Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – So Stoked for September 2022!

Hello all!! August was AWESOME frankly and I’m sad it’s over! But here’s to an equally great September! Before I say goodbye to the summer, let’s just look at some of the highlights of the last month! Starting with…

Hiking the Seven Sisters 😊

Finally going to the Word on the Water bookshop

Seeing the Inspiring Walt Disney exhibition at the Wallace Collection

Best of all, I went to see my friend in Edinburgh!! We had a great weekend and she gave me a grand tour of Scotland: going up to Stirling, the Highlands (with a wee bit of a Harry Potter tour), rambling round Edinburgh and catching a few shows on the Fringe! I was so grateful she got us tickets for Foil Arms and Hog (love their stuff on Youtube and it was great to catch them live!)

Also managed to see the Jersey Boys in the West End amongst all of that!! Anyway, I didn’t manage to watch much TV with all that running around, but I did see one movie…

Emma– for some reason, I really thought I wouldn’t like this adaptation, but I was pleasantly surprised. While there were some very (very very) strange decisions in places, I have to admit this worked so well tonally. Played off as a comedy, I found myself genuinely chuckling throughout. The casting was fantastic; the chemistry between the leads excellent. I particularly liked how the pair came across as squabbling children. The characters of Emma, Mr Woodhouse and Mr Eliot were captured particularly well. I even found the romance between Harriet and Mr Martin compelling. And of course, as you may have heard from other sources, the costumes were top tier. I also really LOVED the soundtrack. It did get a little over the top and the nosebleed was a particularly annoying way to ruin a romance scene. Yet, little touches, like when Emma goes to Mr Martin, made this one of my favourite Austen adaptations. Although, let’s be honest, an Emma adaptation is hard not to love 😉

Okay- onto the reading! I went on a bit of a thriller bender this month (unintentionally) so that’s what’s going to hog these reviews (but of course keep an eye out for the contemporary in there, cos it’s a good one 😉)

The Woman in my Home– I feel like this is definitely fodder for people who liked the Tinder Swindler, but yeesh, way too much of this hinges on everyone being stupid. I feel like it’s worse that the people who know that the (spoiler alert) dude who seems to good to be true is in fact a conman just confront him. Because what is the point in that?! It meant that there was no real surprises, since, shockingly, the conman doesn’t take too kindly to being blackmailed. But all works out well in the end (it’s just one of those thrillers where we’re owed a happy ending apparently). Honestly, I’m struggling to say anything positive about this stunningly average book.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

The It Girl– here’s a book that’s far from average however. With a dual timeline spanning from the protagonist’s days in Oxford University to working in a bookshop in Edinburgh, the setting had the perfect atmospheric vibes for a dark academia thriller. I was enraptured by this cold-case story, trying to figure out who killed her friend all those years ago. And, like many of her books, the characters were an interesting study. I will admit that the suspect was a little obvious- however the how and the why were particularly clever. Definitely a book that proves why Ware is the It Girl in the thriller world.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

Reading Allowed– when I saw a book fall onto my desk about what it’s really like to work in a library I *had to* pick it up. I mean, dudes, that’s my jam. And I really did like that this shares the realistic stories. It was pretty cathartic knowing that, up and down the country, we’re experiencing much of the same things. Still, I couldn’t quite say I loved this book, since sadly the writing was pretty bland. I wish that I could recommend this more, because library stories are much funnier than this makes them out to be. But I guess you had to be there 😉

Rating: 3/5 bananas

The Hive– social media and murder collide in this thriller, as Charlotte Goodwin lets the public decide the fate of her ex-boyfriend: should he live or die? An absolutely gripping new thriller, with a fantastically performed audiobook. Focusing on the themes of sisterhood, the characters are what shone in this story. Because more than commenting on the foibles of social media, this book asks the question what would (or wouldn’t) we do for the people we love? I did see some of the twists coming, yet the last twist caught me out. And above all, I loved that it was more than just a thriller.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

Act Your Age, Eve brown– of all the Brown sisters, Eve is literally the most fun. She’s flighty, unreliable and way too impulsive. Which makes for a great romantic heroine! And with her spontaneous and brilliant energy, her (mis)adventure turns out to be a thoroughly enjoyable romp. With a pinch of hate-to-love and a dash of charm, this was a super cute finale to the Brown romance trilogy and I was here for it!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

One Last Secret– on the plus side, this absolutely delivers on revealing one last secret (and then another and then another). BUT unfortunately a lot of this book read like torture porn and was really hard to listen to (evidently I went with the audiobook version). The subject matter, from prostitution to (highlight for spoiler) child death, was a little on the dark side for me and I can’t say I enjoyed it. If you have a stronger stomach than me, you may get more out of this. Because I can definitely say the twists are worth the ride.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

The Disappearing Act– we all know the world of Hollywood is all smoke and mirrors- which is what makes this story of a missing actress so compelling. Yet the one issue I kept returning to with this book was why on earth did was the main character embroiled in this mess?!? Because this is one where you really have to suspend your disbelief for the mystery to work. Not many of us would traipse around a foreign city hunting for a stranger, after all. I also think the author forgot the golden rule of storytelling: we actually need to care about the people these things are happening to. I did enjoy the twist- yet struggled to get over the original premise. It would have made so much more sense if they’d had a real connection to begin with (and not a five minute awkward one pre-audition). Still, there was a very good twist. And, even if the messaging that success isn’t worth your soul was a little on the nose, it did deliver it rather well. Personally, however, I was most disappointed with the convenient finale that left it on too much of a hopeful note. Really I felt the ending could’ve done with a darker edge. But a round of applause for effort.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

That’s all for now! Some of those were pretty average, but there were some good ‘uns in there! Have you read any of them? What did you think of these? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month!

Some HAPPY Books to Brighten Up Your Day!

orangutan list

You know me, I love my dark books. But today, I figured it was about time I shared some books with a lighter touch. These are just some of the books that make me happy:

the martian

The Martian– starting with a book based around the catastrophe of being stuck on Mars with a depleting air supply, I absolutely expect you to read that synopsis and think has this monkey gone bananas? Why has she put this on a happy books list? Well, for all the tension in this book, there’s an equal amount of humour, thanks to the hilarious protagonist Mark Watney! I guarantee if you pick this up, you’re in for a bundle of laughs

the hating game

The Hating Game– with a book title like that, you might not expect to see it on a list like this- but this quirky, funny contemporary is practically the definition of a HAPPY book 😀

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– the clue is in the title 😉 I am a sucker for “happily ever afters” and this delivers for sure!

to all the boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– Lara Jean and her family never fail to bring a smile to my face.

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda– do I really need to give any introductions for this book at this point? While this deals with some serious issues, Albertalli’s lighthearted touch make Simon a pleasure to read.

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but I can’t help it if this brilliant parodic fantasy fills me with the utmost joy!

going postal

Going Postal– One of my favourite Discworld books- need I say more? Also, it happens to be one of the funniest.


Nimona– this is a newish one for me- but as another twist on its genre, I thought it fit perfectly. Playing with ideas of supervillains vs superheroes, this graphic novel is a whole lotta fun!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I adore this fresh take on alternative history. A completely unexpected ride, this doesn’t just toy with historical accuracy, it laughs in its face and rewrites the history books- in the best possible way!


Emma– I mean, it’s Austen- do I need a reason? I also happen to love Mr Knightley the most of all Austen’s male leads (oh and there’s great character development- but pff- we’re talking about what makes me smile)

little women

Little Women– rounding off with possibly an unusual choice, this certainly has its poignant and sad moments- HOWEVER for every bit of sadness this book brings, it also delivers its equal parts of joy. I would have felt remiss not to include it.

So do any of these books bring you joy? And what are your favourite happy books? Let me know in the comments!

Quote Challenges – Favourite First Lines: Day 5

Hello all! Back again for my favourite first line post 😀 As usual, here are the rules I’m breaking:


  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to the fantastic Flora the Sweaterist for tagging me to do this! She’s a marvellous bi-lingual blogger, doing book and movie reviews in both English and Hungarian! So worth checking her out!

emma first line.png

There is so much characterisation in this first line!! Although Pride and Prejudice might technically have one of the best lines ever written, I actually prefer this because it was this line that made me understand Austen’s humour and become addicted to her beautiful books.

I tag:

Zoie @Whisked Away By Words, Katie @Never Not Reading and Thinking Moon

Do any of you love Austen? If so, when did you fall for her writing style? Let me know in the comments!

My Austen Rankings – Inspired by Never Not Reading

So in case you don’t know, I’ve pressed pause on the favourite classics list for now, but the whole process of doing that has got me thinking. Especially since there were a ton of books I put on the list and then took off the list- it was a bit of a hokey pokey process 😉 I kept trying to select the absolute best ones by any given author, otherwise it’d just be a never ending list. One of the more difficult ones for me to decide over was Austen because I actually adore 5/6 of her books… so how did I choose between them?! Well, that’s why I thought it might be fun to talk about them all (and yes, I know I’ve talked about the top two recently, but you can never talk about Austen too much!)

This post was inspired by the absolutely lovely Katie @Never Not Reading, who came up with this awesome idea a few months ago and who has the most *incredible*, interesting, thought provoking content. She’s currently on maternity leave (MASSIVE CONGRATS to her and her whole family 😀 ) but that is *no excuse* not to check out her blog- I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Her blog is one of my favourites!!

And of course I loved her post on this! The thing that excites me about everyone’s preferences when it comes to Austen is that no matter who you talk to, no one seems to have the exact same order- which makes it such a fun thing to do! Let’s get to my ranking:


Emma– ahh it can hardly surprise anyone, given the number of times I’ve cited this as the perfect book 😉 I’m gonna be brief, I’m into everything about this book: the wit, the character growth, the romance- it all makes me swoon 😀 Plus, it’s kinda fitting for this to be my number one since it’s the book that made me fall for Austen in the first place. Although in fairness, depending on my mood, you could switch it out for…


Persuasion– yup, there’s loads of times this has been my number one Austen- the romance is so intense in this one! As I’ve mentioned before, the love in this gets me all sappy, because dammit they’re still in love after all this time and ISN’T THAT JUST THE SWEETEST! *Ahem, regains cool*- I also have a great respect for the heroine- she’s kind, without being a total pushover (*cough* like some other characters I will mention… *cough cough*) But yeah, I’ll summarise my feelings about this book thusly: squeeeeeeee!!!

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– *confession*- the first time I read this, I wasn’t especially taken with it (I was a bit young and I don’t think I picked up on the irony) then I got set it as one of my AS texts and just *groans all round*. At least, that was my initial reaction- before I reread it, I picked up Emma and fell in love with that… so much to my surprise, when I reread this I fell in love with it too! Now I adore everything about this book and will happily reread it any time 😀 So moral of the story, I can change my mind about books 😉 (although I can’t think of anything else I’ve drastically changed my mind about since then 😉 )

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– it feels so wrong putting this fourth on the list given how much I love it. I do hover about whether I put this ahead of Pride and Prejudice *all the time*. It’s such a romantic book- and hilarious at the same time! I also think the parodic elements get funnier with every gothic book I read.

sense and sensibility

Sense and Sensibility– again, I really enjoyed this one, so don’t assume I’m putting it at number 5 on the list for any other reason than I like the other ones slightly more. Like Pride and Prejudice, it has strong sisterhood themes and I was definitely into the relationship drama.

mansfield park

Mansfield Park– okay, I’m not going to make any excuses about putting this last- quite simply, it’s the only one I dislike. Fanny’s a drip and the relationship’s incestuous- I actually was rooting for her to end up with the Mr-Wickham-stand-in (is it obvious I’ve not read this in a while?) I am actually tempted to reread it and see if I still hate Fanny just as much (plus I did just go on about giving Pride and Prejudice another chance)… but also really can’t be bothered because there really wasn’t anything I enjoyed about this one- sorry!

What I learnt just then was that ranking Austen is HARD! Honestly the first four often end up in different positions, so this doesn’t even feel definitive. Anyhoo, do you like Austen? What’s your ranking? Let me know in the comments!

New Lessons I’ve Learnt From Rereading Emma

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_coverHi all! Hope you enjoyed my post yesterday, though I have to say that since I did not have the chance to change it after midday, according to the sacred rules of April Fools I became the fool- whoopsie.

Anyhoo I’m back to my old Librarian self now, so time to discuss this wonderful book! Before Emma I’d read Pride and Prejudice, but somehow hadn’t connected with the story in the same way. But the second I read the first sentence of Emma, Austen’s humour just clicked and I fell in love right away. After that I found I was finally able to connect with Pride and Prejudice in a way I hadn’t before. So I have this book to thank for introducing me to my love of Austen.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reread this book. And there’s a reason I keep going back to it time and time again: it’s the perfect novel. What makes it perfect? Well that there are so many lessons to learn from it no matter how many times I read it. Here are just some of the things I noticed this time round:

(Be prepared, cos this might get a little spoilery)

  1. It’s okay not to be perfect. One of the best things about Emma is how imperfect Emma is because we can see ourselves in her imperfections. Besides perfect characters are boring.
  2. Even if she’s not perfect, Emma is the perfectly constructed character. She is a list of contradictions: ungenerous and charitable, kind and selfish, empathetic and yet blind to other people’s true feelings. This is the best sort of character because it feels realistic.
  3. It is one thing for the main character to grow; it is another for the reader to grow too. The book provokes you to dislike Emma at the start, grow to understand her in the middle and fall in love with her by the end. That is no easy feat and a sign of Austen’s true artistry.
  4. This is a common theme in lots of other books and somehow I had not noticed it in this book- but central to this story is that sometimes by doing kindness one can do the greatest harm. Emma really is just trying to help Harriet by discouraging her from being with Martin and inflating her own self-worth. Emma really believes she is helping her- but it almost costs her friend her happiness in the short term and destroys what little is good in Harriet’s character by giving her a bit of a superiority complex. Which is especially bad as she is just the natural daughter of tradesman- and never had any hope beyond being with Mr Martin.
  5. The Eltons are arses. Not just to Emma and Harriet, but to Jane as well. In the guise of being nice to Jane, they humiliate and belittle her. I don’t know why I didn’t notice that before.
  6. I finally understood what Mr Knightley meant by saying she should not have insulted Miss Bates because she is rich- it’s not that she is automatically superior, but that she has certain advantages and it is not nice to flaunt what she has. It is because of her position of privilege that she was in a position to say such things in the first place and she should not have abused that position.
  7. Frank is a fascinating character. I never paid as much attention to him before- but he’s actually a lot more complex than I ever gave him credit for before. Don’t believe me- think of the scene where he makes himself appear foppish and ridiculous by going all the way to London just to get his hair cut, just so that he can have a cover story for getting Jane a gift. Because I only ever saw the story from Emma and Knightley’s perspective, I never really thought about how sweet that is!!
  8. And speaking of Frank, I never noticed before, but the story within the story is actually far more complex than the story itself! That is incredibly intricate plotting- bravo Austen!
  9. Though it still has a flighty, romantic air to it, it is one of the more realistic of Austen’s novels. The scenes of misunderstanding, friendship and love could easily play out in a modern novel. It is the perfect social satire because it is so enduring.
  10. This isn’t really new, but it’s always lovely to be reminded that love is there all along. I adore the moment when Emma realises her feelings for Knightley at the end of the book. In a way, it reminds me of the line in The Wizard of Oz: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

there's no place like home.png

Who would have thought I could have found similarities between Emma and The Wizard of Oz?! Clearly my brain works in mysterious ways….

Anyhoo- have you read any Austen? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments below!

Ben and Jerry Book Tag

Yay let’s kick off my impromptu tag week with a tag about ice cream- what better way could I start?

Thank you so much to Keira for nominating me for this!


isla and the happily ever afterOk a part of me is saying don’t pick Isla and the Happily Ever After… which means, of course I had to pick it. It’s like the best kind of ice cream and I never get bored of it.




carry onWell that’s Carry On– cos it’s the best thing since sliced bread.





The_Amber_Spyglass_Book_CoverThe end of The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials trilogy) is the first thing that comes to mind.





Emma_Jane_Austen_book_coverOh gosh- I wanted to pick Carry On for this too! How about Emma instead? I love the relationship between Mr Knightley and Emma!





J K Rowling and Rainbow Rowell- I mean imagine what they could do together! I mean, I guess that’s basically what Carry On is, but still (gosh how many times am I gonna mention that book in one post? As many as is necessary I guess)


snow like ashesOk how about a curve ball- it’s not my favourite book by any stretch of the imagination, but I did find Snow Like Ashes very exciting. I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in one night




secret countessThe Secret Countess– cos it just warms me up from the inside out.





a darker shade of magicA Gathering of Shadows of course!!! I know I’ve mentioned this so many times already, but I couldn’t be more excited to read the next instalment in V E Schwab’s trilogy.



Okay, that’s it for day 1, I tag:

The Paper Dragon



Mud and Stars

Bookshelves and Paperbacks

Bookshelf Fantasies