Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – January 2021: A New Year Update!

Hello all! We did it! We made it to 2021!

Not to be totally underwhelming after that, but I don’t have a whole lot to report about the start of 2021. I do want to check in and give a quick New Year’s Update about my blogging plans for 2021… which are essentially that I’ve not made any plans. Basically, in the dread year that was 2020, I didn’t give myself much time off from anything… which has led to me being pretty burnt out and wanting to do things a bit differently. I just don’t know what that means as of yet 😉 There will likely be fewer posts in January while I figure things out.

Tiny Pretty Things– I appreciated some things about this as an adaptation, since it was a good take on the book (which admittedly I didn’t enjoy all that much). Think Pretty Little Liars– but with some cool dance sequences. For a TV show, it’s not bad at all. Plus, if you need some crazy teen drama in your life, then this is for you. And, what’s great is that you won’t have to wait goodness knows how many seasons for the mystery to be solved. The one thing that really bugged me was how this portrayed ballet as some right-wing bastion… which, c’mon, really? *eye roll* Suffice to say, it’s a pretty left-wing industry… though I guess that wouldn’t have fit with the America-bashing the show was going for. Alas, everything in TV has to have a smidgen of *I hate the West* propaganda these days.  

Bridgertonthis was the perfect pulpy tv to watch over Christmas break (and third lockdown *sigh*). It’s basically Gossip Girl in Regency England! Well, an alternate history version of Regency England (and even then it requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief). Either way, I was hooked cos this packed in the DRAMA! There’s fake-dating and hate-to-love here. There’s light-hearted fun and stress and *emotions*. And there’s a mystery (that thankfully we’re not left in the dark about for season 2… oh please TV gods give me a season 2!). I actually read the book because of this and had some issues with it… suffice to say this was better!

Fire Child– I picked this up, cos I loved Ice Twins when I read it a couple of years ago. This was good… but not as good. It had a lot of the same strong elements: the creepily remote location, the strong writing, the growing intrigue. The one thing that stopped me from loving it quite as much was the odd ending. It worked… just about… maybe. It made sense of somethings, but it was also a bit far-fetched. Ah well, I guess I liked the journey, if not the destination.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Accidentally in Love- oh my goodness, this had the worst. love. interest. ever. Everything about him was unpleasant- he’s mocking, rude and snobbish. And turns all this around on her to say “we’re the same!!” Just the dream guy for every gal, amiright? I just don’t understand how the main character fell for him. While this was objectively just the kind of fun-ride romance I should have just leaned back and appreciated, I just couldn’t root for this couple because the male lead was SO AWFUL! Also, this won the award for weirdest metaphor of the month- why would you say you’re “pacing like an expectant father” about a potential love interest coming over? That conjures a strange image.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Roanoke Girls– okay this is not usually the type of book I like. Well, I didn’t enjoy it, but in this case, that’s the point. It’s little literary, mystery. Though it’s not really a puzzle you have to solve- it’s far more about discovering the trauma and characters coming to understand it. It was superbly written and completely disturbing- the kind of book I wish I hadn’t read in public, because it kept making me jump. And while it’s not technically horror, horrifying is the only way to describe it. It made my blood run cold.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Keeper of the Lost Cities– don’t let the rating fool you- I liked this a lot. It was a very easy and enjoyable read. It’s a great start to an MG series about a girl that discovers she is an elf and gets to join their secret world. That said, there were things that bugged me. My biggest issue was that, although the protagonist Sophie has bundles of personality, she also had far too many abilities. There’s literally nothing she can’t do- and for me that leaves her teetering on special snowflake-dom. And while there were enough mysteries, action and the promise of very real danger to keep me reading through the first book, I doubt I’d pick up the rest of the series because of that. I just prefer the kind of protagonists that have more flaws and fewer talents. I’d still recommend it if you want to try more MG fantasy- though it’s not a complete winner for me.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments! Hope you all have a good New Year!

Monthly Monkey Mini Review – August

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Hello all! Long-time no blog!! As a lot of you know, I’m currently on a blogging break, so haven’t been able to keep up with content much. And while I’m not giving out my current location (cos, erm, I don’t want to end up in a cage for endangered species) I’ll fill in some of the confusion that I probably should have said before I went away. I am not:

  • In a prison/zoo
  • Dead
  • Stuck on Mars

I am, however, volunteering abroad and doing *a lot* of physical work that’s pretty tiring (Eight Days a Week… okay not really, but SIX days a week is still a lot). Anyway, while I’ve been dealing with all the craziness that is my life right now, I’ve been immensely grateful to those of you who’ve stuck around, sent lovely messages and also to all the new folks who helped me hit 4000 FOLLOWERS yesterday. I am speechlessly screaming right now!!! (and the only reason you haven’t seen a crazy bellowing monkey on the news is cos a lot of the people I live with don’t know about the blog and I don’t want to freak them out- though they’re remarkably cool about living with a great ape 😉 ) Thank you guys so much!!

orangutan thank you

Alrighty then- moving away from the vague life stuff, let’s talk about what’s really important here: what the hell have I been reading. Well, *ahem*, I’m still in a slump, so again I only have a few books to talk about right now and they are…

love and gelato

Love and Gelato– I really enjoyed this one. The characters were great- particularly the hilarious main character, whose voice I immediately fell in love with. It was a sweet romance, even if the plot was a bit obvious. Most of all though, I loved how this felt like walking through Florence, one of my favourite cities, and exploring all the beautiful art (and ice cream) it has to offer.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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callum

Callum– this was a waste of time if you’ve ever read the original book (and I highly recommend you do read Noughts and Crosses instead). Literally nothing happens that the reader doesn’t already know and there’s nothing new from his perspective added into the plot. Seriously, just read the main series. Even though it was pretty pointless, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. It also didn’t hurt that it was short and I got it on overdrive(aka I didn’t have to buy it), so I gave it:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Tiny Pretty Things– this wasn’t a terrible book, by any means, I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. A lot of that came down to the fact that I didn’t end up latching onto any of the character’s stories. Perhaps that was because there was simply too much crazy drama- I mean, that’s kind of what you sign up for with a book like this, still this whirl-twirl-leaps to a whole new level of insane.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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truth or dare

Truth or Dare– oh boy, I could get in trouble for saying what I have to say here, but I’m gonna go ahead and say them anyway cos I truly think this is constructive criticism. There were several choices that I found off-putting before I even began to read the actual book. The first was the author’s choice of pen name; the second and third were the two apologies issued before the book- one of which instructs the reader to maybe try different books instead. After reading this, I wish I’d followed that advice. So many times while I was reading this I wondered why the hell didn’t I just put this down when I had the chance?  Not only are the apologies a major clue that this is going to be jam packed with virtue signalling, yet they also give a fair warning that *everything* is going to be over-explained. From vlogs to issues with brain injuries- this book is more concerned with info-dumping and getting a message across than telling a story. It was written in such a juvenile way that made it impossible for me to care about the characters. I actually can’t remember much about the leads now that I think about it. The only character that stuck in my head at all was Seren, because she was effing nuts (she gets aggressively upset that someone wants to date her, then pissy when he moves on). Truthfully, I should never have dared go near this one 😉

Rating: 1/5 bananas

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So yeah, not a great reading month, but I have high hopes for the next one! Anyway, enough about me- how have you all been? Did you have a good reading month? And, as always, have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!