Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – Sleeping Through to September 2021!

Hello all! I don’t know about you, but August was a bit of a blur. I’ve been so busy that I couldn’t even say where the month went. What I can say for certain is that I enjoyed getting rained on in Rye 😉 Such a cute town, with quaint architecture and lovely places to eat! 😊

Okay, moving on to tv and movies… which I didn’t watch much- except rewatching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (delightfully bonkers) and Cruella (delightfully wicked! Loved the aesthetic and music!)

Which just leaves me with the books I read!

Thursday Murder Club– this was just as fun as I thought it would be! Centred around a group of seniors who investigate cold cases, this quirky crime novel was absolutely delightful. What I most appreciated about it was how much heart it had. I liked the way that clues were used to tell individual stories, fleshing out characters, rather than simply moving the plot forward. One was so beautiful, it made me cry. I also liked how (almost) everything came together at the end, linking the ending to the beginning. A lot of fun and worth listening to on audio!  

Rating: 4½ bananas

Nightingale– Read this if you want your heart broken a million times over. This was a moving wonderfully done WW2 novel, focusing on the occupation in France. I listened to this on audiobook and was actually crying in the street because of it! And I didn’t even care! I just wanted my beloved characters to make it through to the end. The descriptions were so powerful and immersive, I felt like I was living their story. An absolutely beautiful read.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

A Kind of Spark– this MG book was simply perfect! The story of an autistic eleven-year-old who just wants to get justice for women who were persecuted in witch trials. In many ways, it reminded me of Wonder, telling kids okay to be different and stand out. I loved how this focused on friendship and family. A must-read for children and adults alike! 😊

Rating: 5/5 bananas

The Familiars– hubble bubble toil and trouble- this historical fiction had more than a hint of charm. Set in 1612 around the looming Witch Trials, I loved how this focused on sisterhood and friendship above all. I happily whizzed through the story, appreciating its subtlety. As the plot developed it became more tricksy and devilishly dramatic, until something had to give. The enchantingly ambiguous ending was brilliantly crafted and spelled my love for the book. I know I’m bound to read more from this author now!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas  

You and Me on Vacation– this one didn’t quite take off for me. While I found the concept fun- two friends who go on holiday together every year have one last chance to fall in love- I was mostly just irked by the storyline. I prefer rom coms where there’s actual obstacles and didn’t understand why these lovebirds weren’t together. I also didn’t like that Sarah- the male love interest’s on-again-off-again-ex- was made out to be the “bad guy”. She (rightly) gets upset that her bf goes on holiday with the female lead over and over again… and we as the reader know that said female lead has a crush on the bf and is constantly trying to break them up. So, it made it pretty hard to root for the female protagonist. Luckily, there’s no actual cheating, but it still felt ickily close to emotional cheating. And while it was good that the protagonist apologised for messing with this other girl’s relationship, it was resolved by Sarah saying “oh without you around as an obstacle we fell apart quicker”… which I didn’t like either. I’m just a bit tired of romances that let people off the hook for being shitty people just because. It tells me that they think love is simply wanting someone more (which seems more like entitlement and narcissism to me). It’s not a terrible book, but I felt like I needed a break from rom coms after.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month!

43 thoughts on “Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – Sleeping Through to September 2021!

  1. I LOVE Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Bonkers is definitely the way to describe it haha but as a kid, I was here for it. Although also a little scared of the town, but mostly delighted when they pretended to be human-sized-toys. Also, Rye looked really cute!
    Hope you have a great September!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I adored Vacation, but I totally understand what you are saying too. I thought the obstacle was the typical don’t-want-to-ruin-the-friendship thing you see in many friends-to-more books. Which is whatever for me, but I was into their dynamic and their history enough to let that go. OMG! The Nightingale! I am about to cry right now just thinking about that book, and I read it years ago. Incredible story of the strength of those people and the human spirit.

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      1. Good to hear that. I’ve started the second Thursday Murder Club and really enjoying it so far; humour and melancholy plus the very realistic way it is portrayed.

        After watching a rerun of Chitty Chitty some days ago, I remembered that the book was very different and dug out my copy. Yet to get to it though. (Read it too long ago to remember much).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your review of the Hilary Mantel series. I agreed with you wholeheartedly about everything. Although I read all three books, I was a big fan of audio books when I commuted an hour plus each way to work. Still listen on long trips, and love to listen to audio books or podcasts when I’m preparing dinner — especially when I’m chopping vegetables. I was riveted by the first book, Wolf Hall, and the way Mantel puts us right inside the head and heart of Thomas Cromwell. It’s as if we are inhabiting his very soul. Bring up the Bodies about Anne Boleyn was masterful too, as Cromwell becomes the ultimate master of ceremonies in the matrimonial games that Henry the Eighth plays in order to get a son. The Mirror and the Light was not as good, and too long by a third. By this time, I felt Mantel had simply put too much distance between the reader and Cromwell, and I felt it descended into a kind of endless rumination on his regrets. But all in all, Mantel is a storyteller extraodinaire, spinning one of the most masterful epic fictional biographies on one of my favorite eras of history. To top it off, I adored Mark Rhyland as Thomas Roswell on the BBC version of Wolf Hall. This is my first time reading your blog. I enjoyed it! Thanks. — Debra Scacciaferro, co-author of State of Innocence, a psychological thriller.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That’s really kind of you! I’m really glad you agree. Yes I love it for commuting and when I’m cooking! Me too! I couldn’t stop listening. I agree! That’s a beautiful way to put it. Yeah I definitely think it was too long- which is a pity- because the central themes and ideas were really good. But I still liked it overall. And it’s one of my favourite eras too (which makes me very exacting about which books I like!) I agree! Thanks so much for reading!

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  4. Loved reading this post. Cruella is the only film I saw in August and it was amazing!! Such stunning costume design and an amazing soundtrack. Thursday Night Murder club has been on my tbr for ages so I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it! Shame that You and Me on Vacation fell short though. Yours is probably the only negative review I’ve seen but has definitely lowered my expectations a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

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