Monthly Monkey Mini Review – December

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Hello all! I know we’re a week in, but can anyone believe it’s already December? Like much of the rest of the year, November flew by for me, especially since I was so busy with my (vague) Nano plans. As a lot of you guys know, in the end I had a pretty successful writing month 😀

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I’ll admit, that took up a huge proportion of my month, although I also did go to La Bayadere and Simon Boccanegra at the Opera House- both of which were epic (although obviously I did not have as good seats as the way I’ve painted it 😉 ):

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(is it obvious at this point that I’m half interested in sharing what I do and mostly just into making these monkeys?)

Anyhoo, back to books, I didn’t read a tremendous amount last month, so only have a few mini reviews today:


Autoboyography– initially, I thought the one line concept wasn’t all that interesting- but as it went on I did get more into the premise. Mostly cos the execution was so good. The writing was inventive with the style and voice and definitely had me rooting for the characters. I ended up liking Tanner, for all his *do first, think later* attitude and being pretty keen on the rest of the cast… However, speaking of infatuation, I wasn’t too obsessed with the romance. It just felt too much like instalove for me and there was only one squeal-worthy moment. I also wasn’t crazy about how his best friend Auddy’s story arc- I kept thinking she was treated unfairly by the plot. She was set up as an interesting character- but all I kept thinking was what about her dreams? Her love? Her book? I can’t imagine a real life person as spunky as her would appreciate being faded into the background so much. Overall, it was not perfect, but I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Captivate– this took me quite a bit of the month to get through. When I picked it up I thought it was aimed at people who are somewhat socially awkward, but by the end I thought maybe it was more tuned to major introverts. Either way, I didn’t find a lot of it resonated with me. The conversation starters were a bit of fun, however, certain hacks like using people as your “riser” felt too weird to me. And this linked to an issue I continually have with self-help. A lot of self-help philosophy is based on a “what can I get out of this” mentality, whereas valuable moral philosophy centres on “what can other people get out of this” or “what can I give of myself”. Aka, it’s about what we can do for each other and selfless good deeds (can anyone tell I’ve been rewatching the Good Place lately?). While the mechanics behind both actions can often be the same, the intent behind it is very different, and I find it quite off-putting. Ironically, I also think you get more out of the selfless mentality than the selfish one. So, while this wasn’t terrible, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking about it and it fell foul to the usual demons of the genre.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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girl of ink and stars

The Girl of Ink and Stars– I will say this had beautiful writing and an alright story. The main issue for me was that the characters didn’t have enough depth. And because of that I felt it was aimed at people a bit younger than it was pitched at (although who even knows what age demographic YA is aimed at anymore). It was quick paced and didn’t do anything technically wrong- I just didn’t end up remotely enthusiastic about it.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


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A List of Cages– okay I totally understand the hype around this book. It was beautiful, intense and moving. I loved the contrast in light and dark tones of each narrator. I don’t actually tend to read contemporaries on the topic of child abuse, but even if you’re like me, I’d make an exception in this case. It was wonderfully executed, emotional and had excellent characterisation. There were certain aspects of the crazy-dramatic ending I wasn’t completely sold on- but it (minor spoiler) did make sense to take the abuser out of the picture for the conclusion (though I’d have preferred jail time). Regardless, I definitely recommend it!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Before I go, the marvellous Mim Inkling is hosting a bookish bingo this month in celebration of 6 months on the platform- it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to participate. If you fancy joining in, all the details are here. I figured I’d do a wrap up at the end and maybe update a little as I go. I will say as a massive mood reader, it’s a real struggle to keep to a tbr, but so far for this contest/month I’ve read… Wicked Deep, One Day in December, After the Fire, Coco Caramel  and Shadow of the Fox. Although I might swap some of these out- I’m still hoping to squeeze this into my December reads:

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