An Ode to Goodreads

Have you heard about Goodreads?

If you have, sorry for this little moment of explanation for the non-Goodreaders. Goodreads is a site where you can keep track of the books you have read, create to-read book lists, follow authors, review books and read reviews, etc. If you haven’t checked it out, you should now.

So why do a post on Goodreads? Goodreads has changed my book loving life.

Flashback to 2009, here sits Moreland having finished a wonderful book, but angry because again she has read a series out of order.

Not again!

Blast it!! I read book three instead of book one because this series listed their book in alphabetical order on the inside of the cover instead of numerically! Why does this keep happening to me? Why must I constantly be troubled by reading books out of order and getting confused as to what book comes next! If only there was a way to find this out, a place I could go to…

Ugh, if only…

[Narrator voiceover] And as she sat in her room contemplating this, little did she know that her whole book loving life was about to change, in an instant with a click of the mouse.

So all dramatics aside, I don’t know about you but this has been a serious book problem with me growing up. I don’t know why publishers have to make it so ever-loving hard for us. The publisher decides to list them alphabetically, I end up reading book three or four first.

Not again!

They decide to do it by most recent publishing, same thing. It is so stinking annoying.

Why?

I don’t remember exactly how I came upon Goodreads, I think I was looking for a book and clicked on the link and came upon it, (I’m not 100% sure as this happened almost ten years ago), but whatever brought me there has made the last 10 book loving years fantastic!

With Goodreads I haven’t read a series out of order and actually get to understand the characters, the plot line, and the direction that the author intended to go.

With Goodreads I can track authors and see all they have written and get updates on what is coming. There are books my favorite authors have written that I had no clue about until I went on this site.

Since then I’ve been able to keep track of what I have read as well. And that is so helpful. I know it sounds weird, but everyday I’m at work-I work at a library-I run into people complaining about these same issues. What order to read it, what else has been written, did I read this already?

We have people “brand” books, make some kind of note or symbol to show they’ve read it and I tell them all about Goodreads.

Maybe you’ve finished a book or series and don’t know what to read next? I have parents ask me that all the time, and the answer? Goodreads. For every book in the upper right hand corner there is a suggestion of 18 others that people who have read that have liked. AMAAZING!

You never have to feel this way with Goodreads!

Plus the reading challenge? I started in 2011, and love creating a book reading goal and reaching it!! And I love how it lists out how many books you’ve read that year, the longest, shortest, most read by others, least, etc.

Plus, you can enter cool giveaways for awesome books. One of my favorites I won in a giveaway, Theft of Swords: Book One and Two of the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan.

You can join groups, connect with other readers, make friends, etc.

So I was not paid to do this, or receiving any compensation at all. I just was feeling nostalgic and grateful and wanted to just let Goodreads know how I so very much appreciate all the work they have done.

For more book loving posts, go to Literary Tea Parties

For more Goodreads, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

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There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

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Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

Day 25) Y is for Young: Choose a junior or Young adult book

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My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother #1) by Janette Rallison

I first came upon Janette Rallison when I stumbled upon her book, All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School (Pullman High #2). I thought the story was hilarious, fun, the characters were fun; i.e. I just LOVED it!

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I then went on to stalk her work and reading anything published that I could get my hands on: Just One Wish; My Double Life; It’s a Mall World After All; My Unfair Godmother; How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend; Fame, Glory, and Other Things On My To-Do List; Revenge of the Cheerleaders; Playing the Field; and Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws. 

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But out of all of these, my favorite was and still is My Fair Godmother.

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Now you all know I like fairy tales,

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I mean I have already reviewed I think four retellings. And this book is the ultimate: you get a combo of two fairy tales, magical creatures, princes, funny situations, and just all around a fantastic book.

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Yes, even though I’m heading into adulthood more than “young adult”; I still read this book like every three months. I just can’t get enough.

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Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar wants to attend Godmother University and go from “fair” to full. For extra credit she was sent to the Delano family in Herndon, Virginia the 21st century. There she is to figure out which Delano sister is in need of her services and assist them.

She starts with no-nonsense, older sister Jane. Jane is logical, intelligent, and doesn’t care about clothes, looks, or boys.

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She is interested in one boy, Hunter, and he approaches her one day, but it turns out that he is dating her younger sister, Savannah.

What?!

What?!

Jane is upset but then begins to believe that Hunter does like her and rationalize that everything he does means he really loves her.

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But when that moment is shattered she begins an attack on him for hurting him. She gets a makeover, flirts, and does all she can to get other boy’s attentions.

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She succeeds in getting his attention and the two date, even though he hasn’t broken up with Savannah.

What jerks

What jerks

I mean seriously, you are her sister!!! You should know better.

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Anyways, after that heartbreak, Chrissy turned her attentions towards Savannah using her magic to give both sister a happily ever after full of handsome princes, beautiful gowns, and a renewed bond.

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Yes, in the words of my algerbra II math teacher: “You are not passing this class unless you show you work. Even of the answer is correct I need to see how you came to the answer or you will fail.”

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Professor Goldengill, admissions, is not taking that for the full answer. Before they let Chrissy in, they want the whole story, not part of it. They ask the leprechaun who was assigned to assist her, Clover T. Bloomsbottle, but he isn’t helpful in his information either. Only one thing left to do, call in the memory elves.

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They go in and get the real story.

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Savannah Delano

After Savannah Delano blew her money on the perfect prom dress and spent all that time bringing out Jane’s beauty; her boyfriend dumps her.

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And not just dump her, but dump her for her older sister!

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Understandably, Savannah is upset and doesn’t make the best decisions. She starts with the normal post-boyfriend phases. Eating sugar:

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Getting back and her sister by hiding her stuff

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And by buying a bikini (something her parents have forbidden her to wear) to wear to the big pool party. She hopes to capture the interest of someone else and maybe get Hunter back in the process.

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To rub the salt in the wound, Hunter and Jane are trying to fix her up with Hunter’s friend Tristan.

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Tristan is nice, but having your ex who dumped you for your sister and then try to fix you up is just too painful and embarrassing.

So embarressed

At the pool party, Savannah removes her contacts for fear of losing them or ruining them with chlorine getting in her eyes. She goes swimming and has the most mortifying night; losing her top, going in the men’s room on accident, etc. After that she is done with life and everything.

Reality Sucks

Enter Chrissy, Savannah’s fair godmother, here to grant her three wishes. Chrissy a gum chewing, bubble headed, heel wearing godmother. Not your usual grade.

Not good

Not good

Savannah is given a contract to sign and told that until her wishes are fulfilled she will be cursed with having to tell the truth or else snakes and toads and such will come sliding out of her mouth.

ew! Gross Yuck

Savannah agrees and tries to figure out what to wish for, this popping out of her mouth:

“I just wish that somehow my life could be like a fairy tale. You know, with a handsome prince waiting for me at the ball, and that somehow when I meet him, everything will work out happily ever after.”

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Wish #1: Cinderella

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Savannah finds herself sent back to a medieval time and as Cinderella. There she has to serve two evil stepsisters and a stepmother.

Crap

Forced to do backbreaking labor for months that she has no skills or knowledge of doing before. Everyday she calls for Chrissy, but gets no answer.

Ugh great gatsby

Then Prince Edmond, Prince Hugh, and their sister stop by the house when passing through and in need of lodging for the night. There Savannah sees the handsome prince destined for her, is actually nothing but a big jerk.

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She continues to call and call with Chrissy finally answering. Chrissy has sent Savannah long before the ball to learn her lesson. Savannah, however, doesn’t want this and makes a new wish.

“I just…um…I want to feel beautiful and loved, and although I like the idea of having a prince, he has to be more than just handsome and rich. He has to be nice and kind…”

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Wish #2: Snow White

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Savannah now finds herself as Snow White living with seven dwarves. Apparently Snow White isn’t the brightest bulb of the bunch as the dwarves treat her like an imbecile.

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And Savannah can’t do anything to show she is intelligent as she doesn’t know their names, doesn’t know how to make bread, doesn’t know how to make soup, and doesn’t know the people in the town.

I don't know what to do

After a truly embarrassing scene where she tries to outwit the tale of her poisoning to only confusing a harmless widow with the witch’s change of appearance:

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She then tries to convince the group she is from another time as Chrissy won’t return her calling her and she doesn’t know what else to do. They don’t believe her and plan to do some bloodletting to remove the crazy.

Run Away

Chrissy finally comes and Savannah makes her third wish.

“I don’t want to be in some medieval fairy tale. I want to live back home with my family. When I said I wanted a prince, I didn’t mean somebody from history or the pages of a storybook. I meant that I wanted that type of guy, but I wanted him from my own day and age. I want a boyfriend who is nice, kind-and handsome too, but that’s not the most important thing. As I’ve thought about Jane and Hunter during my time here, I realized that the problem was that he never liked me, he just liked what I looked like. He always wanted someone who was more like Jane and when they met, well, it was just bound to turn out that way. So I want someone who is loyal and has integrity-but most important I want a guy who likes my personality…And okay, I admit that in the past I haven’t applied myself in school like I should have, but I’m turning over a new leaf, so I want a guy who is smart too. And I want this guy to go to prom with me.”

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Back Home

Savannah is thrilled to be home again, to her it has been months (one week there equals one hour in our time) but the family thinks she has just been in her room for hours; Chrissy’s magic not perfect as it should be as if no time has passed like in Narnia. And after being forced to eat medieval food, she pigs out and enjoys modern living.

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But then Savannah goes to school and hears Tristan is missing.

Not good

Not good

She starts to suspect what might have happened, with Chrissy confirming it. Chrissy has sent him back to the medieval time that Savannah was in. He has to become a prince or else he can’t come home again. Savannah tries to wish him out, but can’t as she has used up all her wishes already.

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She tries to get help from Clover, setting up a leprechaun trap, but he will only help is she promises to send him and his gold back to Ireland.

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Ugh! My life!

She agrees, and Clover points out that in the contract she can oversee her wishes. Therefore Chrissy can send her back to that time so she can aid Tristan. Savannah returns her prom dress and uses the money to buy a costume dress to wear, along with paying the postage to send Clover back. But before leaving she uses all her knowledge of the times to pack items that she can use to barter and will help them: aspirin, spices, costume jewelry of glass, silverware, etc.

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She also makes Jane promise to mail the package for her as she has no time to waste.Eventually Chrissy answers her and Savannah finds herself back in time.

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Wish #3: Turn Tristan into a Prince

When Tristan meets her he is less than happy, having spent about five months in medieval times due to her wish. Savannah explains she didn’t mean it, and she had just gotten cheated on and dumped for her older sister. This softens Tristan.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

She shows Tristan the items she brought and he explains what must be done in order for him to become a prince. He needs to kill a cyclops, a dragon, and defeat a mysterious black knight.

ouch Hermione

The next day he goes to get fitted for armor, while Savannah runs into a wizard. There she trades some items to get a potion switching elixir. If she kisses anyone or is kissed (or licked by an enchanted animal) she will find herself trading enchantments with that person (or animal). This becomes increasingly hard as she finds herself falling for Tristan, but unable to share about her curse or show her feelings as she can’t get the enchantment to become a prince. She’ll never be able to go home!

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Savannah calls for the black knight, and ends up getting him to kiss her, swapping his invincibility for her only being able to tell the truth. She then tries to help Tristan fight the cyclops, making a mess and having to be rescued.

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Not in this case.

However things get even more complicated when Jane and Hunter arrive (having opened the box and striking a deal with Clover), the Princess wants to get rid of Savannah, both Princes appear to be fighting over her, and it turns out that she is still living out her Cinderella and Snow White wishes. This means not only does she have to go to the ball, where Edmond will fall for her, but Snow White’s stepmom is still trying to kill her.

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Will Savannah be able to save Tristan and get back home? Or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her days in Medieval Times?

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I love this book so much and think it is the penultimate for any fairy tale fan. I also just love Tristan, he is beyond the perfect guy.

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If only he were real:Dateficchar

So yes, go to your local library or bookstore and pick up your copy today!

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

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For more fairy tales, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

For more on Cinderella, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more on Snow White, go to Snow White of A Day

For more sisterly rivalry, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more Audrey Hepburn, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen
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And once again:

Merry Christmas

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“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)