Book Review ~ Glee The Beginning by

Summary ~ Calling all Gleeks!
Get more of your favorite characters in this official Glee prequel!
All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High–before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr. Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody.
Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: It’s time to find out what happened to all your favorite characters before the show-mance began.

OMG!!  I was tickled when I learned about this book.  Glee The Beginning by Sophia Lowell is just that, the beginning of the Glee kids story.  If you aren’t familiar with the Fox hit Glee than I don’t know what’s wrong with you (seriously, it’s a fabulous, fun and dramatic thrill for the senses!) and you have a few short weeks to catch up with the rest of the Gleeks out there and Netflix/buy/download on iTunes Season 1 of Glee before the new season starts in mid-September. 

This book was a fun, imformative (for the Gleek that I am) and entertaining read that was a perfect way to end the summer with (school started in some counties here yesterday and the rest of the students out there will start Monday.)  I know I like to read whatever all year round but it was fun to read Glee The Beginning at the end of summer vacation and the beginning of the school year.  Does our muscle memory of the beginning of school ever really leave us?  Glee The Beginning covers all the core Glee kids; Rachel, Tina, Mercedes, Kurt, Finn and Quinn and gives the fan/reader a good look into what the characters were up to before we met them in Season 1 Episode 1 on television.  Quinn was torn between who she thought she should be and who she wished she could be and Rachel was always all about being the star performer in her school.  Glee Club was flailing until Kurt had the stroke of genius to invite Rachel to join Glee for a rehersal and see what she thought.  Why does Tina stutter?  What is Mercedes home life like?  All these questions and more are answered in Glee The Beginning.

If you are looking for a quick read that will get you excited all over again for the upcoming fall season then Glee The Beginning is for you.  My secret for really diving in each time I turned on my Kindle to read was turning on my iPod and playing the Glee soundtracks.  I own ALL of them.  “Hi!  My name is Karen and I’m a Gleek!”

{Rating 4 out of 5} 

 

 

 

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30 Days & Counting!

In thirty days a dream of mine is going to come true.  One of my best friends, Jesse, and I are going on a road trip.  This isn’t a road trip to just anywhere either.  We are going to Music City USA, Nashville, TN to attend CMA Music Fest aka Fan Fair!  I have been a lover and singer of country music since 1992 (and Olivia Newton-John’s country records from the 70’s since birth) and can’t believe that I’m going to the “Mecca” of country music in a few short weeks.  Yee Haw!!

A week ago Jesse and I were concerned that the festival wasn’t going to happen next month after the massive, deadly and destructive floods wreaked havoc on Nashville.  Last Monday night I received an e-mail from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel announcing that due to the detrimental flooding that changed the resort into a giant pool, they will be closed for at least three months and that all reservations made for those dates will be cancelled.  Uh Oh!

 

After checking The Tennessean, CNN and other news websites the following morning I decided to make a new reservation at a hotel in the downtown area that has an easy cancellation policy.  I still didn’t know if the show would go on so I wanted to play it safe but I also wanted to be sure we had a hotel room in case it was still on.  Turns out the Gaylord Opryland Hotel makes up 12% of all hotel rooms in the Nashville area!  WOW!  I consider myself lucky that I got a room for us at a great rate and closer to the action before all the hotels in the area booked up with displaced people attending the festival. 

Jesse and I, and probably all the other country music fans who will be attending CMA Fest 2010, are looking forward to going to one of my favorite cities in the country, spending our money to help the local economy and seeing/listening to some amazing music.  The festival lasts four days/nights and concerts will be held at the Riverfront Stage, LP Field as well as at the local honky-tonks on Broadway, 2nd Avenue and other venues in Music City USA.

So, to mark the beginning of the count down, I would like to share a video of one of the groups I can’t wait to see on the Riverfront Stage.  They are called Steel Magnolia and are the winners of last year’s CMT’s Can You Duet.  Their awesome single is “Keep On Loving You” and I can’t wait to hear them perform it live. 

Today’s Favorite Christmas Songs

I would love to share some of my favorite Christmas songs with you here.  I hope you enjoy the tunes!

LeAnn Rimes ~ All I Want For Christmas Is You

Percy Faith ~ We Need A little Christmas

Elvis Presley & Martina McBride ~ Blue Chistmas

Kelly Clarkson ~ Oh Holy Night

The Puppini Sisters ~ Jingle Bells

The Carpenters ~ Merry Christmas Darling

Wham! ~ Last Christmas

Barenaked Ladies Featuring Sarah McLachlan ~ God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen

Today’s Favorite Song

Over the years Britney Spears and Beyonce have had huge hits, sold tons of albums and performed all over the world, but it wasn’t until recently that I started taking them both seriously as artists.  Now it’s a given that Beyonce can sing her ass off but the music she was putting out wasn’t showing that off until she worked on Dream Girls and was able to really sing.  I am so glad that Beyonce had the opportunity to act and sing in both Dream Girls and the upcoming theatrical release of Cadillac Records, where Beyonce plays the great Etta James, because the vocal training that she had to go through in order to sing those songs has obviously carried over to her own recording career and singing style.  Beyonce’s latest album, “I am… Sasha Fierce,” is the first one of her solo or Destiny’s Child albums that I have purchased.  The whole album is wonderful, all of the songs are singable and range from the melancholy ballad to the empowering and fun as hell single, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).”  The song “If I Were A Boy” is so rich and beautiful that I never tire of listening to it or of watching the video.  Other tracks that stood out on first listen were “Save The Hero”, “Diva” and “Satellites.”

Britney Spears’ new album, Circus, just “dropped” (Hubby would like to know when that term became the norm for when a record is released) this week.  Though I have purchased almost all of her previous pop soaked, candy coated CD’s in the past, this one, in my opinion, is her best one yet.  I can’t get enough of “Womanizer” and I have started to drive Hubby crazy by singing the chorus over and over again since I finally mastered the rhythm.  The video is fun and sharp too.  I listened to the whole album last night after downloading it on iTunes and just about every song is catchy, enjoyable, danceable and the lyrics and melodies are reflective and singable too.  I especially liked “Unusual You”, “Out From Under”, “Lace and Leather” and “My Baby.”

Is my new found adoration and respect for these two pop sensations a surprise to me?  Yes, and I have decided it’s because both Beyonce and Britney are getting older, experiencing more of life (be it good or bad) and expanding their musical and artistic horizons which makes it easier for me to relate to their music and listen as a fan and not just because their music is the hot thing on the charts at the moment. 

Well, unfortunately YouTube isn’t coorporating with me today.  I am unable to post music videos for “Womanizer,” “If I Were A Boy” and “Single Ladies.”  I was able to post a clip from Cadillac Records though.

Today’s Favorite Song

Today I was listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast while running errands.  The episode was the Fall Music Preview.  Now, I feel that music recommendations from this show can be hit or miss.  I love mainstream music and Bob Boilen and the other critics he shares the mic with for these preview/review shows tend to sway mostly towards the more unpopular, underground artists and groups.  That’s fine and dandy and everyone is entitled to their opinion but can’t they discover some tunes that are prettier and more enjoyable to listen too?  Songs by musicians that don’t leave me scratching my head in bewilderment. 

I have found artists that I have become fans of because of this show but it is rare when I actually like more than one tune on these preview/review episodes.  Today I discovered Blitsen Trapperand their new album titled Furr, as well as Kaiser Chiefs from the U.K.  Though I didn’t really enjoy the vocals or the all over sound of this next song, I LOVE the chorus.  The group is called The Streets and the song is titled Heaven For The Weather.  Below I have included the chorus as well as the video. 

I want to go to heaven for the weather
But hell for the company
I want to go to heaven for the weather
But hell seems like fun to me

Today’s Favorite Song

One of my favorite music groups from the 80’s is Erasure.  Beautiful vocals, harmonies, melodies and sound .  That is Erasure.  My little sis saw them in concert (lucky bum) when she was in high school and the whole show was done in a Wizard of Oz theme.  I can just imagine what the costumes and set pieces looked like.  It was probably a technicolor light show for the ages as well.  (Sonja, please share what you can remember of the show in the comments section please!!)  Below are a few of my favorite Erasure songs.  Enjoy! 

Todays Favorite Song

So it’s happened again.  New Kids On The Block have erupted all over my T.V. and I just bought their new album and I LOVE it.  It’s been twenty-two years since they first drenched our radios with sugar-coated sweetness and they’re at it again.  It is interesting that the most successful of the group, Mr. Donnie (HOTTIE) Wahlberg, regrouped the boys and got this comeback up and running full steam ahead.  I like his more dominant position in the videos, dance routines and vocals.  I LOVE the WAHLBERG BROTHERS!!!! 

Well enough of the fourteen year-old in me and her ramblings.  Here are two NKOTB videos for your guilty pleasure fix of the day.  Their recent single, Summertime, and two old favorites, Cover Girl & You Got It (The Right Stuff).