Category Archives: Fiona Higgins

The Magic Warble Appeals to Fans of Fantasy

by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Literature is always evolving, always producing new and exciting forms of adventures and stories. Still, some yearn for the days of more simplistic storylines or an imaginative fairytale-like universe. For those who wish for these types of books, The Magic Warble is for you.
Published in 2009, this book centers on Kristina Kingsly, a girl wishing that her life as an easily picked on twelve-year-old would turn around for the better. However, when she is given a small magical object- the Magic Warble- she is transported to a fantasy land full of new possibilities called Bernovem. Along her journey to return the Warble to its proper place in the world, she comes across all sorts of fantastical creatures like talking animals, gnomes, elves and fairies. Kristina learns how to defend herself and others as she goes on her quest, after being threatened by the evil Queen Sentiz and her minions, and in the end learns how to make her place in the world.
This book could be compared fondly to other novels like The Chronicles of Narnia, for its unique fantasy world and simple yet engaging plot. The characters are interesting and compelling, and the world is that which we have not heard of before, meaning we get to discover it along with Kristina. In addition, it is especially nice to see a story in which a female character becomes stronger over the course of the story rather than being reduced to a helpless damsel. Kristina is very much the heroine of her story, and saves others as many times as others save her. She remembers what she learns instead of forgetting it instantly, and uses the lessons taught to her to apply to her life in the normal world. Even better, though she gets caught up in a bit of a love story, it is very innocent and kept smaller so that it doesn’t overtake the plot.
The Magic Warble is only the first book in a series of three, meaning that once you finish this story you can continue with even more adventures. Anybody that loves fantasy will adore this book and the ones that follow, since for a reader of fiction, discovering brand new worlds will never get old.

Valentines Day: Day-Maker

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Every year, Valentine’s Day comes and goes in a wave of red or pink frills and hearts. It is considered a time to celebrate romantic relationships, which can cause bitterness to rise in the single population. However, there may be more to this holiday than meets the eye.
To begin with, although Valentine’s Day is traditionally for “couples only”, society has clearly never viewed it that way. At least, not entirely. Friends give their friends valentines, and in elementary schools kids spend time making cards and crafts to give to their class. No one would ever say that these kids are all romantically interested in each other. Personally, I view Valentine’s Day as a day to tell your friends how much you love and care about them, not just a significant other.
In addition, Valentine’s Day brings with it a veritable smorgasbord of nice-quality chocolate and candy on sale, all prepared for boyfriends and girlfriends to get last minute gifts for each other. They are not the only ones who can buy sweets, though; anyone can get them. You can give them to your friends, or just keep them for yourself.
If you are a very crafty person, Valentine’s Day can be one of the best times of the year. Many cute, frilly and fun crafts are designed for this holiday. Valentines themselves are fun to make, because you can personalize them to your friends and loved ones, and there are so many to choose from. Even if you do not like the adorable lacey stuff, though, there are still many varieties of cards and crafts for people who are not a fan.
Some would say that Valentine’s Day is too cutesy for their tastes, and others believe that seeing sappy couples trying to rekindle their relationships with teddy bears and heart shaped balloons is rubbing their relationship in our single faces. But we do not have to see it that way.
All in all, even if Valentine’s Day is supposed to be for couples, it does not have to be, and we can all celebrate it in peace, whether you are single, taken, or somewhere in between.

Twilight Revisited as Spicy Valentine’s Day Reading

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, all anyone wants to do is curl up with a nice, exciting romantic novel, and what novel could fit the bill better than Twilight?
Twilight has everything any girl could want! From the multiple overprotective boyfriends, to the way that everyone takes care of the main character, Bella Swan, there’s nothing more fitted to a perfect Valentine’s Day.
Twilight, the first book in an amazing four-book series by Stephanie Meyer, centers around Bella, a wonderful character with loads of personality that just draws you in the moment you start reading amazing romantic dialogue like “As always, I was electrically aware of Edward sitting close enough to touch, as distant as if he were merely an invention of my imagination.” Speaking of Edward, he is the best possible boyfriend a girl could have. What is not to like? He is overprotective, he follows Bella around constantly and watches her sleep, he sparkles in the sun, and always talks about how much he would like to turn her into a vampire. How romantic!
According to Stephanie Meyer, she did not know that the typical vampire burns in the sun, or that they can only be killed by wooden stakes and silly old things like that according to older legends. Obviously, the changes she made have enhanced the vampire mythos to an amazing degree, and no one will ever be able to top it.
Overall, Twilight is a wonderful series that does not at all demean the characters or make any of them look foolish in the slightest.

Abortion Issue Laws Threaten Women Nationally

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

About a month ago, Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich made a move that has once again brought an extremely dividing topic to light. That topic was abortion, an important decision that should be left up to the mother’s choice. There are those that feel that abortion is killing a baby, or goes against what God wanted, or any number of things. I am not one of those people.
In this case, Kasich vetoed a bill that would have become the most restrictive abortion law in the country, dubbed the “Heartbeat Bill”, which would have cut off allowing abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be heard, approximately six weeks after pregnancy starts. The bill also would not have provided any exceptions for the mother’s health, or if the mother had been raped and was unwilling to have the child.
Instead, the governor passed a bill that cuts off abortions after twenty weeks, with exceptions only if the baby will not survive the pregnancy.
Many people think of abortion as a nasty procedure where the mother has to go under the knife, but that simply is not true. For the most part, if a woman does not want a baby, she will decide that very quickly, and it can be done with medication. If it’s too far for that, even then the process involves only mild sedation and suction.
So, if abortion is not harmful to the mother or the undeveloped fetus, you may wonder why so many have such a huge issue with it. There certainly is a spectrum of views, as not everyone who is pro-life think the same thing.
Some think that if the mother or child will not survive the pregnancy, then it would be alright for the pregnancy to be terminated. Others believe that if the mother was raped and is having the child against her will, then she should not be forced to keep it. But there are always those who think that, no matter what, the child should be born. Much of it is religious reasoning, stating, like Sydna Masse of Ramah’s Voice: Abortion Recovery Blog, that “After abortion, one is dead and one is wounded”, and “It was safe and legal but that didn’t make it right in the eyes of God”.
Think about it this way; Imagine you have agreed to go to a scary movie with your friends. Maybe you did not really want to go, but they pressured you into it. Halfway through, you want to leave because you do not like it but they told you that you are not allowed to. This is a much less extreme example, but, very understandably you would feel irritated because your decisions are being made for you and you have no say.
For a woman pressured by her family, by the people outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, or by the government telling her what she has to do with the being inside of her, this is a reality.
Whether you are a teen who needs to be in school without a child, a woman raped by a stranger, or simply someone who does not want kids yet, it should not be up to complete strangers to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.
The fact that John Kasich is choosing to pass this law only now shows how society has already done a rapid change with the current President-Elect. Kasich has stated that the reason the bill was passed was because that Donald Trump will likely be electing conservative judges to the Supreme Court, judges who will be very unlikely to overturn the bill. With incoming change quickly approaching, women in need of an abortion are quickly going to run out of options if this is the way things are heading for the next four years.

Book One of Magnus Chase Series Enthralls Readers

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Anyone who grew up loving Greek mythology has probably heard of or read the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The popular young adult series by author Rick Riordan captivated young audiences with its witty characters, harrowing adventures and intriguing concepts in 2005, continuing on until 2009 with Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian.
Then, a year later, another series emerged by Riordan; The Heroes of Olympus. Using the original cast and including many more, Riordan took us all on another journey of epic proportions. Still, though, he wasn’t done yet, and after the final book in the series The Blood of Olympus came out, we discovered another series; Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, with the first book being called Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer.
In an abrupt change from Greek to Norse mythology, Riordan swept audiences away with a brand new cast of characters including the titular Magnus, a demigod and the protagonist. All the new characters do not disappoint in the least.
In Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, Magnus has been stranded on the streets for two years, ever since his mother died. Out of nowhere, his estranged uncle takes an interest in finding him and uses him to find a lost sword. From there, it is a whirlwind of breathtaking events, one after another, building up Magnus’ relationships between Samirah, a middle-eastern Valkyrie, Blitz and Hearth, a guardian dwarf and elf respectively, and Loki, God of mischief, lies, and evil.
One of Riordan’s specialties are witty dialogue and complex characters, and he does not disappoint. The narrative is flowing and never feels awkward or like it is stalling for time, and the characters never once felt like they were forced. They seem very genuine and relatable, making it that much easier to dive into the story headfirst.
Rick Riordan is a former teacher, having taught history and English in multiple middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Texas. While teaching, he wrote an award-winning mysteries series entitled Tres Navarre. This series won Riordan the top three national awards in the genre, called the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. According to Riordan, the inspiration for his children’s novels came from stories he told his son before bed. He now lives in Boston and writes full time with his wife and two sons.
When I was younger, I was extremely into Greek Mythology, and was a little unsure going into the first book of the Magnus Chase series. After all, Norse mythology wasn’t something I was familiar with. After only a few chapters, though, I fell in love with this book the same way that I did with the Percy Jackson series. Its sarcastic characters and exciting story are completely captivating, and they make you forget that you are even reading to begin with, instead making you feel like you’re involved in it. You will not regret picking up a copy of this book.

Black Friday Undermines Meaning Behind Holidays

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Whether you love Thanksgiving or hate it, one thing cannot be denied: Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of family, not commercialism and shopping. There is the rush to shop for food and sure, maybe some disagreements, but the sentiment is still there. Love, family, friendship, togetherness and being thankful for what you have in life… that’s what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about.
That is why Black Friday could not come at a worse time.
Obviously, the crazy 50% deals at almost every store like Macy’s and Kohl’s are a steal, and when every single little item the entire store is advertised as a “perfect gift for the whole family”, it seems like it could be the best day ever. But, take a step back and reconsider.
The day after Thanksgiving, the holiday of caring and being thankful, we immediately go out and fight tooth and nail for a 40%-off Xbox or flat screen TV at Sears. In essence, we disregard all of our lovely moral standings we held so dear the day before.
To go along with this negativity, Black Friday is dangerous. This year alone, two people have died and four more were injured in stores on their Black Friday shopping spree. Throughout the years, various organizations like BBC, CBS and NBC news have reported on this atrocities, which include but are not exclusive to, a worker dying in a Long Island Walmart after getting trampled by a stampede of shoppers in 2008 (NY Daily News), an 11-year-old girl being sent to the hospital after being hurt in a Black Friday crowd in 2013 (Norwalk Reflector), and a shirtless man using a belt as a whip outside a Vancouver Black Friday sale just this year (CTV News). Countless videos on multiple streaming sites show people wrestling with each other, pepper-spraying each other, and participating in other violent acts during the Black Friday mania.
While a lot of Black Friday has transitioned online, there are still a lot of people who choose to do their shopping in-store. Even with Cyber Monday happening just a few days later, the citizens of the United States and abroad will still take the risk of getting trampled to death to get a new set of bath towels.
Even stranger is the fact that many stores, including Macy’s, Walmart, Apple, and Nordstrom started doing Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving. That’s right, they could not wait 12 hours to get those deals out. Starting sales this early could cause people to rush or even miss Thanksgiving, choosing cheap furniture and kitchen appliances over family and thankfulness.
There’s nothing wrong with having a giant nationwide sale in the holiday season. Honestly, it makes sense that we would; Christmas and other winter celebrations often involve exchanging gifts, and it is nice to get them for a huge discount. However, given the catastrophes and frankly disrespectful day that we have chosen to place it on, it would be much better if we as a society chose not to support this strangely disturbing tradition, at least not on the day it is currently on.