Top Ten Tuesday | Bon Voyage! Let’s Take a Trip Around the World – Bookworm Style

Monday, March 26, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Bon Voyage! Let’s Take a Trip Around the World – Bookworm Style

Most of the locales we’re about to visit with today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic would require a passport. But fortunately, when it’s done in bookworm style, all we need is a little imagination.

That Artsy Reader Girl March 27: Books That Take Place In Another Country

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

There are so many amazing places books and their respective authors visit. Not only that, but unless we’re talking Panem or The Glade, most of the places leave their reader wanting to visit. Or that’s what a good book does. Today we’re taking a little trip around the world which fortunately only requires a touch of imagination. Below are ten such stories that can take us on an imaginative journey.  

The books I’ve collected below (which only number to seven this week) consist of books that while they a. have a place on my bookshelf or b. are “armchair adventures” I’d really like to read, they aren’t books I have read. Where is this reasoning coming from? Well, from the future schedule that asks us to talk about the books that awaken the travel bug in us. Ergo, that seemed like the better topic to chat about the stories I have read that awakens the armchair adventurer in me.

Here we go… let’s go adventuring, shall we?

1: The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright | This has been a novel I’ve been curious about for quite some time. I’m so not a real-life royal aficionado, but when it comes to fiction or TV movies (hey, Hallmark Channel!), I’m all about a good royal romance. This one sounds cute - and is the only one not on my bookshelf. Amazon | Goodreads

2: Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey | Ah, 19th century London. What an interesting place this would be to visit! Although if I’m being honest, I don’t think I’d want to live in this world. But in this world where spies and lies collide (complete with some Jane Austen vibes mayhap?!), I might be willing to join the excitement. Amazon | Goodreads
3: Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney | Another “royal” story. Only this one is contemporary, though it does still take place across the pond in Sussex. This one sounds really fun with its reality TV story twist. Amazon | Goodreads

4: Wanderlost by Jen Malone | A European bus tour sounds like an interesting “place” for a novel to take us. Plus, this story just sounds adorable – and after months (years?!) of saying I’d like to read this novel, perhaps I finally will this spring. Amazon | Goodreads

5:  Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae | …and here we have another one that’s been on my list for way way too long. But it also looks like a super cute read that’s titular setting is sure to provide some moments of exploring a new city. Amazon | Goodreads

6 & 7: Love and Gelato and Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch | Love and Gelato is on my bookshelf and one I’ve also been meaning to read for far too long. That cover is adorable, and Jenna’s follow up novel (releasing this spring) also looks and sounds darling.

Love & Gelato on Amazon | Goodreads ▪ Pre-order Love & Luck on Amazon or Add on Goodreads

*video publishes Tuesday afternoon; channel linked above

There ends another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. How did you spin your list this week? What sorts of books did you feature? Did you use ones you’ve read, or simply “overseas” adventures no matter their status on your TBR? Tell me all about the bookish fun. I look forward to chatting with you all.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

#Bookstagram Challenge | April 2018 Challenge!!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hello happy readers and fellow bookworm friends. Though it's late - again, today I'm again sharing about yet another bookstagram-y challenge. Without further ago, here's the fourth "Wishful Wonder" challenge of 2018.

If you have ideas for this challenge or suggestions, please let me know in the comments or on Instagram - or if you'd ever like to be a co-host, feel free to nominate yourself. I'd be glad to have you join in.

Pressed for time? Not sure a bookstagram challenge is for you? Below I give a spiel hoping to convince you otherwise.

+ If you’re pressed for time to participate in daily challenges, first and foremost, while we love it when you do, there’s no bookstagram 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 to build your "brand" in the book community, joining a challenge is an excellent way to do this.They say, Instagram is where it's at. 
+ If you don’t think our #WishfulWonder challenge looks like a good fit for you, there are TONS of challenges on Instagram. A brief #Bookstagram or some variation of a #BookChallenge hashtag search will show this. 
+ Best of all, the best thing about these challenge (well, aside from the people. And the books.) is the creative outlet. You develop your OWN style of photos, which is what makes everyone's account so unique! I've seen simplistic (in terms of prop use, etc.) photos that are stunning and I've seen more elaborate shots that compliment the book and suit the style of the bookstagrammer. Plus, if you're like me, and you love creative outlets, this is an excellent way to do this. 
+ Still not convinced? Go ahead and follow our #WishfulWonder tag on Instagram or Twitter to be inspired!

\\\\\ You're invited to join April 2018's #WishfulWonder Challenge.

Hopefully everything is self explanatory, but if you have any questions about the prompts, just ask.

We’d love to see your pictures, so be sure to tag us with the usual, #WishfulWonder hashtag. Also, feel free to share this.

As we do every month, we extend our thanks to everyone who has joined our challenges. We're having so much fun browsing our tag, and appreciate your creativity and time. (If we haven't clicked that heart on your photos and/or commented, it's not because we won't, it's simply due to time restraints - summer always seems busy. BUT please know I enjoy browsing your photos, and sooner or later I will find them with that #WishfulWonder or for specific March #WishfulWonderA18 tag.)

We'd also LOVE your feedback on favorite prompts. Drop a comment down below. ♥
Happy day, Book Nerdigans. Join us in our fun, bookish endeavors - we look forward to chatting with you.
Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) – Barden Bellas ‘Enlist’ For one Last Curtain Call

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) – Barden Bellas ‘Enlist’ For one Last Curtain Call

From the first time I saw the original Pitch Perfect film, I was hooked. Silly, and highlighted by its friendships, the story was one I thoroughly enjoyed. Plus, it didn’t hurt that music was the lynch pin that holds it together. Back for “round three,” our favorite Bellas return.

Post collegiate life for the Bellas is awkward to say the least. In the aftermath of their successful college lives as professional acapella singers, they’re all a little lost. Each one is suffering from the lack of being in that college safety net between “childhood,” and entering that phase known as adulthood. Beca (Anna Kendrick) has just been fired from her not-so-glamorous record label job. Roomie and best friend, Amy (Rebel Wilson) is faring no better and is instead putting on one-woman shows on street corners. To further compound Beca’s troubles, she and her college boyfriend have called it quits.

There’s a glimmer of hope when the Bellas reunite with their former protégé, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who still performs with the Bellas. Realizing none of their post-graduation aspirations are going according to plan, they all, including Chloe (Brittany Snow), follow Aubrey (Anna Camp) on a USO tour as a final “goodbye.”

As inappropriate as these films are, they are hilarious. Their sense of comedy isn’t always, shall we say, the classiest, but that isn’t deterrent enough to stop me from watching. Prior to seeing the first in the franchise, I was skeptical. In fact, despite thinking the trailer looked entertaining, I did hold back on seeing the movie for quite some time. Then a blogging friend reviewed the movie, and that was all it took. I rented the film and a new cinematic entertainment discovery was made.

Part of the charm (if that’s a word that can be associated with this script), is the friendships each film cultivates. Over the years of this franchise, that’s the primary element we most love and find endearing. These girls have been close friends, like sisters; they fight, they dislike one another and they walk out in fits of annoyance. Yet through their many ups and downs, they always find a way to reconnect. It’s this that makes the films worth wading through the trash. Well that, and the fun acapella sequences, many of which consist of popular chart-topping songs that inspire toe-tapping.

If I’m looking that this third film objectively, it probably doesn’t have the same magic as the first nor the box office power of Pitch Perfect 2. That said, I’m a softie for anything related to the military, and the patriotic connection this film features targets my movie-goer heart. Though it’s not hard-hitting or touching in the same way a proper military drama is, the thread still runs through the film. Plus, the cute romance that sets up with a man in uniform (Matt Lanter) doesn’t hurt its cause.

Between the fun the cast seems to have and the genuine friendships they portray on screen, and the fabulous music, this series is entertaining. Deeply imperfect, it’s not a film worthy of any kind of award you measure cinematic success by, but it’s funny. That alone earns Pitch Perfect 3 brownie points in a box office dominated by darkness and tragedy. Lighthearted is something I want sometimes when popping a disc into my Bluray player, and even if this is to be the Bellas ‘last call,’ it’s one I’ll revisit now and again.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Pitch Perfect 3 on DVD and Bluray or own or rent digitally on Amazon Video.

Content: There is plenty of crude and suggestive material in this film. Some of which is sexual, other is just not tactful. There are also a few visual innuendos, drinking, and some profanity. The film is rated PG13.

Then Came You by Becky Wade (Audio Book) – Just as Enchanting as First Read, only Sweeter

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Then Came You by Becky Wade (Audio Book) – Just as Enchanting as First Re-Through, only Sweeter

Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Indie Published
Source: Author - thank you, Becky!
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance, Novella
Series: Bradford Sisters, 0.5
Rating: ★★★★★

There’s a school of thought that suggests different mediums can result in new perspectives, no matter the story. You know how editors or fellow writer’s advice authors and writers to read their work aloud? It’s the kind of advice that’s meant to help a fledgling writer see the flaws and grow. There is a ring of truth to a story sounding different in its differing mediums. This is the case with the subject of today’s review, Then Came You.

Already I read and swooned over this story in the written form, but just this month I was given the chance to enjoy and swoon over it yet again. This time in its audio book format. Let me tell you, the story does not disappoint. Following the same story line we meet Garner Bradford as he struggles with his guilt over the out-of-wedlock child he has with the alluring Sylvie. Following the birth of their daughter, Willow, Sylvie’s free-spirited nature takes flight and she disappears from Garner’s life.

NOVELLA BOOK REVIEW | Then Came You by Becky Wade – A Novella of Loss and Love

This we all learn through journal entries. As years pass, we continue to follow Garner, only this time it’s through not only journal entries, but also letters, phone conversations and notes. A unique story idea that sets into motion the full length series that is the Bradford Sisters.

If you thought you loved Garner before, wait until you hear him. He “comes alive” in this version of the tale. The vocal talent (Ryan Hudson) behind this patriarch character does a fantastic job with the role. Similarly, the female reader for Kathleen is equally as good. Their respective vocal talents lend the proper cadences to match the rise and fall of the narrative. The fact that this audio book seemed fresh and new is a testament to it as a story, and how well it’s written. I was reminded of this as the story filled my ear buds. 

I smiled, giggled and caught my breath over the beautiful moments of prose.

Whether you read or audio-book it, don’t miss the bittersweet Then Came You. It’s a gem.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You purchase Then Came You on Amazon Audible, Kindle or purchase in print. You can also purchase the first novel, True to You (Review) in the Bradford Sisters series.

Movie News | SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! Disney Film Returns to the World of Magic in 'Mary Poppins Returns'

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Last month, in February, Disney released its first trailer for their upcoming film, Mary Poppins Returns. Though magical, the trailer really tells us nothing, and yet, reveals enough. 

All we learn from the trailer is that Mary does indeed return, and it's delightful to see her again. Then that's about it. That said, the marketing strategy behind the teaser is wise. It teases the viewer just enough to raise curiosity, but also keeps us wanting to know more. luckily, a synopsis tells us a little bit more about the story. 

The film is a sequel that returns Mary to the lives of the Banks family during the Great Depression (the original setting of the novels). Michael and Jane Banks are again in need of their former nanny's assistance, only this time, adulthood presents much different challenges. Though set during a dark time in history, the story appears to have plenty of sweet, and touching moments in store. 

The cast consists of Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Colin First is even rumored to be among the cast! This leads me to wonder what role he might play. 

Click through the links below to see my full article on Silver Petticoat, and drop a comment about your thoughts or leave a thought down below about your thoughts on this sequel. I'd love to chat with you.

When you think of your childhood, attached to some of those memories are the Disney stories that enchanted us. With that childlike wonder and awe, we sat in front of the TV watching classics like Beauty and the Beast or 101 Dalmatians. (I even have photographic proof I did.) Even classics that weren’t in my era were part of my movie-going experience. Films like Mary Poppins starring the classy Julie Andrews. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat →

Top Ten Tuesday | Books on my Spring-y TBR 2018!! (AKA The Books I *Want* To Read This Spring, but Won’t)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Books on my Spring-y TBR 2018!! (AKA The Books I *Want* To Read This Spring, but Won’t)

Happy Top Ten Tuesday and almost spring, fellow Top Ten Tuesday-ers and book worms. Let’s take a look at our mission for today’s post.

That Artsy Reader Girl March 20: Books On My Spring TBR 

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

This is that post. You know the one every new season we make only to realize chances are, you won’t really read all of the books on your seasonal TBR no matter how much you may want to. Or if you’re anything like me as a reader, this will be true. Especially so for me this time of year since I have all the INSPYs reading. I shudder to think what my winter TBR would reveal if I were to go back and look at it. Should I? *hovers over link* 

No matter how much I’d really like to read these books, which I’m sure are incredible stories, I’ve little confidence in my speedy reading abilities. Or rather lack thereof. Nonetheless, I look forward to discovering these stories whenever I can, even if I am way behind the pace of my reader peers.


1: Unbreakable by Sara Ella | The (presumed) finale to Sara Ella’s Unblemished trilogy. I’m all a-twitter with how she’ll conclude everything. Who will El choose? (I know who I’d pick!) How will she break away from this confining reflection? It all comes down to Unbreakable. In stores May 2018. Amazon | Goodreads

2: Until I Knew Myself by Tammy L. Gray | I’ll confess, I have started this one. I’m not all that deep into it, but thus far, it’s fabulous. In Kindle stores now. Amazon | Goodreads

3: It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere you Want to Be by Christina June | Sadly I haven’t read Christina’s (Blink) debut, but I am excited about it and this novel. Both are inspired by fairy tales with modern influences. Needless to say, anything with a fairy tale connection inspires my curiosity. 

Goodbye: Amazon | Goodreads ➜ Everywhere: Amazon | Goodreads

4: Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt | It feels like its been a minute since Beth released a novel. This is part of the reason why I'm SO darn excited to see a new novel from her. Cannot wait to read this beauty. I've not a doubt it'll be wonderful even in all its emotional baggage. Amazon | Goodreads

5: Falling for You by Becky Wade | CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING ABOUT THIS ONE?? Because, yes, this is perhaps the one I'm most excited about. (*really I am excited about all of these*) Becky's stories are contemporary magic, so reading the second in her new series is high on my must read list. Amazon | Goodreads

6: Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh | Between its pretty cover (that screams spring) and synopsis, this one sounds wonderful. Needless to say, it's high on my cannot-wait-to-discover reads. Amazon | Goodreads

7: Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber | The finale of Mary Weber's sci-fi duo is on its way! Who's going to be reading?? Amazon | Goodreads 

8: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West | OK, so this one is kind of a "cheat" addition. I've already read this one. But I was reading it at the time of compiling this list, so... *shrugs* I went with it. Now to write and publish a review befitting of its adorbs. Amazon | Goodreads

9: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley | This book, awww, it sounds so cute. Which is pretty much all there is to say because that sums up all the feels for this one. Amazon | Goodreads

10: ALL THE INSPYs (Longlist) READS!! PS: if you or anyone you know would enjoy it, apply to be a 2018 INSPYs judge. Applications are open until March 31.

*video publishes Tuesday afternoon; channel linked above

That’s it for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. Tell me about the books you’re most excited about this spring season! Which new releases have piqued your interest? Are there any I should add to my ever-growing TBR? Tell me about the books you’re planning to read.

As always, leave your Top Ten Tuesday links below – I wanna’ come by and visit! Or simply introduce your blogs down below or in the recently published ‘Dear Readers’ post. I’d be glad to swing by and visit your bookish havens.

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

Throwback Romantic TV Scene Feature | Jack and Elizabeth, #WhenCallsTheHeart

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For anyone who's a fan of the Hallmark Channel original TV show, When Calls the Heart, tonight is sure to be an important night for a certain TV fandom. Especially for those who have been ardent shippers of its leading character's, Jack Thornton and Elizabeth Thatcher. 

Tonight is the night the beloved couple says those “I dos.” 

Hearties fans (as they refer to themselves) are sure to be in for a wonderful episode as these two, after four years, finally make the commitment to love, honor and cherish one another. Through illness, tiffs, kisses, separation and a fairy tale proposal of marriage, these two have been the heart and soul of this show. 

Though this moment has been four years in the making, I have no doubt, the scene will be sweet and filled with Hallmark's signature story-telling. In short, I know it'll be well worth the wait. Today, in honor of tonight's episode, we're throwing it way back to these season two moment, which I will argue was a pivotal moment between these two lovebirds! Read on and tell me if you agree.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase the following seasons on DVD; Pilot Film, Year One, Year Two, Year Three, and Year Four or you can also find the seasons on Amazon Video (including this episode, 'With All of My Heart'). You can also purchase the first novel, When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke. 

I have not seen any of this fifth season (yet), but I'm sure it's as wholesome as it ever was. Tell me what your favorite moment between Jack and Elizabeth is, and what you're most anticipating about their wedding! A moment and scene I am sure, Hallmark has created to be magical. ♥

THE SHOW: When Calls the Heart (Hallmark)

THE PAIRING: Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) and Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing)

THE MOMENT: Elizabeth and Jack get to the heart of the reason why their relationship is encountering such rocky waters, and exchange “I love you’s.”

THE EPISODE: With All My Heart, Season Two Episode Seven
“I love you Elizabeth Thatcher.”

Hallmark Channel’s period drama, When Calls the Heart has earned an ardent following since its premiere back in spring of 2014. (It’s even gained a Twitter following where fans meet using the hashtag, “hearties.”) The show is based off the series of Canadian West novels by Janette Oke and appeals to those who enjoy wholesome family entertainment, but also sweet romance. Season two recently wrapped and aired to more rave reviews. Despite the scripts pairing off multiple couples and even breaking our hearts, the primary romance fans root for is that of its leading couple. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat Review →

Movie News | #AvengersInfinityWar Trailer Premiere

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hey, friends and fellow superhero aficionados. Today, the new trailer for the upcoming Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War dropped. Naturally, this is kind of a big deal for those of us who are Marvel film nuts, and have (im)patiently been waiting on its sequel. From Marvel, here's a look at the teaser synopsis for 'Infinity War.'
As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

I've loved each of the Marvel films thus far. Granted some are a favored a bit more than others, but overall, I've liked them all. That said, I am a little "worried" about the darker tone this MCU has adopted. I understand its reasoning, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Movie News | Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailer Premiere
Let's talk about this plan of yours. I think it's good, except it sucks. So let me do the plan and then, that way, it might be really good. - Avengers: Infinity War
The sequel for this follow-up sequel looks to be (as I said already) darker complete with lots of destruction, and is even rumored to kill of some of our beloved Avengers. Can I just say the following: please noooo!! Retire them, or do something we can all live with... just don't kill 'em! On the upside, we get to see the Guardians and more Dr. Strange, so...

Returning cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch (YAY!), Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olson, and many more from the MCU world. Until now, Marvel has always been the master of creating breath-catching suspsense (action) and blending humor in perfectly. It's my hope, these new and upcoming films don't lost that "center" or heart of their storytelling. It's what sets them apart.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters April 27th!

Take a look at the trailer and let me know what you think! Are you excited for this sequel?

Photo: Marvel / Movie Stills

#Booktube Talk | My Life in Books

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Booktube Talk | My Life in Books

Hey, hey, everyone. Today we’re coming to the blog with another tag-y post. One I was actually – confetti toss – tagged in. (Making ta-do about this since I’m normally the weird blogger who goes in search of tags to put together.)

BOOKTUBE TALK | 2018 Releases to Anticipate, Part 2: February – June (or Thereabouts)

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Today, the sweet Lindsey of BFCG tagged me in the My Life in Books Tag. As usual, most of the fun is happening over on Finding Wonderland’s booktube channel. That said, I never want the blog end of this little bookish haven to be left out (plus, it’s more fun to split all the tag fun up, right?), so I’m sharing and answering a few of the tag Q’s over here, too.

Find a book for each of your initials | Also answered this one on the booktube channel, featuring different books.

Pick a book set in your country | Homestands by Sally Bradley. Decided this was the one to feature because I've recently remembered it’s one I really want to read! Yet, still I haven't. Who's read it?

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading? | Goodness… none come to mind. I know I have had trouble reading certain books, but I rarely mark any “DNF.” That said, I did recently decide to give up on Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Would I call it a “most difficulty” read? Probably not. But when I’m not enjoying something, it just doesn’t seem worth all that effort.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it? | All of them!! I mean, seriously, I have so many books on my TBR (shelf), and I have high hopes for all of them. Here’s hoping!

Q's Answered on the Booktube Channel 

Count you age along your bookshelf. What book is it?

Pick a book that represents a destination you'd love to travel to

Pick a book that is your favorite color

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

That brings to a close the My Life in Books Tag, Finding Wonderland style. I realize this tag came across a little boring (not because of the questions, but because of execution), but that’s what happens when one doesn’t put as much prep work into a tag. Despite this, it was fun! 

How would you answer these?

Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

Crooked House (2018) - Underrated and Dark Agatha Christie Adaptation

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ever since “giving in” to the pressure and finally watching the ITV adaptations of Marple, I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan. The lighthearted mysteries with a grandmotherly type sluether are as fun as it can be poignant. Eventually, this transitioned into watching other Christie adaptations, some of which include the recent Murder on the Orient Express, and most recently, Crooked House.

A dark, atmospheric drama set in the 30s, Crooked House inserts us into the lives of an eccentric (and sometimes bizarre!) family in the aftermath of the patriarch’s suspicious death. The mystery is investigated by a private investigator whose services are retained by his former fling, who also happens to be the victim’s granddaughter.

Though interesting, this story is darker than what we’re used to. Christie’s Marple stories are “happier” in their conclusions, whereas, this story has dark underpinnigs. Some of which are explored and answered, others left hanging in the air as we are left wonder, what does that mean? Fortunately, it isn't as dreary as the recent BBC adaptation of And Then There Were None

Nonetheless, the costuming is gorgeous as are the rare moments of romanticism. Equally marvelous is the cast which consists of a mix of veteran (Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close) and new British talent (Max Irons, Stefanie Martini). If you like mysteries, this is a good one to enjoy. It’s fast-paced and of course, gives fans a mystery to puzzle over. The abrupt ending leaves something to be desired, but also leaves us with some sense “better days” are ahead for these characters. 

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can rent or own Crooked House digitally on Amazon Video or purchase on DVD.


Boasting a quality cast and incredible sets, this small market adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Crooked House is worth a look-see. It’s flawed in ways that take a bit of adjusting to, but the flaws somehow fit in with the themes and nature of the film. Plus, it’s also a top-notch period piece that deserves the time of any avid whodunit fan. Continue reading on Silver Petticoat →

Content: There is some violence, implied and on screen, though nothing is graphic. A few instances of innuendo and profanity is also part of the script. The film is rated PG13.

Top Ten Tuesday | The Books That [Insert Surprise Emoji] Me – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways

Monday, March 12, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | The Books That [Insert Surprise Emoji] Me – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways

Hello happy readers, friends and fellow Top Ten Tuesday-ers. I hope you’re week has gotten off to a grand start. To help make it even better, it’s Tuesday which means a new edition of Top Ten Tuesday! A meme that makes any day all the brighter methinks because all the books! Let’s take a look at our challenge.

That Artsy Reader Girl March 13: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

It’s rare a book really surprises me.

Before we move on, let me explain what I mean by this. I’ve really worked to discover which books, styles or genres really suit my reading tastes. Because of this, I feel like when I request a book or sign on to a launch team, or simply pick up a book at Barnes & Noble, the book is one I’m 99% sure I’ll enjoy. Of course, there is always the chance I won’t – and vice versa (some I skip over might become a new favorite), but overall, this method works.

Because of this, I go into reading a book sure it’ll be a novel I’ll love. Perhaps what I should say is, it’s rare that a book ever disappoints me. To me, that’s an amazing part of my reading experience and a testament to the talents of so many amazing authors. All of whom deserve all the thanks for sharing these stories, whether they make us laugh, swoon or are of the author’s heart.

Below are the books that surprised me (most of which fall into the “good way” category).

1: The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden | I’ve chronicled my like vs. dislikes of historical fiction quite enough. Suffice to say, I was so-so about this one initially, but it didn’t take long for the sweet and charming plot to pull me in. Subtle though they may be, I also pulled North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell) vibes from its pages. Amazon | Goodreads

2: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess | I signed up to review this one half on a whim, and half out of pure curiosity. Reading it is tip-toeing outside my “comfort zone” reading, but it turned out to be lovely. Amazon | Goodreads
3: Gunslinger Girl by Lindsay Ely | This is one of those not-so-cool reactions I had to a surprising read. I mean, don’t mistake me, I really admire its uniqueness and the way the story is told is fine, but the decadence and “sport” of the novel just isn’t my cup of tea. I had The Hunger Game flashbacks, and yeah… I have a generally-dislike relationship with that novel. Amazon | Goodreads

4: If I Stay by Gayle Forman | Another novel I didn’t expect to like at all. Why? Because I am so not a fan of depressing fiction. But fortunately, I discovered I really enjoyed this one and its film adaptation which really brings the characters, world and story to life. Amazon | Goodreads

You can also rent If I Stay on Amazon Video or find on DVD!
5: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | A “copy and paste” situation can apply to this novel as does If I Stay. That said, I still like ‘Stay’ a great deal better than TFIOS. Amazon | Goodreads

You can also rent The Fault in our Stars on Amazon Video or find on DVD!

6: Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge | Read this one during an INSPYs award season, and it’s so fun! Way different than I expected, but still a unique “cozy mystery.” Amazon | Goodreads

7: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | This one really should have been on my “Books I *Could* Re-Read FORever” Top Ten list. Alas, I overlooked it, so yeah. I simply had to add it here, because it really did surprise me, in the best possible way. Amazon | Goodreads

8: Warcross by Marie Lu | Not a gamer or much of a fiction (book) sci-fi fan. I love it at the cinema, but that’s about it. This is why, when I read this at the end of last year (it was a sneak-in-one-more-2017-read for me), I was thrilled when I discovered, I did really like this one! This reminds me: I still need to review this one. Amazon | Goodreads

9: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears | To be honest, I’m trying to remember if I have finished this novel or not… whether I did or not, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and is again another historical novel that was easy to be swept up in. Plus, it turns the whole mail-order-bride trope on its head and gives the story new character. Amazon | Goodreads

10: Submerged by Dani Pettrey | Yes, I know… I just featured this one. But what can I say? It’s a memorable read that reminded me I do love a good adventure story. For this reason (and others), I’ll always love this novel. Amazon | Goodreads
Additional novels like Dear Mr. Knightley (on Amazon) or My Stubborn Heart (on Amazon) and so (so) many others could be on this list. However, since I recently featured them, I decided to just mention them here.

*video publishes Tuesday afternoon; channel linked above

Another end to another Top Ten Tuesday post is here. Tell me, what books surprised you – in good or bad ways! I’d love to read all about them, and let me know if you’ve read any of these.

Leave your Top Ten Tuesday links or introduce your blog. I'd love to come by and visit your bookish havens.

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Love, Once and Always (2018) – Contemporary Romantic-Comedy Revisits The Gilded Age

Love, Once and Always (2018) – Contemporary Romantic-Comedy Revisits The Gilded Age

When you blend the contemporary romantic-comedy genre with that of the gilded age, a question mark can linger. But Love, Once and Always accomplishes the feat beautifully by honoring the past rather than time slipping” it. The story introduces us to Lucy Windsor (Amanda Schull), a successful museum historian living in London. The work is her dream come true as is the promotion job she’s up for. All is well until she receives family news.

Unexpectedly she must return home to Rhode Island when she learns her aunt has passed away. In the aftermath of this, Lucy is also told she’s inherited her aunt’s grand Gilded Age era mansion. An estate that’s falling apart… but there's a catch. It's an inheritance she must share. Her childhood sweetheart is her co-owner of the property. Where Duncan (Peter Porte) wants to modernize by demolishing and building the new, Lucy wants to protect and preserve. These opposites are about to clash in more ways than one.

Like anything from this “Heart of TV” network, this film is charming. It’s got a nice mix of contemporary romance vibe, coupled with the quieter historical era it celebrates. The story doesn’t literally revisit the Gilded Age, but it does honor it through Lucy’s keen appreciation for history (and its beautiful, primary setting). Somehow the story still manages to have that old-fashioned feel without sacrificing its contemporary setting.
 “Letting you go was the most practical decision I ever made. It’s also the worst decision of my entire life.” - Love, Once and Always 

The screenplay again allows us a relatable heroine in Lucy. Or she is for those of us who like history or are simply, bookish. She’s easy to like and whether we totally understand the passion or not, we respect her quest to preserve her history. Duncan is the infuriating foil to that plan. A detriment (to Lucy) we cannot help but also love despite his roadblock mentality. Their rekindled sparks chemistry is sweet and easy to root for. The sass and banter makes us smile with very little effort.

As each of the Hallmark network films reach, the conclusion for this story remains the same. It’s another winning original premiere its core audience will appreciate and in all likelihood, fall head over heels for. Between the endearing side characters, to the passionate pursuits of its characters, rounding up to the romance, Love, Once and Always is a keeper. It’s as sweet and happy as its peers, and that alone ensures viewers will embrace this romantic haven that is “Wycliffe House.” 

Photos: Hallmark Channel

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