Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is Hate Speech Protected by the First Amendment?

   "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." It's one of the things we all grew up hearing and disagreeing with. Let's face it, we all know words can do much more damage than sticks and stones. This is the reason most of the protests nowadays have something to do with hate speech. (If you are unfamiliar with this term, this means anything considered offensive, racist, sexist, etc.) People everywhere are crying out that the government shut down people promoting hate speech. They want government entities and private companies to refuse to allow scheduled protesters to come to their campuses and other spots because they'll be promoting hate speech. And everyone everywhere says that it's not protected by the Constitution.
   It sounds good on paper. But the truth is quite a bit different and somewhat harder to hear.
   The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
   It's clean and simple. What people have to say is protected by the Constitution. Period. People may say things that are hateful, things that are rude and mean and arrogant and wrong, but even if we don't like it, it's not the government's place to tell them to shut up. Unless someone is threatening your life, purposefully slandering your reputation, or spreading secrets they swore to protect, the government cannot and should not prosecute them.
   It's a hard truth to learn. It's not easy to hear things you disagree with. It's not easy to be lied about, cursed at, insulted, or offended. But if we turn to the government to start regulating the things we don't like, the things that make us uncomfortable, and the things that hurt us, we will be falling down a slippery slope that we may have to fight a war to get back up. Once we allow the government to start regulating speech, even speech considered hate speech, all the government has to do to suppress freedom of speech and the press is to throw people's words under the umbrella of hate speech and then everyone can be shut up.
   I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death the right to say it.
   This idea, put so cogently by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a biographer of Voltaire, perfectly demonstrates the attitude of free speech. It was hard for me to get behind at first, but I value freedom so much I eventually took it to heart. Honestly, what the KKK has to say makes me want to vomit. Fascist and anti-fascist groups alike make me want to scream. But no matter what I think of what they have to say, if anyone tries to shut them up with the law, I will fight that person to my last breath. If we call on the government to solve our problems, we will eventually find them controlling our lives.
   Instead of screaming at the government to ban the KKK and kick out the neo-Nazis from their planned protests, why don't we try peacefully spreading the truth instead? When somebody says something that offends us or makes us mad, when someone blatantly lies, instead of screaming at them or wailing that hate speech isn't supported by the First Amendment, why don't we try to calmly confront the liars with the truth or just simply walk away?
   Frankly, saying "hate speech isn't protected by the First Amendment" is a threat to our freedom. Because eventually, the legislators will believe it and they will act on it. They will pass laws prohibiting hate speech and they will enforce them. It will start out innocent, but it won't stay that way. Pretty soon, innocent people will be thrown in jail simply for speaking their minds. It could be me. It could be you.
   Freedom of speech is one of the most precious things we possess in our country. None of us want that to go away. So next time someone says something that offends you, something ignorant or prejudiced or just plain mean, instead of screaming at the government to shut them up or responding in kind to the ignorance and the hate, try taking a deep breath, respecting their (wrong) opinion, and spreading the truth.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Is Government the Solution to the World's Problems?

   It seemed like a normal day for the town of Smithville. Until an angry man ran into the school with a gun and massacred everyone inside. People shook their heads and talked about it in whispers, saying, "They should make more laws preventing that."
   Whether it be a cut in pay, a closed factory that sends the local county into a deep depression, a massacre, or the tragic death of some teenagers, whenever something affects people significantly, they declare angrily, "There should have been laws to prevent that from happening." Revolutions in Syria, slavery and persecution in Africa and the Middle East, and the most recent tyrannical dictator in The-Next-Country-Over...all cause people to cry to the American government, "Why aren't you doing something about this?"
   A disturbing mode of thinking has long controlled the people of the world. It is thousands of years old, but no less hideous for being so. People of the world see their governments as there to fix all of their problems. No matter what the issue, they call on the ruling power to step in and make all of their troubles go away.
   It's no wonder so many governments turn bad with the people handing them such power and looking on them with such worship in their eyes.
   As I look on at today's society, this has become shamefully apparent. A people who were once known for their ingenuity and independence, who would tackle any problem facing them with grit and determination, who were renowned for such a thing called American Exceptionalism, have turned into a people who look just like everyone else in the world, a people who turn to the government and cry for it to supply their every need instead of fixing any problems that come their way with God and prayer and little else.
   This attitude is nowhere more clear than in the gun issue. So many people become outraged that we don't have more gun laws whenever somebody uses a gun to kill. They clamor for the Federal Government to put more bans on guns, as if they think that would solve the problem.
   Here's a simple fact: the government can't solve all your problems. No matter how many laws there are, there will always be somebody who breaks them. Even if guns are banned altogether, criminals will still find ways to find them and use them. Killers will always kill no matter how many methods of doing it the government attempts to snatch out of their hands. Laws against drugs do nothing to prevent their abuse. No matter how much power is given to the government in the name of safety, the same awful problems will continue to ruin people's lives. The government is not and can never be the people's Savior.
   But there is someone who is a Savior. Someone who is all-powerful, all-worthy, and all-wise. Someone whom this nation has been turning their backs on for far too long.
   His name is Jesus.
   Perhaps, instead of sitting back and hoping the government can eradicate all problems, we should spread the word of Jesus instead. Let people know about the One who can set them free from all pain and fear and death. Instead of waiting for the government to get rid of the revolutions and the tyrants and the slavers, we should go and do it ourselves. Instead of trying desperately to keep guns away from killers, we should lead the killers to the One who died for their salvation. And maybe, while trying to spread God's light, we should accept that bad things will happen in this world. Killers will come. People will die. Slavery and persecution will always exist somewhere, and tyrants will never cease rising up. This world is a sinful place and the government can't change that.
   But God can. And one day, this world will pass away and we will live forever in a new world that is free from sin and pain and death.
   And no government will have gotten us there.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Firmament: Gestern Review



When I heard about this book's release, I knew immediately I had to be part of the action. The previous books in this series were wonderful, and this book didn't disappoint.

About the Book

You never escape your past
Andi Lloyd is more comfortable than most with interstellar travel, but she's not prepared for the perils and peculiarities of a world she has all but forgotten—the planet Earth. As the Surveyor undergoes repairs, her brother August receives a message with news that will send both of them across the world to a place he never wanted to visit again.

Neither of them are prepared to be thrust into a world of political intrigue amid the tangled forests and crumbling ruins of Austria. They aren't prepared to encounter wild animals and endure cross-country hikes. And they definitely aren't prepared to face it all alone.

But despite the dangers they must press on into the unknown to find a way to save Andi's life, to decide the fate of Earth itself—and to rescue a lonely girl who just happens to be their little sister.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review of Exiles and Interview with Jace

   That time has finally come! The time, that is, when my favorite author releases another book. I can't wait until I can hold this book in my hands!


Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.


Available now on Amazon!

goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.

3BookKindleSale

About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.





My Review

Oh. My. Goodness. This book is wonderful. Reading it was rather like going on Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Such an emotional roller-coaster.

In truth, I'd never understood the phrase "emotional roller-coaster" as referring to a book before. Now I know. Such highs and lows in such a short period of time! The book started out nice, slow, and pleasant (just like Expedition Everest does), but then takes an unexpected turn and sends readers on a wild ride! The emotional roller-coaster is due in part to the high death toll accumulated at the end of the book. One in particular was shocking and sad, and a certain other one completely took me by surprise. Let me just say, things can never be the same for our beloved characters after this book.

This book follows three different story lines, and, for all the many books I have read with multiple story lines, this is the first one I read where I was completely engrossed and interested in every one.

Our beloved characters are just as amazing as ever. Jace's struggles with the idea of marriage (and more than that, kids...) are honestly kind of adorable. Jace and Kyrin's relationship is as cute as ever, and if I don't stop now, I'll end up fangirling all over the place so I'll move on.

The plot, as I believe I mentioned before, was a roller-coaster ride. There were shocking plot twists, and near-death experiences. It was pretty epic.

In short, this book is amazing and y'all need to buy it as soon as possible. I certainly am going to.


I was also given the opportunity of sitting down with Jace and asking him a few questions. Check it out!


Welcome to my blog, Jace! I must say, it’s an honor to finally meet you. I’m glad you agreed to let me ask you some questions, so I’ll try not to ask too many uncomfortable ones.

*Jace’s smiles* Thank you, and you’re welcome.

What would you do if someone ever approached you asking to date your sister?

Well, that would depend on the man, and if I knew him well. I do want Elanor to be happy and have someone to take care of her. Of course, I would need to know if she had mutual interest. And I would probably have Kyrin talk to him to make sure he was honest and his intentions were honorable.

If a genie enslaved by the power of a magic lamp granted you three and only three wishes, what would you wish for (barring the obvious wish for more wishes)?

I would wish for peace in Ilyon and the ability to follow Elôm without persecution. I’d also wish that, if we were married, of course, to take Kyrin back to live on the farm by Kinnim. And, finally, I would wish for Kyrin to have her father back so she could have her family together again.

If you were given the ability to time travel, when would you go?

Back to the day Kyrin’s father left for Valcré. I would warn him of the danger and not let him go. That is, if I didn’t have those three wishes.

I’m sorry for being terribly mean, but I’m also terribly curious, so please don’t freak out too much. What would you do if you wound up in the arena again?

*Jace smiles slightly* I think I’m starting to get used to these questions. *he grows serious* I’m not sure what I would do. Facing a man in an arena is not like facing him on a battlefield. Neither one of us has a choice at being there. It’s not like facing a clear enemy. I’ve always wondered whether I was right to fight or if I should have refused despite the consequences. I don’t know what choice I would make now.

Again, I’m sorry for the question. Here are some shortbread cookies to make up for it. And finally, on a happier note, if your adorable wolf Tyra ever had a bunch of puppies (say ten or so), how many of them would you keep?

*he takes a cookie* Thank you. As for the puppies, it would depend on who else would take some. I wouldn’t give them to just anyone. But I would probably keep two or three.

I don't know what to say to wrap this whole thing up, so...I guess I'll just leave it at that.


Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Interview with Will

   My amazing sister is also releasing a book, which all of you people need to hustle over to Amazon and buy as soon as possible. I know you need this book in your lives.
   Regardless of my bias, she and two other lovely authors are releasing retellings of the famous fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. You can read my other posts about it here and here.

   
About the Book
“I, Calandra, of the Wingans, do bestow upon you, the Princess of Hanover, a gift. You have been given long life. I cannot interfere with that, but when you are sixteen years of age, you will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into an everlasting sleep.” She stepped closer so that she could be heard only by Liesel and her parents. “Then you will at last see the truth. Be wary. Be wise. Your fate rests upon yourself.”

On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Liesel Rosanna falls victim to a sleeping curse—but wakens in another world, a prisoner of war. As the bait in a trap for her fiancé, the crown prince of Hanover, Liesel longs to escape back to the fairy tale world. The world where she is only wanting a true love’s kiss to set everything to rights.

As situations quickly grow dire, Liesel must choose which story to live, which life is real. The fate of her country rests on her decision.

Meet the author:

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Books have always been a big part of her life, never more so than when working at the local library. Her other interests include reading, playing and teaching piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment as well as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy.


You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


   I was given the opportunity to sit down with one of the characters from Twisted Dreams and interview him. Check it out! I had a few interviews I needed to schedule this week, so I crammed them all into one day. The previous interview I refer to will be posted tomorrow.


   I settle in my comfortable armchair, place my notebook and pencil on my lap, and gaze around my interview room. My characters like to call it an interrogation room, but it's not my fault they don't like my mood lighting. I personally enjoy the bleak concrete walls, the sole light bulb in the middle of the ceiling, and the hard wooden chair. If my characters didn't want to experience it, then they should be more forthcoming to me. However, it's not my own characters I have to wrestle in here today.
   "Next!" I call out.
   The door opens and a tall young man wearing a dress military uniform steps inside and sits down in the interrogation chair.
   I smile at him and pick up my pencil. "Hello, Will, and welcome to my blog. Please excuse the cookie crumbs, they’re left over from my previous interview. I haven’t had a chance to sweep up yet."
   Will looks around at the cookie crumbs, but makes no comment on them. “Do you make a habit of pulling characters from their stories in order to ask them questions? If you would, please make it brief; I hate to be away from Liesel. She needs me.”
  "My personal habits are none of your concern. Just be glad this room is covered in cookie crumbs and not blood." Will frowns, but I speak before he has a chance to answer. "So, let’s move on to the questions, so we can get this done quickly. Heaven forbid we deprive Liesel of your company for fifteen minutes of the day." Will opens his mouth as if to answer, much offended, but I beat him to speaking. "We are all aware that you would give your life for Liesel, but would you give your life for your brother Matthew? What would you do if he were captured and threatened with death?"
   “Liesel is my fiancée, and therefore always my priority, but Matthew is my little brother. I could never leave him to die, nor would Liesel let me. Matt is as much a brother to her as he is to me. Naturally, I would have to discuss the details with Liesel before proceeding. I couldn’t leave Liesel alone in the world, however. It would all depend on the circumstances, how far I would go.”
   Amazing how his answer cycled back to Liesel almost immediately. "If you were banished from your kingdom, what would you seek to do to support yourself and your soon-to-be wife?"
   Will blinks in confusion. “Why would I be banished? I am the crown prince. If I was banished, who would be king when my father is gone? Matthew isn’t equipped to be king, nor has he ever wanted to be. Aside from that, none but my father has the authority to banish me, and he would never think to do so. It is a moot point.”
   "I think it is anything but a moot point, but since I doubt I'll ever be able to convince you otherwise, let's move on to your favorite subject, shall we? How far would you go to save the life of Liesel?"
   “I would do anything to save Liesel.” Will stares at me intensely, a solemn look in his eye. “Liesel is the light of my life. I love her better than my own self, better than anyone else I know. I can’t live without her.” He swallows hard. “I’d do anything for her.”
   Ugh, this was getting sickening. Time to move on to a different subject. "Do you like animals? If so, have you ever had any pets?"
   Will shrugs. “Matthew was always the one who liked animals. Our dog was mostly his, and he was always bringing in rabbits and mice and such things. I didn’t mind them, but I was more focused on learning the things necessary to lead and fight for Hanover.”
    "Wow, an answer that had nothing whatsoever to do with Liesel," I exclaim. "Well done, Wilhelm." I lean back in my chair and ready my pencil, though my notebook page contains nothing but doodles. "And last, but not least, have you ever been annoyed before by other couples’ public displays of affection?"
   Will eyes me suspiciously. “I feel as if that is a pointed question. When you are yet to be married and therefore must have chaperones, displays of affection are by default public. It isn’t ideal, and yes, most people are bothered by such things, but what else are you supposed to do? Besides, Liesel and I displaying affection towards one another in front of Matthew is hardly public.”
   "I admire your education. Obviously you were very well taught about how to be a politician and the art of never answering questions with a straight answer." I raise my eyebrows and try to keep a smile off my face.
   Will has a look on his face that I can only describe as exasperation.“When I was a child, perhaps, but now that I am an adult, I can understand why others do it, and it does not faze me.”
   I sit back and rest my chin on my hand. "You may go whenever you like."
   Will immediately rises and strides out of the room.


   So there you have it! Hopefully that was intriguing enough to induce you to buy the book immediately. And add it to your Goodreads. And explore the rest of the blog tour.

   I'll see you once you're done reading the book.

   Don't forget to join the giveaway!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Interview with Kendra E. Ardnek

On this very day, not one, not two, but three Sleeping Beauty short stories have been released by their caring authors into the wild to survive on their own. To celebrate this very momentous occasion, I have been given the opportunity to interview one of these brave, caring authors: Kendra E. Ardnek! So now, without further ado, I present to you the illustrious cover of the small little book Kendra is now releasing.





About the Book
Everyone knows that Sleeping Beauty's curse is triggered when she pricks her finger on a spindle and that she is awakened by true love's kiss...but what happens when the wicked fairy decides to switch things up?

Edmund didn't mean to put Auralea to sleep, but now it's up to him and the famous Puss in Boots to figure out how, exactly, a spinning wheel is supposed to awaken her.






Let me introduce you to Kendra:

About the Author
Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers. 

You can connect with Kendra on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.



Now, I invite you to sit down with me as I ply questions to this intriguing author.

Hello, Kendra, and welcome to my blog! Go ahead and introduce yourself to the readers.

Hello, readers! It is so, so nice to meet all of you. I love readers – they’re, like, my favorite sort of people. Able to look at these little black lines that I put onto paper and somehow translate it into words, and somehow they can interpret those words into stories, and it’s just plain amazing.
Stay awesome, readers, stay awesome.

What draws you to fairy tale retellings?

The ability to revisit my favorite stories over and over, yet they be different every time. I read Ella Enchanted, and Ella’s an independent young lady cursed with obedience. I read Cinder, and Cinder’s a cyborg. In Secret of the Hazel Tree, Cynthia’s going to the ball to solve a murder mystery (And, Kiri, if you read this, I NEEEEEEED you to publish this so I can shout my love for it from the rooftops). In CinderEddy, it’s an adventure to save a princess from a tower. MoM (Sorry, title not revealed yet), the prince doesn’t even know how to dance, and they meet because she just happens to find the curtain he was hiding behind.
But it’s Cinderella every time. There’s still the theme of hard work, honesty, overcoming oppression, and finding a better future.

How did you get obsessed with MBTI personality types?

I’m not obsessed – it’s my sister who’s obsessed. I will absorb the obsessions of anyone I’m close to, though. I find them fascinating, though, learning how people’s minds work.

What are your future authorial plans?

World domination.
I’m in the process of revising all of my published books, giving them a bit of a spit and a polish, adding a bit of content to some of them. And I’m giving all six of my novels brand-new, 1000 times more gorgeous covers. You can go here for more information. https://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/2017/07/1000th-post.html?
I’m currently writing Worth of a King, which I hope to have ready to release in the fall of next year. I just finished The Seven Drawers, a retelling of Snow White for the Rooglewood contest, and am currently considering writing two more retellings of the tale – Red as Snow and Snowella White. So, yeah, lots on my plate.

Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced you?

C.S. Lewis – my first serious work of any length was a script for a play based on LWW, a play that was never produced but eventually morphed into what is now Lady Dragon, Tela Du.
J.R.R. Tolkien – Before I was rewriting Narnia, I was kidnapping hobbits.
Gail Carson Levine – she reawakened my love for fairy tale retellings.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – It was thanks to her that I realized that books were written by people, and thus a viable career option for me.

What advice would you give to new or aspiring authors?

1 – Write, write, write. Aspiring doesn’t get you anywhere if you don’t create content.
2 -  Edit, edit, edit. Content doesn’t get you anywhere if it stinks.

3 – Market, market, market. Build your platform even before you’re ready to publish. Perfect content doesn’t get you anywhere if no one knows about it.


Ah, and I'm sure if more authors were to heed that advice, the flocks of stories continuously released into the wild would be more ready to face this frightening world alone, would they not? Alas, for the many stories who do not survive... But hurrah for the few who do, of which I am certain Poison Kiss will be one. Let me introduce you further to it before we move on:

Illustrious Snippet:
“Ah, now you’ve done it, boy,” came a silky, unfamiliar voice, and the princess’s large, blue-gray cat bounded onto the arm of the couch.
“You – did you just talk?” asked Edmund. First a sleeping princess, and now a talking cat?
“I did,” said the cat, licking his paw. “My vow of silence is at its end.”
“Are – are you a shapeshifter?”
“Oh, dear me, no!” The cat started preening its whiskers. “I am the Great Puss of the Boots. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? I eat shapeshifters for breakfast.”
“Um, yes,” said Edmund. He nodded towards the sleeping princess. “Do you have any idea…”
“She’s cursed, that’s the long and short of it,” Puss explained. “And you, dear boy, were the implement of bringing it about. The dear girl shall sleep for a hundred years until she is awakened by a spinning wheel.”
“A hundred years...”
“She’s Sleeping Beauty, and such is her curse. Although, now that you mention it, Geneva didn’t actually specify the hundred years, so maybe you’re in luck. Quick now, there’s a spinning wheel in the closet for just this sort of emergency.”
“A…” Edmund stared in confusion.
“Quick boy! I’d do it myself, but I don’t have hands.”

Such an intriguing snippet cannot help but implore you to purchase this book. Please, show it some love and take it into your hearts. 

I have also been informed you are also able to view this book on the Goodreads and add it to your lists. You may do so here.

Now that we have properly celebrated the momentous occasion on this my blog, I invite you to participate even more in the festivities by exploring the Blog Tour Schedule. Auf wiedersehen!


Don't forget to join the giveaway!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

   Anyone that knows me can tell you that I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man. I loved the original movies and I loved Spidey's appearance in Captain America: Civil War. (I wasn't a fan of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, but that's neither here nor there.) So needless to say, I was super excited when Spider-Man: Homecoming was released. I managed to convince my dad to take me to go see it not long after it came out, but due to Camp NaNo and other stuff, I haven't gotten around to doing such things as writing reviews for a while. So, without further ado, here is my (rather fangirly) review of the latest Spider-Man movie.


   First of all, this movie starts out hilariously. I loved how the original Spider-Man theme was incorporated into the intro music. The rest of the music was beautiful as well. Michael Giacchinno, while he couldn't measure up to John Williams with his Rogue One soundtrack, still did an amazing job with this movie.
   The technical aspects of this movie were very well done. Filming, lighting, acting, CGI, even the costumes were spectacularly done. Something so subtle and easily overlooked as costume design can really complement a story's plot and characters well, and this time they did so. Just something as simple as Peter's clothing choices says volumes about his character. 
   I mean, this t-shirt screams nerd:

   Also, Peter's two different Spidey suits designed by Stark were beautiful. Just sayin'.
   The plot was amazing. It wasn't ridiculously predictable, way too complex, shallow and meaningless, or centered around a girl. It wasn't even in the vein of a typical superhero movie. It was very well-written. The plot points were all spot-on and powerful. The plot twist near the end was very unexpected, and the climax was masterful.
    The characters. Wow, the characters. They are some of the best parts of the movie. My favorite, naturally, was Peter Parker himself. He was a nerd, a dork, and a hero. And what's more, Marvel didn't feel the need to tell this to their audience. They just let it show. As a fellow super-dorky nerd, I really appreciated it. Peter was by no means perfect, but he had a good heart, and it showed. His character arc was amazing, and the center of the whole movie. His flaws were shown as clearly as his virtues, which takes bravery. He changed so beautifully. Alright, I'm done fangirling.
   The other characters were marvelous and deep. Tony has very obviously adopted Peter as his son, and is trying to do a better job fathering him than Howard Stark did with Tony. He states several times that he wants Peter to be a better person than he is. He makes some tough decisions and says some hard things to Peter that really help him overcome his flaws and struggles. Ned was a wonderful, loyal friend to Peter, and a great "guy in the chair." :) Peter's crush, Liz, was sweet, kind, and very understanding. And MJ was a star. She was hysterical, and I can't wait for more interaction between her and Peter in the future.
   The theme. Hardly separable from the character arc. It was so powerful and wonderful. Unfortunately, I'll have to see it more times before I'll be able to articulate further. Guess I'll just have to buy the DVD or something.
   All in all, this was a wonderful movie. I wouldn't recommend it to younger children, especially not without their parents viewing it first, mainly because of the language. You can read a good overview of the content concerns here. Despite all that, I would recommend it to teens and up, and for any Marvel fans or Spider-Man fans.
   Now, I just hope I get this movie for Christmas so I can rewatch it a ton.