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Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.)

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Songs Of Earth And Power
Songs Of Earth And Power
by Greg Bear
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How fantasy should be written., 21 May 2005
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.

Alien Horizons: Fantastic Art of Bob Eggleton
Alien Horizons: 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, 20 May 2005
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.

The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy Book Three
The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy Book Three
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine finale to this trilogy, 20 May 2005
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.

Nine Layers of Sky
Nine Layers of Sky
by Liz Williams
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi that dares to be different, 20 May 2005
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.

A Matter Of Life And Death [DVD]
A Matter Of Life And Death [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Niven
Price: £4.70

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still highly entertaining film., 19 May 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
David Niven stars as Peter, a squadron leader during World War II whose plane is about to crash after being hit by the enemy. All of his crew are dead. The radio controller from the airbase is a young American, June, who tries to persuade Peter to bail out before it is too late. Peter intends to do that but unfortunately he has no parachute. Still, deciding it's a better way to die, he jumps.
No one is more surprised than him when he awakes on a beach having been washed ashore close to his airbase. He meets June and it's love at first sight. However, Peter wasn't supposed to survive the crash but the 'angel' sent to meet him got lost in the fog and missed the 'appointment'. Now this being wants Peter to give up life and return with him to heaven. Peter refuses on the basis of his love for June and decides to appeal against his fate, something that hasn't been seen before, and a trial in Heaven follows.
In a reversal from most films of this type, the scenes in Heaven are shot in black and white whilst the Earthly scenes are shot in wonderfully vivid colour. This is a film that has stood the test of time and is as good to watch today as it has ever been, proof that special effects and a frenetic pace do not beat a good, well acted story. Wonderful stuff.

The Phantom of the Opera [DVD] [2004]
The Phantom of the Opera [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Gerard Butler
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.05

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant version of Lloyd Webber's best loved musical., 1 May 2005
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.

Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985]
Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985]
Dvd ~ Alexandra Pigg
Offered by Jambeau44. All orders sent first class post within 24 hours of receiving order.
Price: £33.55

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie let down by a poor quality DVD, 28 April 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a surprise hit in the early 80's as no-one expected such a low budget movie, featuring unknown actors, to make any impact on the viewing public. However, against all odds, Letter to Brezhnev was a huge hit thanks to its heart-warming yet poignant story of an 'ordinary Kirby girl' who falls in love with a Russian sailor.
Pieter and Sergei are two sailors whose ship has berthed in Liverpool overnight. They decide to visit a local club where they meet two local girls, Elaine and Teresa who are out for a good time. The chemistry between Elaine and Pieter is immediately evident and they decide to spend every moment together before Pieter has to rejoin his ship to Russia. Love blossoms and the young couple vow that somehow they will be together no matter what. Thereby lays the films title as Elaine is encouraged to write to the Russian premier (at that time Leonid Brezhnev) and ask him to allow her to be reunited with her love. There is plenty of light relief thanks to Margi Clarke's excellent portrayal of Teresa, an original 'good time' girl and her relationship with none-English speaking Sergei (Alfred Molina in an early role).
Sure the movie has its unbelievable moments....would the foreign office really go to such lengths to keep Elaine from travelling to Russia for example...but isn't escapism the point of movies? The major downside of this DVD is that no effort has been made to clean the picture or sound quality, it's pretty much as it was on VHS. There are no extras, not even subtitles for the hard of hearing which smacks of laziness on the part of the distributors. In other words, if you already have this film on video it really isn't worth getting the DVD however if you don't already own it then it is worth purchasing just for great movie that is Letter to Brezhnev.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2013 10:02 PM GMT

Mary Poppins [2 Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition] [DVD] [1963]
Mary Poppins [2 Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Julie Andrews
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £12.67

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Poppins; practically perfect in every way., 23 April 2005
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.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2010 12:29 AM GMT

Childrens Classic Poetry Collection
Childrens Classic Poetry Collection
by Nicola Baxter
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 23 April 2005
A wonderful collection of poems for any parent to read to their children (and to enjoy themselves). Beautifully illustrated throughout, this book has some well known and well loved poems such as 'The Owl and the Pussycat', 'Daffodils', 'Who has Seen the Wind 'and 'Ozymandias' to name but a few. Well known names such as Blake, Rossetti and Lear can all be found...pure magic and a great introduction to poetry for youngsters.
Unfortunately this book is currently out of print but if you are fortunate enough to see a copy I would definitely recommend grabbing it, you won't be disappointed.

The Novice: Book 2 of the Black Magician (Black Magician Trilogy)
The Novice: Book 2 of the Black Magician (Black Magician Trilogy)
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second book in this great trilogy, 18 April 2005
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.

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