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R. Loughins

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BLACK+DECKER BDS200 Pipe and Live Wire Detector
BLACK+DECKER BDS200 Pipe and Live Wire Detector
Price: £17.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute rubbish, 17 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Absolute rubbish - the sensitivity of this device is pathetic. Turn the dial the slightest bit one way and it's so sensitive it'll detect wires where there are none, and turn it ever so slightly the other way and you'll not detect any wires, where I know there are some. Even had my father, who has been an electrician for 40 years, look at this, and he agreed that it is a useless pile of junk. Please don't waste your money on this. I normally look at 1 star reviews and think they're a fussy old bunch but they've got it right in this case.

SoundMAGIC PL11 Earphones - Gunmetal
SoundMAGIC PL11 Earphones - Gunmetal
Offered by Advanced MP3 Players
Price: £19.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clearly unlucky, 10 Jan. 2012
Given the strong reviews that these earphones have been receiving, I must have been very unlucky to get a set in which the left earpiece broke after a month. Nor can I say that I noticed any major difference in the bass or sound in general, compared to that of Sennheiser earphones, which I had been using up until now. The only reason I switched brands was due to the past two sets of Sennheiser earphones breaking after 6 months, which I thought unacceptable. However, 6 months is still better than 1 and I'm not prepared to give SoundMagic another chance. They're certainly not a bad earphone and I firmly believe they're right up there with Sennheiser as far as sound quality goes, but I think I'll try and find another brand who know how to make earphones last.

KT Tape Pro Pre-Cut Black
KT Tape Pro Pre-Cut Black

1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, 20 Dec. 2011
This review is from: KT Tape Pro Pre-Cut Black (Sports)
I bought this tape on the basis that I suffer quite badly from shin-splints after running on moderatetly hard surfaces and was also recommended to me by a colleague in work. Unfortunately I can't say whether the tape actually works or not, for the simple reason that it doesn't stay on. The first time I used it, it unravelled after about 5 minutes of running. The second and third time....after about 10 minutes. I should also mention that I paid close attention to the numerous videos on how best to apply the tape, so I know I'm not doing anything wrong. Finally, after getting fed up with the shin-splints, I decided to pay the physio a visit, who practically laughed at me for wasting my money on this tape. It might of course work better for other muscle conditions but good luck trying to keep it on.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2013 11:19 AM BST

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It must be a very slow dance, 9 Aug. 2011
If A Feast for Crows had me worried, then A Dance with Dragons justifies those concerns. Quite simply, it is my belief that the last two books have been a classic example of the publisher asking Martin to drag out the story as much as possible, in the hope of financial gain. If, however, Martin intended to write seven books before the publishers got their greedy hands into the mix, then I feel embarrassed for him.

The reason being that this book requires an awful lot of effort to finish. Gone are the gripping action scenarios, devious plots that had you biting fingernails in anticipation, and most importantly, the lack of feeling for any of the characters.

I could count the fingers on one hand how many times swords were drawn, whether in single combat or in an actual battle scene. Even when something was about to happen, the chapter ended, and the next time you read about it, its told from the lips of a character following the event, which takes away all the gripping anticipation that made us so fond of Martin's earlier books.

Of the plots, there are few and far between. Of those few which held out some promise, Martin writes a chapter or two about it and then no more. Of the characters and plots he chose to concentrate on....well to put it simply, they're boring, pointless, and predictable. Some of my favourite characters got little to no mention whilst others have become remarkably silly and annoying overnight. Others are assigned tasks halfway through the book, only to be unheard of again.

All of which leads to my last point which is that there is no feeling for the characters anymore. How many of us rushed out to buy A Clash of Kings, thinking that surely Ned Stark couldn't be dead and it was all some act. Why did you do that? Because you actually cared about the character. When Robb gets killed at the Red Wedding, did you not hate the Freys? Why, because Martin is a great writer and has a way of making you love and hate characters. Does he achieve the same in this book - not really. Quite frankly, I no longer care who lives and who dies, simply because I'm sick of reading about the characters thoughts and frustrations, yet those same characters don't do anything about it.

To sum up, and this is coming from a huge fan (but one that doesnt think the sun shines out of certain parts of Martin), this book is the worst of the lot. It will leave you frustrated and annoyed, especially if you've waited years to get your hands on it. Martin is a great writer, but the last two books suggest he has lost his way, and he'll have to pull off something remarkable with the next one, if this isn't to go the same way as a certain Wheel of Time series.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2011 10:29 AM BST

by James Rollins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Finished and forgotten, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Excavation (Paperback)
If I was to say anything good about this book, then it would have to be about the opening, which leads you to believe that this will be another page turning adventure story with a twist, and I guess that's why I give it the two stars instead of the one. However, the author soon spoiled this by his references to Belfast, the farcical way in which the story pans out, and the rushed ending. The references to Belfast were exceptionally irritating (being from the city myself), especially the part where the character supposedly from Belfast is handed a gun and is asked if she knows how to use it, to which she replies "of course I do, I'm from Belfast". This leads the reader to think that everyone from Belfast is trained to use a gun, when in all probability 99% of the people from the city haven't even held a gun. I would suggest Mr Rollins pays Northern Ireland a visit and see the 'chaotic' nature of the country for himself, before writing such rubbish.

As for the rest of the book, it actually did have the potential to be a good story. However, as I read on, it became more and more surreal in its content, without anything backing it up and some things never being explained. The ending felt rushed and I personally found the style of writing more matter-of-fact than thrilling, nail-biting stuff. Others have clearly found it just that, but I couldn't help but feel that this was more of a childrens book than an adults, and a badly written one at that.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sleeping Bag, 30 Jun. 2010
Having previously owned and used a Vango sleeping bag in the American Rockies and subsequently near freezing myself to death (a supposed comfort zone limit of -6 was on the bag), I thought I'd give this Mountain Equipment bag a go in the somewhat colder Canadian Rockies. I wasn't disappointed. Despite temperatures of below freezing on some nights, I never once felt cold enough below the neckline to warrant getting up and putting extra layers of clothing on. I still had to wear a hat to keep my head warm but this was to be expected as I've yet to find a head cover on a sleeping bag that's kept my head fully insulated. Added to the fact that this sleeping bag is still fairly cheap as sleeping bags go, then you can't go far wrong.

by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent page-turner but some flaws, 9 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Intensity (Paperback)
There is no doubt that this book is one of those classic page-turners, which leaves you extremely reluctant to set the book down (to the point where I nearly forgot to get off the train for work), or extremely irritated when someone interrupts you at a particularly nerve-wrecking moment. Koontz has once again created a fantastic, yet simple, story-line and the book's content more than lives up to its title. He doesn't waste any time in getting to the action and he does an excellent job in describing the scene which seemingly puts you right in the middle of it.

However, there were a couple of moments that I found quite embarrassing for Mr Koontz, especially for such a gifted writer. I found myself muttering 'are you serious' simply because I couldn't believe the predictability of the character's actions, and not surprisingly this is why I couldn't give the book 5 stars. It might be a bit harsh but one example in particular can only be laughed at. I have explained this below, and it is a SPOILER, so be warned.

In one scene the main character is about to shoot the murderer, only to find that there are no bullets in the gun. Now, if for example, you'd just happened to find and pick up the gun in that moment, then the lack of bullets could well be explained. However, the character has had the gun for hours, and not only that, Koontz explains earlier in the book that the character has had weapons training earlier in her life. Surely the first thing you would do upon finding a gun (especially for anyone with weapons training) would be to check if there were any bullets in it before trying to use it.

The example above and one other involving petrol spoiled the book slightly and were the reason that I couldn't give it more than 4 out of 5.

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy - Book 1): 1/3
Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy - Book 1): 1/3
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, but effective, fantasy style, 16 Sept. 2009
When I started reading Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, I was a little concerned as to how she could write a fantasy series from a first-person perspective. And yet she has done it magnificently. Seen from the eyes of a boy growing up in the royal palace, you begin to warm to characters, hate others, and start to become engrossed with this world in general.

The world she has created may not be as grand and epic as that of Tolkien's or Martin's, but it seems to fit the story perfectly - not too large, not too small, and yet there's always a hint of something more exciting further afield. She describes characters and locations with just the right amount of detail, so that your not completely bored of reading about what's in this corner, or what's on that table (as a side note, Robert Jordan once managed to spend 3 entire pages describing a room), but just enough to create your own image without the author having to do it for you entirely.

Now, I always take time to read other reviews to investigate criticisms, but it seems to me that the one's said of this book are a little unfair. For example, some have claimed that it's too touchy-feely and no action. In some respects there is little action compared to other books, but in its place is tension, and in my opinion, that is as good a reason to keep turning those pages as any other. Another criticsm was that the plot was a fairly basic one, but I've found that some authors can over-complicate plots and then they eventually lose themselves in it along with the reader. The plot is enough in that you have no idea how it will turn out, and that's enough to keep me happy. Plus, most importantly, its ending doesn't disappoint in my opinion. There's nothing worse than trying to understand a long, complicated plot and then the ending is that poor your left wondering if that really was it. It's like a film ending and your still sitting there waiting for the next scene.

So, all in all, it's exciting, refreshing and a little different from your average fantasy book. Give it a go!

by Michael Crichton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a nail-biting finish, 8 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read quite a few of Crichton's books now, and I have to admit that this is probably the worst so far (books incl Jurassic Park, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey). Airframe starts off well by launching straight into the action - no time is wasted in building up characters - but sadly its really all down hill from there.

To begin with, there is very little action or tense moments, apart from a couple of incidents where the main character is chased or threatened, but even these are not explained fully and are, in the end, irrelevant to the story. Some people have complained about the amount of techincal detail, and although I'm one of the few that actually found it interesting, I also got the feeling that Crichton was simply 'showing off' about how much research he had put into the book. I can understand that the basis of the story is finding out what happened to the plane, and therefore that would involve some technical explanations, but this is supposed to be a thriller, not a handbook on the way an airplane manufacturer investigates incidents. Which is basically what you'll come away thinking after reading this book.

Finally, the ending is shockingly poor for Crichton's standards. I don't want to give anything away, but I'm pretty sure the majority of people will come away thinking "is that it?". The way the book builds up to the end, you begin to think of all these outrageous ideas as to what might have happened to the plane (e.g was it some conspiracy by a rival manufacturer to discredit Norton), but then you find its something so silly a 6 year old could have came up with it.

To sum up then, if your looking a thriller with a nail-biting finish, look elsewhere, and don't waste your money on this book.

Lord Of Chaos: 6/12 (Wheel of Time)
Lord Of Chaos: 6/12 (Wheel of Time)
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £8.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long, drawn-out, and generally boring, 4 Aug. 2009
First of all, I realise that I'm probably going to get heavily criticised for going against the general trend here, but I don't really care because it's my opinion. I came quite late to the Wheel of time series, and up until now, I haven't been disappointed. However, this book took one hell of an effort to finish. The first two-thirds of the book (and maybe more) is filled with meaningless conversation between characters, and in no way do I agree with some reviewers' comments about it being necessary for what is to come later. Indeed, compared to the first 5 books, there's very little action, until near the end of the book where we begin to see the real Jordan again.

You also find that for most of the time, all the characters ever do is complain about something, but never actually do anything about it. At times it was also extremely predictable, especially concerning the actions of the Aes Sedai. Up until now Jordan continued to surprise me again and again with various incidents (I especially loved the way nothing would be happening one moment but within seconds there's a full-scale battle taking place) but sadly nothing of the sort happened in this book.

Please don't think that I'm criticising Jordan's work in general here - I think the man's imagination is unparalleled and we truly have lost a great story teller - but sad as it is to say, I don't believe this is one of his best works.

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