I Would Go Through Anything for You: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

It is time for our annual animated film pick! This year I am going with:

Most Romantic Moment #9

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Sleeping Beauty (1959)

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Sleeping Beauty. It was my favorite Disney film and she was my favorite princess.

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I could go on, but let’s proceed with the review.

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After the King and Queen have longed for a child for so long, they are finally able to conceive. All are happy except, an evil fairy Maleficent. She curses the child to die on her 16th birthday after touching the spindle of a spinning wheel.

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The fairies are able to save her by having her not die, but fall asleep. They then decide to take her away and hide her, in the hopes of outwitting Maleficent’s curse. There they live in a tiny cottage and try to forgo magic to act “normal”.

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Maleficent hasn’t been able to find her and as the end of Aurora’s birthday draws closer she is more determined than ever. Prince Phillip, Aurora’s childhood betrothed, is out riding on horseback when he hears Aurora’s voice and follows it. The two meet, and Phillip falls in love with Aurora, who is actually the only Disney Princess to not fall in love at first sight but is uncertain though willing to meet up again.

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However, the fairies reveal she is the princess and spirit her away to the castle before she can talk to Phillip. Through this Maleficent has finally tracked her down and sets upon her evil trap. She has Aurora fall into her 100-year-old sleep and captures Prince Phillip so he can’t wake her up.

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Will the fairies be able to save her? Or is she stuck in endless sleep?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Go Through Anything For You

So originally I was thinking about posting the Once Upon a Dream song but I was looking at a some pics I used from a previous post and realized, out of all the Disney princes I think Phillip goes through the most for his princess. I mean he wants to marry her, and if he can’t because he is a prince he has already decided that he would gladly give up the throne.

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When the fairies come in and let him out of the prison he is kind of weirded out like what’s going on, but all he hears is that the girl he loves is in trouble and he springs into action. Fighting demon creatures:

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Having to push through a field of thorns:enhanced-buzz-9325-1375809888-11

And even fighting an evil fairy turned dragon by the powers of hell:

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I mean at any time he could have turned back or gone home saying this relationship is too hard. They are asking too much of me. (Lord knows that guys in this modern time who go through a lot less say stuff like that.) But he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t stop trying. He does everything he can to save her.

So romantic!

So romantic!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Care About Money or Class, I Love Her: Episode Three, Doctor Thorne (2016)

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For more on Sleeping Beauty, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more Prince Phillip, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Disney, go to Night on Bald Mountain: Fantasia (1940)

 For more fairy tales, go to Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

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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.

I don't need you

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

Day 24) X is for X: Choose a book whose author has an X in their name

Say What

An X?

Wow

I couldn’t think of anything, of any name that had an X in it. I decided that I would just shelve it for now and come back to it later.

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But then the days passed and we grew closer and closer to the 24th and I had no idea what to pick.

I don't know what to do

But then my friend returned my book Beastly, by AleFlinn, that I had let her borrow. I looked at it and I knew!

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This was the book I was going to use for my X.

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Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) by Alex Flinn

So I don’t know exactly how I stumbled onto this book. But I read it, loved it, and then went on to read everything else Flinn wrote.

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Flinn is a master teller at taking fairy tales and rewriting them in modern times with youth audiences and characters.

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Now I read this years ago, a few years after it was published and just absolutely loved it. Then I heard the movie was coming out based on it, and tracked that film; so excited to see it on the screen and dragging two of my friends with me. But then I saw it:

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It was horrible. I did not like it one bit. They just cut the heart and soul of the book leaving a shadow of what it was. The book was much better.

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Now when I first read the book I had only previously seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and read the tale it was based on. Since then, I have seen a few other things and I have noticed that Flinn pulls from both La Belle et la Bête

And the Beauty and the Beast TV show from the ’80s.

In fact one of the characters is called Lindy in the book and Linda Hamilton played “Belle” in the TV show. Coincidence? I think not. Plus the way he looks, the way he protect Lindy, havoc on the subway, etc.

Well that’s enough of that, let’s check out the book.

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So we start in a way I have never seen a retelling of a fairy tale start before. With IMing between a bunch of different fairy tale characters. We have the little mermaid from The Little Mermaid, the Bear from Snow White and Rose Red, the frog prince from The Frog Prince, and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast,  And who is the chat room run by? Mr. Anderson.

No, not that Mr. Anderson. Anderson as in Hans Christian Andersen.

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So then we flashback to how our Beast, became a beast.

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Part 1: A Prince and a Witch

Kyle Kingsbury is a freshman at a private school, Tuttle, and the son of the very wealthy news anchor, Rob Kingsbury. Kyle is a perfect dreamboat, utter perfection in height, looks, etc.

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But while the outside is a treat, how he acts is the exact opposite.

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All he cares about is his looks and popularity, hurting and being cruel to others around him. This year they are getting ready for homecoming and have their election for freshman Prince, of which Kyle is nominated. As they start voting, one person speaks out.

I don't think so

Kendra Hilferty is not what most would call beautiful. She has a strange green hair, is rather plain, and dresses in black “gothish” type clothing. She is upset about how this contest is all about looks instead of who they are, telling Kyle he is ugly where it really counts.

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Kyle is angry over what Kendra said so he decides to play a trick on her. He invites her to the Homecoming dance, all the while planning on going with his real girlfriend, Sloane, and roasting Kendra.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

When Sloane hears that Kyle will be going with Kendra, she is livid, but Kyle calms her down when he tells her about his “joke”. Kyle doesn’t really like Sloane, she’s really annoying and bratty, but she is the hottest girl and after tonight is going to let him come to her house while her parents are out…well as long as he brings an orchid.

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Kyle goes home and tries to talk to his dad, but he doesn’t care. Kyle doesn’t have a mom as she left years ago and has never tried to contact him. His dad is super shallow and only cares about himself and his needs, never thinking of his child or the example he is setting.

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That night Kyle is ready to go to the ball, dance I mean (I’m reading too many fairy tales), when it turns out his maid Madga didn’t buy the orchid but bought a single, white rose. Sloane is furious about there being no orchid and refuses to have the rose. However, there is a scholarship student taking the tickets who exclaims over its beauty. Kyle gives it to her, the only genuine, nice thing he has ever done.

How sweet!

How sweet!

When Kendra arrives and discovers what he has done she tells him he will pay for what he has done and will be as ugly on the outside as he truly is on the inside.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

Kyle is upset, and scared, but continues to do what is expected as Prince of Homecoming. But at twelve o’clock that night Kendra appears to him and reveals she is a witch, and Kyle is turned into a beast.

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NOOOOOOO!

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Part 2: The Beast

When Kyle’s father discovers the transformation, he carts him all over the United States to see what they can do. But nothing can change him.

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He cuts his hair, it grows back. He slices his skin, it instantly heals. Kendra gives him a magic mirror that allows him to see anyone he wants, and she uses it to “call” him throughout the book. Nothing can destroy him, and nothing can change him back except if he could find someone to love him in this bestial form. And he has two years, because of his gift of the rose, to find it or be stuck as a beast forever!

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And this is what I don’t like about the film. They just give him a bunch of tattoos, but that isn’t as hard to love as something that doesn’t even look human. Plus they cut out how long he has to be a beast, removing his first year of angst, anxiety, and depression and being pushed apart from the rest of the world.

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Part 3: The Castle

Yes, Kyle’s father can’t stand the sight of him and ships him off to an old brownstone in Brooklyn which has old windows that can’t open and no one can come in and see him. He sends Magda to take care of him and things to amuse him.

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Kyle decides that he is no longer Kyle. After careful consideration, he chooses Adrian as it speaks of his new nature. He tries to find love online, but Kendra warns him that won’t work.

I don't think so

After deciding he will spend the rest of his life alone, he blackmails his father into providing him a tutor. The father complies, but selects a blind tutor, that way no one will hear of what his son is.

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Will, the tutor, comes into Adrian’s life and he and Magda become his only friend, besides those who also have been transformed that he IMs. This is really interesting as they follow what occurs in those stories too.

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Adrian discovers that Will used to have sight, but lost it as he aged. Magda had a family, but they weren’t allowed into the country so she is alone now. Adrian calls Kendra and works a deal that if he finds his love to break the spell, Kendra will grant the wishes of the others.

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Adrian begins to read and study as he has nothing else in his life.

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Something else he does with his time is watch people from his former life and school. One day he looks up the girl he gave the rose to, Lindy. Lindy is from a poor neighborhood and is a scholarship student. Her father is a drug addict and pusher, and she tries as hard as she can to take care of him. She spends as much time as she can reading, the library being her refuge.

LibraryOK

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Part 4: The Intruder in the Garden

One night everything changes. Adrian hears a crash and discovers that someone is trying to break into the house.

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He goes to protect it and threatens the man with police. The man, in fear for his life, offers to trade his daughter for his life. He shows Adrian a picture and it is Lindy.

Whattheheck

Adrian is horrified that he would do such a thing, but accepts as he wants to protect her and has hope that maybe she is the one to break the spell.

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Lindy moves in, and things do not go according to Adrian’s plan. Lindy is furious and wants to leave. Will at first feels the same way, but after meeting her father agrees with Adrian’s solution.

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After giving him a lot of time, Lindy starts to come around as she is just as lonely. At first she is weirded out by Adrian’s appearance, but as their friendship grows she begins to enjoy being around him.

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Part 5: Time Lapses, Autumn and Winter

Adrian begins to care more about Lindy’s feelings than his own desires to have the curse broken and gets his dad to rent them a place in the country where they are freer to roam and hangout. He also decides to release Lindy from her commitment to stay with him, and she decides to remain there.

How sweet!

How sweet!

However, one night Lindy says how she is worried about her father and Adrian shows her the mirror. When she looks into it, she sees her father, sick and shaking. She leaves to go take care of him and promises to return.

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Months pass and no Lindy.

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Adrian starts to become depressed and decides that he will be a beast forever.

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They move back to the brownstone and still no Lindy.

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Adrian watches her in the mirror but she never comes to him. All have given up hope except Magda, who keeps encouraging Adrian. It comes down to the final day and still no Lindy.

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Then at night Adrian hears Lindy scream and looks her up in the mirror. She is being held up for money owed by her dad. Adrian takes off in the subway, not caring who sees him, but going to her aid.

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When he arrives, the other pusher is so freaked at his appearance he shoots Adrian, who continues to run at him tossing the gun aside and saving Lindy. As Adrian starts bleeding, Lindy says the words he has always desperately wanted to hear:

Beauty and the Beast

Instantly, he is transformed into Kyle again.

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Part 6: Happily Ever After

The police come and after they deal with that mess they return to the brownstone. When they get there it is revealed that Magda is really Kendra.

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She too had to serve a sentence and Kyle’s breaking of his spell has allowed her to return home to her family. Will’s eyes are healed and three pick up their lives; Will teaching at Tuttle and Lindy and Kyle attending. They continue to live at the brownstone, a happy family, with Kyle being a better person.

Carl and her married!!!

In the end we hear from the chat group how each has completed their own journey, some with happy endings and others with ones that were not quite what they expected.

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It was a great book and I just LOVE it.

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I highly recommend it for any fairy tale fan.

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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 previos post, go to There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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For more Alex Flinn, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more fairy tales, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more Audrey Hepburn quotes, 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 Hans Christian Anderson, go to I Will Not Bend, I Will Not Break

For more G. K. Chesterton, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

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Let me just start with this, George you will be missed.

So as this book is about true and false love, I decided to go with the song that has been on the radio nonstop, Last Christmas by Wham!

I love Wham! I’ve been obsessed with them for a looong time. This isn’t my favorite by them, for the longest time I didn’t even like this song; but after hearing it on the radio constantly I grew to really love it.

It was written by the late, great George Michael and tells the tale of someone giving their heart to someone, only to have it broken as they were unfaithful.

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But luckily they find someone to give their heart to that will protect it.

It has been extremely popular and been constantly redone by other artists. Wham! is my favorite, not just because I love the band, but because it is nice to hear the broken heart from a guy’s point of view instead of always a woman.

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For more ’80s music, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

For more Christmas Carols, go to It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Day 8) H is for Happily Ever After: Choose a novel that is a retelling of a Fairy Tale

So you all know how I feel about fairy tales:

FairyTales

And besides fairy tales, I like to read retellings of them. So out of all the ones I read and have ever read I had to think, which is the best one. So I thought and thought and thought…

Thinking Hmm

And then it came to me…

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

When I was younger I loved going to the library (still do).

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I used to go and look through the stacks for the next books I wanted to check out. I would go down the rows and pick whatever stood out to me, along with the book I would read all the time, The Phantom of the Opera. I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera and would check it out, return it, then check it out again in an endless cycle.Fangirlfinishedreadingwhattodonow

 My mom didn’t like my obsession with The Phantom of the Opera as she is not a horror fan.

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So she also roamed the stacks and tried to find something, anything else, for me to read that wasn’t dark. I don’t know where or how she found it, but after I picked out as many books as I could take:

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I ran into her. She wanted me to leave The Phantom of the Opera behind as I had just read it, and wanted me to try out this book, Ella Enchanted. She had read it while waiting for me and thought I would like it. I didn’t want it as I wanted what I had picked out.

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We argued for a while and then reached a compromise, I would check out The Phantom of the Opera but had to check out and read Ella Enchanted. I agreed, but secretly thought I wouldn’t like it, even if it was based on a fairy tale; and I loved fairy tales (still do).

Oh well.

Oh well.

But then I read it!

And I had this reaction…

I love it

I thought it was absolutely amazing! I loved it so much I went on to read her other books: The Princesses of BamarreThe Fairy’s Mistake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, The Princess Test, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, For Biddle’s Sake, The Fairy’s Return, and Fairest. Levine is amazing in how she rewrites fairy tales and breathes new life into them.

loveitSupernatural

This story is a retelling of Cinderella but not one of those average ones that film companies throw out year after year; this one has curses, ogres, elves, quests, fairies, obstacles, etc. It is amazing!

Wow

Wow

And then they made the film of it…

I don't like it 11

They ruined it! All the amazing things and hard work, and all the challenges she has to work through tossed out for a silly comedy?!!

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The book had heartbreak, real emotion, pain, suffering, while having comedy, and fun; and the film was a stupid facsimile.

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I mean they only had two things in common: Ella’s curse and the name of all the characters. Everything else was completely wrong. I was so mad I started yelling in the movie theater. That film is crap and deserves to be destroyed.

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But this book is AMAZING! And I think everyone should read it!

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If you recall from the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, or the film, fairies were invited to births and would bestow gifts on the new babies.

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Ella is visited by the fairy Lucinda and given the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda called it a gift, but it is really a curse as Ella must always find herself at the will of others, forced to do whatever she is told.

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Her mother and their cook, Mandy, tried to intercede for her but nothing could change Lucinda’s mind. Ella was stuck.

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Ella’s mother was a lady who married Sir Peter, a merchant. At first, to win her heart, he came off as kind but he really only cares about money and having his way. Luckily, at Ella’s birth he was not there but off trading, or else he would have seized upon the gift and used it to have his way always.

you're evil

When Ella was a young girl she told her friend about the curse when they were playing games. Her friend immediately seized upon it and commanded all kinds of things, only stopping when punched in the nose.

Scream-Punch

After that, Ella was commanded to never tell anyone about it, but that command didn’t matter. She knew not to trust anyone so easily again.

Trust

How the curse works is that if Ella is given any command she must follow it. Failure to comply makes her very ill, in pain, nauseous, and feeling as if she will shatter into pieces. As soon as she begins following the orders, she is okay again.

The problem with the curse is not only that she must follow any order given, such as kill yourself, is that the curse does not recognize sarcasm or jokes, and she must follow every letter of the command. Very dangerous indeed.

i'mscared

But Ella is no one’s willing puppet.

Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way unnaturally.”

When given commands, even harmless ones that were just for her own good, Ella would do her best to fight back. Asked to bring something, she would only take part of it. Asked to do something, would only do half or find some loophole to work around it. Did all she could to fight back against it.

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When Ella was fifteen, she and her mother became extremely sick. Mandy gave the two unicorn soup, but instead of drinking it with the unicorn hairs in it, Ella’s mother removed them. Because of this Ella became well, but her mother died.

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The funeral comes and Ella is heartbroken. She makes a mess of herself and is told to go off until she can be calm. After crying her soul out, she notices that one person remains. The Prince.

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Prince Charmont introduces himself as Char and tells Ella how he enjoyed meeting her mother in the past. He tells her the stories his cook has heard from Mandy about Ella, and walks her back to her father.

Back at the house Ella meets Dame Olga and her two daughters; Hattie and Olive. Dame Olga is after her Sir Peter as he is extremely wealthy and she wants to increase her wealth and power. Hattie and Olive are annoying, boring, and just want to eat and talk about money.

Men?

Men?

Later that night, an upset Ella questions Mandy about her fairy godmother. Her mother was going to tell her when she was older, and Ella wants to see her to get her help. Mandy reveals she is the fairy godmother. She only does small magic, and her soup should have cured her mother but she removed the unicorn hair. After that, there was nothing else she could do. She can’t take her curse away either, but one day Ella will be able to break it herself.

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Ella’s family line are the friends of the fairies. They all have a drop of fairy blood in them, which doesn’t give them anything different except for unusually small feet.

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Sir Peter is not the fatherly type, as anything that doesn’t have a monetary ching doesn’t interest him. He wants to send Ella away somewhere, but she wants to stay. But nothing she can say will stop him.

Not good

Not good

Mandy has nothing she can do and promises that Ella will have fun meeting different school girls and making new friends. She gives her a fairy tale book that is magic! And a Gnomish necklace that belonged to Ella’s mother.

Before Ella leaves, she heads off to the zoo to visit all her favorite exotic animals: the dragons, birds, centaurs, etc. She runs into Char and the two spend a fun afternoon together. As they walk further toward the ogres, they come upon a baby gnome.

Ella tries to help the gnome, using the gnomish she imitates from the exotic birds. Char looks around for his parents, but the real danger lies in the ogres. Just by looking at you they know your secrets. As Ella holds the baby, the ogre commands her to come to him and give him the child.

Not good

Not good

Luckily Char commands her to stop and they find the gnome parents. Gnomes can see into the future, and one gives Ella a glimpse:

Gnomes do not see detail. What you wear tomorrow, what you will say, are mysteries. I see outlines only…Danger, a quest, three figures. They are close to you, but they are not your friends…Beware of them.”

Not good

Not good

They next day she is off to finishing school, going with Hattie and Olive. After being together for a few minuets, Hattie discovers that Ella must follow every order given. She doesn’t know why, but that doesn’t stop her from lording over Ella.

What jerks

What jerks

Hattie takes everything from Ella; her money, jewelry, and food. And when they get to school it gets no better. No matter how hard Ella tries, Hattie always has the power.

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The teachers make it no better as they are as bad as Miss Michin in A Little PrincessElla does all she can to fight back their commands, constantly trying to keep herself from becoming a puppet.

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Ella has only two bright spots in her day. One is the magic fairy book that not only presents a new tale every time you open it, but also gives letters from her friends and those she cares about. One night she reads a letter from Mandy that Char caught her a centaur and is training it for her. He is extremely upset that she was sent away as he thought Ella was perfect the way she was.

How sweet!

How sweet!

The other thing that goes better for her is that she befriends an Ayorthaian girl, Areida. None of the other girls like her because she is poor, but she and Ella become the best of friends. One night,  Hattie decides she doesn’t like this glimpse of happiness. She commands Ella to stop being her friend.

Jerk

Ella looks in her book as she contemplates what to do. In it is a note from Dame Olga to her daughters, one from Char about his ogre hunting, and then a letter from her father that he will be visiting a giant’s wedding in the hopes of seeing a fairy, and getting a fairy gift to trade. Ella sees this as the perfect opportunity and decides that she will run away from school and go to the wedding to try and get Lucinda to get rid of her curse. Before she goes she steals Hattie’s wig.

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Ella heads out to the giants, trading her wig with a baker for bread. She is told that the giants aren’t too far off, but as she travels the journey is longer and longer. She then comes upon elves with spears.

Not good

Not good

She tells them who she is, Sir Peter’s daughter, and they invite her to dinner. She shares her book with them and afterwards they show her their elfin products. Elfin made objects look as if they are alive, and are extremely valuable. They end up giving Ella one, as they like to give their gifts to those who love them.

thankyou15

The net day she sets off with an Elfin pony and is told it is only four days to the giants. Unfortunately, her luck turns.

Reality Sucks

Ella is captured by Ogres. They have eaten her pony and want to eat her next, but luckily she vomits, making her too “sour” to eat. She hopes to leave, maybe if they bind her she can go, but the ogres know her story. They just command her and she is stuck.

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But Ella has one other option. She has been studying languages at school and learned how to speak ogreese. She tricks them into falling asleep, a small win but what to do next?

I don't know what to do

As she contemplates, she sees a vision of knights coming. But they aren’t a vision, they are real! It is Char. They try and capture the ogres, but are only able to when Ella charms them again and puts them back to sleep.

gossipgirlpowerfulWonderfulwoman

After a wonderful reunion, Char sends her on her way with one of her knights. He promises that he won’t be gone long and hopes to see her again soon.

How sweet!

How sweet!

They get there just in time for the wedding. The knight heads back to the ogres, and Ella sits watching for the fairies. They arrive, but before Ella can talk to Lucinda, she grants a horrible gift to the Giants and disappears.

Ugh great gatsby

She is upset, but at least there is food.

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As she is eating she goes to talk to the other two normal fairies, but then Lucinda reappears. Ella tries to talk to her about the fairy gift, but Lucinda just commands her to to be happy, and Ella runs off looking for Sir Peter to get more orders.

Sir Peter has sold land that didn’t belong to him and will have to pay for this with all his money and then some. He tries to marry Ella off to Edmond, Earl of Warwick. To make sure things flow right, he feeds her special mushrooms to make her extra attentive.

What jerks

What a jerk

It works as she fawns over him and he is interested in her hand in marriage.

That guy!

That guy!

The next day, Ella has a horrible hangover and feels stupid about what happened. But luckily, the Earl has lost a lot of his lands and is too poor for Sir Peter; no marriage. But what’s worse, Sir Peter is to marry Dame Olga.

Blackmail!

Uhhhhh!

Hattie and Olive will be her step sisters.

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The wedding happens in the old castle and Ella tries to hide from her family and the fairy Lucinda. Luckily it is a masquerade and she has a mask to hide her identity. She sits through the ceremony and takes off as soon as she can.

Run Away

She runs upstairs into a room, when she is come upon by Prince Char.

see cute guy look

They skip the ball and search the castle for secret passageways and rooms, having a reunion. They stop at a garden shed where they open a bench and find glass slippers. Char puts them on her.

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Then Char asks her to dance.

Cinderella

So romantic!

So romantic!

Afterwards, they decide to slide down the bannister. The second time the two run right into Ella’s confused parents.

clueless mybad oops

Afterwards, things go bad. Dame Olga finds out that Sir Peter is poor. She decides that Ella will be a servant in their house as soon as Sir Peter leaves.

hate her

Hattie is upset that the prince likes Ella and punishes her.

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Char is going away to the neighboring country and wiill be gone for a while. He stops to see Ella before he goes, but Hattie imprisons her in her room.

Jerk

After that Ella lives out every day a servant, doing the worst and most horrible tasks. She writes to Char, and the two develop a beautiful relationship. Char is a dream come true, although he does have his faults. When his opinion is lost it is lost forever.

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But we all have our faults, if the person was a perfect person with nothing wrong with him, then he’d be as bland as a saltine.

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As they write Ella falls in love with Char, and her dream comes true when Char asks her to marry him.

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Ella wants to say yes, but she can’t because of the curse. It would be too dangerous, so she writes as Hattie and refuses the prince; her heart breaking at every moment.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

There’s real love there. She cares more about Char’s happiness rather  than her own and would never risk his life.

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She tells Mandy, and Mandy decides that Lucinda really needs to be stopped. She calls her in and they make an agreement: Lucinda will be a squirrel for three months and then an obedient child for another three months.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

Ella holds on to the hope that in six months Lucinda will take the curse away and she can marry Char.

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The night before Lucinda is to com,e Hattie tells Ella that the Prince is coming back and is holding a masked ball. The ball will last for three nights and the Prince is rumored to pick his wife there.

OMG gasp

Ella is ecstatic. She has hope again to win Char back! Lucinda comes that night and says that she regrets everything and would love to take everything back. But Lucinda won’t, as she is done with “big” magic.

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Ella is heartbroken, but she is planning to go to the balls. She won’t talk to him, she will just sit and watch.

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They take the dresses saved from her mother, refashion them, and all is ready except is rains, a pouring rain.

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Saddened at this, she wishes that Mandy would do magic, but Mandy refuses. She calls on Lucinda who gives her a pumpkin carriage, mice turned into footmen ands she is off to the ball.

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She sees Char and stays as far away as she can. But she ends up being unable to hold out and talks to him. She tells him she is Lela and they spend a lot of time together, so much that they fall all over again for each other.

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But Hattie, not to be undone, removes the mask she wears

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And it is Ella.

OMG gasp

She hurries home as fast as she can, and they try to leave, but the Prince and entourage arrive. Char asks Ella to marry him.

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Dame Olga says yes, as that will give her power and money; Olive says yes as that will give her money; Hattie says no as she wants him for herself. Char tells her to say yes. Ella wars within herself, what should she do!

I don't know what to do

She knows that saying yes would be death of them, she practically splits apart in two; but then she refuses! She refuses!

No thank youhowaboutno

After she let’s it all out, after she has finally broken the curse: she tells Char yes.

Double double yay

They get married and live happily ever after; with Ella finally being able to make choices: good and bad, she finally is in charge of her own life.

TheEnd_Title_2

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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 You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

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

For more books based on fairy tales, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

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

For more J. Cole, go to A Cautionary Tale

For more John Green, go to The Fans and the Furious

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Since this is a fairy tale, I thought I should pick a fairy tale Christmas Carol. I settled on the Miniature Overture from The Nutcracker Suite.

Reminds me of Degas

The Nutcracker is based on the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The ballet was written by Ilyich Tchaikovsky and premiered in 1892.

I like this song a lot and it is my favorite in the entire suite.

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For more Christmas carols, go to Austenland

I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

Day 4) D is for Diary: Choose a novel or memoir in Diary form

Now I’ve never really been a diary person, whether writing or reading. In fact I had a diary when I was younger and on every page the only thing I wrote was “I wish I had a cat,” then going on to describe what I wanted the cat to look like and then ending every entry with “I hope my sister doesn’t find my diary and read it.”

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So diaries, yeah were not all that interesting to me. I thought that I never did anything worth writing down or when I was older couldn’t find the right words to express what I was feeling or thinking. And the same goes for reading diaries. A lot of times I found them hard to get into.

I don't like it 11

The only ones I really cared for were the Dear America or the Royal Diary book series; but even that only went so far. And besides, I only read them as I really liked history.

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So I started to think what book to use when I suddenly remembered a book in a diary format that I just adored:

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Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

I was first introduced to Shannon Hale when I stumbled onto her junior/young adult fiction book, The Princess Academy in the stacks at my local library years ago.

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I thought it was so good that I decided to read her other books as well (and purchase my own copy of the book, plus two for young ladies I know). I liked The Goose Girl, thought Austenland had some great parts to it (will be reviewing soon), but really fell in love with Midnight in Austenland and Book of a Thousand Days.

So Book of a Thousand Days is based on the fairy tale “Maid Maleen” by the Brothers Grimm. The story is that of “true bride”; one bride is false while the other was the one who was truly promised to the prince to be married, having to do tasks or try to prove her claim. Now while her work is based on this, the story is just so phenomenal. I don’t know how such a small tale could inspire her to create this amazing book.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

but that’s enough going on with how great the book is, let’s get into the story!

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Don't fall.

Part I: The Tower

So the story takes place in a world not unlike ours but really has no exactly recognizable Earthly location or time period.

The place is the Eight Realms, of which lords and ladies rule. Between the Norther Wastelands and the Southern desert we have Vera’s Blessing, Carthen’s Prayer, Pride of Nibus, Goda’s Second Gift, Thoughts of Under, Titor’s Garden, Song for Evela, and Beloved of Ris. All realms are named after the different gods and goddess in the pantheon the people worship.

In the middle of the realms is the Sacred Mountain and the Steppes, the place our main character comes from, but not exactly where the tale begins. As this is a diary format, we begin in the middle and have to stop to go back to the beginning.

So the book begins with Day 1; Dashti and Lady Saren are  being shut up in a tower for seven years.

What

What

I know, immediately you find yourself sucked in. What? Why?

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Lady Saren’s father is bricking them in and has placed guards outside to make sure the girls can’t leave. He has decided that this is the right punishment for Saren’s disobedience. He has left enough food in there to last seven years (hopefully), upon a certain date they will be allowed out once again.

outrageous

Lady Saren’s father is the ruler of Titon’s Garden and has turned an old lookout tower into their prison. Lady Saren just spends her time crying, shrieking, and always saying she is hungry. Dashti is Saren’s maid and after the last few years of harsh living on the Steppes she is amazed and grateful for the bounty that has been given to them, although saddened at losing the sky.

There is so much food in the tower, more than Dashti has ever seen in her life, with milk delivered everyday by the guards, and tons of parchment so Dashti can write her story.

Thinking Hmm

On Day 11 we are given the story of their predicament. Dashti was raised as a Mucker on the Steppes. Muckers are herders who live with the sheep, yaks, etc.; in harsh muddy and rocky conditions. Her father died when she was a baby and her brothers abandoned the family when she was eight. She and her mother did all they could the next seven years to survive; earning enough for food mostly by living on the outskirts of society and through the healing songs they sing.

After her mother died, Dashti came to the city to try and find work, being unable to survive without a clan in the Steppes. She was taken to be trained as a lady’a maid where she learned reading, writing, sums, etc. The day she graduates from this training, and takes the oath of servitude,  she goes to Lady’s Saren’s to be her maid and fins herself being taken along on this tower punishment.

escalatedquickly

Lady Saren’s father wishes her to marry the Lord Khaser, ruler of Thoughts of Under, and was furious to find out that she had betrothed herself to Khan Tegus of Song for Evela. Wanting to crush his daughter’s will he decides to imprison her in the tower.

What jerks

What jerks

Dsahti tries to help her mistress, but none of the songs help. Everyday Saren lives in mortal fear of Lord Khaser? But why?

suspicious Hmm

One day Khan Tegus comes to see them. Dashti tries to get Saren to talk to him, but she refuses as she is too frightened. She sends Dashi in her place as it turns out not only have the two not seen each other since they were much younger, but have only conversed in letters.

letter

He’s never heard her voice really, so he won’t recognize Dashti as an impostor. They communicate through the flap the girls receive their milk in, but the way it is makes it impossible to be seen.

Dashti has no idea how gentry speak to each other as she has grown up on the Steppes, but just is herself. Never feeling special as she was born with red splotches along the side of her face and arm, nonetheless she has a beautiful and kind spirit:

TrueBeautyWhoYOuAre

She also has a fun nature which harmonizes with Tegus perfectly.

He wants to rescue the women but knows that if he did it would bring a war between the two,  and he’d rather not fight Saren’s father and brother. Instead, Khan Tegus stays for several days and speaks to Dashti at night when the guards are asleep.  Their relationship is so adorable I just love it. Ship is locked, loaded and has sailed.

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Both characters love to laugh, and as Tegus loves Dashti’s laugh he continues to try and bring it.

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Dashti can hear in Tegus’ voice that he has an old wound that ails him and sings him a mucker song. No one knows why, but these songs have a way of creating relief in others, a balm of deep healing for their wound or worry. Of course it doesn’t work for everyone as you have to both be open to the Mucker singing to you and be open about what your true wound is, whether it goes deeper than just a physical injury.

MusicMakesaDifference

Khan Tegus must return home, although he is extremely reluctant to do so, as he wants to not only stay, but free his love (which as you can guess is rapidly becoming Dashti over the true Lady Saren). He must go, but before he leaves, he gives Dashti a kitten; and in return Dashti gives him her shirt.

How cute

How cute

As they days go on, the girls talk about memories and history to amuse themselves. Dashti remembers when a shaman stayed with them once, and how he had he power to shape shift into a fox, while Saren counters with telling Dashti that once the realms were united under one Khan, who’s seat of power was Song for Evela. But now all are broken up with individual rulers, Khan Tegus being called Khan is a continuance of title from those days. This opens up Dashti’s mind as so little education into history is given on the Steppes.

The days pass with very little happening, until Day 158. Lord Khaser comes and threatens the girls; his voice and demeanor being truly terrifying. Here is an incredibly scary villain, one of the most frightening, sadistic, and cruel.

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On day 223 Lord Khaser returns. When Saren once again refuses to marry him he throws fiery chips. The girls have to run and try to put them out before they are cooked.

Not good

Not good

Lord Khaser tells them that Saren must agree to marry him now and leave with his troops or will have to wait out her six years in the tower. Instead of answering, Saren dumps her chamber pot out the flap and right into Lord Khaser’s face.

hahafelixlaugh

But their laughter is short-lived as that night the guards are attacked by…something. It doesn’t sound like a battle but a living nightmare. When something tries to attack them, a wolf like creature, My Lord the cat jumps out to save the girls and isn’t seen again.

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With the cat gone the rats come back and try to get their food. No guards for help, they need to stretch their food as much as they can. Not to mention the biggest rat of all, Lady Saren is trying to eat everything she can.

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Dashti does all she can but Saren is completely set on the fact that they won’t make it much longer. Now being stuck in a tower with someone you may die with, means that you reveal all kinds of things about yourself. And here Hale is fantastic in creating these two complex and real characters. Dashti: humble, kind, serving, helpful, with a thirst for knowledge and a foundation of common sense. Saren on the other hand has been constantly belittled by her father, told she is an empty flower pot, had her dreams scoffed at, and told her only lot in life is to marry gentry and create more gentry.

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Day 928- Men come to the tower. The guards were killed but Saren’s family never sent anyone, strangely.

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The men come and talk about a beautiful lady in a tower, trying to get in there and get her. As they go around the tower trying to break in, Dashti  has a knife and is prepared to fight for her life and Lady Saren’s.

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The men don’t make it in, but Dashti decides with the food supply dwindling from heat, rats, and Saren; they need to get out. She checks the cellar for where the rats come in, finds a hole and decides to attack it with everything she has until they can finally get out.

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Part 2: The Adventure Thereafter

So the two don’t leave right away. After Dashti increases a crack in the cellar, they remain because of Saren’s “delicate nature”.

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Now being taken out of the tower she freaks out that they are going to be burnt up by the sun. It is a slow process but Dashti helps to motivate her to leave the tower.

But they find greater disappointment in the world. Everything has been destroyed, burned, and knocked down.

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The only thing they find is a yak, which Dashti names Mucker. The three then head out to Song for Evela to appeal to Khan Tegus for help.

After what seems like endless days of emptiness they end up finding other people on the outskirts of Song for Evela. They tell them the news of Lord Khaser who has wiped out Titor’s Garden and is currently making war with Goda’s Second Gift.

Not good

Not good

Dashti tries to get Saren to go to Khan Tegus, but nothing will convince her to. Finally Dashti is so tired and all she can think is her love for the yak who helped them survive. Instead of trading the yak, or tying to procure employment; she gifts the yak to Khan Tegus. As they turn to leave, they find themselves hired. And now they work in the kitchen palace not to far from the Khan that holds Dashti’s heart.

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The other girls in the kitchen don’t like Saren, now called Sar. She doesn’t know what she is doing and moves very slow. One girl, Gal, is thirteen and is from Goda’s Second Gift. She was sent out before Lord Khaser came and has no clue what has happened to her parents or whether they are alive. Qacha is the other kitchen girl, a mucker like Dashti, who had managed to escape Khaser with her father and brother.

Life in the castle is tiring, but Dashti is used to hard work. She tries time and time again to get Saren to go to the Khan, but she refuses.

No thank youhowaboutno

One day, Dashti has a free afternoon and goes out to see a traveling show. She hears the story of the skinwalkers who offer their spirits to become shapeshifters. Before they can gain the ability to transform and have the characteristics of the beast; they must kill a close relation, the more they love them the more powerful they are.

Not good

Not good

After that story she leaves to see Mucker in the stable.

One day Dashti just happens to see Khan Tegus and seeing his handsome face brings back all the memories of what they spent together and causes her to fall in love all over again.

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Dashti wonders what he thinks of her, or Lady Saren really, but then she gets the shock of her lifetime: Khan Tegus is to wed Lady Vachir, ruler of Beloved if Ris in order to crete strong allies against Lord Khaser.

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To make things even worse, Lord Khaser has defeated Goda’s Second Gift and will be coming for Song of Evela before long.

One day the housekeeper of the palace calls for a mucker girl to help the Khan who is feeling bad. All the girls want Dashti to go as her talent is better than others as she melds the different healing songs together to heal throughout the body and soul.

She is afraid to go to him, as he might recognize her voice or the songs; but he doesn’t. Sadly.

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She gets called again and does the healing song but recognizes the hurt isn’t in his leg like he said, but there is another pain in his body. At first Khan Tegus refuses this additional help, but calls her once again. She sings another song for healing and surprises the Khan with her ability to read and write.

Before you know it she is moved up from the kitchen and has her own room! She continues to work for Khan tegus, scribbling away and content.

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One day she is called to help heal the Khan’a best friend. He’s been badly wounded by an assassin and the shaman attending says there is nothing else to be done. At first Dashti gives up, as she is no real healer; but when Khan Tegus calls her again, she is going to do all she can to help him.

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Dashti uses the songs to help his friend, and his soul returns to his body, out of the danger zone. The two them talk with Tegus granting her the use of his untitled name.

How cute

How cute

Dashti gets the biggest surprise of her life when My Lord the cat returns to them!

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Lady Saren grows more and more unhappy, making Dashti tired and annoyed. But then Saren asks Dashti to kill her. All the pain Khaser has caused is bundled up inside her, as she feels guilty that she is to blame. Dashti does the only thing she can do, give the cat to Lady Saren.

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While the Khan has left days ago to fight and there is no news on that accord, Saren has done much better. Having someone to love her unconditionally and not be cruel to her has really changed her demeanor.

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But then bad news comes. Lady Vachir returns with her ladies and so does Khan Tegus, severely wounded. Dashti wants to help him, but the shaman’s try to get rid of her. Dashti won’t give up and continues. After days of singing, the Khan is finally better.

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While Dashti and Tegus continue to enjoy each other’s company. But bad news looms. Lady Vachir does not like Dashti and tries to discredit her, and Lord Khaser has arrived.

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As they try to figure out what to do, Dashti remembers some strange things Saren said about Khaser being a beast. She goes to see her and try to get the story out about him. When Saren was twelve she and her father visited Lord Khaser. One night he calls her saying that her father needed her and took off his clothes, being naked before her. In the moonlight, he changed from man to wolf.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

Dashti goes to the war council and it turns out that Lord Khaser is trying to make a deal. He will kill 100 villagers unless they give him Lady Saren or Khan Tegus. As they try and figure out what to do, Dashti speaks up. Months ago Saren made Dashti promise to tell Khan Tegus she was Saren, to protect her. Dashti refused, but as she swore the oath and believes it to be the only way to save her Khan, she says she is Lady Saren, and has been going by her maid’s name. At first they are confused, but as she knows all that transpired in the tower, they decide she must be who she says she is. Tegus is ecstatic that Dashti is his true bride.

Yes!

Yes!

Dashti is given a grand room, and Saren to be her maid; but Saren wants to go back to the kitchen where she feels safe and useful. Dashti, on the other hand, has to figure out what to do about Khaser. She has revealed to them his transformation powers, but how can they use that to stop him? Besides Khaser has seen Saren and knows she isn’t her.

I don't know what to do

That night Dashti gets an idea. She goes to Batu who doesn’t want to help her, but as Dashti won’t give up he quickly finds himself with no choice in the matter.

Dashti goes out to battle, naked and barefoot so that  Khaser knows she is a woman with no weapon.  Khaser thinks it is a trick, but then is convinced that she is all she says. Dashti tells him she will sing a song of submission, but instead sings the song of the wolf.

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Khaser then transforms in front of everyone.

The wolf goes to attack Dashti, breaking her leg when he pounces on her; but before he could attack her more, one of his men shoots an arrow at him. The wolf heads to his men and starts attacking them, ripping out the throats of two men. Soon everyone attacks him, and the wolf is killed, falling on Dashti and crushing her once again. Khaser’s right hand man tries to continue the battle, but without their wolf warrior all is over for now.

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After all that excitement there is the question who will marry Khan Tegus. Lady Vachir is the betrothed, and has the right to have killed any that would come between. However, if the chiefs decide that Saren’s betrothal was first, then she will get to wed him. Only problem with that, all think Dashti is Saren. And Sar is Dashti. Very big mess.

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The chief’s choose Saren, and Tegus sets the wedding for nine days hence as he wants to marry her NOW. Dashti calls Saren and tries to fix this tangled web, but Saren refuses to tell the truth. Dashti cannot wed him in another’s name. She leaves a note and this diary and decides to flee.

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Dashti stops at the kitchen to explain to the girls and  Saren why she must leave. But Lady Vachir has been watching and listening, and found out the lie, preparing to kill Dashti. Before that happens, Saren comes bringing Tegus. Dashti is thrown in a cell while they prepare to figure out what the truth is in the mess.

Not good

Not good

Tegus goes to see her but feels lost. Everything with Dashti seems right, yet she isn’t Saren and it seems Vachir’s claim is right, and she should die. Dashti gives him her diary and prepares for her end.

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Then comes the trial. The chief’s use all the entries in which Dashti complained about Saren and talked about her love for Tegus. They use it to prove Vachir’s right to kill her, but then Tegus speaks up.

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He reads all the times she didn’t want to be Saren but did as was commanded by her mistress. He then goes on to read how she destroyed Khaser. He also brings up the mucker way of doing things, such as offering a animal and if it is received by another family then they become part of that family. When she offered the yak and Tegus accepted, Dashti, under Mucker law, became part of Tegus’ family.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

That is not enough for Vachir, but then Tegus pulls out his secret weapon; Saren. Saren defends Dashti, calling her a sister and being powerful in her presence and defense. Tegus leads the way, and they find her innocent.

Prince Eric lose her

Vachir is unhappy, leaving as quicklyt as she can. Tegus and Saren are to be wed, but Saren passes her bethrothel on to her sister, Dashti.

Double double yay

The two are married and live happily ever after.

TheEnd_Title_2

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I loved this book as Dashti is an amazing character. All she can see is she is worthless because she was born with red splotches on her face and arm and thinks she will never be fit to marry anyone, never have true love. She is blinded by her physical features, but we see the amazing strong, phenomenal person she is.

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She is intelligent, able to care for herself and others, a good cook, brave, kind, compassionate, etc. The best person, amazing. But how often do we too have the same issue where we can’t see how amazing we are, instead only looking at our flaws or measuring our worth based on what our outside looks like instead of our hearts.

InnerBeauty

Besides the character of Dashti, I just adore this rest of the book and the relationship between all the characters. I read it again and again and again and again! I just can’t get enough if it.

OW

Thank you Shannon Hale.

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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 Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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For more on Book of a Thousand Days, go to A World of Teas

For more retellings of Fairy Tales, go to The Story, We’re Living it. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

For more shapesifters, go to Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

For more Virginia Woolf quotes, go to Six Degrees of Separation

For more Fred Rogers’ quotes, go to If Only You Could See

For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It

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So I was trying to think of a Christmas Carol that goes with this book and settled on Go Tell it on the Mountain. It is an African-American spiritual song by John Wesley Work, Jr., written in 1865.

This song always makes me think of my childhood as I remember learning it when I was in Sunday school. It is a fun and great song.

I remember when I first heard it, it was sung by a woman but I couldn’t remember exactly who it was. I decided on Mahalia Jackson as she is a great singer and her rendition is one of the most famous.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves

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Yes it is that time of the year, our new tradition of a 30 Day Challenge. As I am a book lover and just can’t get enough books, I decided this year we will cover that love.

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As any book lover knows, it is difficult to choose a favorite book.

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So this will either fit the category of the book challenge, or will be a book I love. I’m hoping to meld both, but I know that won’t happen for every one of them.  I also ran into a few issues finding 30, so I had to get a tad creative.

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I am also going to skip the Jane Austen novels as I always talk about them on this blog. I’m going to try and do books I haven’t mentioned already, but no promises on that.

I can't help it.

I can’t help it.

Now every time I try to do something in December, it tends to fail. I just get toooo busy.

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But this year I am really going to try.

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So here we go!

30 Day Challenge:

Day 1) A is for Apocalyptical: Choose a book with an Apocalyptic theme

Day 2) B is for Best: Choose a Best-Selling novel

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to read over and over again when you were a Child.

Day 4) D is for Diary: Choose a novel or memoir in Diary form

Day 5) E is for Elephant: Choose a book with a Elephant on the cover

Day 6) F is for Free: Choose a book you got for Free

Day 7) G is for Ghost: Choose a Ghost story

Day 8) H is for Happily Ever After: Choose a novel that is a retelling of a fairy tale

Day 9) I is for Island: Choose a book that takes place on an Island

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

Day 11) K is for Killer: Choose a book with a murderer

Day 12) L is for List: Choose a book from your to-read List

Day 13) M is for Merry Christmas: Since this 30 Day Challenge is being done in December, let’s pick a favorite book that captures the merry Christmas spirit.

Day 14) N is for Name: Choose a book with a character that shares your first or last Name

Day 15) O is for Ocean: Choose a book that takes place on or in the Ocean

Day 16) P is for Politics: Choose a book that is Political

Day 17) Q is for Quest: Choose a book in which the characters go on a Quest

Day 18) R is for Remake: Choose a book that is a Retelling of a classic

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

Day 21): U is for Unhappy: Choose a book with an Unhappy ending

Day 22) V is for Vanished: Choose a book with a missing person

Day 23) W is for Weather: Choose a book where the Weather plays a major role

Day 24) X is for X: Choose a book whose author has an X in their name

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

Day 26) Z is for Zombie: Choose a Zombie retelling of a classic novel

Day 27) One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Shoes symbolize wealth. Choose a novel that involves wealth or fashion

Day 28) Three, Four, Shut the Door: Doors symbolize new beginnings. Choose a novel where a character has to start over

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.

Day 30) Seven, Eight, Lay Them Straight: Straight means upright. Choose a book with a moral or strong moral character

Additional one to keep the Symmetry

Day 31) Nine, TenA Big Fat Hen: Hens symbolize motherhood. Choose a book that revolves around a family or strong motherly character.

Have Card will Travel

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For more 30 Day challenges check out 30 Day Challenge: All About Me! and 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition

For more book loving posts, go to Sadly I’m a Stalker

A Book Only a Reader Could Write

So I wanted to publish this post yesterday, but my computer and I weren’t on the best speaking terms. We have since resolved that issue.

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And the computer has since then come along to my way of thinking. So sorry if I’m a day behind, but better late than never!

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Some books you read and you just know that there was no way this book could ever exist unless the author grew up as a huge fan of reading.

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Such as Matilda by Roald Dahl. Only someone who grew up reading could create a character that gave a voice to all us bibliophiles out there.

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Or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Only someone who truly loved to read could create the most dismal future, a time when books are outlawed and destroyed. The book is full of glimpses into what might actually happen, unless we take the time to read and value the thoughts and creations found between the pages.

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Well The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende, is definitely one of those books.

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The book was first published in 1979 and then translated into English in 1983. As this is it anniversary, thankfully pointed out by Google, I thought it deserved no less than a post by me.

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The story was such a big part of my childhood, with book and film.

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So the book begins with young Bastian Balthazar Bux; a shy, awkward, introvert:

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Who has been grieving over the loss of his mother and feels disconnected from his father.

Aw, man.

Aw.

He doesn’t really have any friends and is bullied at school. The one thing that Bastian does have is his books.

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With their help he is able to escape reality:

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And here is reason number one why this book is awesome and proof, author Ende must have been a reader; he just understands us so well. I mean even today I still like to escape my reality with a good book:

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Anyways, so Bastian is being chased by bullies when he runs into a bookstore owned by Carl Conrad Coreander. While hiding out, he spots the book The Neverending Story.

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Bastian just has to have the book, but the ornery shop owner doesn’t seem interested in the idea of selling, and such a book that would be far too expensive. So Bastian does something he has never done before, he steals it.

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He runs up to school, deciding to hide away in the attic, reading the story and being thrust into the world of Fantastica (Fantasia in the film).

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Fantastica is falling apart. The dark nothing is destroying it, piece by piece until it will fade away and there will be nothing left. Only one thing can save them; the childlike empress has chosen Atreyu, a native of the plains, to search throughout Fantastica to discover what can be done. As Bastian reads, he becomes more and more involved with the characters. So wrapped up in the book he stays throughout all his periods, in the cold, all the while starving.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

But that’s silly. They aren’t real people.

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But yet, the characters do seem real. And it almost seems as if they know he exists and is part of the journey with them.

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When Atreyu is traveling he hears what the salvation of Fantastica is:

Born of the Word, the children of man,

Or humans, as they’re sometimes called,

Have had the gift of giving names

Ever since the worlds began,

In every age it’s they who gave

The Childlike Empress life,

For wondrous new names have the power to save.

But now for many and many a day,

No human has visited Fantastica,

For they no longer know the way.

They have forgotten how real we are,

They don’t believe in us anymore.

Oh, if only one child of man would come,

Oh, then at last the thing would be done.”

But where to find such a human child?

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Atreyu continues on his journeys, getting help from Falkor, the luck dragon.

One of the best parts of the book, at least I think so, is when Atreyu faces Gmork, the werewolf. Gmork has become an agent of the Nothing, trying to destroy Fantastica and along with it the human world. Without Fantastica, the world is filled with lies instead of truth, despair instead of hope, destruction instead of creation; pretty much containing nothing.

I love this part as it shows why stories and books are so important. They help us create, they give us hope, dreams, ideas, etc. We need stories, we need hope, we need it as much as we need life.

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And we need to start reading at a young age; so we can have the foundations to fight against all the darkness we will face as we grew older.

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So Atreyu returns to the Empress, defeated. He has no way to stop the nothing. He has failed.

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But the empress is not upset at all. In fact, she says that Atreyu has fulfilled his mission. He has brought a human child here through all his adventures. And she is talking about Bastian!

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The reader has been called into the story? And not just called, but the hero! How cool is that! And how awesome if that could happen. Can you just imagine if the characters started talking to you in the middle of your favorite story?

So cool, I want it to be true.

So cool, I want it to be true.

This is my favorite part of the book, the second half isn’t as strong (in my opinion) as the first half. But still one great book.

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The movie was just as amazing. Now they did make changes, but I thought it kept the soul and heart of the book. I used to watch it over and over.

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Even now I cannot think or say the words “Neverending Story” without singing them like in the film’s song.

I recently showed the film to my niece and realized I am not only like Bastian, but Coreander. Yes, I have the soul of an old curmudgeon who doesn’t like the youth’s fascination with technology rather than books.

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The rest of the story is just as beautiful, fascinating, adventurous, and powerful. And don’t forget the end of the film when the childlike Empress is talking right to you.  Shivers run up and down my spine, it is so good.

Creepy!

I mean I feel like she is talking right to me!

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The other movies I didn’t really enjoy, but that first one was a true winner.

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So there you have it. One amazing book that I am glad existed to become a part of my childhood, in both print and on the screen.

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And you can bet your boots I will most definitely be checking out the film Sunday when they rerelease it in theaters. Don’t worry childlike Empress, Fantastic/Fantasia will always exist as long as I am alive!

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For more on The Neverending Story, go to The Neverending Story

For more anniversary posts, go to Here’s to Another Year

For more book-filled posts, go to A World of Teas

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For more Roald Dahl, go to We Shall Rule the World!

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ernest Hemingway, go to Fiction or Reality? I Choose Fiction

For more Markus Zusak, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more Richard Marek, go to Crazy Book Lady