Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I have been a fan of  Star Wars ever since I was little and was super excited when Disney picked up Star Wars and started making more movies. But, I was just disappointed in them and I was hoping this movie would be better. It was. It wasn’t great and I’m sure I didn’t completely dislike because it was Disney.

It was really interesting getting to learn Han Solo’s backstory. But there was so much more room for a more creative story. It in some ways filled in the gaps of who Han Solo is in ways that I didn’t really like. I didn’t really like the way they portrayed all the characters it made some of them seem different than who they were in the original movies. Some of Han’s backstory did also seem like it was a bit similar to Darth Vaders because Disney characterized them in similar ways .

Also, even though it is Han Solo, it bugged me that Disney had to put in yet another one of their cliche love stories into the movie. It in a way it reminded me of the Padme and Anakin relationship.

I did like the fighting scenes though. There was some classic Star Wars style fighting scenes and special effects that I really enjoyed watching. It helped the movie seem like a Star Wars movie.

I still enjoyed watching the movie and would totally recommend any Star Wars fan to watch it. But it isn’t really about the storyline, it’s more about the special effects and fighting.

-Ava G.

Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts is even more eventful than his first. Before school starts, Harry is warned by an elf named Dobby that he should not return to Hogwarts. Harry dismisses Dobby’s warning and goes anyways. At Hogwarts, Harry hears a strange voice coming from inside the walls. Throughout the year, the voice becomes more fierce and soon students at Hogwarts begin to get attacked. Harry quickly finds out, by mistake, that he’s a Parselmouth. Parselmouth is the ability to speak to serpents. When Harry finds this out, people believe him to be Slytherin’s heir and the one who will open the Chamber of Secrets and release the monster inside. Harry then tries finding who is attacking the students. His, Ron’s and Hermione’s first guess is Draco Malfoy. They disguise as Slytherins and ask him if he is attacking the students. Draco responds by claiming that he’s not the one they’re looking for. Soon after Hermione gets attacked and petrified, and Ron’s sister Ginny gets kidnapped and taken down to the Chamber of Secrets. Ron and Harry go into the Chamber to find her and get split up. Harry quickly finds Ginny and destroys Slytherin’s heir who is a young version of Voldemort.

-Emilio V.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

allthelightwecannotsee_anthonydoerrWhen I’m recommended a World War II book, my mind immediately thinks of shooting, and guns, and war. But this is not one of THOSE books. I could honestly say it impacted my perspective on life. Not to mention it won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Anthony Doerr’s historical fiction, All the Light We Cannot See follows the story of two individuals who could not be more different. Marie-Laure, a blind, French girl, and Werner, an orphan, German boy grow up separately. Living in Paris, Marie-Laure’s father helps her with her eyesight disability by creating a tangible model of her city. But when she is 12, Marie-Laure and her father escape Paris after it is taken over by the Nazis and flee to Saint-Malo and her uncle in France.

Werner, an extremely bright boy, grows up in a small mining town with his sister. They find a broken radio that he fixes and is soon recruited at an academy for Hitler Youth. He eventually is dispatched on the field to track radios operated by the resistance.

The book explores the hardships these children have to face as they grow up in a war zone, but with a light mood. The book beautifully explores the potential of humanity. The innocent, humbling characters find hope in places with no light to be seen. In this way, this story did not include all the cliches of war books.

From the first word to the very last, Doerr somehow painted a beautiful, poetic picture of their lives during this depressing time. Marie-Laure and Werner were children finding their own way in a corrupt world. Their motivating strength to survive was the main thing that inspired me live life and find light and hope, even in the darkest places. You may not be able to see the light, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there for you to discover.

-Megan A.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. IT can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell about animals who over throw there farmer and establish a new government. This book is known as a allegory. This is supposed to depict the Russian Revolution.

They have many similarities in the book like how animalism sounds a lot like communism. Communism is the government that was first thought of by Karl Marx. The idea consists of that every one is equal.

In the book the Farmer Mr Jones just treats the animals horribly. He never feeds them and often he just shoots them and orders them around. The animals decide they have had enough of this and overthrow Jones and establish animalism.

Now in the book the pigs took power and told the half witted animals lies and the most stupidest things that you could think of. Because of course that actually happened. The three main pigs in the book are Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer. They represent Stalin, Trotsky, and Squealer was actually the propaganda Machine.

In the book he would win every argument because he knew Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. They are known as Ethics, Emotions, and Logic. He would use these in every argument in the book. When Squealer would say something he would win the dumb animals over to him and Napoleons side.

If you know your Russian History you can probably guess what happened to Snowball because he is Trotsky. There aren’t really any spoilers in the book because these events actually happened. But when you read the book you find at least some sentiment for the things that happened to people during the Russian Revolution.

The one fact that stuns people is that how dumb the animals are. I mean you would think that they would be a little more smarter but there not. They are just plain dumb. Another main part of the book was that it also showed other countries as farms such as England and Germany as Pilkington and Fredrick who represent the farmers.

-Max U.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Voltron: Legendary Defender; Season One Review

Voltron” is a name that may be familiar with people of many different generations. It was most noticeable for its original debut in the 1980s under the show titled Voltron: Defender of the Universe, however it has had many revivals over the years with…generally subpar success to their names.  But its most recent incarnation, Voltron: Legendary Defender, quickly shot up in popularity when Netflix announced it in 2016.  So what was all the hype about?

Voltron: Defender of the Universe brought up dark subjects with children that other, similar cartoons would often avoid. It was still incredibly corny, of course, but it left a lasting impact on its young audience because it didn’t shy away from these topics.  Needless to say, Voltron: Legendary Defender had a lot to live up to.  If it couldn’t impact old fans and new fans in a similar way to the original, it would fade into obscurity like the reboots before it.  So was it impactful?  Did it live up to the legacy of the original show?

Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at this reboot season by season to see if it’s worth all the hype it received.

Season one of Voltron: Legendary Defender is very simplistic, but sets up a very interesting world with its eleven episodes. From the first episode – which, to be fair, is an hour long without commercials, so it does have a lot of time to make a first impression – you can immediately tell the tone that this series wants to take.  The opening scene literally depicts the kidnapping and torture of three innocent human astronauts.  Immediately after, though, we cut to the antics of three in-training space cadets: Lance, Hunk, and Pidge.  This may sound contradictory but the show is very good at balancing the serious moments with the more lighthearted moments.

The Galra Empire is an empire that has spread its reach throughout the universe for thousands of years, and they have conquered almost every planet up until the Milky Way. Their leader, Zarkon, grows stronger with every planet they conquer, and the heroes are racing against time to defeat this big baddy.  This is the premise of the show, and the turmoil and politics of the Galra empire are a major plot point within the series.

The story of this season ends with quite a bang as well. The heroes take a rescue mission right into the heart of Galra territory, and face off with Zarkon himself.  Although they’re able to escape, they don’t escape without taking some heavy damage first, and the season ends on a dramatic cliff hanger.  It’s a cheesy way to rack up interest for the next season, but it works.  So does the series fulfill its enticing premise and current potential?  Tune in next time to find out!

-Leanne W.

Neville’s Seventh Year Pt. 1

This is a fanfiction written in Neville’s perspective as he enters into his seventh year at Hogwarts. I always wondered what Neville was going through while Harry, Ron, and Hermione searched for Horcruxes, so I decided to write about what his experience might have been like. I’ll most likely be adding to this story in future posts. Hope you enjoy 🙂


“Neville, you had better not have forgotten anything else!”

Neville winced. He had nearly left his wand on his bed this morning. His wand. And then there had been his robes which he’d left in his closet. He’d thought he finally had everything gathered, until they arrived at King’s Cross Station, and he’d lost his herbology book.

“Honestly,” his grandmother had said, shaking her head. “How does someone lose a book that was in a trunk?

She was a bit exasperated by now, which was saying something. Neville’s grandmother had grown accustomed to his unusual knack for misplacing nearly everything he touched. She was now rifling through his trunk with a frown, making sure he hadn’t somehow lost something else.

“Neville!” He spun around to see a head of flaming red hair making its way toward him.

“Ginny!” He sighed, somewhat relieved. He’d be spared from a full-blown reprimanding from his grandmother.

Ginny came into view, after shouldering her way through the crowded platform. She was wearing an olive-green sweater and simple jeans. She looked weary, and her eyes were slightly red, as if she’d been crying. She smiled genuinely at him nonetheless.

“Hey Neville! Do you happen to be missing a toad?” She asked, holding out her hands.

Neville’s eyes widened. His grandmother’s head jerked up.

“But — ,” he touched his shoulder where he could’ve sworn Trevor had been moments earlier.

His grandmother’s nostrils flared, and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Thank you, dear,” she said kindly to Ginny, taking the toad from her hands.

“Of course,” Ginny replied, looking as if she was about to burst out laughing.

Neville’s grandmother placed Trevor firmly in his free hand, and gave him a stern look. She didn’t have to voice anything; the message was clear.

“You two should get going,” she said, nodding toward the train and closing up Neville’s trunk. “It’s nearly eleven o’clock.”

“Right,” mumbled Neville.

He carefully placed Trevor in his pocket and quickly hugged his grandmother.

“You be careful,” she said, patting his back.

He grimaced. Augusta Longbottom wasn’t one for mushy goodbyes, but given the times … Her behaviour only confirmed his worries.

“Bye, grandmother,” he called, heaving his trunk toward the train, while Ginny followed in toe.

Neville and Ginny boarded the train, and had no trouble locating an empty compartment.

“Bunch of parents probably pulled their children out of school because of Snape,” Ginny said, voicing Neville’s thought. “Mum was reluctant to let me go, but I insisted. I couldn’t just stay at home all day, you know?”

Neville nodded and smiled faintly at the thought of his own grandmother making him stay home. She’d never do such a thing.

He placed Trevor haphazardly onto the windowsill and, with the help of Ginny, hauled his trunk up onto the rack above the seats. Then, remembering his venomous tentacula, brought the trunk back down to retrieve it from the side pocket where he kept it. After laboriously returning his trunk back to its place upon the rack, he and Ginny finally settled down on the plush, maroon seats of the Hogwarts Express. Neville glanced out the window, and could just barely make out the bird on his grandmother’s hat. He watched it grow smaller and smaller as the train pulled away from the station and started picking up speed.


-Elina T.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” With these ominous words begins one of the most celebrated murder mysteries of all time: The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Powerful and prosperous, the Baskervilles had always enjoyed a pleasant life, until a horrifying event results in Sir Charles Baskerville dying mysteriously, and his heir, Sir Henry, left to tend for land rumored to be haunted by an enormous, ferocious hound!!!

Naturally, such a extraordinary case can only be solved by an extraordinary detective, and one has to look no farther than Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the world’s only consulting detective. With his faithful companion Dr. Watson by his side, Holmes attempts to untangle the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the Baskerville household and the creepy Grimpen moor.

Packed full of horror, fear, and a touch of dark humor, The Hound of the Baskervilles is an intriguing novella that even the most mystery-averse readers will find irresistible. It has everything that makes a book timeless, with an unforgettable plot, fascinating characters, and a surprise ending that will startle even the most complacent of people.

Any and all fans of Sherlock Holmes, mysteries, crime, adventure, or all of the above should most definitely check out The Hound of the Baskervilles this summer – you will not regret it!

– Mahak M.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library