Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – April

monthly mini reviews version 2

Gosh I swear every month feels like three right now. On the *massive plus* side, I did get some brilliant bookish swag courtesy of the lovely Lotte @the Reading Hobbit! Thank you so much to her and if you guys are looking for some great content from someone with excellent taste (especially if you’re a massive fan of the Hobbit like I am 😉 ) then look no further!

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I also thought I’d had a not-so-great reading month and not read much- I guess I did better than I thought 😉

a view from the bridge

A View from the Bridge– well, I felt a little conflicted about this play- cos while it’s well written, it gets inside your head… and I’m not sure that’s such a good thing. Especially since the protagonist was a complete perv and there are some icky elements. A fair amount of that is implied- but, even so, it’s hard to read at times. Still, it gave a surprisingly complex view of immigrating- showing a clash of cultures, the visceral reaction to migration and the element of second generation immigrants “pulling up the ladder” so to speak. Ultimately, the story is one of betrayal- however it does also exemplify a poor community, with people struggling to get work, ergo showing why this conflict exists. Evidently, this gave me some food for thought:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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a curse so dark and lonely

A Curse so Dark and Lonely- there was quite a lot to like about this book. For starters, I liked the toughness of the mc and how her cerebral palsy was treated. Plus, the line that her name, Harper, has “edges” was a brilliant piece of characterisation. And the epic finale was *epic*. The curse was interesting as well- especially since it affected everyone in the kingdom and it was an good take on Beauty and the Beast… but I still couldn’t get to grips with the world. For some reason or other, I didn’t feel like it captured my imagination. Also minor spoilers, there was this random plot point of the mc making up a country, in order to impersonate a princess. As Briana from Pages Unbound pointed out in a great post, there are reasons this can make sense- however, for me, it didn’t make sense to point out the flaw so often (pointing out a flaw doesn’t eliminate it) *and* I thought there should have been consequences for this deception. Some colour was added by Grey- particularly at the end- though I don’t think it was enough for me to carry on with the series.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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poems to live your life by

Poems to live your life by– or one man’s personal favourites. I don’t think all the poems in here are brilliant to be honest. I personally liked 40% of them- and I’d read nearly all the ones I liked before. That said, the illustrations were gorgeous- and this is Chris Riddell’s strength. It makes for a really pretty book and would make a lovely gift. I did think it ended on a wonderful yet nihilistic note- the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth is not necessarily an extract I’d use to conclude a collection of poems to live your life by, but o-kay…

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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josh and hazel's guide to not dating

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating– I’ll be honest, when this started I had no idea how the romance would proceed, cos when it started the couple seemed ill-matched. I also didn’t know what to make of Hazel… actually, I’m still not sure and I’ve finished the book. She’s a little… too weird (and that’s saying something coming from me 😉). The romance didn’t give me butterflies, but it was cute, funny and won me over. Also Winnie the Poodle is the best dog name ever. One important note is that it’s not YA- cos I’ve seen it mistaken that way online.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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the alchemist

Alchemist– I had mixed feelings about this too. While it had some poetic moments, I’d estimate it held about 50% truth, 50% nonsense. There were lines like this:

–          “when you want something all the universe conspires for you to get it”- frankly this is patently untrue- and it often feels like the opposite.

However, there were also some truthful points like these:

–          “They were seeking the treasure without having to live out their destiny”

–          “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure”

Because of these life-affirming and hopeful messages, it makes me not want to critique it too harshly. It also did pick up when the boy meets his love and had some cute elements like the idea true love won’t keep you from your destiny. I also liked the idea (however obvious) that treasure is back where you left it. I did like the positivity of the story- however it also had a massive dose of orientalism that is kinda cringey nowadays.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

64 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – April

  1. ^^ Ohmygosh thank you for the compliment and I’m glad you like the goodies 🙂 Arthur Miller’s work really is good at giving mixed feelings. I had to read Death of a Salesman once and I’ve never been able to decide what I think of it, but it DID stick with me! I’never read A View From the Bridge and I’m not sure that I want to 😛 (I do love reading plays though, definitely should pick up more :P)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised every time someone likes The Alchemist. It felt to me like a Arabian Nights wannabe meets self-help. I wish I liked his books, but Coelho just isn’t for me. That being said, it’s always nice to see Brazilian authors being read! 🙂

    That bag is GORGEOUS!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t mean to scare you off! I only read this one book by him. And it depends a lot on the reader if you like the book or not… so since you like this one, I think you’ll like the others 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh no, not just you! But sometimes it’s hard to start something fresh. Like watching a great old movie like Citizen Kane, is hard to ignore the various reactions, which can sort of, threaten your experience of the artwork. Chances are I’ll hate Coelho anyway, it was a recommendation by someone who I think it’s a bit dim

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Good point about pointing out the flaw. There was an E D Baker book I read once that kept doing this (maybe the Frog Princess one?), and my recurring thought was definitely that pointing out that the plot was stupid didn’t make it less stupid

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thanks- I’m really glad you agree. And yeah I see a few books doing it (usually for character/romance issues) and I get why authors do it, but it’s more like patching up the problem with a plaster rather than actually fixing it.

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  4. I understand how The Alchemist is not for everyone. I read it during high school and until today is one of my favorite reads. I always enjoy reading other people’s perspective when it comes to a book I love – makes me see details that I didn’t see at first. ps; that bag is so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That swaaaag! ❤ Oh my goodness, I got heart palpitations 😉

    I saw that Chris Riddell poetry compendium in the book store a few months ago and thumbed through it. I had regrets for not buying it then, so your review has made me feel MUCH better about not purchasing it, haha! I also wouldn't end a collection of poems to live one's life by with Macbeth o.O THAT was a choice!

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  6. Oh gosh look at your beautiful book swag!

    I’ve not read The Alchemist but it’s one of those books that I always think I should have read. It sounds a bit pretentious though so I think I’ll avoid it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhhh the book swag, amazing, I love it SO much! ❤
    I'm sorry you didn't entirely fall in love with A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I've heard great things about this book. I still might give it a try sometime 🙂 Lovely reviews! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “When you want something all the universe conspires for you to get it” also reminds me of Ted Mosby, he said something very similar. I don’t believe it’s an entirely true statement, but I still appreciate its message: be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want and let the world know that so it knows what you’ll accept and what you won’t. With such generalised sayings, quite naturally, in a logical sense, it won’t always apply to every situation. But I agree that the book, at least half of it, did feel like nonsense. But I’m still looking forward to reading Like a Flowing River. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, you’re completely right!! I never would’ve thought of it! I think that’s a good way to look at it and I get what you mean. Fair enough- I think there are some truths in there as well though. Thank you!

      Like

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