Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – January: “There’s a million things I haven’t done…”

monthly mini reviews version 2

🎵 …but just you wait… 🎵

Okay, if you haven’t guessed already, last month I went to Hamilton! And YES I want to sing its praises! Because, *wow*, I’ve not seen many things that have the power to reduce an entire audience to tears.

hamilton

Anyhoo, unfortunately for me, that title does have a bit of a double meaning, cos I’ve been very busy, not done a lot of blogging lately and you may have to wait around a little while 😉 As a lot of you know, I moved last month, and that was fine… until it wasn’t 😉 It didn’t help that I was without internet for large parts of the month. Plus, you know, end of the year running around. So, I’m trying to catch up (gonna try posting less to make more time). Thank you so much for all the well-wishers who wrote such sweet messages on my last monthly minis post- and please bear with me- I’ll be back to my usual bananas-self in no time 😉

children of blood and bone

Children of Blood and Bone– well this is why I often skip the splashy YA titles these days- cos I found this just okay. While there some nice twists and turns to the story, it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before (*especially if you’ve watched Avatar). The weakest point for me was the characters. Even though this is a hefty tome, I still managed to feel like the characterisation was not given room to breathe. Inan was by far the most interesting character… and yet, even with his internal conflict, I didn’t feel like his character was handled well (highlight for spoilers: dude legit murdered someone and burned a village to the ground!!). Sure I’d have been up for him getting some kind of redemption arc, but he actually needed to be given time to redeem himself and I don’t think he was right for the role of Love Interest! This was definitely a case of characters being led by the plot, not the other way around. Especially with regards to Zelie, who seemed to just hold the position of Typical Heroine. That said, I did fly through it. And the world building was something special- definitely the star of the show for me. Largely, I think this was just a victim of being too hyped and didn’t have that spark I expected it to. Still, while this isn’t a gamechanger, I can see why fans of YA fantasy would enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

truths and triumphs of grace atherton

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton– okay, for starters, I’ve no idea why this was compared to Eleanor Oliphant in the description- because that’s not what this is. Yes, the heroine is an oddball… but that’s about where the similarities end. Grace may be strange, but she’s also unlikeable, self-centred, a music snob, uppity and difficult. It also wasn’t particularly heart-warming- not when so much of the plot revolves around cheating. Spoiler-that’s-not-really-a-spoiler: unsurprisingly the married man who cheats on his wife is a skeezeball- who’d have thunk it? 😉 I wasn’t particularly blown away by the friendships either- it feels more like everyone is there to help Grace out of her self-made problems and like she doesn’t do much for anyone else. Bad comps aside, this wasn’t terrible, it was fine. Plus, I did learn about cellos (though I refuse to spell it with an apostrophe- that’s too wanky, even for me).

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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toffee

Toffee– toffee really is the perfect metaphor for this book. This deals with some tough topics- including dementia and abuse- which can be tricky to chew on. BUT I defy anyone not to melt when confronted with this story. There is a soft edge to this hard narrative and I found it incredibly moving and very sweet. The writing style contained a bit too much fragmentation for my liking- but ultimately this was a solid book and worth reading for YA contemporary fans. I can see why it’s lauded.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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mrs dalloway

Mrs Dalloway– this one’s not easy to review… it certainly wasn’t easy to read! I will start by saying that I get why Woolf chose the stream of consciousness style for this- it gives the narrative a sense of urgency and movement and immediacy. And perhaps one could argue that this is more conducive to an intense emotional reaction… though that wasn’t my experience of the book in the slightest- cos I didn’t enjoy it at all. While the language was undoubtedly beautiful, especially with regards to imagery, it was so disjointed that it wasn’t even a remotely pleasant reading experience. Sometimes sentences meandered off in meaningless directions; headhopping felt like part of the course. It felt like I was witnessing a slice of chaos- and personally I prefer a little order to (even artistic) chaos. Because of this, it largely felt incoherent and irritating to me. And for that reason, I just couldn’t give it any more than:

Rating: 1½/5 bananas

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

Ah well, I’ve now finally finished the damn thing and can unhaul it 😉

dead voices.png

Dead Voices- I enjoyed this sequel more than I expected- especially considering how well the first one worked as a standalone. But this did exactly what a successful sequel should, mostly focusing on characters, giving them room to grow. The plot played out like a perfect game of chess and I really appreciated the solution. I felt like the Small Spaces was more focused on an emotional resolution, whereas this was a little more brainy. Plus, this got *bonus points* for maintaining that SuPeR CrEePy atmosphere.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So, have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Or do you plan to pick any of them up? Let me know in the comments!

58 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – January: “There’s a million things I haven’t done…”

  1. I was so out of the loop that I either didn’t know you were moving or completely forgot. I am sorry it didn’t go so smoothly, it’s already a pretty stressful process in general. Take as much time as you need to catch up and get back into it. I feel you a lot on the splashy YA title front … so many of them feel mediocre once I get to them? Anyway, looks like a mixed bag of reads, but that’s how it often goes. Great mini reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s okay! No worries- things have calmed down now at least 🙂 Thank you! That’s kind of you! ❤ Yeah I really feel like that as well- I think I've done a pretty good job of avoiding them… for the most part. But there are still some I end up picking up. And yeah it was a bit. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a flair for minis 😉. I haven’t read any of these – I hardly read popular YA titles (mostly underhyped ones that should be popular but don’t get the right marketing LOL), and fantasy and straight-up contemporary aren’t my jam. I’ve read some Woolf, but not that one – actually, I read To the Lighthouse for one of my courses when I was at uni, and I enjoyed it. I understand that stream of consciousness is not for everyone though.

    Congrats on your move! I hope things will get back to normal soon!

    Roberta R. @ Offbeat YA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you- that’s really kind of these! That’s fair! And seems like a good thing to do! Ah I’m glad you liked that one- I can understand people liking it, it’s just that the style isn’t for me.

      Thank you! I hope so!

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone except for Inan as the love interest. Lol. I felt that storyline was really forced. I’m looking forward to the sequel but some how my initial enthusiasm has waned. Maybe it was too long in between releases 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read Mrs Dalloway years ago…and promptly gave up on Woolf! I understood it, but I HATED the character and the author by the end!

    Children of Blood and Bone was one of my biggest disappointments of 2018! I was so looking forward to it – and rarely do I get sucked into hype – but the fact it boiled down to characters with rich backgrounds running around on a bunch of pointless subplots and not getting properly developed did me in! I won’t read the sequel, which still makes me sad! There was such potential for this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I understood it- but I didn’t like it either!!

      And yeah it was a disappointing read. I didn’t hate it, but it just wasn’t as good as a lot of people said it was (imo). And yeah that’s basically what I felt as well. I definitely agree that there was a lot of potential- the world and ideas behind it were really good- it just could’ve done with more development!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahhhhhhh you got to see Hamilton!!!! I listen to that soundtrack all of the time, I can’t wait to see it if/when it comes to Australia. I felt the same way as you with Children of Blood and Bone. I am definitely going to read the next book, although I have unfortunately only seen negative reviews for it so far :-/ I haven’t read any of the other books you mentioned, but they were great reviews. Awesome post as always, and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you’re settled now. I enjoyed The Children of Blood and Bone. But I can see why it didn’t work for you and yes Inan was not good choice for romance. Interesting character but his conflict sometimes were irritating. I hoped he might make the right choice in the end but it turned out shocking. (is saying that a spoiler?) Great reviews!
    x Yesha

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad to hear that the moving is settling down, hope all continues to go well! Yasssss to Hamilton! I saw it in 2018 and I honestly just loved it so much, I’ve never been back to the theatre to something twice but for Hamilton I truly will because I loved it so much. I think I have the full soundtrack downloaded now.

    I just couldn’t get on board with The Children of Blood and Bone which was a shame because I actually followed Tomi Adeyemi’s writing advice videos which were brilliant so I wanted so badly to love it but just couldn’t. In the end it was a DNF for me 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Ahh that’s so cool!! It was incredible! I completely get what you mean!! And I loved the music before- but now I can’t stop listening to it!!

      And yeah I was really disappointed by that as well- I had high hopes! But I just didn’t click with it as much as I wanted to either.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for these. I haven’t read any of them, but you’ve gotten me interested in a few.

    I’ve been meaning to get to Children of Blood and Bone because I understand it’s set in a fictional, African-type world based on some good research into African mythology and I love that kind of thing and I’m glad someone is doing it, but have been saving it for when I was ready to get my head into that world. After your review, I still plan to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading!

      Yeah I loved the African-fantasy setting- it was the strongest aspect of the book for sure- so I do recommend it for that reason! I think it could be helpful for really immersing yourself in that world 🙂

      Like

  9. I felt so similarly about COBAB, and COVAV was more of the same, but with less pages, so even less development than before. I’m honestly not sure I’m going to continue on with the series, which is such a bummer because it had so much potential.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love Mrs. Dalloway, but it’s a style I have to get used to, so I typically read other post-modern stuff before reading my favorites. It’s like when you’re getting in a pool and it’s way too cold. You go in bit by bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay! Congrats on seeing Hamilton! That’s one of my wishes these days lol. And I’ve been afraid of starting Children of Blood and Bone myself. I’ve had it on my shelf for a couple years now but I’ve just been unsure of whether or not I’d actually like it. I bought it off the hype, but I don’t think it’s my type of book. But I’ll give it a try some day…It’s nice to know I might be in the same boat with you if I don’t totally fall in love with it haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I loved it!! I feel so lucky that I got to go and hope you get the chance to go!! 😀 Ah I get that- I think I’m in the same boat. I liked the sound of certain aspects… but don’t read very much YA fantasy anymore, so I can’t really blame the book for it not being my thing. There were some really good parts about it though- I especially liked the world building! hehe!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Take your time to settle everything (or most things, at least) and don’t forget to take some time to relax too! It’ll be fun to have you back again, but maybe you should take it slow for now! Children of Blood and Bone has been hyped up so much that I’ve lost any desire to read it for the time being. Looked up Small Spaces and it sounds thrilling (and spooky)! Dead Voices sounds frightening too, I’ll have to read them some time (or anything by Katherine Arden really).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If anything, I’m even more drawn to Mrs Dalloway now for curiosity’s sake. She comes across as very relatable, from what I read from the preview, and I’m quite excited to see how the artistic chaotic mess pans out.

    Liked by 1 person

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