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Innocent Eyes - Delta Goodrem 25/06/2004


Innocent Eyes - Delta Goodrem In 2002, a new girl appeared in the popular daytime soap, “Neighbours”. Eighteen-year-old Delta Goodrem arrived, playing shy schoolgirl Nina Tucker, who surprised the other teenage characters when they discovered that she was an excellent singer. However, the singing talent of Delta Goodrem is not purely fictional – she’s been able to play the piano since the age of seven, and has written several of her own songs, including “Born To Try” which received a large amount of publicity on Neighbours before it was released. Rest assured, this isn’t another case of soapstar turns singer. Delta had her own record contract before her appearance in Neighbours. It was actually the soap producers who were looking for a teenage actress who could also sing. Delta has released four songs from this album in the UK – "Born To Try," "Lost Without You," "Innocent Eyes" and "Not Me, Not I." So, the album, “Innocent Eyes” – let’s get to it! “Innocent Eyes” consists of fourteen tracks, which each show Delta’s amazing skill in singing and songwriting, as well as her instrumental abilities, mostly on the piano. I’m going to review each track separately. ~*~ 1. BORN TO TRY "You gotta make choices, be wrong or right, sometimes you gotta sacrifice the things you like... but I was born to try". This is the song that started it all. It even had it's own storyline in Neighbours - when it was entered in a radio singing competition, and there was a search throughout Erinsborough ...

24 Season One - DVD Collection 20/06/2004


24 Season One - DVD Collection 24 is my favourite show of all time, although I must admit that I jumped onto the bandwagon a little late – by watching the entire show in a 2 week period thanks to BBC Choice's repeats before the second season aired last year. When I saw the Season One box set in the shops, I realised that I had to have it. ~*~ WHAT IS 24? 24 is one of the most original, entertaining, gripping shows on television. The entire season of 24 episodes takes place over one day – from 12am to 12am the next day – with each episode unfolding in real time, one hour each. The show follows government agent Jack Bauer – who works for CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit), as well as his family and co-workers. When he is called into work at 12am one morning, he doesn't realise that this is about to be the longest, most dramatic day of his life… This box-set contains all 24 episodes of the breathtaking show, spread over six discs, as well as offering a couple of extra features for die-hard fans. ~*~ THE PLOT Government agent Jack Bauer is called into work at 12am one morning, and told that there is a terrorist threat against presidential candidate David Palmer, who is set to be America's first black president. Along with his co-workers, he must try to prevent this terrorist threat over the next 24 hours… Meanwhile, David Palmer not only has to deal with the terrorist threat against him, there's also the shocking family secrets that are about to emerge, which may threaten his ...

Big Brother 5 (2004) 20/06/2004


Big Brother 5 (2004) After the mind-numbingly boring fourth series of the hit reality TV show, it seems that the producers finally learned their lesson when it came to the selection process for the fifth series. Yes, Big Brother is back for it's fifth series – and filled with twelve contestants who were bound to create fireworks from the very beginning. ~*~ THE CONCEPT If you don't know by now, Big Brother is the original reality TV show, where twelve strangers move into a house together for ten weeks – and they're recorded by cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each Monday, the contestants must nominate two of their fellow housemates to put up for eviction. The two or more housemates with the most votes are put up for a public vote. Who goes? The public decides. On Friday, the housemate with the most votes has to leave the Big Brother house – facing the crowds, and presenter Davina McCall, who will grill them during a live interview. In the final week, the public decides on a winner, who will win a possible £100,000. However, every Saturday, the housemates must take part in a live challenge. If they win, the prize fund will remain at the current amount. But if they lose, the prize fund could drop by £10,000! It's compelling viewing, and hugely popular. ~*~ THIS YEAR'S THEME Last year's "back to basics" theme was a total failure – especially as we ended up with first night nominations, a shock double eviction, a secret reward room, a trip to Africa, a new ...

Slaves of the Mastery - William Nicholson 28/07/2003


Slaves of the Mastery - William Nicholson INTRODUCTION "Slaves of the Mastery" is the second book in a trilogy called "The Wind on Fire," written by William Nicholson. The first book is entitled, "The Wind Singer," while the third and last book in the trilogy is "Firesong". The book is aimed at children who enjoy fantasy novels, but the series is developing a following among adults, too. ~*~ THE PLOT Five years have passed since the events of "The Wind Singer" and twin brother and sister Bowman and Kestrel Hath are now fifteen years of age. Now that the voice of the Wind Singer (a large and strange structure that lets out beautiful music, making people happy) has been restored, the city of Aramanth has changed dramatically. The walls that once surrounded the city have been taken down, all of the citizens are equal, and people are free to live and work where they want. The two twins are happy, but Bowman can sense something terrible coming, while Kestrel fears the day when she will be separated from her brother. In becoming a place of freedom and happiness, the city of Aramanth has become weaker. It is no longer the city that no army would dare to strike. It's one of the richest nations that's just ripe for the picking. Soldiers from the place known as the Mastery burst into the defenceless city, and burn it to the ground. The Manth people have no power to resist, and are taken into slavery. Bowman, his mother - Ira, his father - Hanno, and little sister - Pinto, are led on a tiring ...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) 25/07/2003


Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) There's no doubt that most of you will be aware of the existance Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whether you've watched it, and have your own opinions on the show, seen a few episodes, or just have a fancy for the star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, 90% of you will have heard of it at some point. Now at the end of it's seventh (and final) season, fans of the show have seen the characters of the show slowly develop into responsible, and sometimes not so responsible adults. And the Buffy Season 1 DVD is a great buy for any fan of the show wanting to relive the old days, or somebody wanting to see what all the fuss is about. Season One of the hit American TV drama successfully introduced all of the main characters, and put them into some tricky situations right away. Buffy Summers, a sixteen year old girl starting Sunnydale High, California, must face up to the fact that she is a vampire slayer. One girl in the whole world who will fight against demons, monsters, and other nasties. She has super-strength, and a stuffy British librarian who will train and help her along the way. Buffy doesn't accept her fate right away, and makes some good friends in the nerdy Willow, and somewhat goofy Xander (short for Alexander), but soon realises that it's what she has to do. But does Buffy keep her secret a secret for long? Nope, Xander knows Buffy's calling within thirty minutes of the first episode, and Willow knows at the start of the second. They prove to really be true friends when ...

Endgame - Chris Wooding 24/07/2003


Endgame - Chris Wooding Meet Wren. He likes to think that's he's just an ordinary seventeen year old. He has a girlfriend called Kayleigh, and spends a lot of time with his two closest friends ~ Mayner and Jamie. Jamie is the oldest of the group, and has two parents who sadly barely even notice him. His father is a militiary man, who rarely looks up from his newspaper. His mother, meanwhile, plans her life around social gatherings with her upper-class friends. Mayner is the perfect target for bullies. He's short for his age, and never lets anyone get any satisfaction out of giving him a beating. He won't run away, and he won't let anyone know that they're hurting him. "I've had better beatings at pre-school!" he says at one point. Which of course makes him a target for even more abuse than he would get if he had just kept quiet. The bullies in the area want to be the first to get him to crack ~ finally get a scream from him. Sure Mayner would lose his dignity if he kept his mouth shut and accepted it, but he sure wouldn't be on the receiving end of beatings so often. And Kayleigh? She's just.. Kayleigh. She's good-looking, but stubborn, and probably not the most fun person to have an argument with. And where does Wren fit into all this? He's a laid-back, easy-going friend to have, who occasionally stops to make a wry, sarcastic comment. His friends sometimes playfully tease him about being a brain, but he resents that. He appreciates books, but his gang-like sense of fashion evens ...

The Wind Singer - William Nicholson 21/07/2003


The Wind Singer - William Nicholson I actually bought this book a while before the release of the fifth Harry Potter book, but the combination of a huge must-read list, and exam revision to be getting on with, meant that I didn’t start it until after finishing “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. However, as it turns out, this is the perfect read for the Harry Potter fan who is mourning the fact that they probably won’t be reading another one of JK Rowling’s adventures for at least a couple of years! “The Wind Singer” is the first installment of William Nicholson’s “The Wind on Fire” trilogy, which continues with “Slaves of the Mastery” and “Firesong”. It was released in 2000 to immense praise from critics and readers alike – and I just can’t say enough good things about it! ~*~ THE PLOT Kestrel and Bowman Hath are twin sister and brother, who live with their father (Hanno), mother (Ira), and little sister (Pinpin), in the walled city of Aramanth. All of the citizens of Aramanth believe that it is the perfect place to live, because everybody has a fair and equal opportunity to succeed. In Aramanth, every family has a rating. Everybody must strive hard to try their hardest at work and in school in order to perform well in the High Examination each year, to improve their rating. This rating is the deciding factor in which part of the city the family lives in – whether it be Grey District at ...

In the Dark - Richard Laymon 20/07/2003


In the Dark - Richard Laymon I bought this book after my friend raved constantly about it – so much so that I knew nearly half of the story before even buying it. However, I had never read any of Richard Laymon’s work before, and was curious about his writing style. The front and back covers of the book are full of praise for Laymon’s work – even from hit horror writer Stephen King – great, I thought, I’ve discovered another great writer, and I’ll be buying the rest of his books in no time. I was, however, very much disappointed. ~*~ THE PLOT Jane Kerry is the new librarian at Donnerville Public Library. She’s desperate to make a good impression on the visitors, but is getting slightly bored with the daily routine of her life. However, all this is about to change, when a mysterious envelope with her name on it appears at the library desk. What could it be, and more importantly, who is it from? When she opens the envelope, she discovers a $50 bill, and a cryptic note, signed by “MOG (Master Of Games)”. Jane realises that the message is leading her to a book that is in stock at the library, where she finds another $100, as well as another cryptic message. With her new friend Brace guiding and accompanying her, Jane continues to play the game, and every time she solves a clue or completes a task, she receives double the previous reward. However, the tasks increase in difficulty each time, and every time Jane seeks ...

Channel 4 - Big Brother 4 (2003) 12/07/2003


Channel 4 - Big Brother 4 (2003) As a die-hard Big Brother fan since the series began in the summer of the year 2000, bringing the reality TV genre over to Britain at last, I had been waiting for the fourth series to hit our screens with a huge amount of anticipation. The tabloids had been printing the usual rumours for weeks, in the run up to launch night; there would be a pet pig for the housemates to look after, a hidden bar in the house, a first night eviction…. etc, giving the impression that this year’s show would be the best yet. Interest in Big Brother had peaked for the third series in the previous year; so surely the producers would pick an amazing set of housemates this year to top the mayhem of “Big Brother 3”. May 23rd – Friday night, and the phone’s unplugged, all plans are cancelled, and the television’s tuned to Channel Four. Great, I think, another set of housemates to love, hate, laugh at, and laugh with. But, before I go any further, I’ll explain what the show is all about, for those who don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. ~*~ THE FORMAT The general idea of Big Brother is quite simple, really; twelve members of the public are put into a house for nine weeks, with their every move recorded and broadcast to the nation. Every Monday, they’re each asked to nominate two people for eviction from the house. The two or more housemates with the most votes go up for the public vote, which determines which ...

The Sims: Unleashed Expansion Pack (PC) 10/07/2003


The Sims: Unleashed Expansion Pack (PC) The Sims: Unleashed is the fifth addition to the best-selling PC game, The Sims. Things have gone a long way since the original game, we've had parties, dates, and holidays, and Maxis have gone all out for the game's fifth expansion pack. Even the intro video has changed, showing pictures from all of the games so far. Before we get into the game as a whole, here's the specs. ~*~ MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS ~ Windows 95, 98 or XP (NT and ME not supported) ~ The Sims or The Sims: Deluxe Edition installed on your computer ~ 350 MHz Intel Pentium II processor ~ 64 MB RAM (128 MB needed if you're running XP or if you have the other expansion packs installed. ~ 4x CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive ~ 1.3 GB free hard drive space, as well as space for game saving ~ 2MB video card supporting Direct X ~ Sound card compatible with Direct X It really is best to follow these requirements, because the game will run extremely slowly otherwise, and you'll get no enjoyment out of playing! Tried and tested on: ~ Windows 98 ~ 1GHz Pentium Processor ~ 256 MB RAM ~ 40 GB Hard Drive ~ 8x CD-ROM drive ~*~ THE SIMS You've never heard of The Sims? Well it's a "god" game of family life and control, where you create your own cast of virtual characters and control their surroundings, putting them into real-life, and some very strange situations. The original game had love, hate, jobs and tonnes of objects, all with new possibilities. And the expansion packs bring more to ... 09/07/2003

A MUST FOR TELLY ADDICTS Are you a die-hard fan of a popular book, cartoon or TV show? Do you have a passion for writing? Ever thought of an amusing "what if?" situation about one of your favourite characters? Well dream no more, because allows your wildest thoughts to become a reality. is an online community full of fans of a particular book or TV show, all with very creative minds and a real passion for writing. The site allows you to think up your own story or episode for a certain TV show, known as a piece of fan fiction (or as a "fan fic" on the site). Put it this way. You're a fan of Friends. You've always wanted, say, Joey and Monica to get together. You can write a story on this, post it to the site, and have it read and reviewed by other Friends fans across the globe. You're crazy for JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. What if Sirius Black found a way to be a Hogwarts teacher? Write about it, and share your story! The site is huge. There's so many categories that your favourite TV show or book is bound to be there, and if it isn't, you can put in a request for it to be added, and the staff will add it for you. There are thousands of fan fics on the site already. A quick look into the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer section brings up over 17,000 fan fics for your reading and reviewing pleasures. The Harry Potter section has a massive 81,565 fan fics. It's great fun to write on the site, and there's nothing better than a fellow fan telling you how you ...

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling 07/07/2003


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling If you’re as obsessive about Harry Potter as I am, you’ll be well aware that the fans of J.K. Rowling’s hit series of novels had to wait three years for the fifth installment; “Harry Potter and the Order Of the Phoenix”. Book Four, entitled “Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire” was published in July 2000, and in the time that passed between then and June 21 2003 (the release date of Book 5), I heard all kinds of horrifying rumours – including stories of J.K. Rowling having writers’ block and being unable to finish the series, and also that she had got so adjusted to married life, that she just couldn’t find the time to write. However, all these silly stories turned out to be unfounded, and the real reason for the three-year wait was that Rowling had decided not to write to a deadline for this book, and was taking a well-deserved break from writing. The fifth book can easily be described as one of the most anticipated books in years, especially as it broke all publishing records before it had even been released. The 766-page epic adventure of Harry Potter and friends’ fifth year at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry had been so hyped up, surely it couldn’t live up to immense expectations? Well, no, really it couldn’t. The book was publicised so much that it would have been virtually impossible to be as good as expected. But, all in all, it was worth the wait, and still is a ...

The Enchanted Wood - Enid Blyton 16/09/2002


The Enchanted Wood - Enid Blyton I'm now back at school - and in a recent English lesson, we were asked to think about which books, if any, we enjoyed when we were younger. I immediately thought of my Enid Blyton phase - when I was six or seven, and becoming more of an independent reader, I started to really enjoy all of the Enid Blyton books, namely The Famous Five series. But, there was one of her books that was the most creative of them all - well, actually it was a series of books about three children and their adventures up the Faraway Tree. The first book in this series is called The Enchanted Wood, and sets the scene for the books to come. After thinking about The Enchanted Wood, and all of it's follow-ups, for a few days, I pulled out the book from somewhere deep inside my bedroom and started to read it, and remembered how much I liked it when I was little. The big motivation for me to actually read the book was actually a really bad cold which has plagued me for the past few days - at the time there was absolutely nothing on TV, and I couldn't be bothered to go onto the net. So I opened the now yellow-coloured pages of the book and started to relive my childhood. The book revolves around three children - Jo, and his two sisters, Bessie and Fanny. For all their lives they had lived in the town - which they really hated. It was dirty and boring, and there was no chance to have adventures. Luckily for them, their father got a job in a countryside, meaning that they had to move ...

Survivor Panama - Dan Waddell 14/09/2002


Survivor Panama - Dan Waddell Survivor 2: Panama didn't exactly have the British public hooked, but I was certainly watching from start to finish. And with ITV recently announcing that they have no plans for a third series (although hopefully the success of "I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here!" will change their minds), I'll just have to relive the memories of an excellent series by reading this book again, and again, and again, and again.... The second series of Survivor promised to rectify the mistakes of the first. ITV were undoubtedly mystified as to why a show which proved so popular in the USA didn't steal the crown of the British public's favourite, Big Brother. So, a few changes were implemented for the second season - namely less contestants to allow the viewers to get to know the contestants easier, and a telephone vote from the public at the end of the show, to allow the public to interact with the contestants. And then it started - twelve contestants were sttranded on a remote desert island - and for weeks the public watched as Jonny Gibb and Susannah Moffat voted off the other contestants, making their way to the final two. The final vote was no surprise - Jonny won the £1 million prize (although I reside in the 'Susannah should have won because she played a better game' camp), and his life changed forever. Survivor: Panama still didn't manage to pull in too many viewers, but it did do better than the previous series, and at least that's something. And a good reality TV ... 31/08/2002

2 QUID PER OPINION - JOIN NOW UPDATE: (31/08/2002) I asked for my first £5 from the site yesterday (Friday morning) and it arrived today (Saturday morning)! The next day ~ what an excellent, hassle-free service from BigRag. :o) Do you feel that your Ciao reviews are not getting the monetary rewards that they deserve? Do you want to bring some of your old reviews back to life and earn more money than you did for them originally? Of course you do! And is here to give you the chance to earn even more money from the Internet. All you have to do is find one of your Ciao reviews, amend them (i.e remove any references to Ciao directly) and post them onto the site. Bringing your Ciao reviews over to Bigrag is probably not actively encouraged, but there's certainly no rule against it. So, in case you haven't guessed yet ~ Bigrag is another website that rewards you, the Internet user, for giving their opinions on various topics. Admittedly, Deano probably won't find a place to post his various food ops, but there's usually somewhere that your opinion will fit in. The site itself is aimed towards university students, but everybody is welcome to contribute. You may think that you're too old to find anywhere to write ~ but that's not true ~ there's loads of Ciao members writing over there of varying ages, who all fit in fine! ~*~ THE PAY RATES Let's get down to the good stuff ~ the payments. On BigRag, the amount of reads that your opinions get has absolutely no effect on the ...
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