For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only is a collection of five short stories featuring James Bond. Most of the stories have Bond on some kind of mission, but he does listen to a story about a dinner guest in one of them. Despite being short stories, Fleming includes plenty of detail in each of the stories. However, with them being short stories, they never develop into the thrillers that the series is noted for.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Goldfinger

A chance meeting at an airport after a mission results in James Bond encountering Auric Goldfinger and discovering how he cheats at cards. Upon his return to England, Bond gets assigned a case. The man in question? Goldfinger. Bond soon discovers a plot that could never have been imagined by anyone. But can he share his knowledge?

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Dr. No

Dr. No is the sixth book in the James Bond series. Bond is finally back to full health and back in the office. The recommendation is that Bond shouldn’t be pushed too hard, so a trip to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of the Service’s man on the island is what M sends him on. It seems an open and shut case with no danger. Little does M, or Bond, know…

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From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love is the fifth book in the James Bond series. SMERSH has decided that, after some high profile failures, they need to successfully hit back at Western intelligence agencies. Their target? James Bond.

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Diamonds are Forever

Diamonds are being smuggled out of Sierra Leone and making a big profit in America. The Spangled Mob are thought to be behind it and James Bond is tasked with with breaking the pipeline of diamonds.

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Moonraker

Britain will soon be safe from attack with the testing of the Moonraker. Sir Hugo Drax is masterminding the project. But he cheats at cards and James Bond works out how. Little does he know where it will lead…

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Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die is the second novel in the James Bond series. Bond heads over to America to find out about gold coins, which brings him face to face with Mr. Big.

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Casino Royale

Casino Royale is the first novel in the James Bond series by Ian Fleming. Bond is introduced with a relatively straight forward case in which he has to bankrupt Le Chiffre by playing baccarat. Whilst successful at this, not everything that follows goes to plan.

Bond is well introduced in this novel, which has a simple plot to it. Fleming provides plenty of detail to both characters and locations, making it an engaging read. Despite the detail of description, the plot moves forward at a good pace throughout. It’s an enjoyable read that delivers a straight forward thriller.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors takes its name from the podcast featuring Gary Lineker and Danny Baker. The chapters generally alternate between the two, with Lineker’s giving a whistle-stop history of his playing career and Baker’s looking his media roles and thoughts about football. It’s an enjoyable, easy-read that has football as the link between the two.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Neither Here Nor There

A journey around Europe is never going to be dull. There are too many interesting places to visit. Bu translating that across into a book about travelling around Europe? Surely that’s a challenge? It might be for many, but not for Bill Bryson.

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How To Win The Premier League: On A Shoestring

The Premier League this season will be won by either Liverpool or Manchester City, with the other finishing in second. Third and fourth will be two from Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. We’re four games into the season, but are there many people (indeed anyone) who would disagree with the above predictions?

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One Minute To Midnight

The world has never been closer to nuclear war than October 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis. For days, it seemed as though nuclear war was imminent. Finally, when things seemed at their bleakest, a resolution was found.

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The Atomic Times

The Cold War was well underway in the 1950s and both sides were testing atomic and hydrogen bombs. But what were the tests like? This is what The Atomic Times looks at.

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One Hell of a Gamble

October 1962. The world has never been closer to nuclear war. It’s days away. Hours. Minutes. But how did it get to such a stage where nuclear war seemed to be inevitable? Enter One Hell of a Gamble.

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Where’s Your Caravan?

The quickest possible summary and review would be that Where’s Your Caravan is a football autobiography. But that doesn’t come close to describing this book. A football autobiography (or biography) is normally about one of the world’s finest players who has a reinforced mantelpiece to cope with all their awards and trophies. With the greatest respect to Chris Hargreaves, he doesn’t fall into that category. He was, however, a very good lower league footballer.

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The World Cup of Everything

Which country in the world is best at football? Argentina? Brazil? England? France? Germany? Every four years, the world’s finest footballing nations gather and we find out which country is the best at football. Other sports do the same. But what about finding the best of things outside of sport? Enter The World Cup of Everything!

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The Fourteenth Protocol

Cade Williams works at an email company as a technician. He gets called up to the mysterious floor 17 to solve a problem and whilst briefly up there, he hears mention of Tucson, the latest town in America to suffer a terrorist bombing. At the same time, Special Agent Jana Baker overhears a conversation between two people who are discussing the attack and future ones. This sets up a race against time to prevent an unimaginable attack on America.

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Sea of Shadows

The German economy is in trouble. The German Chancellor has found a solution though – selling arms. The buyer? Siraj, an oil-rich state in the Middle East, but one under heavy UN sanctions. The German government looks to sell them clandestinely, sending four state-of-the-art submarines. There are suspicions in the American government, but an incident with two British ships end all suspicions. The American government are determined that the weapons will not get to Siraj, but can a foe who knows exactly what you will do be stopped? <!–more Continue reading my review of Sea of Shadows–>

Wow! What a book. Sea of Shadows is excellent. It’s fast-paced throughout and manages to increase a gear or two when action occurs. The action is described superbly and is generally incredibly tense as ships take on their unseen foes. I could write several more paragraphs detailing what a great read Sea of Shadows is, but that would only be taking away time from you when you could be reading it. I cannot recommend this book enough – it is the best book I have read in a long time.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw large early successes for the German army on the Western Front, before counter-attacks pushed them back. When the Western Front stabilised, Germany had still made significant gains, including holding territory in France. The French were determined to remove all German soldiers from French soil and as quickly as possible. Attacks were launched in 1915, with an attack in September and October including a reluctant British Expeditionary Force at Loos. <!–more Continue reading my review of Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle–>

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle looks at before, during and after the battle. Before the battle focuses on why the British did not want the battle, whilst after looks at the impact it had on the British army. Corrigan writes in a clear style and sets out the facts, making it clear when he is offering his opinion. Prior to reading the book, I knew very little about the battle; I now have a greater knowledge of why, and how fiercely, the battle was fought.

Rating (out of 5): ****