Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February

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Yay- it’s February- which means I get to do one of my favourite posts of the month! The Mini Reviews!! (yes, I like this cos I’m lazy about reviewing, don’t judge!) The vast majority of books I read last month were good, so these are mostly positive- enjoy!

homegoing

Homegoing– this was such a beautiful book. It reminded me of a parable, yet was very much grounded in realism. It built up pictures of worlds, people, stories. Telling the story of an African family across continents and over the course of centuries is no small feat. I will say that, due to its scope, there were a lot of people to keep track of and I puzzled over that at first- which in turn distracted me from the story. That said I truly believe this book, with its epic proportions and stunning prose, will go down in history as one of the great American novels. And I don’t say that lightly at all- I was simply awed by it and would hazard a guess that this will be a future classic. There’s so much to analyse here and it was endlessly quotable. So why the short review? Quite simply, once I got into it I was too swept up to write proper notes- sorry!

I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw this first, so I’m sorry to that person because their review was very striking and made me instantly put it on my tbr. Still, there are loads of excellent, full reviews out there for this- I recommend Zezee’s.

/5 bananas

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and then there were none

And Then There Were None– I was absolutely gripped from the opening all the way to the end. Layer upon layer of intrigue and suspicion built up over the course of the novel- with spooky, biblical overtones and clever connections drawn. Oh so much cleverness! Everything from the concept to the who-actually-dunnit to the psychological elements was so well thought out. I did end up questioning the motive- which while it made sense in the context of the book, made me puzzle over the realism when I turned the last page. Overall though I loved it! Very entertaining read.

Side Note: before I read this someone told me not to google the original title, which of course I went and did… bloody hell.

/5 bananas

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foxhole court

Foxhole Court– ahh the inevitable monthly stinker- and I have only myself to blame for this. I saw a negative (but very well done) review for this over on Angelica’s blog– but because I am a curious berk, was struggling with a combination of slumpy blues and boredom, I had to check it out. Lo and behold… it was free on kindle. BEWARE FREE KINDLE BOOKS everybody. As promised, this was *bad*. After the first 10% had nothing but exposition, over description and the cheesiest of one liners, I was ready to call it a day. Then it got weird. Just so, so much weirdness. I don’t even know how to explain- so I’m gonna try listing it:

  • Bizarre fights for no reason- don’t worry though, they’re just for *tension*
  • The most unnecessarily complicated, confusing family dynamics
  • The WORST fake sport ever- it’s football meets hockey meets tennis meets who the fuck cares it’s not like it’s been well thought out. Plus it’s co-ed because who gives a shit about biology when you can make a stand for “equality”- even if it’s a contact sport and without magical powers you’re basically arguing for men to beat the shit out of women… let that sink in.
  • Athletes on hard drugs and getting withdrawal symptoms for not taking said drugs enough
  • Also drugs that make *no sense* (no antipsychotics don’t make you high- are you for real?!)
  • Casual rape threats- that no one bats an eye at
  • Actual sexual assault (again, no one cares)

O-kay so I think that’s got everything covered. Don’t get why this is a thing. I will say that my bemusement drove me through the book in the midst of a terrible reading slump- so it had that going for it I guess- and why (even though I’m having serious doubts about this having written the review) I’m giving it:

2/5 bananas

small bananasmall banana

crystal storm

Crystal Storm– I had surprisingly mixed feelings about this one- which is not what you want for a 5th book. First of all, it’s beginning to suffer from plausibility problems. Yes, I know it’s fantasy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be so unbelievable- sorry but how many times can these characters be captured and recaptured? Also, we’re at book five and not one of the characters has ever come up with a halfway decent plan beyond “we must steal the magical kindred!” Seriously- that’s only ever made things worse- TRY SOMETHING ELSE DAMMIT! I also don’t like highlight for spoilers: that the evil dude is now evil cos he took a magical potion to forget love or whatever- people don’t need magical potions to be bad, just sayin’. And last complaint (I swear!) I hate that everyone that dies ends up alive, cos it really removes a lot of the stakes from the story.

With all that said, I did still end up thoroughly entertained, especially in the last quarter. The climax especially elevated the whole book from blah and made it pretty worthwhile. I’m still loving a lot of the characters and am looking forward to the last book (also a little part of me wants it to be over)

Side Note: Would you believe I’ve reviewed none of these books before? Not even in a mini review. I blame the fact that I started reading them long before I had a blog. Ah well, c’est la vie.

3½/5 bananas

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As always, have you read any of these? What did you think of them? And have you ever read a crap book just cos you’re in a slump? Let me know in the comments!

And for anyone that notices, hope you don’t mind that these mini reviews were slightly longer than usual!

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77 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February

  1. Nel says:

    😂😂😂 man did I enjoy reading these. From good to shit. Your review for Foxhole was just so fantastic in it’s badness. I’m sorry Crystal Storm wasn’t better. Hopefully the series ends on a great note!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Great reviews, for all these books! 🙂 I saw a fair bit of Homegoing around WordPress a while back and added it to my TBR list, because everything everyone was saying about it was incredible, and then forgot all about it until I saw your review. I definitely need to bump it up my TBR list.
    Also I see so so so much about The Foxhole Court (mainly on Tumblr) and I have to admit I was curious but your review put an end to that because wow does that not sound like a book I want to read! 😀
    Again great reviews. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Winged Cynic says:

    Home sounds wonderful, and I’m also planning on reading And Then There Were None in the future. Love these reviews! I haven’t read any of these, but your descriptions of horrible books always makes me want to pick them up for some reason…. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Goreti says:

    And Then There Were None was so bloody good, I loved it! Glad you liked it too. And I have The Foxhole Court on my kindle library because it was free ad I heard people raving about it. This might be the first negative review I see of it, but after this I’m not sure I wanna read it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ivysbooks says:

    I really loved Homegoing too last year. To me, it was an introduction to African literature and it has set me on an interesting path. Also, I have Falling Kingdoms in my TBR list, but considering your review on the 5th book was only so and so, should I still read the first one? Thanks. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) says:

    Wonderful reviews!! I absolutely loved And Then There Were None! It’s had some seriously messed up titles in the past, but the story is great nonetheless. And I did warn it about The Foxhole Court! But at least I now know I’m not the only one who didn’t like this book. I don’t understand how it’s so popular and well loved!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you!! I’m glad! And yes, I totally get what you mean. LOL! You most certainly did- and honestly if I wasn’t in a total slump *and* didn’t have such morbid curiosity *and* it wasn’t free, I wouldn’t have bothered. But since I was… gosh it was so bad. I’m totally with you. I really *don’t get it at all*!!

      Like

  7. Satou Johns says:

    Yeiii!! I am starting to read And There Were None! it looks good and I am so lost so far XD but I think it is that I am just too tired this week XD Thank you for sharing and for giving me the impulse to keep reading ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joem18b says:

    Great reviews.

    I just noticed how your bananas are peeled. Every time I ask someone how they peel a banana, they say that they do it at the stem end, which is the hard way. Gorillas peel bananas as shown above.

    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carrie says:

    Nice reviews! Nothing wrong with a little short, sweet and to the point every once in a while. I procrastinate all the time myself and could probably do better with a few minis here and there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Oh I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy Foxhole Court! I know so many bloggers who rave about it but oh well… Guess it’s one of those guilty pleasure reads?
    I felt the exact same way about Crystal Storm! At this point it just feels like she’s extending the books with no clear goal in mind and it’s frustrating. I have no shame in admitting I’m mainly reading for Magnus/Cleo cuteness and I can’t wait for the series to be over either xD
    Great post! And don’t worry, we’ve all read bad books to try and beat a reading slump too, I think 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe yes, perhaps 😉 I don’t know, cos it gets compared to Captive Prince a lot and I actually get why that’s a thing, even if I wasn’t as in love with it, you know. Foxhole court felt a bit silly and pointless, you know?
      Yes for sure- I feel like that book didn’t really need to happen- it could’ve just been 5 books in the series and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. haha yes I totally get that- I’m in love with Magnus/Cleo- it still seems worth it just for that 😉
      Thank you so uch! hahaa I’m glad I’m not the only one lol!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. raistlin0903 says:

    As always…I haven’t read any of these books yet 🙈🙈 I like the short reviews though😊 Too bad that Crystal Storm is a bit of a letdown because out of all three of these that was the one that appealed to me the most.
    Oh…and you being lazy? That’s a joke right? I see a post from you every day…that is some hard work to be sure 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kat Impossible says:

    Oh noooooo … I am so sad to hear how terrible the Foxhole Court was. Those are all things I would hate reading about 😦 I once saw a Youtube fan video for it and was absolutely enchanted. I really wanted to read it afterwards but now? Nah thank you :/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Happy to hear you enjoyed Homegoing. I still cannot believe that Gyasi was able to write a story that spans hundreds of years and follows a new descendant every chapter… Such an ambitious debut novel. I also had a hard time remembering which character was which, BUT I took it that the story was more a history of the collective experiences of slavery and didn’t really try to keep track too closely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yes it was so ambitious, but phenomenally well done- I was very impressed with it (to say the least!) Yes I completely get that- I was trying to focus on the individual stories quite a bit at the beginning, but kind of shifted my focus as it went on a bit. That’s a good point.

      Like

  14. Zezee says:

    😀 😀 Awesome! And thanks for linking to my review. So glad you liked Homegoing too.
    And parable! Yes! In some ways it felt like one. To me it was more like folklore.
    Yea, a lot of folks thought there were too many characters to keep track of. I guess it’s how you approach the book. Because it jumps to different character in each chapter, I just thought of it all as short stories that piggyback on the story that precede it and used the family tree as a table of content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      You’re welcome!
      Yeah for sure, I see it that way too.
      I completely get that- and I think that it took me a little bit to adjust to the style and to use the family tree like that, but by the time I was done I found that aspect pretty genius and think it would improve on rereading. It’s not really a criticism, if you get what I mean, just why it took me a bit to get into it personally.

      Like

  15. Anna @MyBookishDream says:

    I have read And Then There Were None as well! And I agree, it was such an intriguing and clever book. I really enjoyed it and it definitely made me want to read more books by Agatha Christie (though it wasn’t even the first one that I read by her). Great reviews! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Oh snap, you already got through another Agatha Christie?! 😛 I still need to read And Then There Were None, but seeing that you gave it half a banana more than Orient Express, I’m sure it’ll turn out to be AMAZING!! 😀 Awesome reviews as always!!

    Liked by 1 person

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