Monthly Monkey Mini Review – October

monthly mini reviews version 2

Hello all! I’m so excited to get back to doing more bookish content and what better way to start than with a bunch of mini reviews? Thankfully, I managed to read quite a few more books last month, which I couldn’t be happier about! Fingers and toes crossed that I’m finally, finally over my slump!! So let’s get straight into it!

the notebook

The Notebook– okay I’m going to start off by saying something controversial: I’m not a fan of the movie. As much as this annoys people (my sister included) I *hate* the main couple with a burning passion. So why, then, did I bother to read the book? Well, quite simply because there were a few old paperbacks where I was living and this was the only one that interested me. And, surprisingly, this was better than I expected. I thought it was well written and preferred how some of the themes of aging were dealt with. That said, Allie is still a cheat and no amount of blaming the guy she was with for not being perfect will make that any better.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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safe haven

Safe Haven– yup, I was on a bit of a Nicholas Sparks sprint. I read this in the interest of seeing whether I’d been fair to the author for ignoring him all these years. I did prefer this overall- but then, I was pretty safe in the knowledge that I would, cos I’d already enjoyed the storyline from the movie. But, even though I committed the cardinal sin of watching the film first, I have to say I still preferred the book. This was particularly thanks to the fact that the characters and romance were far more complex than the generic vision I got from the film. Not only was the relationship better developed- especially given the empathic way the leading man understood what she was going through just from her behaviours- there was also a sense that the leading lady had to be a lot smarter to get away. Also, while the book was a tad melodramatic, I still felt dealt with subjects like abusive relationships, the aftermath of traumatic experiences and grief in a far more substantive way. That said, there was one spoilery flaw that kept me from completely loving it. Highlight for spoiler: I could have done without her talking to the dead wife and really didn’t feel like the supernatural element fitted with the book’s vibes.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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one in a million

One in a Million– this was such a funny book! I especially loved the running joke about book design! I did think it was a cute relationship, BUT I didn’t fall for the love interest (which I find kinda necessary in romance- you want to want them for yourself). I thought the guy would make a great friend, however I just didn’t get how anyone could date someone who was so socially awkward that he needed basic cues explained. He was shockingly rude and had zero social graces. I sort of saw the heroine ending up with him, maybe? Yet a part of me felt like this was only because she had a lack of options at that point in time and that it was what the plot dictated. And random nitpick of the day: Batman is *not* a sociopath (at the risk of opening up the age old vlogsbrothers debate, I side with Hank on this one).

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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the wedding date

The Wedding Date– alright, I was reading a lot of contemporary romance last month, which meant I was bound to dislike one of them… and The Wedding Date just so happened to not make the cut for me (also quick disclaimer in case there’s any confusion: this is not the more famous, more recent book with the same title). I found myself disliking everything- from the way the main character insecurely picked herself apart to the wish fulfilment way the romance panned out. I was almost gagging at the love interest’s attempts at sexiness and I didn’t buy that he was into her (he kept claiming to like her for her confidence- you know, the one I mentioned she was completely lacking to the point of being difficult to read about). I also didn’t connect with the writing style, complete with jokey lists- things like the quirky lists felt like they were trying too hard to make me laugh. And ultimately, the plot, the relationships and the showdowns only got a “whatever” out of me.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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ash princess

Ash Princess– I feel like this book employed *all the infodumps*. Although some of the world building was good, there was just way too much over-explaining. There were some emotional tugs, but unfortunately the heroine wasn’t dynamic enough and, because I couldn’t help myself, I spent too much time questioning why the Kaiser kept her alive in the first place (I mean, I know this is part of the course of evil dictators in YA, but surely if you conquer a country and kill their leaders, it doesn’t make sense to keep the heir to the throne alive? Surely they can see that beating them occasionally will only piss off the populace? Surely they know they’re keeping the spark of rebellion alive?) Anyway, I do recognise that this sort of thing is done as a plot device and I (mostly) let it go. In the end, my main problem was that it was somewhat forgettable.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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shiver

Shiver– speaking of forgettable, this was so non-descript that I didn’t remember that I’d actually read it before (and according to goodreads I had). It was also incredibly juvenile as a story. I don’t think I’ve read a book that’s quite so instalove since the last time I apparently read this book. And I also don’t get how the main character doesn’t see that she should be more worried about her love interest being potentially dangerous. But nope- that sort of thing doesn’t enter our teenage heroine’s brain. A lot of the imagery was also a bit clichéd and missed the mark. Metaphors like “I tramped into the woods with all the grace of a polar bear in a dollhouse” felt random and didn’t work for me. On the bright side, I think a lot of these issues simply served to show how much the author’s matured as an author. There were glimpses of beauty her and some parts felt like a precursor to Stiefvater’s later work. I especially liked the concept of a cursed winter. Unfortunately I just didn’t give a damn what was gonna happen next.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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life's golden ticket

Life’s Golden Ticket– I’ll be honest, self-help books are rarely my thing. I wouldn’t have picked this up if it hadn’t been a gift (and for me personally the best thing about it was connecting it to the person who gave it to me). Still, that couldn’t make me get over the bland, childish-to-the-point-of-being-nauseating writing style. I think that’s the main reasons I found myself getting inexplicably irritated at the book. I can’t fault it for some of the messaging- however I found it overly moralistic and a tad annoying for being so obvious sometimes. I’m glad this book has helped so many other people, yet it really wasn’t not for me.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

So have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

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56 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Review – October

  1. Beware Of The Reader says:

    It really is so ironical that you don’t like the ones I liked above (Shiver and Ash Princess) yet I can totally understand yoru “complaints” about them!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. daleydowning says:

    I absolutely loved Shiver – but honestly, a lot of it for me *is* the simplicity with which it’s written, and the way the narrator is rather naive – she seems like a *real* teenager! I’m really beyond done with YA protagonists that behave like they’re 35, all worldly and perfectly adjusted to take over adulthood at a moment’s notice. (I’ve never met a 17-year-old like that, and highly doubt I ever will.) And while I do notice the flaws in the style, the heart and core of Stiefvater’s talent is completely present, and that’s what drew me to it in the first place (the first time I read Shiver was about a year after I discovered The Scorpio Races, and the idea of there being more books by this author just thrilled my soul). Though I do know what you’re saying about seeing how she’s grown in her craft since then – when I picked up The Raven Boys, I could see that, and it’s very evident in All The Crooked Saints. Unlike her other novels, however, I think The Wolves of Mercy Falls set is the one that’s distinctly YA, because of its tone and lack of complex plot. For someone who likes a straightforward plot – as I often do – it’s so comfortable and easy to just go with the flow. And while there is a flavor of instalove, I find Grace and Sam so utterly adorable together, I honestly don’t mind in this case! 😀

    Ash Princess – I made it through about 20 pages. It was certainly forgettable – and the basic premise made zero sense – so I didn’t even bother finishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Well there is something to be said about the simplicity. And you make fair points- I think a lot of my issues with it are that I’m a bit past books like that at the moment. You are right about the too-worldly heroines in YA a lot of the time. And I do agree that Stiefvater is a talented writer- I just feel like a lot of her later books are a bit more polished. I’m glad you got a lot more out of it than I did!
      And yeah I completely agree about Ash Princess!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bookbeachbunny says:

    I read Ash Princess. Forgettable. Not sure why those guys were in love with her though I think she was kept alive to be married off still like you said always a bad idea for a conquerer. Although I must say I’ve read more than a few books recently where I’ve found myself thinking (or yelling) at characters if only you read more you wouldn’t make that mistake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I think that’s fair enough- I really wasn’t especially interested in reading them, they just happened to fall into my lap and curiosity got the better of me. I think they’re fine for romance, but I don’t think they’re anything I’d rave about going on what I’ve read

      Like

  4. littlebookynook says:

    The only book on this list I have read is Ash Princess. Initially I DNF’d it because I couldn’t get into it, but then I started on it again and actually didn’t mind it. I agree with what you said, especially with the princess being kept alive by her enemy…like, of course things are going to go wrong eventually. I’m definitely intrigued to see what happens in the next book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah I didn’t mind it too. Yeah I never get why evil dictators in books do such stupid things lol! Fair enough! I hope you enjoy it- I don’t think the first one grabbed me enough to check it out, but I’ll be interested to see your thoughts 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. thesarahdoughty says:

    I have to admit, I like Safe Haven. But only for its easy-to-read essence. Yes, the book was better than the movie, as it showed how much smarter the heroine was for escaping — and staying hidden. I have to say, there’s something about escaping to the sea and just finding yourself that draws me in. If I was in her situation, that town would’ve been my stop as well. That said, though I found it somewhat interesting to hear the inner dialog of the abusive husband, I found it increasingly tedious that the inner dialog just kept going… And going… And going. I mean, really wayyy too much time was spent on his inner, drunken ramblings that I found myself rolling my eyes and skimming past those parts. But alas, I still pick it up every now and again when I feel like an easy read — something without the insta-love vibes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Totally fair, I liked it too. And yeah I liked the aspect where she had to be smarter to stay ahead of her husband. And yeah I agree with you about being drawn into the aspect of her escaping to the sea. That’s very fair about the inner ramblings part. But yes, it’s still a good easy read! Thanks so much for commenting!

      Like

  6. Jheelam says:

    I’ve read only one book from this list and i.e. – “The Notebook”. For me, it started well but then fell flat. Guess, I’m not the target reader Nicholas Sparks aspires to have. 😀 Couldn’t agree more with you on the “Self-Help” book aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I definitely agree with your thoughts on Ash Princess, in the end it is pretty forgettable. I finished it a good few months ago and honestly I don’t think I’d be able to tell you the main characters name if you asked me (not a good sign when it comes to any book is it?) Also I agree with you on Shiver too. I’ve loved all of Maggie Stiefvater’s other books and series I’ve read, but for some reason I just couldn’t get past Shiver. Guess it’s just not a series for me.
    Great reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LizScanlon says:

    ahhh, maaaannn, you have no idea how good it is to read your reviews again! Just perfect!
    You were on a bit of a contemporary romance binge weren’t you? But, I like what you said about the love interest- you want to want them for yourself! nail, hammer, head!
    I also actually read Shiver not so long ago and quite liked it… I failed to even notice the points you made- I blame being on a hunt for ‘easy-read’ so I just zoomed througb Shiver and… hmm.. I might have read the 2? 3? books in the series… but see, I can’t even remember off the top of my head so I guess that tells me something 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah thank you so much!! ❤
      hehehe is it that obvious 😉 hehehe yes!!
      hehe fair enough- it's not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, just not great. But I get what you mean about it being an easy read. hehe yes 😉

      Like

  9. Jina Bazzar says:

    On the risk of sounding weird, i dnfed ash princess at the beginning – but…. i did read the notebook! and message in the bottle, though i own about 10 of Sparks books, i can’t say i read the others.
    And no self-help for me. i tend to stay away from most non-fiction. If they can’t carry me away from real life, what’s the point?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan says:

    I like the concept of mini reviews and I tried a few of them myself. But missed writing longggg posts on the books I loved so I kinda been avoiding them. I rarely read non fiction these days, as they are ending to be more and more disappointing these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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