Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – January 2021: A New Year Update!

Hello all! We did it! We made it to 2021!

Not to be totally underwhelming after that, but I don’t have a whole lot to report about the start of 2021. I do want to check in and give a quick New Year’s Update about my blogging plans for 2021… which are essentially that I’ve not made any plans. Basically, in the dread year that was 2020, I didn’t give myself much time off from anything… which has led to me being pretty burnt out and wanting to do things a bit differently. I just don’t know what that means as of yet 😉 There will likely be fewer posts in January while I figure things out.

Tiny Pretty Things– I appreciated some things about this as an adaptation, since it was a good take on the book (which admittedly I didn’t enjoy all that much). Think Pretty Little Liars– but with some cool dance sequences. For a TV show, it’s not bad at all. Plus, if you need some crazy teen drama in your life, then this is for you. And, what’s great is that you won’t have to wait goodness knows how many seasons for the mystery to be solved. The one thing that really bugged me was how this portrayed ballet as some right-wing bastion… which, c’mon, really? *eye roll* Suffice to say, it’s a pretty left-wing industry… though I guess that wouldn’t have fit with the America-bashing the show was going for. Alas, everything in TV has to have a smidgen of *I hate the West* propaganda these days.  

Bridgertonthis was the perfect pulpy tv to watch over Christmas break (and third lockdown *sigh*). It’s basically Gossip Girl in Regency England! Well, an alternate history version of Regency England (and even then it requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief). Either way, I was hooked cos this packed in the DRAMA! There’s fake-dating and hate-to-love here. There’s light-hearted fun and stress and *emotions*. And there’s a mystery (that thankfully we’re not left in the dark about for season 2… oh please TV gods give me a season 2!). I actually read the book because of this and had some issues with it… suffice to say this was better!

Fire Child– I picked this up, cos I loved Ice Twins when I read it a couple of years ago. This was good… but not as good. It had a lot of the same strong elements: the creepily remote location, the strong writing, the growing intrigue. The one thing that stopped me from loving it quite as much was the odd ending. It worked… just about… maybe. It made sense of somethings, but it was also a bit far-fetched. Ah well, I guess I liked the journey, if not the destination.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Accidentally in Love- oh my goodness, this had the worst. love. interest. ever. Everything about him was unpleasant- he’s mocking, rude and snobbish. And turns all this around on her to say “we’re the same!!” Just the dream guy for every gal, amiright? I just don’t understand how the main character fell for him. While this was objectively just the kind of fun-ride romance I should have just leaned back and appreciated, I just couldn’t root for this couple because the male lead was SO AWFUL! Also, this won the award for weirdest metaphor of the month- why would you say you’re “pacing like an expectant father” about a potential love interest coming over? That conjures a strange image.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Roanoke Girls– okay this is not usually the type of book I like. Well, I didn’t enjoy it, but in this case, that’s the point. It’s little literary, mystery. Though it’s not really a puzzle you have to solve- it’s far more about discovering the trauma and characters coming to understand it. It was superbly written and completely disturbing- the kind of book I wish I hadn’t read in public, because it kept making me jump. And while it’s not technically horror, horrifying is the only way to describe it. It made my blood run cold.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Keeper of the Lost Cities– don’t let the rating fool you- I liked this a lot. It was a very easy and enjoyable read. It’s a great start to an MG series about a girl that discovers she is an elf and gets to join their secret world. That said, there were things that bugged me. My biggest issue was that, although the protagonist Sophie has bundles of personality, she also had far too many abilities. There’s literally nothing she can’t do- and for me that leaves her teetering on special snowflake-dom. And while there were enough mysteries, action and the promise of very real danger to keep me reading through the first book, I doubt I’d pick up the rest of the series because of that. I just prefer the kind of protagonists that have more flaws and fewer talents. I’d still recommend it if you want to try more MG fantasy- though it’s not a complete winner for me.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments! Hope you all have a good New Year!

32 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – January 2021: A New Year Update!

  1. Dudette, EVERYONE knows that Ballet is a the stronghold from which Right Wing Libertarians quest out into the greater world to take over everything. Why do you think the USSR controlled it so tightly? And why do you think they REALLY fell apart? Yep, the ballet dancers got out of hand….

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  2. I wanted to like Tiny Pretty Things. I felt like I needed a silly mystery to get into, but it didn’t capture my attention for some reason. I watched the first 2 episodes. Maybe I’ll give it another try at some point.
    I enjoyed Bridgerton though. I feel like I’ve been needing escapist TV lately, and it delivered!

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  3. I liked Bridgerton, as well, though I have no plans to read the books because it’s the sort of thing I tend to like better in film. Also I’ve read some things were changed for the TV series, and I guess in my (biased, never having read the book) mind, it’s better with the changes.

    Krysta LOVES Keeper of the Lost Cities, but I just thought it was fine.

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    1. I think that’s fair- definitely leave the book if you don’t enjoy reading that sort of thing (I occasionally liked things in this genre… but whoa I didn’t like the Duke and I). And it is most definitely better with the changes.

      Ah yes- I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

      Like

  4. Okay, so part of what I enjoy (and also sometimes hate) about Keeper of the Lost Cities is how ridiculous it is. Sophie has tons of abilities. She’s pretty. She’s popular. She gets to break rules with impunity. She has at least four potential love interests. It’s like a Mary Sue taken to the extreme and then some. It only gets worse as the series goes on. (No, seriously, she is going to get even more abilities.)

    What makes it worse is that series keeps expanding, so the author is clearly making up stuff now and the plot doesn’t even make sense. I think we’ve cycled through at least three villains and now plot elements are repeating. And I don’t even know who the enemy is anymore, what their plan is, or why Sophie wants to stop them (because…wait. What is their plan? We just know it has to be evil because they are the villains?) I don’t pretend the books are well-written, but I think they’re entertaining! I do think it’s time for the series to finally end, though. I lost patience at book 8.5. Just finish the series and write a companion series, already!

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    1. Hahaha ok- well that’s good to know, cos I could tolerate it in the first book… but I think it’d drive me bananas if it kept expanding 😉 But I get it, some things like that can work. It’s the ultimate fantasy/wish fulfilment… but it personally it really puts me off books.

      Ah that’s a shame about the author writing the plot on the fly, cos it did seem intriguing and like there was an end goal (which also is something I prefer). Oh that’s fair! I definitely had a good time reading it, but I had some niggling issues and thought that there was a strong chance I wouldn’t like the rest- so thanks for the heads up! Yeah it’s a pity she didn’t just call it a day and do a companion series.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting round up! You make Accidentally In Love sounds like a book I’d dislike, so thanks for the warning! Who needs such an unpleasant love interest? I loved Bridgerton. Sigh… I’ve given into temptation and have read the first book in the series since finishing the TV series!

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  6. How brave of you to read The Duke and I, because I only heard dreadful things about it. Not to say that Bridgerton was perfect, but I think they did their best at improving the source material haha I also read up on what would happen in S2, which I am quite sure they will get (?) and I hope they change a bit of that ridiculousness too … cause otherwise I am gonna have some issues.

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    1. haha yeah that was a mistake (well maybe, I guess it means I can continue with the series which apparently gets better? Fortunately I have 6 months to make up my mind, since the waitlist at the library is really long and there’s no way I’m paying for one of those books after the first one!) Ahh yes! hehe yeah that’d be good.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I started reading Accidentally In Love in September and I just randomly stopped reading out of nowhere because I didn’t like the story line? At times I even thought it was irritating. Hope I’ll be able to finish it one day though.

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