Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – All in for August 2022!

Hello all! That was a WILD month! Over here in the UK, it was feeling hot hot HOT!!! But even with the crazy temperatures, I managed to drag myself out the house and do some cool things 😊 Right away, my month was off to a great start when a friend treated me to Jerusalem:

With incredible performances and an amazing script, I felt so lucky that this was my first experience at the theatre in years. A complex play, the story follows Rooster, who is on the verge of being evicted from his caravan. For all the rough edges, this tells of a purity beneath the grime. I particularly liked how the humour threw the darkness into sharp relief and made the experience fly by. And, ultimately, it softened me up for the gut punch at the end!!

Then I was lucky enough to go to Madame Butterfly- which was yet another stunning and moving Royal Opera House performance. Even more tragic than La Boheme, Puccini’s opera felt more real because the ending was so twisted.

Finally, I found myself on a witchy hike in the woods of Surrey!

Also, I never would’ve noticed this post box if it wasn’t pointed out to me, but can you tell what’s special about it?

Don’t Make a Sound– I don’t have much to shout about with this book. It had some cool moments of tension and kept me up reading all night, but was probably a little dark for me. Plus there were some things that stretched credulity. For instance, why when a police officer goes missing ON A MISSING PERSON’S CASE does nobody check where he went last?!??! Also, how are they not suspicious of the jumpy, creepy, elderly couple? I dunno, a lot of the people in this book had to be extremely stupid for the plot to work. That said, it did have a stellar final twist.

Rating: 3/5 bananas  

Bird by Bird– ehh this didn’t really take off for me. I love the title of this book… and not much else. Writing advice books aren’t really my jam, but I’d heard this was one you simply *had to* read. Annnd I don’t know why people think that. I guess the author is very assertive at telling you how right she is about everything (from writing advice to freedom fighters always being right apparently). Yet for me, this is just another prescriptive writing manual, with vaguely encouraging ideas like don’t be a perfectionist told in an irritating way. I just don’t see what’s so special about another writer saying that making it in writing is hard and to focus on characters over plot. You’ll hear the same advice for free on the internet.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

Gilded– for me, this book was a rare and golden experience. When I first picked it up, over a year ago, I wasn’t in the mood and thought it wasn’t going to be for me. But, not being able to resist the pull of a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, I decided to pick it up again and, lo and behold, it was absolutely magical! I simply loved how it wove the story, threading together the plot in an unusual way. Up close I could not see where the story was heading- and yet when I stood back the beautiful tapestry was clear. It’s one of my favourite Meyer books to date and I’m looking forward to the conclusion!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

Dark Queens– this is real life game of thrones and I am here for it!! Exploring the forgotten and erased parts of the dark ages to life, Dark Queens is centred on the rivalry of two powerful queens during the Merovingian dynasty. While this was a time period I knew virtually nothing about, I found myself completely gripped by the political intrigue and inner workings of these kingdoms. More than that, the book centres on the memory of these now-mythical queens, who were written out of the history books for their gender. I found it fascinating to follow how they both seized and ceded their power, learning of the personal struggles at the heart of their rule. If I had one criticism of the book, I’d say that I do not share the author’s admiration for their ruthlessness and ambition, just as I would not for the male rulers at the time. That said, this is easily one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. Heck it’s one of the best books I’ve read! Even if it doesn’t have dragons 😉

Rating: 5/5 bananas

Why Did You Stay?- How do you follow up a great book like that? With great difficulty. While I appreciated the basic premise that women are often conditioned to accept shitty relationships for the sake of “romance” (see the likes of Beauty and the Beast to Grease), I was not as impressed by this book as I wanted to be. Unfortunately, Humphries’ jolty style and sloppy structure make it hard to focus on her unfolding epiphanies. I feel like the book would have benefited from cutting down- at the very least. And, as much as I liked that this raised some awareness of toxic relationships and people’s reaction to it (with that awful shaming question “why did you stay?” ringing in the ears of so many) I did not feel like this went nearly far enough. While this is just one story, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a missed opportunity to talk about why people get stuck and perhaps how to get unstuck (hint: that question doesn’t help anybody). Still, I did particularly like the epilogue and its summations.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month!

Supernova was superb!


Hello all! I’m SUPER psyched to talk about the conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s epic superhero series! And you know what that means… it’s time to bring back my Marvellous Monkey suit:

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Kicking off with Renegades, amping up the tension with Archenemies, I had high hopes for this one- and I was far from disappointed. Supernova was the kind of book I looked forward to picking up every time I put it down- which is rather a rare thing for me at the moment.

I’ll admit, this had something of an imperfect start, with the main characters consistently not figuring out some rather obvious secrets. That said, I did understand why they might plausibly not want to see the truth staring them in the face (even if it was frustrating at times!) Luckily this was all just setup for an *explosive* plot. When we finally got their reactions to the big secrets, all was forgiven (well at least from my perspective 😉)

In terms of that plot all I can say is WOW! It my breath away. With blockbuster action and showstopping exploits, this book was an experience. I loved where it took the characters and how the relationships evolved- all the way to the bitter end! This wasn’t just a rollercoaster ride- this went full speed off the tracks and in directions I couldn’t have predicted. Especially where it took the subplot murder mystery of who killed Adrian’s mother- highlight for spoilers: yes, it was what we expected, but I loved that it also wove in the idea that we create our own enemies and have to overcome our own fears.

Sure, there were also treacheries I did see coming- but even they were satisfying because they were built up so successfully and didn’t go for the straightforward solution. I was happy to see that this finale still played with nuanced ideas about good and evil- showing the Renegades true colours and talking of redemption for Anarchists. The power of the ending came from how it delivered on every promise of the premise- and gave us a few extra gifts besides!

Ultimately, I’m flying high with satisfaction for this series. I’m delighted that there’s finally an exceptional YA superhero series out there- and I’d love for there to be more!! (at the very least, I’d suspect a spinoff from Meyer sometime in the future)

My rating: 4½/5 bananas

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And of course, because I shared this series from the beginning with the Magnificent Monkey Baby, I’d like to ask her join us for a moment to tell us what she thought:

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Supernova is a banatastic book!!! Literally! It’s insane but in the most amazing way! It takes such epic twists and turns but feels so satisfying. I love the dynamics between the characters and how they each grow. Also the sheer shmushyness between Adrian and Nova is heart-warming and even sideline characters manage to pull on your heartstrings. It is superbly well done. There is a moment or two where I wanted to knock Adrian on the head because I couldn’t believe how stupid he seems to be (I thought he might have lost all his wits) but those moments are thankfully brief and don’t take away from the awesome storyline and the amazing conclusion to this SUPER Series!

Monkey Baby’s Rating: 4½/5 hearts

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Well you heard it from both of us- we found it an exceptional finale! What do you think of this series? Have you got to the superb ending? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

Archenemies was Unrivalled Entertainment!


Hello, hello! I am incredibly psyched to be back talking about Marissa Meyer’s take on superheroes again– so much so, I’ve got back into costume. Introducing the Marvellous Monkey! Up, up and away!

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I’ll admit, this did have a slower start than Renegades, BUT it picked up pretty quickly and leapt back into the action. Pacing ended up being one of the book’s strong suits- taking the tension to new heights and frequently leaving me breathless.

I also enjoyed the return of all those philosophical debates (Moral Philosophy Man to the rescue! 😉). Personally, I felt it dealt with the issue of power in an intelligent and nuanced way. The lines between good and evil seem so blurry in this story that I often can’t decide which person to support!

I genuinely felt for the characters- they have become so real to me that I became completely lost in the world of the book. Yes, it still reminds me of X Men, but no, that’s still not a bad thing. I am simply thoroughly enjoying this take on the post-apocalyptic superhero story, which focuses more on the question of who even is the bad guy anyway?!

The romance was super well developed too- with added tension of Nova and Adrian both going behind each other’s backs and arghhh I really want them to work it out (but have no idea how it’s going to resolve itself!!) That’s why I’ve invited the Magnificent Monkey Baby to give us her thoughts on where it’s going:

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ARCHENEMIES AHHHHH SHMUSH CENTRAL PARADISE!!!! With so many emotional twists and turns!! And okay Adrian has the best power of all time! If you weren’t convinced it was the best, well now there is no way anyone has a biscuit of doubt about it now. I mean he literally is a power genius. He can literally create life!! Wait is he G-d or something cuckoo?? Are we in for an insane shock? Or is this literally just the coolest person to exist! Anyshmudgens, it’s a wonderful fun butterfly ride and I can’t wait for the next book 🙂

Monkey baby rating:

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(And you guys thought I was hyperactive 😉 ) Thank you so much for that Monkey Baby!

My rating: 4/5 bananas

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So what do you think of the books in this series? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

Renegades VS Anarchists! Who do you choose?

*Proofs and other items received in exchange for promo post*


A while back I did an ARC review for Renegades– a superfun superhero book that plays with the Good vs Evil dynamic! On one side is the ever-so-just Renegades; on the other the allegedly evil Anarchists. In honour of the publication day (*today*) Macmillan kindly offered to send me some proofs and goodies, to pair up with a friend and discuss which is better JUSTICE OR ANARCHY. And, well, I thought that was a supercool idea 😉 So thank you to the lovely people over at Macmillan for this!


I decided to team up with my sister, the Monkey Baby, who read and loved the book. So today she’s back on my blog to tell us which side she prefers! After all, what’s better than a healthy bit of sisterly rivalry?


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Yes we got dressed up for this post 😉

Me: Which was convenient for me, because I’m team Anarchist!! (c’mon if I can pick Loki as my favourite Avenger, I’m naturally going to pick the “baddies” when both sides are morally dubious 😉 )

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Monkey Baby: Don’t be a Schmuck!!  The Renegades have the coolest gadgets and the Anarchists are EVIL!!!!! They’re the goodies!!! Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden are so sweet. They will see right in the end and everything will work out perfectly. You can’t trust the villains!!! Just look at Ingrid!!!!!

Me: Yes typically speaking I’d say they’re a bit extreme 😉 HOWEVER so are the Renegades- they pretty much exemplify what happens when the ruling elite focus too much on orderliness aka they basically become authoritarian. Aside from the fact that I can’t help rooting for the underdog, the Anarchists have a point and are right to oppose them (even if their methods aren’t ideal). Considering everything the Renegades plan to do, I’m not so sure they’re the good guys…

Monkey Baby: But Adrian will turn them into being beautifully upstanding citizens because he has a big open heart and will listen to advice whereas the Anarchists will blow everything  up. I mean c’mon they’re already saving the planet worldwide with all their cool superheroey goodness. And Adrian…. Just Adrian…..mnmmm mmmmmmm…

Me: ahh I may not have a musical number to back it up, but I prefer Nova- I mean, she is Nightmare! Could you think of more of a badass female character? She may not be as mushy as Adrian, but she has a heart! And sure, Adrian may have the power to draw anything into existence, but she’s taught herself how to do loads of cool things, and I always have a soft spot for heroes that make themselves what they are… although she’s technically a villain…






Me: Or you know, we could work together.

Monkey Baby: I mean let’s face it we’re always better together. 

And on that note, this is available *now* on Amazon UK and US.

So who would you choose? Renegades or Anarchists? Let me know in the comments!

Renegades was pretty RAD!

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


Yes, I’m unapologetically using the word “rad”, because I am just that cool.

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(I swear this book is better than my awful use of slang)

From the opening line, I knew I was in for an exciting ride. The writing gripped me from the opening sentence and I was utterly engrossed right up until the very end. It was full of great twists and turns, leading upto an ending that I wasn’t actually expecting. I have heard some complaints about pacing for this one, but I just didn’t see it that way at all. For me, the action kept on rolling up and down the rollercoaster from beginning to end.

There was also plenty going on under the surface and had layers of mystery that I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of. While Renegades perhaps could have done a bit more to keep me on the edge of my seat, given how popular the genre is right now, there was still an element of complexity and just enough intrigue to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.

Now I went into this book fully aware that some people had compared this to the X Men- and there are definitely elements of that. However, for me personally, this felt more like a homage than a ripoff. Especially as there were some cool concepts incorporated into the story. Thanks to a few changes of setting and tweaks to the story, this took on a life of its own. I think it also helped that I wasn’t really expecting anything ground-breaking or original (c’mon at this point, the formula for a superhero story is ironed out and this is a YA retelling of that same idea)

Renegades was somewhat faithful to the idea of what a superhero should be, yet still managed to play about a little with the idea of villainy. This made for some GREAT characters- and I especially liked Nova as the female lead. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the powers, especially Sketch’s, were really cool.

Above all, it was FUN. A lot of superhero stories have lost that lately- but this was thoroughly enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

4 for 4- April Mini Reviews

Hello- happy Friday!! I don’t know about where you are, but it’s been a lovely sunny day over here in good old England for a change, so I’m soaking up the sun while I can…

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(And yes, I’m being totally British starting this post by talking about the weather- *that’s* not stereotypical at all… anyone want some tea?)

Anyhoo, I’m back today with my mini review feature where I catch up on some of my ever-growing backlog of unreviewed books- if you want to hear more about this, you can check out my post from last month. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

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The Sun Is Also A Star– Unusually for me, even though I loved the author’s other book Everything Everything, I frickin hated this. I’m totally not a fan of stories where people just fall in love in a day- especially since I didn’t feel like the main characters even gelled. And frankly, this might get me a lot of hate, but I didn’t find her situation as sympathetic as it was supposed to be. I don’t really feel like getting into political debates at the minute, so I’m just gonna say this book was clearly aimed at very left wing individuals and as a centrist I couldn’t get on board with the factual discrepancies and blatant propaganda. If you’re super into political messaging in books and are very left wing, you’ll love it… otherwise, avoid like the plague!

Rating: 1/5 bananas


hollow city and library of souls

Hollow City & The Library of Souls– I really intended to do proper reviews for these, but I realised I must have been too absorbed in the stories cos I didn’t take any notes. What I can tell you about these books is that if you loved the first one, these are both a great continuation of the story and worked just as well for me! I found the world building in both of them equally imaginative and just as intriguing as the first. And I don’t know what it is about it, but I felt really connected to the narrator’s voice. Also BIG shout out and thanks to Fernanda who hosted a giveaway where I won Hollow City!!

Rating: 5/5 bananas


(apiece- that’s an awful lot of bananas!)



Heartless– meh- this wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination. Looking back on it though, I didn’t personally connect with the characters and didn’t enjoy it as much as the Lunar Chronicles. Also proceed with caution: do not read if you are remotely hungry!

Rating: 3/5 bananas


Okay- I don’t know if that was cheating to do just three reviews, but there were four books here… so… Either way have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Winter Review

winterFirst of all, happy Christmas to everyone that celebrated it, hope you had a good one.

I’ve been saving Winter until I could give it my full attention (aka when I’d have time to read it in one sitting) and now I’ve finally finished this series! Yay!!

Okay, so onto the review! The first admission I have to make is Cress is still my favourite of the series. Because while this did have a lot of very satisfying moments and some really cute scenes, it didn’t get my heart pounding as much as I would have liked.

That was partly because a lot of the plot was all over the place. A lot of the time, it just felt like she was trying to cram too much into the story. Other times, Meyer gave too much space to things that seemed like they were going to be important, and then turned out to only be something minor that would be used to tie up loose ends later. But mostly, it was just really repetitive. Basically, a lot of the conflict revolved around someone getting captured, then escaping, then someone else getting captured. And that got old really fast. And made it feel a lot less tense.

Not only was the action all over the place, but many of the sub plots seemed a little bit pointless and insignificant- often because they’d already come up in the previous books. What I liked in others of the series was how the titular character had centre stage in their own book, which Meyer balanced perfectly with the stories of characters from previous books. In this one, however, I felt like Winter’s story was really upstaged by other character’s storylines. While it makes sense that there would be more focus on other characters, considering how this was the finale, I felt like a lot of this was unnecessary padding.

Mostly, this could have been solved with a more streamlined plot. But I also felt that, in terms of Winter’s story, there was a lot to be desired. Honestly, Jacin’s character felt a little flat for me, so I didn’t feel invested in their relationship. Nor did I connect as much as I would have liked with Winter. I also felt that it would have been interesting to see more interactions between Levana and Winter. While Levana’s motivations became clearer at the end of the book, a lot of the time her jealousy seemed a bit random and irrational. Especially considering how pathetic Winter often seemed.

On the other hand, I did enjoy how Meyer explored the idea of monstrosity (which is a huge theme in fairy tales in general). While she didn’t go into it in a huge way, she did delve into Levana’s perspective, which gave the whole series a bit more depth. So kudos for that.

Overall, I think it could have been better in many ways, but it was a decent ending. And for all my griping about it, I was largely satisfied with how it turned out and did enjoy a lot of it. It’s still a fun ending to a fun series 🙂

Rating: 3 ½ /5 bananas

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(Admittedly, I’m giving it an extra half a banana because two of my favourite characters got the exact happy ending I wanted.)

Have you been reading the Lunar Chronicles? Were you happy with the way Winter turned out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!