Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – March ON!

monthly mini reviews version 2

Hello all! I’ve had a bit of an interesting, non-stop, busy month. Unfortunately, I had some computer-related-frustration- which messed with blogging (again! I’m sorry!). Fortunately it’s all resolved now and I also did manage to get round to seeing lots of family and friends and doing plenty of monkeying around…

monkey's tea party

(yes, I have just been waiting for the excuse to draw a monkey’s tea party 😉 )

In terms of reading, February started out even more slumpy, until I picked up the *earth-shattering* Wild Swans (review to come), and got my reading-mojo back! So, let’s get on with the reviews!


Recursion– I really liked the premise of people suddenly finding they had false memories and it was especially cool to see it presented as a contagious disease. Initially, I was raring to go and got sucked into the distinctive dual perspectives. Now I will admit, I didn’t feel like this momentum carried through the whole book. For me, the middle flagged as (minor spoiler) it lacked tension when I knew that the characters could go back and erase parts of the story. Fortunately, it did get exciting again towards the finale and ended on a beautiful note. Not as good as Dark Matter, but still an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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

the stranger

The Stranger– what an intense and brilliant little book. With a compact style, that captures every detail like a snapshot, Camus’ existential novel simultaneously delivers clarity and is impossible to pin down. On the surface, it allows us to see through the eyes of a man accidentally drawn into a murder. Yet, this doesn’t just present us with a guilty man, but instead shows us a man condemned for his honesty. All of this is delivered with a lightness of touch and a hint of black humour. Uniquely fascinating and refreshingly insightful, it is a short book that packs a punch. I also have to give props to the translator, Sandra Smith, because it was very well done.

Rating: 5/5 bananas


book of atrix wolfe

The Book of Atrix Wolfe– well, I’ve finally done it- I’ve finally caved to the McKillip recommendation (courtesy of Bookstooge, among others) AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!! This is so gosh-darn beautiful. Written with such ease, there’s a magic to this style. This is the best kind of old school fantasy: it has the mythical edge and dreamlike quality I crave. Because of the fairy-tale-feel, there were times that the style felt a little distant, but I’d definitely say McKillip is something special regardless and am looking forward to reading more!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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

winter rose

Winter Rose– obviously I wasn’t content to leave it at just one McKillip book and I was drawn to this almost immediately. An unusual tale, told in a uniquely compelling voice, I was once again lulled by the beauty of McKillip’s writing. More so even than Atrix Wolfe, there was a fairy tale element to the story- yet here it felt like there was less of a fantastical scope and more of a focus on personal stories. I will admit there were some aspects that left my heart panging, which prevented me from giving it all the bananas. Ultimately however, this emotional journey, through a wintry wood, gave me chills.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


what the wind knows

What the Wind Knows– I was instantly intrigued by the concept of this book: a woman travelling back in time to discover her ancestral heritage… as a fan of history, romance and fantasy, it sounded very promising! But, not always having enjoyed genre-benders and being a bit of a stickler for historical accuracy, I did have some trepidation going in. Fortunately, this surpassed all my expectations. Even with the hint of magic, it’s got the historical realism down. Drawing on real life events and people, Harmon guides the reader back into an authentic and believable past. The writing was graceful and captured the Irish setting; the inclusion of Yeats’ extracts really worked to evoke the themes. I definitely felt for the characters throughout and found that everything came together in the end. All in all, well worth the read.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


american royals

American Royals– OMG I knew I was going to have fun with this from the second I heard the concept- but this book can take a bow- cos it was even more royally entertaining than I was expecting! Set in an alternative version of the USA, where instead of a presidency, George Washington became the first king of America, this tells the story of modern-day royals. Think the Crown meets Gossip Girl. From the prologue, it promised to be a juicy read, and it doesn’t let up throughout! In a rompy, fun fashion, this packs in plenty of drama, schemes and romance. I *loved* how authentic the world felt- capturing something of the modern monarchy and American politics. And if all that sounds good to you, I highly recommend picking it up!

Rating: 4/5 bananas


heartstopper 1

heartstopper 2

Heartstopper volumes 1 & 2– well be still my beating heart, this was exceptionally cute. This charming story does exactly what it says on the tin: gives you heart palpitations. The romance was sweet and they were quick reads- so much so that I did think that in both cases there could have been more to the plot- but ultimately, I very much enjoyed them. I also especially liked the links to Radio Silence. And, above all, the artwork was gorgeous!

Rating: 4/5 bananas


wilder girls

Wilder Girls– It’s safe to say I went near wild for this book 😉 The writing was sharp and to the point, stripped down to the essentials in an exquisite way. Reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, rather than a direct retelling, the story presents twisted concepts that turn the girl’s school setting on its head. I loved how the subtle characterisation worked and the relationships build over the pages. Plotwise, it was gripping and thought-provoking, yet something held me back from absolutely loving the ending. I guess I liked revelling in the chaos more than some of the answers 😉 Even so, really recommend this for everyone that’s been missing YA dystopia. And I would like to take a moment to appreciate that gorgeous cover- cos *WOW*!

Rating: 4/5 bananas


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!

39 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – March ON!

  1. I never loved The Stranger (L’Etranger) by Albert Camus LOL But I loved What the Wind Knows! I am a huge fan of Amy Harmon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad the McKillip books worked out for you. If you liked both of them, then you’ll have a good time with everything else she’s written. At least you have a bunch of her stuff to work through. Thanks for the shout out too. Appreciate it 😀

    The only Camus I’ve read was The Plague and that was enough for me. Glad you enjoyed your read but as for me and my house, no more Camus 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed Winter Rose when I read it many moons ago, though I don’t remember much about it now. I think I’d like to re-read it. I didn’t know the premise of American Royals before, but it sounds fun! I’m glad to hear you liked it, makes me think I might enjoy it also.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Monkey baby is back and cuter than ever!

    I am so glad you are planning to review Wild Swans.

    The only one on this list that I’ve read is The Stranger. My impression was that the narrator is basically a sociopath. Some of the others you’ve reviewed sound interesting, especially Atrix Wolf and Wilder Girls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe!! Glad you thought so!

      Yeah I had to do that one a bit more in depth

      Oh yeah I was sort of assuming something similar (I spent a lot of the book trying to diagnose him… Not that I’m qualified to do that 😉) bit it still raised interesting thoughts. Oh definitely recommend atrix Wolfe! I thought wilder girls was well written (though I imagine that one being more hit or miss)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha I am not qualified to diagnose anyone either. I first read The Stranger as a teen and was pretty self-absorbed, just like the narrator, so I just found the book confusing and unpleasant. Read it again a year or two ago and noticed that he doesn’t seem to have normal human empathy at all. It’s clearest when he’s interacting with his girlfriend.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the monkey tea party that you drew! 🌼🌺🌸❤️

    Sorry you had some computer issues…those so bite! Glad you got it worked out. My computer stopped working in the middle of my writing my first book and wow….it was so frustrating! But it worked out ok too…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great reviews — and I love your tea party!! So cute. I loved Recursion, and I’m really interested in reading the Heartstopper books. Looks like you had quite a month!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. McGee surpassed my expectations with American Royals. I flew through that book, and was so sad when it ended. And, how dramatic and cinematic was that ending? I need book 2 like yesterday

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You honestly read such a wide variety of books, and I’m a little bit in awe 😍
    I’m so glad that you enjoyed American Royals! Everyone who has read it so far has mentioned that it contains a lot of fun drama, and I’m so excited to read it when I’m in the mood for just that!
    Also, I read Heartstopper last month too, and it was so cute. Whenever I think of it, I can only come up with the word cute 😍 it did lack substance besides being a feel-good story though, so that’s why I couldn’t give it a full five stars.
    I agree that Wilder Girls’ cover is STUNNING. It’s honestly so eye-catching and green is my favorite color, so that’s more reason to love it!! Sadly, I was a little disappointed by the story because of the ending, & I feel like I wasn’t really the audience for it. But I loved that the author didn’t shy away from depicting gore & darkness!
    Great reviews as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe thank you!
      I did- it was such a fun book!! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it 😀
      It really was!! Haha I know what you mean!! And yeah that’s what I found as well- same!
      It really is!! I absolutely love it! Yeah that’s what I felt as well- I admired enough aspects to still get something out of it, but I agree that it wasn’t perfect.
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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