Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – We’re in March 2023!

Hello all! Hope you all had a great month… I know I did with the love of my life Charlie Barley 😉

We’ve been getting out and about for lots of lovely walkies… when I’ve been well that is 😅 Sadly I’ve spent most of this month sick again, which really sucks, especially cos it means I don’t have so many books to share this month :/

And amazingly that didn’t result in me watching loads of TV- so I only have one show to talk about (but it’s a doozy)

Wednesday– woe is me that it took me so long to get to this! Woe is life that we have to wait so long for season two! This was quite simply a perfect show. With mystery, friendship, wonderful characterisation, a brilliant soundtrack and great cinematography- we were all spoilt with this hit of a show! I have nothing to say other than you *absolutely* need to watch this if you haven’t already!!

Forgotten Bookshop in Paris– I want to start this review with a true story. When I was very young, I met an elderly man in Yaffa, who had a shop filled with both Catholic and Jewish memorabilia. He told the story of how, as a teenager in France, the Nazis came to take him away. His mother told him to jump out the window and run. He made it to a church, where they hid him for the rest of the war. I can still remember how his eyes filled with tears as he said “I never saw my mother again”. My reason for sharing this story is simple: I don’t want it to be forgotten. Books like this, which talk of the occupation in France and deportation of French Jews, do an important job of conveying this memory. I could stop my own recollections resurfacing as I read this book. To its credit, the story had a strong sense of time and place. Though, admittedly, I was more invested in the modern characters in this dual timeline book. Still, I felt that the book felt very in touch with life and history.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas 

Mysterious case of the Alperton Angels– heavens above- Janice Hallet definitely knows how to write a damn good mystery! Made up of emails and texts, in a modern epistolary style, this delves into the grubby world of journalism and true crime. With characters who are consummate liars and subtlety deceptive, Hallet once more manages to strike the perfect balance between mystery and humour. While not necessarily having the best underlying  motive or twist, the story still manages to have a sensational ending worthy of the tabloids. More importantly, it leaves the reader with a moral choice: what is the right thing to do? A bit more far-fetched than other books, but I’m glad it didn’t slant (too much) into the fantastical. Definitely worth a shot for mystery lovers!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas 

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray– well I believe I may have read too many thrillers. Because I swear to any god who will listen that I spent this entire book waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe it’s me or maybe I simply have gotten over the whole “oh he’s stalked me to my place of work cos he fancies me, isn’t that cute?” Aside from her looks, there seemed to be no actual reason for the love interest to be downright obsessed with the main character. It was especially weird that she kept referring to herself as a muse when she was so goddamn empty inside. In fact, she went beyond being shallow to being a full-on narcissist. And this isn’t just me using the internet’s favourite buzzword- this was other characters in the book and glimpses of self-awareness from the protagonist herself. Because, as someone calling her out says:

“Even in the middle of hurting other people you’re focused on yourself”

I mean, yeah, narcissism seems a pretty apt description. Especially as she then throws herself a pity-party for treating everyone else like shit. In fact, the whole way through the book, she’s feeling sorry for herself and completely out of touch with other people’s emotional landscape. The closest she comes to empathy is when her boyfriend/husband/the-book’s-dull-as-dishwater-love-interest is depressed, she talks about banal things to make him feel better. Which is alright if you have an incredibly low bar for emotional support. I also felt like the book was clearly trying to manipulate me into rooting for her, with hints to her baggage from an averagely-bad childhood, troubled teens and an ongoing feud with an Other Woman trope (which frankly I was feeling over it from the second it started… forgive me for not loving girl-on-girl-hate). I also wasn’t massively into how choreographed the romance scenes were. All that said, this was far from the worst book I’ve read in a while and there were times when I really liked the writing style. I just didn’t think it was that good of a book. (But a great cover though).

Rating: 2½/5 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!