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.

Books to read this summer

Some people may find it hard to find books that they like, so I am here to help. These are three books that you will absolutely find captivating. The names of the books are called Counting by Sevens When You Reach Me, and The Fault in Our Stars.

The first book Counting by Sevens by Holly G. Sloan is about a 12-year-old girl named Willow Chance. Willow is very smart and loves nature and diagnosing people with medical problems. She has never really had a great connection with anybody besides her adoptive parents. Then suddenly her parents die in a car accident and she is confused. She then starts to realize that she can connect to people. This book is extremely interesting and you will find it hard to put it down.

The second book When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is about a girl named Miranda that starts receiving mysterious letters from a person that knows her. Yet what’s even stranger is that the letters contain events that have not happened yet. The letters make her think she can prevent a very tragic death from happening until they make her think she is too late. This book will have you wondering what will happen next in each chapter.

My third and final book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about a girl named Hazel Grace who has cancer attends a support group. She then meets a mysterious boy named Augustus Waters who also had cancer. They end up bonding and learn stuff about each other. They later find out about Hazel’s favorite book author and how they can talk to him about how they felt about the book ends. This book is one hundred percent worth your time and if you have to choose one book this would be my choice.

In conclusion these three books are my top three choices for you to read this summer.

-Veronica S.

Braveland Trilogy Review

Braveland Trilogy, produced by Tortuga Teams limited is a new, exciting, RPG strategy game. The game follows you and your team of heroes, as you encounter different bandits, monsters, etc. Throughout your journeys, you will recruit and hire different soldiers that you can use to your advantage. The main objective of the game is to make your way through the Braveland Trilogy world, fighting and increasing your power with your army.

Each player’s team is comprised of multiple classes, each with a special set of skills and strengths. My army was comprised of peasants, archers, and thieves, each with a different skill set. Some classes had more range, speed, or power than the other classes. Classes also had a different weakness, keeping the game challenging. For example, the archers were only good at a medium to long-distance, and the closer the enemy got, the weaker the archers became. The peasants were quite powerful up close, but due to their weapons, they were slow and vulnerable to faster enemies. There is also a huge variety in the different types of enemies that a player can face. Ranging from weak archers to magical hammer users, the different enemies keep the game interesting. 

I liked how each of the different sections of the map was themed differently and became progressively more difficult. At the beginning of the map, much of the land was green, bright, and the enemies that I encountered were easy and peaceful. Farther down the map, many of the enemies were much more difficult and the map was darker and dimmer. I really enjoyed the aspect of purchasing certain fighters to grow your army. This aspect made the game feel much more like an actual medieval time simulator. The difficulties that I faced when I played Braveland Trilogy was the coins. I usually did not make enough money or coins to buy back the soldiers that I lost in battle. Little by little, my army began to shrink more and more. Luckily, I was able to find a treasure chest that gave me enough coins to buy back my whole army. The animations and graphics themselves for the games were pretty good. The graphics were bright and fun, and very kid-friendly. The voice lines and speech bubbles reminded me of a comic book, and the action sequences were simple but well executed.

Overall, I enjoyed playing Braveland Trilogy. The gameplay was quite enjoyable, and the graphics were very beautiful. The diversity of your army, as well as your enemies, was very nice, and challenging. All in all, I would award Braveland Trilogy a score of eight out of ten.

-Daniel C.

Summer Book and Movie Recommendations

As an avid reader, I’m always looking for new books to read. Here is a list of books, many of which I consider my all-time favorites, but some are simply ones that enjoyed and would recommend to anyone in search of a good read:

  1. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games Series (and its newly-released prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) by Suzanne Collins
  3. When, by Victoria Laurie
  4. Dessert First, by Dean Gloster
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
  6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  7. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. The Raft, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  9. If I Should Speak, by Umm Zakiyyah
  10. Night, by Ellie Weisel

As for a few movie recommendations, I once again have to include Harry Potter and Hunger Games! But I’ll also be adding others, once again, either more of my all-time favorites or just all-around good movies.

  1. The Harry Potter Series
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. The Aeronauts
  4. The Hunger Games Series
  5. The Lord of the Rings series
  6. The Rise of Skywalker
  7. Inception
  8. Little Women
  9. Interstellar
  10. Collateral Beauty

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Amazon.com: War and Peace (Vintage Classics) (9781400079988 ...

This book centers on the Great Patriotic War of 1812 and reflects major historical events from 1805 to 1820. Taking the experience of Bezuhov, Rostov, and Kuragin as the mainline, it connects many events and characters in the alternating description of war and peace. The author cross-described the two lives and two threads of “war” and “peace”, forming an encyclopedic magnificent epic. The basic theme of “War and Peace” is to recognize the just resistance actions of the Russian people during the war, and to praise the patriotic enthusiasm and heroism of the Russian people during the war. But the tone of his work is one of religious benevolence and humanitarianism. He opposes war and sympathizes deeply with the suffering of all sides.

Andrei, Pierre, and others have experienced a tortuous and dialectical development process in their pursuit of ideals and truth. The different mental manifestations of the Russian troops in different battles, such as panic, calmness, and passion, combined with the distinctive individual psychological motivations of each bearing in the specific war, melted and formed the spiritual atmosphere in every corner of the battlefield. Morale is the key to win or lose in a war. The novel War and Peace has both the magnificent color of epic novels and the depth of expression in its insight into the psychology of characters and even the entire nation. The work focuses on a panoramic overview of social life, realizing the epic aesthetic ideal of the creative subject and transcending the work itself. War and Peace powerfully exposes and criticizes the decadence of the upper-class society. In the critical autumn of their motherland, they are still fighting for power and wealth, leading a life of luxury and dissipation and shamelessness.

-Coreen C.

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:)

Book vs. Movie: Little Women (2019)

Though I haven’t seen any other adaptations of Little Women, from reviews I’ve read online, this movie seems to be the best of the bunch. But I highly recommend reading the book before watching it, as the plot can be confusing if you don’t. 

Little Women (2019) shifts time frames constantly, moving between the two different books. When I first put the movie on, much like almost everyone else, I was confused. Throughout the movie it was hard to tell what timeline we were following, the actresses looked the same and they were never explicitly named. 

But as the movie went on, I grew to love it. The shifting timelines were unique and something I never considered could work. The switches really helped the viewers see the parallels, and also see how the girls have matured. 

With an 800 page book made into an hour and 15-minute long movie, you obviously can’t have all the scenes. One of my favorite parts of the book was when the sisters all got gifts for meemaw on Christmas in the first chapter, but sadly that part didn’t make the cut. But some of my favorite scenes include the infamous porch dance, Meg’s ball, Laurie’s proposal, and Beth playing the piano at Laurence’s house. 

Even though I finished the book the very same day I watched the movie, I somehow felt a very strong sense of nostalgia. The movie had a really great way of not only keeping the warmth from the book but expanding on it. Throughout the movie, I ended up feeling even more connected to the book and the characters. 

Speaking of characters, let’s discuss the casting. With very reputable and well-known actresses such as Meryl Streep and Emma Watson, it was appealing form the get-go. I enjoyed all of the performances of the cast, especially Laurie and Amy. When I read the book I despised Amy, but the movie put Amy March in a much better light. It portrayed her not as a person who is bitter about what she has, but someone who knows how to get what she wants and will do whatever it takes. Well, almost everything. 

Although I may have cried at the dinner table while reading the book. After a certain scene in the movie, I was sobbing for half of it. I could feel my parents looking at me troubled but I could not keep my emotions in check. Seeing particular heart-wrenching scenes from the book played out in the movie did not help my tears in the slightest. 

The movie also added some new ideas to the famous story. The newer movie has traces of feminism such as Amy’s speech about marriage that make this classic more modernized. The more current ideals fit with the characters perfectly, as the girls were raised with very modern ideas for the time period. 

The biggest aspect that translated very well from the book was the family dynamic. The movie revolves around the sisters, and the comfortable bantering and bickering really sold it for me. You can tell that the cast was really close while filming, and the movie conveyed the exact feelings of coziness and home that came when I read the book. 

Although the 2019 Little Women adaptation is one of my favorite movies to date, the books will always be better. I encourage you if you’ve only seen the movie to read the book, as it is a classic tale full of family, love, and sisterhood. 

-Asli B. 

Little Women, in all of its adapted forms, is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

NBA2K20 Review

Have you ever seen a video game with a combination of life-like graphics and real-life sports? If you have, you probably know that NBA2K20 is one of those amazing video games. NBA2K20 is not only a video game, but it is also a great game to teach you about basketball. 

There are two purposes for this video game. While you have fun playing it, you learn about the game of basketball. There are 4 different game modes in NBA2K20. These game modes are all different and they are all filled with different activities. 

The Play Now game mode is where you can play with and against any team you choose in the NBA (National Basketball Association) or the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association). You can play against the CPU or you can connect another controller and play with your friends. You can even play online with friends. 

The MyTeam game mode is where you can play games, while you build your dream team. You can add any players you want after you buy the cards with your MyTeam Points. There are many different gem colored players, with the best cards being Galaxy Opals. After you have collected these player cards, you can fit them into your lineup and compete against the CPU or other online players. 

The MyCareer game mode is very special. In this game mode, you will be able to make a player who looks just like you and you will be able to control what he says or how he plays. It is like it is your NBA career. You have to start at a 60 overall player, but after you play, you will earn virtual currency and you will be able to upgrade your player to higher overalls. You can play this game mode in NBA games, or you can play in The Park and compete against other MyCareer players as well. You can buy your player outfits and accessories with the Virtual Currency  you earn after playing games. 

In the MyLeague game mode, you can choose a team that you will be playing with for the whole season. You have to play the games on their actual schedule and compete for a championship. You can also choose to be a general manager. You can trade for players and sign free agents in the offseason. It is like you own the team. That’s an extraordinary experience!

The thing that makes NBA2K20 an incredible video game to play is the graphics. The graphics are so life-like and it is as if you are playing with real basketball players on the TV screen. The stunning features in the game like the halftime show and the TV broadcasters makes the game more impressive and exciting. 

NBA2K20 is a basketball video game based on the NBA that can be played on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or PlayStation consoles. Since this video game is amazing, I would give it a rating of 10/10. 

NBA2K21 is also right around the corner, and you can preorder this game now or you can also buy this game when it comes out in September. Each year there is a new NBA2K because of all the team updates and game improvements. NBA2K21 will have 3 different versions; the Current Generation for Xbox1, Nintendo Switch and PS4, the Next Generation for Xbox SeriesX and PS5, and the Legend Edition version which can be played on all video game consoles. 

– Mert A. 

Reversion the Return: Chapter 3 game review

Reversion the Return: Chapter Three, produced by 3f Interactive, is a new and exciting story and role-playing game. The players follow the familiar protagonist, Christian, who is working with his fellow revolutionists to try and defeat the evil warlord Sergio from taking over his beautiful homeland, Buenos Aires. The game uses a simple but classic point and click playstyle, usually with inventory and puzzle-based missions. The game also uses incredible interactive voice acting as well as a hint system, for when the player is stuck. On top of that, the game’s 2d original aesthetics and challenging puzzles keep the players wanting more and more of the game

The characters themselves are very impressive. From friendly, peaceful citizens, to harsh, dangerous soldiers, the possibility is endless. This large amount of adversaries keeps the game interesting, as well as challenging. I still really enjoyed the live voice acting and performance of all the characters, and I felt that it gave each character a personality and personage. On top of that, each new environment and characters were individually drawn out and customized, based off of their personality.

The objective itself is very simple. The player must explore different parts of Buenos Aires in order to complete certain objectives. These objectives can range in simplicity and difficulty, such as the starting mission that requires you to remember a certain math equation, to one of the final objectives that require you to find and rescue your friend who was abducted by an evil military group. At times, these objectives can be tricky and confusing. At one point I was stuck for a good 30 minutes trying to find who I needed to talk too in one of the stealth missions.

To help counter these problems, the player is given the hint tool. This allows the player to receive a certain amount of hints, that will help them progress further in the level. Keep in mind that there are only a certain amount of hints that the player receives at the start of the mission, and after they use them all they must wait a certain amount of time for the hints to recharge. This system allows for the perfect amount of help to be given, while still keeping the game fun and challenging.

Overall, I enjoyed Reversion the Return: Chapter Three, produced by 3f Interactive. The simple but yet classic single-player story game really was nostalgic for me, especially since those were the types of games I used to play when I was younger.  The only thing I would improve upon is the diversity of the missions. I found that some of the missions were somewhat repetitive, so the game could become boring at some points. If the developers could somehow add a multiplayer aspect into this game, the possibilities would be endless. Besides that minor improvement, I really enjoyed Reversion the Return: Chapter Three and would recommend any puzzle-loving gamer to try it out. My overall rating of the game is it an 8.5 out of 10.

-Daniel C.

Authors We Love: Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau - Wikipedia

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 — May 6, 1862) was an American writer, philosopher, and representative of transcendentalism.

A graduate of Harvard University, he helped edit Emerson’s quarterly review of the Sundial. He was a lifelong supporter of the abolitionist movement. He preached abolitionism everywhere and attacked fugitive slave laws. Deeply influenced by Emerson, he advocated returning to the heart and getting close to nature. In 1845, he lived by Walden Pond, two miles away from Concord, as a recluse for two years, farming and eating by himself, experiencing a life of simplicity. Walden, a long essay on this subject, became a classic work of transcendentalism.

Thoreau was brilliant and wrote more than twenty first-class essays in his lifetime. Known as the founder of nature essays, Thoreau’s prose was concise and powerful, simple and natural, and full of thoughts, which was unique among the American prose in the 19th century. Walden is considered the most popular nonfiction in American literature. His other works include political treatise on Civil Disobedience, Life without Principle, Cape Cod, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack river, The Maine Woods, etc. Walden records his reclusive life in Walden, while Civil Disobedience discusses the injustices of government and power and justifies citizens’ voluntary refusal to obey certain laws.

Thoreau was not tall but very firm with pale skin and strong, serious blue eyes, and a solemn manner.Thoreau later in his life, had a beard that suited him. His features were sharp, his build strong, and his hands were strong and swift in the use of tools. He said that he used his feet better than his eyes to find his way through the woods at night, and that he could estimate the height of two trees with his eyes very accurately; he could estimate the weight of an ox or a pig as well as a cattle dealer. He was good at swimming, racing, skating and rowing, and could probably beat any countryman in the long walk from morning to night. The relationship between his body and his mind is even more subtle than we think. He said that every step of his leg was his. As usual, the longer he traveled, the longer he wrote. If you shut him in at home, he won’t write at all.

-Coreen C.

The works of Henry David Thoreau are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.