Day 6) F is for Free: Choose a book you got for Free
Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan
Do you remember the Scholastic book fairs they used to have at school? I loved it. There were bunch of books at the school and in the catalog. Even though we couldn’t spend a lot, my parents would always buy me at least one item. No matter how many books I already owned, I could always use more.
Well if you bought so many and did a certain amount in school you were able to get a free book! I was so excited and picked out a ton of different books I wanted to get.
But my mom pointed out that the free book had to be $4.50 or under. So we looked through the catalog and it turned out that there were only two books that were eligible.
Yeah, what a scam! Anyways, out of the two books Princess Nevermore, intrigued me. I read it and quickly loved it!
Now one of the reasons I choose this book to include in the 30 day challenge is that is seems to be one no one knows about which I think is a shame as it is a great book and needs more attention.
Princess Quinnella, Quinn for short, lives in Mandria, a magical world that exists under our feet! Once they lived in the world of men, but had to relocate as magic with humankind wasn’t working out.
The only place to view our world from Mandria is in the wizard Melikar’s chambers. There he has a magic pool that gives the Mandrians a view into our world, but we cannot see into their’s.
Quinn has grown up dreaming and wishing to visit the other world. She and Melikar’s assistant, Cam, have conspired on how to get there.
Quinn feels as if time is running out as she will soon be sixteen: a woman, betrothed, and focusing on ruling her kingdom.
One day she is visiting Melikar when out of nowhere Cam comes crashing into her, his magic ring transporting him there instead of where he was desiring to go. Melikar tells Cam to check the magic book and see what is wrong with it.
Cam goes and gets an idea, he decides that now is the time to send them to outer Earth. He shoots Quinn a look, and she quickly catches on and distracts Melikar until it is too late.
“Anger, fear, love, and mirth.
Send Quinn and Cam to outer earth.”
The pool’s water comes down and surrounds Quinn dragging her up and over to the other side.
And just Quinn!
As you can guess Melikar is furious! Not only was Quinn sent into the other world, but there is no way to bring her back until she choose to return, a clause that Quinn has no clue off.
Yes, Cam was foolish and acted too quickly or else he would have realized that it was a bad idea.
In order to bring the princess back, she has to go back to the pool, wish with all her heart to return, and turn in the pool, stirring it. And the catch, the spell can only be done once and is strong only for a quarter moon, that’s seven days. If she misses her window, she will never be able to return.
The first thing they must do is buy some time, drugging the royal family so that they will sleep through most of time that Quinn is away.
Yes, like in Sleeping Beauty
Quinn find herself in the real world and is unsure what to do next. She always planned for her to be with Cam and them being able to visit the world, but return whenever they desired.
Then a girl comes across her path, one she sees daily coming to the pool and wishing for beauty. A boy calls out her name, Sarah, and she calls him Adam. Adam tells her they need to leave now as Mondo has declared it is time to go.
Quinn decides to follow them as they make her curious and she has no idea what else she can do.
She follows them onto a giant dragon creature, a bus, and is questioned by Sarah and her brother is surprised when Mondo recognizes that she is from Mandria and gives the sign of the Lorik, a symbol to seal an oath and mark of friendship in this case. Mondo takes Quinn with them to their apartment.
Quinn shares the history of who she is with Adam being surprised and completely taken with her; and Sara slightly jealous at her beauty and the attention Quinn is receiving.
The next day they head off to school, Quinn fascinated and lost and confused. At first Sarah is helpful and kind to her, but then when her long time crush shows interest in Quinn and continues to ignore Sarah.
Quinn and Adam grow closer as he not only teaches her about the world, but they begin to fall for each other.
However, while young love blooms; Mondo is not pleased with it. Quinn can’t understand why he would be so upset over it.
As for Quinn she finds herself wondering about Adam. He isn’t royal, but she could abdicate her throne for her cousin and live in the human world, them visiting back and forth.
It could work, like The Little Mermaid
Back in Mandria, Cam and Melikar have to take another into their confidence. Ameka, Quinn’s tutor comes to Melikar’s place and discovers Quinn’s disappearance. They grow worried as Quinn not only seems to not want to leave that world, but Melikar can sense danger coming as Quinn has the magic ring.
Quinn found the magic ring stuck on her dress and promised not to use it, unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, she used it to get pizza, zap Zach, and get apples for lunch. However, Zach senses that there is something weird about her and gets Sarah, who only wants to impress him, to ‘fess up about her cousin.
Halloween approaches and Adam asks her to the dance. Quinn is thrilled to go with him, but then Zach enters and the testosterone goes flying as he tries to bully them into letting him take Quinn. They decide to “duel”, Quinn choosing jousting.
Them’s fighting words!
As there are no horses in the city for the teens to access, Adam’s friend Roger develops a “modern day” jousting. Adam does well, but Zach cheats and wins Quinn as his date. Zach isn’t interested in Quinn, but wants her secrets of magic.
This is bad.
The day of the dance, Quinn tries to speak to a hurt Adam, but he manages to elude her at every turn. That night as she prepares for the ball, Mondo decides it is time to tell his story.
He was a nobleman and used to visit with Melikar, just like Quinn. He would look at the wishing pool and see a girl come everyday. He feel head over heels for her and asked Melikar to send him over. He promised to remain there for a few hours and bring her back.
Sadly, she never came so Mondo went in search for her as he couldn’t go back without her. He found her, but she wouldn’t leave so he remained above. The two married and had a son.
Yes, but that’s not the whole story. When Mondo arrived the year was 1830. One year in Mandria was three years on Earth. Mondo was happy with Hannah, even though she aged more rapidly than him. But he was only thirty-four when she died at the age of seventy. And while they had love there were a lot of issues with it. They had to move around A LOT, pretend to be mother and son; grandmother and son, etc. By the time he lost her, and his son as he left him with anger over his lack of aging; he thought about going back but it was too late with all the modern convinces to head back to the Middle Ages.
So now Quinn has a choice to make. Should she stay in our world or return home? Risk the lack of aging for her love?
And with Zach’s intentions, what will happen to her? Will she even be able to make that choice?
I’m not revealing the end as I thought it was too good. I loved this story and how the characters were and the ending. An ending I thought was better than Age of Adalind and all those other films that have a similar premise.
It is hard to find a copy of it, but try your local library. It is definitely worth a read.
So today’s carol I thought about how Quinn’s not sure if she will make it home, and settled on I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas was written about and for the soilders serving overseas and wishing to be home with their loved ones. The song is supposed to be from the view of a soldier, asking them to get things ready, even though he isn’t sure he’ll be back.
It was written in 1943 by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent. No one would record it, as they thought it was too sad, until Gannon sang it to Bing Crosby who loved it. Bing Crosby was the first to record it, but it went on to be recorded by numerous singers.
Now I remember first hearing it be sung by a woman, not a man, and went with Karen Carpenter’s version.
So last year I tried to do 12 Posts of Christmas, unfortunately that didn’t work out as I got sick and involved in Christmas-y activities. However, this year I decided to do some thing in the vein of the Chinese New Year and Saint Patrick’s Day posts. Instead of posting everyday, a countdown of 25 of my fav Christmas Films. Now these aren’t my top 25, but I randomly picked them and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.
25) Love, Actually (2003)
This has a complex storyline as the film has multiple paths. There is Billy Mack, aging rock star trying to get back in the limelight, redoing Christmas songs. Mark is secretly in love with his best friend’s girl Juliet but says nothing to honor his friend. Jamie flees to France after his last girlfriend cheats on him with his brother, there he falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper. Harry, the direcctor of a design studio, contemplates having an affair with his assistant Mia. David has just become Prime Minister and develops feelings for a girl who works for him, Natalie. Daniel has just lost his wife and is raising his stepson. Sarah has feelings for Karl but her mentally ill brother, Michael, seems to throw a wrench in her plans. Colin is tired of striking out with English women and journeys to America. John and Judy are body doubles for actors who meet at work.
Why it’s Great: It has Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman , etc; need I say more? The Colin Firth storyline is really good, in fact keep an eye open for it’s reappearance this Feb.
24) Twas’ the Night Before Christmas (1974)
Santa isn’t coming this year as he has received an hurtful letter. A mouse and the clockmaker try and figure out what is wrong and fix it. The mouse’s son is the one that caused the issue and they are trying to get him to say he is sorry so that all can have Christmas.
Why it’s Great: They used to show this every year on the 25 Days of Christmas on abcFamily. It’s a great spin on a classic tale.
23) Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the film based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. Frank is a conman who pretends to be a teacher, pilot, doctor, and lawyer all before his 21st birthday. He steals millions of dollars in forged checks. Tom Hanks is the FBI Agent, Carl, that tracks him through the years, finally catching up with him.
Why it’s Great: While this isn’t your typical Christmas film, Christmas plays a significant part as it is the time that the two intersect throughout the years in the film. DiCaprio and Hanks are amazing in this film as they are such subperb actors. It’s a great thing to watch.
22) Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
This film takes place in the midst of Beauty and the Beast. The Beast hates Christmas, because in this version that’s when the Enchantress came and turned him into a Beast. Belle is trying to bring back Christmas to the castle and help heal the Beast’s soul, but has to contend with an evil organ played by Tim Curry. For more Beauty and the Beast posts go here.
Short film based on the song about the magic hat that brings a snowman to life and his adventures with the town’s kids.
Why it’s Great: Its Frosty! How can you not love him?
21) Babes in Toyland (1986)
Drew Barrymore is a young girl who is not quite in the Christmas’ spirit. There is a huge storm and she gets into an accident waking up in Toyland. Mary Contrary (who looks just like her sis in ‘real life’) is being forced to marry the evil Barnaby Barnacle. She really loves Jack Be Nimble (played by Keanu Reeves and looks like her sis’ bf in ‘real life’.) Barrymore tries to stop the wedding and Barnaby’s atempt to conquer Toyland. They have to find the toymaker and get his help in saving the land.
Why it’s Great: This Wizard of Oz-esque film is adorable as it brings all the nursery rhymes you learned as a child to life.
A young creation, Edward Scissorhands, is discovered by an Avon saleslady, Peg. His creator was going to give him actual hands, but was not able to finish Edward before he died. The Avon saleslady takes him home to her place and has him join the family. Edward falls for the daughter Kim, played by Winona Ryder. Edward quickly becomes liked by all as he uses his scissors to create lawn art and cute hairstyles. After he is caught burglarizing a house, for Kim and her jerk boyfriend, he finds himself ostracized. In the end Edward is able to find love, his place, create more art, and make it snow.
Why it’s Great: First of all it has Vincent Price, in fact this was his last film before he died. It also is a super cute story, even though it has its sad moments. The last section of the film deals with Christmas, as Peg and her family throw a huge Christmas party that no one comes to as they are shunning the fam. I love Winona Ryder’s white dress in this film, I really want one for myself. It’s also really cute at the end when Edward makes the ice sculptures, and snow.
19) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Our second Tim Burton film on our list. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, and the most popular guy in Halloweentown is disatisfied with his life. He journeys out of town and discovers doors to other holiday towns. When he goes into Christmasland he decides that he will take over Christmas and improve it. Of course nothing turns out quite as he plans.
Sandra Bullock works at a toll booth and everyday she watches the distinguished (and my opinion ugly) Peter Gallagher and has developed a crush on him. One day he is attacked and injured and she saves his life. At the hospital she is mistaken for his fiancé and soon brought into the family. She falls in love with them, along with Gallagher’s brother, played by Bill Pullman. Gallagher wakes up to find himself massively confused, and Bullock finds herself engaged to the wrong brother. Everything works out on the end as all is righted.
Why it’s Great: Well first of all it has Bill Pullman :D. Secondly it is a hilarious film, just like all of Bullock’s comedys. I mean the amnesia scene is to die for. The proposal scene with Bill Pullman is so an adorable and romantic!
17) The Holiday (2006)
Two women who have suffered horrible breakups switch homes for the Christmas holiday. Iris, Kate Winslet, in England goes to California, and befriends an elderly neighbor and falls in love with a Hollywood movie theme writer (played by Jack Black). Amanda, Cameron Diaz, in California, moves to England and falls for Iris’ brother, Jude Law, widower with two kids.
Why it’s Great: Its an absolutely adorable idea and the couples match up are perfect. Of course the most points go to the sexy dad, Jude Law. 😀
16) Nestor: The Long- Eared Donkey (1977)
Nestor is a donkey born with extremely long ears. In the vein of Dumbo, Nestor is constantly picked on and bullied for being so different. An angel encourages him that he was born that way for a reason and has a special purpose in life. Eventually, Nestor finds himself being the donkey that Mary rides in to Bethlehem, protecting her and the unborn Baby Jesus.
Why it’s Great: It is such a cute movie!!!
15) The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
This film is based on the song, “Carol of the Drum” or “The Little Drummer Boy“. A little boy and his animals end up becoming slaves to a circus, being treated cruelly by all. He escapes and one of his animals is injured. He meets up with the Three Magi’s caravan and goes with them to see Baby Jesus. His animal is healed and he plays his drum as thank you to Jesus.
Why it’s Great: It is one of the most adorable classic cartoons that they used to show every year on abcFam.
14) Jack Frost (1979)
Jack Frost has fallen for a human girl and makes a deal that will allow him be human. He is until Spring to win her over and must also gain a horse and bag of gold in order to remain human. Being a human is harder than he thought as he has no idea the social niceties and has to contend with Kubla Khan, the evil dictator.
Why it’s Great: Jack is amazing, much better than the gold knight the girl end sup with ;(. Makes you knida wish he was real. This cartoon also has great musical numbers as “Jack Frost” and “Just What I Always Wanted“. I also loves Kubla Khan’s little dummy that he talks to.
13) The Godfather (1972)
Such an awesome film! The Godfather is a story about the Italian mafia in the 1940s. This specific sect is overseen by Don Corleone. He has three sons; Alfredo (played by John Cazale), Santino (James Caan), and Michael (Al Pacino); and one daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Santino is next in line to be godfather, skipping over his brother Fredo. Unlike his siblings, Michael wants nothing to do with his father’s business, instead wanting to live a “legal” life. When Don Corleone is shot by a rival, it changes everyone’s plans as they are all spiraled down a new path.
Why it’s Great: Two words, The Godfather. There is no way to describe how amazing this film is, well actually You’ve Got Mail does a pretty good job. You just have to check it out for yourself. This film isn’t a Christmas movie really, but does have a Christmas scene, so it counts. It’s funny, but even though this doesn’t have Thanksgiving, we usually watch it then in my family.
12) The Nativity Story (2006)
A retelling of the birth of Christ from Mary and Joseph’s point of view. It shows the struggle that Joseph goes through, contemplating what to do about pregnant Mary. Then the two have to travel far and long to Bethlehem.
Why it’s Great: They tried to keep the story as historical accurate as possible and do such a great job. It really tries to bring the biblical text to life and get you to empathize with the two and the situations they are going through.
11) The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)
A mini-series based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved books. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, enter a wardrobe and a magical world. The four find themselves caught in a battle between the evil White Witch and the Godly Lion, Aslan.
Why it’s Great: C.S. Lewis’ great book = Great movie. Enough said! While Christmas isn’t the biggest part of the plot, the group do run into Father Christmas who gives them gifts they need to win the fight against the White Witch. Peter gets a sword and shield, Susan a bow and horn that will always bring help, and Lucy a dagger and a healing substance to help the wounded. While this movie was remade by Disney, it doesn’t hold a candle to this mini-series, as the series while not having the great special effects, is almost exactly the book.
10) White Christmas (1954)
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are WWII veterans who became a song and dance duo. The two meet up with a pair of singing sisters and both head off to the same ski lodge. There they discover their old general is the owner, and may lose the place from lack of buisness and snow. The two come up with an idea to house a show there with the sisters. Bing Crosby starts a romance but the two break it off due to some misunderstandings. In the end they are all reunited and have a great number honoring the General and singing the title, White Christmas.
Why it’s Great: First of all Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye! Secondly this has some truly great musical numbers; such as “Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army“, “Sisters“, along with the title song. It’s a silly and zany film, you’ll love it.
8) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The Peanut gang try to figure out the true meaning of Christmas amid all the insanities of the holiday.
Garfield and the gang head out to the Arbuckle farm for some old fashioned country Christmas
Why it’s Great: Its from the good Garfield cartoons I grew up watching as a kid. That hilarious fat cat always makes the season brighter. Go here to watch.
7) A Christmas Story (1983)
Adult Ralphie narrates the time when his nine-year-old self desired a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and all the trouble he went through to try and get it. Throughout the time leading up to Christmas, he, his family, and friends are involved in all kinds of crazy antics. The father wins a female leg lamp, Ralphie’s friend Flick gets his tongue stuck to a pole, his brother won’t eat unless pretending to be a pig, Ralphie gets a pink-footed bunny pajamas, etc. It all leads up to one crazy Christmas.
Why it’s Great: This movie is extremely hilarious. Pretty much every scene I mentioned there and more. It is is truly a classic piece. You gotta add it to your Christmas countdown. 😀
6) The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
The Bishop is trying to get a new cathedral built along with all his other duities. Feeling stressed out, he calls out to God for help, and is answered by angel Dudley, Cary Grant. Dudley helps out, that is by spending all his time with the Bishop’s wife. Through this the Bishop is finally able to see what really matters in his life and the true meaning of Christmas.
Why it’s Great: Uh…Cary Grant! It also has such funny actics as when we see Grant’s angel powers. I mean I wish I had his tree decorating skills. This film also proves the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” is something that one should think on. 😀 For more thoughts on this film go here.
5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
The Grinch hates Christmas and decides to destroy and end the holiday, ruining the holiday for all the Whos. However, the Grinch finds out what the true spirit of christmas is, whether he wants to or not.
Why it’s Great: The Grinch was always my fav Dr. Seuss book. I just love the story so much! I remember that one year I ate a ton of a certain type of cereal and sent away for a special Grinch keychain. I lost it though in one of our moves. This film is also awesome because it has the amazing Boris Karloff narrating, and has one of the all-time best songs, “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch“.
4) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A Macy’s department store Santa believes himself to be the “real” Santa Claus. His insistence lands him in jail and then in a huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is real
Why it’s Great: It’s an amazing film about faith, believing in the intangible, and the true meaning of Christmas. Edmund Gwenn is a perfect Santa, Maureen O’Hara is lovely as always, and it stars a young Natalie Wood. It has amazing scenes as Santa turns Macy’s into a store of goodwill, taking down the psychologist, and pretty much just being adorable. Best scene ever is the court scenes when they prove Santa’s real. 😀
3) Holiday Inn (1942)
Bing Crosby plays a burnt out singer and moves to Connecticut to buy a country home and live a simple life. It soon becomes too much for him and he turns it into a hotel, open only on holidays. (Sounds like my type of place) Wannabe star Linda Mason starts to work for him and the two fall in love. Unfortunately, Crosby’s old partner and womanizer, played by Fred Astaire, comes back into the picture and tries to break up the two. It involves a lot of zany romance and comical moments.
Why it’s Great: The holiday songs are amazing; White Christmas, Happy Holidays, (Come to) Holiday Inn, Be Careful It’s My Heart, I Can’t Tell a Lie, etc. The wonderful partnership of Bing and Fred make this movie really great! 😀 A great watch. Now for some fun facts. This is the first time “White Christmas” was performed in a film. The same set was used for the film White Christmas which also stars Bing. The hotel chain Holiday Inn got their name from this movie.
2) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan work together in a shop in Budapest and can’t stand each other. Unbeknownst to them they are actually the pen pals that they are falling in love with. Stewart realizes this and does everything he can to show Sullivan that he is the man she loves and the two end up happily ever after. It was later remade as You’ve Got Mail.
Why it’s Great: JIMMY STEWART! That pretty much says it all. I love this film so, so, so, much, there are no words to describe how great it is. So romantic! ❤
1) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a troubled man. An angel, Clarence, is given the story of George’s life and sent down from heaven to help him. George has always dreamed of leaving his hometown and traveling the world. Unfortunately, no matter what he does he continues to be stuck there. He marries and helps the town in many ways, but doesn’t realize all the good he does. However, when a large sum of money goes missing and everything in his life seems to be going wrong he wishes he was never born at all. Clarence helps him by granting his wish and showing him how ugly Bedford Falls would be without him.
Why it’s Great: This is one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart films. There’s a reason why this film is played every year, besides the fact that it is JIMMY STEWART! It is a great movie that really shows you how even the smallest acts can make a difference in people’s life. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on this film go here. This film always makes me think of my dad. He has done so much for people and can get frustrated as he doesn’t feel like his has accomplished much. “Clarence: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
So Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a great day full of family, friends, and fun. 😀