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

Image result for christmas nanny princess movie

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

Image result for buildabearville north pole

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

Image result for maplestory 2 christmas event

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: 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

BBN_BRUSH

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

BBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOK

Fanfiction Friday: Lvely Vmin

I haven’t done a Fanfiction Friday in a long time, but while I was in my reading slump, I was reading fanfiction and threadfics through Twitter almost daily. I was so inspired by some of these authors that I created a second Twitter in case I ever wrote threadfics of my own. The one author that kept me coming back was lvelyvmin or Em. She writes fanfiction mostly about Taehyung and Jimin of BTS, but she sometimes writes stories about the other members of BTS.

I love hybrid fics, but most fanfiction in this genre are just for wolf hybrids so that the stories can focus on heats and ruts. Em isn’t like this. She writes hybrid stories for different animals, and none of them really focus on the sexual sides of those animals, but instead focus on the sweet and unique characteristics of each species.

Along with writing threadfics on Twitter, she writes beautiful full-length Archive Of Our Own stories. She also makes AMAZING moodboards for almost all of her fics, big or small, and you can view them all in the master threads linked below. Here are my top 4 favorite fics of hers. If you want to view a full list of all her fics on Archive of Our Own, threadfics on Twitter, and story ideas, click here.

The bear hybrid universe that Lvelyvmin has created is beautiful. Tae is a bear hybrid, and he struggles to date as many people view him as “boring” during his hybernation. Jimin loves him for who he is, and is willing to learn everything about bear hybrids to support his boyfriend.

This master thread includes short stories about Vmin’s early relationship, and stories of them more established down the line. My favorite stories in this universe are about Vmin adopting other bear hybrid children. No one wants bear hybrid children in this world as they are considered to be burdens because of their hybernation. Vmin want to help as many children as they can fit in their family, as Taehyung knows what they need and how to take care of them.

Lvelyvmin’s panther hybrid universe is just as good as the bear universe. Jimin is the hybrid this time, and he is persecuted by society because he is a predator. The society views predators as being dangerous, so no one wants to be with them. Tae is a sweet human who loves Jimin for the sweet man he is. Jimin would never hurt anyone, and Tae is determined to prove that to people. He also has a son, who Jimin immediately falls in love with. They face prejudice from society as everyone thinks that Jimin shouldn’t be trusted around children. Whenever Jimin stars to feel down, Tae always reminds him of what a good father he is. The little mini stories included in this universe are amazing, I would definitely recommend that you read all the threads in the master thread linked above!

This adorable fic is actually on Archive of Our Own, and it is about Jimin, a makeup Youtuber, and his tattoo artist boyfriend. This was one of the first full-length fics that I read from lvelyvmin, and I loved it. The two are both artists and they fit each other perfectly, and I loved both fics written about these two characters. The first one I read was when Jimin was doing a “boyfriend does my makeup” challenge with Tae. Tae is a tattoo artist, but he is an artist nonetheless, and the entire video is just Jimin realizing how much his boyfriend really pays attention to and supports his makeup career. Definitely a must-read.

I love universes where someone is a supernatural being trying to protect their very human partner. Tae wants to make sure that Jimin isn’t actually hurt by the dangerous ghosts and demons around them, but he also wants to allow Jimin to keep his dreams of his supernatural show. So he has to toe the line between allowing Jimin to see “proof of supernatural beings” and scaring the real ghosts away. I hope that this au is expanded on even more, or maybe into a full fic, but we will see what happens!

Thanks for reading these recommendations, I hope you like Lvelyvmin’s stories as much as I did!

Fated: Cinderella's Story Review (Destined #1)

Fated: Cinderella's Story (Destined, #1)

Ella is the only non-mage in her household. Her stepmother Zel has to stay hidden because she is a powerful mage. She was under the control of someone who held her True Name and was forced to kill many with her powers in the past, so she has many enemies. Now that Zel has two twin daughters who are also mages, she has to make sure that she and her girls stay hidden. If Zel is arrested, the family will be torn apart. So Ella does all in her power to keep the bakery running to support her family. She is also studying at the Royal Academy to try to get a better job to move her family out of the small apartment at the bakery. A mage named Weslan shows up at the bakery looking for protection, and his staying at the bakery threatens Ella’s family’s safety. When a bomb goes off during her final exam and she is hurt, her chance for graduation goes out the window. Ella has to pick up the pieces of her life and find a new way to protect her family.

I have run this blog for 3 years now, and I have read countless fairytales and fairytale retellings throughout my entire life. Something just always draws me to these stories of love and fantasy. I can say, hands down, that this is the best fairy tale retelling series I have ever read. At first I was thinking it would be second only to Court of Thorns and Roses, but the other books in this series continued the fairy tale retelling theme, and it quickly bumped its way up to first place for that category.

Ella isn’t your typical Cinderalla. Zel isn’t cruel to her. She isn’t forced to work for her stepsisters. She does all the work that she does simply because she loves her family and would do anything for them. She wants to get a job by graduating from the Royal Academy so that they can live more comfortably. She would work every day that she lived if it meant that they were safe, and she wouldn’t let anyone get in between her and her family. This is what made her so admirable to me. Family came first, in everything, and she was willing to work hard to keep them safe, even if it stressed her out.

I would also say that this fairy tale retelling deviates some from the original story, which I enjoyed a lot. There is an entire story about Mages versus those with no powers. Those who hold the True names of mages can force them to do their bidding, which means that the Mage population is greatly oppressed in this world. This story is woven delicately in and out of the original Cinderella tale, to make a unique and powerful one of its own. This is what made it my favorite fairytale retelling of all time, and that’s how this book dragged me out of my reading slump.

This story flows perfectly from scene to scene. I don’t believe that the POV ever shifted from Ella, but if it did, it wasn’t confusing in any way and fit right into the rest of the story. There were no dead points in the story or characters that I found to be irritating, so everything made for a very pleasant read.

I won’t spoil anything else as this book was a quick read for me and I don’t want to give any major plot points away. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy novels or who wants to read a fairytale retelling. This entire series is free through Kindle Unlimited, and book 6 is coming out this year, so I am extra excited to see what Kaylin Lee has in store!

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

BBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOK

Webtoon Wednesday: My Deepest Secret Review

Warning: This review will have some mentions of animal abuse, so if this bothers you, I suggest that you don’t read this review or this Webtoon!

I typically don’t like Drama/Thriller Webcomics or Webtoons, but I found myself drawn to this one. Emma is a sweet girl who has a boyfriend named Elios. They met while working at a coffee shop and have been together for several months, but Emma is still too scared to get close to him. He is so handsome, everything he does makes her freeze up, but she loves being his girlfriend. Emma thinks that her boyfriend is perfect and could do no wrong. The readers see another side of Elios.

In the first episode, a stray cat pees on Emma’s shoes and grosses her out. Emma leaves to clean off her shoes in the shop, leaving Elios outside with the cat for a few minutes. As the two pass a trashcan, readers see the body of the cat laying next to the can, spattered in blood. I was totally not expecting this for the first episode, but this was how readers know that something is definitely not right with Elios.

This Webtoon will bounce back and forth between the POVs of Emma, another character that she meets in the beginning episodes, and a general POV that just gives more information about the story from no specific character’s viewpoint. There are some points in the story where you can see what Elios is doing, but there isn’t anything besides a few flashbacks that are actually from Elios’ POV so far. I’m expecting more of his POV to be in the next season, where things kick up a notch from the look of the cliffhanger.

The only complaint I have about this comic is that it seemed to be moving a bit slowly. We are 39 episodes in, and the author is currently on a break, but I don’t think that Emma thinks that anything is really off about Elios yet. Only a bit off, even though readers know he has done a lot of messed up things already. I also wish we knew a bit more about what happened to Emma when she was a child. We only have flashbacks of some sort of traumatic experience, but I feel like telling the full story of her childhood would greater enhance the reader’s understanding of why Elios has latched onto her so and why she feels so connected to him.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this Webtoon to anyone looking for a dramatic thriller with some horror elements.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 paintbrushes

BBN_BRUSHBBN_BRUSHBBN_BRUSHBBN_BRUSH