The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This book was also one of my favorite reads this year due to the sheer fact it’s sort of a different genre than what I normally go for. Typically, I’m a romance reader but this book had such high reviews I checked it out and fell in love.

It revolves around Avery Grambs who randomly inherits billions from billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne. She gets found by Tobias’ grandsons who investigate as to why their late grandfather left this mysterious girl his fortune. We get to see the story through Avery’s perspective and how she views all the Hawthorne brothers.

The plot is nothing like I’ve every seen before and had be intrigued on every aspect of the story. I would recommend to quite literally anyone. Good news, the is a trilogy so the story continues on and only gets better from here.

-Madison C.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Video Game Review: Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet were developed by the video game development company called Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022. They are reported to have sold more than 10 million copies combined in the first 3 days of sales. These games are completely different from all the previous installments in the series and considered the first role playing games in the 9th generation of Pokémon.  

The games have 3 separate story lines, each of which you can explore however you want and in any order you want. These open worlds allow you, the player, to travel wherever you want to, which is a first in a Pokémon game. It seems though that this feature may not have been fully though through, because as soon as you start the game and travel to somewhere far away from where you started, all of the Pokémon are at a higher level and can easily defeat you.

After playing through the game, I realized that there was a designated path that the player should have followed in a certain order. When you do this, in the correct order, then when you get to the higher levels, you are much more able to handle the stronger Pokémon and trainers. A major problem with this new release is the massive amount of performance issues, bugs, and frame rate issues. Many times, textures do not load properly and Pokémon models pop in and out constantly. There are also lighting problems, and crashes happen, more so than normal.

The idea of an open-world Pokémon game is very good in theory. I actually love the idea, but the execution of it did not turn out that well. I really liked everything else that was added into the game. If you look past the technical glitches of the game it is really fun and enjoyable. It’s definitely a different take on past versions of the Pokémon franchise and I do like the direction they are heading with the open world concept. I would recommend this game to anyone who already enjoys the Pokémon games have perhaps played some before and want to move further through the series. However, if you are new to Pokémon games in general, I would recommend that you play some of the other games available in the series prior to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet first, so that you can get a true feel for what the series is really all about and experience the game play that has made Pokémon a worldwide phenomenon.

How many trophies does Lionel Messi have?

Millions of people all over the world have been tuning in to watch the 2022 Qatar World Cup, especially the explosive final between France and Argentina. In the end, we saw Lionel Messi and Argentina lift the trophy victoriously, proving to the world that whether you agree that Messi is the greatest of all time or not, he has a highly impressive collection of trophies that make him one of the most decorated professional soccer players in the world.

During his 18-year career, Messi has achieved numerous honors. So, just how many trophies circle in Leo Messi’s orbit, you may ask? Well, here is a list of Messi’s major awards.

With FC Barcelona:

  • 10 La Liga titles (2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19)
  • 7 Copa del Rey titles (2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2020–21)
  • 8 Spanish Super Cup titles (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018)
  • 4 UEFA Champions League titles (2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15)
  • 3 UEFA Super Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015)
  • 3 FIFA Club World Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015)

With Paris Saint-Germain:

  • Ligue 1 title (2021-2022)
  • Trophée des Champions title (2022)

With Argentina:

  • FIFA World Youth Championship (2005)
  • Summer Olympics (2008)
  • Copa América (2021)
  • CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions (2022)
  • FIFA World Cup (2022)


  • 7 FIFA Ballon d’Or awards (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021)
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (2009)
  • The Best FIFA Men’s Player (2019)
  • 6 European Golden Shoe awards (2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19)
  • 2 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball awards (2014, 2022)
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Boot (2022)
  • 2 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (2009, 2011)
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball (2005)
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Boot (2005)
  • 2 Copa América Best Player awards (2015, 2021)
  • Copa América Top Goalscorer (2021)
  • 6 La Liga Best Player awards (2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15)
  • 8 Pichichi Trophy awards (2009−10, 2011–12, 2012−13, 2016–17, 2017−18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21)
  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (2020)
  • 14 Argentine Footballer of the Year awards (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Clearly, Lionel Messi’s achievements show he is one of the best soccer players, if not the greatest of all time. He is a force to be reckoned with, a living legend whose career will go down in history and live on forever.

-Lam T.

Book Review: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis eBook by Franz Kafka - EPUB | Rakuten Kobo United States

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka tells the story of travelling salesman Gregor Samsa, when he wakes up from a nightmare one day and discovers he has been transformed into a giant, monstrous insect. The novella examines his life after this realization, his slow alienation and isolation from his parents and his sister (whom he had worked tirelessly to support), and his eventual decline.

I actually really enjoyed this novella, but not in any real ‘enjoyment’ sense- it just sparked a lot of deep thought. Although, throughout the novella, we are supposed to view Gregor as repulsive and be disgusted by him, just as his family is, I couldn’t help but feel pity and empathy for him. Everyone in the novella forgets that somewhere inside his now insectified exterior, he is still a human, with human needs and wants. They treat him as a chore, as an inconvenience, and then finally, as a villain- which I found cold and cruel. Although the overall story is fairly depressing, I feel that it’s an important read and deals with some very real issues and questions of our world today. The ending is really sad, but I won’t spoil it here for you all. You’ll just have to read the novella yourself to find out what happens!

-Vaidehi B.

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Malice by Heather Walter

Once upon a time, Princess Aurora was cursed by an evil sorceress with the only solution being true love’s kiss. Many would imagine the story where Aurora was sent to be raised by three fairies and was awaken from her cursed sleep by Prince Charming. However, in this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, that is not the case.

Alyce is who someone called a “Dark Grace” but that doesn’t quite summarize what she actually is. A Grace is someone who tends to the needs of humans either by healing people through or making them more beautiful through their blood. But Alyce isn’t like the rest of the Graces since she is half-Vila, someone who is demonized by all of society.

Princess Aurora is stuck with a curse in which she would die by the age of 21 if she hasn’t kissed someone who is her true love. No one truly cares if she lives or dies since they have seen the same thing with her sisters and the ancestors that came before her. It seems as though Alyce and Princess Aurora would have no reason for their stories to intertwine but Fate turns the table and have the two unexpectedly fall into love with each other.

I find this fantasy book to be truly amazing. The world-building is spectacular, the characters are seen as genuine and relatable, and the plot is amazing. There are many plot twists that occur in the book and has developed the story into a tale of what love and hate equally could do to a person in desperate times. Many times, I couldn’t stop reading the book even when I needed to do something because it had intrigued me so much. I recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy and loves the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Malice by Heather Walter is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

How to Make Spam Musubi

Spam musubi is one of my personal favorite snacks to make whenever I have free time. Its a very simple dish to create using only a few ingredients.

Ingredient List:

Spam Musubi

  • ▢ 1.5 cup/310g Rice (uncooked)
  • ▢ 1 tbsp Toasted sesame seeds
  • ▢ 1 Nori seaweed sheet 
  • ▢ 1 can of small Spam 7oz(200g)
  • ▢ 2 tsp vegetable oil

Spam Sauce 

  • ▢ 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ▢ 1 tbsp sake
  • ▢ 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ▢ 1 tbsp sugar
  • ▢ 2 tsp Katakuriko (potato starch)
  • ▢ 1 tbsp water
  • 1. Cook rice by the instructions listed on your rice cooker.
  • 2. Once the rice been cooked, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds into the rice.
  • 3. Slice the spam ham into 6 even slices.
  • 4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat with vegetable oil
  • 5. Add Spam. Cook and brown each side for about 2-3 min.
  • 6. Set aside the cooked spam slices. Then place all ingredients into the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  • 7. Stir continuously until thick, put the Spam slices back into the frying pan and coat the spam with the sauce. Turn the heat off.
  • 8. Next is to assemble the Spam. I like to use a specific mold for Spam, but if you don’t have one there is a very easy alternative. Line a washed spam tin with cling wrap and put 1/6 of the cooked rice into the tin.
  • 9. Press the rice down with your hand. Add a piece of spam on top and press.
  • 10. Remove the spam and rice, place the nori strip over on the centre of the spam and wrap over the musubi.


-Harrison Schreiman

Album Review: Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth

In the 1980s, music was quite commercialized and accessible in addition to being very synth heavy. However, a thriving underground scene would emerge in places like New York City, giving us the Sonic Youth band. Sonic Youth started out as a highly experimental “no wave” band but would soon transition into making more “normal” alternative music after releasing their first two albums. After two new albums, they’d reach perfection with their fifth album, Daydream Nation.

The album cover of Daydream Nation

Daydream Nation can be described as one of the premier alternative rock albums of its time. It’s very noisy, features decently long instrumental introductions, and has unorthodoxly tuned guitars. Daydream Nation is also on the longer side with a run time of around one hour and 10 minutes. The best song on the album is easily its opener, “Teen Age Riot”.

Like nearly all the songs on the album, “Teen Age Riot” starts off with a layback, minute-plus-long instrumental introduction. We then get a very fast, fun piece of music. Thurston Moore’s guitar part is very cool. While his vocals are somewhat deadpan and spoken, I feel like that really helps to make the song.

Daydream Nation has gone down in history as one of the best alternative rock albums of the 1980s as well as one of the best albums ever made. This album is easily a 10/10 with all of the songs being great, although the album isn’t for everyone. It’s 100% worth a listen though!

Book Review: The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by C.W Grafton

The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by C.W Grafton has many elements that make it a classic hard-boiled detective story, but Grafton’s story and characters give a unique perspective to a long standing genre. For one the main character, detective Gil Henry, is described as “short, chubby, and awkward”, as opposed to the generic idea of a tall and handsome detective you’d find in most other stories. The novel follows Gil as he embarks on a dangerous case that results in scandal and murder, and whether or not he finds his way out.

The novel opens in a very generic fashion, with Gil in his office when an attractive woman walks in with a case for him to solve. The woman is Ruth McClure, whose father’s death and the suspected stock fraud that followed from it leads Ruth to think something is astray. Early on it’s made very clear that Gil will find himself in danger if he continues to follow the case, but in crime story fashion he chooses to follow it anyway, regardless of risk. However, I think Gil’s character being set up as more of an average guy makes him much easier to root for, and gets you more invested into the story. I thought the mystery and plot itself were both solid, but there was nothing really amazing or mind blowing about the story or how Grafton constructs the mystery. If I had to give one main criticism towards the book, I would say that the ending and Grafton’s way of revealing who was the culprit and everyone’s motivations could have been executed better.

In my opinion, I think one of the best parts of the book is the fast-paced writing. The chapters are usually one to three pages long, making it easily digestible but also faster paced and more tense. Furthermore, I think the setting of 1940s America and Grafton’s use of the vernacular at the time makes it a pretty interesting read. It never really lost my attention, and I think it does a good job of giving the reader a complete resolution that ties up most loose ends. I would recommend this as a read for anyone interested in the mystery genre, or anyone who is willing to try something new.

Stephen Curry’s Magical 2016 Season

Stephen Curry’s 2016 regular season was one of the greatest ever.  He won the MVP unanimously with all 131 first-place votes.  He won the scoring title by averaging 30 points a game.  He did it with outstanding efficiency as he shot 50% from the field, 45% from three, and 90% from the free throw line, joining the 50-40-90 club.  Curry was unstoppable at the three-point line, hitting 402 threes in the season, shattering his previous record of 286 threes in a single season. 

Curry was not as good on defense, but he was still great.  He led the league in steals with 2.1 a game and was top 15 in both defensive win shares and defensive box plus-minus.  Overall, the Golden State Warriors were the second-best defensive team in the league, and Curry was a big part of that.  

Unfortunately, the Warriors did not cap off the season with an NBA championship.  They blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals right after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship by upsetting the Warriors in games 5, 6, and 7. The Warriors won game 4 in Cleveland, taking a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  However, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving played incredibly over the last three games, leading them to three straight wins to defeat the Golden State Warriors.  Nonetheless, Stephen Curry’s 2016 unanimous MVP season is still one of the most dominant seasons of all time.

Books about Stephen Curry are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In the opening scene of the movie, Wakandan King T’Challa is about the die from an illness. Meanwhile, his sister Shuri is in the lab racing to find a cure before he dies. However, she is unsuccessful, and her mother soon comes to inform Shuri of her brother’s death. A year passes, and Shuri is still unable to accept this loss, as a new threat emerges: an underwater people led by Namor. Namor is the leader of the Atlanteans. While Wakanda’s advanced technology would enable them to defeat any other countries on Earth in a battle, the Atlanteans have many similar technologies to Wakanda. For this reason, the Atlanteans are possibly the only people outside of Wakanda which could actually fight against them. As Wakanda remains threatened, Shuri will be forced to face the grief from her brother’s recent death to ensure her country survives the battle with the Atlanteans. To do this, she must discover how to do what she couldn’t before to save T’Challa; Shuri must recreate the heart-shaped herb, which Killmonger burned down in the previous movie.

In this movie, while Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia are still main characters, Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart, is introduced. 

Originally, I didn’t think this movie would be that good due to Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020, but after seeing it I think that this was actually a great movie. I liked the plot and there was a good backstory for the villains of the movie. Overall, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a great movie and I would recommend it to Marvel fans or just those who enjoy action/adventure.

-Peri A.