28 Feb

The Review Of: Partials by: Dan Wells

Society has been destroyed, a terrible war has been fought, and the human race is close to ending. The Partials are the better, stronger, and a loyal type of human upgrade. Everything coexisted together, but that was before the Isolation War. The war left the world in ruins, and that was just the start. RM, a killer virus that takes a few hours for the full effect, was then released, finishing off most of the world and only leaving a few thousand left to start the world over again. Kira is a Young medic in training, who has witnessed what the RM virus can really do to a baby. A baby hasn’t been born in 11 years, the youngest of the entire world is 14, as of right now there is no next generation to save the world. Kira has finally made the the biggest decision of her life, she’s going to cure RM. This decision won’t come without a price.

Books like this can make us consider different paths for the future of society and/or the world as we know it. Not many can give such a detailed story about a tale of a possible future. The writing not only gives a picture to the story but there is something in it that makes us feel what the characters are feeling. Kira is a very independent and self-relying character, which is refreshing in these types of books. Her personality is extremely loyal and almost optimistic, in spite of her situation. Normally, in these types of situations, characters aren’t usually hopeful. Overall, Dan’s character choice and creativity is super spontaneous and out there. Partials in general has fantastic writing and an incredible story-line.

A big thanks goes to Dan Wells for writing the book Partials, and for possibly giving us a look into the future. Without books like these, we would have nothing to imagine. So give it up for Dan Wells!

I am stronger than my trials.”- Dan Wells

19 Jan

DVUSD Honor Jazz Band Concert

Thursday, January 14, 2016: Musicians from all over the Deer Valley District gather to show their parents what they can do. With three songs for each of the jazz bands, the aspiring musicians played with all they had. From the five o’clock band, “Back to the Basement,” “Some Juice for Bruce,” and “Time to Testify.” “Back to the Basement” is a quickly-moving jazz shuffle piece, “Some Juice for Bruce” is a jazz funk (with the baritone saxophone taking part of the melody), and “Time to Testify” contributed a gospel feel to the five o’clock band’s closing piece. In all those pieces were great improvised solos from many students. Great job to all band members, and thanks to those from the seven o’clock band who are/have been stepping in to help this band (Evan, Ryan, Meredith, Jessica, and Aisiri).

Pictured above from left to right: bass (strings), trombone, alto saxophone, piano, baritone saxophone, trumpet, bass (guitar) drum set.

Image courtesy of Google Images.

From the seven o’clock jazz band, we heard “La Noche del Burrito Picante,” “Cerulean Blue,” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” Nicknamed “the nacho song,” “La Noche del Burrito Picante” is a salsa tune that brings you straight to Latin America. Soloists were Evan (lead alto), Brian (second trumpet) and Kaleb (piano), followed by Hunter (drum set) and Adam (other percussion). “Cerulean Blue” brings you to a nice calm beach with the soothing melody and wave-like phrasing. The soloist was Meredith (lead trombone), and all the melody came from her. Finishing with “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” this swing tune closed the night with an exciting finale. Great job with your solos to Evan (lead alto), Brian (second trumpet), and Hunter (drum set).

Three Hillcrest students preformed that night: congratulations to Lauren (lead trumpet), Meredith (lead trombone) and Chris (trumpet).

If you are interested in listening to the soundtracks for some of the songs see below. A recording for “Cerulean Blue” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” were not available. These are not recorded from the concert.

Back to the Basement: http://www.kendormusic.com/mp3/4/42418.mp3

Some Juice for Bruce: http://www.barnhouse.com/~barnhous/samples/mp3/032-2270-00.mp3

Time to Testify: http://www.jwpepper.com/sheet-music/media-player.jsp?&type=audio&productID=10279160

La Noche del Burrito Picante: https://www.lorenz.com/instrumental/large-ensembles/la-noche-del-burrito-picante

15 Jan

The Review of: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Lorien was once a beautiful planet, and the people on the planet are what we would call superheros. That was before the war. Afterwards, everything was destroyed, besides nine of the Garde and their guardians. When the surviving nine left, a charm was placed upon them. This charm insured that they could only be killed in order, as long as the nine were apart from each other. John Smith aka number Four has been on the run for his entire life, never stopping always running. One, two, and three have been killed, so John knows he’s next.

This book has the basic high school characters, you have the jock/bully, the nerd, and the nice pretty girl who dated the jock. But you also have the new kind of characters like the ones from a different planet. So this book’s characters are not just the basic high school characters. Incorporating these two totally different kinds of personalities really makes I Am Number Four stand out compared to other books that try to mix in these characters. Not many can even work with the topic of aliens, so even just having this in the book makes it stand out even more.

This is the cover of the book I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore.


In the book, as the writing goes on it starts to go more and more in-depth about what happened to Lorien and the culture of Lorien. This really comes through when trying to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The writing in this book is just absolutely fantastic, everything flows nicely and nothing gets stuck. So, all together, the story is really well written and the reader can easily follow along without getting confused on one part.

Give it up for Pittacus Lore for letting us experience the world of I Am Number Four. Please give I Am Number Four a chance, you won’t regret it!

And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”- Henri


15 Jan

The Review of: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

A new soul coming to Earth is nothing new anymore, the souls take over the bodies of the inhabitants of whatever world their “experiencing”, and whats left of the pure human race is dwindling. Usually when a soul takes over a body the owner fades away or is completely gone by the time they wake up, but thats not the case with Wanderer and Melanie. Wanderer wakes up in a new world and in a new body, but when Melanie wakes up she’s simply tucked away. Wanderer can’t get rid of Melanie and it becomes problematic when Melanie starts to show Wanderer her human life. Soon Wanderer and Melanie begin the journey to find their Uncle Jeb, she finds he has created an underground society. This could be the only protection that Wanderer and the rest of the human race have.

The struggle of putting two characters into one body is amazingly portrayed in The Host. These characters have two total opposite personalities, and these personalities really go together. Having such different characters as the main focus in a book is really amazing. Some can’t even pull off  having two character go through a story without some kind of major clash happening. In The Host, Melanie and Wanderer fight like sisters which make the characters realistic. Any story with something relatable automatically connects with the reader which makes any story better.

This is the book cover of the amazing novel, The Host, by Stephenie Meyer.





Give it up to Meyer for maybe giving us a look into our future. Just maybe this could happen, and we would know what to do. Not many can even start to comprehend this sort of thing, just even thinking about this topic can give some a headache. So a big thanks to Stephenie Meyer for giving us the warm welcoming into the world if The Host.This is a must read for those who love action, adventure, and romance.

“It’s a strange universe”- Stephanie Meyer

11 Jan

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Are you a world traveler? have you ever wondered what people do for major American holidays in other countries? Never thought of that, have you? Well, read on, young globetrotter, and you shall learn.

In Argentina, Christmas comes with warm weather. Many people in Argentina are Catholic, so attending Mass is an important tradition. Any tree can be a Christmas tree, and decorations can come up as early as November. Some people may put cotton balls on their tree to represent cotton. The main Christmas meal is taken on Christmas Eve. Families eat at 10 or 11 at night, and have roast turkey, pig, and in some places, goat. Presents are only exchanged between close friends and family. The people release lanterns called globos, which float up into the sky. at midnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, the sky is filled with the sound of fireworks. Some families stay up all nigh talking and then spend Christmas Day sleeping.

In Costa Rica, Christmas comes at the end of the school year and the beginning of break. Because of opposite hemispheres, it is summer, so many people head down to the beaches. Families decorate their homes with tropical flowers and build nativity scenes, sometimes decorated with flowers and fruit. The Costa Ricans learn about the gift-bringer, known as Niño dios (literally “child God,” a reference to Christ Jesus) or Colacho, (another name for Saint Nicholas). Apples are a popular Christmas gift. On Christmas Eve, people put on their best clothes and go to a midnight mass, known as Misa de Gallo, or “Mass of the Rooster.” After that, the main meal is eaten, usually chicken and pork tamales cooked in plantain leaves. Eggnog and rum punch are given as beverages. During December and January, there are many parades, choral and dance festivals, bull runs, rodeos, fiestas, and street parties. On Boxing day, there is a big horse race called the Tope.

In Australia, Christmas comes at the beginning of summer. As a result, many songs and traditions are different. In addition to Christmas trees, Australians decorate their house with branches of a plant called Christmas Bush. It is cream coloured, but the week around Christmas, the blossoms turn red. Pageants and Christmas concerts are common and aired publicly on television. Friendly competition about lights and decoration between neighbors can occur, and caroling is not uncommon. Because of opposite hemispheres and seasons, the lyrics to some Christmas songs are changed. For example, instead of reindeer, Santa flies with “six white boomers.” After Christmas Day, People in Australia celebrate Boxing Day, on which a famous sailboat race is held.

In Greece, going caroling is very popular, and is usually done by children, especially boys. They carry drums and triangles, and sometimes toy boats decorated with nuts painted gold. If they sing well, they may be given a treat. Christmas trees are popular, but a more traditional decoration is a bowl of water with a wire strung across it. The wire has a cross with a sprig of basil on it. Once a day, someone, usually the mother, will use the cross to sprinkle some of the water from the bowl into each room of the house. This is believed to keep away the kallikantzaroi (Καλλικάντζαρος), or bad spirits, away. These spirits supposedly enter a house via the chimney and do naughty things like putting out the fires or spoiling the milk. Another way to keep the spirits away is to have a fire always burning. Going to Midnight Mass is very important to many Greeks. The main Christmas meal is usually lamb or pork served with spinach and cheese pie, and various other salads and vegetables. Sweet pastries are eaten for desert and/or breakfast.

Are you a world traveler?

Image courtesy of Google Images.

In China, only about 1% of people are Christians, so Christmas is not widely celebrated. However, if people decide to put up a tree, it is most likely plastic and may be decorated with paper flowers, chains, and lanterns. Interestingly, most plastic Christmas trees are manufactured in China, but the people who make them likely don’t know what they’re for. Occasional carols may be sung, and “Jingle Bells” is very popular. Santa is called Sheng dan lao ren (聖誕老人), which means “Old Christmas Man.” A tradition that is becoming more and more popular (with the origin of the tradition coming from the carol “Silent Night,”) is the giving of apples around Christmas. The Chinese work for peace is similar to the word for apple, píngguǒ (苹果).

In Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on January 7, as they follow the Julian calendar. People may say Веселого Різдва, pronounced “veseloho rizdva” (Merry Christmas) or Христос Рождається, pronounced khrystos rozhdayetsia (Christ is Born). The main Christmas meal is called Sviata Vecheria, or “Holy Supper,” and is eaten on January 6, Christmas Eve. Traditionally, people fast Christmas Eve and do not eat until the first star is sighted. The first star in the night sky represents the star that led the Magi to Jesus. The Christmas meal usually has twelve parts to represent the twelve disciples. The main dish is often kutia, a type of a kind of sweet porridge made of wheat. The room where Sviata Vecheria is eaten normally has a Didukh decoration placed in it. This decoration is made from a sheaf of wheat and symbolizes the large wheat field in Ukraine. The work Didukh literally translates to “grandfather spirit,” and can represent people’s ancestors being with them in memory.

In South Korea, Christians make up about 30% of the population, so Christmas is more widely celebrated then other Asian countries like China. Christmas is a public holiday, so people will have the day off work, but they must return on Boxing Day. Christmas decorations are very popular, and many churches have red crosses on top, so they match the holiday theme. Most churches have a service on Christmas Day, and going to church on Christmas has become very popular, even for people who aren’t Christians. Some people have a Christmas tree, and presents are exchanged. A common present is money. Koreans say Jeulgaeun krismas doeseyo (즐거운 크리스마스 되세요), which means “Merry Christmas”. Christians say Sungtan chukhahaeyo (성탄 축하해요) to celebrate the birth of Jesus. In North Korea, being a Christian is legal, but you can be incarcerated or killed for just being in possession of a Bible. Any Christmas celebrations there are done in secret.

On that happy note, you should now be well-versed in Christmas traditions from around the world. Congratulations!

Want to learn more about Christmas traditions around the world? Click here to learn more about the countries above as well as many, many others.


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