Bri's Favorite Holiday Things

Happy Holidays everyone! I love the holiday season, but I haven’t actually had the time to read many holiday-themed books this year. So here is a list of a few of my favorite holiday books, movies, video game events, and snacks!

Favorite All-Time Christmas Book

The Christmas Doll

This book is about two young orphans who work in a workhouse in London, and who escape to the streets after a fever sickens many of the girls. They loved a doll that was in the window of a nearby shop for months as they worked, and they soon find a doll that looks similar on the streets where they now live.

I recieved this book many years ago for Christmas, and I loved it when I read it. I can’t remember too much about it, but I am planning on rereading it soon and giving it a full review on here, hopefully before Christmas this year.

Favorite Recent Christmas Book

The Wish of Xmas Present: A Christmas Romance  (The Styles of Love, #2)

I don’t read a lot of Christmas books, and when I do read Christmas books, I rarely read Christmas romance novels. I find that they tend to be simply romance books with a tree or two, and then they call it a Christmas story. This is the second book in a series about two college professors falling for one another, and it revolves around the two and their relationships with their family. This was what truly made it a Christmas book for me, the focus on family and how that tied in with their overall relationship. If you would like to read my full review of this novel, please click here.

Favorite All-Time Christmas Movie

Image result for new york city ballet the nutcracker movie

Alright so I cheated a little bit here. My favorite Christmas “movie” is actually a ballet called The Nutcracker. Technically it has been made into a film several times or the actual ballets have been recorded and distributed as a film, so it counts to me! I personally used to take ballet lessons in elementary school and I performed in the Nutcracker at 8 years old as a soldier, so the Nutcracker will always put me in the Christmas spirit. The Nutcracker, for those who don’t know, is a ballet about a young girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift from her godfather. At night, when Clara goes to check on her new gift, she is swept away to a magical land full of evil mice, soldiers, and a handsome prince.

Favorite Recent Christmas Movie

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I’m not that big on Hallmark movies. I find them to be pretty boring and repetitive personally. But I don’t have a problem sitting down and watching them with my family when the Christmas season comes around. This Thanksgiving, we ended up watching this movie together, and I really enjoyed it. It is about a woman named Allie who is fired from her job as a maid in a hotel in NYC and is hired to be a governess for a princess in Europe. She takes the job because she needs to send money to her sister and brother who are still in school / looking for work, but when she gets there, she thinks that she is definitely the wrong fit for the job. Even though this movie was just as cheesy as other Hallmark films, I still enjoyed it a lot.

Favorite All-Time Holiday Game Event

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I loved Build A Bear Ville as a kid, and this is still probably my favorite Holiday Themed video game event of all time. I still remember waiting on Thanksgiving for Bearville to drop the holiday update so that I could get on with my little sister and we could skate our characters around the Ice Skating Rink while watching Hal and Holly movie that the company had released. I would also spend hours in the Mrs’ Claus cafe buying all the Christmas themed food items that I would sip on all year until the next Christmas so that I would never run out. This game, albeit simple, was probably one of my favorite games of all time because of all the fun childhood memories.

Favorite Recent Holiday Game Event

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Maplestory 2 is such a cute MMO that I love to play, and their new Kritias expansion is a perfect mixture of holiday cheer with a serious game expansion. This expansion has added a whole new map to the game and increased the level cap from 70 to 99, but it has also added an area called Happy Kritias that is completely decked out for the holidays. I wish that there was a cool mount like last year, but I don’t know if that will be available to unlock yet. I am definitely going to be spending a lot of time in Maplestory 2 in between streaming and finishing Darksiders 3. Follow me on Twitch to catch my streams!

Favorite Recent Holiday Snack

Image result for clancy's pretzel stars

I love Aldi, I love minty chocolate things, and I love pretzels. This perfect mix of sweet, salty, chocolatey, and minty, I just can’t stop eating them. Perfect movie snack!

I hope you all are having a good week, let me know in the comments what some of your favorite holiday things are. Thanks for reading!

Webtoon Wednesdays: BOO! It's Sex Review

This comic was a collaboration between Monica Gallagher and Danielle Corsetto to create a proper sex ed comic for girls. I didn’t know what to expect when I started it, I just came across it while scrolling through the Webtoon app at midnight. By the time I forced myself to stop reading, I was 40 episodes in and had learned sooo much that I would have never found out any other way.

In this story, 4 girls move into a house near their college for their freshman year. It is an abandoned old sorority house, and they find some remnants of the girls who used to live there when they move in. One was an old tequila bottle that they open, and a ghost named Tara pops out! She was a sorority girl when she died, was happily sexually active, and is determined to help these four girls live their best SAFE lives in college.

I didn’t even know that this comic was supposed to be a sort of Sex Ed until I actually got into the series. I just thought that it had a unique title and wanted to see what it was about. Then, I started learning things that I had never known before, stuff that I wanted to send to my other friends who are in college. This comic should honestly be required reading for high schools and colleges, it teaches so much important information. Sex should not be a taboo topic as teens are likely to have sex with or without proper education, so it is more important that they are given the tools to make educated decisions. That is what this comic/proper sex education does, helps you make educated decisions about your body and your life.

This comic also has a unique and compelling story about the love lives of the individual girls. The girls all have different sexual orientations and levels of sexual activity, so Tara has to tailor her lessons to each of them individually. Their stories grow as the comic goes on, and Tara just keeps popping in as the helpful and friendly ghost.

I would definitely recommend this comic to anyone looking for good sex ed materials, or to anyone looking for a good story with amazing art. I hope that these authors get together to create another comic, whether educational or purely for entertainment.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 paintbrushes.

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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Recent Additions To My Bookshelf

I have added quite a few books to my temporary/permanent bookshelf lately, temporary being Kindle Unlimited Shelf. Here are my Top Ten Books that have been added to my bookshelf and that I plan to read or have read recently!

1 Nissa: A Contemporary Fairy Tale

Nissa: A Contemporary Fairy Tale

I have finished this book already, and I absolutely loved it. My full review is coming soon, I was just lucky enough to get it when I saw that it was free from someone on Instagram I think. Great book!

2: Pathways (Kingdom Chronicles Book 1)

Pathways (The Kingdom Chronicles Book 1) by [Peters, Camille]

I don’t know anything about this book besides the fact that it is a Princess and the Pea retelling and it was free on Kindle Unlimited. I can’t wait to check it out!

3: Beauty and the Beast (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 1)

Beauty and the Beast (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 1) by [Shea, K. M.]

Another book that I don’t know much about besides the fact that it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and that it is free on Kindle Unlimited. Can’t wait to get started!

4: A Dance of Silver and Shadow: A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Beyond The Four Kingdoms Book 1)

A Dance of Silver and Shadow: A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Beyond the Four Kingdoms Book 1) by [Cellier, Melanie]

And yet another classic fairy tale retelling on Kindle Unlimited! I wanted to give all these new authors a chance, and I cannot wait to dig into these stories. I can already tell that they are going to be good.

5: Hunted: Alba’s Story (Destined #5)

Hunted: Alba's Story (Destined Book 5) by [Lee, Kaylin]

I’ve already finished and loved this book, so I can’t wait to write my review for you all. This was the last book currently published in the Destined serries, so I am looking forward to the sixth book which is probably coming out fairly soon.

6: Odriel’s Heirs

Odriel's Heirs (Odriel's Heirs, #1)

An author recently emailed this book to me, so I am interested in checking out this YA fantasy novel!

7: Death Warden

Death Warden

Another YA fantasy novel sent to me by an author that I absolutely NEED to get around to reading. It sounds amazing!

8: The Fight for Magicallus

The Fight for Magicallus

I don’t read children’s/middle grade fantasy books much, but this was another book sent to me by an author that I have been enjoying so far. Can’t wait to write my full review of it.

9: Awakening the Vampire

Awakening the Vampire

I received this book a while back and never got the chance to actually read it, so I am looking forward to finally finishing this book in the Shadow-Walkers series. Hopefully I will have thi sreview finished for you all before the end of next month.

10: Once Tales, Myths, and Legends of Faerie

Once... Tales, Myths  and Legends of Faerie

Another book sent to me by an author. I’m determined to stay on top of these rquests in 2020, so I can’t wait to get to this book either.

I hope you all enjoiyed my list, and thanks for reading!

Twisted: Belle's Story Review (Destined #3)

Twisted: Belle's Story (Destined, #3)

Belle was in Ella’s story as one of the privileged students at the Royal Academy. She was also hurt in the attacks, but her family had the money to actually fully heal her. At least, that is the story told in Fated, Ella’s story.

The truth is that Belle was only pretending to act like a stuck-up privileged student to try to bring down her abusive father. She hates her father and was looking into his finances at the bank to see why her family stayed rich during the plague when all the other families took a financial hit. She thinks that she is onto something when the attack happens, and, and the brain damage she gets from the blast causes her to lose part of her memory. Her father refuses to let a healer heal her fully, and chooses to threaten her into submission. Without complete memory of what she was trying to achieve and who she was close to, Belle also has to deal with the prince trying to hit on her. He seems rather close to her, but she can’t even remember why.

I didn’t like Belle in Fated very much, but she only showed up for a brief moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a book that would be completely about her, but I knew that I wanted to finish the series. This book was a pleasant surprise.

Belle wasn’t as stuck up as I originally thought she was. She was only acting rude to Ella in order to make her father believe that she was on his side. Everything she did was an act to keep her father on her side, even though she was working against him. I was so sad when she lost her memories, she had been doing so well and was so close to her goal and then everything disappeared before her eyes because of the memory loss. She was one of the strongest “rich girl” characters that I have ever read in a story before, so I hope to see more of her in the books to come.

The only small complaint I had about this story was how much time Belle spent confused. It was kind of annoying after a while as a reader from Belle’s POV to know what she was supposed to be doing, and still see her wandering around, confused and in pain from her unhealed injury. I was only frustrated for a small amount of the book, but it was worth mentioning.

Another thing worth mentioning was that I couldn’t see much of the chemistry between the prince and Belle. They were an okay couple, but I didn’t love them as much as the couples in the previous two books. Overall, I think that this book would rank at the bottom of the books in this series, but because the series is so good, I think it is still a 4 star read.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Webtoon Wednesdays: Ghost Wife First Impressions

For the most part, I have only used Webtoon Wednesdays to review comics that I actually enjoy. I tend not to even pay attention to those that I don’t like, I just drop it and go to the next one. Ghost Wife is special. I haven’t liked ghost wife since I saw the art for the story, but I decided to give it a try for the heck of it. It kept getting recommended to me on the Featured page and I saw that a lot of people were reading it, so I assumed that it was going to be good. I assumed wrong.

So far I am 17 episodes in, and I don’t think I am going to go much further than that with this story. Let me start off by discussing the art style. I think that the art style could work for the creepy horror vibe, but this story is categorized as romance, as you can see in the banner. I was expecting at least some sweet art to sort of break up the horrific demons and monsters in the world, but the cutest thing that I have so far is a weird crocodile man thing. The MOUTHS on these characters are so gross. No one looks like they have any teeth except a few of the ghosts.

Look at this!! Like wtf. The mouths on all the human characters and then just THAT thing. I don’t think I can forgive the art style, I just can’t.

Then, there’s the story. The main character Liz is just sleeping in her room when she sees Damon eating cats?? And then he comes up to her room and is like “should I kill you or make you my wife”. Like what kind of question is that. Then, she starts seeing the Ghosts everywhere, so she just becomes his wife, and everyone around them simply accepts the fact that they are engaged and are in high school.

The story has the whole Frankenstein thing going but in a bad way. Damon doesn’t know how to be human, like at all, and so Liz is always trying to teach him things that he doesn’t know. There are even other ghosts that appear in the first 17 chapters that are able to express themselves more than our buddy Damon over here. I don’t know how the romance is supposed to happen if Damon doesn’t even seem to think in any sort of romantic terms.

At this point, 17 chapters in, there is nothing that is drawing me back to read more. I wouldn’t recommend this webtoon to anyone looking for a romance or a horror story, just read a different one.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 paintbrushes

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019

I made a few bookish/life discoveries in 2019, so here are my top 4 from the past year!

  1. Some of the best Webtoons are in the Canvas section.

I usually would go to the featured section of Webtoons by default, thinking that I was seeing the best ones. Then, I ventured into the Canvas section and had a blast. Some of the best stories came from these independent authors that I hadn’t known about, but they were hidden in the Canvas tab. The Canvas tab also doesn’t have the annoying coin system, where it can cost up to 50 cents just to read a chapter one week ahead. I could do a whole rant about the coin system, but that’s for another post. Long story short, if you have Line Webtoon, make sure to check out the Canvas section from time to time. I am going to make sure to review the Canvas Webtoons in some of my upcoming Webtoon Wednesdays to show them off.

2. The_WriteReads on Twitter

This community of bloggers run by The_Write Reads is amazing, I love seeing new amazing posts and supporting other bloggers. The huge blog tours that I have been on through The_WriteReads are also lots of fun. I would definitely recommend following if you are a fellow blogger!

3. Small Bookstores Near Where I Live/Go To School

I didn’t have any bookstores near my old house, but I have a couple that I want to check out since I moved. My school is near NYC however, so I end up commuting a lot, and I have made a habit of always stopping by local small bookstores to see what they have to offer. If you want to see some of the bookstores I popped in in 2019, check this and this IG posts about the store and this IG post about the haul.

4. Take A Break!

I really learned to take a break in 2019. I was moving from September to November, and then I had to try to adjust to commuting to and from school/work from my new house which was over an hour away by train. It was a crazy past few months, and I kept trying to force myself to read. Eventually, I had to re-learn how to enjoy reading, which made me not post as much. But I think this was my biggest bookish discovery, re-learning how to enjoy reading. Take a break if you need to, you will thank yourself.

Thanks for reading my albeit-late Top Ten Tuesday, and I hope you all have a good night.

Hidden: Rapunzel's Story Review (Destined #2)

Hidden: Rapunzel's Story (Destined, #2)

Zel is a mage with the Touch. If she touches someone, she can drain the life out of them. She has been under the control of an evil witch for years, and she can’t leave because the witch holds her True Name. Anything her mistress tells her to do, she has to do it. Every time she tries to escape she is caught and punished for it. When she isn’t trapped in her Tower, she is forced to murder people at her mistress’ demands.

When a man randomly climbs up to her tower, Zel knows she will be punished when he is found. But she just can’t force him to go away when he is willing to help her. No one has shown her kindness in years, but he wants to help her escape.

I have to be honest, I never felt much towards the Rapunzel story as a child. It was one of my least favorite tales, some girl up in a castle all her life and then BAM prince to take her away. I didn’t even like Tangled when it came out! But I definitely gained a fondness for the story after reading this retelling of the book.

Zel can take care of herself, and she would leave the castle if her mistress ever gave the chance. She has tried to escape multiple times, but she just can’t break free of her true name being used. The man who comes into her castle can help her create a plan to escape, but she still has to be the one to do it herself. She has to be able to build up the strength to fight back. She has to think of herself as worthy of being saved before she can save herself. Eventually, the man isn’t even helping her to escape much, but instead he is more like the princess in the castle, waiting for Zel to return from another one of her expeditions.

This book also explains a lot of the things that made Zel act the way she did in Fated. I never really understood why Zel was so scared of being caught at the bakery, but once you see her body count in Hidden, you know the danger. There are entire clans after Zel who would want to do to her family what she did to theirs, they do not care that Zel wasn’t even in control of her body as she killed people.

This book moved smoothly, and I was excited to keep reading as I was in the thick of it. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Zel next, and I finished both books 2 and 3 in the same day while commuting to work! This Destined series will draw you in and will not let you go until you hear the stories of all these girls.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new fairytale retelling series.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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