SSR Update – City of Ember

This week for SSR, I read a book called City of Ember! It’s about a dying city that is surrounded by darkness. They have a generator that supplies them with energy, but it’s been running out! The two main characters, Lina and Doon, investigate to find out why, and they discover that Ember has a huge secret!! I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone!! The reading level is a little low, but the story is a very good one!!! I would give it a rating of a Phantom of the Opera because the plot was so original and creative, and it’s definitely high on my list of legit books : D

Of Interest To Me – Glee

So this is the last OITM post, and I had an inner battle on who to do. There are so many talented people that I didn’t get to talk about, which is sad because I was excited to!! But I eventually decided to just go with the entire cast of Glee, because, legit, that show makes me cry at all of their talent and the lack of a show choir voice that I have. Anyways! For those who don’t know what it is about, the plot is pretty simple: It’s about a show choir that competes in competitions. However, the show itself is pretty heavy. They deal with a lot of controversial issues, and the club is full of underdogs, so there is a person for anyone to relate to. They have to overcome challenges in the typical movie high school settings (where prom king and queen is a big deal, the cheerleaders wear their uniforms around the school, kids get thrown in dumpsters, you know, everything that happens in regular schools *rolls eyes*), and you can feel for them because sometimes high school feels like that. And on top of having a solid and deep storyline, the singers are amazing. Some songs that they do are “eh”, but when they have a good one, man is it good!!!! They do all sorts of styles, pop, broadway, rhythm and blues, rock, spiritual, anything. All of the singers are so talented and blessed with amazing voices, and you can really feel their all when they sing a song. It’s real, not like the auto tuned crap we have now. My favorite character changes each week!! Darren Criss, the newest member, has been one of my consistent favorites, though. He plays a gay teen who is dating one of my other favorite characters!! Okay so enough of my talking, you probably want to hear some of the AMAZING numbers!!! I’ll specify who sings what so you can look out for them when you start watching it!! (:D)

So I picked a lot of songs. Oops. They are wicked good though, so I HIGHLY recommend listening to all of them, but I understand if you have lives (unlike me, I sit in my room and belt showtunes. Yeah, I’m that awesome.) and can’t. I will still love you guys : D

Valerie Sung by the entire cast. The lead vocalist is Naya Rivera, who plays Santana on the show.

Don\’t Rain On My Parade Sung by Lea Michele, who plays Rachel Berry on the show.

Don\’t Stop Believing Sung by the entire cast. The classic song that Glee pretty much made : D

Friday Sung by Mark Salling, who plays Noah Puckerman (Puck), Chord Overstreet, who plays Sam Evans, and Kevin McHale. GIVE IT A CHANCE I KNOW IT’S FRIDAY BUT THIS VERSION IS LEGIT.

Somebody To Love Sung by the entire cast. The lead vocals are Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, who plays Finn Hudson, and Amber Riley. Probably one of my FAVORITE covers ever : D

Sweet Transvestite Sung by Amber Riley.

When I Get You Alone Sung by an A Capella group that comes in season 2 called the Warblers. The lead vocalist? Darren Criss, who plays Blaine.

Okay so I didn’t describe the songs, because I love all of them, and wanted to put more, but figured seven was enough. This is a must watch show!! It really hits some sensitive points, like sexuality and bullying, and I really feel it’s making a difference without being too in your face about it.

SSR Update – Weekend in Paris

It all started with Sahiba. I was looking for a new SSR book, and this cover caught my eye. I read the back of it, and thought it would be something Sahiba would pick out (she always picks out the best books to read, no joke. Prada and Prejudice? Legit), and I thought it looked interesting too! I love books about travel because I LOVE traveling! It’s about this woman named Molly Clearwater who quits her job and spends the weekend in Paris (hence the title!)! It’s okay so far, I’m only about half way through it, but I will continue reading it! Plus, Meg Cabot gave it a good review, and I adore Meg Cabot, so it’s got to be good!! I would give it a Legally Blonde because I haven’t finished and I can’t make a full opinion on it : D

Of Interest to Me – Evita

Okay, this week I decided that this week I would do something different! Instead of writing about an actress/actor, I’m going to write about a show. Don’t worry, I didn’t run out of people, I just wanted to try something different!! For Easter, my wonderful, lovely, incredible family got me the soundtrack for Evita, and almost every day since it’s been blaring from my bedroom with me (thinking I’m Patti LuPone) singing along with it!! I had forgotten how much I loved this musical, and hearing the music again makes me think about the good old days last year, and how much I appreciate it! FYI: There are plans for a revival of Evita!!!

Evita tells the story of Eva Peron, the first lady of Argentina. She starts out as a 15 year old girl, tricking a tango singer to take her to Buenos Aires. Once there, she sleeps her way to status and connections through different men. She goes to a charity event and meets Colonel Peron, and they eventually get married. She encourages him to run for President, and he gets elected, making her the first lady! She is the real force behind Juan Peron, and everyone knows it. She is loved by the people due to her charities and love for them, and she has plans for running for Vice President, even though all of the aristocracy would like to “see [her] 6 feet underground” (a.k.a., dead). However, her big plans are cut short when she is diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately dies at age 33. (I’m not spoiling anything, this all happened in history!)

The characters are Eva Peron, Juan Peron, Peron’s ex-mistress, Magaldi (the tango singer) and a chorus. However, there is another character that is just as big as Eva Peron, bigger, almost! His name is Ché. He serves as a narrator. Where the chorus sings about how good and saintly Eva was, he tells you what really happened, or the negative side of that. He deals with the audience, and is kind of invisible to the characters in the show (sometimes he gets involved with them, but not often. Eva seems to see him, though).

The music is composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is the composer for The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. If The Phantom of the Opera is Valedictorian, Evita is definitely Salutatorian. He has his style of repeating melodies, but the songs stand on their own as individual, breathtaking, awe-striking, disbelieving, incredible pieces of music. I don’t know how it’s humanly possible to write such a musical as Evita, but Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber definitely hit the nail on the head, and I hold a lot of respect for him! The entire show is sung, there is no dialogue, which makes it all the more epic.

And then, on top of ALL of that, they casted the roles PERFECTLY. Mandy Patinkin played Ché and Patti LuPone played Eva. I’ve talked about Patti LuPone before, but this is YOUNG Patti LuPone. She really lets it rip in this show and her voice is just amazing. It has power when Eva is mad, seduction when she is seducing Peron, tenderness when addressing the crowds, and vulnerability when she is dying. As for Mandy Patinkin, his voice is just perfect. I can’t imagine anyone else as Ché because he nails this role so perfectly! His voice has anger in it, and you can almost visualize what Ché would be doing in the show through Mandys voice. Ah, I’m running out of adjectives to describe everyone!! I sound like a broken record, but it’s realy just so perfect!!  The other roles are amazing too, but those are the big roles, and they need to be acknowledged : D And if you see the movie, just be prepared for Madonna’s awful singing. Just saying.

So it’s time to give you guys some samples!! I have listed below,

1.The Waltz for Eva and Ché watch?v=6PJQD4xJnRM&feature=related

2. The Actress Hasn’t learned the Lines You’d Like To Hear/And The Money Kept Rolling In watch?v=sL-hUTOY_qM&feature=related

3. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina (FAMOUS SONG FROM THIS SHOW)  watch?v=KXp2-XJBZYM&feature=fvsr

4. What’s New, Buenos Aires? watch?v=1MT-5loSu0g

You don’t have to listen to them all, but at least listen to “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” : )

Patti LuPone as Eva. Sorry for the bad picture, but there are not a lot of quality pictures!!

Patti LuPone as Eva. Sorry for the bad picture, but there are not a lot of quality pictures!!

Mandy Patinkin as Che and Patti LuPone in the backgroun

Mandy Patinkin as Che and Patti LuPone as Eva in the background

SSR Update – Fever 1793

This is a very interesting book. When I first picked it up, I thought that this looked like a very depressing book!! I mean, a book about a plague?? How depressing!!! I read it, and it was depressing, but very good!!! It’s about this girl named Mattie who lives during the Yellow Fever. Haha I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a very good read!! It’s short, but it’s sort of deep. It’s by the same author who wrote Speak, so if you read that, you know where I’m coming from! I think I would rate it at a The Phantom of the Opera, because this is one of my favorite books : D

Of Interest To Me – Chip Zien

Adorable curly hair and purple jacket’s are the first thing I think of when I hear Chip Zien’s name. Curly hair, because that’s what grows from his talented head, and a purple jacket because that’s what he was wearing when I first found out about him! Same with Bernadette Peters, I found out about Mr. Zien from a filmed production of Into the Woods. He was playing the role of The Baker (original character name, I know) and he was just so adorable and funny that I had to find out more about this little man!! He hasn’t been in much, but he was in a production of Les Miserables as Thernardier (I can’t find him singing Master of the House on Youtube, and this is upsetting to me!!!) and if you’re familiar with a movie entitled Howard the Duck, he did the voice of Howard. It was a weird movie, but you have to love Chip!! I actually saw Chip Zien in the role of Goran when I went to go see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway, but this was before I fell in love with his voice, and for the life of me, I can’t remember anything about the show, thus wiping him from my memory!! It makes me so mad that I saw him when I had no idea who he was, so I didn’t hold onto the memory so that I could appreciate it when I actually knew who he was! I wish I could put the way he sings into words, but I honestly can’t. It’s very open? If you’re a singer, that makes sense. Oh well, I guess you’ll just have to listen to it : D

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Okay, so people on Youtube are stupid and NO ONE has uploaded the video of Chip singing “No More” from Into the Woods, because that’s where his voice and acting are really showcased, so I uploaded him singing it from the soundtrack. Unfortunately, it’s audio only. You hear two voices, and his is the voice you hear first. I also uploaded one of my favorite songs from Into the Woods (I recently got the soundtrack, so I’m in a mood) and that one is a video. Chip is the one in the purple jacket. AND  because there is NO GOOD PICTURE of Chip ANYWHERE IN THE INTERNET WORLD, I found an edited picture with him and a cast mate. Yes, he is the man.

watch?v=AK2FVhr9l3A&feature=related (He is the first person you see, in his purple jacket : D.  I have this song memorized, btw. And when the girl in the blue dress pushes her way out of the circle, poor Chip falls down!!!)

No More

How adorable is he?!?!

SSR Update – Daughter of Xanadu

So when I picked up this book, Daughter of Xanadu, I wanted to read it immediately. It is a historical fiction book that is about a girl named Emmajin who is a Mongol girl. She really wants to be in the army, but this is the 13th century where all women were good for was bearing children. She is put on a special assignment of gathering information from foreign travelers, and she meets Marco Polo. Ah, I don’t know how else to explain it, but it was a really really good book!! I would rate it at a Phantom of The Opera, because I love historical fiction and the way they described Marco Polo was amusing 🙂

A Tale of A Shady Character

Charles Darnay. He seems like the type of man who is innocent and whole, but he is not! There is something fishy about this character, and I intend to sniff it out. Let’s look at the trial of Darnay, where he is accused of being a traitor. Lucie is called to testify and she says that she saw Darnay exchange papers with two other men on the vessel. When she asked about it, he told her that he was “traveling on business of a delicate and difficult nature, which might get people into trouble, and that he was traveling under an assumed name. He said that business had, within a few days, taken him to France, and might, at intervals, take him backwards and forwards between France and England for a long time to come…He tried to explain to me how a quarrel had arisen, and he said that, so far as he could judge, it was a wrong a foolish one on England’s part. (page 74-75)”. He is partaking in business that might get people into trouble? What sort of trouble? Isn’t it just a matter of land? Could it be possible that he is doing something else over there?  The “assumed name” part doesn’t seem too suspicious, some think. Readers say “well of course he has a different name, he is tied to a cruel Monseigneur, he doesn’t want to have the same reputation his family has!”, but I say that if he fully did renounce his family and vowed not to be like them, then he would have no problem saying that he is part of their family. However, just because he renounced his family and vows not to be like him, it doesn’t mean that he won’t turn out like them. There is scientific research out there that says if a certain action runs deep in a family, the offspring will have it. Take the example of drinking. If someone comes from a long line of drinkers , there is a huge chance that they are going to drink heavily too. In Darnay’s case, his family has a long line of being evil and oppressive, and it is genetically factored into his DNA that he will turn out that way. I asked my biology teacher about the genetic aspect, and she confirmed this. You can fight my other points, but you can’t fight science! Finally, we come to my point of him not wanting to hurt Lucie and Dr. Manette by not telling them that he was going off. That’s just inconsiderate and he is causing more pain to his family by NOT telling them where he is going, which brings us back to his genetics. So there you have it. My proof that Darnay isn’t the nice and innocent character that everyone thinks he is. Makes you think, doesn’t it!

Darnay isn’t up to anything suspicious here because he is in jail, but that is a really creepy picture, isn’t it?

Of Interest to Me – Lea Salonga

The musical is coming up soon, and I’m in a Les Miserables fever, so let’s explore an actress who I discovered through Les Miserables, hmmm? Lea Salonga is a beautifully talented woman who originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon, did the voices of two Disney princesses: Mulan from Mulan (and Mulan II) and Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. She has held two roles in Les Miserables, the role of Eponine and the role of Fantine and had the honor of performing in both the 10th Anniversary Concert ersion and the 25th Anniversary Concert version of Les Miserables. If you come to Friday night’s show, Ilana is playing Eponine and she sounds exactly like her! So you’re probably wondering, “hmmmm, what show did she discover this actress from?”, and to you I say get an eye exam. When I first heard Lea sing, I loved her instantly. Her voice, powerful and strong, belting material no doubt, but also can be gentle and soft. I have posted her singing the classic songs from Les Miserables, On My Own and I Dreamed A Dream. If you want to be really crazy (and bring a tear to me one good eye), compare Lea’s version to Sutton’s version of On My Own and tell me which one you like better! I also posted Lea singing Reflection from Mulan : D

watch?v=cuS1cCnG8xc

watch?v=BZroo6h_jtM&feature=fvsr

^^Watch how she remains in character throughout the thundering applause she gets from the audience!!

watch?v=jfeRTZz59m0&feature=related

SSR Update – The Body Finder

When I picked up this book, it had an interesting sounding plot. It’s about this girl, named Violet, who has a gift of sensing where murdered bodies are, and when a murderer is loose in her neighborhood, she might be able to stop him! Suspense, mystery. Sounds like a good read! Except for one little detail: she is best friends with this guy named Jay and she finds out that she is in love with him. Oh my gosh. The entire book was Violet and Jay’s relationship and how he “oh my gosh, like, likes this other girl, and, like, what am I going to do?!” Come on! Not that relationships in books are a bad thing, but in this book it was the only thing the author wrote about. This book was promising when I picked it up because I thought it sounded a lot like The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot. Yeah! thought I, Violet is going to be this head strong girl who helps people, just like Suze! How about no? If you are into a lot of romance with a little mystery plot line on the side, I would recommend this book to you. And I think I would give it a Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark rating because the back was interesting enough for me to spend $8.99 on.

p.s. I just found out that there is a sequel to The Body Finder called Desires of the Dead. More on that later?