Movie Review: Black Widow

This is a great movie! I thought that it helped to answer a lot of questions Marvel fans have had about Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow. I really enjoyed the action and plot of this movie. It takes place just after Captain America: Civil War and before Avengers: Infinity War

One day, a strange package arrives and forces Natasha Romanoff to find Yelena, whom she last saw when they were young children being separated and sent to different places. They are now both spies and have both grown up. At first, they struggle to get along, possibly from feelings of betrayal. 

Eventually, they find the Red Guardian (Alexei) and Melina, who end up helping them in their mission to find a man named Dreykov and put a permanent end to his diabolical schemes. However, is it really possible to end his terrible plans?

This movie helps viewers to understand more about Black Widow, especially what shaped her into becoming who she is now. A lot of the characters in this movie went through character changes, especially in their intentions and their personalities. I would recommend this movie to Marvel fans who enjoy adventurous movies. I thought that this movie had some important messages, like ‘People are capable of change’. There were also a few connections I was able to make between Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow and Natasha Romanoff in Infinity War, mostly between her actions and her personality in these two movies. I would rate this movie a 10/10.

-Peri A.

7 Books to Read

There are a lot of amazing books to read, but these are some of my favorites. The books are not listed in order.

  1. Little Women

I enjoyed reading this book because of the wide variety of characters and their different personalities. It is a great novel and an amazing classic. The main characters include Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. This book explores a part of the lives of these 4 sisters. There are several sequels to this classic, including Little Men and Jo’s Boys. There is also a movie based on Little Women.

  1. The Hobbit

This is a great book. It is one of my all time favorites and I would highly recommend you to read it. It is about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who goes on an adventure to help the dwarves. Their home has been taken over by a dragon named Smaug, and Gandalf thinks Bilbo is a good fit for the journey. However, Bilbo does not like adventures or going outside his hometown Shire at all. During this journey, he faces lots of obstacles and challenges. Will he survive the adventure and return to the Shire, or will he fail in his quest? This novel has been made into a trilogy of 3 movies named An Unexpected Journey, the Desolation of Smaug, and the Battle of the Five Armies. I would recommend you to read the book first before watching the movies so you will be able to visualize the story instead of thinking about what took place in the movie.

  1. Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile is a great book. It was intriguing and kept me wanting to read until the ending throughout the whole book. This book is about a cruise down the Nile, enjoyable until a murder happens. Additionally, there are several other crimes Hercule Poirot must try to solve! Everything in this book was interesting, and I would definitely recommend you to read this amazing story.

  1. Book Love

This book is a graphic novel about books and love for books. The book is very funny and it has a lot of amazing stories. I really liked reading it and if you enjoy reading graphic novels and/or are a bookworm, this book is for you!  It is definitely a great read.

  1. Heidi

Heidi lives in the mountains with her grumpy grandfather until one day her aunt takes her to Frankfurt to befriend the daughter of the family she is working for. Heidi accompanies the young girl throughout a part of her life. The story is about Heidi’s adventures and the journeys she takes. I liked this classic, and I would highly recommend you to read this book.

  1. And Then There Were None

This book is about 10 people who have gone to an island, invited for different reasons. Everything seems normal, until those guests start to be murdered, one by one. However, there is a terrible storm and they can’t leave the island, or get any help to the island. The remaining people do not know who shall be killed next, but they do know it could be them. They must all find out who the killer is before they are all killed. 

  1. The Lord of the Rings

A sequel to The Hobbit, this trilogy is also a great series to read. It takes place many years after the Hobbit. Frodo is given an extremely powerful Ring, but he soon finds out he must destroy it, or the world may be ravaged. He sets out on a journey to Mordor to demolish the Ring in Mount Doom. Mordor, however, is the location of his enemy. This trilogy consists of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. It has also been made into 3 movies based on the trilogy of books.

-Peri A.

The Matilda Effect

This story is about a girl named Matilda and her grandmother’s journey from England to Sweden. The book emphasizes how women and girls may be treated unfairly, especially in the scientific fields. Matilda wants to be an inventor and loves science. The grandmother (Granny Joss) discovered a planet many years ago, but her boss claimed it was his discovery, and now he is about to be given a Nobel Prize! 

Matilda has also not been given awards, like a science prize in her school, because no one believed a girl could have done what she did. The judges gave the prize to a boy named Thomas Thomas, even though he did his experiment wrong, just because “at least he did it all by himself.” Matilda should clearly have won. 

She soon finds out her grandmother’s discovery was incorrectly credited and decides to go to Sweden to tell the Nobel Prize Committee that Professor Smocks is lying about his “discovery”. Her parents do not allow her to go there, so one night she sneaks out with her grandmother to go to Sweden. Will Matilda be able to get Granny Joss to the Nobel Prize ceremony in time, or will the planet forever be credited to Professor Smocks? They face many challenges along the way, almost dying at some parts, too. 

I like this book because the plot is so intriguing and the author is constantly introducing new characters. It was very interesting to see how each of these characters influenced the story and the characters. They are so different but are all affected in some way by Matilda and Granny Joss.

The “Matilda Effect” is a bias against women, and instead of giving them credit for their achievement(s), it is given to one of their male colleagues instead. This term was first used in 1993 by Margaret W. Rossiter, and named after Matilda Goslyn Gage. Historians had ignored Matilda Gage’s work as well. The title of the book, the storyline and the name of the main character in the story, is a reminder of this bias, ‘The Matilda Effect.

 I would recommend you to read this book if you enjoy science, engineering, or inventing and like a variety of characters. It is a truly enjoyable story and I really liked the plot. I thought that it was important that it emphasized how women and girls are sometimes treated unfairly.

-Peri A.

TV Review: Loki

In Avengers: Endgame, when a few of the Avengers went to New York (2012) to retrieve one of the much needed Infinity Stones, Loki grabbed the Tesseract and escaped his captors, who were the 2012 versions of the Avengers. This show answers the question of where Loki ended up after using the Space stone. 

Loki, by using the stone, created alternate realities, or a branch in the timeline. So, the TVA (Time Variance Authority) reset that branch, and there is only one remaining timeline left. It is later revealed that the TVA’s job is to make sure there are no alternate timelines, and they were given this job by the Timekeepers. When someone travels off of their timeline or changes something that shouldn’t be changed (according to the TVA) that person becomes a Variant, meaning they are an alternate version of themselves. The mysterious Timekeepers are in control of the TVA, and they are the ones who look into the future and give instructions on the way events should be taking place. 

This show is really entertaining. I think that it shows us a different part of Loki’s personality and character. Since he has been portrayed as a villain most of his time in the MCU, this is an extremely important part of Loki’s developing personality. Another part about this show that I liked was how there were constantly plot twists and new things being revealed to both Loki and the viewer. I would recommend you to watch this show if you are a Marvel fan or enjoy exciting and adventurous TV shows.

-Peri A.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is a great choice for readers who like calm, adventurous stories. This novel is about a spoiled, rude, sour girl named Mary Lennox. Her parents don’t ever pay any attention to her as she spends her childhood being raised by servants and constantly changing tutors. When a cholera outbreak leaves many in her town dead, including her mother and father, she is sent to live with her uncle.

A private, secluded and upset old man, Archibald Craven takes Mary in. Mary no longer has everyone to do her bidding, and she must get used to not being the most important subject to every one. Although Mary tries to find out more about her mysterious uncle, his constant journeys away from the house and the timid servants keep her from discovering much.

I liked this book because not only is Mary trying to discover her real self, but there are always questions the reader wants answers to that come gradually throughout the story. As the story progresses, I enjoyed meeting different characters and seeing them develop during the story, especially Mary and one of her new friends.

The author is able to develop the plot very well so that the book is more enjoyable to read. While reading the book, I was faced with many interesting discoveries. I liked how the book doesn’t reveal too much about something until it actually happens or is discovered by the characters and doesn’t make it too hard to keep track of all the different characters, their actions, and their thoughts.

I would rate this book a 10/10.

-Peri A.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I really enjoyed reading Little Women. It is one of my favorite books and a great classic. 

This novel is about 4 sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy living in the 1860s. Meg is the oldest, Jo longs to be a successful author, Beth is quiet, shy, and kind, but loves music, and Amy, as the youngest, can be selfish sometimes and dreams of being an artist. Their mother, Marmee, takes care of them with the help of Hannah, their maid who lives with them. The father of these 4 girls is away at war.

They soon become friends with a rich boy who lives next door to them with his grandfather. Laurie is a boy who would rather not pay attention to his teacher (he learns at home) Mr. John Brooke. 

The reader is introduced to many characters throughout the book, but the author develops them all so well, dedicating time and attention to each of them and their varying personalities. 

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy face many troubles, have disagreements, worries, and are all worried about their father, Mr. March, who is away at the war. 

Things begin to go downhill after a while; several of the March family members have near-death experiences. There are many different lessons included throughout this novel, and the many experiences of the family, especially the 4 sisters, help to develop those life lessons. 

I liked how every character in the book had very different personalities, especially Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The author was able to create an amazing story with great characters. This enables the reader to be able to identify themselves with one of the characters in the story. There is also a natural feel to the story because it isn’t confusing to read or doesn’t skip a lot of things which happened to them. Every chapter is very interesting and enjoyable to read. I would definitely recommend you to read this book.

If you have already read this book and enjoyed it, Louisa May Alcott also wrote some sequels to Little Women, called Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

-Peri A.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Pollyanna is an orphan. Her mother died of sickness when she was very young, and her father also died shortly before the story begins. After these traumatic events, Pollyanna is sent to live with her Aunt Polly, her only remaining family member (her mother had two sisters, Polly and Anna). Aunt Polly is very mean, and does not seem to care much about Pollyanna. This is easy to see why, as Aunt Polly’s sister (Pollyanna’s mother) moved to the West Coast of the US to be with Pollyanna’s father from the East Coast of the US against the will of her family. Polly never wrote to her sister after that, not even when the surviving child was named after Pollyanna’s mother’s sisters, Polly and Anna became Pollyanna.

Aunt Polly continues to be upset through this great novel. However, will Pollyanna be able to reverse her aunt’s negative ways?

Pollyanna gets to know most of the people living in her village within a short period of time. Her friendly, cheery ways affect many others as well. Everyone adores her company, even Mr. Pentleton, who has rarely spoken for the past decade.  

I enjoyed reading this book because of Pollyanna’s positive way of dealing with problems and how she can quickly find a way out of every situation she is faced with. Pollyanna’s positive mental attitude made this novel even more enjoyable to read. Another reason I liked this book was because of the wide variety of characters. I appreciated that the author included so many characters because meeting a lot of different characters throughout the book made the story more interesting, as all of them have a different personality and the author is able to develop that so well.

You should read this book because it is a very fun book to read and the events are thoroughly captivating. I really liked this book, and I think you will too. 

-Peri A.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie

Linnet Ridgeway has everything she could possibly ever want. She is smart, rich, charming, and beautiful. Her friend Jacqueline comes to her one day with a request; Linnet makes Jacqueline’s fiance Simon Doyle her land agent. He needs a job, and Linnet gives it to him. 

However, she falls in love with him and thinks about how lucky Jacqueline is. In fact, Jacqueline doesn’t have nearly as much as Linnet does. Eventually, Linnet ends up marrying Simon Doyle. Jacquline is mad at Linnet for “stealing” her fiance from her. She decides to follow Linnet and Simon during their honeymoon. 

One morning, during a cruise of tranquility down the Nile, Linnet is found dead in her cabin. Hercule Poirot is on the cruise, and with one of his friends who is also searching for a criminal, they try to discover who committed the crime. However, Simon had been accidentally shot in the leg the night Linnet was killed, so they must get to their destination. A doctor on the ship has done all he can, but Simon must get to a hospital quickly, so the detectives are running out of time to find out who did it. 

I enjoyed reading this book because there were so many plot twists and the ending was so unexpected. I also liked how there was such a variety of characters which helped to develop the story and to make it feel more realistic. The author also gives a lot of details about their backstories. As a result of these small sections about the characters and their lives, the reader has reason to suspect almost everyone. I really liked how there were multiple crimes that I kept trying to solve before the detectives in the book solved the complicated case. Almost nothing is as it seems to be.

This was an amazing book and I really enjoyed reading it. I would recommend you to read this intriguing novel.

-Peri A.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

Nat Enough by Maria Scrivan

Natalie has always been best friends with Lily. However, when her friend moves away she is upset but is still excited and confident that their friendship will continue into middle school.

However, when Natalie arrives at school on the first day of middle school, she sees her best friend Lily in a conversation with a cool-looking girl. Lily seems to be… FRIENDS with this girl. Lily’s new friendship leaves Natalie alone and confused. What happened to their friendship? Weren’t they best friends? Did Natalie do something wrong?

All of this leaves Natalie feeling like she is not enough. Not enough to be friends with Lily. Not enough to be cool. Natalie feels very wounded. She doesn’t know what to do, and her only thought is to try to win Lily back. One day, after she finds a note from Lily, she gets to work. Natalie devises a plan to get Lily back.

Meanwhile, Natalie is receiving mean notes on her locker from Lily. Natalie feels terrible and wounded but she still wants Lily back. After all, they were best friends, weren’t they? Ignoring all of Lily’s mean acts, Natalie gives up a lot of what she loves to do so that she can please Lily and get her back.

Whatever Lily thinks becomes what Natalie does. However, can Natalie overcome these feelings and move on after Lily? Can she become her true self? Or she is simply not enough?

I really loved this book because it is very fun to read. It portrays how you do not need to be what anyone else wants you to be. You only need to be yourself. I would recommend you to read this book because as you grow older, your friends and you might have different interests, and you might not be as close to them as you once were.

I rate this book a 10/10.

-Peri A

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The book starts off as Heidi is being brought to her constantly upset grandfather who has had nothing to do with her (yet) by her aunt Dete. Heidi, an orphan, was raised by her aunt after both of her parents died a long time ago. Heidi soon meets her grandfather, who seems to be very unhappy about this situation. He doesn’t want anything to do with the girl but nevertheless takes her in. 

Heidi is a very active and happy girl. This book is the story of her being raised in the Swiss Alps by her grandfather. ‘Heidi’ follows the main character and protagonist, Heidi. She attends school and plays in the mountains with her new found friend Peter the shepherd and her grandfather’s two goats.

I really enjoyed reading this book because of the amount of details that were put into it, like how something smells or feels. The book is definitely very interesting and I would highly encourage you to read it.

I would recommend you to read this book whether you do or do not enjoy reading classics. The storyline was great, the events that took place were exceptional, and the novel remains exciting throughout the whole story. 

This book remains as one of my favorite novels. It is a good book to read if you like calm yet active storylines and characters. I also liked that Heidi is very kind to everyone she meets, whether she knows them well or not.

I would rate this book 10/10.

-Peri A.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.