Pussy Galore

17622541Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
My Rating: 2/5 Stars

The movie has got to be better than this shit. Yes, I shall procure a copy for myself, and watch it all the way through. I must confess I have only seen parts of this cinematic Sean Connery classic, and the parts I have seen did offer up a slight sense of endearment for yours truly. But my attention span waned, and my movie prowess faltered, and I must confess I sometimes have the attention span of a fruit fly. But I shall push through, much as I did with this piece of male chauvinistic trash.

The golf scene proved longwinded and a bit of a bore. And I happen to really like golf. After the scene, though, I wanted to chuck my clubs through an open window and burn my golf shirts in a bonfire. So…I’ve got that going for me.

Pussy Galore is one of the best names of all time, right? Yes, you are absolutely correct. But the way she falls for James Bond made me want to hurl up a Happy Meal. She may have been a lesbian, but she’d never met a man like James Bond. I haven’t either, but that doesn’t mean I want to marry the bastard.

Even Auric Goldfinger felt limp-dicked compared to his grand cinematic self. And I’m sorry but I just didn’t buy Bond and GOLDFINGER working together. More than anything, though, I wanted to hear one of the most famous exchanges of all time, and I ended up with zip. Zilch. Nada. What exchange? You might ask. Why, it’s this one:

James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

I think it’s safe to say I was screwed.

Heart-Pounding Thrill Ride

19941395The Accident by Chris Pavone
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

If I didn’t already know the publishing industry was filled with a bunch of crazy bastards, THE ACCIDENT would have sealed the deal for me. So, of course, I was thrilled with my particular choice. But I digress. What thrilled me to no end were the constant references and insights and foresights into the world of agents and editors and writers that is publishing.

Filled with big dreams and even bigger unfulfilled promises, the odds are stacked against you before you even step up to bat. And since nobody in America reads, other than the select few on Goodreads, you can be the next big thing in a country that doesn’t read. And as this brilliant novel so aptly proves, you can even get shot or killed or stalked or sued for your trouble, so if you’re a writer or a publisher, you’ve got that to look forward to as well. Again, it’s not as wonderful as you might think, because you actually have to have a good bit of luck involved, along with talent and skill, unless you happen to have the next big celebrity reveal stashed in your hip pocket.

If you want to know how to maneuver from the A list down to C level, you might want to talk to Jeffrey Fielder, who for a middle-aged man happens to be more gun shy than he’s ever been in his life. Or maybe you want to converse with Isabel Reed, who can be seen running through the halls of the ATM agency on her way out of town. Or maybe you’d prefer to take a gander at Camilla Glyndon-Browning, who can rock your world courtesy of the closest bathroom sink. Or maybe you’d like to speak to Alexis, who might be looking for a career change or a step up in an industry filled with plenty of novels and not always the best commissions.

If you want to know how to spend your next twenty-fours, you first might want to consider how you shouldn’t spend it. What this novel does is give you a whole lot of arguments for shying away from the present predicaments contained within this 402 page heart-pounding thrill ride. It ramps up the tension around every street corner and every neighboring town, and it doesn’t really ease off the gas until you’re headed across the finish line. So, yeah, you could say I was entertained.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.

The Shellacking

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My Rating: 3/5 Stars

With the séance concluded, we’ll let the shellacking commence. His name is Bond. James Bond. He might drive cars with a speed best reserved for the autobahn, and he might refer to women as girls, and he might have trouble keeping his penis in his pants, and the comma in his hair might be best reserved for a male underwear model by the name of Sergei, who hails from the cold war, and fights crime on the government’s dime. But like any good government agent, he sometimes shows a certain amount of ineptness in the face of impeding danger.

He has too many near-death experiences to list, and his list of conquests might be best reserved for the bathroom stall at the local truck stop. Even if we’re the ones that are supposed to have a good time, it sometimes feels like you’re punching a time clock and staring at a dark spot on the concrete wall while you bide your time waiting to make your grand exit from the funhouse.

I’ve found I like myself better when I don’t read too many Bond books in a row, otherwise your Dr. Yes might turn into DR. NO. You might even be prone to screaming and cold bouts of terror and little green men in dark suits and sunglasses might come to take you away, or toss your body out to sea to swim with the fishes.

Dammit Dennis, I started writing the wrong review. I’m supposed to like this book, and I certainly do. But there are certainly a few problems that have caused me to dig in my heels and question the exact limitations of my sanity. First, the women. I feel like I have the script to the next episode of America’s Next Top Model complete with knife-wielding women and machine gun brasseries. The villains sometimes exhibit a bit of cartoonishness in their evilness, and I found myself dancing away from the swarm of centipedes headed in my direction, most of whom probably had poisonous pincers, or at least the appearance of such. The profuse sweating congregated on my chin, and the sight of myself in a mirror nearly caused me to shed my skin.

But Bond wouldn’t be Bond without a certain amount of male charm and chauvinism that saw its best days in the dark ages. His confidence marches onward without question, and the action plays out at more of a silent movie pace with the screams held on the inside.

My love-hate relationship with Bond continues onward and possibly upward, and I shall let a bit more time pass before I constipate myself with the next installment.

As far as where this book falls within the first six installments of said series, I don’t really feel qualified to make such judgments. But I can tell you I liked it better than FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE without thinking too terribly hard about it.

Son Of A Walther PPK

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My Rating: 2/5 Stars

My biggest complaint with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE—aside from the usual male chauvinism and innocent women who need a real man—I was well into this novel (over a third of the way) before Bond made his appearance. Did I really need to know that much about Mother Russia? I think not. I’d have been happier with much less, frankly, and I would have kept a few more sanity points.

I even debated skipping ahead, but since I’ve approached my task of reading the entire Bond series the way one might approach a calculus exam, I trudged onward, even if there were times in the beginning where my unhappiness reached a near monumental level.

And then Bond showed up in all of his male glory and all was right with the world. Or at least I thought so…until two tribal women in loincloths fight each other to the death, one with a massive bosom and the other a little less endowed, as the sun glistens off their naked, perfect bodies. Excuse me…what? Son of a Walther PPK! My inner goddess just cursed a red, white, and blue streak. And I probably fainted from a heatstroke.

At this point, I might have actually cheered for a buxom beauty the size of a tank to haul off and repeatedly whack Bond with a knotted rope while his pants are around his ankles and a group of Russian women stare on in equal parts delight and horror. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Other than being young and nubile and having looks that could kill, I was not particularly impressed with Tatiana Romanova. She might have had a certain amount of innocence, but I wasn’t buying it.

This supposed thriller left with me few thrills, except for the one I received when I finished it.

Side bar – I’ve started watching Mad Men. The reason I mention this is between reading the Bond novels and watching that AMC show—which end up being somewhat enjoyable for entirely different reasons and equally aggravating for the rampant, raging sexism—I feel like I’m next in line for lung cancer, even though I’ve never smoked a day in my life.

Nebulous Bad Dude

17411131 by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

If I were a woman, I might conduct a séance, and then throttle the spirit of Ian Fleming. He’s not a bad guy, mind you, but just once, I’d like to see a female character give James Bond a run for his money. So far I’m still waiting for a return on my initial investment. And I know this is one investment that probably won’t pan out, but I can still hold onto a faint glimmer of false hope.

Vesper Lynd did come close, but she ultimately failed when paired next to Bond’s wit and charm. Tiffany Case, however, pales in comparison. But you don’t read James Bond to gain profound insights into the female psyche, unless you want to end up several miles in the wrong direction with a broken radiator and a flat tire.

I do find it interesting that once again Bond is tortured, and once again the reader completely misses out on the experience. Mr. Fleming must have decided that he couldn’t top the scene in CASINO ROYALE, which brought a whole new meaning to the word punishment, so he decided to not even try. Life, though, proves a whole lot more interesting and fun and exciting, when you toss a cement wall in the middle of the highway every once in a while.

While I enjoyed DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, the main bad dude felt a bit nebulous, almost like an evil presence more than an evil person. And while the action was present and accounted for, it felt a bit less than full throttle, and the scenes seemed to end much too quickly.

I’ve enjoyed the Bond study thus far, simply because of his vast influence, and I’m happy to continue my journey, but I am thankful there’s no test at the end.

Entertaining Read

17379070Moonraker by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I have to say MOONRAKER didn’t have as much action as either of the two previous Bond novels. At least at the beginning anyway. Sure there was the consummate card game and torture scene, but neither hit as hard or as fast as what happened in CASINO ROYALE. But this was certainly an entertaining read, even though the female characters seemed to wilt at the first sign of trouble, or at least gave the distinct impression of the likelihood of such an occurrence.

I know it’s too much to ask (and it’s certainly not going to stop me from reading the rest of said novels), but just once I’d like to see a woman kick some serious butt in this series. I’d have to say the closest female so far has been Vesper Lynd, and even she had her flaws. Gala Brand held a certain amount of intrigue and promise, but I felt like the afterburner element was missing from her character.

Bond does show a bit of his human side in this one by not actually getting the girl (being just a mere mortal like the rest of us), which does make his character a bit more interesting, even if said girl (Gala) does notice his ample charm. And he, in turn, notices her abundant curves. Yes, these novels might be called fluff, but like Bond, these novels hold a sophisticated air and charm that isn’t easily quantifiable, and that’s what makes them so gosh darn entertaining.

Debonair Masterpiece

17304110Live And Let Die by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

James Bond on the page certainly comes across a lot different than James Bond on the big screen and LIVE AND LET DIE only serves to further hammer this point home. Ian Fleming has created a debonair masterpiece, with more than a hint of chauvinism. Sure, he uses terms then that he probably couldn’t get away with today, but this book was first published in 1954, so you have to roll with it a bit. If you’re a woman, or you’re easily offended, you might want to hesitate before picking it up.

The action moves slower than it does in the movies (that’s understandable), but it’s nice to get a fuller and complete picture of a true icon. At times this novel reads like a military intelligence briefing, but it’s still well-written prose, and given Ian Fleming’s, along with James Bond’s backgrounds, it’s not all that surprising.

If you’re looking for a quick read and a strong male lead, it doesn’t get much better than this.

A Different Thriller Style

15954464Casino Royale by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

James Bond is as much of a weapon as his Beretta 418, although he’s more of an agent by chance than by choice, a weapon as sleek as his 1933 Bentley convertible. He has his vices: gambling, martinis, cigarettes, and sex. Ian Fleming may not have painted women in the most favorable light, may have used a different writing style for a thriller than I’m accustomed to—the agency brief, plenty of inner dialogue and thoughts, and only a dusting of intense action sequences—but this was an enjoyable read for me from the first page to the last.

Having watched and enjoyed all the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig James Bond films, along with a few other films from previous James Bond actors, I wanted to look at the man behind the mask, and I must say I’m rather glad I did. This was a quick read, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it light, and while I won’t rush to read the rest of the Ian Fleming novels, I do want to see how both his main character and writing style develop.