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Reviews Written by
Nicola Jarvis (Herts, UK)

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Shadowmancer
Shadowmancer
by G. P. Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear... just too religious, 31 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Shadowmancer (Paperback)
A critic says on the back of the book 'Biggest thing since Harry Potter'. He lied. I don't know about the person who wrote this but I know I don't like him. He shoves his beliefs down our throats. Its takes up the whole book and your sitting there thinking 'Where's the plot'. The bad guy is boring, the side kick is predictable, Thomas has no personality and Rhubak is the author's religious voice always preaching. I had high expectations for this book, since I thought a book that would be compared to Harry Potter would be at least worthy, it isn't. Being an atheist, this was just boring from beginning to end. When I painfully finished the book a voice inside my head said 'And...?' However, there are some books that I just give up on in boredom but I finished this one. I do not know why, I didn't care for the characters nor what happened. The author is just rewriting the bible through some characters and a typical plot of man trying to take over world. There are no twists or turns, from other reviews it seems that this man is no fan of Harry Potter. Well, in first pages of reading, I thought the book was copying Rowling (Thulaks = Dementors/Lethifolds no?) This is not a good book in any form, it has some strong folklore in it (which I found rather contradictive) which can be interesting but I can't find myself recommending this to you. Don't bother.


The Gates of Rome (Emperor Series, Book 1)
The Gates of Rome (Emperor Series, Book 1)
by Conn Iggulden
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had me gripped from the start!, 31 Oct. 2003
This book is beautifully written and gripping. I loved Gaius and Marcus from the very start. The characterisations are very livid and your emotions will be attached to them. I see there is a lot of criticisms on this book but if you notice, its only the people that know of the characters history. I picked up this book not knowing any of the history and I still don't. I had only heard of the names of the characters and that was it. If you are the same then you must read this book! Its a shame that other reviewers have ruined the twist for you, saying who Gaius and Marcus are. Because I didn't know and I was totally shocked. The childhood of Gaius and Marcus is colourful and very well put together. I liked the symbol of the hawk for example. I don't think the part with the Hawk is true and all the better for it, it shows the authors artful imagination and his power at story telling.
There are many twists and turns, and as the author points out in the historical notes, very little is known about Gaius' younger years, so why not make it up? I think the story of their upbringing was wonderful on the farm. Soon enough, we see Gaius' world turn upside down twice. You truly find yourself rooting for Gaius, Marcus and Marius.
So, what does this book contain? It contains a story of a great young man coming of age but also beautiful descriptions of Rome and the times. How warfare was handled in the times is very well explained, I know this since I understood it and the only thing I have ever learned of Roman warfare was off the film Gladiator, which is not much. Whilst in most stories descriptions drag on and you find yourself skipping the boring paragraph of how the moon is coming up (or is that just me?), this book doesn't drag on. He works at an amazing pace and we have insight to most of the characters not just Gaius (one thing frustrating about Harry Potter is that we don't ever see what Hermione is thinking or what Draco is thinking, etc.). Through this technique we see their true personality traits.
In this story we also come across a determined slave girl, who struggles for her freedom. Its a lovely subplot and I don't know if we will see what will come of her in the later books of the series and what importance she has.
In short, this book isn't under the non-fiction section in the library, so Caesar fans should get over that. This is a powerful moving story with all different aspects of the Roman life. There are so many characters to get attached to and so many possibilities for them in the forthcoming books. Like I said, I don't know the history so it will be gripping for me all the way. Nothing has had me so gripped since Harry Potter. Give it a chance. Go buy it!


Aled
Aled
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.43

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Voice, 23 Oct. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Aled (Audio CD)
I heard the ending of 'Did You Not Hear My Lady' on Classical FM and I just fell in love with the voice. It was declared that it was Aled Jones. I watched Aled on 'This Is Your Life' beforehand and I loved 'Walking In The Air' growing up so I was quite intrigued. I grabbed 'Higher' as soon as I saw it. Once I got it home it wasn't the CD with the song I heard so I ordered 'Aled' on Amazon (although 'Higher' is a great album also).
Aled Jones is a rare thing, since he does Classical music but is not a tenor. Most male vocalists really blow the words out but Aled sings in a gentle voice that flows naturally and it is so beautiful. Aleds voice is complemented by the boy choir 'Libera' who are most welcome. They sound wonderful together and the most breath taking collaboration would have to be on the track 'Vespera'. I had never heard this song before and it really took me by surprise. I think the cd was worth buying just for that one song. The album over all is of course wonderful, we have some wonderful composers (Eric Levi!) and a good choice of traditional songs. Not to mention the duet with himself when he was younger. Most songs are backed up by Libera (something that inspired me to buy a Libera album shortly after listening to this album).
The booklet takes a natural wood/countryside theme and has all the lyrics, even the ones in Welsh (or shall I say one?). You can't go wrong here, and if you are new to classical music, this a good start that will not scare you off unlike some of the bigger male vocalists (such as the Three Tenors).


The Phantom of the Opera (Penguin Popular Classics)
The Phantom of the Opera (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Gaston Leroux
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor Unhappy Erik!, 19 Sept. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the most compelling book ever written, I assure you. This is a masterpiece and a classic in my eyes; and yours if you take the time to read this story. However you came about looking up this novel here on Amazon, I suggest you buy it, and you buy it quick. Once you have it, you won't be able to put it down.
Reading through this story, one can start to think its a 'Ghost-story.' But the author, as it turns out, dedicated a part of his life to this 'Opera-Ghost,' wanting to be sure of his existence - or non-existence. He has sources, archives, spoken to the people of the time and he tells their story, and he tells it well! When I was reading this story, the possibility of this 'Phantom' of ever existing was totally ruled out in my book. What was this author thinking in seriously believing? How can one be in walls, have a bodiless voice, be here and there, be everywhere? Truth be told, the author leaves you questioning of his existence, that the Phantoms 'supernatural' behaviour wasn't so 'supernatural,' just a genius ahead of his time. And what a pitiful genius he was! This is one book that keeps you thinking long after you have read it.
If you know of Andrew Lloyd Webbers version, you will be impressed to learn that the book and the musical are very much different. Raoul in the musical seems brave and wise, in the book he strikes me as a pathetic love-sick puppy. A character which has no part in the musical has a dramatic effect on the real story; the Persian. Christine who seems to be a mad woman at the beginning turns into the pity stricken beauty towards the end as she is in the musical. Andre and Fermin are not so comical in the book as they are in the musical. The story is twisted and turned. So just because you have seen the musical, does not mean you know the story of the Phantom of the Opera!
This book is a very smooth, easy read, being written in the early nineteen-hundreds. Its possible to get mixed up with names, but the characters that you do get mixed up with are extremely unimportant to the plot, so it doesn't really matter. The narrative keeps you reading and you will curse whatever it is from every day life that pulls you away from it.
The character of the Phantom will stay with you forever, Compelling stuff. I can't recommend this masterpiece enough.


Care Bear Lullaby Bedtime
Care Bear Lullaby Bedtime

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He is cute, but thats about it., 12 Sept. 2003
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Care Bear Lullaby Bedtime (Toy)
I was an 80's child and have collected Care Bears all my life. I must have about 75 items of Care Bears or maybe more. Im delighted that they are making a come back!
This Bedtime Bear is attractive but not cuddly. Its like any other toy that talks when you press its hand or tummy. This particular talking Toy isn't that impressive, he says a total of 3 things. 'Im Bedtime Bear', 'Please give me a Care Bear hug and I'll sing you a lullaby' and 'Thanks for the Care Bear hug, things look brighter now!'. Or course, our bedtime bear doesnt sing a lullaby at all, he merely plays a 6 second melody of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. The thing is, when I first pressed his tummy he said 'Im Bedtime Bear' and then again he asked for a hug. Now everytime I press him he just says thanks for the hug, he hasnt said the other things ever again. And I pressed him a couple of times.
He stands at about 30cm high wearing his pjamas and night cap and his rock hard tummy lights up: not pillow or bedtime friendly. He has his star buddy with him which I was hoping to be a teddy but he is a Nightlight and is made out of plastic, he is about half the size of Bedtime bear. Batteries are included for the bear but not for the Nightlight.
This toy I imagine isn't very attractive to a child, it only says one annoying line after the first 2 times you press it and the lullaby is also reptitive. A child will be bored within seconds. As you can tell, Bedtime Bear only has the colour blue and there is nothing educational coming out of his mouth. He might be ok for older children, but I think they would have to be a fan of the Care Bears to cherish him. I bought him to put him on my shelf with all my other Care Bears. Over all, he is a pretty thing, but not the best toy in the world, there are much better ones in this genre.


Whistle Down The Wind (Original Cast Recording)
Whistle Down The Wind (Original Cast Recording)
Price: £9.73

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whistle along with this!, 11 Sept. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whistle Down The Wind is one of Andrew Lloyd Webbers better musicals (think Aspects Of Love - oh dear). This is one cute story I can tell you. Its set in a little town in America in the 1960's which is very religious. The towns priest tells the town that Jesus is coming and that they will all be saved. The children it seems, take this too literally for when a murderer escapes from prison and finds refuge in the heroines barn (Swallow, an older teenager), she believes he is Jesus as does her little sister and brother who then spread the word to all the other children. By the middle of the musical 'Jesus' is taken care of by all the children in town. The high light of this musical is definitely the motor bike riding James Dean wannabe 'Amos', who has a crush on Swallow even though he already has a girlfriend - Candy. Even though the man is murderer, the villains of this story are the adults. Thirsty for revenge with evil music to back up their views. There is a battle between the 'boring' adults and the wonderous children.
The music is absolutely memorable and the songs will stay in your head for days. The music is full of life and child like wonder. Most people would of heard 'No Matter What' since there was a single version made performed by Boyzone, but the original song sung by the children is much better and emotional. You can feel the children's adventure and hope in 'Children Of The World'.
The lyrics are fantastic, what can I say? If only tears were laughter. If only night was day. If only prayers were answers, then we would hear god say. There are morals in this musical that teach you to just get on with life since 'If only' are the loneliest words. The most fantastic song is 'A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste'. The most amazing build up, orchestration and lyrics and it is sung by Swallow, the Man, Candy and Amos. It has every emotion fit into one song, if you ever get the chance then I suggest the Metallic orchestra version which is probably one of the best songs that Andrew has ever done.
The performances are absolutely wonderful, especially from the children, Swallows (Lotti Mayor) put on accent sounds a bit over done at times but that's the only thing wrong with it. The children sound beautiful and they hit their notes with complete accuracy. Wonderful little professionals. Candy has a rich and powerful voice. Amos (played by Dean Collinson here) can sound a bit too overdone at times also but over all he is brilliant. Totally does the James Dean thing perfectly.
This double cd comes with a full libretto, all lyrics, characters, actions and parts of the story that is not recorded on the cds. There are bright and colourful pictures and has full actors and actresses list. In every way the packaging is top quality.
I can only say, give it a try, brilliant music, lyrics, performances and story. You would be mad not to give it a listen.


Voyageur
Voyageur
Price: £16.05

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Met my expectations., 10 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Voyageur (Audio CD)
Im not a loyal fan of Enigmas. I bought 'Gravity Of Love' and my Mother has the other cds. 'Gravity Of Love' with the 'O Fortuna' theme was great and I feel that no other song can ever top the albums title song. I like odd songs here and there like 'Return To Innocence' and 'Modern Crusaders'. This album is the same yet again for me. I wasnt surprised when listening through the first 5 tracks, I didnt like them at all. There are some awful sounds that this album has. But when I got to track 6 'Total eclipse of the Moon' I felt a bit happier, Michael Creatu has such a lovely voice and he does actually participate in this album vocally more than usual, which is a pleasure to listen to. I was loving this song but then it finished abruptly with the time of 2 minutes. Other songs are average but I was pleased with 'The Piano' and 'Following the Sun' (favourite track of the album). Overall I am very pleased with 3 songs and I don't think the others will ever get played again in my stereo. But to be honest, this is what I was expecting, so Im not going to complain really. This is how I have been with every Enigma album. If you are wondering why on earth I buy them, its for the few songs that I like, because no one does songs like 'Gravity Of Love' and 'Following the Sun'. If they did a whole album with these kind of tracks I would be very happy. Fans of the new age/electric genre will be delighted I think. This album sounds original and to my expectations, Enigma delievered. And Im sure that Enigma fans will be pleased with this album after they were generally disappointed with 'Gravity Of Love'. I think people will be especially happy if they like Michaels voice, like I said before, he takes the dominating position in almost all the songs. I am glad to hear him personally. This sounds very different to all of their other albums. Listen and be surprised.


Sylvia Browne's Book Of Dreams
Sylvia Browne's Book Of Dreams
by Lindsay Harrison
Edition: Paperback

11 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very arrogant woman., 5 Sept. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book because a friend told me that it had a chapter on Sleep paralysis. I suffer from this 'disorder' (its not certain what it is exactly) and it's hardly ever mentioned anywhere so I was curious.
How disappointed I was. We have got some lousy 'psychic' here. Call me narrow minded, but how narrow minded is she?! Sleep paralysis is very much a mystery, and you have all kinds of people trying to work out what it is and how it is caused. This author brings up a lot of them, but she readily dismisses them with quite an amount of disdain without an explanation as to why everyone else is wrong and she is right. This woman is one arrogant person. She calls Sleep paralysis 'Astral Catalepsy' and dismisses the term 'Sleep Paralysis' as simple and inaccurate. As I suffer from it, I can assure you that the term 'Sleep Paralysis' is the most accurate definition that I could ever put into words. It is what it says. When you are falling asleep or waking up you become paralysed: you cannot move. She has the gall to say that whether sleep researchers agree or not its ALWAYS associates with 'Astral trips.' (meaning, trips to the 'other side' I worked out). She uses language such as 'obviously' and 'always' as if everything she says is obviously the truth. Very bold of her I think when she doesn't even back up what she is saying and gives no reason for us readers to believe her. Yes, some people believe its aliens taking us to their space ships (seriously), now I don't believe that, but they make more sense than she does! The reason I going on about this particular subject is to tell you just how patronising and arrogant this Sylvia Browne is. Throughout the rest of the book there is nothing new. She gives us meaning to dreams which you could find anywhere on the net. Even AOL's Dr Pam comes up with what she comes up with. Its all well known that dreaming of yourself naked means you are not comfortable with the way you look, etc. There is nothing new or interesting here, and her style is as if she is talking to primary school students. She does cover a lot though if you are interested including Lucid dreaming, symbols in dreams and also how we are visiting people on the other side from our dreams (no comment).
A complete disaster. Stay away.


Home and Away -  Secrets and the City [VHS]
Home and Away - Secrets and the City [VHS]
VHS
Offered by funkybunnie
Price: £4.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving episodes., 5 Sept. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I cried and cried as I watch the moving dilemmas of the Sutherland house hold. They are by far my favourite soap family (slaters who?) and Dani is by far my favourite soap character ever. Fortunately for me, it's our Tammin Sursok who plays Dani that hosts this Video. She gives us a little introduction walking around the set then we are shown two episodes that were shown on TV that lead up to the one exclusive episode. The two episodes that lead up are the ones when Dylan dumped Kirsty and the one when Rhys tells his family that Dylan is his son (Which I am most grateful for since I missed that episode on tv). Just to warn you, this is no one hour special or anything, its just a normal half hour episode. I won't ruin it for you but Tammin achieved such a moving performance she had tears streaming down my face. She is such a promising actress and I hope she doesnt leave Home and Away anytime soon. Even though this episode has a lot of emotion in it, this is the funniest episode they have ever done in my opinion, there are a lot of comic moments and lines. After the episodes Tammin introduces 'Behind the scenes' of the filming in the city. This is only 5 minutes long if that and there are a few jokers. After this Tammin gives introduction to the interviews which is with almost all of the cast. This part isnt disappointing but there isnt any input from Tammin... maybe its because she has enough of the lime light in this video. These interviews last quite a while maybe more than 10 minutes. I think this video is a bit overpriced considering there is only one unseen episode but this video is a little gem and I dont think any Home and Away fan should miss out on it. This is a must.


One Heart
One Heart
Offered by VECOSELL
Price: £6.01

9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Humiliating!, 4 Sept. 2003
This review is from: One Heart (Audio CD)
Whatever happened to the amazing collaborations that we saw on 'Let's Talk About Love'? We have one of the best singers in the world singing total rubbish. Celine has dumped actual 'talented' song writers. 2 or 3 albums ago she had Carole King, Bee Gees, Diana King, David Foster (!), Corey Hart and Bryan Adams writing for her now look who she has. MAX MARTIN, Rami and Kristian Lundin. If you do not understand my complaint here let me put these people into perspective for you, these idiots are responsible for such cheesy, annoying hits as 'Hit Me Baby One More Time', 'Oops I Did It Again', 'Lucky' (Britney Spears), 'Tearin Up My Heart', 'Its Gonna Be Me', (Nsync), 'We Got It Going On', 'I Want It That Way', 'Larger Than Life' (Backstreet Boys) and many many more. You get the picture (Hopefully). Hence, this album lacks real instruments and has major input from computer sound effects and there are no powerful ballads to be found here. I would of been ashamed to bring this out. If its not for the cheesy music its for the cheesy lyrics, Im sure you all know these rather unorginal lines: "I've never felt this way before", "You gave me sign/You opened my eyes", "You must be sent from up above". These are the kinda lines you have to face up to if you buy this cd.
This album is pure cheesy pop worthy of S Club Juniors and Britney. This is not music and it is not talent. Celine, we know you can do better than this, you have shown us time and time again that you can, dump the Martin loser and bring back David Foster!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2011 10:52 AM GMT


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