The World of The Rock

Dwayne Johnson. The Rock. The People’s Champ. The Great One. The Brahma Bull. The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment. It doesn’t matter how else you know him. The Rock was part of the famed WWE Attitude Era. And not just a part, but a key part.

The majority of the book focuses on The Rock’s wrestling career, but his life both before and after (excluding runs and appearances) is included. Notable rivalries, signature moves, his links with other wrestlers and his record on the Grandest Stage Of Them All are just some of the highlights of this overview of The Rock.

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

The Story of Exeter’s St. James’ Park

A book that does what it says in it’s title. The history and various uses of St. James’ Park are chronicled and the development of the ground is described as it becomes the home of Exeter City. The history and successes (or otherwise) of the club are interwoven through the book. As an Exeter City fan, it’s an amazing and fascinating book. However, all football fans will enjoy finding out about a ground that is full of character.

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

Is That Your Final Answer?

We’ve all been there. Stuck for an answer or not sure what to say. In a meeting, it’s embarrassing. But at least you can always ask to continue at a later point, or even send out further information later. But on a quiz show, with the lights and pressure on, an audience (potentially) and a host pressing you for an answer…

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Patriot Games

Jack Ryan is on holiday in London when things go dramatically wrong. The Royal Family is attacked and Ryan responds, resulting in Sean Miller (one of the perpetrators) being convicted and imprisoned. When Miller is freed, he has one thing on his mind – revenge. Ryan, and his family, are not safe.

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The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But is it really? I do like the amount of sport that’s on over the festive period, but beyond that? The shops are crowded. There’s the forced jollity. Christmas ‘specials’. Musical ties. And sprouts. But throw some maths in there? Now I might start to agree it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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Without Remorse

John Kelly’s wife is killed. When he loves again, his new love (a former prostitute) is killed by a drug gang. Kelly is a former SEAL and plots his revenge against the gang. At the same time, his military past catches up with him and he ends up being an adviser (Mr. Clark) for a highly secret mission in Vietnam to rescue American pilots. Both are tough, will either be successful?

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Octopussy and The Living Daylights

Octopussy and The Living Daylights is a collection of four short stories. The fourth of the stories (007 in New York) is very short and has an abrupt end, but the other three are all good stories; Bond is more of an incidental character though in Octopussy. There is a condensed timescale for the short stories, but Fleming gets his customary detail into them. The first three are all solid short stories.

Rating (out of 5): ***

The Man With The Golden Gun

Bond finally returns to London after having killed Blofeld. He returns via Russia and has been brainwashed, attempting to kill M. Bond remains in the Service, but is sent to track down and kill Scaramanga, a feared assassin. M views it as either a suicide mission or that Bond will be redeemed. But which will it be?

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You Only Live Twice

Bond is heavily distracted after the murder of his wife. M sends him to Japan to try and get Soviet radio transmissions shared. It’s expected to be a difficult mission and Bond is asked to investigate Dr. Guntram Shatterhand in exchange for the transmissions. But Dr. Shatterhand is not who everyone believes him to be and Bond is face to face with his familiar foe in Bloefeld.

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service picks up where Thunderball left off. Bond has been searching for Blofeld, but with no luck. A chance encounter puts Bond back on the trail. Blofeld has an ingenious plan in place to bring down Britain. But Blofeld gets away again and at great personal cost to Bond.

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Night Of The Fox

A training exercise in World War II is ambushed and American Colonel Hugh Kelso survives but ends up on Jersey. It’s bad news for him, with Germany in control of the Channel Islands. But it’s worse news for Allied Command – Kelso knows the D-Day plans. Henry Martineau, a spy, is sent to either rescue or kill Kelso by impersonating a German SS officer. What could never have been planned for is that Rommel is visiting the island at the same time on a snap inspection. Except that it’s a German officer impersonating Rommel. The stakes are high. Will Martineau succeed?

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The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me is a James Bond novel. However, Bond is almost an incidental character in the book. The story is told from Viv Michel’s viewpoint. The first part of the story is a brief overview of Michel’s life, the second part is Michel being taken hostage and the third part is Bond and his rescue of her. It’s one of the shorter Bond novels, but still packs plenty of detail in. It’s very different to the film (which was my favourite until Skyfall and is easily Moore’s best, but the book is not one of the better ones in the series.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Thunderball

Two nuclear weapons have been stolen and the Western world is being held to ransom by a terrorist organisation called SPECTRE. The Western agencies send out all resources, with James Bond being sent to the Bahamas. Bond feels that it’s a wild goose chase (but is happy to be working with Felix Leiter again) for him; how wrong he is…

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Winston Churchill: A Captivating Guide to the Life of Winston S. Churchill

Winston Churchill: A Captivating Guide to the Life of Winston S. Churchill is a short biography of Winston Churchill. Churchill’s life was particularly noteworthy and the trouble for any biographer is where to start and what to include. Captivating History provides a brief overview of notable events of his life and career as well as trying to flesh out the man. A very useful introduction to Churchill, but there are lots more books with plenty of detail.

Rating (out of 5): ***

The Story of Craft Beer

The Story of Craft Beer is a short book that takes a brief look at beer. The brewing process, different styles, how to taste beer, and notable countries are all looked at, along with thoughts about the future of beer. It’s a short book and a great overview of beer for anyone interested in the subject.

Rating (out of 5): ****

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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