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Spy Groove "Ravenna" (New Zealand)

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Nanny McPhee [DVD]
Nanny McPhee [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emma Thompson
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how I work ...., 20 Mar 2006
This review is from: Nanny McPhee [DVD] (DVD)
I thought I was going to see a modified Mary Poppins but ... it is so much better. If Mary was a jolly, magical, sweet nanny, Mc Phee was ugly, menacing but also magical. And the kids were more in number and more incorrigible (which reminds me of Von Trapp children).
What struck me as ingenious is how the nanny became less ugly each time the kids learn something from her lessons. The idea of reflecting the children's behaviour on the nanny's face is certainly not from Poppins. In that way, the children could see the result of their own making without being too self-conscious. Nanny McPhee didn't try to sweeten the bitter medicine, but she made them see how to accept consequences and be creative about it.
I have not read Nurse Matilda but I like the movie because the magic was very beautiful. Ms. Thompson has done two very great jobs, as the nanny and screenwriter.

by C.C. Humphreys
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Light Action-packed Reading, 6 Feb 2006
This review is from: JACK ABSOLUTE (Hardcover)
Handsome, tall, more-than-ordinary hero forced to help the Royal Army, against the American rebels. Not to be left out were the usual companions such as an Indian sidekick, an eccentric superior, a lovely lady and of course, a vile villain. A light and quick read with some very good action scenes. And just like all action stories, there was always that last minute twist that would save the day (most at least).
While the code breakings were interesting enough, the turn of events reminds me so much of a movie, Secret Life of Ian Fleming. No wonder it has an addition title: The 007 of the 1770s. Jack was like James Bond. Lady's man, charming, playboy, etc though I must say that the espionage aspect was not too engaging as the book neared its end. Jack somehow become a hotheaded person, without any present of mind or that's why one of his nicknames was Fool? He was more like an amateur in the end. Overall, it's a good historical-action-novel with a light touch on the espionage professionalism.

The Girl Who Played Go
The Girl Who Played Go
by Shan Sa
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Love, 23 Dec 2005
This review is from: The Girl Who Played Go (Paperback)
It is a new kind of story for me. Not exactly like Romeo & Juliet or Sampek Engkay, the degree of love between the Japanese soldier and the Chinese girl had reached beyond physical barrier even before the inevitable circumstances took over. There were only minor, polite contact between them, and yet, they knew each other's soul.
It is amazing how by playing go, you'll get to know your opposite's nature which oneself doesn't always do. So is in the war. The setting of Japanese invasion into China in 1930's is frequently compared to the strategies played in go. Although I know nothing about go, I think I could take in the messages conveyed well. This is not a book of how to play go. This is the book of the soul of the players and the soul of people.
Mind you that this is not a simple falling in love kind of a story, it is more complicated. The girl and the soldier each had their own (many) lovers with the Japanese soldier acting like other soldiers at that time by visiting prostitutes. Each has their own faults and weakness. Their mutual love of go had nourished further attachment along the way, unnoticed by each.
The words are beautifully composed, added with some ancient poetry from China and Japan. I must say the anonymous element between the soul lovers gives a dreamy, mysterious touch to the story without sacrificing the characters around them. With selective dialogs, Ms. Sa has managed to give us a well crafted tale about love, life and death. Highly recommended.

The House On The Strand (VMC)
The House On The Strand (VMC)
by Daphne Du Maurier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.91

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On a night like this ..., 26 Aug 2005
I opened the first chapter and wow! a science fiction time travel that asked for my attention every minute until it finished.
It was opened directly to the sensation after drinking the experiment drug which can bring you back into the long forgotten past. The past I am talking here was not in the time span of the narrator, but outreached 600 years, digging from the DNA memory of his ancestors which built his now. The theory of survival. This is not some Einsten Relativity story, where mind and body could be transferred along the time dimension, but it was only a loop of mind travel in which could do nothing to alter the past.
The writing style is the trademark of Du Maurier, with clues, subtleties and irony turn of events whose importance sometimes escape from the first time reading although the sentences themselves are effective but still have the literary beauty. She dared to explore the possibilities and left no stone unturned. The selection of past time itself can raise a debate to whether it was a pure past or already meddled with personal infliction. However, the introduction chapter (warning: read this AFTER you finished the book) by other famous author gave some light to the background circumstances.
The ending is quite open to give the reader freedom of thought, to imagine the meaning of it, whether it was all over, in the real meaning, of both worlds or just for one, or better yet, if an 'alter' ego gone, will the other follow ... or was it 'alter' ego anyway?

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
by Louis de Bernieres
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O Mio Bambino Caro, 19 Aug 2005
There's not enough stars to state how wonderful this book is. I feel like I have been growing along with the characters.
Just like John Lennon's infamous 'Imagine', this book showed that no matter how different your religions, idealisms, nationalities, genders, and races may be, you are still all the same human beings, with the same sense of moral, of humanity, of appreciation of differences which makes life not dull. When humanity lost, there is only automaton, war and destruction beyond hell's fire.
Filled with some unusual words that you must have at least a complete English dictionary next to you to understand it fully and appreciate the selection of the word. I felt I was listening to a historical story told by someone's grandfather because it seemed so personal with witty conversation and humorous lines but filled with shrewd observations and reflections. It doesn't mean that all of it was told by the same person. Each character, even Musolini had his part in story telling.
The romance was portrayed in the relationship between Pelagia and Antonio Corelli, brought together by means of his beloved mandolin. This was not the 'roll-in-the-dust' romance, but an old fashioned one. The scenes and dialogs when Corelli courted her till Pelagia's acceptance and their short togetherness keep playing in my mind. You don't easily find this kind of romance nowadays.
Though I have an objection about some last chapters which to me is too self-indulgent if I may use a term from the book,
All in all it is a very great read :))

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition (Harry Potter 6)
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition (Harry Potter 6)
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Turning Point, 1 Aug 2005
This is the most emotional book of HP so far. In the first till third, you got adventure, and it got darken to terror; then in the fourth, you got a hell of competitions and a friend's death; with the fifth, the gathering and a tragic, shocking end while in this sixth, it got indeed very dark and emotional with more tragic death than the last one and the turning point of Harry's battle with Voldemort. This whole thing made it hard to guess what will the seventh book bring.
Many questions about Voldemort's parents answered and the suspected would reveal himself, cold hearted. And the Half-Blood Prince? Read and be astounded.
It was so exhalarating, surprising and moving. Worth the time and the effort to carry the heavy book everywhere I went :)

Mary Anne (VMC)
Mary Anne (VMC)
by Daphne Du Maurier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is her dream, 20 July 2005
This review is from: Mary Anne (VMC) (Paperback)
Opened in a flashback style, beautiful and tempting, the biography of Mary Anne Clarke, the notorious heroine, unfolded. Based on her great-great-grandmother, Ms. Du Maurier weaved a story of a woman's power struggle and web of intrique played in society dominated by men. Set in London at the time when Paris was being ruled in Terror regime, London was in parliamentary turmoil and both countries are in war at the end of 18th century.
Mary Anne, with her cunning wit and unbeatable Irish blood, was born in London slum neighbourhood. With her resourceful mind, she determined to be a success in men's world by playing the same game, with the same rules. She first tried to find a wealthy husband but got a big-mouthed, good-for-nothing one instead. Not to be beaten by circumstances, she left her husband and started to use her unique beauty to make connection, to be a 'social climber', in order to provide food and shelter for her 3 children, a mother, a half-sister and a brother. As time would have it, she was introduced to The Duke of York, became his mistress and the scandalous dealings began.
Being a mistress to a prince didn't mean she would have unlimited income. On the contrary, to maintain the house, lifestyle and servants, she must do 'side job' by promoting soldiers to the Duke with some amount of fee. This would lead to the most scandalous trial(s) in England concerning royal family.
The dialogs and the statements were beautifully written (but no ramblings) while the characters each had their own strength and weakness. It was said that there are some resemblances between the author's life with the main character which added to the substance of the story. All I can say is I admire her wit and I see the reasons behind her every move.
Feel the spirit, see the dreams and understand the love of life which came from a woman named Mary Anne.

The Sight
The Sight
by David Clement-Davies
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper than Wolves' Fangs, 1 July 2005
This review is from: The Sight (Mass Market Paperback)
I thought it was going to be some usual adventure story, with wolves as main characters. But no, it went much much deeper. It evokes the essence of the nature, what nature is, who are humans and why are we here. This is the book to remind us amids the glory of tool, weapon and gadget inventions, to open our eyes to the world around us which does not only consist of human, but also full with animals, plants and the earth itself.
There is also some thoughts of religion, what should we believe in religion when we found out that the stories were not true (like what has been happening lately). Even I can identify some of the make-up religions the wolves had. It is so inspiring read for those who felt cheated by life and religion.

The Scapegoat (VMC)
The Scapegoat (VMC)
by Daphne Du Maurier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever thought ..., 14 Jun 2005
This review is from: The Scapegoat (VMC) (Paperback)
This is my second book of Du Maurier. I was intrigued by the-Prince-Pauper thingy but with more weight on the issue that caused the charade. Although I can't say I like the ending but I feel it is the true way to end this story. Not a simple type of ending where everybody get all they wanted, the good characters win over the bad. It belongs to the whole story, adding the irony. Each character was in grey zone, no one was all white or black.
The issue of family and people relationship played the circumstances over the exchange of John and Jean, the 2 look-alike person but with very different background. John, the loner, had no family ties, as the narrator. While Jean, a father, lives with a sick mother, a silent sister and a troubled family of his brother to deal with. While John felt himself as a spectator of life, Jean complained about his demanding family. Was it only the family's fault or Jean's himself who caused the oppressive situation?
All things were started from inside oneself. It is like throwing a stone into a pool effect. What you think, which will come out as words / action will affect all the people around you. What you think a good decision does not always give the same impression to other people because each person has her/his own perception, unique way of viewing a problem.
You would just feel as conceited as the characters you were reading. A thoughtful story.

The Birds And Other Stories (VMC)
The Birds And Other Stories (VMC)
by Daphne Du Maurier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Source of Hitchcock's, 1 Jun 2005
This is my first taste of Du Maurier but I like it very much :)
The language is beautiful but compact, concise. Fast paced. No extra burden for the eyes.
THE BIRDS, the inspiration of Hitchcock's movie version. Although it is different between the book and movie, the dread they caused
is almost the same with their own focus. In the movie, you'll get the visualization of the dread while through book the description of the attack was violent enough that you couldn't see no end.
MONTE VERITA. It's like reading supernatural story about Maya people at first which was followed by friendship between 2 people, their meeting with a very beautiful enigmatic woman until the strange happening in Monte Verita. In the end, it was still the supernatural one but behind it, there was a horror value in it that makes you see what Monte Verita really was.
APPLE TREE. This is my fav story of this book. A creepy tale of a wife that haunted her husband after her death.
What you thought will not be the same with what you would along the way. A very good material for Outer Limit program.
LITTLE PHOTOGRAPHER. Like watching an Agatha Christie's mytery movie but leave the detective part. This is a story of unintentional villain with heart that was numbed because of life.
KISS ME AGAN STRANGER. Hohoho, this one has a horror surprise!! I wouldn't give any detail what kind of surprise less it would spoil the fun.
OLD MAN. This is my second fav because what I thought when this story began is dashed beautifully at the end ;)

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