Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February: Feeling a Little Love

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Hello all! I’m not even gonna say that I can’t believe we’re in February… but how????! It’s been an interesting start to the year for me- most of the goings-on are fairly dull though, so I’ll save you the details 😉 That has meant I’ve been a bit sporadic with blogging and I’ve been *resisting the urge* to apologise for not being on it all the time- hope you’ll forgive me 😉 Cool things been happening on the blog behind the scenes, where I quietly hit 4500 followers (THANK YOU GUYS FOR THAT) and wrote my 700th post! So I’m definitely feeling the love for blogging right now ❤

Alrighty then- let’s get to what we’re all here for- THE BOOKS!

american panda

American Panda– So I related to Mei’s germaphobia a little too much… which means the scenes where she went into icky medical stuff grossed me out. This is entirely down to personal taste, so I wouldn’t want it to put anyone off the book if you’re not bothered by that sort of thing. I just felt it went into too much detail. I think the first few lines will be able to give you an idea of whether or not this book is going to be for you: “The stench of the restaurant’s specialty walloped my senses as soon as I entered. Even with seventeen years of practice, I didn’t have a fighting chance against a dish named stinky tofu. I gagged.” For me, even reading about people gagging, makes me gag. Also a lot of the humour didn’t quite land for me. I did like the cultural side, Mei’s personality and the romance was cute if not mindblowing. Personally, the biggest hook was the family drama.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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starfish bowman

Starfish– There was a lot to like about this book. It had a strong opening, a well-executed art theme and dealt with the issue of the mother’s abuse in a good fashion. It also had a couple of (nitpicky) things I didn’t get- like why it was called starfish when the goal was to not be a starfish? Or, more importantly, how the dad could be so casually incompetent in the face of a sexual predator? In the end, it was a decent story, I’ve just read better. Gorgeous cover though.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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crazy rich asians

Crazy Rich Asians– Don’t let the low-ish rating fool you- I enjoyed large parts of this. The family elements were particularly good and there were some awesome characters (Astrid!!!). I also got a little Pride and Prejudice retelling vibes (just me?). I found the *mystery element* quite intriguing. Plus there was TONS OF DRAMA to boot.  That said, there were also a ton of flaws. As much as I enjoy different perspectives and can be quite lax on how it’s handled, this felt far too head-hoppy. I often couldn’t keep up with whose pov it was supposed to be. It was also far too long for a contemporary, some of the storylines were unnecessary and the narrative was overladen with materialistic details. Above all, while it gave me a few chuckles, the vast majority of the time I felt like I was missing the joke (for example: “It’s that Tim Paulson fellow, isn’t it?” Cassandra cut in. “Isn’t he a puppet controlled by all the Jews?”- ermm that’s straight up anti-Semitic- gonna give the author the benefit of the doubt here, so…. is the joke that they’re anti-Semites- in which case, ha-ha?) Anyway, even if the story took some detours, in the end the emotional heart of the book was *INTENSE*. I’d definitely keep reading the series and would happily watch the film.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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Oh and you won’t have to wait for my thoughts on the movie- cos I watched it shortly after 😉

crazy rich asians movie

 

monkey at the movies 2As I suspected, I liked the film more- it was SO MUCH FUN and I properly fell for the romance this time round. There were a few changes, but they worked for the silver screen. The way the rich element was stylised and cut into the film was expertly handled. I even liked the mc’s personality more. And the family aspect (which was the best part of the book) was done super well. The one thing I was disappointed was that the mystery around WHO ARE THE YOUNGS was taken out- which was a pity, though understandable. The monkey baby also gave it her stamp of approval and it was definitely an evening well spent 😉 It gets 4/5 bananas from me!

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the whole thing together

The Whole Thing Together– this did almost too-good of a job conveying the story of divorce- since I ended up feeling pretty much split down the middle about it. On the positives: there were somewhat distinct characters and emotional moments. On the negatives sadly this was the definition of character soup- there were just too many people in the bowl. I was also rather disappointed to find that it was missing the magic of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Side note: it felt weird that the book keeps pointing out that they’re not related (they’re not) (otherwise I wouldn’t have read it)

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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adorkable

Adorkable– yeesh this did not start out too well. Partly cos it embraced the trope where adults are (FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON) constantly trying to set up their teenage children. It’s a weird one, cos I’d like to know how often parents are desperate on behalf of their kids that aren’t out of high school yet. Also, this amped this up by throwing a (peculiar) friend into the mix- aptly named Hooker cos she can’t stop trying to hook her friend up with dates (do-ya-get-it?). Other than that, it also played up the LOOK-HOW-KOOKY-THE-PROTAGONIST-IS trope, such as having her slip into German at random intervals and explaining obvious references (hate to break it to you, but X Men/Superheroes are pretty mainstream). For me that was try-hard. Anyhoo- I know this might come as a surprise, considering I’ve done nothing but be critical, I thought it was pretty enjoyable:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness- sampler- sooo I’m in a weird position with this book cos I’ve been sitting on the review for close to a month now… and I still have no idea when I’m going to get *my explosion of thoughts* together for it. And since I got a snippet off netgalley, it kinda makes sense to do a snippet size review before I get into *all the spoilers*. Basically, I ended up liking it a lot less than I expected and took a while to wade through it. Then I had to wait forever for the monkey baby to finish it so I could discuss it with her. The only completely positive thing I can say about this is that I still like the writing style. Everything else… I had issues with. That’s not to say I outright hated it- but that all the components left me feeling increasingly  d i v i d e d. Hence why I’m conflicted about it now. So ahead of my full thoughts, I’m just gonna go ahead and give it:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Okay there wasn’t that much love in this post- especially cos I’ve already done full reviews for the three books I adored this month- so if you want to read my thoughts on Cruel Prince, Winter of the Witch and Wolf in the Whale be my guest 😉

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood everlastingWell hello everyone- today I’m going to be taking a lot of you back in a time machine- cos I know this series was popular *so long ago*. But I finally picked it up this year and read it right through to the end, so I’m gonna do something pretty unusual and review the last one in the series *with no spoilers* (I know- wish me luck!)

Now when it came to this book it ended up being nothing like what I expected. If you’re at all familiar with this series, you’ll know it’s fluffy and cute and wonderfully summery… And that is not the same vibe you get from this book. I thought this book would be just another frothy, light, heart-warming book, and, well, that’s not what I got. This book was a total break from form.

So after saying all of that, I should have been disappointed, right? WRONG! Just because this book was not what I wanted or expected, in the end it gave me *exactly* what I needed. It ended up being something I never even realised I was looking for.

As I said, I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I will say that the themes of this book spoke to me so much more than I expected and I sobbed the whole way through. And I mean ugly crying. Till my eyes had grown tired with tears and my head heavy. I was an ugly mess of orange fur 😉

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about this series is the characters. I cannot begin to describe how lifelike they are. Someone said on the back of this book: “Ann Brashares knows her characters”- well I feel like I know them too. All of them are my babies at this point and I have grown so attached to them (including Carmen, my least favourite, who honestly has her moments, but really shines and comes through when she’s helping others!)

Ultimately, this book will make you want to grab hold of your sisters (both real and metaphorical) and give them a massive squidge! (Shout out to my own marvellous sister, who I buddy read this with!)

As if that wasn’t enough to *make you read this book now* I found the writing in this book some of the loveliest in the series:

“He’d shown her his seams.”

“Her sadness was all over his face.”

“We aren’t built for leaving”

I don’t know why, but this simplistic, yet gorgeous style just spoke to me. Plus, in case that wasn’t enough, one of the songs it quoted is a favourite:

This is a *perfect* book to enjoy (well maybe get a cathartic kick out of) on a lovely sunny day. Or a rainy day. Or any day really. Just as long as you have somewhere you can cry in private.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Hope you liked that! Have you read this book or series? Do you like it? And what book have you read recently that gave you an emotional kick? Let me know in the comments!