Book Review: Catch You Later, Traitor

Hey, y’all! Sorry I’ve been kinda quiet lately, I’ve been (thinks of my practicing one song on the piano yesterday for an hour and a half; the Spanish 1 final I took on Thursday; the science test, also on Thursday; my cousin’s wedding next weekend; my sister’s graduation in two weeks; all of my homework)…busy. And quite a bit stressed. High school is hard, y’all, especially when you want straight A’s. But I didn’t post this to rant…

Anyway, I’m doing another book review! Sometimes I don’t really like doing these and then I read a really, really good book and know I have to do one or I’ll explode. So here I am 😀

Catch You Later, Traitor

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by Avi

 

Goodreads description: Brooklyn, New York, 1951.

Twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas, but when an FBI agent shows up at Pete’s doorstep accusing his father of being a Communist, Pete finds himself caught in a real-life mystery. Could there really be Commies in Pete’s family? At the same time, Pete’s class turns against him, thanks to similar rumors spread by his own teacher; even Kat, Pete’s best friend, feels the pressure to ditch him. As Pete follows the quickly accumulating clues, he begins to wonder if the truth could put his family’s livelihood–and even their freedom–at risk.

 

Why Review? Because it was amazing.

 

Plot–5/5 Five thousand out of five stars. It was…amazing. I finished it in a day and a half and could not put it down.

Baby GIF

 

 

Storyline–4.99999/5 Because I’ve never read a novel that has an A+++++ storyline (well, except for maybe the third book of the Ascendance Trilogy) but this one came very, very close. It really made me think about things I’ve never really thought about before, like how the Red Scare impacted everybody and people who weren’t Communist were hurt by it.

 

Character Development–5/5 Pete…first a boy, then a man, and then a boy again. Avi did a great job with this.

 

Writing style–4/5 This was the first book by Avi that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed his style. Only a few scenes here and there that were oddly written prevented me from giving it five stars.

 

Overall rating–5/5 I finished this book late into the night and all I could do afterwards was sit on my bed and think about how good it was. I was near tears at some parts and laughing at others, and it showed me the Korean War era from a whole new perspective. It’s going onto my list of favorites–not only on the list, but somewhere near the top.

 

 

Y’all read any good books lately? Have any of you ever read Catch You Later, Traitor, or any other books by Avi? What are your favorite novels?

 

 

I’ll be back soon–after Kenzie’s wedding this week *squeals*, hopefully I’ll have a post commemorating that. 😀 😀 😀 😀

 

 

 

 

–Abilene

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Movie Review: The General//Pinterest Haul

It’s me. I’m back. Despite my lack of posts this month, I am indeed very much alive.

 

And, instead of my typical monthly book review, I’m reviewing a 1926 movie instead (because, well, why not). This is the first movie review I’ve done in an *abominably* long amount of time. *NOTE: I just realized this is my first ever full movie review, which seems very odd because I remember writing a movie review and have no idea where it went.  So. Anyways.

 

 

The General

 

The General (1926). Never saw this staggering poster before!
*picks first poster I found on Pinterest*

 

A bit of background: My local opera house was showing this classic silent film (yes, that’s a thing) and my family, being the nerds we are, decided to go. But, let me tell you, this is not just a SILENT FILM, for it was accompanied by a WIND ORCHESTRA. If you anything about me, you know that I love music, particularly classical, so hearing a wind orchestra LIVE was about as close to heaven on earth as I can get.

 

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psst. sorry for the poor quality. my phone’s camera is terrible 😉

Plot: The movie wasn’t fantastic in this area, but it wasn’t pained, either. Basically, it’s about this *real life event* that happened during the Civil War. An engineer, Johnnie Gray, fights his way through the movie for his train, The General. Meanwhile, he is put off by his intended, Annabelle Lee, and tries to regain her love.

 

 

Acting: In all honesty, the acting was hilarious. I’m not sure if it’s just because the movie is so dated and acting has changed so much since the silent films or if the actors where just stellar at face expressions, but I laughed my way through the movie. Granted, their were some “euhh” parts, but that’s with any comedy, so, yeah.

 

Script: Well, this is a silent movie, so, well….it doesn’t really have any. But, then again, it has words up on the screen every few minutes so one can understand what’s happening during dialogue scenes. It didn’t seem to corny.

 

 

Cinematography: Considering the movie was made nearly a hundred years ago, I’m not going to judge it too harshly, though I will say I was surprised at how good the cinematography is.

 

Music accompaniment: Awesome. Just. Awesome.

 

 

Overall opinion: Fairly good. Not my favorite, but certainly enjoyable.

 

 

 

Now on to the Pinterest haul!

 

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this to you guys before, but I am a Pinterest addict. I might have a slight problem…anywho, I wanted to do something fun, so I’m just picking random pins I’ve enjoyed recently. And, if any of you guys are on Pinterest, come find me here.

 

 

Braids hairstyle is always fun to have. But applying same style everyday is no more fun; moreover it is kind of boring. For getting rid of your boredom on your favourite braid hairstyle you can make some changes. Read this post below. I have made this post by highlighting 20 stylists braid hairstyle idea for the braid lover #BraidsHairstyle #BraidsHairstyleForLongHair

Sooo pretty. I wish my hair was that long….

 

 

nice 34 Memes That Are Just Way Beyond Funny

Second grade boys know what’s up.

 

 

So Relatable - So Relatable Photo (36697140) - Fanpop

 

 

See this Instagram photo by @remallory • 9,066 likes

Because MATTORY LIVES. Some of you will get that. And because of Mallory’s hair. Such a gem.

 

 

The Monogrammed Life: FASHION FRIDAY: 5 FALL FAVORITES

 

 

 

 

 

climb trees and run through sprinklers

Who’s with me?

 

 

 

 

I am using this line

I have no idea what movie or show this is from. All I know is that I’M USING THAT LINE.

 

 

15 Best GIFs Of All Time Of The Week

ME. Though I tend to try to do ballet instead…

 

 

 

And, that’s all folks! What are your favorite classic films?

 

~Abby

I’ve been tagged!!! Writer’s Book Tag

Well well well. *grins evilly*

 

Mwah’s first tag. Ha HAAA. Brianna, you have unknowningly unleashed a maniac. BOOKS MWAHAHAHAHA.

 

 

So.  Brianna tagged me in this writer’s book tag. YAY GO YOU BRIANNA. Rule #1 finished.

And, oh, in case you’re wondering….

 

RULE ONE: Shout out to the blogger who tagged you

RULE TWO: Tag three people

RULE THREE: Use the graphic

 

The people I’m tagging: (tagees, maybe?)

Caroline from Of Stars and Ink Stained Things

Brittney from Daughter of the King

Jane from Author Jane L. Knight

 

Now let’s start, shall we?

 

First Draft: A Book Or Series You Have NEVER Read Before:

Ummmmm, so there are LITERALLY MILLIONS? Not counting the gazillions on my to-read list?? I’m going with an easy one which I’ve been wanting to read after I watched the movie again last year….

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick (The Academy Award winning movie "Hugo" is based on this book!)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I’m gonna read this at some point. I have no idea when, but the movie was EPIC, and the books are always better, as every bookworm knows.

 

Second Draft: A Book Or Series You Didn’t Like As Much The Second Time You Read It:
Oh man, that one’s heavy!!! *thinks for an eternity*. O.O
[Jenkins, Jerry B. and Tim LaHaye.  Left Behind,The Kids: The Vanishings.  Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1998.  Print.]    Jenkins and LaHayes teen series based on their Left Behind books focuses on the teens left behind during the first wave of the biblical apocalypse, after all the true believers disappear from the earth.  Following the biblical story of Revelations, this suspenseful teen story may appeal to readers of apocalyptic fiction.
Left Behind The Kids Book One: The Vanishings by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
So, I loved loved LOVED this book the first time I read it, and I still do. But the second (or third, I can’t remember) time I did, I noticed the writing more and…well, it just wasn’t so great like the first time. The first time I got so wrapped in the storyline I didn’t notice the writing….anyway, you get the picture.
Final Draft: A Book Or Series You’ve Liked For A Really Long Time:
Tucket's Travels: Francis Tucket's Adventures in the West, 1847-1849
Tucket’s Travels by Gary Paulsen
I think the official name of this series is the Tucket Adventures, though I’ve only ever known it as Tucket’s Travels. This has been one of my favorites since I was, oh, seven? Eight, maybe? Nearly a decade.

Killing Off Your Characters: A Book Or Series That Made You Cry:
This one is kind of tough because I don’t normally cry for books. I tear up a lot soley because I’m very excited about what’s happening in the book but don’t often actually cry.
Hero by Mike Lupica  http://www.txla.org/TBA-nominees
Hero by Mike Lupica
I did cry at the end of this one, which I read during the summer of 2016. I actually sort of threw it…across my room…and kinda yelled a little bit….
Plot Holes: A Book Or Series That Disappointed You:
Hmmm.
1963
Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a full-fledged devotee of this series. It is so much better than all the movies, including Weissmuller’s and Disney’s. (Note also that I haven’t completely finished this series…there are twenty-four lengthy novels, not including Burroughs’ related works….at some point I’m going to read the ones I’ve read already and finish the series.) Anyway, after about book seven (pictured above), the plot becomes the same and is extremely predictable, which, at age twelve, I found to be dull. Apparently Burroughs didn’t have the time or the energy to come up with a new plot for each novel and instead placed same-type characters in different areas of Africa in closely related scenarios. It got old, as you can imagine.
Writer’s Block: A Book Or Series That You Haven’t Finished:
This is kind of a rude question, don’t you think???
[ The 39 Clues Series, by Various ]
The Thirty-Nine Clues: The Clue Hunt by assorted authors
Jussst kidding. But truly, I haven’t finished this series, The Clue Hunt, yet. Or any of the other series’ in this franchise. I’m terrible, I know.
Feedback: A Book Or Series That You Would Recommend To Anyone:
The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson - This inspires me to write a Christian allegory.
The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson
Now, granted, I’m a little biased. I just finished this series (like literally this week) and….WOW. It’s just amazing, let me tell you. Great dynamic characters, an interesting plot, fascinating allegorical content…this book has it all. Technically it is a Christian allegory, but I would recommend it to Christians and non-Christians alike.  It does have several battle/war scenes and the weensiest bit of romance (it ends in a wedding scene and directly after the wedding they go to war) but I would read it to younger children and it’s definitely good enough for adults to enjoy, too. GO READ IT RIGHT NOW.
Well, that wraps it up. What are y’all’s thoughts???
Have you read any of these?
If so, what did you think? 
As always,
Abby

Abby’s Top Ten Movie Picks

So, as you may have guessed from the title, I’m *finally* making a list of my all time top ten favorite movies. This was not a very hard list to figure out….just hard to narrow it down to ten. These aren’t in any specific order, either, but I’ll make comments about why I love each particular movie.

 

1. The Patriot

the patriot

I’ve loved, loved, loved this movie ever since I saw it when I was twelve. I love the plot, the storyline, the action, the history…. I’m a big history geek, if you couldn’t tell, and the American War for Independence is one of my favorite wars to study. I loved everything about this movie, and cried thoroughly when *gulp* significant people in the movie died. That’s all, I won’t say anymore and spoil it for you.

 

2. An Affair to Remember

an affair to remember.jpg

Oh. My. Soul. This is the movie that broke it. I loved this movie until halfway through and then hated it until the ending. I cried. Oh, I cried. But then it became my favorite.

 

3. McClintock

 

mcclintock.jpg

Ok, so this poster stinks, but whatever. Anyway, I’ve watched this probably several times a year since I was two. It’s a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew but staring John Wayne on a cattle ranch. What’s not to love.

(In all seriousness, I can quote half of this movie. Probably more, I haven’t tried lately)

 

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

star trek ii the wrath of kahn

“At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance” GAAAH. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I fell in love with the original series of Star Trek when I was eight and later saw this on Christmas. I love how it revives Kahn’s story without making it too familiar. And I love all of the cast, of course. I love the plot twist at the end…sniff sniff. No I’m not tearing up what are you talking about.

 

5. The Princess Bride

the princess bride

I saw this movie while I was snowed in and spent the night at my friend’s house under eighteen inches of snow in January of 2010. It amazed me. My sister and I went on the hunt for our own copy of it shortly thereafter. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it. I can quote it fluently, however, so if you love this movie too, comment below and we shall engage in a battle of wits…for the princess…to the death…

 

6. Rocky

rocky

DADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADADADAAAAAAAADADADAAAAAAAADADADAAAAAAAADADADAAAAAAAAAA

IT’S THE EYE OF THE TIGER IT’S THE THRILL OF THE FIGHT RISING UP TO THE CHALLENGE OF OUR RIVALS AND THE LAST KNOWN SURVIVOR STALKS HIS PREY IN THE NIGHT AND HE’S WATCHING US ALL IN THE EYYYYEEEEEE OF THE TIGER.

no, i did not have to google those lyrics. incidentally, they’re actually from the second or third movie. just so you know.

 

7. Return of the Jedi

return of the jedi

In all honesty, I hate having to pick a favorite from this ongoing saga because a) I’m a nerd and b) I love them all. Except for maybe the prequels. (I’m kind of sorry…but not really) When I first watched the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi really stuck out to me, so I’m picking it. But, of course, I also looveed The Empire Strikes Back…it’s a hard decision, you know?

*NOTE: Yes, I know the poster says “Revenge of the Jedi”, Google it.

 

8. It’s a Wonderful Life

wonderful life

In December I’m going to do a list of my favorite Xmas movies, but for now, this one will suffice.

 

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.” And people who hate on this movie are not angels. (Yes, Lizzie, I’m talking to you)

 

9. The Pride of the Yankees

the pride of the yankees

So, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a baseball fan (go ROYALS!) and history is kind of my thing….it makes sense that I love this movie. Gary Cooper’s portrayal of Lou Gehrig became an inspiration to me, and the real-life Iron Horse has become one of my favorite non-current players.

 

10. Superman II

supermanii

I’ve been watching his cartoons since I was too young to remember and reading his comics when I was five….when I was eleven, I saw his second movie, and loved it. The part where Lois finds out who Clark is is the best….such a good movie!!!

 

 

As a disclaimer, I obviously do not condone everything done in these movies. Some of them are completely clean while others had scenes that needed to be skipped, etc. I just love the plot and characters and what they mean to me and don’t necessarily condone every character’s actions. Just so that’s straight 😉

 

–the one and only abby

It’s the Little Things in Life

It’s the little things in life.

 

A few weeks ago, our church had its annual Jubilee (revival meeting), which was amazing, by the way. We had a singing tour group come through and I told Kenzie, my cousin, that I was excited to hear the group because when I had heard them sing during previous years they had sang one of my favorite songs. I don’t know the song on CD or anything so I was super excited because I thought they were going to sing it. I was disappointed when they had an entirely new lineup of songs and it wasn’t on the list.

 

Then, yesterday, we were sitting in church and our pastor asked for the special music. The man got up to sing and as he was playing his guitar and going through the first verse I thought “Hmmm, this sounds familiar. I know this song.” He got a little bit farther into the verse and it hit me. This was my song. I glanced over at Kenzie and she beamed at me. She had noticed, too. I was finally going to get to hear my favorite song again, this time sung Bluegrass style. I loved it.

 

It really is the little things.

 

–Abby

Though He Slay Me Ramblings

I have decided that I really need to give an explanation for why I am writing Though He Slay Me.

 

Really, all the credit for inspiration should go to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

 

I was ten when I first picked up a copy of the original Tarzan of the Apes. I fell in love with John Clayton and was devastated when he died, along with his lovely wife. But then, there was a son who survived.

I followed that son on his journey from childhood to manhood. I loved how he was raised by apes who loved him as their own. I loved how he was smart and quick and agile, how he was caring for those he loved, especially his mother. And how he survived.

 

That was the part that really got me.

 

Survival in the jungle, I realized at age ten, was harder than I thought. Tarzan battled lions and apes with his bare hands, yet he know that being a man set him apart from the other animals. He knew that eating human flesh was wrong, so he ate deer and whatever else he caught with his rope or stabbed with his spear or killed with his strength.

 

Another thing that fascinated me was how he moved.

 

In all  the movies I had seen, Tarzan flew through the trees on vines. Not so. He climbed and leaped from branch to branch or swung on boughs, not vines. He was as graceful as a swan yet as strong as ox.

 

And when I was eleven, I decided that jungle life sounded fun.

 

I wanted to go to Africa, I told myself. I want to live like Tarzan. I want to run through the jungle being chased by apes and leopards. I want to leap from branch to branch in the treetops. I want to hunt, using only organic matter and my wits. I want to exist where few men dare to exist. I want to be in constant danger of my life and have fun.

 

And then, an idea known as Katie Riley was born.

 

couldn’t go to Africa, I knew, despite my daydreams. That was out of the question. I had no money and wasn’t born into a wealthy family. There was no way my parents were going to be able to pay my way, and probably not allow me to go, either. Nobody wants their teenage daughter in the jungle with no communication to the outside world. My being able to survive out there was highly illogical, anyway. The jungle wasn’t what I had dreamed, anyway. It was a lot more dangerous and frightful.

 

Ways I could get around this started forming in my mind. What if, for some reason, I was flying over central Africa when my plane crashed? Everyone else would be unconscious, and I wandered off, never to be seen from again, until several years later when I was finally found.

 

And then the Idea, the great, wonderful Idea occurred to me.

 

 

What if it wasn’t my plane that crashed?

What if it was a character’s?

 

I had tried to write once or twice before. I had started Soldier Boy and had written a few short stories and poems. But this was my first real inclination to write a full novel. So I started plotting.

 

Katie (or Jamie, I couldn’t decide) was a twelve-year-old girl who lived in Cairo (I was enthused by Egypt) as a missionary to the entire African continent. (How this would be possible, I have no idea. I was eleven. Bear with me.) When her favorite brother, Jack, was lost to the jungle after a plane crash in a tropical storm, Katie sets out to find him, as she cannot imagine life without him. (Talk about cliche.) Katie’s Search and Rescue chopper crashes in the jungle, also. As she is the only survivor, she must learn to live on her own, this learning many Tarzan-like skills.

 

From then on, my Idea blossomed.

 

Katie was definitely going to be her name. She was no longer twelve, but somewhere in the 14-15 age group. Her family and some others ran a small mission on the edge of the savanna. The goals of the mission were to reach ‘natives’ (for lack of a better term) to Christ. Incidents in the jungle realm changed, too. Though she was still to learn several Tarzan-like skills, her main crisis was her faith. She wanted her brother back badly, and everything she tried to do to find her why home and hopefully see her brother again (as she had a feeling he was found) seemed to be futile. Nothing was working. She was surviving, yes, but she was lost in the green abyss of the rain forest surrounding the Congo River. Finally, she would come to a breaking point where she knew she had to give it all up and give it to God. Whether she finds her family and gets home is still untold. (Mwahahahaha)

 

 

There are also several aspects to her breaking point (why she’s so afraid to lose Jack, etc.) and probably waaay too many subplots for a novel. But at this point,  I don’t really care. I plan to finish the rough draft before January 1st, 2018, and start editing soon thereafter. Hopefully I didn’t give too much away. Sometime I’ll do a post about why I like writing in general, but I love Katie’s story because it inspires me.

 

And it’s all because of a man named Burroughs wrote a novel that caught my attention and ultimately changed my life.

 

–Abby

Sebastian

Sebastian, a lonely, unhappy bear, was never heard from in the animal kingdom after he went to visit Miss Franny Block’s library on the corner of Burden Avenue and 21st Street in Naomi, Florida. He was normal looking bear: tall, shaggy, and somewhat mangy with carrion usually stuck in his teeth and big, black eyes. Thus being said, he caused quite a stir whenever he left his forest abode, particularly when he went into civilizations known as towns.

 

Being scorned by the bears and all woodland civilization because of his quiet demeanor, Sebastian longed to do something more with his life than sit by himself and eat berries. It came to him that there were other places in his vicinity besides the forest. So, after giving his favourite tree one last scratch, ate a few blackberries, and, armed with his wits and claws, set out to see the world.

 

It was only chance, Sebastian knew, that he came across the town of Naomi first in his travels. The tiny community was made famous for its Litmus Lozenges, a candy created by a lonely survivor the Civil War. Its ingredient that made it special was sorrow, which, according to India Opal Buloni, went well with flavors reminiscent of strawberry and root beer.

 

During Sebastian journeys, Opal’s father wasn’t even thought of, let alone the girl herself. But as this leads into her dog’s story, it is only right to give her credit for the retelling of Sebastian’s.

 

Naomi was quaint town, Sebastian knew. It boasted a Litmus Lozenge factory, a church, and mom-and-pop shops. But what interested him most was the library.

 

The library was Miss Franny Block’s, given to her by her father, who, because of his grandfather’s candy-making success, was filthy rich. It was a small library, but held the classics, such as War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.

 

Well, by Miss Franny’s own account, it was a Thursday in the summer that Sebastian first came to visit Miss Franny. Sebastian had been watching the town for a little over a week, hanging around the outskirts, watching the farmers and farmhands and pastors and teachers and factory workers and rich people come and go. And he noticed that the people who went into the little white house with the picket fence on the corner of Burden and 21st always came out with something. Boxes, he thought. Little boxes that are somehow bigger on the inside. The people open them and stare at them. I’ve seen them do it lot’s of times. The children in the schoolyard do it, too, only their boxes are different.

 

And then, on that Thursday, Sebastian the bear decided that he wanted a box.

 

And what do you do when you want a box?

 

You go to the place where the boxes are being distributed.

 

So Sebastian did.

 

Now, by her own account, Miss Franny was a real smart-alec when it came to her library. On the particular day that Sebastian came to visit, Miss Franny was engrossed in a novel, War and Peace to be exact. Sebastian, who was a very kind bear, did not want to disturb the lady at the desk, so, as quietly as he could, he walked through the open door. Miss Franny, asking if she could help him, did not look up.

 

And then, it happened.

 

Perhaps it was the whiff of rotting flesh that Sebastian carried, or the way his big shadow fell across Miss Franny’s page. Sebastian never knew. All he knew was that Miss Franny did not want him in her library.

 

So, raising her thousand-page novel in her hand, Miss Franny launched her book right at poor Sebastian’s head.

 

Sebastian had his box.

 

 

 

–Abby

 

(Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright for any of the characters related to Because of Winn-Dixie. I only wrote this story as a sort of fanfiction for myself and others to enjoy)