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Amazon Customer "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.)

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Mad About Bags
Mad About Bags
by Emma Bowd
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice little book but nothing special., Sept. 9 2006
This review is from: Mad About Bags (Hardcover)
This little book is only 64 pages long so don't expect too much information in it. Emma Bowd has provided quite a brief text to accompany each section and she doesn't go into any great detail. There are some nice photographs, but again, not a huge amount, certainly not enough to make you want to keep looking for long. This may be ok as a little stocking filler for a handbag mad friend but for anyone wanting serious information on handbags and/or gorgeous photo's, there are much better books available.

The Village (Bilingual)
The Village (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Joaquin Phoenix
Price: CDN$ 4.88
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre offering, Sept. 9 2006
This review is from: The Village (Bilingual) (DVD)
The Village is the story of a small community living in a tiny settlement, surrounded by woods that reportedly contain mysterious, malevolent creatures. These creatures have to be given sacrifices in order to prevent them harming the villagers. No-one enters the woods or leaves the Village. M Night Shymalan has managed yet again to create an atmospheric movie with brilliant cinematography. Unfortunately this is as much as he manages with this film. In spite of worthy performances by stars such as Sigourney Weaver and Joaquin Phoenix along with a brilliant performance by newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard as a blind girl, the film somehow falls flat. There is none of the sense of unease that we have come to expect with Shymalan's movies and the ending, for once, could be seen coming from very early on in the story.

Some people have viewed this as a horror story, others as a drama but it doesn't really manage to fall into either genre comfortably. It's not a bad film, it's certainly worth viewing once, but it's not one that you would want to watch over and over.

The Novice: The Black Magician Trilogy Book 2
The Novice: The Black Magician Trilogy Book 2
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.41
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Second book in this great trilogy, Sept. 9 2006
Sonea has been lifted from the slums and enrolled as a novice in the Guild of Magic's university. She is the first poor person to have been admitted to this elitist establishment. Although she is gifted and has the support of the magician Lord Rothen, very few of the teachers and none of the other novices are at all pleased she is there.

One novice in particular, Regin, who is jealous of Sonea's stronger power and hates her 'lowly' status, makes it his life's mission to make Sonea's life a misery and turn everyone against her. The situation becomes even worse when she comes to the High Lord Akkarin's notice and he takes over her guardianship. Sonea both fears and hates Akkarin after discovering he practices black magic, something that the Guild views as the worst crime of all. Everyone else sees her position as a privilege but she knows the High Lord is only keeping her near to ensure she doesn't betray his secret.

Trudi Canavan has produced a second book in the 'Black Magician' trilogy that is as engrossing as the first and that certainly whets the appetite for the final book. Although the trilogy may not feature the most original of themes, the writing and story telling quality certainly make it a worthwhile read for any fan of fantasy.

Mary Poppins (40th Anniversary Edition) (Bilingual 2-Disc Set)
Mary Poppins (40th Anniversary Edition) (Bilingual 2-Disc Set)
DVD ~ Julie Andrews
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 43.12
30 used & new from CDN$ 6.49

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Poppins; practically perfect in every way, Sept. 9 2006
This is one of those films that has stood the test of time and is still entertaining now as it was 40 years ago. Everyone knows the tale of the magical nanny that blows in on the east wind and into the lives of the Banks family of 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Jane and Michael Banks have had a succession of strict nannies as well as a very strict father and a mother who is always out with her fellow suffragettes. Mary Poppins brings magic and fun into the children's lives, something that has been sorely lacking prior to her arrival.

Julie Andrews stars as the nanny and Dick Van Dyke as the lovable cockney Bert, (just forgive his dreadful accent) who always seems to be around at the right time for an adventure. The children find themselves having outings such as jumping into a chalk picture into a cartoon world, having a tea-party on a ceiling and dancing across the rooftops of London. Stuffed to the gills with songs such as 'Spoonful of Sugar', 'Chim Chim Cheree', 'Feed the Birds' and 'Jolly Holiday', this will have you tapping your foot throughout.

This 40th anniversary edition is on 2 discs and features lots of extras such as a documentary, commentary, footage of the premieres etc. The quality of print is very high, the colours have never looked so vibrant and the picture is razor sharp. Wonderful stuff.

The Phantom of the Opera (Bilingual) (Widescreen Edition)
The Phantom of the Opera (Bilingual) (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Emmy Rossum
Price: CDN$ 6.88
47 used & new from CDN$ 1.12

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant version of Lloyd Webber's best loved musical, Sept. 9 2006
Emmy Rossum stars as Christine Daae, a young dancer with the Opera Populaire in Paris. She has been having her voice trained by the mysterious 'Angel of Music' so when the Diva, Carlotta (brilliantly portrayed by Minnie Driver) storms out, Christine is propelled into the lead role of the opera house's latest production.

What Christine doesn't realise is that her angel of music is also the infamous Phantom and that he is obsessed with her. As Christine falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul de Chagny (Patrick Wilson), the phantom becomes increasingly unbalanced and determined to possess the young singer no matter what.

Joel Schumacher's glossy production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best loved musical stars, for the most part, a relatively unknown cast, but that doesn't detract in any way from the quality of the film. Rossum was only 17 when this was filmed but she brings a remarkable maturity to her role and she has an incredibly good voice. Gerard Butler, who plays the phantom, doesn't have such a strong voice, but, thanks in the main to his sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of the tortured creature, he pulls it off. A real surprise was Jennifer Ellison (better known to British viewers as the young soap star from 'Brookside') who plays Meg, Christine's best friend. In this role, Ellison shows she can not only act but can sing very well too. Minnie Driver, cast as the spoiled, conceited Carlotta, injects humour and exuberance into her role. She is the only cast member who doesn't perform her own songs but you cannot tell this when watching the film.

As would be expected from such a production, the cinematography is outstanding, the costumes are sumptuous and the sets are marvellous. This DVD is presented over 2 discs. Disc 1 is the movie while disc 2 has a wealth of extras such as 'Behind the Mask; the story of Phantom of the Opera', various featurettes and several music videos taken from stage versions of the musical. For those willing to search, there are also some hidden extras; I have found 4 so far. Hours of entertainment to lose yourself in....brilliant.

Nine Layers of Sky
Nine Layers of Sky
by Liz Williams
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi that dares to be different., Sept. 9 2006
Elena Irinova was a scientist and 'would be' cosmonaut with the Soviet space programme. Since the fall of Communism in the U.S.S.R. she is reduced to cleaning office floors and dreaming of building a new life in Canada. Ilya Muromyets is a drug addict who wishes only for death. Unfortunately for him he is immortal, one of the Russian 'Heroes' of folk tales, and he cannot die except at the hands of another immortal but he's the only one of his kind left.

Elena finds a strange object, a small ball that seems to absorb light, the scientist in her wonders what its purpose is. Ilya is approached by the representative of a mysterious organisation and is asked to find this artefact. Eventually Elena and Ilya come together and learn just what this object and its purpose are.

Nine Layers of Sky is one of those rare books in the sci-fi genre in that it is actually 'different'. Liz Williams has proven, with this latest novel, that she is not a 'one trick pony' and can write an original story that is fast paced and absorbing. Her style can be a little dark and oppressive at times but that suits her stories and in no way detracts from them. It's not a style that will please everyone but for anyone looking for something different, they would go a long way to find better than this.

The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy Book 3
The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy Book 3
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.36
72 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fine finale to this trilogy., Sept. 9 2006
Trudi Canavan's concluding book in the 'Black Magician' trilogy is as good, if not better, than its predecessors. Again, the main story centres on the young novice Sonea who is now well through her apprenticeship at the Magicians Guild. Although she has had a rough time with her fellow novices and the teachers, who initially looked down on her because of her upbringing in the slums, Sonea is making progress and is even developing some friendships. All this changes when she discovers the true reason that her guardian, the High Lord Akkarin, is practicing black magic. Sonea has to decide whether to help Akkarin and risk losing everything she has worked for and possibly even risk her life. Meanwhile a threat has arisen from the outcasts of a land where black magic is openly practiced. These outcasts have realised that the magicians of the Guild are weaker than they had thought and have one oust the magicians and take over Imardin.

Like the previous books in this trilogy, 'The High Lord' is a very readable story that is fast paced enough to keep interest going. Canavan hasn't produced the most original of ideas but nonetheless her style of writing, and the characterisation she has produced, makes this a very enjoyable read. She has also been brave enough not to fall into the trap of a neat, happy ending but has dared to be different.

Alien Horizons: The Fantastic Art of Bob Eggleton
Alien Horizons: The Fantastic Art of Bob Eggleton
by Bob Eggleton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book for any lover of fantasy artwork, Sept. 9 2006
Bob Eggleton's artwork not only shows what an amazingly gifted artist he is but also demonstrates a breathtaking imagination. As the title of the book indicates, this is a book featuring paintings of alien landscapes, wonderful spacecraft and alien beings. It is hard to believe such detail has come purely from imagination and that these are not something the artist has seen in reality. With vibrant colours and perfection in even the minutest details these are pictures that a reader will want to look at time and time again. This is a wonderful book not only for fans of science fiction and fantasy but also for anyone who appreciates art.

Songs of Earth and Power: "Infinity Concerto" and "Serpent Mage"
Songs of Earth and Power: "Infinity Concerto" and "Serpent Mage"
by Greg Bear
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars How fantasy should be written, Sept. 9 2006
Originally two separate books, Greg Bear's 'Infinity Concerto' and 'The Serpent Mage' are brought together in one volume renamed 'Songs of Earth and Power'.

The story revolves around Michael Perrin, a young poet who is searching for meaning in his life but with no direction. When he befriends Arno Waltiri an elderly neighbour who is also artistic (a composer), it is a meeting of minds and Michaels life changes forever. Unfortunately Arno dies soon after meeting Michael but leaves him a key to an old abandoned house. What Michael is about to discover is that this house is a gateway to another realm, the Realm of the Sidhe, a realm that is both compelling and dangerous, a realm that is difficult to escape from.

Greg Bear's land of elves is not the pretty, enchanted place of so many fantasy novels but is an oppressive, menacing land of cruelty and fear, ruled by the unfeeling Sidhe. His brilliantly descriptive narrative draws the reader in until you feel part of this world. It is a difficult book to put down. Songs of Earth and Power isn't an easy or comfortable read but it is one that is well worth the effort. It's definitely one of the better novels in the fantasy genre and it's a great addition to the bookshelf of any lover of fantasy.

State and Society: A Social and Political History of Britain 1870-1997
State and Society: A Social and Political History of Britain 1870-1997
by Martin Pugh
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An in depth and interesting text., Sept. 9 2006
Martin Pugh has produced an in depth study of Britain's social and political history between 1870 and 1997. The book is divided into 5 sections which makes navigation of the subject matter easier.

Section 1 deals with the period 1870-1902 and focuses on topics such as the retreat of industrial revolution, persistence of mass poverty, the myths and reality of Victorian values and the rise of the Labour movement.

Section 2 covers Edwardian social reforms, class struggle, invasion scares, and the impact of war to name but a few of its themes and it spans the years 1902-1918.

In section 3, 1918-1940, Pugh explores such issues as the legacy of war, Labours rise to power, social welfare, the housing revolution and Keynesianism.

Section 4 (1940-1970) looks at the 'Age of the Benign State', and covers such topics as race and immigration, collapse of British power, the permissive society, decolonisation and Britain's reluctant entry into Europe.

The final section discusses multi-party politics, the decline of Labour, Thatcherism, the increase of environmentalism and economic depression and ends in 1997.

There are tables and figures, some illustrations and a useful guide to further reading for those who wish to explore the subject further. This text should be very useful to undergraduates but would also appeal to anyone with an interest in British history. It is easy to read although admittedly a little 'dry' at times but is full of relevant information and provides enough 'in depth' information for even the most exacting of readers.

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