Monthly Monkey Mini Review – December

monthly mini reviews version 2

Hello all! I know we’re a week in, but can anyone believe it’s already December? Like much of the rest of the year, November flew by for me, especially since I was so busy with my (vague) Nano plans. As a lot of you guys know, in the end I had a pretty successful writing month 😀

writing orangutan0002

I’ll admit, that took up a huge proportion of my month, although I also did go to La Bayadere and Simon Boccanegra at the Opera House- both of which were epic (although obviously I did not have as good seats as the way I’ve painted it 😉 ):

monkey baby and orangutan at the opera0003.jpg

(is it obvious at this point that I’m half interested in sharing what I do and mostly just into making these monkeys?)

Anyhoo, back to books, I didn’t read a tremendous amount last month, so only have a few mini reviews today:


Autoboyography– initially, I thought the one line concept wasn’t all that interesting- but as it went on I did get more into the premise. Mostly cos the execution was so good. The writing was inventive with the style and voice and definitely had me rooting for the characters. I ended up liking Tanner, for all his *do first, think later* attitude and being pretty keen on the rest of the cast… However, speaking of infatuation, I wasn’t too obsessed with the romance. It just felt too much like instalove for me and there was only one squeal-worthy moment. I also wasn’t crazy about how his best friend Auddy’s story arc- I kept thinking she was treated unfairly by the plot. She was set up as an interesting character- but all I kept thinking was what about her dreams? Her love? Her book? I can’t imagine a real life person as spunky as her would appreciate being faded into the background so much. Overall, it was not perfect, but I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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


Captivate– this took me quite a bit of the month to get through. When I picked it up I thought it was aimed at people who are somewhat socially awkward, but by the end I thought maybe it was more tuned to major introverts. Either way, I didn’t find a lot of it resonated with me. The conversation starters were a bit of fun, however, certain hacks like using people as your “riser” felt too weird to me. And this linked to an issue I continually have with self-help. A lot of self-help philosophy is based on a “what can I get out of this” mentality, whereas valuable moral philosophy centres on “what can other people get out of this” or “what can I give of myself”. Aka, it’s about what we can do for each other and selfless good deeds (can anyone tell I’ve been rewatching the Good Place lately?). While the mechanics behind both actions can often be the same, the intent behind it is very different, and I find it quite off-putting. Ironically, I also think you get more out of the selfless mentality than the selfish one. So, while this wasn’t terrible, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking about it and it fell foul to the usual demons of the genre.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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

girl of ink and stars

The Girl of Ink and Stars– I will say this had beautiful writing and an alright story. The main issue for me was that the characters didn’t have enough depth. And because of that I felt it was aimed at people a bit younger than it was pitched at (although who even knows what age demographic YA is aimed at anymore). It was quick paced and didn’t do anything technically wrong- I just didn’t end up remotely enthusiastic about it.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


list of cages

A List of Cages– okay I totally understand the hype around this book. It was beautiful, intense and moving. I loved the contrast in light and dark tones of each narrator. I don’t actually tend to read contemporaries on the topic of child abuse, but even if you’re like me, I’d make an exception in this case. It was wonderfully executed, emotional and had excellent characterisation. There were certain aspects of the crazy-dramatic ending I wasn’t completely sold on- but it (minor spoiler) did make sense to take the abuser out of the picture for the conclusion (though I’d have preferred jail time). Regardless, I definitely recommend it!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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

Before I go, the marvellous Mim Inkling is hosting a bookish bingo this month in celebration of 6 months on the platform- it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to participate. If you fancy joining in, all the details are here. I figured I’d do a wrap up at the end and maybe update a little as I go. I will say as a massive mood reader, it’s a real struggle to keep to a tbr, but so far for this contest/month I’ve read… Wicked Deep, One Day in December, After the Fire, Coco Caramel  and Shadow of the Fox. Although I might swap some of these out- I’m still hoping to squeeze this into my December reads:

queen of air and darkness (2)

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

46 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Review – December

  1. Funny story about it already being december.

    I was making some reservations at a restaurant for our church small group and when I emailed everyone the date, I wrote “November 13th” because I was still thinking it was November. Sigh, I really don’t know where that particular month went. Of course, one of the smart asses emailed me back saying they had a time machine, so they were all set with that date 🙂 Got a good chuckle out of it.

    And I like your monkey drawings too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of these books!

    I’m really sensitive to the topic of child abuse, so I typically avoid it at all costs. Is the abuse in A List of Cages graphic? You said it was intense… like emotionally intense or graphic intense?

    The cover for The Girl of Ink and Stars is stunning! To bad it came up a bit short 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah no worries.

      I also tend to avoid it, but though it was quite graphic, I thought it was handled very sensitively. It’s really upto you if you want to check it out, cos I do understand what you mean.

      It really is!


  3. I’m planning to read A List of Cages! I wasn’t entirely too sure of it at first, but I felt it might be interesting. As for any of the books in the Shadowhunters Chronicles, I’ve already given up trying to keep up (there’s so many books in that series!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yaaay I’m so happy you liked A List Of Cages, it’s such a stunning book. I’m glad you also liked Autoboyography, I’m curious to read that one, I only heard great things about it so far 🙂
    Lovely reviews! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read Captivate after hearing the author on a podcast and… I don’t know how much of it I believe (although it was pretty interesting). I also agree that a selfless mentality is better than a selfish one.

    A List of Cages sounds pretty interesting! Hopefully my library has that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also can’t believe we are in December. Time does fly! 😊 Glad to hear you enjoyed your opera experience- sounds like a lot of fun.

    I haven’t read any of those books but A List of Cages is something that does appeal to me. I may check it out, thanks! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your monkey drawings are always the best! I haven’t read any of the Shadowhunters books yet but for some reason I’m really taken with the covers of these last three. Wouldn’t be the first time I read something just for the covers 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great reviews for all these books. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed Autoboyography though sorry to hear there were some things you weren’t too keen on, that was a book I actually ended up really loving. A List of Cages is still on my TBR list actually, but so far I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
    I hope you manage to get around to Queen of Air and Darkness this month, so far it seems like everyone is loving it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. List of Cages is terrific! I totally agree that the last part of the book is way too dramatic, and it made it fall down to a 4 star rating for me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the friendships in the book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Completely get your comments about Captivate. Self-help seems to have become a genre which focuses entirely on the self, and doesn’t have any outward sense at all. It’s fine to want to improve, but if you’re not giving anything back or contributing in any way…? LOVE the Good Place! The phrase “what we owe to one another” has reallyyyy stuck with me… That show has some serious pearls of wisdom! Thanks for playing, as well! Excited to see your wrap up at the end! Queen of Air & Darkness is on my “must read soon” as well… Everyone raves about Cassandra Clare, and I feel like I’ve missed out somehow…?

    Liked by 1 person

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