Monthly Monkey Mini Review – July

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Well hello! This is me coming at you live for the first time in weeks and I gotta admit it feels a little strange- I’m pretty out of practice I guess. But I thought you ought to know, from the monkey’s mouth, I’M ALIVE (not much of a drama queen, am I?) Anyhoo, you might have noticed that I had a lot of content up after my whole “I’m off” post, partly cos I had a lot of reviews to catch up on, although mostly cos I stress blogged before I left. Now though, I’m pretty busy (I promise to give details when I’m done) and *shock horror* haven’t been reading much 😦 I still have plenty of ideas for content, yet I’ve decided to take a proper break while I try to figure out a schedule for when I can post… so bear with me! Okey dokey, preamble aside, I have only two books to review for July:

city of brass

City of Brass– I really wanted to like this a lot more, but this got far too confusing and felt overlong. There was just so much information flying about over warring tribes and I struggled to keep up with the overload of world building- which was an especial pity, because a lot of that was beautifully written. I still ended up with way too many (irrelevant to the plot) questions like “why do they hate each other again and what the hell is going on?” And when I couldn’t connect this with the overall story, I wondered why it was included at all. Too much of the plot felt meandering anyway and that didn’t help. Nahri, the main character, initially delighted me with her antics and trickster charade… but all too soon it transpired it was little more than an act, for I couldn’t connect this character with her later impossibly innocent nature. As for the other lead, Ali didn’t grab my attention and was lost for way too much of his narrative. Again, we’re told he’s this pious and it didn’t quite match up with how he appeared in the story. It’s not a bad book per se, it just didn’t live upto any of the promise.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Always and Forever– I found Lara Jean’s final book really relatable- especially the part (*spoiler alert*) where she didn’t get into the college of her dreams. That kind of disappointment will ring true with a lot of readers no doubt. Overall, I preferred it to the second book, as the focus on growing up made it feel more necessary, yet it still didn’t quite capture my heart the way the first did.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So yeah, part of the purpose of doing this blog was to tell you all I’m not gonna be about… again! In the meantime, have you read either of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

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My Top Ten Books Featuring Sisterhood

*Warning there will be lots of pink and gushing girliness in this post*

Phew it is hot today- I don’t know how anyone gets anything done when it’s so hot! Resisting the urge to just lounge around all day, I thought I’d follow on from yesterday’s post and talk about sisters in books!

I don’t think sisterly love gets nearly enough attention in books- so today I want to celebrate some of my favourite books that feature sisters (both real and metaphorical) in a big way!  And just a heads up, I won’t be including any creepy long lost identical long lost twins or back or backstabbing biatches here- this one’s all about the positivity (mostly 😉 ):

pride and prejudice

  1. Pride and Prejudice– how could I not include Austen? The queen of the sisterhood?! That would be madness! In fact, I was actually super tempted to put Sense and Sensibility on here as well, but let’s face it, nothing beats Lizzy and Jane’s relationship!

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  1. I Capture the Castle– so mostly I just want an excuse to mention a childhood favourite. But there is a strong sister relationship in this book- only trouble is, even after all these years I can’t quite put my finger on where that relationship ends up at the end of the book. Ah well, it still deserves to be on this list, partly because I have always wanted to be part of this wacky family, but mostly because I secretly want to live in a derelict castle with no heating… (says the girl that couldn’t stand the Scottish winters)

little women

  1. Little Women– apart from this book giving me the warm fuzzies every time I think about it, this book hands down has one of my favourite family dynamics in literature- and guess what? They’re all girls! Yay- girl power! The March sisters are adorable, quirky and love fiercely- but my goodness you don’t want to get in the middle when that goes awry- there are ups and downs in this book that still make me cry (and not just the obvious *ahem* unmentionable parts- seriously don’t mention it, or you will reduce me to a fluffy orange mess again…)

Sisterhood_of_the_Traveling_Pants_book_cover

  1. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– you knew it was coming- after my review yesterday it can’t come as a surprise. What’s especially wonderful about this series is that it has every type of sisterly relationship- it deals with the figurative, the blood relations and the “oh goodness what category are you in” type of sister. And even more importantly, it doesn’t shy away from conflict between sisters (really just an occupational hazard)- instead directly addressing the issues they have and letting the characters grow as a result.

to all the boys

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– I’ve mentioned it before- but one of the best things about this series is the *lovely* sister relationships in it. Like my previous choice, it doesn’t make them buddy-buddy all the time- but that’s a-okay with me! Because complex dynamics are so important when portraying any relationship- and especially in something as nuanced and complicated as sisters!

court of thorns and roses

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy– okay so I wasn’t actually sure whether to include this one, because initially *avert your eyes superfans* I wasn’t totally sold on the sister relationships. It just seemed to be based on the protagonist’s older sisters letting her do all the work for them. But, while I’m still not convinced of this series’ perfection- review of ACOWAR to come *very* soon– I did find the sister relationships grew on me.

red sister

  1. Red Sister– okay, so no one in this book was technically a biological sister- BUT they were all Sisters- you know, nuns. Killer nuns in fact. And let’s face it, when am I gonna pass up an opportunity to mention killer nuns? (Plus they also had developed really great bonds with each other- but to be honest my brain is still on the *deadly nuns* thing to go into detail 😉 )

the young elites

  1. Young Elites– This one is another really unusual one, because this series is so out there. And I can’t talk too much about why I love this sister relationship, because of *spoilers*. But what I can say is this relationship ends up being super integral to the plot and the story’s conclusion- and how many non-romantic relationships can you say that about really? Let alone sister relationships?

hunger games

  1. Hunger Games– and speaking of another sister relationship that is integral to a book’s plot, what about Katniss Everdeen and her sister Prim. There would have been no story if Katniss hadn’t offered herself as tribute to save her sister. And as for where this relationship ends up going… well let’s not go there shall we (seriously, it’s like I designed this post to get all teary or something!)

how i live now

  1. How I Live Now– okay, so another cheerless book about the end of the world. But there was one thing I always took heart from and that was Daisy holding Piper’s hand and leading her through the literal end of the world- they’re not technically sisters, yet this image of sisterly devotion is burned into my mind whenever I think of a moment of sisterhood in books. I just want to point to it and say *that right there* (there’s also a lot of weird shit in this book, but at least there’s family at the centre of it all)

Okay that post ended up going in a darker direction than I intended. Do you agree or disagree with my choices? What book do you think is a great representation of sisterhood? Let me know in the comments below!

And naturally, I dedicate this post to my sister the monkey baby (yes that is her real nickname and no I am not making that up)

PS I Still Love You Book Review

p-s-i-still-love-you-9781442426733_hr*With Spoilers*

It’ll come as no surprise (to some people) that I’m a massive sap. I love soppy romances and cutesy relationships- so I really enjoyed To All The Boys I Loved Before. (I know, I know, with a title like that I feel kinda guilty for liking it, but what can you do?) It definitely wasn’t a brilliant book and even though I could see all the reasons I shouldn’t like it, I fell in love with the mismatched couple and sweet characters. It just worked for me.

That was part of the reason I had high expectations for PS I Still Love You. Don’t get me wrong, I hardly expected it to be the next Shakespeare, but I did hope for more of the same things that it had in the first book. In some respects, it delivered: I loved how she developed the sister-relationships- their dynamic was even better in this book; I thought Lara Jean matured quite a bit as well, which I was happy about and was undeniably called for; and there were still some cutesy relationship moments.

So why was I left feeling disappointed?

Well, for starters all the romantic moments were not between the main character and her beau from the previous book. For some reason, Jenny Han decided that in this book, she was going to undo everything that worked in the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter she had built in the first book.  All the warmth between them had gone cold; all the chemistry fizzled out. It was depressing. I mean, Han had spent the whole book convincing us that their mismatched relationship *could* work. Then she decided to kill their romance. Inexplicably and without remorse.

That would have been bad enough- if she hadn’t decided to force this now apparently incompatible pair back together at the end of PS I Still Love You. I mean, just, what…? What was Han’s thought process when she wrote these books? Honestly, I was happy for Lara Jean and Peter to be together at the end of To All The Boys but by the end of PS I Still Love You, I couldn’t see them as a couple anymore. I assume that Han wanted to create some disillusionment and doubt in their relationship to make an exciting plot for the sequel, but the only problem is she did this too well. By the end of the book, I just felt deflated. That is not how I want to feel after (what promised to be) a cutesy romance.

Rating: 2.5 bananas

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