Monthly Monkey Mini Review – May

monthly mini reviews version 2

I’m trying to overcome my Britishisms of constantly apologising for not being online… buuut I am really sorry that I can’t keep up with blogging as much as I’d like to! (can’t help myself apparently 😉 ) Anyhoo, I’ve been in need of some serious relaxation recently and so I have mostly been reading pretty light things. As usual, these aren’t all my reviews for last month, they’re just the ones I had less to say about.

ransom my heart

Ransom My Heart– the first thing I want to make clear about this book is that this is very clearly not designed for younger readers. Even though the intro states that this is the work of Meg Cabot’s fictional Princess Mia (and I love how that’s done) it’s a massive departure from some of her more teen friendly work, so bear that in mind. I did initially like the idea of actually writing the Princess’ book, but unfortunately didn’t like the actual story or the way it was done. When it came to it the structure was all over the place and the story felt finished at 200 pages in. All I was looking for was a fun romp, however, because of this plotting issue, I lost interest two thirds of the way in. I also really didn’t like the writing style, where the occasional archaic word like “ken” or “mayhap” was thrown in, yet was otherwise extremely modern. I wasn’t into the characters or the romance either, so this book only gets credit for being “readable”.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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dawn study

Dawn Study– I’ve made it clear before that I was kinda done with this series, meaning I really shouldn’t have picked this up. Maybe read this review with a pinch of salt- if you’re still enjoying the Study series I’m sure you’ll like this. Anyway, the plot for this one was a bit better than the last two and it transpires I still love Valek (after all this time? Always– sorry, I reread HP recently, you can expecto patronum plenty more awful puns and references 😉 ). The downside of this book was primarily that the story ended at book 3 and this is book 6- so much of the story felt like it was put in for *tension* and resolved for the sake of convenience. I also really didn’t care about tons of the characters- including Leif (who I’ve never liked), Janco (his comic relief schtick got old a while back) and Onora (new and annoying). That said, there were some entertaining parts and it was distracting. I’m kinda glad that I finished the series, but I’m mostly just glad that the series is finished.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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ps i like you

PS I Like You– this took a little while to get into and I feel like parts of it relied a bit too heavily on miscommunication, BUT I did get *exactly* what I wanted from this book. In fact, I had a big, stupid smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. I absolutely loved the romance and characters. In short, this was a super fun YA contemporary. PS I really liked this book (yes I went there)

Rating:4/5 bananas

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castle in the air

Castle in the Air– I normally really like Wynne Jones books and am rarely left discontented with her stories, unfortunately, this didn’t really land for me the way I wanted it to. Sure, it had a lot of the fun, quirky, magical elements her books usually possess and I very much enjoyed the change of scene, but sadly the main sticking point for me was that I didn’t like the protagonist. At all. I just really don’t like flattering sycophants and that was basically his entire character. Sure, I’m up for a silver-tongued character, but when all that amounts to is how sickeningly over complimentary they can be, I get put off really quickly. Also he had a tendency to flatter both the good guys and the bad guys in equal measure- I especially didn’t like how easily some of my favourite characters succumbed to it. It also didn’t help that this was the follow up for Howl’s Moving Castle which I really loved.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall half banana

the fill in bf

The Fill-in Boyfriend– I had *a lot* of mixed feelings for this one. Again, the story was mostly fine, I wasn’t keen on the main character. I didn’t totally hate her and became grudgingly tolerant of her, but that isn’t the same as liking her. Basically, she’s a Queen Bee, trying to change a little from being a totally oblivious, self-obsessed narcissist, but in teeny tiny steps. Her idea of trying to relate to people is to go upto strangers and ask “what’s your story?” (protip: this does not work- a lot of people don’t like invasive, stupid questions). The only positive to her character was that I did find myself laughing at her sometimes, which shows I was at least entertained 😉 . Plus she wasn’t the worst character in the book- her brother is a total piece of shit and what bothered me most of all was the lack of resolution for his story arc. Minor spoilers: the brother uses the sister for a video project about addiction to social media and publicly humiliates her. As a subplot this did a decent job of discussing themes of validation (and it was this depth that saved the book from a lower rating), nonetheless, it didn’t make sense to me from an emotional standpoint that there were no real consequences for his casual cruelty.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall banana

the promise potok

The Promise– this was a very moving and multi-faceted read- I can’t put my finger on just one plotline or idea it contains. There’s a lot to it. As the sequel to the Chosen, it deals with a lot of questions of identity, especially in the shadow of the Holocaust, whilst also exploring themes of learning. This very much looks at a shift in the rigidity of thought, which I appreciated. More than that, as I often experience with Potok books, there’s something very real and truthful in his depiction of his world. I will admit, I didn’t have the same feeling of enlightenment in comparison to its predecessor, however I still loved the characters. Michael’s story in particular had a great deal of heart and showed the tremendous kindness of Reuven’s character. I also loved how the main antagonist was humanised by the end of the story.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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hunted

Hunted– first of all, I *loved* the fact this was set in Russia- it gave a wonderful dimension to the world building and magic. Additionally, it was an enjoyably quick read, which is always appreciated. However, the one major issue I had with this was that there were absolutely no surprises– even though it made some changes to the fairy tales it was based on, it was very easy to pick up the thread of the familiar narrative. Because of that, it felt incredibly obvious, predictable and somewhat lacking. This was all compounded by a rather abrupt ending that left me feeling not quite sated. While I suggest not going into this expecting an earth shatteringly good tale, I do recommend this for anyone that fancies a well-executed beauty and the beast retelling.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall half banana

So have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

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65 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Review – May

  1. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Great mini reviews for these books. I agree with you when you say you’re kind of done with the Study series, that’s how I feel about it. I loved the first three books and still do, but I’ve been really meh about the latest three, haven’t read Dawn Study and don’t really plan to anytime soon.
    I am glad you enjoyed P.S. I Like You though, that’s the first book by Kasie West and to date still my favourite by her! 😀
    Again great reviews, and happy reading. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bookbeachbunny says:

    The Fill-In Boyfriend character sounds interesting. If some stranger came up and asked me what my story was I’d probably think they were screwing with me and walk away. Kasie West is so hit or miss with me though. I did enjoy Hunted though. So many Beauty and the Beasts retellings! I gave it bonus points because I really liked the cover! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FranL says:

    I stopped reading the “Study” books after the first three. Nothing I’ve heard about any of the others has convinced me it’s necessary to continue past there.

    I read The Chosen years ago, and I had no idea there was a sequel! I’d love to check it out, but I should probably reread The Chosen first.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Winged Cynic says:

    Hmm, it’s a shame that Castle in the Sky didn’t live up to Howls’ Moving Castle for you. I have to yet to read either, but I get that if a protagonist doesn’t jive with you, then the book doesn’t either. And oh yay, you read The Promise! I really love this book for the same reasons you state here, although yeah, I do think most people would be inclined to enjoy The Chosen more (it’s more streamlined and cohesive I think). 😉 Excellent reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah it really was a shame, cos I love most of Wynne Jones’ other books. And yeah that’s a real shame. I definitely get what you mean about Chosen being more cohesive- but I totally get why you loved the Promise- there’s something really beautiful about it. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lucindablogs says:

    Those HP puns are sheer Luna-cy (best I could come up with – even that took 15 minutes!) I’m disappointed about you not enjoying Castle in the Sky as much as its predecessor – I liked but didn’t love Howls Moving Castle so I’ll probably give it a miss. I’ve not read any Chain Potok but I’m intrigued – I had a quick look on Goodreads and his work sounds really interesting ☺.

    Anyway, hope you’re ok and that life outside of blogging isn’t too stressful/busy, otherwise you’ll never get through your usual 50 books per month (I swear you’re the reason the few remaining British libraries can justify their funding).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anna @MyBookishDream says:

    I haven’t hear good things about Castle in the Air and that’s why I have been putting of reading it. (I haven’t even bought it yet) I do want to read it some time in the future, after all Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my all time favourite books and I want to finish that series. On a happier note, I have heard that the third book is amazing! 😀 Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vera says:

    I haven’t read any of these yet. Currently carrying on with my non fiction obsession phase despite my slow progress. 😊
    Glad you had some good reading month. And happy reading in May. 📚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Madam Mim says:

    Bit of a mixed bag for you then! I really couldn’t get into the Study series, I read the first one and sort of wandered off. Hunted sounds alright, but I know what you mean about fairy tale retellings – done well, it’s a fantastic device, but they can slip into the predictable (sometimes good, for a comfort low maintenance read…)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Krysta says:

    Chaim Potok! I agree that The Promise isn’t quite at the same level as The Chosen. But, still, it’s Chaim Potok! It’s so awesome you review his books. I don’t recall seeing any other bloggers do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carrie says:

    Lovely mini reviews as always! I saw a book on Netgalley the other day that immediately made me think of you…. The Life of a Banana by PP Wong, maybe it should be a future mini. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LizScanlon says:

    Well, now… believe it or not but I have been meaning to read PS! I Like You for quite some time now. Sometimes a light read is exactly what’s needed and if it leaves a silly smile to your face afterwards- even better.
    Monkey! i totally read The Hating Game and it was THE best 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nicole says:

    Oh no! I want to read Castle in the Air, but I also loved Howl so I’m afraid I might have the same opinion on Castle as you did. I’ll still read it and see for myself (who knows? I might be guessing wrong) but my hopes aren’t as high now. (Then again, maybe that’s a good thing.)

    Liked by 1 person

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