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Reviews Written by
El Loro "El Pinarillo Books" (London, England)

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Midnight in Havana: An Inspector Ramirez Investigation (Inspector Ramirez 1)
Midnight in Havana: An Inspector Ramirez Investigation (Inspector Ramirez 1)
by Peggy Blair
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting devices but a few holes., 9 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's hard to write in depth about this novel without giving too much away.

The plot is fairly original, as is the device of Ramirez's visions / hallucinations. He sees the spirits of the dead, possibly as the manifestation of unconscious doubts, possibly as a gift from his visionary grandmother. They nudge him, not entirely effectively, towards the truth.

The writer's approach to crime is also refreshing. Where the trend has been towards graphic violence posturing as concern, this author manages to hammer home the horror without too many bodily fluids.

Some of the plot's coincidences take some suspension of disbelief but, even so. there are a few of holes. The blurring between blood group and DNA, in the middle of the novel, is unsatisfying and ultimately brushed aside. Mike Ellis's equivocation, fertile ground for any writer, is left in the shadows. Was Maria's booking at the bar part of a conspiracy or just a coincidence at very long odds? We aren't told.

A good read with a lot of potential,


Diplomacy [DVD]
Diplomacy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Niels Arestrup
Price: £14.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WTF is World Cinema?, 27 Nov 2014
This review is from: Diplomacy [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Let's get one thing out of the way: this is a very good film. It's a bit of a throwback to the Great Person narrative version of history, which has been limping on since the end of the nineteenth century, but it's a good film. Tense, engaging, characterful.

However, I was tempted to give it one star because of the stupid World Cinema label.

It insults both the film and the audiences.

It says "don't come and see this film because the actors talk funny and you have to do boring, difficult reading." If you get past that, it says "well done, you clever person, for being cleverer than the people who went to see Jenifer Aniston's latest classic",

Travel outside Britain and the US and you'll see films from many countries, in many languages, in every multiplex,

It's not just film. Go into any small, independent bookshop (remember those?) in mainland Europe and see shelf upon shelf of books in translation. Go into any small, independent music shop (remember those?) in mainland Europe and see CDs from every country under the sun.

Here and in the US, its us and them. The Anglophones and everyone else, the funny foreign stuff.

Shame on the distributors.


Centra 25mm 2 Round Rings A4 Ring Binder - Black
Centra 25mm 2 Round Rings A4 Ring Binder - Black
Price: £2.30

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say?, 21 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is a limit to what you can say about a ring binder unless it's covered in diamonds or made from depleted uranium.

You can write about how it holds loose leaf paper.

You can't write about how well it clamps on to your nipples if you choose to wear it as a breastplate.

You can write about how durable it is.

You can't write about how well it keeps the rain off your head.

So, it holds loose leaf paper well and seems durable enough.

Now, where's the Sudocrem?


Leitz Style 40 Pocket Display Book - Garnet Red
Leitz Style 40 Pocket Display Book - Garnet Red
Price: £7.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Tres elegante..., 20 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a cut above the usual display books for two reasons.

First, the wallets are strong and securely bound. Perhaps I'm a cheapskate, but I'm pleasantly surprised by this high quality.

The second is the finish, which is a kind of metallic sheeny magenta. Not my kind of thing up til now but, having had this sit on my desk for a few days, I'm converted.


Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set

5.0 out of 5 stars Battling Robots for the wii generation, 18 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you're old enough to remember Battling Robots, you'll know how much fun two robots clumping each other can be.

But where we had to do with pressing a Hungry Hippo style lever and hoping for the best, this set is far more free form. The controllers, in the form of katana handles, work like wii controllers - which put anyone over the age of forty at a disadvantage!

It's all good fun but there is, as ever, one quibble. Although the spec says the robots are rechargeable, you still need a shed load of AA batteries. You should be using rechargables anyway, but it's stil­l not clear from the description.


GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank
GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank
Offered by Crocodile Web Group
Price: £18.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not enough for the money., 12 Nov 2014
This review is from: GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, it's a fab educational toy that explores the principles of hinges and levers in an engaging and dramatic way. It can be used as a springboard to discussing moment of force and angular momentum. So far so good.

However, it's a lot of money for what is essentially a few rods and blocks and pivots. Unless you buy the other sets, their use is fairly limited. The "book", while providing a narrative backbeat, is redundant.

If you're serious about exploring mechanical principles with your child, it would be better to spend more and invest in Lego Technics or even the old Mouse Trap Game.

If you're after some fun, this will do nicely.


Pinzon - Egyptian Cotton Towel Set (2 bath towels) - White
Pinzon - Egyptian Cotton Towel Set (2 bath towels) - White
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of luxury, 12 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The oldest of our towels date back to the early nineties, so it was time for fresh cotton, as it were.

These feel lovely and dense. Maybe white wasn't the best choice in a home with children and a husband who loves DIY but they look good on the rail.

Thing is, now the bathroom looks a bit dingy. I wonder if the missus will mind if I start doing it up at the weekends?


Soybu Women's Flex Tank Top - Orchard, Medium
Soybu Women's Flex Tank Top - Orchard, Medium
Price: £43.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 12 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's not really a lot to say on first wearing.

It's attractive, it fits well enough for any kind of exercise and looks good.

Feels nice too.


Kings Bounty - Dark Side (PC DVD)
Kings Bounty - Dark Side (PC DVD)
Price: £18.10

1.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? It took ages to instal ..., 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What can I say? It took ages to instal and doesn't seem to work.

Had I paid for it, I'd be claiming a refund.


Galt Toys Water Magic Gift Set
Galt Toys Water Magic Gift Set
Offered by 24/7 DIRECT
Price: £19.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Six out of five for playability, four out five for value., 9 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Remember those magic paintbooks you had as a kid? The ones where you brushed water on and got a greyish water colour effect on printed pictures. This is the same idea, only a lot better.

The set consists of two spiral bound books and two large cards, printed on heavy stock, and two very clever water pens. The pens mean the set can be used in the back of a car, at a restaurant table or on a flight with no mess and a minimum of fuss.

The old magic paintbooks used watercolour printed into dots on the page. These books work the other way around - the pictures are covered with a translucent film that becomes transparent when wet and, when it dries again, becomes translucent again. This means that the pictures can be used over and over, giving crisp,vibrant pictures each time.

There's enough to share so the littl'un and his friends love them. My only concern is that, after few dozen uses, the film is starting to scratch in places and the card - understandably - starts to warp at the edges. Hopefully they will last a good while longer but I'd expect something a bit sturdier for this much money.


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