Some *AWESOME* (and not so awesome) TV I Watched in 2018

monkey at the movies 2

Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s the end of the festive season, but for me, January is the perfect time of year for TV… and also wrap ups. So I decided it was a great opportunity to share some of my TV related thoughts from 2018!

The Good Place– wowee! This was one of those GOOD decisions I made in 2018. I adored everything about this: the characters, the storyline and the fact that it delves so much deeper into philosophy than I ever could have expected. I’m actually learning things while I watch- and that’s one of the things that makes this so much more than a regular sit com. I don’t want to say anymore in case of spoilers. ItI’m currently upto season 3 and it’s still blowing my mind! Thanks so much to the wonderful Kat for bringing this to my attention- and if you’re looking for good TV advice, that’s where you need to go too!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Black Mirror– I was reluctant to try this because I’d been told how freaky this was- and as many of you know I don’t do scary. In fact, when I sat down to watch this, I’d already chickened out of American Horror Story- but fortunately this was nothing like that. So if you’re like me, don’t worry! It may get you thinking, yet I’ve never had any problems sleeping after an episode, though I’ll admit it’s not as bingeworthy as the other shows on this list cos I don’t want it to mess with my brain too much 😉 Every episode is different, with some being better than others, however overall the self-contained storylines are definitely one of the show’s strengths. I still have quite a lot of this show left and I’m nervously excited for the Bandersnatch episode!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Peaky blinders– while this takes a lot of liberties with historical accuracy and is incredibly violent, I did find it completely addictive. Tommy Shelby’s dubious character is endlessly compelling- as he never quite fits into the hero/villain mould. I also thought the family aspect of the story is executed perfectly. I fell completely under the story’s thrall- it’s non-stop action all the time. The acting and production values are superb. However, I would be remiss though not to mention the niggling issue I had with the Judas-style-turncoat, bordering on blood-libellous portrayal of Alfie Solomons. And no, having a “hey you’re just as bad as me” moment doesn’t excuse the implications of having a character fall into a racial stereotype. Anyway, as usual, I’m not casting any shade on people who like this, just trying to point out something a lot of people might not have realised. I still think this is great TV… but flawed.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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A Very English Scandal– everything about this is amazing.  The acting, the story, the acting, the soundtrack, the way it’s shot. This is why Russell T Davies is the king of TV! Yes, it’s bonkers, but it’s also funny and oh-so-quintessentially British. Underneath the drama (and there’s plenty of drama!), it’s a sad state of affairs that will make you feel all sorts. It was very very very good; I simply had to watch it all in one go.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Luther– what a good old fashioned suspense-thriller! And let’s face it: I ❤ Idris Elba. The titular character makes for a fascinating study. I don’t often watch procedural dramas, but I actually binged the *entire* boxset. Because I had to; there was a gun to my head. O-k-a-y- you got me, there wasn’t… but there was frequently a gun to my lovely Idris Elba’s head and you all know I LOVE him (*ahem*). Oops this went full circle 😉 On the downside, this was on the graphic side for me and it got FAR TOO disturbing by the end. And even if the conclusion was thrilling, I’m not sure I’m totally on board with it. I mean, it makes sense as an ending, but I could have done with *more* than just “makes sense” after what a sensation the rest of it was.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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And since this is (kind of) a wrap up, this was also the year when I rewatched Buffy and fell head over heels for the Last Kingdom! I reviewed those in full, so feel free to check them out.

Alrighty then- have you seen any of these? Do you plan to? And what were your favourite TV shows you watched last year? Let me know in the comments!

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Monthly Monkey *MINION* Review

My sister dared me to do this months ago and I always sometimes follow through with dares. All for the lols, take this seriously at your own peril 😉

monthly monkey minions 3

Nowadays you can’t go anywhere without minions. You can get regular toys or plushies from this fad:

minion plushie 1

Or get one all dressed up…

minion maid plushie

Or three for the price of one stuffed into a banana…

minion plushie

Okay this one I like- 5/5 bananas

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Of course, I have noticed the distinctly banana flavoured note to these toys:

 

But sometimes it goes too far- I wanted to eat some bananas and what do I get? Minions!

banana minions

So I went to get some of my fave banana flavoured tic tacs and what do I find?! MINIONS!

banana tic tacs

This monkey *BLOWS A RASPERY* at the cheek of it! You may take our jokes, but you will never take our bananas! I fling my banana peels at you!

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Incidentally, while we’re on the topic, there are also lots of memes… *claps like Pewdiepie* (also subscribe to Pewdiepie btw 😉 )

minion meme review

Not bad. Plus it seems like a suitably bookish note to end on 😜

Alrighty then, hope you enjoyed this fresh batch of nonsense! If you’d like any of these products, well, I’m sure they’re on ebay somewhere #nonspon 😉 And if there’s anything you’d like to dare me to do in the future, I might just do it in 6-8 months 😉

LOOKING BACK ON NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FROM 2018- SUCCESS OR FAILURE?

Who’s EXCITED for the New Year?! I’ll tell you- I’m very much looking forward to 2019! I’m gonna be brutally honest- 2018 has been a weird year for me. Not looking to get all “it was the best of times it was the worst of times…” but it had its ups and downs. Even with a few knocks though, I’m still standing 😉 (*resisting the urge to burst into song*) I’m gonna fight fight fight fight fight for this blog and all that jazz (resistance is futile)- so let’s see if I can’t kick the butt of some resolutions from 2018:

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BOOKISH:

number 1

10 MORE BOOKS FROM MY CHALLENGING LIST

 

 

Whoa let’s start with a hard one why don’t we? I didn’t complete this, but I did okay on this one and I’m glad I read what I did read.

8 points

number 2

10 NON-FICTION READS

Again, I didn’t make it to 10, but I did alright. Considering this overlaps a lot with #1, it makes sense.

8 points

DELAY PUTTING A GOODREADS CHALLENGE ON

number 3

Well I did do this- I only used the challenge in December to get my stats- so ten points to Ravenclaw! In all seriousness, I don’t know how good this resolution was cos I ended up just counting in my head anyway… so yeah, I did it, and it relieved some of the stress that comes with book counting, but not all of it. Whatever, still did it 😉

10 points

5 REREADS

number 4

I smashed this with 10 reads! HP x7 and Secret countess, wee free men, shiver

 

 

5 points

number 5

TRY AND BE MORE ORGANISED WITH READING PLANS

You know, like have some sort of TBR. It doesn’t have to be official (let’s face it, it won’t be in posts cos *laziness*) still I should at least try to be a bit more organised. Especially since I’ve had a couple of ARCs in particular that I want to read and okay, I’ve been in  a slump for a month, but I still feel bad about it and LET’S GET ON WITH IT already!(Immediately after writing this, I scribbled down a list for January… so can I already count this as a success please?)

 I struck this one off the list in March– so I’m not counting it. Which is good- cos I didn’t keep to TBRs this year.

number 6

TRY TO STOP READING BOOKS YOU KNOW YOU WON’T LIKE

Gosh this was a good resolution to do- cos this is a terrible habit! Unfortunately I read a few books I knew I’d hate:

 

 

So that means out of 5 points, I only got…

2 points

NON BOOKISH:

number 7

FINISH COMPILING NOTES FROM NOTEBOOKS

 

 

I did this super early in the year that I’ve now got more notebooks to compile lol. Regardless, I’m happy I did this one and I don’t have nearly as much of a backlog as I used to:

10 points

number 8

FINISH THAT AWFUL GUITAR FOR DUMMIES BOOK

guitar for dummies

Yeesh- this. did. not. go. well. To be honest, I don’t think it was the best resolution- if you put “awful” in the resolution, it’s hardly likely you’ll follow through. I also think progress in this area doesn’t really work with chapters. I did actually work on this for four months, however didn’t get far in terms of chapters and had to stop when I went away. I did want to pick this up again- just haven’t had the time! Anyhoo, *excuses excuses*, I’m giving myself a point for those few months of effort.

1 point

number 9

MUMBLE BUMBLE SOMETHING ABOUT FRENCH…

Wowee another one that didn’t go well. I think this was also a poorly chosen resolution because HOW DO YOU MEASURE THIS. I did a few things- like reading a book, watching a movie, talking to people- so I’m giving myself a point for each of these (though I’m not sure it’s deserved- this is the problem with not defining what a success would look like!!! Next time I’ll have to pick something I can actually measure).

3 points

And for personal goals (incidentally one of which was not-so-personal and just related to my #supersecretive WIP and I talked about it here)I actually did all of these- but not necessarily to the best of my ability, so I docked some marks:

27 points

74 points total- which in grading terms works out as a…

grade c

Well what do you think? Have I been to generous or too harsh with my grading? And how have you done with your resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments!

My Reading Stats for 2018 – A Bookish Overview

Hello all! I did this last year and I had a lot of fun with it, so I figured, why not make it an annual tradition?

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Also since I did it last year I figured I could draw plenty of comparisons!

number of books 2018 stats

average rating 2018 stats

genre breakdown stats 2018

age breakdown stats 2018

ratings 2018 stats

What I find interesting looking at these stats is how some of my reading has changed in just a year. One of the best things is that while my number of books read has gone down (from 220), my average rating has gone up (from 3.5). I’m really excited to see this and my best guess for this improvement would be the way I choose books- aka I think I know my tastes better and reading so many reviews means I can vet books a lot better nowadays- so I owe the blogging community a vote of thanks for this one!

And cos I’m dorky and like statistics, I had a good time comparing 2018 to 2017 (link). For instance, the amount of YA I read was wayyy up- from 39% to 47%. Makes sense- I needed more time to relax. My reading of classics and literary fiction has remained largely static in terms of statistics- around 13%- although given how many books I read last year, this works out as significantly less. Fantasy reading is down from 43% to 34%, while contemporaries are up from 16% to 23%- not only is it interesting to note that I spent more time in the real world, but I can speculate that this more varied approach stopped some genre fatigue. Interesting stuff!

shortest book

callum

It’s sad that even though it was super short, it was still a complete waste of time.

longest book

gone with the wind 2

It’s taken me years to finally brave this one- I count this as a total victory!

worst book

foxhole court

Normally I’m reluctant to use the term… buuut in this case I’ll make an exception.

favourite book

the master and margarita

Well, it is a little slice of genius

no. dnfs

Just the one:

mysteries of udolpho

no. rereads

Ten! I did *a lot* of rereading this year and it was a great change! I used to reread way more when I was younger and it felt great to reconnect with that habit. I reckon it also had something to do with the fact that I got more enjoyment out of my books this year (just look at those ratings!)

HP x7 and Secret countess, wee free men, shiver (don’t remember reading it the first time)

most popular

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Okay, duh.

least popular

rulers and mages

Well then, this means you guys had better get on and read it 😉

highest rated

kingdom of ash book cover

It currently 4.65- possibly cos it’s a new release and only the most enthusiastic readers will have read it at this stage (in fact, when I started making this post it was 4.67, so there you go, it’s already going down).

lowest rating

art of hygge

At 3.26- makes sense- it’s a complete waste of time.

And that’s a wrap! Do you keep track of your stats? How have your ratings been this year? Let me know in the comments!

Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2018

All of these got top bananas from me and I’m surprised that a lot of them didn’t make it on to my top ten (but also not cos the books on there are frickin’ out of this world- wait till you see it 😉 ). Even if it takes more time for me to do it this way, I really enjoy celebrating the highlights of the year and these books deserve some love. Without further ado, here’s some honorary mentions:

Okay that’s all for now- hope this gets you PSYCHED for what’s to come… I know I am!!

What I have been watching lately – #movie edition

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Hello all! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! Since we’re coming up to the end of the year, I’m in a wrap-everything-up kind of mood and thought it would be fun to share some of the awesome (and less-than-awesome) movies I’ve seen over the past few months. This is by no means a comprehensive list- just the ones that stood out to me for some reason or other. And of course, this list will be accompanied by plenty of monkey drama 😉 Let’s jump to it!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– I enjoyed every second of this! I adored the series, so I was a tad nervous… but all those fears were allayed because this completely brought the book to life! I particularly liked how it took the characters and made them real, very much capturing their distinctive personalities. And Lara Jean was so Lara Jean- she was relatable and dorky and ahhh practically perfect in every way!!! So yup- one happy monkey here!!

5/5 bananas

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi– I finally watched the new Star Wars- and wish I could unwatch it. Look, I’m not trying to start arguments, and if you liked it, I’m glad you got more out of it than I did. Frankly though, if a movie bores me so much that I can leave to do chores in the middle (and yes, this is frequently my barometer for a bad movie) then I’m going to hate it. I get that the visuals are good- however that’s not why I watch movies. I’m here for the story and this did. not. deliver in that department. For all the obvious flaws- the campy scene where Leah flies through space, Rey the ULTIMATE Mary Sue, Holdo’s resting bitch face, the lame villains, the bad jokes etc- the most unforgivable thing was that it took a story about hope and made it nihilistic- that’s quite the feat! And I know this film has been analysed to death by now, so I’m sure I don’t need to get into everything, but “defying expectations” isn’t automatically a good thing. While I like unexpected twists and turns, they need to make sense in the grand scheme of things, deliver emotional punches and make me care about the characters- this did none of those things. It felt like *surprises* for surprises’ sake- which is not a good storytelling tactic. The only way this defied my expectations was that I thought it was going to be a good movie and it wasn’t. Also congrats for making the prequels look good I guess. This gets a banana peel from me:

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them– okay, so here’s another one I finally caved and watched… and that was surprisingly a good thing. While I’ve always been on the fence about Harry Potter spinoffs, this ended up delivering on a lot of fronts: the characters were stellar, there were cute animals (employed in a way that actually affected the plot- *evil eyes at Last Jedi*), the visuals were stunning and the differences between Britain and America were explored (like the term no maj- which on the surface is simpler- but also sounds less offensive). Plus there was some hidden depth in the symbolism of obscuras- drawing on how trauma can breed tragedy. I particularly liked the portrayal of Scamander by Redmayne (quickly making this a new fave HP character). And *spoilers* Grindlewald as a villain was subtly portrayed (I’m decidedly less keen on the actor that’s taken over). Overall, this worked for me!

4/5 bananas

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The Death of Stalin– this captured the sheer *craziness* of the situation. Plus, for a movie that’s historically accurate (if you want to see just how much you can watch this great video essay) and very dark, it was ridiculously funny. I was laughing throughout. Though the fact that this Kafkaesque/1984 setting was *real* always sat disturbingly in my mind. And while I reckon history buffs will get a kick out of it, I do recommend this film for everyone really.

4/5 bananas

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The Theory of Everything– the most obvious thing I can think to say about this was that Redmayne was *definitely* an Oscar-worthy performance. It was also a beautifully shot movie, though a little on the slow side. BUT it was very life affirming- really embodying Hawkins’ famous quote: “As long as there is life, there is hope”. It was amazing to see what he achieved in film form. I also felt like it could be seen as a counter to the Me Before You narrative argument (not to criticise the author, for whom it was an exercise in empathy). The only thing was I didn’t buy the romance as much as I wanted to. And, while I’m glad I watched it, it didn’t blow me away. Incidentally, I’ve been listening to brief history of time- which I won’t be reviewing  cos WHODOYOUTHINKIAMLOLIREADBOOKSIDON’TDOPHYSICS (seriously I can’t help you with black holes and the like)- but I will say it’s very interesting.

3½/5 bananas

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The Shooting Party– this was rather propagandistic. At the risk of alienating all zero of my posh fans, I don’t actually think I need any convincing not to go shootin’ animals. That said, I don’t think that if I was unclear on that this would change my mind- because it’s not a convincing argument to have people walking round moralising. There’s literally no real characters in this- merely lifeless husks that act as mouthpieces for an agenda. Regardless of whether I agree with said agenda, it simply doesn’t make for an entertaining film. There’s a lot of pointless, pretentious conversations and not nearly enough drama. All this ended up being was an opinion masquerading as art.

2/5 bananas

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The Birds– now this is more like it! It may start out witty and humorous but the tone steadily shifts. All this builds up the tense and magnetic atmosphere. By the end of the movie, all the little sounds in my flat were making me jump. I didn’t even realise how much it affected me until I saw a load of pigeons the next day and thought: “what are they up to?” Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever look at birds again in quite the same way. Super clever and wonderfully crafted- this is a classic for a reason! Even scaredy cats like me can appreciate it!

5/5 bananas

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Okay- so some potentially *explosive* opinions there and the question of the day is: do you agree or disagree with me on any of these? What do you think of these movies? And have you watched anything that stood out to you lately? Let me know in the comments!