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.

The Final Gambit

This is the third book in the Inheritance Games series. The series follows Avery after she is revealed to have been left a large inheritance from a billionaire named Tobias Hawthorne. Prior to the reading of his will, Avery had no idea who he was. Avery is a teenager whose mother died and her father left, leaving her kind half-sister Libby to take care of her.

She met Tobias Hawthorne only once in a completely random, coincidental way, and has not seen him since that brief encounter when she was much younger. Although Tobias Hawthorne has now died, he leaves behind the majority of his money and possessions to Avery – along with some hidden games. However, he left everything to Avery with one condition: that she stay in Hawthorne House for one full year. Then, once she turns 18, the money and possessions will legally be hers, as long as she fulfills this condition. During this year, Avery will face many threats against both her own life and the lives of those she cares about. Meanwhile, the question remains: why Avery? Tobias Hawthorne had four grandsons: Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander. It was expected that Grayson would receive the fortune, not someone unknown like Avery. Even now, months later, Avery has no idea why she was chosen to receive the inheritance.

This is an exciting book with many puzzles and mysteries to solve. There were a lot of plot twists and I definitely was not anticipating the ending of this book. I really enjoyed reading this entire series. I would recommend this book to those who like adventure, action, and romance books.

-Peri A.

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

Wolf Hollow

Wolf Hollow takes place in a small, quiet town in western Pennsylvania. Initially, life goes on like normal for the characters. The main character, Annabelle, is one of the only people in the town who respects a World War I veteran named Toby. No one truly knows Toby’s backstory, but he seems to have been greatly affected by what he saw during the war. He now wanders around the town, barely saying a word to anyone. One day, a new girl named Betty moves into the town. Around teachers and other adults, Betty seems like an extremely kind girl. Meanwhile, when no one can see it happen, she bullies Annabelle. She threatens Annabelle with hurting her younger brothers and beating Annabelle with a large stick if she tells anyone about it. Soon, her bullying and attacks turn on Toby who is defenseless to prevent it. With no evidence but Betty’s false statements against Toby and nothing to even begin to prove Toby did not do anything, Toby is the one accused of what Betty does to hurt others.

I liked this book because of the fact that this type of story actually happens more often than we know. It represents how many of the internal struggles of those around you remain that way. This is shown through Toby, who rarely talks to anyone at all, and never speaks about the horrors he has experienced and seen. I felt like the plot was a little slow at some points during the story, but this was overall a great book.

-Peri A.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To be honest, I was definitely hesitant to begin reading this book. I thought it would be like one of those really slow books with little to no plot. This book definitely proved me wrong. 

Among the main characters are Jean Louise Finch (also known as Scout), and her older brother Jeremy Finch (Jem). Their father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer, and their mother died when Scout was very young. Another major character in this book is Charles Baker Harris, but he is simply called Dill. Dill visits Maycomb and his aunt during the summertime. To Kill A Mockingbird takes place in the town of Maycomb, Alabama.

Despite the ideals of that time period (the early 1900s) Scout frequently gets into fights. This only increases when the boys in her class begin to tease her for her father’s most recent case. He has taken on the difficult case of defending Tom Robinson. The issues of racism are brought up in this book frequently, especially in Tom Robinson’s court trial. Mayella Ewell, a 19-year-old girl, and her father have falsely accused Tom of trying to rape Mayella. Atticus must try to prove that Tom did not do anything to Mayella, but it is challenging because there were no witnesses besides Mayella Ewell, Tom, and, Mayella’s father Bob Ewell. It is especially challenging because the majority of the town is already on the Ewells’ side despite not liking them much, simply because of Tom’s race. They, and Bob Ewell, go as far as threatening Tom, Atticus, and Atticus’s children Jem and Scout.

I think that despite some portions of this book being as unfair and upsetting to read as they were, it is a book that everyone should read as it provides another important perspective.

-Peri A.

To Kill A Mockingbird  by Harper Lee is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Thor: Love and Thunder

In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. During Avengers: Infinity War, Thor creates a new weapon: Stormbreaker. Eventually, Jane Foster, Thor’s ex-girlfriend, develops cancer. While attempting to create a cure for herself, she discovers she is worthy of wielding Mjolnir. Thor is off-planet helping the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight other villains across the galaxy. One of these, Gorr, is plotting to kill every god, as he believes they are all selfish and do not deserve to live. He decides to set a trap for Thor in New Asgard, hoping to lure Thor to his own death. Jane also shows up wielding a (mostly) repaired Mjolnir and fights against Gorr with Valkyrie and Thor. It is soon revealed that every time Jane uses Mjolnir, her cancer treatments are reversed. In other words, the more Jane uses Mjolnir, the more likely she is to die. Despite this, Jane hides it from Thor and joins him in his battles against Gorr. 

Meanwhile, Gorr is trying to get to Eternity at the very center of the universe. According to a legend, the first one to find Eternity will have one wish granted to them. Knowing what could happen if Gorr gets to Eternity first, Thor, Jane, and Valkyrie are in a race against Gorr to get to Eternity first and ensure Gorr does not.

Overall, there was a lot more humor in this movie compared to other Marvel movies. I felt that this made the movie more entertaining to watch, but also subtracted a little bit from the more serious scenes at some points during the movie.

– Peri A.

Unique and Interesting Exoplanets

There are many exoplanets in our universe, all with varying characteristics. Here are just a few of them that have been discovered.

#1: The Ocean Planet – GJ1214b

This planet is likely to be an ocean planet, meaning it is entirely covered with one large ocean (no land). It is located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

#2: The Fast Planet – PSRJ1719-14b

Exoplanet PSRJ1719-14b quickly orbits its star; it takes about 2.2 hours for the planet to complete a full orbit around its sun. However, this is not the planet’s only unique characteristic. In addition to its fast orbit, this exoplanet also has a chance of being made of diamonds, although this has not been proved. Diamond planets form when the pressure and temperature are high enough to turn the carbon on the planet into diamonds. It is about 3,914 light-years away from Earth. 

#3: The Dying Planet – WASP-12b

Despite being around the size of Jupiter, this exoplanet is constantly nearing its star. Eventually, the gravity of its star will pull this planet into the star. Currently, this planet is 870.8 light-years away from Earth.

#4: A Large Planet – TrES-4

This planet is over 70% of the size of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. What makes this planet unique, however, is that it has only %75 of the mass of Jupiter, giving it a much lower density. It is 1562.3 light-years away from Earth.

#5: An Old Planet – Methuselah

Estimations predict Methuselah is about 13 billion years old. Scientists believe that at that point in time (13 billion years ago), the materials to form planets were not actually able to form planets. This exoplanet is about 12,400 light-years away from Earth.

These are just a few of the many amazing exoplanets in our universe, with many more still waiting to be discovered.

-Peri A.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery is an average, but intelligent, girl from Connecticut. Her mother died, and her father couldn’t care less about her, but her half-sister Libby (same father, different mother) cares deeply about Avery. One day, however, Avery receives an invitation to the reading of the will of the late Tobias Hawthorne, who she discovers has a net worth of 46 billion dollars. She is both surprised and confused when she receives the majority of Tobias Hawthorne’s vast fortune, despite never having known him, or even heard of him and his family, until now. However, it is revealed that Tobias Hawthorne left a puzzle behind for them to solve. Meanwhile, there are still some people who are upset about Avery’s newfound inheritance and seek to get rid of her in any way possible. She now has no idea who is really on her side and who seeks to get rid of her. Avery is now not only facing a difficult puzzle with vague clues, but she must also now watch out for any attempts others may take to harm her. 

I liked this book because of the constant suspense and the unexpected events. This was a very unpredictable book, and there were multiple riddles presented by the clues. I enjoyed attempting to solve those puzzles and following along as the characters figured out what everything meant.

The Inheritance Games is part of a series consisting of 2 books, with the third book being released later this year. They all follow the same storyline, of the aftermath of Avery receiving the unexpected and large inheritance.

-Peri A.

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

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember is a dystopian novel. Although it takes place in the future, the mysterious Builders of the city from a couple of hundred years ago have greatly restricted their technology. Instead of phones, they have Messengers who run from place to place delivering messages. They have no movable lights or cars; the only light in the entire city comes from the many lamps lining the streets and in their homes, and they can only walk or run to places. 

When creating the City, the Builders knew the people would eventually need to emerge from their new home – after 200 years, to be exact. They created the Instructions and locked it into a box with a timed lock, to be passed down from mayor to mayor, set to open when those 200 years had passed. Yet, when the seventh mayor became sick and desperate for a cure, he brought the secret box, which no one but the mayor knew about, to his own home. Unsuccessful in opening it, and passing away soon afterward, he became the last to know of its existence. 

The story then skips to around the year 240 (in years of Ember), where the lights have now begun to flicker and sometimes temporarily go out, and their food, supplies, and resources are beginning to quickly run out. 12-year-old Lina re-discovers the now-open box. However, since her little sister Poppy ate some of the paper message contained inside, she struggles to make sense of it. She and Doon, her former friend and former classmate, set to work attempting to decipher it and save Ember from the imminent permanent darkness.

I usually don’t like dystopian stories, but The City of Ember was actually an enjoyable book that contained logical puzzles throughout.

-Peri A.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Exoplanets and the Transit Method

Have you ever wondered about exoplanets? Exoplanets are the planets outside of our solar system.

There are multiple methods used by astronomers to discover exoplanets. One of them is called the Transit Method. As planets orbit their stars in a mostly circular way, exoplanets will always pass in front of their own star (at least, to our own perspective). During a planet’s transit around its star, its effects will be somewhat similar to an eclipse. The amount of light given off by the star that is visible from Earth will decrease until the planet completes its transit. Using the data like the drop in the star’s brightness and how long the transit was, astronomers are able to make various calculations. Not only are they informed of the exoplanet’s existence, but they also discover the exoplanet’s distance to its star or how long its orbit takes. More than 3000 exoplanets have been discovered using the Transit Method to this date. 

Still, though, there will always be mistakes in using this method as well as any other methods. There may be unseen details or simply missed periods of light differences by astronomers’ telescopes and graphs. There may always be unobservable celestial objects in our universe that may remain undiscovered. All we can do is try to discover as much of it as we possibly can.

I think it is very important that we discover more about this infinitely large universe we live in before other galactic clusters move out of our observable universe. This will eventually happen, as the universe is constantly expanding at an accelerating rate, moving an increasing amount of celestial objects out of our observable universe every moment.

-Peri A.

Planet 9

Many people know of the planets in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, our own planet Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are also dwarf planets, such as Pluto, Ceres, and Eris. However, there is one planet that is still hypothetical and completely based on mathematics and theory. Planet 9 is a possible 9th planet in our solar system. Hypothetically, it would be located far beyond Neptune, the reason it is currently an unconfirmed planet. If it were existent, however, Planet 9’s orbit around our Sun could take as much as 10,000 to 20,000 years, in comparison to Neptune’s 165-year orbit. However, it is important to remember that these estimates are all based purely on mathematics and theory, and nothing is currently confirmed. The theoretical planet is believed to orbit the Sun more than 10 times further from the Sun than Neptune, which orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.8 billion miles.

Far outside our main solar system, there is a strange gravitational effect on some relatively small celestial objects (like asteroids). The way they orbit the Sun suggests to some scientists that there is yet another large planet orbiting our Sun far beyond Neptune and Pluto. Still, some scientists also say that our perception of the orbits of those objects is simply caused by human error in calculating and ‘viewing’ their orbits. Until enough evidence is discovered, or the planet itself is spotted through telescopes or various other methods, we can’t really claim that it either exists or doesn’t exist. There may be some other explanation for this phenomenon, or perhaps there really is an undiscovered planet somewhere out in the furthest reaches of our solar system.

-Peri A.