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Riley Heruska
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With hundreds of books hitting bookstore shelves every month, it can be difficult to sift through new releases for the best find. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Here are ten of the most praised novels that were published in April.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

Samuel Hawley moves to Massachusetts with his teenage daughter and beings to work as a fisherman. His daughter, Loo, struggles to fit in at school, and both characters attempt to deal with the loss of Loo’s mother. When Hawley’s mysterious past catches up with them, the father-daughter duo is forced to pay the price.

“Can a man be both a violent criminal and a good father? Imagine a Quentin Tarantino movie crossed with a John Green novel, and you’ll have a sense of what this coming-of-age novel is like.” - Entertainment Weekly

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

The girls of Sweet Mercy have been raised to kill. Over the course of ten years, Red Sisters are trained to fight, but even they cannot prepare for the enemies that will threaten them. When Nona’s violent past catches up with her, she must face her inner demons and take drastic measures to survive. This recently-published novel will hook you into a new series and leave you wanting more.

“Dark, passionate, tense, with a female hero anyone could relate to—I was utterly fascinated! This is no pretty, flowery tale, but one of vastly different people struggling to survive when a hostile government comes to power.” - Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Battle Magic

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

This best-seller offers a dazzling tale about a junior ice hockey team and the pressure they feel in their small town home. Beartown explores the interesting dynamics of a small community, as well as the courage of young boys and the less pleasant side of living in a tiny town.

“A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.” - Kirkus Reviews

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Bestselling author Claudia Gray returned to the young adult fiction this scene with a thrilling new science fiction novel. The story follows Noemi Vidal, a seventeen-year-old who has sworn to protect her home planet, Genesis, by defending it against Earth. Abel, a lonely boy stuck in space, is her enemy. Under strange circumstances, the two must work together to fight for what they hope is true.

“Startlingly original and achingly romantic...nothing short of masterful." - Kass Morgan, bestselling author of The 100 series

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

Bestselling author Jessica Shattuck returns to the literary scene with an extraordinary tale of catastrophe. Based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history, the novel follows Grace Holland and her best friends as they watch their world turn to chaos.

“Shreve is masterful at creating compelling characters whose inner conversations about love and intimacy are both heartfelt and heartrending…Shreve’s quiet novel about marriage, duty, and passion lingers long after the last page is turned, like the smoke from a wildfire.”- USA Today

American War by Omar El Akkad

This isn’t the Civil War you’re thinking of: it’s the second one, which takes place in a dark future. America faces a terrible plague and horrifying political changes, and one family is caught right in the middle. Forced into Camp Patience, Sara and her family struggle to maintain their humanity while living in a world rife with violence and war. 

“Powerful... If violence and conflict feel distant, journalist Omar El Akkad’s debut novel brings them home. . . . Despite its future setting, it’d feel wrong to call American War a work of science fiction. Hell, it’d even feel off to call it dystopian, given that it’s so few steps removed from our reality.” - Kevin Nguyen, GQ

Marlena by Julie Buntin

Buntin’s new novel weaves a story of love, addiction, and loss. Fifteen-year-old Cat meets Marlena, who is unlike anyone else she knows. Together, the two girls experiment with drinking, smoking, and much more. Suddenly, all of the exciting firsts come to a screeching halt when Marlena is found dead in the woods. Years later, Cat is forced to deal with the tragedy as best she can.

"In this icy and accomplished first novel, the intoxicating friendship between an inexperienced loner and her manic, wild-child neighbor continues to exert an irresistible pull on our narrator decades later" - O, the Oprah Magazine

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This World War II novel is both powerful and shocking. Marianne von Lingenfels returns to her home in Germany after the Nazi defeat and attempts to protect her fellow resistance widows. Together, they face terrible challenges and utter emotional turmoil. Shattuck’s dramatic story provides piercing insight into one of the most tumultuous times in history.

"Mesmerizing... The Women in the Castle stands tall among the literature that reveals new truths about one of history’s most tragic eras."- USA Today

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This story of unrequited teenage love will bring you back to the awkwardness of first love and put a smile on your face. Seventeen-year-old Molly can’t handle the idea of rejection, and yet she longs to meet someone special. Thus, she embarks on a quest to win the love a cute boy (and definitely not the affection of her dorky co-worker, Reid).

“Heart-fluttering, honest, and hilarious. I can’t stop hugging this book.” - Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Even after her mother dies, Juliet Young continues to write letters to her. It helps her cope, and she leaves heartfelt messages on her mother's grave often. When Declan Murphy finds one of these letters and reads it, he feels compelled to write back to Juliet. The two immediately connect, and a story of secrets and passion ensues.

"A great concept, delivered in a compulsively readable package... romance readers will stay up late to finish this very satisfying and heartfelt read." - Booklist

Riley Heruska
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When your little ones come home with overflowing Easter baskets, packed with Jelly Beans and chocolates of all kinds, it's often tempting to just chuck some of it in the trash. After all, no parent wants their kid gobbling down handfuls of candy every night over the course of the next few weeks, and there's just so much of it.

Believe it or not, there are a couple of ways to deal with all those sweets that will avoid unnecessary waste AND keep your children from tearing up when you cut off their sugar supply. 

Bake a Candy Bar Pie 

I know this sounds weird, but trust me, it's more fun (and delicious) than it sounds. I tried out this recipe from Crazy for Crust, and my little brothers were thrilled with the results. Sure, it doesn't exactly decrease the amount of sugar in the house, but it's a unique way to deal with the leftover treats. Plus, it's an interesting baking experience that you can share with the kids. If the pie doesn't sound like your thing, there are dozens of other candy-based recipes out there, so take your pick and try something special. 

Freeze It 

Chances are, you're going to end up buying candy in the future for some other reason, so why not have a stockpile in your freezer? You can add the frozen candy to milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, or even things you bake (like the pie mentioned above). It's a great way to save money and avoid throwing out sweets after everyone tires of the sugar rush. 

Make a Batch of Trail Mix

Nothing makes kids happier to eat some nuts and raisins than if you add a dash of M&Ms or another favorite candy. Sure, they might pick around the healthier items in the mix, but hey, it's worth a shot, right? 

Donate It 

If you really just don't want the candy in the house anymore, consider giving it to someone who would appreciate it. Churches, homeless shelters, schools, and plenty of other organizations are more than happy to accept unwanted treats. It might be a hassle to deliver the candy, but your conscience will feel much cleaner giving it away than dumping it in the garbage. 

Do you do anything interesting with your leftover candy? Share ideas, recipes, or recommendations in the comments below! 

Riley Heruska
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Starting to feel a little underwhelmed by your options on Netflix? Never fear, the company will be adding a large selection of new shows, movies, and documentaries over the course of the following month. Which additions are you most excited to binge-watch?

Netflix Original Films and Shows

In the Shadow of Iris (May 1)

Maria Bamford: Old Baby (May 2)

Chelsea: Season 2 (May 5)

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie (May 5)

Kazoops!: Season 3 (May 5)

Sense8: Season 2 (May 5)

Simplemente Manu NNa (May 5)

Spirit: Riding Free: Season 1 (May 5)

The Last Kingdom: Season 2 (May 5)

The Mars Generation (May 5)

Norm Macdonald: Hitler's Dog, Gossip & Trickery (May 9)

All Hail King Julien: Exiled: Season 1 (May 12)

Anne with an E: Season 1 (May 12)

Get Me Roger Stone (May 12)

Master of None: Season 2 (May 12)

Mindhorn (May 12)

Sahara (May 12)

Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive (May 16)

BLAME! (May 19)

Laerte-se (May 19)

The Keepers: Season 1 (May 19)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 3 (May 19)

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (May 23)

Bloodline: Season 3 (May 26)

War Machine (May 26)

F Is for Family: Season 2 (May 30)

House of Cards: Season 5 (May 30)

Television Shows 

Under Arrest: Season 5 (May 1)

Queen of the South: Season 1 (May 9)

The Fosters: Season 4 (May 11)

Switched at Birth: Season 5 (May 11)

Sherlock: Series 4 (May 15)

Riverdale: Season 1 (May 18)

Royal Pains: Season 8 (May 18)

Bunk'd: Season 2 (May 28)


Documentaries and Biographies 

American Experience: The Big Burn (May 1)

American Experience: The Boys of ’36 (May 1)

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (May 1)

Blood on the Mountain (May 1)

Decanted (May 1)

Losing Sight of Shore (May 1)

Richard Pryor: Icon (May 1)

Bodyguards: Secret Lives from the Watchtower (May 2)

Hija de la Laguna (May 2)

Command and Control (May 15)

What's With Wheat? (May 21)

They Call Us Monsters (May 22)

I Am Jane Doe (May 26) 

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (May 26)

Forever Pure (May 29)

Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust (May 30) 


Movies 

Chaahat (May 1) 

Drifter (May 1)

Don't Think Twice (May 1)

Forrest Gump (May 1)

Happy Feet (May 1)

Love (May 1)

Malibu's Most Wanted (May 1)

Nerdland (May 1)

Raja Hindustani (May 1)

Two Lovers and a Bear (May 2)

Cold War 2 (May 6)

When the Bough Breaks (May 6)

The Host (May 7)

Stake Land II (May 7)

Beyond the Gates (May 8)

Hunter Gatherer (May 8)

All We Had (May 9)

El apóstata (May 10)

Cave (May 15)

Lovesong (May 15)

The Intent (May 15)

The Place Beyond the Pines (May 16)

Southpaw (May 24)

Believe (May 26)

A New High (May 29)

Marvel's Doctor Strange (May 30)

Masterminds (May 30)

LoveTrue (May 7)

The Adventure Club (May 10)

The Break-Up (May 16)

Inglourious Basterds (May 22)

Dig Two Graves (May 23)

Riley Heruska
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Yes, Mother’s Day doesn’t roll around for another few weeks, but let’s be honest: Most of us end up dashing to the store the day before to hurriedly pick out cards and gifts for the special women who raised us. We can do better than that after all the tantrums, rebellions, and scraped knees that our mothers have dealt with over the years. This spring, let’s think ahead a little and really do something meaningful for Mom. Out of ideas? Here are a few that might inspire you. 

Flowers, But Not the Ones That Die Right Away

Maybe you mother has a green thumb, maybe she doesn’t. Either way, she’ll probably enjoy adding some color and fresh scents to her home or garden, especially at this time of year. Sure, a bouquet is always nice, but within a few days, it’ll wilt and die. No one likes looking at a vase of half-dead flowers for very long. Luckily, now is the perfect time to bring potted plants home, and they’ll last a lot longer. If your mom won’t want the hassle of watering a plant every day, look into getting her a cute little cactus or another plant that requires minimal care. You love your mother every day, and by getting her a plant that will last awhile, you’ll remind her of that constantly.

Something You Can Do Together

Face it: what your mom really wants is time with you. Most of us are too busy with our own lives to regularly set aside time to spend with mama. If you really want to bring a smile to her face this year, plan something you can enjoy together. Spa packages for two are always a hit, but you don’t have to go down that path if you’re not the type who likes to be pampered. If she likes art, head to a museum or art studio together. If she’s more outdoorsy, look up a hike you can tackle later and make a day out of it. The important thing is to consider what she likes doing and make sure that you’ll really get some quality time together.

Address Something That Bothers Her

Okay, I know this one sounds kind of lame, but bear with me. Mothers put up with a lot on a daily basis, and there are always a few things that make their daily lives harder. For instance, my own mother could never find her keys. She used to spend a good ten minutes each day searching for them inside her Mary Poppins purse, so one year, I bought her a large keychain that made locating them easier. It might not seem like a big deal, but it let her know that I noticed something that annoyed her and tried to make it better. Does your mom hate how cluttered her desk is? Buy her an organizational system. Is she constantly dropping her phone? Pick up a protective case for her. Not only will the gift be used, but your mother will also appreciate you noticing the little things that drive her crazy.

Buy Her Something She’d Never Buy for Herself

Often times, mothers are so preoccupied with caring for others that they put their own wants aside. They convince themselves that they don’t really need those new heels they’ve been eyeing since they spend most of their days chasing young children around and running errands. If they won’t indulge very often, then this is your opportunity to encourage them to treat themselves. Buy them that fancy face mask that they never shell out the money for or surprise them with a nice pair of sunglasses. Sure, these things are by no means essentials, but they are things your mother might go without.

Add to Her Collection

Many people have their specials hordes. That sounds weird, but it’s true. You know your mother has been collecting porcelain dolls for fifteen years or something, and although you might not understand it, her collection is important to her. Pay attention to what items your mother owns and loves, and help her feed her collection. It might be teacups or plants or books or even strange preserves. Whatever it is, have fun with the gift and encourage her quirky habit.

Help Her De-Stress

There’s a reason everyone buys their mothers lotion sets and other luxuries for Mother’s Days. Most moms carry a lot of responsibilities, and this is the one day of the year where they get to put some of that weight aside. Sure, nail polishes and beauty products work for some women, but what about those who don’t really enjoy pampering themselves? Well, there are several options. My family purchased a nice back massager (you know, the expensive ones that you always see in Brookstone but never actually consider buying). My mom uses it all the time now whenever her muscles seem a little too tight. There are also sound machines and products to help her get a good night’s sleep, which we all know she definitely needs. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive: just make sure it’s something that’ll make her life a little bit more relaxed.

Obviously, these are just suggestions. No one knows your mother better than you, and you need to really take advantage of that. Don’t just pick out the first flowers you see or the fanciest card you can buy. Take the time to consider what she’ll appreciate the most, and you’ll make this her best Mother’s Day yet. 

Riley Heruska
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The City of Plano Parkway Service Center was hit hard by hail over the weekend. The hail damaged a large amount of equipment, including 100 vehicles with broken windshields and 100 vehicles with other  damage. 15 new police cars and two other vehicles that have not been placed into service have damage. Six trash routes are delayed until truck windshields are replaced. The media is welcome to shoot video or still photographs of the damaged vehicles at 11:00 A.M. at the Parkway Service Center, located at 4120 W. Plano parkway in Plano.

Information and photos provided by the City of Plano

Riley Heruska
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Even though there’s nothing wrong with embracing take-out and Netflix for most romantic nights, sometimes couples want to add a little flare to their nights together. Dallas is an amazing city for date nights, especially if you know where to look. Will you and your partner be checking any of these out in the next few months?

Go Two-Stepping

Come on, it’s Dallas. If you and your sweetheart haven’t given country dancing a shot yet, then you’re missing out on the authentic Western experience. Head over to Cowboys Red River or one of the many other venues in the area to try out some new moves. It’s okay if you step on each other’s toes a few (dozen) times.

Explore the Dallas Farmers Market

Pick a weekend morning to meander through the 26,000 square foot food hall. There are plenty of restaurants and specialty foods to check out, as well as seating so you can relax with your delicious purchases. Nothing breeds romance like fantastic food, right?

Visit a Winery

Whether you’re looking for a reasonably-priced wine tasting or a tour of a winery, there are several options in the Dallas area. Times Ten Cellars offers great happy hours, and Bishop Arts Winery serves wine with tasty food.

Salsa Dance in Deep Ellum

Even if your dance moves aren’t all that smooth, places like Cafe Salsera are a blast to check out. Worst case scenario, you can simply watch more impressive dancers while you munch on tasty dishes. The sensual style of the dance is sure to spice up your night, whether you flaunt your moves or not.

Take a Sushi Making Class

You don’t have to be fancy to learn to make your own sushi. Places like Central Market Cooking School offer one-time courses, and it’ll be a unique night out for you and your partner. If sushi isn’t your thing, there are other courses you can consider. Bon appetit! 

Enjoy Live Music at a Jazz Cafe

Venues like The Balcony Club and The Library couldn’t provide a more romantic atmosphere for a date night. Relax and sip on your drink while you enjoy the music and your partner’s company. You won’t have to shout at each other over the loud bass of other bars, and you’ll get to hear a quality performance.

See a Movie at Magnolia Theater

Sure, seeing a movie isn’t exactly the most original date idea, but The Magnolia will lend a special feel to your viewing experience. With a great bar and a nice atmosphere, you probably won’t be sharing the theater with obnoxious groups of teenagers or sticky floors.

Try Out a Shotgun Date

You know you’ve always secretly wanted to practice shooting with (and definitely not at) your significant other. The DFW Gun Range offers a luxurious experience for advanced and first-time shooters. Just show up, pay a reasonable fee, and showcase your shooting arm. Nothing spells romance like a gunshot, am I right?

Eat at and Explore the Dallas Museum of Art

If you’re like many Dallas residents, the Museum of Art is probably one of those places you’ve always seen and never checked out. Well, it’s time that you gave it a shot. Take a long, soothing stroll through the art displays, and then treat yourself to lunch at the DMA Cafe or the Socca Mediterranean Cafe. You can also hop across the street to check out the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park on a nice Saturday.

Relax at an Actual Pub

Take a mini-vacay by checking out a UK or Irish style pub. Places like The Dubliner and Fillmore Pub offer great food, drinks, and atmospheres. Sit back and relax while enjoying the amenities of a regular bar with a twist.

Treat Yourself to a Day at the Spa

Whether you’re searching for a hot stone couple’s massage or a soak in a hydrotherapy pool, Dallas has spas that fit your needs. Hiatus, Spa Castle, and ZaSpa Dallas all offer couple’s packages. You know your bodies deserve some pampering once in awhile, and there’s no reason not to make a date night out of it.

Dine at Nick & Sam’s

Sure, you and your sweetheart usually stick to The Olive Garden for your special nights out, but it doesn’t hurt to splurge every now and then. Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse offers an atmosphere and menu that are well-worth the cost. Treat yourself to some champagne and great service, and don’t forget to try one of their fancier dishes.

Fly Over the Dallas Skyline

Although this is one of the priciest options on the list, if you have the means, there’s no better (or more romantic) way to view Dallas than from the air. There are several companies in the area that offer plane and helicopter tours of the city. Talk about a special night out. You can even fly to a luxurious wine tasting if you’re in the mood!

Float the Trinity River

If you’re an outdoorsy couple, consider experiencing the Trinity in a fun way: Canoe or kayak on a river expedition. It’ll definitely be a memorable date, and it’s a great way to get outside on a nice weekend.

Take a Partner Yoga Class

This one might be outside many people’s comfort zone, but if you’re feeling brave, it can be a humorous and fun date. Sure, you might giggle while you’re trying to replicate whatever the heck this pose is, but it’s a great way to bond. Search for the yoga places near you and see what they have to offer.

Bond While Scaling a Rock Wall

Want some real romance? Try dangling from a 100-foot indoor cliff together. Although this date might not be for the faint-of-heart, it’s certainly a unique way to get some quality time together. Added bonus: you’ll get a workout at the same time! Click here to see some of the best gyms for climbing in the area.

Solve a Mystery Together

You’ve probably heard many people talking about “escape rooms” and how much fun they are. Never fear, Dallas is home to multiple different escape adventures, and they’re quite the entertainment experience. Head to Red Door Escape and tackle the “Once Upon a Time” episode or flee from a zombie at Room Escape Adventures.

Show Off Your Swing at Top Golf

Trust me: no one is more uncoordinated than I am, and even I love spending the evening at Top Golf. Players of all experience levels will have fun aiming for the different holes and competing with each other. Plus, the venue has great food and drinks, so you can still enjoy the night if you’re not athletically inclined.

Create Your Own Masterpieces

Whether you’re the next big name in art or someone who can only sketch stick figures, Painting with a Twist is a great way to spend a night with your special someone. The instructors are wonderful, and they’ll walk you through the process of creating a piece that you’ll be proud to showcase in your home. Who knows? Perhaps one of you has a secret artistic streak.

Check Out the Dallas Zoo

Despite what you may think, the Dallas Zoo isn’t just a place for wide-eyed children and their families. As the largest zoological experience in Texas, the park offers tons of fun activities, from Meet the Keeper talks to brand new exhibits. Take a nice afternoon to stroll around together and take in all the entertaining sights. Sometimes, pretending to be an excited kid for a few hours is a great way to reconnect. 

Riley Heruska
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I know what you're thinking: Dirt Cheap? Really? I can at least head to somewhere like Walmart if I'm looking to save a few bucks. However, you might not know what you're missing out on at this chain. There's more to the hodgepodge of cheap merchandise than meets the eye, and you'll probably end up saving more than just a few dollars by shopping there. 

Over the course of 25 years, Dirt Cheap has established itself in more than 70 locations from Mississippi to Texas. The company swoops in during store closeouts, bankruptcies, overstocks, liquidations, returns, and out-of-season sales. Then, they mark the price down and put it on their shelves for you to peruse. Sure, their wares might seem super disorganized and unimpressive at first, but if you keep searching, there are plenty of treasures buried in this bargain shop. Their unique selling strategy ensures that you get the best price for the quality of the item. Before you turn your nose up at buying from a place like Dirt Cheap, consider where Dirt Cheap's products originally came from. Much of their merchandise was originally sold at stores like Target, so it's not necessarily low-quality. You'd be surprised by some of the good brands that are stocked in the store.

Although most of Dirt Cheap's merchandise is comprised of clothing, accessories, and footwear, you never know what you'll find. I've purchased plenty of random items, from an ironing board to comfy throw pillows (which there are tons of). I usually look up the regular price of the item I'm buying, and more often than not, my purchases end up being about a third of the original price. Depending on the day you shop, they might have rugs, furniture, bedding, cosmetics, and pretty much anything else you can think of. You can also snag great holiday gifts and decorations when they're out of season. Sure, it's no Neiman Marcus, but you'll walk away with steals that'll put a grin on your face. 

So, ready to see what bargains you can score at a Dirt Cheap? Here's a list of locations in the DFW area. 

Allen, TX  (Just opened on 4/19!)

Carrollton, TX 

Denton, TX 

Ennis, TX 

Euless, TX 

Riley Heruska
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Everyone always says "the book was better." This time, read the book beforehand so you can agree when the following movies are released in theaters. 

The Lost City of Z 
by David Grann
 - April 14, 2017

This upcoming release tells the story of Percival Fawcett, a real-life British explorer in the 1920s who dreamt of discovering a lost Amazonian civilization. You might have heard of this city: El Dorado, the mythical place that so many adventurers spoke of long ago. Fawcett referred to it as the “City of Z” and spent his life searching for it. After writer David Grann discovered a hidden set of diaries, he wrote a book describing Fawcett’s journey into the jungle and his obsessive quest for truth. Last week, the story hit the big screens. Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, and Sienna Miller star in the adaption. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Circle by Dave Eggers - April 28, 2017

Eggers’ fictional story follows Mae Holland, who has been hired to work for a powerful internet and social media company called the Circle. Although she is thrilled by the prospect at first, she soon realizes that her position at the influential company might be more complicated than it seems. The novel begs the question: who can be safe when the internet is always watching? Emma Watson plays ambitious Mae in the screen adaptation, and Tom Hanks plays Earmon Bailey, the company founder. Click here to watch the trailer.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon  - May 19, 2017

Madeline has lived her entire life in a bubble. Ever since she was born, she’s been allergic to pretty much everything in the world. As a result, she has spent seventeen years living in her air-tight house with only her nurse and her mother. When a boy moves in next door, Madeline begins to question the safety of her life and decides to take her future into her own hands. In the upcoming movie, Amandla Stenberg plays Madeline and Nick Robinson plays the mysterious boy, Olly. Click here to watch the trailer.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier - July 14, 2017

Set in gothic England, My Cousin Rachel has been claiming readers’ attention for more than 60 years. The novel tells the story of Philip Ashley, who was orphaned at a young age. Raised by his cousin, Ambrose, he grows to be a wealthy young man. When Ambrose marries a mysterious woman and dies suddenly, Philip believes the new wife may be to blame. Thus begins a passionate tale of treachery and mystery. Sam Claflin plays Philip and Rachel Weisz plays cousin Rachel. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King - July 28, 2017

Roland Deschain, AKA “the Gunslinger,” wanders through a terrifying land that is a mix of science fiction and fantasy. The Gunslinger, the first book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, tells the story of Deschain as he pursues an evil character dressed in black. King brings the Old West to life in what appears to be an apocalyptic setting, and of course, he sends chills down the audience’s spine with his well-written tale. The movie, titled Dark Tower, stars Katheryn Winnic, Idris Elba, and Matthew McConaughey. Watch for it in theaters this summer.

It by Stephen King - September 1, 2017

This isn’t the first time King’s terrifying book has been depicted on the big screen, but this fall release might be the most horrifying adaptation yet. The story follows a group of young children who discover a creature from their nightmares living in the sewers. Seriously, guys, you’ll want to leave the lights on after you spend a night with this novel. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin - October 20, 2017

This page-turner tells the story of Ashley Knox, a successful writer, and Dr. Ben Payne, a brilliant surgeon. When the two board the same charter plane and it crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness, they must work together to survive in the freezing environment. The couple forms a connection, and their story quickly becomes one of love and survival. Idris Elba plays the role of Ben in the upcoming film, and Kate Winslet plays Ashley. Look for it in theaters this fall.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio - November 17, 2017

Palacio’s character, Auggie Pullman, was born with a facial deformity. As a result, he didn’t attend a real school until fifth grade. Now, he’s not only the new kid in school but also the strangest-looking one. He struggles to make friends and to convince everyone that, on the inside, he’s just a normal person. This warm, uplifting tale has made readers laugh and cry ever since it hit shelves. The film adaptation will release in the fall and stars Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, and Owen Wilson.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - November 22, 2017

On a snowy night, the Orient Express comes to a stop and a thrilling mystery begins to unfold. Thirteen strangers are stranded on the train, and one of them is a murderer. As always, Christie masterfully builds suspense while dragging readers along on an exciting ride. The movie adaptation will star Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, and Daisy Ridley.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - March 30, 2018

In the future, Wade Watts only really feels alive when he is plugged into the virtual world of OASIS. There, he solves puzzles and stumbles upon a clue that could lead him to claim the ultimate prize. If he wants to survive and win the game, then he’s going to have to face other players and the real world. The film adaptation will be directed by Steven Spielberg and hit theaters next spring.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle - April 6, 2018

This childhood favorite is going to be brought to life for a second time on screen. The lives of Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and her mother are all disrupted when a stranger arrives at their house after midnight. Meg’s father disappeared many years ago, and now Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin will attempt to rescue him from the fifth dimension of time travel. Together, they face evil foes and embark on an epic journey. The new movie will star Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer - Unknown Release Date

Area X has been separated from the rest of the world for years, and as a result, it has supposedly been beautifully overrun by nature. However, those who ventured to Area X on expeditions in the past lost their minds or died. Those who did return alive eventually passed away from cancer. Now, a twelfth expedition heads into the area to discover incredible surprises and strange dangers. Although the release date for the movie has not been announced, we know that the film will star Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, and Oscar Isaac.

The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni - Unknown Release Date

Sebastian Prendergast has been homeschooled by his eccentric grandmother, who insists on teaching him about the works of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. When his grandmother dies unexpectedly, Sebastian must leave his strange home and go to town. There he meets Jared Whitcomb, who teaches him about all the things he’s missed out on. Together, they form a band and embark on a journey of self-discovery. The movie’s release date has not been decided.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - Unknown Release Date

Hannah’s story, which is set in World War II, follows two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Although the two do not live near each other, they have always been close. When Vianne’s husband goes to fight in the war, Isabelle comes to help her in the countryside. The girls are tested by life, and they quickly learn that the time they live in calls for strength and bravery. The film will star Sam Claflin, Aisling Franciosi, and Damon Herriman.

Riley Heruska
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A few weeks ago, we asked the members of Southlake BubbleLife to vote for their favorite parks in the area. Although we got a number of suggestions, Southlake's Bicentennial Park claimed first place with 67 percent of the votes. 

The park has many great amenities, including baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. You can enjoy everything from fishing at the pond to meandering down the multi-use trails. There are also grills and picnic tables, so your family can easily eat and enjoy the outdoors together. If you want to bring your four-legged friend, there are dog stations that make it pretty simple. Kids get a kick out of the awesome playground, so feel free to bring them along, as well. There's something for everyone at Bicentennial, no matter your age. 

It's pretty easy to see why the park garnered so many votes from locals. So, why do you love Bicentennial? 

Riley Heruska
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A few weeks ago, we asked the members of Rockwall BubbleLife to vote for their favorite parks in the area. Although we got a number of suggestions, Rockwall's Harry Myers Park claimed first place with 55 percent of the votes. 

The community park has everything from a swimming pool to an amphitheater. There's also a dog park for your four-legged friends, as well as three playgrounds and a KidZone for your young ones. If you feel like walking through nature, consider exploring one of the walking trails or visiting a pond. Eating with friends and family is always easy with the easily-accessible BBQ grills, open spaces, and pavilions.

It's pretty easy to see why the park garnered so many votes from locals. So, why do you love Harry Myers?