Books

A Book Review of The Austere Academy

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Contemporary

Basic Plot: The Baudelaires are now living at a horrible boarding school as Count Olaf tries to gain thief fortune.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: After books of the same ending, this book finally has a bit of twist at the end. Two events in this book cause a major change in the series. One is the Baudelaires making friends with the Quagmire orphans. Another is the mention of V.F.D., which the meaning is not yet reveled in the series.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style was as dark and humorous as the other books. There were creative explanations and descriptions again. There was also good pacing and revelations were made at the right time.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. The clues throughout the illustrations were not as clear as the other books had been, in my opinion.

Moral: 1/5 No Clear Moral: The moral was not that clear in this book, not even for the children sticking together. I suppose one moral you could get from this book is to be cautious and heed warnings, as refusing to do so gets the Quagmire triplets in major trouble.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: It was done as well as the other books. I recommend it for children ten and older for quality.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None

Violence: 1/5 A Bit of Light and Suggested Violence: A girl and her friends are described as “violent.” She pushes a boy. It is mentioned that a man woman fell of a building. It says that molehills can give a person stubbed toes. There are crabs that like to pinch people’s toes. A girl writes a poem about how she wishes Count Olaf would get hit by a truck. A man kicks a bag of flour that he thinks is a child and says he had thought the child had a hole in it and had hoped the child had died. A woman bites a boy’s hand. A man kicks a boy in the stomach.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Possible Swearing: The phrase “come hell or high water” is used.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Injuries and Some Potentially Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It is mentioned that people died in previous books. The school buildings look like gravestones. The school model is Memento Mori, “Remember you will die.” It mentions that people will all die and that a man may soon die from a bus accident. In explaining the difference between a mountain and a molehill, subbed toes, war, people dieing, and children eating lions are all used. A man thinks he has kicked a hole in a child for a second and hopes he had killed her. An exercise program is called S.O.R.E., and it mentions the children being sore in various places for various reasons. It mentions that paint “can sometimes be poisonous or cause birth defects.” It mentions that a baby stapled its own fingers.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: It is mentioned that people wear turbans for their religion, and a man wears a turban as a disguise claiming it is for his religion. He complains that he endures religious persecution.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: None

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: I would recommend this book morally to ages eight to ten and older.

Here is a link to the sixth review:

https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/a-book-review-of-the-ersatz-elevator/

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Books

A Book Review of The Miserable Mill

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Contemporary

Basic Plot: The Baudelaire children have again been moved, this time to a lumber mill. Again they are being chased by Count Olaf, and again they are trying to outwit him.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: I think this book is probably the one that is the least interesting in the series. It is still good, but it can be boring, as it is the same old story line. The Baudelaires move to new guardians, Count Olaf chases them, no one believes the children, but in the end, somehow the children survive and Count Olaf escapes. This is the last book in the series that will focus only on Count Olaf trying to get their fortune. From book five, the series is a given a whole new twist.

Even though this book is a bit redundant in its basic plot, the story was still good, and I don’t recommend that you skip it. The characters were still creative, Count Olaf was still cleverly evil, and the lives of the Baudelaires were still just as depressing as ever.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style was as good as the other books. I think one of the things that make the series so good, even if the main plot is repeated throughout the series, is that the author has a creative and entertaining style. His way of describing and explaining things is definitely humorous.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. They were again scattered with clues about what would and will happen.

Moral: 2/5 A Vague, Mostly Good Moral: The moral of the book is again unclear. You could go with the moral of the previous book that shows how the children stick together and work as a team. They definitely do so in this book, and by the end really appreciate each other more. They also realize that even though their life is difficult, they still are “lucky” that they things did work out to a degree. The moral is not very clearly spelled out though, so you may not get that from reading this.

The philosophy of “Your Parents are Stupid and Your Neighbor is Evil” is in this book as well.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done The book is definitely recommendable in quality. It is recommended in interest for children eleven to twelve and older.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None

Violence: 2/5 Mentioned, Threatened, Attempted, and Light Violence: It mentions doctors giving shots. A man trips a boy three times. A man hurts his leg from an accident and is taken to the hospital. A baby bites a ladies hand. A baby bites her own lip when she is nervous and causes it to bleed. A man threatens to rip out some children’s hair if they don’t do what he says. A man is almost pushed into some spinning blades, and he does get a cut on his foot. A woman steps backward and is killed by spinning blades. A woman kicks and puts her foot on a baby.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 “Gee” is used once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Some Slightly Intense Scenes and Potentially Disturbing Content: It mentions people that had been murdered or died in previous books. It mentions in the dedications that a woman has died. There are metaphors like “back breaking.” Blood is mentioned once. It mentions a sign “made of dead monkeys.” A man trips a boy three times. It mentions how an optimist would respond to his arm being eaten by an alligator. A man is almost killed by being chopped up by saws. A woman actually is killed this way, and a man has his leg “stamped” and is rushed to the hospital. Though neither of the injuries is described explicitly, it is mentioned that one is “gory,” and it is made clear that both of them were violent.

Religious Issues: 1/5 A Possible Religious Issue: A boy is hypnotized twice. It is not shown how it is done, but he is hypnotized. When he is unhypnotized he talks about stories in history he had read about hypnosis. A girl reads a book to try to understand hypnosis.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: “Zombie” is used to describe once.

Others: A man smokes cigars and smokes so much that the smoke is “covering his face.” A man dresses as a woman for a disguise. This disguise includes long nails, a skirt, and a wig. He insist that he be called “Shirley,” and until he revealed by the children to be a man, he is referred to as “she” and “her” by the author.

Some people believe that the Baudelaire’s new guardian Sir and his business partner Charles are a gay couple. I never got that out of the book when I read it as a child, and only started wondering that when I heard about the rumor from other sources. It is possible, as Charles is mentioned doing a lot of the things that would be considered more house wife-like than business partner-like such as cooking and cleaning. I had always assumed as a child that this was merely for humor purposes and to show Charles as being less important than Sir, but it is possible that it is because they are a couple of some kind. If they are though, it is not stated or shown in any way, and is merely something someone would get from speculation.

Overall: Count Olaf dressing as a woman for half of the book, hypnosis, and the possibility of Charles and Sir being gay are probably the two things that are of the most concern. As I said earlier, Sir and Charles are never said to be in a relationship, nor do they act as if they are, but it could be seen that way. I also don’t think a child would see it as a gay relationship unless told that Sir and Charles were gay, as I never even considered that until I heard from other people that it was a possibility.

This book is recommendable only is Sir and Charles are not gay. If you think the character’s behavior suggest homosexuality too much or if it is a solid fact that they are a couple, than I don’t recommend the book. If you believe that the behavior does not suggest it or if it is known that they are merely business partners, I can recommend the book. If read, I suggest ages ten and older.

Here is a link to the fifth review:

https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/a-book-review-of-the-austere-academy/

Books

A Book Review of The Wide Window

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Contemporary

Basic Plot: The Baudelaires are now living with their Aunt Josephine. Unfortunately for them though, Count Olaf is still chasing them for their fortune.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot was again clever and had more new characters and places. The plot was cleverer in this one than the last one, and certain things are being shown about the series that will soon be much more significant later in the book. Aunt Josephine was definitely a creative character, though most of the characters in the series are creative.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The style is the same as the other books. Each book is a little longer than the last, meaning that the author had more opportunities to use his style. The style is humorous but dark. The author attempts to make things seem bleak and hopeless, but as he does it in a way was meant to entertain the readers and make them laugh rather than feel actual sorrow.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. They were again scattered with clues about what would and will happen.

Moral: 2/5 A Mixture of Good and Bad Morals: There are few light bad morals and some more positive morals. The bad light morals include again the Your Parents are Stupid and Your Neighbor is Evil philosophy, as well as the idea that comparing your situation to the less fortunate is not a reliable way to cheer yourself up. The author admits that he didn’t really have a main moral for the story, but that the best moral you could find was that sticking together as a family helps you get through the trials in your life and that you should be grateful for the family you have. This is a good moral, and recommendable, as God wishes for families and true believers to be united and work together.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: The moral was better in this book than the last two. The quality of style and plot was just as good as the other books if not better. I believe boys and girls

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None

Violence: 2/5 Mentioned, Threatened, and Light Violence: A woman is terrified of nearly everything, and worries about how several every day items could hurt or injure a person. It mentions a man in history was assassinated. It mentions that a monster under your bed could eat you. It mentions trying to cheer yourself up by thinking how you are not “being eaten by a bear.” It mentions that a man looks like he wants to kick a woman. He doesn’t. When the house shakes, some children bump into various items. Some children try to escape a man that grabbed them by kicking and biting him. He does not seem to suffer any injury from or even seem effected by it. A man slips on an atlas and falls. It mentions that “frustrated citizens tend to execute kings and queens.” A baby bites a man’s peg leg to pieces. There are leeches that are suggested to have caused violence. Information on them can be found under “Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content.”

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 A Moderate Amount of Emotional or Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. A picture shows a sword hanging in the air by a thread over some children’s heads. It mentions various people that have died and a dead cat. It mentions that a woman became a widow, and a man speculates some ways he may have died, such as drowning or an accident. Some children wonder some ways that a man may be planning to kill them. A woman is believed to have killed herself by jumping out the window, and later it is wondered if a man threw her out the window. An entire house is blown off a cliff. A man threatens to drown a lady. A man though some children died. They didn’t. It mentions lava heading towards a village. It mentions a place made out of skulls. There are leeches that are responsible for people’s deaths and supposedly a man’s injury. It talks about regular leeches that suck people’s blood.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Slight Mention: There is a mentioning that in the next book there will be hypnotism. A woman says that no one knows what happens when you die. The expression “Speak of the Devil” is used and explained.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: It briefly mentions fortune telling as something fun. There is brief mention of the tooth fairy and a werewolf. It mentions fearing if there is a monster under your bed. No magic is done in the book.

Others: A man has a cigarette in his mouth once. A man wants to have wine once.  A person is holding a beer can when he is sleeping.

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: There was not any thing really inappropriate or violent in the book that would cause me to not recommend it. It is morally recommendable for children nine to ten and older.

Here is a link to the fourth review:

https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/a-book-review-of-the-miserable-mill/

Apps

An App Review of LoveLive: School idol festival!

LoveLive: School idol festival! By KLab

Type: Music, Rhythm

Basic Game Setup and Plot: Honoka decides to start a pop idol group and has the player help her. Another girl starts her own pop group for fun. The player helps each pop group become successful and also becomes friends with them.

Quality

Game Play: 4/5 Well Done: The game is a rhythm game. It is not like some rhythm games that are impossibly hard, but it isn’t boring or too easy either. There are definitely challenges.

The player plays the songs and gets rewards. After gaining coins and points from playing songs, the player can upgrade their characters or try to get new ones. Depending on the song one plays depends on what characters a person may use, and the different characters have different abilities. After reaching achievements, the player can unlock stories, some for main game play and others as extras.

Plot: 3/5: Average: The plots are simple and cute. There are also side plots for all of the different characters, revealing personalities and preferences. Since new characters are added over time, the stories never end. There are also contest that come with their own stories that are added for limited times.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: One of my favorite parts of the game is the anime style graphics. The characters area cute and there is a lot of variety in their appearances, all of them overflowing with adorableness.

Music: 3½/5 Above Average: The music is pop or rock, and often has a happy or energetic feel to it. There are a total of eighteen voices that sing songs either as a group, a few at a time, or solo. Some of the songs start to sound similar after some time though.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: In quality, this is probably the best rhythm, game that I have played. The art and music are good and the story is interesting. The game also updates regularly to add new events and characters. In quality I would recommend it to girls twelve and older.

Moral Content

Official Rating: E

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2½/5 Some Immodest Clothing: The girls wear a lot of suggestive clothing, sometimes shorts, miniskirts, or low shirts. There are also various swimsuits. Though the lyrics are sung in Japanese, when reading what they mean in English they are a bit suggestive. The lyrics are not sexual and do not say anything crude, but they are a bit passionate.

Violence: 0/5 None

Swearing and Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gosh” and “geez” are used throughout the series.

Religious Issues: 2½/5 Demon Fascination and References to Other Religions: One of the schools the girls go to is Catholic. At least one girl lives in a shrine, and she says that she believes that all gods are the same. Another girl uses tarot cards. Some characters can be seen wearing traditional Japanese religious outfits. One girl believes she is a fallen angel and makes references to demons and hell. She probably isn’t.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Reference: Some of the costumes are fairy themed or are of magicians. No magic is done in the game.

Others: The music is pop and rock and has drums. The game has some suggested homosexual affections among the members. Originally all speech that suggested this was removed, but as Americans have become more accepting of this they have been updated to include the homosexual comments. Such comments include, “What do I like? Looking at cute girls, I’d say!” and “A girl and a girl? I don’t mind at all.”

Overall: Unfortunately this game is not very recommendable, mainly because of the religious issues and homosexual phrases. Before some of the updates in the game, it wasn’t so bad, but as time has gone on the game is no longer very morally recommendable.

Books

Book Review of The Reptile Room

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Contemporary

Basic Plot: The Baudelaire children have found a new home with another relative, but just as they are happy again, a certain someone comes back to try to steal their fortune.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The main idea is the same as the first book; a man is trying to take the Baudelaire’s fortune. New characters, events, and details make this book just as interesting as the first one, though. Throughout the book, the author also reveals more about his characters personalities, making them more interesting.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: Some of the other parts of Lemony Snicket’s writing style come out in this book. He uses other techniques and descriptions that I don’t think were used as explicitly in the first book. Throughout the book he also explains things such as “dramatic irony.”

The story was paced well and things were revealed at a good rate. It is mentioned that a certain character will die early in the series several chapters before he dies. I believe this was done because the main suspense of the novel was not the fact that the character died, but how the children would prove he was murdered rather than just dieing.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. They were again scattered with clues about what would and will happen.

Moral: ½/5 No Clear Moral and a Suggested Bad One: Unfortunately there were minor negative morals and again no main one. The minor bad morals were not constantly pressed, (well, except for the second one) but they are there. The minor negative morals included the author saying it was ok to lie in certain circumstances and Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil (see Dangerous Ideas). Overall there was really no moral.

Overall: Except for the fact that no real moral was in the series except for minor bad ones, the series was well done in quality. I would recommend it for ages ten to twelve and older for children of either gender who would be interested in it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None

Violence: 2/5 Mentioned, Threatened, and Light Violence: A man is murdered, though not violently and it mentions that another man was as well. A letter says a man “swallowed a pack of thumbtacks.” It mentions that they watch a movie called “Zombies in the Snow,” and it is mentioned that people are eaten by the snow zombies. A snake bites a girl twice, though not violently, and a girl bites a snake and a man’s fake hands. A man mentions that he wishes someone would be “torn apart by wild animals.” A man threatens the children with violence several times, specifically once to chop a girl’s toe off. The children remember some of the things that were violent in the previous book. A girl gets hit in the shoulder with a suitcase. A man gets hit on the shoulder with a lamp dropped from the second floor. It mentions the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and how he gets eaten. A man says that there are some snakes that would run you over with a car if they had the opportunity to. A lion looking at prey it will kill and eat is used as a description.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Light Swearing: The word “damn” is misused twice. The word “hell” is misused once. “God” is used as an exclamatory three times, and “Lord” is used two times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It mentions that some children’s parents have died. A secondary character is murdered, though not gorily. It is mentioned that another man was murdered. The children respond to it emotionally, crying a little and getting upset at other characters. The children are threatened in various ways throughout the book. A man says that if he had wanted to kill the children their “blood would already be pouring down these stairs like a waterfall.” It uses “the eyes of a skull” as a description and in one picture there is a skull sticker on a suitcase.

Religious Issues: 1/5 When a man is worrying and is exclaiming he says “Blessed Allah! Zeus and Hera!” A certain toad is compared to looking like a cathedral. “Hypnotized” is used as a description.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: A movie is watched called “Zombies in the Snow.” No magic is done in the book.

Others: There is mention of a man wanting to drink and having some in his room and suitcase. It is mentioned that a man had “drunken guest.”

Overall: As far as I remember this is the only book with actual swearing in it. I really hate it when authors put language in one of their books randomly, and then it never shows up again. Other than the language, the book is clean. I would recommend it morally to twelve to thirteen and older because of the language.

Here is a link to the third book review:

https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/a-book-review-of-the-wide-window/

Books

A Book Review of The Bad Beginning

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Contemporary

Basic Plot: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny have just been orphaned and are now living with an evil relative who is determined to get their fortune at any cost.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot was clever and not too cliché. The characters were mostly unique, though some may think the antagonist is a bit cliché in some aspects. Mr. Snicket/Handler did a good job at leading up to the climax of the story by leaving hints, but not hints that you would have noticed probably until you reached the of the story.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The style of writing was humorous and a little dark. It had a similar feel as School of Fear, but it was briefer than School of Fear was. The story and events all went together well and were paced well.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: Most of the graphics were sketches. They were not elaborate, but have good shading and details. Some of the drawings also leave hints in them.

Moral: 1/5 No Clear Moral: Unfortunately there isn’t really any main moral. The only moral that may be seen is that people who are righteous and intelligent will eventually outsmart the wicked and foolish, though it may take some time. The book also unfortunately had a slight feel of “Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil” philosophy. (See Dangerous Ideas for explanation.)

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Except for a “Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil” feeling, the series was very well done in quality. I recommend it to children ten to twelve and older of either gender in being the most interesting for them.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Slightly Suggested and Briefly Mentioned Content: A grown man attempts to marry a fourteen year old girl and some of his comments or actions towards her may be considered creepy, though probably not perverted. It is mentioned that some people put on Macbeth while naked.

Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: A girl wonders if she should throw a rock  at a man. A grown man slaps a boy. A baby bites people throughout the book. A boy thinks of a man ripping at him with pirate-like hooks. When a man tells the children to “break a leg” one boy says he wishes he could. A man tells them they soon will, though they never do. A boy wonders why a man is not being violent.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Some Lightly Disturbing and Emotional Content: The children’s parents die. The man that is taking care of the children is abusive, though not in graphics detail. He is more like a villain than a realistically abusive person. The children are threatened throughout the book by various people. The intro mentions death. A girl thinks sauce looks like blood. A girl hurts her hands and shoulder and they bleed.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Slightly Mentioned: It is mentioned that a girl looks like a ghost in the dark. A certain knot is called “The Devil’s Tongue.”

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: There is mention of alcohol and a party of people seems to be drunk. It mentions a man taking out wine for breakfast and having wine bottles upstairs.

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: Overall, the book is clean. It is recommended to children ages eight and older morally.

Here is a link to the second book review: https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/book-review-of-the-reptile-room/