Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

[Review] - You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

You Only Live Twice (1967) might not be the best James Bond film, but it's one of my favorites for one reason - it stars Donald Pleasence as the first on-screen-portrayal of the villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld. When I first saw the film in the late 1980s, I thought the character was the best 007 villain. Then Mike Myers spoofed Blofeld in his Austin Powers movies, and my opinion changed. The 1964 novel of the same name is the final James Bond story published a few months before Ian Fleming's death. Critics weren't too kind to the novel, with many calling it a complete failure. Playboy serialized the story in the April, May, and June 1964 issues.

Monday, October 11, 2021

[Review] - On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming

Does anyone remember the sixth James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service? I don't recall it ever airing on cable in the early 90s. I first became aware of it after buying a 007 DVD set many years ago. For the most part, it's not a bad film, but I didn't care for George Lazenby's stiff portrayal of James Bond or Ted Savalas' version of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I stumbled upon a paperback copy of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming at a thrift store in the early 2000s. While there are a few differences, the film adaptation follows close to the source material.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

[Review] - The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

I've watched the 10th James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, many times, thanks to TBS repeating the movie multiple times in the early 1990s. I thought I knew the story by heart, well, that is until I read Ian Fleming's 1962 novel of the same name. Besides the title and James Bond's appearance, the novel and movie have absolutely nothing in common.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

[Review] - Thunderball by Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming's ninth 007 book, Thunderball, got its first publication in 1961. The international crime organization SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion) makes its appearance for the first time. If the name sounds familiar, it's because SPECTRE has appeared in numerous James Bonds films, lead by the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In the original 007 novels, SPECTRE is only in full world domination power in Thunderball. SPECTRE gets a brief mention in The Spy Who Loved Me and returns for You Only Live Twice. Later, SPECTRE did return for three novels penned by late novelist John Gardner.

Monday, October 4, 2021

[Review] - For Your Eyes Only by Ian Fleming

For Your Eyes Only was published in 1960 by Jonathan Cake. It's the first of two 007 short story collections by Ian Fleming. There are five tales in the collection - A View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Quantum of Solace, Risico, and The Hildebrand Rarity.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

[Review] - Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

When you hear the name James Bond, the first title that comes to mind is Goldfinger, the 1964 spy-thriller starring Sir Sean Connery. Many fans love the film. However, the film hasn't aged well, and it now comes across as goofy. Like most 007 adaptations, the movie had very little to do with its source material, the 1959 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

[Review] - Dr. No by Ian Fleming

Here's a 007 trivia. Ian Fleming wrote all of his James Bond stories at his Goldeneye estate in Jamacia. In 1956, Fleming started writing a script for the proposed television series, Commander Jamaica. However, it never went beyond the script stage. Later, he used the ideas for a novel, with the working title, The Wounded Man. The title changed to what we all know as Dr. No, the sixth James Bond novel.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

[Review] - From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming

What is your favorite James Bond novel? Hand down my favorite 007 tale is From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming. Publisher Jonathan Cape published the book in 1957 and received high praise from critics. The late crime author Julian Symons said in The Times Literary Supplement that Fleming "brings the thriller in line with modern emotional needs."

Monday, September 27, 2021

[Review] - Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

The James Bond films haven't aged very well over the years. One in particular that comes to mind is 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. After declining to return as 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the late Sir Sean Connery came back for the rashly-filmed Diamonds Are Forever, where you could tell the actor phoned in his role for a $1.25 million paycheck. Now, this isn't the only reason why I don't like the movie. The dialogue is too cringy. The acting is laughable, and the directing is all over the place. It's just a bad movie, almost like a spoof.

[Review] - Star Trek: Coda: Book 1: Moments Asunder by Dayton Ward

It seems there's a rule that if a genre television or movie series has a big fanbase, then tie-in novels will soon follow. Once the series has run its course, all media tie-ins come to an end. There are a few exceptions, such as Star Trek and Star Wars. The Star Trek franchise has been kicking out novelizations since 1967, and the first original novel, Mission to Horatius, came out one year later. To date, there have been over 850 Star Trek books published.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

[Review] - Moonraker by Ian Fleming

Do you remember when James Bond got launched into space and got in a laser fight with baddies? I, for one, have buried that particular image in my mind. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, TBS played the godawful Moonraker (1979) practically to death. After a recent rewatch, I appreciate some things done in the film. It's still pretty awful compared to other Roger Moore outings.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

[Review] - Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

What's your favorite James Bond movie? For me, it has to be 1973's Live and Let Die starring the late Sir Roger Moore in his 007 debut. I first got a glimpse of the film when it aired on TBS in the late 1980s. Now the keyword here is "glimpse." I was a little bitty kid back then. My dad was channel surfing, came across Life and Let Die, and watched a few minutes before switching over to something else. He's never cared much for Roger Moore's take on James Bond, which explains why he changed the channel. I was disappointed because the few minutes I viewed intrigued my interest. Luckily for me, in the 80s and early 90s, TBS reaired movies many, many times.

Friday, September 24, 2021

[Review] - Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

I grew up watching the James Bonds on TBS in the late '80s and early '90s, a time when cable television played good movies, so I was already a 007 fan when Goldeneye arrived in theatres in 1995. Despite my love for reading, I never attempted to own copies of the original Ian Fleming novels. Though I recall looking at a local library, and they didn't carry any of the titles. The only 007 book I read during my teenage years was the novelization of The World Is Not Enough by Raymond Benson in 1999. It wasn't until many years later that I started to run across 007 books at thrift stores. Since then, I've picked up paperbacks of Casino Royale, The Man With The Golden Gun, Doctor No, and Goldfinger.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

[Review] - The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

I have had a paperback copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck in my possession for quite a long time. I've attempted to read it on several occasions but lost interest within a few chapters. The author, Bethany Turner, is a fine writer. My major issues are with the characters and the pacing. My goal for this month was to review the stack of books piled up on a desk, and The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck happens to be one of those titles. So, I forced myself to read the entire thing.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

[Review] - The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

I mainly read horror books throughout my teenage years. In my 20's, I switched to Amish fiction after accidentally stumbling upon The Covenant by Beverly Lewis. Shortly later, I hunted down The Heritage of Lancaster County Trilogy at a now-defunct Barnes & Noble store. In the years following, I continued to read each new book by her. As the Amish genre increased, I started reading other authors. However, Beverly Lewis is by far my favorite Amish fiction writer. My reading tastes have changed over the last few years, and I read less and less of this genre. However, I still buy each new Beverly Lewis title, though it's been a long time since I've read one. Well, that is until I dusted off the paperback copy of The Tinderbox that's been sitting on my desk for way too long.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

[Review] - More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

It might seem odd for a heterosexual male to like romance novels, but the truth is many men enjoy reading romantic tales, and I happen to be one of them. My preferred romance setting is in the nineteenth century. Don't ask me why because I cannot give you a specific reason. There's just something about the 1800s that resonates with me. I used to read many, and I mean way too many, of these books. Eventually, I became burnt out with romances and switched to other genres. Now, I'm back reading (and reviewing) several romantic novels that have been sitting on my desk for way too long.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

[Review] - Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

There's been a paperback copy of Together Forever by Jody Hedlund sitting on my desk for over three years, and I'm finally getting around to reading it. What's the holdup? First off, I wasn't aware it's book two of a series until after its release. Secondly, the plot involves an 'Orphan Train.' Ironically, that's the name of the series, which I would have known if I paid more attention to the cover. I have nothing against orphan train stories, but there are too many books covering the topic. And after a while, the plots become a bit stale.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

[Review] - Blue Man by John L. Moore

On my 40th birthday, I'm spending the afternoon writing this review for Blue Man (Available on Paperback and Kindle) by John L. Moore, the award-winning author of The Breaking of Ezra Riley. My reading schedule is tight for the next three months, so signing up to be part of a book blog tour wasn't part of my plan. Once I got a glimpse of the cover art, I became intrigued, read the synopsis, and joined the book tour.

Monday, September 6, 2021

[Review] - Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

It's another day, and here's another book from my TBR stack that's been collecting dust on my desk. The title is Far Side of the Sea, written by Kate Breslin and published by Bethany House in 2019. It's set in my least favorite historical setting - World War I. Typically, I don't care to read about the era. I prefer my historical romances set in the 19th century. Nevertheless, like any reading champ, I turned to Chapter One on page 9 and gave the novel everything I have, which means it received my full attention in between rounds of coffee.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

[Review] - Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Once upon a time, Christian romance mysteries were unique reads for me. Well, that's until the subgenre became crowded with too many new authors, and the stories became too generic for my liking. I tuned out sometime in 2017, around the time Revell published Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon. Revell sent me a review copy, and it's been sitting on a desk collecting dust along with a few other books. At long last, I picked it up, cracked it open, and read it.