Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

I loved reading the Harry Potter books when I was 9. That was when I actually enjoyed reading, which was a long time ago, but I still like the series. I never read the seventh book, but I watched all the movies so I know what happens. Harry Potter is one of those series with a dark, ominous mood, which I like to read.

The beginning of the book is very detailed and well thought out. J.K. Rowling does a great job with the setting. J.K. Rowling also does a marvelous job introducing new characters, of course some of the characters are left a mystery because they’re supposed to be shady, like Professor Quirrell. The entire book sorts itself out by revealing new things throughout the story. What I also like about the book is how you never know what happens next.

When I read a Harry Potter book, I usually read about 50-100 pages at a time because I would get so into the story. There are a lot of moments in the story that make me want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Harry Potter is a very interesting series and is worth giving it a try.

First Man: Movie Review

First Man was a very powerful experience for me. I remember leaving the theatre in awe of what I just saw. I consider this the best movie of 2018. This is my review of “First Man”.

The plot of this movie is about Neil Armstrong and his life leading up to the moon landing and the landing itself.

I loved that the movie went into his life when he wasn’t on the moon or on a test mission. We see here that Neil was actually a bit of a jerk at times, but he still cared about his family and friends.

The story is also just great in general. The story had a sense of direction unlike anything I’ve seen in cinema.

The acting in the movie is great. Everyone does a great job here and succeeds spectacularly at translating the characters’ emotions.

Also, the soundtrack is great. It really helps display the tone the film tries to present.

Verdict: First Man is a great film and in my opinion the best film of 2018. It’s moving, it’s insightful, and has sheer determination that I’ve never seen before.

Rating: 9.5/10

My next review is about a film I won’t give away, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s called “Hobbs and Shaw”.

 

 

Cold Air

Today was the day I dreaded. Every second I was still here, I cherished it. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone to, everything. Eventually, they will be nothing more than just a faded memory. I was never coming back to this little town that I loved so dearly. So full of color and delight, this town gave me a purpose, Something different than what my parents wanted. I had a feeling they hated this place. The day I heard the news, I was crushed, not because I had lots of friends and I would miss them, no. This little lovely town kept me from shattering apart. My parents always had very high standards for me. They expected me to be this perfect kid, and I wanted to do that for them. As time went on their expectations became higher and higher, I couldn’t keep up with they wanted from me; Every day became the same; I wasn’t happy or sad, just numb, I couldn’t feel anymore. But something changed within me when I lived in that town, people’s happiness gave me strength and made me believe that I was more than what my parents wanted me to be. Now that life that I loved is crushed and gone. We were now moving to a place that would “benefit me” more in life, as they said. My life would go back to being black and white.
My parents seemed to never show any emotion, if someone told me they were robots, I would believe them. I looked around at the new town I’d be living in, it felt so grey, so lifeless to me, I despised it.
The day I started school, it was a nightmare. Everyone looked emotionless, whatever task it was they did, it was done perfectly. This is what my parents wanted, they wanted this perfect robot child, and no matter how hard I tried I could never be the perfect child. That’s the day I quit, the day I was done with everything in my life, I’m going to leave and not care about the consequences.
It was cold out today, I made sure to get everything I needed to leave, I would start my own life being who I am. I knew it was dangerous but that didn’t matter, what mattered now was getting my life back together. I walked outside and started my journey to someplace that could make me happy, a place where I could thrive as the cold air would be my guide on this journey of self-fulfillment.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by: Louise Gornall

Norah is different. But she is strong. Stronger than she thinks, and when a new neighbor moves in, Norah will try to see herself through his eyes.

Norah suffers from mental health issues and many phobias. She can’t go outside because there are many germs, earthquakes are possible, and many other things. She’s afraid of irrational numbers. She stays home, not going to school, but instead attending an online school, and she goes to therapy.

When Luke moves in, he sees Norah, a smart, funny, and extremely brave girl. He doesn’t think of all her health problems and phobias. Instead, he respects them. The two of them become friends. They both like Transformers, Norah helps Luke with his French, and they watch horror movies together. Soon, Norah and Luke develop feelings for each other, which Norah likes, but she is also afraid. Because of all her “problems,” will they ever be compatible?

This book was very thought-intriguing. I loved the characters and loved seeing them develop throughout the story. Norah was an unforgettable character and I learned and felt the fears and pain she went through. It was heartbreaking at times, but in the end, reading this book made me feel different. I have grown much more respect for mental health issues and I loved that the author could spin me in with such an intriguing plot.

9/10 rating for this book because I sometimes had to re-read a few passages to make sure I was reading it the right way. I highly recommend this book for all ages. There isn’t much swearing, 2 or 3 places, and there are no highly inappropriate scenes. If you need a next good book you can’t put down, read this book!

The Westward Expansion

The Manifest Destiny was the westward expansion in the territories of Mexico City and California. The Manifest Destiny took place in James K. Polk’s presidency however, before the manifest Destiny occurred, many other events happened that greatly impacted the United States nation.

One of the main territories that the United States gained during the move westward, was the Oregon Country. The Oregon Country is located in the upper-westward United States. Before the Oregon territory became apart of the nation, many events took place that led to Oregon Country being apart of America. After the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, many people starting, following the path they took, to settle west. The route that was taken became known as the Oregon Trail. On the path, there were many landmarks that kept the pioneers on track, such as Chimney Rock and Independence Rock. If the pioneers didn’t reach the landmarks and a certain point, many problems would arise. Traveling with the pioneers, were missionaries. Missionaries such as Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, traveled west in hopes of converting the Native Americans to Christianity. Another group of travelers were the Mountain men. The Mountain men were individual men that lived in the wild, and made a living trapping animals such as groundhogs, and selling their furs to fashion industries. This process is known as fur trading. At the time, fur clothing was a big fashion statement in parts of the world, such as China. Since fur clothing was a big hit in the fashion industry, fur was very expensive and rare to find. The Mountain men moved west, to trap and sell the fur animals in the new territory. The Oregon territory had multiple claims on the land. The United States, Great Britain, Russia, and Spain all had claims on the land. Russia and Spain had let go of their claim, knowing that they didn’t have very many settlers in the area. The U.S and Britain, however, kept their claims. The nations had agreed to share the territory however, a while later, more and more Americans were moving to Oregon, while it took longer for the British to arrive. This caused conflict with Great Britain. President Polk did not want to go to war with Britain, so they decided to split the land. Great Britain would get the northern part of Oregon while the United States would get the southern part.

In 1836, Mexico was in a revolution with Texas. It started out in 1821, after Mexico gained their independence.  Moses Austin received a land grant from the newly independent Mexico. However, Austin soon died and the grant was then handed down to his son, Stephen Austin. Austin then created a colony in Texas. He and many Americans moved to the new colony in Texas and Mexico granted the settlers: 320 acres of land each, plus sixty more acres if they were married, plus eighty more acres for every child, and forty acres for every slave. The land however, was to be exchanged for them to give up their religion and convert to the Mexican faith and to give up their slaves. A conflict with Mexico soon arose, with the Texans ignoring the new laws. At the time, the Mexican president, General Santa Ana, was throwing away the promise of a democracy by becoming a dictator. Santa Ana had vowed to take control of the Texas situation. However, the Texans starting forming committees of correspondence and militia forces, which started the Texas Revolution. With Sam Houston in command of the Texan army, many small battles broke out in October 1835. Later in early 1836, the Battle of the Alamo occurred. The Alamo is an old mission in Texas that had withstood a siege that had lasted for thirteen days. The Texans were able to hold off all assaults until the last one on March 6,1836. All Texans except for the women and slaves had died and a third of the Mexican army had died. After the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas gained their independence and stayed independent for about nine years. After gaining their independence, Texas became known as the Lone Star Republic. With Texas being an independent nation, there are positives as well as negatives. Because of the grant given to Stephen Austin, who started the colony, many foreigners and Americans now lived in Texas however, after the war, Texas was still terrified of Mexico and they were in huge debt. To solve their problems, Texas turned to the United States. After many discussions and arguments, the United States agreed to annex, or add on the land, to their nation.

In 1844, the election of 1844 between democratic candidate James K. Polk and the Whig candidate Henry Clay, took place. Polk won the election and then vowed to fulfill the idea of Manifest Destiny, annex Texas, gain control of the Oregon territory, and to gain control of the New Mexican Territory, which consisted of California and current-day Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. William Becknell, a farmer from Missouri, traveled to Santa Fe with $300 worth of equipment to sell to pay back his debt to the bank. After traveling the 772 miles in sixty-two days, Becknell comes back with $6000. The second time Becknell takes the route to Santa Fe he takes more people along with him. The route that Becknell takes is later called the Santa Fe Trail.

After Congress agrees to annex Texas, conflict with Mexico starts to arise. The United States and Mexico can’t seem to agree on what the borderline for Texas is. The U.S thinks its farther south while Mexico thinks its north. Polk dispatches soldiers in the disputed area and goes before Congress and tells them Mexico has crossed the American boundary and killed our soldiers. Congress then declares war and Mexico, which starts the beginning of the Mexican War. After many American victories, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo is signed and ends the war. The treaty states that the United States gets the Mexican Cession, which includes the New Mexican Territory and California, and Mexico receives $15 million dollars.

In 1839, a swiss immigrant, John Sutter, arrives in San Francisco, Mexico. He builds a farm and a trading post in the Central Valley. The Mexican governor at the time grants Sutter with 49000 acres of land, which Sutter uses to build a fort that later becomes the most important trading post in northern California. In 1847, Sutter hired a group of men to build a water-powered sawmill that later resulted in the discovery of gold. Sutter doesn’t tell anyone about the discovery but goes to the U.S army for help. Lieutenant William T. Sherman tells Sutter, they are unable to help him. Somehow, word of gold gets around and Sutter’s land gets overrun by claim jumpers and pioneers start moving west, toward California in hopes of finding gold. This starts The Gold Rush of 1849. Many foreigners such as the Chinese, British, Australian, and even escaped slaves and Native Americans travel to California in hopes of finding gold. Because of the many different races traveling to the United States, the nation gains a more diverse population, which greatly impacts the future generations. People didn’t just travel west to dig for gold, they also traveled west to start businesses that would get them just as much money. Levi Stratus arrived in California in 1850 as a tailor. He designed strong pants for the miners, with just his canvas. Henry Wells and William Fargo created the Wells Fargo Company for banking, mail, and also stage coach services.

The idea of Manifest Destiny, the annexation of Texas, gaining California and the New Mexican Territory, and the Gold Rush have all greatly impacted the United States nation. President James K. Polk was able to fulfill all of his goals that he had created when he took office and is greatly responsible for the large territory the United States now includes. During Polk’s presidency, there were five events that occurred that largely impacted the United States nation and those events are Oregon Country, The Republic of Texas, California and the Southwest, The Mexican War, and the American Rush West.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone Book 1 Audiobook review

This audiobook was enjoyable all around, it is a faithful recreation of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It features a good narrator by the name of Jim Dale and a reasonable pace that let’s you keep up with what’s happening. In my opinion it is better to read the original book, however if you need to listen to an audiobook rather than read this is a good replacement. As for the plot it follows the plot of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to a tee and does not add or remove any content. The audiobook however has a narrator that already has a nice voice to listen to but also does several distinctive voices for each named and unnamed character making it obvious who is speaking. But sadly the quality of the female voices falls short in comparison to that of the male voices due to the narrator being male. Overall this audiobook is a great substitute for J.K Rowling’s original book if you happen to prefer to use audiobooks.

Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo

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Crooked Kingdom, the second book in the Six of Crows duology, written by Leigh Bardugo, follows our cast of characters as they face a new challenge more dangerous than the last.

After the major heist of the first book, I wondered how Crooked Kingdom would be able to top that, and it did, using smaller yet impactful sneaking moments that worked towards a greater cause.

The characters became fully developed midway through the book. Jesper and Wylan remained the same enjoyable characters but with an interesting back story, such as the introduction of Jesper’s dad that propelled the story while adding new personal stakes. Wylan had a complex relationship with his father that added sympathy towards his character.

We learned more about Inej’s background along with her talents of climbing and moving in silence, and she quickly became my favorite character. As a female character, she is incredibly strong and independent in ways other young adult book protagonists miss. She is sure of her abilities without being arrogant, which is what we see in characters such as Aelin Galathynius from the Throne of Glass series. Arrogance seems to be overused in young adult female protagonists, therefore seeing a character who is so strong yet humble and doesn’t need others to see her abilities or lose a fight to her to feel confident she is capable, is a great person to look up to. Due to this, Inej became one of my favorite female protagonists.

We were also given more backstory on Kaz that explained his negative disposition and we got to see him grow from the hatred he had. This made him likable/understandable in the end, adding some humanity to his morally grey character. My only problems with characters were with Nina and Matthias. I didn’t feel as connected to Nina and mainly found myself annoyed by her points of view and actions. Matthias was a character I never liked from the beginning, although he did show positive development.

I loved the relationship between Kaz and Inej. Many young adult authors tend to rush romance between characters that don’t appear to be emotionally or mentally prepared for a relationship. This was a very slow-burning romance that worked perfectly and made sense between the two. Despite not ending with any real physical connection, there was an emotional one that alluded to the fact that these two characters would get together in the future when they are prepared. It doesn’t make their relationship the most important aspect of their story, which makes sense considering the stakes at hand.

I especially loved the introduction of characters from the Shadow and Bone series because it reminded me of the vast setting and was incredibly enjoyable to see unlikely characters interact, such as Nikolai and Kaz. The Grisha powers are explored more in this book than the last, especially with the ability-enhancing Jurda Parem being abused. There were also many misdirects and twists throughout the book that kept me on edge and my emotions were like a rollercoaster.

To digress, I’ve recently learned there will be a tv series about both the Shadow and Bone series and the Six of Crows duology. Nothing has been revealed besides the fact that they are in the middle of casting and location scouting, and I feel as though it’ll be an amazing series. Leigh Bardugo is an executive producer for the show, which gives me hope they will be able to portray the world and the stories in a way that even people who don’t particularly like reading will find enjoyable.

Although I will not be reading the Nikolai centered duology Leigh has recently published simply due to not being particularly interested in learning more of the characters, I do plan on reading future fantasy series by her. I would highly recommend reading any and all of her Grishaverse books, especially before the tv series releases (which won’t be for a while). Her writing and setting is so unique and dark and truly feels as though you are in a whole other world unlike any other you’ve read about before.

Compared to the first book, Crooked Kingdom was a more enjoyable book to read, earning 9/10 dragons.