Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February: Feeling a Little Love

monthly mini reviews version 2

Hello all! I’m not even gonna say that I can’t believe we’re in February… but how????! It’s been an interesting start to the year for me- most of the goings-on are fairly dull though, so I’ll save you the details 😉 That has meant I’ve been a bit sporadic with blogging and I’ve been *resisting the urge* to apologise for not being on it all the time- hope you’ll forgive me 😉 Cool things been happening on the blog behind the scenes, where I quietly hit 4500 followers (THANK YOU GUYS FOR THAT) and wrote my 700th post! So I’m definitely feeling the love for blogging right now ❤

Alrighty then- let’s get to what we’re all here for- THE BOOKS!

american panda

American Panda– So I related to Mei’s germaphobia a little too much… which means the scenes where she went into icky medical stuff grossed me out. This is entirely down to personal taste, so I wouldn’t want it to put anyone off the book if you’re not bothered by that sort of thing. I just felt it went into too much detail. I think the first few lines will be able to give you an idea of whether or not this book is going to be for you: “The stench of the restaurant’s specialty walloped my senses as soon as I entered. Even with seventeen years of practice, I didn’t have a fighting chance against a dish named stinky tofu. I gagged.” For me, even reading about people gagging, makes me gag. Also a lot of the humour didn’t quite land for me. I did like the cultural side, Mei’s personality and the romance was cute if not mindblowing. Personally, the biggest hook was the family drama.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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

starfish bowman

Starfish– There was a lot to like about this book. It had a strong opening, a well-executed art theme and dealt with the issue of the mother’s abuse in a good fashion. It also had a couple of (nitpicky) things I didn’t get- like why it was called starfish when the goal was to not be a starfish? Or, more importantly, how the dad could be so casually incompetent in the face of a sexual predator? In the end, it was a decent story, I’ve just read better. Gorgeous cover though.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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crazy rich asians

Crazy Rich Asians– Don’t let the low-ish rating fool you- I enjoyed large parts of this. The family elements were particularly good and there were some awesome characters (Astrid!!!). I also got a little Pride and Prejudice retelling vibes (just me?). I found the *mystery element* quite intriguing. Plus there was TONS OF DRAMA to boot.  That said, there were also a ton of flaws. As much as I enjoy different perspectives and can be quite lax on how it’s handled, this felt far too head-hoppy. I often couldn’t keep up with whose pov it was supposed to be. It was also far too long for a contemporary, some of the storylines were unnecessary and the narrative was overladen with materialistic details. Above all, while it gave me a few chuckles, the vast majority of the time I felt like I was missing the joke (for example: “It’s that Tim Paulson fellow, isn’t it?” Cassandra cut in. “Isn’t he a puppet controlled by all the Jews?”- ermm that’s straight up anti-Semitic- gonna give the author the benefit of the doubt here, so…. is the joke that they’re anti-Semites- in which case, ha-ha?) Anyway, even if the story took some detours, in the end the emotional heart of the book was *INTENSE*. I’d definitely keep reading the series and would happily watch the film.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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Oh and you won’t have to wait for my thoughts on the movie- cos I watched it shortly after 😉

crazy rich asians movie

 

monkey at the movies 2As I suspected, I liked the film more- it was SO MUCH FUN and I properly fell for the romance this time round. There were a few changes, but they worked for the silver screen. The way the rich element was stylised and cut into the film was expertly handled. I even liked the mc’s personality more. And the family aspect (which was the best part of the book) was done super well. The one thing I was disappointed was that the mystery around WHO ARE THE YOUNGS was taken out- which was a pity, though understandable. The monkey baby also gave it her stamp of approval and it was definitely an evening well spent 😉 It gets 4/5 bananas from me!

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the whole thing together

The Whole Thing Together– this did almost too-good of a job conveying the story of divorce- since I ended up feeling pretty much split down the middle about it. On the positives: there were somewhat distinct characters and emotional moments. On the negatives sadly this was the definition of character soup- there were just too many people in the bowl. I was also rather disappointed to find that it was missing the magic of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Side note: it felt weird that the book keeps pointing out that they’re not related (they’re not) (otherwise I wouldn’t have read it)

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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

adorkable

Adorkable– yeesh this did not start out too well. Partly cos it embraced the trope where adults are (FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON) constantly trying to set up their teenage children. It’s a weird one, cos I’d like to know how often parents are desperate on behalf of their kids that aren’t out of high school yet. Also, this amped this up by throwing a (peculiar) friend into the mix- aptly named Hooker cos she can’t stop trying to hook her friend up with dates (do-ya-get-it?). Other than that, it also played up the LOOK-HOW-KOOKY-THE-PROTAGONIST-IS trope, such as having her slip into German at random intervals and explaining obvious references (hate to break it to you, but X Men/Superheroes are pretty mainstream). For me that was try-hard. Anyhoo- I know this might come as a surprise, considering I’ve done nothing but be critical, I thought it was pretty enjoyable:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness- sampler- sooo I’m in a weird position with this book cos I’ve been sitting on the review for close to a month now… and I still have no idea when I’m going to get *my explosion of thoughts* together for it. And since I got a snippet off netgalley, it kinda makes sense to do a snippet size review before I get into *all the spoilers*. Basically, I ended up liking it a lot less than I expected and took a while to wade through it. Then I had to wait forever for the monkey baby to finish it so I could discuss it with her. The only completely positive thing I can say about this is that I still like the writing style. Everything else… I had issues with. That’s not to say I outright hated it- but that all the components left me feeling increasingly  d i v i d e d. Hence why I’m conflicted about it now. So ahead of my full thoughts, I’m just gonna go ahead and give it:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Okay there wasn’t that much love in this post- especially cos I’ve already done full reviews for the three books I adored this month- so if you want to read my thoughts on Cruel Prince, Winter of the Witch and Wolf in the Whale be my guest 😉

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

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63 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February: Feeling a Little Love

  1. Emma's Library says:

    I tried reading Queen of Air and Darkness at the beginning of January and really struggled with it. I only got somewhere around the 150 page mark before deciding to DNF and admit that the Emma/Julian drama is just not for me. I wish I could have liked it because I did flick through and squeal with joy at a few later scenes but I wasn’t really on board with the rest of it. It’s a huge shame because I liked the previous books and still love the Shadowhunter world. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I totally understand that- both me and my sister struggled with the length (I read quicker and it took a week, my sister took 3). I really wasn’t crazy about the emma/julian drama. Yeah it is a real pity cos I used to be super into the shadowhunter universe, but at this stage I’m done with it :/ *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emma's Library says:

        It wasn’t really the length I had issues with. It was more the story as a whole. I think if there are more books to do with the characters and events in this book, I’m done, however I’m still interested in Chain of Gold and The Alec/Magnus book due out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          I completely understand that- that was the reason I had a problem with the length 😉 (if I’d been interested in the story, it wouldn’t have felt like such a slog to get through 😉 ) Totally get that- honestly I’m done with all of them, but I can understand wanting to read more.

          Like

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Great reviews for these books, though it’s a shame some of them were more mixed for you. So far I’ve only seen five-star review for Starfish but it was interesting reading your thoughts on what you didn’t enjoy so much. I still have Queen of Air and Darkness on my TBR list, along with the rest of The Dark Artifices books. I’ll be looking forwards to seeing your full review for that one. I’ll just have to make sure to avoid the spoilers. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! Yeah I can see why people liked that one- for me it just didn’t click quite as much as I’d have liked and read things I prefer, but it’s still a good book. Fair enough! Considering how long it’s taken me to get to the review, you might read it by the time I ever get to it 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beware Of The Reader says:

    OMG Queen of Air and Darkness gets so few bananas! LOL I loved it but I like reading controversial reviews. Sorry it was not better though as this is a big book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    I had basically the same thoughts regarding Crazy Rich Asians – a fun book but not exactly a new favorite. And I also thought the movie improved it so much! I haven’t read the other books in this post but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anovelglimpse says:

    Crazy Rich Asians — I liked it, but I could have done without all of the clothing descriptions and that kind of thing. I also just watched the movie and LOVED it! It translated to the big screen so well. I actually kind of want to watch it a second time.
    I’m sad you didn’t like Adorkable more. That one was so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah I’m in the complete same boat- I could’ve done without those descriptions too and it really worked as a film 😀 Me too!!
      Ah fair enough- I think I spent more time complaining about it than it deserved 😉 I still enjoyed it overall! So I hear you there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. alilovesbooks says:

    Thank you for the heads up on American Panda. It popped up on overdrive and I’ve been very tempted but I’m a total germophobe and sympathetic puker who gets grossed out by everything so I suspect it may not be for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. daleydowning says:

    I felt exactly the same about Starfish – the gross incompetence shown by the father especially just made me want to scream. The ending, in my view, was far too anti-climatic and what could have been just explosive and so amazing finished with a whimper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Seriously glad I’m not the only one there! I was especially frustrated that he didn’t get any of the blame. I mean, it’s okay that the focus was on the mother, but there should have been at least *some* criticism of the father. And yeah, I totally get what you mean about it finishing on a whimper.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    This is a series of seriously “meh” reads.

    Oh god the whole kooky protagonist situation sounds incredibly annoying. It is the ultimate try hard when your only way of injecting personality into a character is via unrealistic tics that totally take you out of the story.

    I have neither watched or read Crazy Rich Asians, but I’ve heard a lot of people say they preferred the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Marie says:

    Congratulations on the followers, yay! You’re incredible, you deserve it so much 😍
    I loved your reviews and I’m glad you overall liked crazy rich asians, I also prefered the movie to the book, but I found both so much fun to read and I think I’ll continue the series too 🙂
    Wonderful reviews 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lucindablogs says:

    Yay, congratulations on 4500 followers and 700 posts! You’re basically book blogging royalty now ☺

    Aww, it’s a shame that none of your mini reviewed books were amazing, although Crazy Rich Asians does look like fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. snowlyramble says:

    I haven’t read the book yet but I thoroughly enjoyed the Crazy Rich Asians movies too! The pacing was a bit weird but it was so cutesy and made me feel so happy after 🙂 If I watch a movie before the book I usually tend to enjoy the movie more, so it might take me a while to get round to the original novel 😛
    Your reviews are always written so concisely, I love them 🙂

    Like

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