Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Books 7 & 8 of 2016: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit & Undercover by Luke Bradbury

Through the year I've tried to alternate reading a Kindle ebook with a book from my bookshelves. I like to do things so that neither books nor ebooks are being neglected. I'm a little bit weird like that.

Back at the start of March I pulled up a Kindle copy of Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.


It's the classic story about five children who are staying at their uncle's house, when they happen across a sand fairy, or psammead, which is able to grant their wishes for a day at a time. Of course, this has disastrous results.

I read this immediately after the Jack Nightingale book San Francisco Night which was pretty dark. Five Children and It was a nice, light little read after that. It was very quick, clocking in at only 103 pages. It's the sort of book you could probably finish in a day or so's reading session, though it took me a little longer than that because I only had time to read in the morning and evening, one chapter at a time.

I kept on thinking of the TV adaptations. I think there was a TV series adaptation which I watched when I was younger and more recently I've watched a film version at my in-laws' place. I read the book as a child but I'd forgotten how much the adaptation diverged from the book.

The writing style is just lovely. It's sort of conversational and really funny in places. The sort of funny which means that there's something for the adults to enjoy as well as children, so for that reason I think it's firmly in 'good bedtime story' territory.

I decided to follow up this idyllic jaunt back to my childhood with a book which couldn't have been more different if it'd tried. Namely, Undercover by Luke Bradbury (with Catherine von Ruhland).

To be honest, the cover says it all:


It's about a young Australian guy, working in London, who has found himself flat out broke. And so decides to pretty much go flat out to earn some extra cash. And... yeah... there's a lot of sex.

This one came to me in a big bundle of books I received some time back. I'm a 'no book left behind' kind of girl, so decided to give it a go regardless and yeah. This wasn't really my kind of a book. I'm guessing it's the sort of book that filled a little niche in the market alongside 50 Shades of Grey. So if that was your kind of thing, you might like this too.

I think I might have enjoyed it a little more if it had spent more time on why Luke decided that working as a gigolo was the best thing to do and perhaps speculated a little more on the women who hired him. Instead it was pretty repetitive. Luke would be hired, have sex, then move on to the next job.

It purports to be a real life account, but I couldn't help but wonder if it was more than a little fictional. According to this book, every woman he serviced, bar one, was incredibly good looking. I don't know. It just feels like that's playing into some sort of male fantasy. Perhaps I'm just stereotyping here, but I'd imagine that the sort of women who would be paying for his services would be a slightly older crowd, not hoards of hot young women.

The book was interspersed with tips like you'd find in a women's magazine. They were obviously aimed at women looking for casual hook-ups rather than women in long-term relationships, but interesting enough to hear a guy's side of things, if you're in the market.

On the whole, it was a quick, mindless read. The sort of thing you could dip into when you're feeling under the weather and need perking up a bit. It's not one I plan to read again though.

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