Veterans Online Game Review

Veterans Online is a free-to-play, top-down multiplayer shooter that puts ten players in an intense five vs five situation. The game requires fast reflexes and even faster sharpshooting. The players are able to customize their load-outs, characters, taunts, and more. To do this, players must use the money they earn to buy said upgrades. These currencies can be made either from spending money in the game or completing certain challenges. Players also can buy certain weapons using the buy menu, which will use your currency that you earn mid-game to give you better weaponry.

The graphics of Veterans Online was very clean. When I launched the game, I was greeted with the sounds of battle and dramatic music. I spent some time customizing my character and giving him the hair and masks that I liked. I then went into the tutorials and watched all of the video walkthroughs. The one problem I had was the movement controls and sensitivity. The sensitivity for my game was way too high, and my movement keys were not the usual WASD and were assigned to other keys. Luckily, I was able to change both of these problems to my liking, and I was ready to play.

Sadly, I was not able to get into an online match. I sat in the lobby waiting to get in a game, but the highest number of players was 2/10. I wanted to play an online match and test my skill, but it never happened. I decided to go into a custom match by myself, to get the feel for the game and controls. The game is very well made. The maps are clean and big and would work for any five vs five game mode. The guns and recoil patterns are interesting and would be challenging to get used to. It was a shame that I could not get into an online game mode.

Overall, I enjoyed Veterans Online even though I was not able to play the online version. I enjoyed the base game, with different weaponry and skills. I believe that the reason I did not get into an online match was due to the low amount of players. I do believe that if the game had more players, it would draw more attention. I hope that the game does get more popular in the future because it is a good game. Overall, I would give Veterans Online a nine out of ten.

-Daniel C. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell’s composition of Animal Farm tells a story of real-life actions, in a form everyone understands, through the eyes of animals. The idea of communism, or in this case what the animals refer to as “animalism”, is a sensitive topic. But, Orwell was able to explain part of the issue that power leads to corruption.

In the beginning of the novel, Napoleon the pig is shown as a protagonist that helps end the animals suffering under the farmers. But as a shock to all, he slowly his idealism changes as the animals take over the farm. This event was one of the main problems that occurred in real life in some countries.

Orwell’s ability to link a compelling story to real event in time was a very interesting connection to make. He was able to explain actions that happened in countries like Russia, and put in how these people were able to rise to power through a story. Each character or event that occurred in the story portrayed different communist leaders and ideas, along with different ideas of totalitarianism.

Before getting into the novel, I was familiar to the ideas of communism and other neighboring branches of it. Once I started reading I could see some connections of these ideas as they were portrayed in a different form. But as the story continued and the characters growth was at a point in which their true attributes were finally being showed, I could see what Orwell was doing. He allowed each different sets of animals grow into separate groups, all with different views on the situation. Each group were essentially the different types of people during these types of Revolutions.

Overall, this book was very intriguing and I would rate it a 9/10. It was one of those books where once it was started, it had to be finished. My dad constantly told me of books that even his generation was urged to read. Animal Farm was one of the classic books that he would tell me about. It was very cool to be able to relate with my dad about a book he had also read when he was a teenager. This story by George Orwell was a very fascinating read.

-Lilly G.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Quarantine Recipe: Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Because the majority of us have been staying home with lots of time on our hands, especially as it’s the middle of  Summer, I thought I’d share how to make a fun homemade treat which only uses only a couple of ingredients. Homemade peanut butter cups may sound like too much work, but it’s actually quite an easy recipe and yields good results.

What You’ll Need:

Measuring cups

Saucepan or microwave-safe glass bowl

Tablespoon

Two muffin tins

Muffin liners

Ingredients: 

-2 Cups Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet, but you can use milk chocolate or dark if you prefer)

-½ Cup peanut butter

– 2 tablespoons coconut oil–optional 

Directions:

  1. Measure  the chocolate chips and melt them, either over the stove in a saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish.  Also, a quick tip–I’ve heard that adding a few tablespoons of  coconut oil to your chocolate helps it melt into a smoother consistency, so you can add some to your chocolate if you’d like.
  1. While waiting for the chocolate to melt, line your muffin tins with muffin liners. Once the chocolate is evenly melted, begin spooning about a tablespoon of chocolate per muffin liner, or as much is needed to ensure that the bottom of the wrapper is covered entirely and evenly.
  1. Now, measure the peanut butter and place it in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Afterward, stir it gently and begin spooning about a tablespoon into each of your individual muffin liners. (This part can be a little messy, and I learned the hard way! I’d recommend putting your muffin tins with just the chocolate in the freezer until it hardens, that way when you’re ready to add the melted peanut butter, you’ll have a much easier time doing so.)
  1. Using the rest of your melted chocolate, spoon some chocolate on top of the peanut butter, enough until it fully covers the peanut butter beneath it; approximately one to two tablespoons. 
  1. Place the muffin tins in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, or until they are fully hardened. Once hardened, take them out and allow them to reach room temperature before serving. Enjoy:)

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This award-winning book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, guides readers through a dangerous yet exciting journey of finding what is important in one’s life and to never lose hope to accomplish any dreams.

The main character, Santiago is a confident, shepherd boy that is known to be curious about the world and to believe in what he wants to believe in. In the book, he travels to many places but his destination is the Egyptian pyramids where he hopes to find treasure. Throughout the story, he receives advice from many mentors about finding his “Personal Legend”. He is taught to never lose hope and to follow his dreams which is what Santiago does. Being beat up after every obstacle Santiago has to face, by the end, he is a powerful and gritty young boy who realizes that he has the ability to accomplish any of his dreams. Join Santiago through his long journey, battling difficult circumstances and ultimately reaching his goal. With helpful advice from many individuals Santiago meets through his trip, there is valuable information that is important for the reader to also take in.

Though the book is not very long and not very hard, it is important to not speed through it but to understand The Alchemist is trying to teach us. I really liked it and if you decide to read this book too, I think you will like it as well.

– Amandine K.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

The Wizenard Series by Kobe Bryant and Wesley King

When did magic and basketball meet? Floors moving uphill and downhill, mysterious writing on the wall, each person seeing a different vision than the next in the same place! Is there anything Rolabi Wizenard can’t change? Well, as Rolabi Wizenard tests a struggling basketball team’s commitment and desire, they find out how to handle fear and learn to overcome the biggest challenges! A team determined to win, The West Bottom Badgers start an incredibly long journey to the title, with Rolabi Wizenard as their coach! 

As each player faces their own challenges, they all have to find a way to come together as a team and compete for a championship! A team from The Bottom part of Dren is starting their adventure now. They have no time to waste, they just need to work hard everyday, and play while controlling their fears. Everyone comes from struggling parents, who can’t pay all their bills, but their hearts are bigger. Their desire to win is stronger! The main question is: Will all their hard work be enough?

As the West Bottom Badgers learn to work and hard and fight through fear, they start to unlock their true potential. Former bench players become stars and the whole team starts to look up. That is until they start the season. The season starts off very rough as they start off with 5 straight losses without a single win. Their hopes to win the championship, once as high as a mountain, start to plummet as each loss comes and goes. 

The Wizenard Series is a 2 book series with the first book being the same story in all the different parts of it, just from different perspectives. You get 5 different angles of the story with Rain, Twig, Cash, Peno, and Lab. The 2nd book is with Reggie, where you get a view of the first season with Rolabi Wizenard as head coach from the eyes of Reggie.

As everyone faces problems and challenges on the court, most of the kids also face problems off the court. Some sleep on the ground, some have to work hard into the night to earn the money their family needs, and some have lost family members. Well, after all, this is The Bottom. Once someone comes to The Bottom, they have a hard time leaving, and that is just like the situation everyone on this basketball team is in. Professor Rolabi Wizenard not only teaches these kids basketball, but he also teaches them life. Will they be able to apply what they have learned from him into their daily lives as they get older and try to get out of The Bottom with basketball?

I enjoyed reading this fabulous book, and I would rate it a 10/10. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

The first book: The Wizenard Series: Training Camp, the second book: The Wizenard Series: Season One

-Mert A.

Rime Game Review

Are you looking for a fun game to play? Rime is an amazing game. It combines logical puzzles and a fantastical world to create a mysterious island with many surprises and mysteries.

First of all, there is a great storyline. The story is one of the most important parts of the game. Rime features a young boy, waking up to find himself stranded on a deserted island. He is desperate to get back home, but also curious. You are the young boy, and you need to solve all of the puzzles and games on the island in order to get home. You have nothing but a small fox who sometimes appears for a short period of time and small clues along the way. Will you ever get home?

The game has very nice graphics which look realistic. Natural sounds flood the area around you, and there is no one to hear or see. All of the sounds seem very 3D, as if you are actually there yourself. Slowly, the logical puzzles you have to solve get harder as you go along. The adventure itself is very thrilling and exciting. There are different parts to the game. Each part has a new scene where the adventure takes place. 

I would recommend this game to anyone who is looking for an exciting, adventurous game to play. It keeps you entertained, and you never get bored! 

Also, there are lots of collectible items which can be found throughout the game, so keep an eye out for those! The collectible items you find can be used to unlock cool things. Outfits are one example. Although at the beginning of the game you receive an outfit, there are also different outfits which you can find. Having different outfits could be useful, and also give your character a different look. You can also collect toys, emblems, lullabies, and keyholes. Most of these are hidden in places which are not easy to reach or not on the main path. 

Another important thing to know is that there are certain places which are ‘points of no return’. So before moving on in the game, you can explore the area you are in. You could also go back and explore the area after completing the game, so don’t worry if you couldn’t find something you were looking for. 

During the game, you will encounter a little fox. She will guide you through the game. Also, if you are stuck, this little creature will chatter in your direction. If this happens, follow her! She is the way the game gives you hints if you are stuck. The fox disappears most of the time, once you have either followed her or done what she was trying to tell you to do. 

Overall, Rime is a great game. I think it is an exciting game to play. It improves your logical and reasoning skills, and it is also really fun. I would recommend you to try this game.

Rating: 10/10

-Peri A.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Scat, written by Carl Hiaasen, is a humorous but insightful novel about family, forgiveness, and the power of love.

The plot focuses on Nick, a teenager desperately struggling to pass biology with his fearsome teacher, Bunny Starch. To make matters worse, his father just returned from Afghanistan with no left arm. When Miss Starch goes missing on ‘family business,’ he and his best friend Marta don’t buy it. No, they assume the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with it. And he does! Just not in the way that they think. There’s a whole lot more going on than anyone player in this twisted tale can see…

In this book, Hiaasen expertly crafts a twisting, turning, crooked plot that captivates you until the very end. The main characters excellently portray the simultaneous confusion and excitement of ignorance, and the book itself holds great relevance to our world today.

The theme and motifs paint both a fantastical and realistic portrait of forgiveness, our earth, and the innate humanity in each and every one of us. The seriousness of the lesson is tempered well by the simplistic, yet effective humor of the characters. Using suspense and mystery in strange ways, this book will draw you in and keep you laughing until its conclusion.

-Vaidehi B.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Extraordinarily crafted and presented, Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel The Goldfinch tells the story of Theodore Decker, a young man plagued by memories of his experiences in an act of terrorism, the loss of his mother, and one piece of artwork that alters his life — and history — forever.

Deemed a Dickensian-style coming of age novel, for its poetic air and substantial length (771 pages, beginning to end), “The Goldfinch” recounts a large sequence of Theodore’s life from his point of view, as he moves from New York to Las Vegas and back again, and ages from thirteen to mid-twenties. The novel stretches broadly across a grand array of emotions, written in descriptive and illustrious sentences: orchestrations of edge and tension, raw reflection and self-discovery, dreamy chains of events.

Tartt presents a diverse and complex cast of characters accompanying Theo in his spiraling search for answers, including his informal guardian and (eventual) business partner Hobie and his risk-taking Ukrainian friend Boris. Each character — individual in their own stories, mannerisms, beauty — pulls new aspects into the course of Theo’s life and leads to the ultimate fate of the story.

Theo’s desire for control and hunt for resolutions to his long-standing questions remains central to the heart of “The Goldfinch.” Still utterly infatuated with Carel Fabritius’s painting, the namesake of the novel, Theo expresses his connection to the painting and the fact that it acted as a piece of joy, a piece of history that he had an impact on: “And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost…” (Tartt 771).

The Goldfinch is brought to a close in the midst of loose ends; what happens between the characters is still unclear, left at the hands of the audience to decide the character’s stories. And, after pages and pages of Tartt’s beautifully written masterwork, we can’t help but imagine our very own endings for the characters we’ve grown so fond of.

-Keira D.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles is a modern re-telling of The Iliad through the eyes of Achilles’ closest companion, Patroclus. After being exiled to Phthia, Patroclus, an awkward boy of a prince, finds his place living in the shadow of Achilles: “the best of the Greeks”. Achilles is strong, beautiful, destined to be a god. Together they make the most incongruent pair. Despite this, they form a steadfast friendship that grows into something much deeper, much to Achilles’ mother, Thetis’ dismay, who will do anything to ensure her son achieves his destiny of becoming a god.

Achilles and Patroclus grow into strong young men, masters of war and medicine under the watchful eye of their teacher, Chiron. News of the Trojan War forces the companions to return to Phthia where they learn of a terrible prophecy foretelling Achilles’ death in battle. Achilles, drawn by honor and glory heads to the war. Fearing the plans Fate has lain for his friend, Patroclus follows. Together they join the fight, waiting for the day Patroclus must surrender his friend to his destiny, never once questioning what Fate might have in store for him.

A devastatingly beautiful, painfully moving, tale of romance, war, and the whims of gods and Fate that explores what Patroclus really meant to Achilles, and the battle between immortal fame and the wants of the human heart.

-Lauren R. 

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is a realistic fiction novel about two teenagers who suffer from cancer.

The story begins with Hazel, who is seventeen and suffering from advanced thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer limits her ability to interact with others, so she mostly stays home, watching television and reading. As a result, her parents and doctor believe she is suffering from depression, so she is forced into a cancer support group.

At this support group, she encounters Augustus Waters, another teenage cancer survivor who lost a leg. Hazel and Augustus instantly click with one another, discovering that they both love literature.

After the support group, Hazel introduces Augustus to her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction. The two are frustrated since the novel offers no closure; it ends in mid-sentence as if the author died. They continuously attempt to contact and meet the author, who lives in Amsterdam, which is the novel’s main plotline.

Over the course of the novel, both characters begin to bond with one another, discovering what they have in common, and their relationship eventually develops into a sad, but bright romance.

The Fault in Our Stars is a great novel, filled with slight humor and relatable characters, it is heartbreaking at the same time since it causes the reader to realize that real people suffer from cancer. The Fault in Our Stars opens the reader’s eyes to the world of cancer survivors and people who suffer from disabilities, which is why I’d recommend it.

-Josh N

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive