiday rush is about to take on a whole new meaning for Laurel Bishop (Erin Cahill). As the Parks and Rec manager, the mayor of the small town she calls home asks that she bring back the town’s annual parade – in under two weeks! But the good news is at the end of the time-consuming project, a promotion looms. Still, Laurel’s list of many tasks is further complicated by one setback after another not the least of which being the restoration of an old sleigh.

As she works to put this parade together, Laurel worries about neglecting her daughter, and the return of her ex, Alex (Dave Alpay). Alex and Laurel were the “meant to be” sweethearts in High School and College. Everything changed the day he left without saying goodbye. With the help of a little girl who wants her mother to be happy, and the magic of a sleigh, Laurel and Alex just might find a surprise end to their second chance.

As has been said of each Hallmark film previous to Sleigh Bells Ring, this one is dripping in all things good. From charm to romcom bliss, it has everything it needs to be perfectly suited to this line up. If there was one thing I did feel “disconnected” the story a time or two, it would be the cues or reactions. There were a few times when the timing felt “off” or as if the actors reacted at the wrong direction. Still, I fully own to this being a “nitpick” comment.

The cast all do a really nice job with their respective characters. Each one of them is fun to know, and I liked that Laurel and Alex share a past. Though I’ve said it before, this allows their budding romance to be more genuine and engaged rather than the meet-cute beginning the limited 90 minutes would have otherwise had to work with.

Of course, the parade plans give the production and sets lend the production a bowl full of jolliness. Everything else is simply icing on the cake of the festive spectrum. Laurel being the one who stayed is a nice change in comparison to it always being the girl who left, and I really liked the cute subplot that was Laurel’s assistant.

By the time the last float disaster is averted, Sleigh Bells Ring is another Christmas film sure to put you in a jolly mood. That alone is enough incentive to make it part of your Christmas festivities.

Photos: Hallmark

#WishfulWonder | January 2017 #Bookstagram Challenge

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hello, friends! It’s that time again; Tressa and I are pleased to share another Bookstagram challenge. January makes the fourth in collaboration with Tressa of Wishful Endings.

Before we get to the details of January’s challenge, you all get another round of thanks for joining the fun. With the holidays, I know life is busier for everyone. To those of you who joined December’s, thank you. Speaking for myself, I will say I had way too much fun indulging in all of the fun staging possibilities the Christmas season offers. Read: glitter! Below, if you’re new to our challenges, you can read my usual pitch to entice you to join. Otherwise, skip down the page to find our official challenge.

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!

Everything for this month is self-explanatory, or I hope it is. Introducing our January 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. 
Happy day, Book Nerdigans. Hope you are enjoying a splendid Christmas season and anticipating 2017. ♥

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

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