Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Books 85 & 86 of 2015: Creepy Christmas by Jaimie Admans & Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland

For the last couple of years, when November hits, I start going through my free Kindle Christmas books and select my reading material from them. I'll alternate these with book-books right the way up to Christmas Day.

Which is how I came to read Jaimie Admans's Creepy Christmas at the beginning of December last year. It's a children's Christmas story about a girl named Kaity whose parents are separated. Her mum has a new boyfriend and Christmas this year just isn't going to be same as usual; especially as there are some very strange things going on in her home town as Christmas approaches.

Not going to lie, I totally picked out this book because of the cover when I saw it as a free download. How cute is that Santa? I don't think I realised right away that it was a kids story and then I started reading it, realised it was narrated by a ten year old and figured that I might as well finish it.

As it turns out, it's a nice quick read. I was done in a couple of days and I imagine that it would have been even more up my street had I been about twenty years younger. It's the sort of book that confident young readers could read alone, or less confident readers could share with a sibling or parent.

At times I thought Kaity, the narrator, sounded a little older than she was supposed to be, but on the whole she was a fairly likeable character. Often I find in books with children as the narrators the kids are a little too sickly sweet or annoying, but Kaity came across as a well-balanced kid.

I cold almost imagine this book as a made for TV movie. The sort which plays on the Christmas 24 channel or Channel 5 in the run up to Christmas. Something with a low budget but which once you sit down to watch it is fairly enjoyable once you get past the wooden acting. The Santa in this story reminded me of all the Santas in virtually every cheesy Christmas film.

Although I've not yet found anything else by this author, I would be interested in reading more. I felt like she had a nice style and strong voice in her writing. If you're looking for something a little bit festive for your inner child, I'd give it a go.

I followed this up immediately afterwards with Week 50 of the Reading Challenge: a banned book. I did quite a lot of searching to select the right book, which saw me scanning through lists of banned books from around the world. Ultimately I selected Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland using my usual criteria for choosing books for the challenge; it was shorter than most of the alternatives.

This book was banned for obscenity when it was originally published. It follows the life of the titular Fanny Hill as she rises through the class ranks whilst working in brothels, all the while hoping to find a man to love. And there's quite a lot of sex.

I was honestly surprised at how explicit this story was, considering when it was written. Apparently Fifty Shades of Grey isn't so original after all!

Despite its length it took me a while to read, mainly because it wasn't really the sort of book I felt I could sit and read in the canteen at work. It's a pretty short story really though, if I'd been reading it somewhere less public and could've saved my blushes, I would've gotten through it a lot quicker.

I did find it a little strange to think it was written by a man. His descriptions of what a woman feels were pretty interesting and there were a few times when I wondered what on earth he was going on about. It was funny in places just because of the way that things were described.

It's probably not the sort of book that I'll reread in the future. I did kind of enjoy it and I'm glad that I did read it because now I can say I've read it Another one I can check off the list of classics.

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