What’s Hot Right Now? Recent(ish) Releases I’m Loving This Summer Season!

orangutan list

Somehow, we’ve made it to summer (which, wow, really is an achievement this year, isn’t it? 😉) And for me, that usually means going somewhere hot and chilling with a book… but this year it means staying put and chilling with a book 😉 Thank goodness books still exist! To celebrate the fact *we’ve still got books* I thought I’d spotlight some more recently released books that’ll be fun to check out this season:

with the fire on high

With Fire on High– starting with the hottest of the hot, I can’t talk about recent releases that I loved without mentioning this bad boy. If food and romance aren’t enough to give you summery vibes, well this also has a travel aspect to feed your wanderlust!

heartstopper 1

Heartstopper– cutesy romances and summer go hand in hand (at least in my book) and you can’t really go wrong with this fun graphic novel series.

american royals

American Royals– I don’t know about you, but I’m craving a little DRAMA. And this alternative history about royal Washingtons has that in spades.

what the wind knows

What the Wind Knows– a time travelling romance set in Ireland? Sign me up! This is the kind of escapist book that’s perfect for a summer stuck in doors.

stranger on the beach

Stranger on the Beach– of course, if you want something a little edgier, then this thriller has you covered. Stalk towards this with caution however- it’s way twistier than you might expect.

the guest list

Guest List– taking a trip to a location wedding, you’ll get more than you bargained for with this invite.

unhoneymooners

Unhoneymooners– with quite a bit less murder (yet with some characters you may want to throttle) this fun hate-to-love rom com is a delight for the summer months.

bride test

The Bride Test– this unconventional love story definitely gave me the *warm fuzzy feelings*.

call it what you want

Call it What You Want– I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked the character development in this contemporary. Reminiscent of Robin Hood, Kemmerer’s story has a lot more going for it than meets the eye.

bookish and the beast

Bookish and the Beast– and finally, this Beauty and the Beast retelling is just so. much. fun. I could happily recommend any one of the Once Upon a Con stories for fans of contemporary YA, but this is my favourite so far!

That’s all for now! Have you checked any of these out? Do you have any recent summer reads you’d like to shout about? Let me know in the comments!

Reacting to your assumptions about me – 6000 follower celebration!

celebration monkey

Hello all! As promised, to celebrate hitting 6000 followers, I’m reacting to all your assumptions about me! Thank you so much to everyone who participated- I had so much fun reacting to all of these!! And thank you to all the lovely well-wishers- it really meant a lot! ❤

Sophie @BewareOfTheReader

OK fun assumption: I bet you are working in finance and compensate with all the art and blog LOL

Oh gosh this is a fun assumption… but sadly completely untrue! 😂 I’m actually an assistant librarian and English tutor… so let’s just say I’m not living a particularly glamorous lifestyle 😉 But I’m happy with my choices… even if I should probably have chosen something a bit more stable and sensible to compliment the blogging/art! (I’ve worked in a bunch of other jobs as well- just never in anything like finance!) Also on the positive side, work does always give me opportunities to talk *books*!

hoarding books

James

Only just recently started following you so probably don’t know enough yet (beyond you really like books?) and I’m a massive Terry Pratchett fan so I reckon I’m on safe ground assuming you’re a person and not an orangutan. But that’s why you use a ‘banana’ rating system. So my assumption is that in reality you’re largely indifferent to bananas.

Hahaha I am indeed a person that really likes books! I wouldn’t say I’m indifferent to bananas though- actually really like them- particularly baked into a cake mmm (in fact, so many people have mentioned bananas to me in this post you’ll have to *excuse me* while I go get one…)

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Lauryn Trimmer 

Congrats! And I assume you aren’t an orangutan 😂 I can’t think of any real assumptions at the moment besides that!

Haha yeah I’m not really an orangutan, but shhh don’t tell! 😉

stargazer says:

Wow, more than 6000 followers – that is so impressive! Not sure I have any assumptions though… You like books? 🤔😂

Haha yes, it’s safe to assume I LOVE books! 😉

book love

jyvurentropy 

Assumptions…hmm….okay, you’re a woman in your mid-thirties. You have a bunch of siblings. You’ve secretly always wanted a reptile as a pet. You’ve done a little bit of traveling but want to do more.
You’re a ravenclaw.
You’re a virgo.

Ooh these are fun! I’m not 30 just yet!! (I’m 27… which unfortunately counts as late twenties now 😉). I do have a bunch of siblings (two older brothers and a younger sister). I don’t want a reptile for a pet though- lizards are okay, but I find most reptiles freaky! (especially snakes! GAH!!!) I have done quite a bit of travelling- mostly round Europe- and would LOVE to do more! I get serious wanderlust and have always enjoyed discovering new places 😊 I am a Ravenclaw!!! I’m a very Ravenclaw-y Ravenclaw you’ll meet and have MAJOR RAVENCLAW PRIDE 😉 Close- I was born in September, but I’m a Libra. Some really great guesses here!!

ravenclaw

Bookstooge

You are actually only 17, are the youngest of 5 and your mom makes you go to bed at 11pm 🙂

I LOVE these assumptions- but they’re not entirely true. I’m 27 (oof that’s ten years on your guess!), third of four children (yay middle child syndrome 😉 ) and I spend a lot of my time trying to convince my mum to go to bed at 11pm 😉

waytoofantasy says:

Congrats! Assumptions….um…you’re an avid tea drinker. 😀

And Caitlin Althea says:

my assumption is that you like drinking tea!

You’re both right! To be fair, I am British- so this is a safe assumption 😉 I LOVE tea- more even than bananas!

monkey's tea party

Zezee says:

As for assumptions….you actually don’t like bananas that much; swinging from trees make you dizzy

Haha I love how many people think I’m either in the LIVE FOR BANANAS camp or DON’T LIKE… in truth, I think they’re great! (but I don’t eat them all the time lol!). As for swinging from trees- yeah that’d definitely make me dizzy! I get dizzy pretty easily (I’m the kind of person that likes things like rollercoasters… but will also pass out/throw up after going on one… which is probably tmi… which I guess is also the point of this post 😉)

Briana | Pages Unbound

I’ll have to think about if I have any assumptions, though…. Besides that I assume OTHER people assume you’re a guy blogger for some reason.

Well everyone in the comments of this post were lovely and didn’t make that kind of assumption- but weirdly I’ve had this assumption before!! This has happened a bunch of times when people have linked to me. The funniest one was when my brother used my review to prove a point in a book club and his friend apparently kept calling me “he”. My brother, while not wanting to admit he knew me, said to him “why do you assume it’s a he?” The guy just doubled down and apparently implied there was no way I could write the way I did and be a woman! This got under my skin a little! For the record, this is me…

orangutan in dress

Sharon Bonin-Pratt 

My assumption about you is that the sequel will be even more outstanding.

Aww thank you so much (this is kind of just a compliment though 😉)

Sharon Bonin-Pratt

I was so farklempt that I couldn’t even absorb the correct number – 6000!! And I bet you read that many books in the years you’ve been blogging.

I wish I was that impressive!! I decided to look up how many books I’ve read since I started blogging in 2015 and it’s currently at 955!

wordsandnocturnes says:

I haven’t got any assumptions on hand but hmm… you’d love to sleep in a library for a night to se. what it would feel?

I’ve sort of done this? Though not to sleep. When I was at uni I was very (deliberately) disorganised and did a number of all nighters- some of which were in the library. Gotta say it just felt exhausting 😉

mood reader2

calypte says:

As for assumptions… you mean you’re not ginger and hairy? Oh my 😉

Hahaha amazingly no! (psst don’t think I’ve mentioned this in years, but I’m a bland brunette 😉)

nsfordwriter says:

My assumption is that every room in your house is lined with bookshelves and also they are piled up on the floor, in fact your bed is constructed from books too.

OH GOSH I WISH THIS ASSUMPTION WAS TRUE! ALAS NO! I rent and I’m always pushed for space! I do store loads of books under my bed though… so one could (almost) say my bed is constructed of books 😉 (kind of a stretch though 😉) I have been known to pile up (mostly borrowed) books on the floor though.

book bed
My dream bed…

Never Not Reading says:

Assumptions:
-You really, REALLY like bananas
-You live in a tree house
-You laugh a lot

Oh wow I love these: I do like bananas (though I think it might be a healthier amount than people assume), I’m afraid I don’t live in a tree house (fun fact: I’m actually afraid of heights and, as much as I try to overcome that, living in a tree house would be a step too far!) and I most certainly do laugh a lot!

 

Eustacia | Eustea Reads says:

Assumption: you’ve read all the Discworld novels (at least the ones with the Orangutan Librarian!)

Not quite! I mentioned this recently in my post on series I’m scared to finish– I have a (near pathological at this point) fear of finishing the Discworld series- cos I don’t want it to be over!!

Jennifer Mugrage says:

My assumptions: you are younger than me (because you read Harry Potter as a kid); you are naturally thin; you have a good relationship with your parents and siblings. (In other words, the perfect person LOL! But I mean we already knew that since you are a reader.)

Haha well I don’t know how old you are- but I was born in 1992. I wouldn’t say I’m naturally thin (formerly fat, then too thin, hopefully somewhere in the just right range right now… 😉). I’m lucky enough to have a good relationship with my mum and my siblings… but I’m far from the perfect person! 😉

Jennifer Mugrage says:

I also sometimes imagine you with curly hair. No reason at all for that assumption, could be way off. So I just picture this adorable thin curly-haired girl when I am not picturing an orangutan.

Haha I wish I had curly hair!! But actually I’d say I have something of the Hermione Granger hair type… Though, since I don’t have magic at my disposal, I use hair oil to tame it. Fun fact(/perhaps rather dull fact depending on your perspective) I’m also into all natural, vegan hair stuff- I’d give tips but I don’t think anyone would be queuing up to look something like this…

my hair cartoon

Beulah Jenifer

I guess you love to paint, and eat bananas everyday!

I do love to paint, but I don’t eat bananas every day- that’d be a lot of bananas and would make me about 90% potassium!

pile of bananas

Lydia Tewkesbury 

Um that you have read everything?!

Haha I’d say I wish… but then I wouldn’t have anything left to read and that would be a tragedy!!

Belle Can Read

Assumptions… you’re actually a famous author and enjoy the anonymity of being an Orangutan Librarian here 😂?

OMG can you imagine if this were the case? (it’s not) How cool would that be if it were?!? I do enjoy living my life as an Orangutan Librarian on here, just no secret writing career 😉 (I wish!!)

Booker Talk

That you’re really an orang utan?

Haha sadly not. (I think I’d be more impressive as a giant ape that could read and write 😉)

Krysta says:

My assumption: Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if you aren’t actually one of my best friends in disguise because you are surprisingly similar, down to your love of Discworld, satire, and orangutans.

Well your friend sounds awesome 😉 But I’m afraid I’m not that unique and there are loads of people who fit this exact description 😉

The Cozy Pages

Assumptions…. that you’re really a literature teacher running a ‘secret class’ that even the students don’t know we’re taking. 😉

Hahaha you got me! Okay… not exactly. I do tutor for a living (aside from working in the library) but I’m not using this blog to teach a secret class… or am I?! Maybe I’ll be giving you all a pop quiz later… 😉 (ahh that hurts to even joke about cos that’d mean more work for me!)

graduating monkey
This is obviously how I look when I teach 😉

Flora’s Musings says:

Assumptions ….
That you’re highly intelligent, witty, talented (your paintings and sketches are really good) and you don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re obviously really Lisa Simpson. 😉

Well I’m *blushing profusely* cos this is another one that’s a compliment disguised as an assumption! I will say that you’re wrong about it all, except that part about not taking myself too seriously 😉 I do think that I’ve got that down 😉 I have this little joke (between me and me) that “in my younger and more vulnerable years my brother gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since: DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY!” And if you got what book opening I twisted to my own liking there, you can have a gold star! (Cozy Pages was right- this is all a test!! 😉)

Actually, everyone take a gold star for being awesome!

you get a gold star

And that’s all your assumptions about me! That ended up being so much fun and a lot less scary than I anticipated cos *you’re all such lovely people*! Thank you for being so great!

Books I’d Love to See Adapted and Ones I’m Excited For!

orangutan list

After months and months of (trying to) watch my way through Netflix, I’ve found myself thinking *a lot* about all the books I’d LOVE to see adapted (and all the ones that are in the works that I wish were available now!!).

However, even with some of my favourites recently being made, and done well (ie His Dark Materials), I’ve seen so many flops over the years that I’m still a little cautious about certain books being made into movies and shows. Some books may very well be better left as books. So, to be clear, this list isn’t just my favourite books in the world– these are just some of the stories I think could work:

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024

Shadow and Bone– starting off with one of my most anticipated adaptations, I’ve been eagerly watching announcements as this has gone into development and been bouncing off the walls with every casting. It’s safe to say I *cannot wait* to see how it turns out!

a darker shade of magic

A Darker Shade of Magic– and this is another one we will hopefully get to see, Schwab’s fascinating world and characters would *definitely* be suited to an adaptation!

Throne_of_Glass_UK

Throne of Glass– while I’ve not loved every part of this saga, I do still think this would make for such a fun fantasy TV show. Though I haven’t heard anything in a while, there have been rumours over the years… so who knows?

illuminae

Illuminae– another one that may very well be in the works- and it would be a good decision if they tried it out! Yes, there would be parts of the books that would be lost in translation if it was adapted, but I think if they tried to capture the unusual style of the books in a visual it’d be very special indeed. Besides, space opera’s make for great movies. On that note…

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– BLOODYDAMN, this would make for an amazing adaptation!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see (what is effectively) Romans fighting it out in space?! Plus, there’s so much content to mine and complex themes, you could have a brilliant series on your hands (if done right). And the rumourmill says it’s in the works as well…

skyward

Skyward– if film goers are craving DRAMA and EXCELLENT CHARACTERS, then ye gods, you cannot go wrong with Sanderson’s Skyward. This would make for an absolutely STELLAR blockbuster! Aside from the brilliant twists and turns that’ll keep audiences on the edge of their seats, this also has one of the most likeable mcs that anyone could get behind!

renegades

Renegades– for me, Marissa Meyer’s books are *totally* translatable into TV/film. And none more so than her take on superheroes. And yes, I know that genre is pretty oversaturated right now, but I’d see this as being something that could satisfy a different demographic from the mainstream Marvel/DC movies. (But you know, if this isn’t possible, I wouldn’t say no to the Lunar Chronicles instead)

diviners

Diviners– I’ve been loving the performative element of these books, which makes them so entertaining as audiobooks… which makes me think, why not make this into a TV show? I think they’re a little too dense to have them be a film, but you could really go to town with the fascinating world building, characters and spooky atmosphere.

wicked deep

Wicked Deep– speaking of spooky, this standalone could easily grip viewers with its unique story. Netflix has apparently got the rights to this one, so *fingers crossed* they do something good with it!

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– I’d love to see more movies partially set under water and I think this Little Mermaid retelling absolutely has enough excitement to make for an awesome movie.

night circus

Night Circus– this one is a bit more of a risk, because it’s such a brilliantly written book and a film might not capture its magical atmosphere. That said, if done right, this would be a visual treat.

the secret history

Secret History– I’m kind of amazed this has never been adapted, cos it’d be so. damn. good. With a captivating cast of characters and a great plot, I completely see this being made one day (I hope).

with the fire on high

With the Fire on High– yeah I can’t shut up about this book lately, sue me. I love contemporary movies and could easily stuff this list with a whole bunch that could work- however none of them have the *special sauce* that this one does. I think this goes the extra mile and would be especially moving.

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– like, I said I love contemporaries that get made into movies, so I could easily say “just do them all!!” This one is at the top of the list for me, because, with its focus on mental health and internet culture, it’s got a bit more going on than a standard YA romance. Plus, if it was done in a stylised way, with some element of animation, it would be especially cool.

guards-guards

And a BIG *BONUS*: Discworld– well, obviously. Yes, I know some of these books have already been adapted; yes, I know that there have been little pieces of optimistic news here and there. BUT GUYS I’M SO IMPATIENT!!

And though I have a ton more, I think I’d better leave it there for now! Do you guys agree with any of the books on this list? Do you have any personal faves you’re dying to see adapted? Let me know in the comments!

Supernova was superb!

supernova

Hello all! I’m SUPER psyched to talk about the conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s epic superhero series! And you know what that means… it’s time to bring back my Marvellous Monkey suit:

supervillain orangutan

Kicking off with Renegades, amping up the tension with Archenemies, I had high hopes for this one- and I was far from disappointed. Supernova was the kind of book I looked forward to picking up every time I put it down- which is rather a rare thing for me at the moment.

I’ll admit, this had something of an imperfect start, with the main characters consistently not figuring out some rather obvious secrets. That said, I did understand why they might plausibly not want to see the truth staring them in the face (even if it was frustrating at times!) Luckily this was all just setup for an *explosive* plot. When we finally got their reactions to the big secrets, all was forgiven (well at least from my perspective 😉)

In terms of that plot all I can say is WOW! It my breath away. With blockbuster action and showstopping exploits, this book was an experience. I loved where it took the characters and how the relationships evolved- all the way to the bitter end! This wasn’t just a rollercoaster ride- this went full speed off the tracks and in directions I couldn’t have predicted. Especially where it took the subplot murder mystery of who killed Adrian’s mother- highlight for spoilers: yes, it was what we expected, but I loved that it also wove in the idea that we create our own enemies and have to overcome our own fears.

Sure, there were also treacheries I did see coming- but even they were satisfying because they were built up so successfully and didn’t go for the straightforward solution. I was happy to see that this finale still played with nuanced ideas about good and evil- showing the Renegades true colours and talking of redemption for Anarchists. The power of the ending came from how it delivered on every promise of the premise- and gave us a few extra gifts besides!

Ultimately, I’m flying high with satisfaction for this series. I’m delighted that there’s finally an exceptional YA superhero series out there- and I’d love for there to be more!! (at the very least, I’d suspect a spinoff from Meyer sometime in the future)

My rating: 4½/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

And of course, because I shared this series from the beginning with the Magnificent Monkey Baby, I’d like to ask her join us for a moment to tell us what she thought:

superhero monkey

Supernova is a banatastic book!!! Literally! It’s insane but in the most amazing way! It takes such epic twists and turns but feels so satisfying. I love the dynamics between the characters and how they each grow. Also the sheer shmushyness between Adrian and Nova is heart-warming and even sideline characters manage to pull on your heartstrings. It is superbly well done. There is a moment or two where I wanted to knock Adrian on the head because I couldn’t believe how stupid he seems to be (I thought he might have lost all his wits) but those moments are thankfully brief and don’t take away from the awesome storyline and the amazing conclusion to this SUPER Series!

Monkey Baby’s Rating: 4½/5 hearts

heart (2)heart (2)heart (2)heart (2)half a heart

Well you heard it from both of us- we found it an exceptional finale! What do you think of this series? Have you got to the superb ending? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – Wow, is it July Already?

monthly mini reviews version 2

Wow, we’re firmly in the summer now, aren’t we? Where on earth has this year gone?

Actually, don’t answer that- the less said about it the better 😉

Having said that, June was pretty good and I’ll tentatively add that I hope July’s gonna be just fine too. As we’re coming out of lockdown here, I’m working more and getting to see the outside of these four walls for a change 😉 I’m (hoping) work is going to settle into something of a routine again soon. With that in mind, I’ve decided that I’m going to (try to) use July for a bit of a refresher, so I’m tentatively gonna say that I’ll probably be on the blog less. Not sure if I’ll take an *official hiatus*- kinda want to keep my plans casual at the moment (I think, if anything, the last six months has taught me that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry 😉)

But while we are here, I did want to say another massive thank you to you all for helping me to get to 6000 followers. I’m doing a little celebration where I react to your assumptions about me– so if you’d like to participate feel free to add your comments to the celebratory post or on this one if you like 😊 (I’m having a lot of fun with the ones people have already made!)

orangutan thank you

And I think that’s all the housekeeping for now! As I’ve been doing the last few months, lets talk about what I’ve been watching before we get into the books…

monkey at the movies 2

 

Last Kingdom Season 4– by now, you may have heard me rave about this super entertaining show. And if you haven’t, you may be confused as to why I’m in Viking dress 😉 Based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, this series tells the story of Uhtred of Babenberg as he tries to reclaim his birthright and you can hear me rave about the first few seasons here and here. Just like the other series, this was tense and delightfully surprising. What I loved about this season is that it simultaneously gave us resolutions we’ve been waiting years to see… only for the story to about turn and go in a completely unexpected direction. With new settings introduced, I was happy to see the ongoing development of characters and relationships. By pure chance, there was a sickness subplot- which frankly had me shouting at the screen why aren’t you social distancing?! Regardless, every episode was an adventure. The only thing left to say is that I really need to catch up with the books already, cos I’d love to see where the similarities and differences are.

Okay, that’s all I watched last month worth note (I know, I’m running out of TV!!) now let’s discuss some books!

silence of the girls

audiobook2Silence of the Girls– when I think about this book, the first thing description that comes to mind is lonnnng. Which doesn’t make sense, all things considered, since it’s a pretty short book. Perhaps this was in part because in the audiobook version, the narrator seems to savour every syllable, HOWEVER even speeding it up didn’t seem to take away the tedium. As much as I wanted to like this book, it just felt remarkably long-winded. So much is drawn out and dwelt on, in an attempt to make the reader more sympathetic to the Girls’ plight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t have the desired effect. In fact, I see this technique used quote a bit in fiction- but I personally never feel like excruciating pacing does anything other than bore me. Incidentally, the whole purpose of this book is to create sympathy for the Girls- as if the classic tale somehow leaves that out- except I never had trouble empathising with their plight in the original. In fact, Homer could draw tears from me with a single line in the scene with Andromache. So no, I wouldn’t say this book was necessary. The other problem is that the way this is told- going from tragedy to tragedy in muted tones- doesn’t allow for any catharsis. And, as much as Briseis was a boring voice for the narrative, I liked the voices of Achilles and Patroclus even less. Frankly, I also found the line “his story” wince-inducing- entirely missing the humanity of the original (and slightly bizarre considering it’s a myth). All that said, this is not a bad book (I know, that contradicts everything I’ve said, but it’s the truth). The writing had some balance and beauty to it. It achieved what it set out to- such that I cannot rightly give it below:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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

the rumour

The Rumour- Ahhh this is a frustrating one to talk about, because I can’t really say all that much without spoiling it, so this review will have to be entirely made up of whispers and hints. There was one aspect I wasn’t keen on throughout- but the last twist redeemed that for me. There was plenty of great characters and suspicion at every turn. The only other thing I can categorically say is that if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you should give this a whirl!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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

house of salt and sorrows

House of Salt and Sorrows– another decent book that I just didn’t click with for some reason. In this case, I have murkier reasoning. For some reason, I imagined this would be a far more atmospheric read than it was, but, while the world had a hint of salt to it, it perhaps could’ve been peppered with more descriptions. It did have some good ideas and twists on the tale, yet the story itself felt a little convoluted. I also guess a lot of the story beats early on and wasn’t as impressed as I’d have liked. It ended up being more of a generic YA fantasy than I expected- which isn’t so much a fault of the book per se- it’s just that I tend to avoid those nowadays. Overall, this was pretty bland and could’ve done with more seasoning for my taste.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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

ruin of kings

Ruin of Kings– Eh, this didn’t blow me away. I found the flipping between timelines and povs an interesting touch, building some suspense and layers of world building nicely… However, I ultimately don’t think it added to the story, which made it feel like a bit of a gimmick. To my mind, using a complex structure like that should be more purposeful (although, happy to hear from someone who could tell me, what *was* the point of that?). And for all the intricate plotting, I was still able to guess a great many of the twists early on. Other than that, my main sticking point was that I struggled to connect with the characters. As much as I was entertained by the plot, now more than ever I need to feel a strong, visceral reaction to the people I’m reading about… All of this is to say, I didn’t personally love this book, but there’s no reason other’s wouldn’t.

Rating: 3/5 bananas 

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

the huntress

The Huntress– well, I looked for it all month, but I finally found an absolute winner thanks to the brilliant Beware of the Reader, who suggested it to me and reviewed it so beautifully on her blog! This exquisite historical fiction, tells the story of Nazi Hunters going after the one and only Huntress. Like a Russian Doll, the narrative is nested in different timelines. Characters are slowly revealed and developed, as they circle each other in figure eights, giving the reader a sense of each personality in turn. And wow, what stories- they soar and loop and leave you breathless… until at last we come to the dramatic conclusion. Moving and mysterious, this made for a truly memorable read.

Rating: 5/5 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! And I hope you’re all staying safe and well!

Mid Year Resolutions for 2020!

2020 resolutions

Well hello there! Looks like we’ve made it to midway through the year… which wouldn’t be a shocker if it was any other year than 2020 😉 (why didn’t the Incas warn us about this one?!) Anyhoo, it’s time to talk about my resolutions and how I’ve been neglecting doing with them. Last year, I decided to start the tradition of going through my resolutions at the midway point, so that I could stay a bit more focused… but this year’s going to be a little different (pahahaha you can say that again!) Usually I get very into point scoring and grading my performance- however this year I just know that the goals I set are no longer realistic. I’m doing a lot more mood reading (well, even more than normal) so I haven’t been paying much attention to hitting targets. And, just in general, with everything going on, I’m trying to go a easy on myself. That said, I do still want to look at where my head was at in January, before I knew what this year had in store and see how I’ve been getting on.

number 1

READ MORE NON FIC!

 

With 15/10 so far, I’m smashing this one out of the park! And I’ve even managed some of the ones that were on my TBR, like Wild Swans and Art of War. In any other year, I would consider readjusting this goal, but I just don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself and just gonna mark this as done.

Current score: 15/10

number 2

READ MORE CHALLENGING BOOKS!

Annnd this is where the goals get tricky. I have only read 1 of these (Art of War) and have to be honest with myself that I’m unlikely to get anywhere near 10 this year- frankly, feeling like I want to read more relaxing books in (the blazing inferno) that is the year 2020, I’d be happy if I even ticked one more book off this list. Despite that, I’m not changing the goal, because, who knows, my mood could change towards the end of the year? Plus, I can say it’s “aspirational” (like buying a pair of jeans that would never fit… which is a terrible idea btw- don’t do that to yourself!)

Current score: 1/10

number 3

READ MORE POETRY!

Well this is another fail- I haven’t even read one. Again, I don’t see this changing drastically by the end of the year and I’m not going to worry too much about it.

Current score: 0/5

number 4

READ MORE PLAYS!

Well I want to read 5… and I’ve managed to read 2 so far. Not too bad, but still more to do! Unlike the last two, I’m eager to complete this goal! On the positive side, I’ve enjoyed speaking to my mum about the plays I’ve read so far and which ones to try next- I’d say this is shaping up to be a pretty good resolution all around 🙂

Current score: 2/5

number 5

DO SOME REREADING!

Hobbit_cover

Ermm I’ve only reread the Hobbit so far this year… and it wasn’t even one I was hoping to do this year. That said, I have been thinking that the books I fancy rereading this year feel more like autumnal reads (this could just be a massive excuse though 😉). Either way, I’ve still got a lot to do with this goal.

Current score: 1/5

Non Bookish

number 6

DO MORE ART!

painting

Well this was a poorly defined goal (as I said back when I made it) sooo I’ve no idea if I can count this one as done? I’ve been doing plenty of fun doodling… but not much else. From now on, I think the best way to keep track of this goal based on how many times a week I pick up a pencil/paintbrush. 1-2 times a week would be good (especially since I want to keep this kind of casual). Still, this doesn’t help me give myself a score- I’m gonna be generous and go with…

Current score: 3/5

number 7

Do more yoga!

yoga

Finally another one I’ve completed! I made it through three whole yoga challenges!!! (and we’re only midway through the year) This is one of the few goals I want to expand on- I’d like to add that *for extra credit* I’d like to do either another 2 challenges OR simply do yoga every day for 30 days again!

Current score: 5/5

number 8

START A NEW WRITING PROJECT!

writing

YES! RESULT! I’m getting off to a great start with my new project and loving every second. I’ve written a plan and started working on the first chapter. This is another one I’m going to expand on for the end of the year. I’d simply like to add more to this project. Plus in terms of writing goals, for some serious extra credit I have another secret goal.

Current score: 5/5

number 9

SORT THROUGH BOX OF STUFF

Well, I’ve cleared half the box and can’t decide whether to be proud or dismayed. Of all my goals, this should’ve been the easiest to achieve in lockdown… and yet I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less! Sooo I’m gonna say I have done half (but also I don’t really care tremendously when this gets done right now).

Current score: 2/5

So far… 29/55

So (surprisingly) I’m over halfway done!

That said, I doubt I’ll be making much progress on the ones left… but we’ll see how I do for extra credit!

And that’s all for now? Did you set any goals this year? Have you stuck to them or have they changed since January? Let me know where you’re at in the comments!

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #7

orangutan list

Hello all! I’m really excited to be doing another one of these posts today, because there are just so many bloggers who deserve more attention, and this crop has some exceptional talent! Let’s just jump into it!

Holly @Nut Free Nerd– Many of you may already know Holly’s brilliant blog- but if you, theny you’re in for a real treat! I really enjoy her takes on classics and like getting great recs on all kinds of lit fic. That’s why I LOVE her unique takes on the TTT meme- her one lately on Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant was amazing, but you can check out a few more here. Holly also has some great posts on classic recs for every month. Her taste is so sophisticated and brings books I’d never heard of to my attention 😊 And besides all her fun posts and lists, she also writes reviews in such a unique way, addressing them as a letter to the book itself!

Words and Nocturnes– this is a great place to go for thoughtful posts on books, comics and movies (lately she had some really interesting thoughts on comics in particular). She always piques my interest in a great many unusual books. Aside from her lovely insights into literature, she also talks about her writing journey.

Samantha @Bookish Villainy– I love Bookish Villainy’s thorough reviews and fun posts. Recently, I especially enjoyed her list on Books to Escape in While Social Distancing. I also appreciated her thoughtful take on How Minimalism Both My Book Collection and My Reading Experience, where she talked about decluttering books and what we can take from minimalism (even if we’re not minimalists).

Caitlin Althea– Caitlin has a range of fun lists and tags (lately she reacted to some *spicy* twitter takes and it was a highly entertaining read!). More recently, she also had an excellent discussion on bloghopping– which I highly recommend checking out- I really liked her candour there! Plus, she has an awesome selection of favourite posts for the month!

Witty and Sarcastic Book Club– oh my goodness Witty and Sarcastic has such amazing insight and recommendations into books- she even introduced me to my favourite book of the year so far, with her incredible review of Ten Thousand Doors of January! Exploring so many different genres and honest opinions on books, you’ll be sure to find countless ways to grow your TBR over there. And, in case that wasn’t enough, she’s also super generous and friendly on Twitter, always sharing the blogger love!

Macey @Brine and Books– aside from being super friendly, Macey writes intricate musing on books. I very much enjoy her takes on loads of classics- both the unfamiliar and familiar. Plus, she has such great diary-like entries catching up with her month and some excellent creative writing too.

Wakinguponthewrongsideof50– stepping away from the books for a moment, this is a really stimulating blog on a whole range of topics. I struggle to pin it down to just one thing, because it could/should simply be defined as ***life***. What I love about Waking Up On the Wrong Side of Fifty is how well-reasoned she always is.

Amanda @The Below Average Blog– don’t let the name fool you- this blog is way above average. Amanda writes in such an entertaining way and her blog is so full of personality. She covers so many different topics- from books to movies to video games (and occasionally her bird Froley). I particularly love to hear her thoughts on geeky pop culture- like Game of Thrones and Star Wars.

Sophie @Sophie’s Corner– Sophie is extremely multi-talented. Her blog is full of entertaining posts and tags on books, writing and crafts. And when I say multi-talented, I mean it (guys, she made her own wedding dress and looked stunning!!)

Sam @Modern Witch’s Bookshelf– Sam is someone I’ve been following for ages, because she has such stellar content 😊 Not only does she have intriguing insights into books in a great many genres and age categories, she also always seems to make reading fun and sociable (check out her post on Bookopoly!)

And lastly, just for some light-hearted fun I thought I’d share something I found on Instagram: Army Men Around the House– enjoy!

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #1

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #2

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #3

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #4

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #5

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #6

Of course, there are loads more bloggers who deserve *all the attention*- so who do you think I should be looking out for? And do you know any of these bloggers? Will you be checking them out? Let me know in the comments!

Finales that disappointed me

orangutan list

We all know what it’s like: the first flushes of love as we fall for a new series, waiting with baited breath for the next instalment, feeling our heart pound as we near the end… only to feel nothing but an anti-climax. Nothing is more disappointing to a bookworm than a series ender we didn’t love. For me, whether I love a series for eternity can come down to those final pages- so, it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s gotta be made to count. As much as I’ve raved about series endings I enjoy– and more than once!- there are unfortunately plenty that have let me down:

kingdom of ash book cover

Kingdom of Ash– so I’m going to start with one that was far from terrible. In fact, I even enjoyed it for the most part when I read it and had some satisfaction when I finished. AND YET oddly enough when I look back on this, I’m disappointed with how it turned out. Because *spoiler alert* this is the kind of story where all the main characters wear plot armour and only expendable characters die. Despite all the explosions, there was no fireworks and consequently no spark for me. It relied on a series of “eh whatever” plot conveniences that have niggled away at me over time. It leaves me with an empty feeling when I think about it. I will say this could just be a case of me outgrowing a series- yet I can’t help but feel a pang when I think of this series. As much as I devoted time to it, I’ve no desire to reread it and have since unhauled my books… and to me, that’s immensely disappointing.

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– this was another book I liked less and less over time AND is another book that put me off a series. In this case, I blame the book. It was just designed to bridge the gap between this and another (clearly more important) series. It was slow and exhaustingly repetitive and made the entire series redundant. I’m annoyed that I ever wasted my time on it.

Breaking_Dawn_cover

Breaking Dawn– as much as I will say I think people are too harsh about Twilight, this book was a trashfire. Aside from all the long-winded and anti-climactic elements, this book has a grown man fall in love with a baby?!?! WHO SIGNED OFF ON THAT IDEA?! Ugh, even all these years later, I still wish I could get that ending out of my head. I rue the day teenage me ever picked up a book on sparkly vampires, because I should’ve known it was only going to be downhill from there.

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows

Deathly Hallows– yep, I was one of those teens that was disappointed with this ending. Largely because I didn’t like the copycat elements from Aslan in Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (…plus a whole bunch of other complaints over the years, which made me develop a complicated relationship with Harry Potter). Now, while I still don’t think it’s the perfect ending, I will say I have (just about) reconciled with my old mate Harry Potter. I think I can get on the same page with this ending now… but I’ll never love it.

shadow study

Shadow Study– I loved where the poison study series started, however hated where it ended up. It went from something startlingly unique to just another generic fantasy- and I can’t quite forgive it for that.

final warning maximum ride

The Final Warning– another series that took off and soared to great heights… before ultimately getting shot down and tumbling to its doom. I get the feeling the author had no idea where it was heading- cos this was just blatantly bizarre. Oh, and in this case, I found out this wasn’t the *final* finale… but let’s be real, I’m never going to read on.

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– another waste of a series where I felt like the promises were left unfulfilled. Unlike the endings I’ve complained about for being too kind, by contrast I felt this was far too much of a punishing end.

inkdeath

Inkdeath– I loved the concept of Inkheart, but this was just not an ending I enjoyed. Fortunately, unlike a lot of the other books on this list, the first book can be enjoyed in its own right as a standalone.

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– this was wayyy too easy an ending. I know it sounds callous (cos it is) but I prefer my endings to feel like they count and this didn’t.

our dark duet

Our Dark Duet– it’s not just super long series that I’ve dedicated my time to that can disappoint- this duology held a lot of promise in the concept, but I did not like where this went. I particularly disliked the shift in villains. Above all, it felt rushed and unsatisfying.

queen of ruin

Queen of Ruin– ditto with this duology. The more I look back on this, the more frustrated I am that this took such a strong start and let it fizzle out. Somehow this simultaneously managed to be both stuffed with fluff and cut to the quick too fast. Worst of all, the character work was lacking. It decidedly ruined the series for me.

And that’s all for now- thankfully! Have you read any of these? Do you agree or disagree? And what series disappointed you by the end? Let me know in the comments!

Series I can’t bring myself to finish and books I cannot bring myself to start!

orangutan list

A long while ago, I saw a fantastic post by Ali over on I Wuv Books about series she cannot bring herself to finish. I was inspired to follow in her footsteps… Only, I have to admit, I don’t have so many open-ended series. It’s not just because I’m a series finisher- but because I’m getting happier to quit series I’m not loving. So, in order that this list has a little more substance, I decided to include books I’m scared to start as well. Time to take it away:

shepherd's crown

Discworld– starting with the big confession (and the big reason I wanted to make this post): I cannot bring myself to finish Discworld. Guys, I basically have Shepherd’s Crown and a couple of others left… and I can’t do it. I’m not emotionally ready for it to be over! In fact, I’ve made up my mind to reread my favourites before I pick up the last one.

final-empire

Mistborn– so, I *loved* Final Empire when I read it a few years back… then instantly heard the second one wasn’t as good. I hesitated to pick it up (partly cos I’d just had an emotionally scarring experience with a different series, where the second one let me down, and the third still wasn’t out…) Now it’s been *ages* and I can’t believe I haven’t finished this series- even though I hear from no end of sources that it ends well! (and I own the rest!) Again, I don’t want to make excuses, but I would rather to reread the first one before making my way to the end.

secret commonwealth

Secret of the Commonwealth– this is another where I’ve heard *not such great things* about it. Plus, the final one isn’t out yet, which makes me slow off the mark (…not that this excuses me much, since I’ve owned this book close to a year now and it’s my very last unread physical book).

goldenhand

Goldenhand– this is a bit of an unusual one, because here Garth Nix resurrected one of *my all time favourite* series. I *adore* Abhorsen, so I would love to savour this addition. Yet, it’s also been such a long while that I think a reread refresher would be helpful! (and also thoroughly enjoyable 😉)

last kingdom

Last Kingdom– I’m really torn about continuing with this series- because while I liked reading the first couple of books, I do feel like I’m enjoying the TV series more and don’t want to read spoilery content. That said, I would like to at least catch up to where the show is at. Plus, what if Netflix cancels it? Then I’ll definitely want to read on!

princess bride

Princess Bride– gosh I love the movie so much, even though I’ve owned the kindle edition for *ages*, and even though the idea of not liking it is inconceivable… I’m still scared to pick it up!

gardens of the moon

The Gardens of the Moon– for this one, it just comes down to the fact that there’s SO MUCH HYPE. I’ve been burned by older fantasy series before and I’m worried I won’t enjoy it… but even more worrying is if I love it, because then there’s a helluva lot of books to get through! #BookwormProblems- amiright?! 😉

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you have any series you’re scared to start or finish? Or just books you’ve been putting on the backburner? Let me know in the comments!

Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2020

orangutan tag 2

Hi all! And it’s already June… LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT! Somehow 😉 It’s a bit of an annual tradition for me to do this tag, so I don’t need an invitation (aka I wasn’t tagged) I’m just gonna go for it!

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2020

ten thousand doors of january

There are quite a few contenders, but I have to go for the simply *exquisite* Ten Thousand Doors of January

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020

supernova

Supernova was such a satisfying conclusion! My review’s coming soon 😊

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

aurora burning

I’m going with Aurora Burning because I loved the first ones and I *need* the next instalment!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

invisible life of addie larue

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue just sounds so incredible! (and let’s be real, I’m a fan of Schwab’s writing, so it’s a must-read for me)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

queen of ruin

Queen of Ruin– I just wanted to like this so much more than I did. And it’s the kind of book that I like even less when I think about it :/

BIGGEST SURPRISE

diviners

For pure enjoyment, I have to go with the Diviners series.

FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR

book of atrix wolfe

Patricia McKillip!

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

enchantment of ravens

Honestly don’t have one, so I’m just gonna plug a (sort of romantic) book I really enjoyed: Enchantment of Ravens

 NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

with the fire on high

Emony from With the Fire on High– she just felt so realistic and likeable to me.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

wild swans

I don’t think any book has made me cry (which is a bit of a change) but Wild Swans seriously moved me.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

bookish and the beast

Bookish and the Beast just MADE ME SO HAPPY!!!

FAVOURITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

ps I still love you

Hmm I think the only one I’ve watched is PS I Still Love You and it was cute (plus I preferred it to the book tbh).

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

Buying books? That’s a thing you can do?! LOL! Seriously though, I’ve not bought any books since lockdown and the ones I have got aren’t exactly beautiful- so I’m just gonna go with another anticipated release:

once and future witches

(that also happens to look so pretty!!!)

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

I’m being really chill about what I read right now, cos I just think mood reading is the way to go in this (crazy) year. But it’d be nice if I finally read:

Since this is an old one, I’m not tagging anyone specific- just feel free to do it if you like! What I wanna know is what’s your favourite book so far this year? And what are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!