‘The Key to Happily Ever After’ Book Review

The parents have retired and the family business of the de la Rosa’s has been left to the three daughters. Rings and Roses is one of the top wedding boutiques in the Washington DC area. It is now in the hands of Mari, Jane, and Pearl. Each who have very different personalities which often ends in conflict. Not always great for the business. The three are not only trying to plan the lifetime of romance for others but they are all trying to find romances of their own even if it does interfere with the business and their private lives.

Buckle up and get ready for a rant. These characters drove me crazy. Marisol or Mari was just not likeable in the slightest, I think she was the one we were supposed to root for, but I just could not do it. She was constantly in petty drama and just would not meet in the middle with Pearl on their disagreements. Jane, like the common stereotype for the middle child, just was not there. This story would be the complete same if she was not a character. Pearl would be my favorite if I had to choose. She was just trying to get out this toxic situation that Mari had them in and she wanted what was best for herself and she knew her worth. These characters were immature, and I could not sympathize for them with their petty drama.

The one way that I can think to describe this writing is random. Now, going into romance novels, I do not expect beautiful and life changing writing like I might find in literary fiction. here the writing was random and all over the place though and I was finding myself confused. In the beginning, I felt like there was head jumping between the characters as we would be at Mari’s perspective but still be getting told what Pearl was doing in the next room over. There was one part where we are with Mari at a wedding, then a random dream sequence, and then back to the present and she is randomly at home a few days after the wedding. I did not understand how we went from one scene to the next and how they were connected. There were a lot of scenes that ended abruptly, a lot of tell but not show. It was hard to find out what was going on throughout the story.

The setting was my favorite part of the novel (other than getting to go on rants.). Washington DC is my favorite city and as this book is set just across the river in Alexandria, there were a lot of places that I was familiar with. You can tell that Marcelo is familiar with the area and just really knows the DMV and the culture of it.

I liked that the romance was not the main feature. I find that with stories that are just romance centric and act as though the characters do not have lives outside of that as boring. However, that is not to saying that this story was not boring. Something was always happening, and the story was fast paced but I found myself bored and not connecting with the plot. I could not get past the petty drama that was always happening amongst the sisters and it led me to just being annoyed with this book.

These characters drove me crazy. They were immature, and I could not sympathize for them with their petty drama. The one way that I can think to describe this writing is random. It was hard to find out what was going on throughout the story. The setting was my favorite part of the novel. I liked that the romance was not the main feature. I find that with stories that are just romance centric and act as though the characters do not have lives outside of that as boring. However, that is not to saying that this story was not boring. Something was always happening, and the story was fast paced but I found myself bored and not connecting with the plot. I could not get past the petty drama that was always happening amongst the sisters and it led me to just being annoyed with this book. This book did get me to my reading challenge goal of seventy-two books, though, and and I am thankful for that.

2 out of 5 stars.

‘Waking Gods’ Bonus Book Review

A young girl in a small town in South Dakota rides her bike one day and discovers a large hole, where a giant metal hand is at rest. Seventeen years later, more of these artifacts are being discovered and the mystery is still unsolved. What are they? How old are they? Who made them? The young girl mentioned earlier, Rose, is now an adult and a physicist who had a military team and the backing of the American government to find out the answers.

At first, it’s a little confusing, getting used to who is who, coming into this sequel. You never realize how much these characters mean to you until stuff starts hitting the fan. We only get dialogue in this series, so it amazes me how close we get to these characters. I loved them and was worried for them.

As stated, before this is only dialogue, a file format. We do not really have an atmosphere only names of locations. However, Mr. Burns, my favorite character, gives us a lot of world building by the history and what not.

We were kind of thrown into this book and that’s the only reason why I am not giving it a full five star. I think we are something like eight years after the events of ‘Sleeping Giants’. I was very confused for the first quarter of the book. However, this was fast so fun to read but I did skim over the parts that were filled with science as that just went over my head.

The plot was amazing! Neuvel is an author who is not afraid of what he is writing and that will only tug at the heartstrings of the reader. Simply amazing with believable plot twists. The constant of having to make theories and then change them. The reader will never be left bored.

It truly amazes me how connected we get with these characters as this book is only dialogue, it’s in a file format. You never realize how much the characters mean to you until they get thrown into the action and then it’s just crazy. We don’t really have an atmosphere as this story is told through diary entries and files. However, the character of, Mr. Burns, really brings in a lot of world building by telling the history. The only reason why this isn’t a full five star is because we’re just thrown into the story. I was confused the whole first quarter of the book. I skimmed over a lot of the in-depth science talk, but I did enjoy the scenes with genetics. With this being a multimedia book, it is very fast, and you could probably read it in one day. The plot was just plain out amazing, the author is not afraid of what he is writing and that only leaves us getting out heart strings pulled. I loved this book.

‘The Poppy War’ Book Review

“It was somehow beautiful, … lovely and terrible all at once.”

Rin was a war orphan, a shop girl, poor and unloved. the only way to get out of that life is to marry an old man or get an education. She does not want to marry a man who is three times older than she is, and she does not have the money for a tutor, but she studies on her own, endlessly, to get herself into the highest-ranking military academy in the empire. Once at the academy, she must deal with the prejudices that other students hold against her. She is too dark, too poor, a girl. They judge her for everything that is until she shows them what she can do. That she is committed and willing to learn the powers of those used by shamans. She is willing to end the war that is yet to come.

These characters are not likeable in the slightest, but I could not help but care for them. I was so scared for them and just emotionally connected overall. No one was black or white, these characters were realistic with strengths and weaknesses. Rin was the one that was an annoyance to me at first, but she did develop more and more throughout the course of the story. I do love the feminist vibes of her though, the woman wanting power and going after what she wants was amazing to read. I have never read a story with a female character like that I am honestly shocked by how much she developed as a character. At first, I did not think this was a character driven story, I am still not sure if it’s more character or plot but for the most part the characters were well written. I did confuse a lot of the ‘Cike’ guys as I feel like none of them had any real defining traits and just blended into one another. I am impressed with how the main characters developed throughout the novel, though.

I was not a fan of the school setting in part one of the story. I did not realize that I am not a fan of academy settings in fantasy until this one. There was nothing wrong with it, but I just found it boring as we were just following a tedious routine. Though, as Rin learned with her studies, the reader did as well and it was a good form of world building. However, I am fascinated how this is inspired by Asian history, the Second Sino-Japanese War, as I do not know much about that part of history, so I am going to read up more on that now that I have finished the book.

Again, with the first part, the writing was not special and just felt tedious. I was constantly looking to see how much more of the chapter I had left. Just wanting it to end. Then, we get to part two and in the middle of a war. This book just changed completely once we got to that part. The reader is given lyrical and beautiful scenes that can be vividly imagined. Part two is filled with great dialogue, in my opinion the character of Altan had the best dialogue of the whole book. In part three, we randomly get a scroll, I think this was out of place and not necessary. The writing has a sudden snap between parts one and two but boy am I glad that it did. Kuang really knows how to show the brutalities of war. I have not seen a writer in television or in novels showcase it in such a brutal, dark, and realistic way. She was not afraid of what she was writing.

As stated before, the plot in the first part of the story really slogged by. Get to the second and third part, it flew by, and I was shocked by how fast that I was getting through one hundred pages. This was not predictable; I am looking through my annotations and so many of my theories were wrong! That is fun though because it was a constant page turner and all the twists made sense. The main themes of the story to me are the cruelty of war and what war can do to a person, to a society. The reasons that this book is not getting a five star or even a four and half is because the way that part one was paced and then chapter twenty-three and twenty-four just kind of lost me. I did not like that part of the story.

The main characters are well developed and a new edition to the adult portion of the fantasy genre. No one was black or white, these characters were realistic with strengths and weaknesses. The reader will never expect the people these characters become. The setting did not play a huge role in the story; however, the school setting and the characters learning was a good way to show world building. The author really knows how to show the brutalities of war. I have not seen a writer in television or in novels showcase it in such a brutal, dark, and realistic way. The first part of the story was very slow and then the middle and end were fast paced. I wish the pacing was arranged better. I will be continuing this series, I hope that we can see this story brought to a screen, one day soon.

4 out of 5 stars.

‘Mexican Gothic’ Book Review

Noemí’s father, receives a troubling letter from her cousin, Catalina. The letters entails that the cousin is be poisoned by her new husband and that ghosts float around her new home. Something obviously is not right there and Noemí’s father sends her on her way to see what the matter with Catalina is.

Noemí is a city girl, having grown up in Mexico City. her family is that of new money from their dye and paint business. Noemí lives a life of fine parties and debutante balls. She does not seem like the likely superhero. She goes to the strict country home Catalina is living with her husband’s English family. There are rules of no smoking, no talking at the table, no leaving the house unattended. It is like a prison to Noemí. She is barely allowed to see her cousin and the only one she becomes close to in the family is the youngest son, Francis. He is the one to help her uncover all the secrets of the High Place house.

Starting with the first chapter, I liked Noemí. She is a strong and intelligent woman and not afraid to march to the beat of her own drum. However, throughout the story we come to find that there are not really any negative traits coming from her. She is a Mary Sue. The tension with Noemí and Virgil was so good at the start but just like her, he was only seen in black and white. These characters are one dimensional, either good or evil, no one is morally gray. I wish that Moreno-Garcia would have expanded their stories more so that we could connect with them.

The atmosphere was perfect and exactly is what the title of ‘Mexican Gothic’ describes. In the story, the characters even compare the house to that of the houses in Wuthering Heights and other Bronte novels. This really does read like a book out of the Victorian era even if it takes place in the fifties and was written in 2020. I love stories set at manors and this one did not disappoint with that setting.

The writing did not impress me. It was rather dry and at times I just felt myself skimming through the paragraphs, especially when I was convinced that this story would not be getting any better. Also, there were a few typos, like missing apostrophes and comas! As this is a horror, I expect to be creeped out or made uncomfortable but for that first 70% I was just like; “okay, kind of messed up but moving on”. I did not really feel anything for the writing until the last three chapters when the emotions were flying off the pages and into the reader’s mind.

The author truly took her time with this one. For the first seventy percent of this book, I just wanted something to happen instead of wandering around this manner and having the main character complain about all the rules and the members of the Doyle family. I do think taking time with your plot is a good thing but not when your characters are so flatly written so the reader does not have characters to analyze or a plot to enjoy! The element of horror that was present here was not to predict. I was able to find out the basis of it but not the little details. I wish that we would have had more building on this element and magic as we are just presented it with not a ton of background knowledge, I would like to know more. I was just bored, and I was scared that this would send me into a reading slump.

The characters were dry and flat, there was no development to them. Everyone was either good or evil, no one in the middle. Mexican gothic, that was exactly the atmosphere we were given, and it was perfect. It had the eerie feeling of a classic novel even if we were in Latin America. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and it was the only thing I liked in this story. The writing was like the characters, flat and I found myself skimming a lot, which is never a good sign. The plot took a while to get into, most of the book. The pace did not pick up until the last three chapters of the whole novel. This is the second book that I have read from this author, and I will give her one more chance. This story did not impress me and if I did not have to write a review, I would have marked it as a DNF.

‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ Book Review

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since elementary school, when Gretchen was the only one to show up to Abby’s birthday party. Flash forward to high school, after an experience of trying acid, for the first time, things get strange. Gretchen keeps feeling like something is touching her, she stares off at nothing, and says random things that do not make any sense. Aby concludes that her best friend must be possessed by a demon. She now must set out on a mission to get her best friend back.

The characters were interesting – one of the best parts. Gretchen had a fascinating backstory and was the most developed character, even though she was not the main point of view that the reader follows. However, Abby, was very relatable and my favorite character. One let down is that I wish the side characters had been developed more.

The atmosphere was my favorite part. As everyone knows, I love the eighties. just the fashion and pop culture references were so much fun. Another thing is that the book takes place in South Carolina, my home state. I loved reading about locations that I am familiar with.

The writing was nothing special. The plot took a long time to get into. This is a short book, barely over three hundred pages but felt way longer. It could have been diced down a lot. The writing just didn’t grip me.

By the description on the back of the book the plot sounds interesting. As sate before, it took a while to get into. There was lots of buildup and then the exorcism was only a few short chapters. That should have been played out more as it is the title of the book.

The characters were interesting. Gretchen had a good backstory and I felt as though she was the most developed, even though she wasn’t the POV. However, Abby was relatable, and I couldn’t help but have her as my favorite character. The atmosphere was by far my favorite part. It’s setting in South Carolina and in the eighties, what more could I ask for? The writing was average. It felt so slow even though the book was a little over 300 pages. It just didn’t grip me. The plot had a lot of buildup and then the exorcism was a few short chapters. If you’re a fan of Fear Street, I got a lot of those vibes, mix in IT and Stranger Things season two. Not the best book that I’ve read but I don’t regret the experience.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

September 2021 Reading Wrap-up

In September I read 1,915 pages across five different books. It was an average reading month. One of the books I would consider great, two were good, one was average, and sadly, one was bad. I completed my to be read list so that means next month I get to read a book of my choice instead of one that was pulled out of the TBR jar. Here are my thoughts on the September books!

I really enjoyed this installment in the Stranger Things books. Max was already one of my favorite characters and this just made her feel a little bit more relatable. (I still think Robin is the character I relate to the most by the Rebel Robin podcast.) We really get to see Max develop through this story and we get to see how her relationship with Billy got to point it is at and why they are so tense with one another. The reader also gets to immerse themselves into Hawkins as that has not been done in any of the previous books, it feels like home in a way. This book was fast paced but I would not say thrilling, I almost wanted to binge read it, but I stood my ground and kept my read a book in three days going. The plot might throw some readers off, but I thought it added more to season two as we got to see it through another set of eyes.

The characters of this novel were amazing and well developed. Throughout my time reading this, I was thinking of actors who could play them in a film. (Anya Taylor-Joy for Camila, by the way). I will be thinking about them for a while. The setting was very well fitting for a story such as this one. The writing was poetic, but it dragged and seemed to go on for ages. I would really recommend this to fans of Pat Conroy. This plot was interesting, and I was wondering how it would end and what would happen, but the writing just wore it down for me. (I did the audiobook for this one).

The characters were not anything new to the genre, if you have read any other recent young adult fantasy than you are more than aware of these traits. The setting of an English manor is always one that piques my interest and if you like gothic or classic British literature then you will probably enjoy this setting. The writing was fast paced and easy to read. The plot was something new but just was not done properly, there was not enough building or foundation on the magic system. An average read.

I did enjoy this read. The characters did annoy me at times but overall, they were well written, and I can see that sometimes just committing to someone is hard for some people. I like that we did get both women’s perspectives to see what Jake was trying to choose between. I don’t think these characters were likeable, but they were real. Elin Hilderbrand can paint a beautiful setting and really immerse you into it. The writing was fast, but you never truly felt like anything was left out. I don’t think this needed to be a forbidden romance but then it wouldn’t be as exciting, would it be?

Kya is an unforgettable character, and, in a sense, we really grow with her throughout the story and become connected with the marshlands that she calls her home. In my head I can see the shack and have a perfect picture of what the marsh and the small beach community look like. This is a science and English lover’s dream of a book; beautiful writing yet that sense of biology and learning about the ecosystem. The plot is unique like our main character and had tropes that I love. There were some things that I thought were random and some lose ends that I found that did not tie together nicely but I cannot discuss that here as there would be spoilers. Overall, this was a good book to end September with and I look forward to future books that the author might release.

The overall average for the rating of the September books are a 3.5 out of 5 stars!

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‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Book Review

The golden boy, Chase Andrews, of a small, coastal North Carolina town is found dead in the marsh that surrounds the community. In the marsh resides, the Marsh Girl, or Kya. The townspeople think that Kya is feral and wild. She cannot be put in with modern society. All of that is wrong though. She had learned almost everything she knows from the land around her and is a budding biologist even though she has only attended one day of school in her life. She is desperate for love and a family after all those close to her have left her behind to fend for herself. Kya is not truly the monster that society sees her as.

Kya is a character that will be hard to forget. I truly have not read any other story that has a character even close to being like her. It’s truly interesting to see how one develops being out in the wild with slim human contact. I have read real life cases of children being raised by animals and how some can develop to learn to speak and write and then some are nonverbal for the rest of their lives. Now, that’s not the situation for Kya as she had lived with her parents and siblings for seven years for her life but much of her life she was on her own and fending for herself. Reading this however, there is a suspension of disbelief as it is hard to believe that a seven-year-old child could make do with no family and out in the wild.

Obviously for me, a book set in the Carolinas is always fun as that is where I am from. Barkley Cove, North Carolina is the fictional town where this novel takes place. I wish we had a more precise location of where it would be located as North Carolina does have quite the coastline but it’s about an hour from Greenville. The dialect was spot on throughout the book, sometimes I struggle with how dialect is written in books but this one really hit the nail on the head for how we, Carolinians, speak. This is a knit pick and most probably would not pick up on it, but it seems like Asheville is the only city that characters really go to. Asheville is a good six hours inland so it’s hard for me to believe they would go that far when there are places like Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilmington that are much closer.

One of the lines in the book says, “written so often in biological phrases blended with poetic descriptions,” I think that is the perfect way to describe the writing that Delia Owens has presented the reader in ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’. The writing is immersive and really gets you into the story. It was never too much, and it was not too little either.

The plot in this is very fascinating and unlike any other that I have read. It really hits a lot of the boxes that I like, dual timeline, Carolina setting, and midcentury. I was trying to solve the mystery of the book throughout and was kind of let down by how it played out. There are still some loose ends there. I was not a huge fan of the poetry aspect, either, I have nothing against poetry but just felt like it was randomly thrown in. As stated in the character category, the reader will need to have a suspension of disbelief as some of this is hard to believe that these events could really happen. However, I emotionally felt attached this book and was having real outload reactions to what I was reading and felt strongly about the points that were taking place inside of the plot. This plot was like non other, and I do not think that I will forget it. There is so much that I could say but I think this is a good book to go into having a little bit of mystery around it.

Kya is an unforgettable character, and, in a sense, we really grow with her throughout the story and become connected with the marshlands that she calls her home. In my head I can see the shack and have a perfect picture of what the marsh and the small beach community. This is a science and English lover’s dream of a book; beautiful writing yet that sense of biology and learning about the ecosystem. The plot is unique like our main character and had tropes that I love. There were some things that I thought were random and some lose ends that I found that did not tie together nicely but I cannot discuss that here as there would be spoilers. Overall, this was a good book to end September with and I look forward to future books that the author might release.

4 out of 5 stars.

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’28 Summers’ Book Review

In 1993, Mallory Blessing inherits a home, on Nantucket, from a beloved aunt. Her older brother wants to host a guys weekend at the house but that results in all the guys leaving except one, Jake. Jake and Mallory spend the rest of Labor Day weekend alone and agree to be “same time, next year’ lovers with one another. This goes on for the next, you guessed it, 28 Summers.

Flashforward to the spring of 2020. Mallory is terminally ill and asks her son to call a phone number that is in a hidden envelope. The number belongs to Jake McCloud who is married to the woman that is likely to be the next president of the United States. The son thinks this must be some kind of mistake, but little does he know of the secret life that his mother has been having.

The characters were the highlight of this but also the downfall as well. Is that not strange? They were so realistic and developed throughout the novel. I mean, hopefully they would be as we did experience the majority of their lives alongside them. Mallory is obviously the main character here, even ahead of Jake. This is made clear towards the last quarter as we get less and less Jake and get ‘chapters’ at his wife’s perspective instead of his. I don’t think this is a mad thing as we get to see both women and how different they are from each other, but I think we still should have had more Jake towards the end. Now, here is why they were the downfall. It might just be because cheating frustrates me, I just don’t get why these two could not get together. Later, in the more recent years it makes sense as Ursula, Jake’s wife is a famous politician, but before that when they’re all young and out of college. Why could they not just start a relationship? I think it is really immature from both our main leads.

Elin Hilderbrand does a great job at making the reader visualize Nantucket. I have never been, but I did not have a hard time at all picturing the little beach cottage and then the island in my head. I also liked how the majority of the characters were from Baltimore as that is an important place to me. Shoutout to the University of South Carolina representation as well!

Early on the writing felt as though we were reading a gossip column but later, I felt as though it got more like a novel, more personal. Again, Hilderbrand is a descriptive writer, but she does not go on and on and I really appreciate that. This was fast paced even though this is over four hundred pages, which is huge for a romance novel! I was shocked how fast it went by, sometimes I did not believe that I had read eighty pages. Quick and fun read.

I think that I gave enough of my thoughts on the plot in the character category. I just don’t understand why this was considered a forbidden romance at the start. I feel like if they really did truly love each other as much as they seemed to, then they would just come clean and become a couple. It just really bothered me. I do not know if it was pride of immaturity that they would not do it, who knows. I do like that we went through this much time with the characters as most romance books last only a week or month but here, we went through three decades, pretty amazing.

I did enjoy this read. The characters did annoy me at times but overall, they were well written, and I can see that sometimes just committing to someone is hard for some people. I like that we did get both women’s perspectives to see what Jake was trying to choose between. I don’t think these characters were likeable, but they were real. Elin Hilderbrand can paint a beautiful setting and really immerse you into it. The writing was fast, but you never truly felt like anything was left out. I don’t think this needed to be a forbidden romance but then it wouldn’t be as exciting, would it be?

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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‘A Treason of Thorns’ Book Review

England has six great and magical houses. Burleigh, being one of those houses. The house belongs to the Sterling family. Violet’s father was arrested for treason as he tried to free the house from the king’s rule. Leaving Violet as the last in the Sterling line. She has the chance to complete her father’s mission or do as the king says and let it be.

Violet was like any other seventeen, they’re always seventeen, year old young adult, fantasy heroine. She was immature and selfish at times but again, we have to remember that she is a teenager and that comes with the territory. I just felt like she did not change or grow throughout the novel, she was rather stagnant and that can be said for the side characters as well.

I always enjoy an English setting. This book never states when it explicitly takes place but I would say sometime in the 1800s by the art that is inside of the dust jacket. I could be wrong though. Again, that could have played a lot into the plot by giving us a time period and letting the readers imagination of that time add more to the story.

The writing was fast paced and this was an easy read. It is obvious this book does not take place in modern times so I wish that the dialogue did not have a modern twist to it but that did not really take anything away from the story; just a personal thought.

The plot that is given to the reader is a fascinating one. It is unique the only thing that it could truly remind me of is ‘Time Keeper’ by Tara Sim. I had so many questions thought and that results on not enough world building and not enough knowledge on the magic system that is at play here. It would be more understandable if this was the first book in a series but it is not, this is a standalone novel. There just needed to be more information for the reader to get a better understanding of this universe.

The characters were not anything new to the genre, if you have read any other recent young adult fantasy than you are more than aware of these traits. The setting of an English manor is always one that peaks my interest and if you like gothic or classic British literature then you will probably enjoy this setting. The writing was fast paced and easy to read. The plot was something new but just was not none properly, there was not enough building or foundation. An average read.

2 out 5 stars.

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‘Runaway Max’ Book Review

A somewhat prequel to Stranger Things, we will get to that, all about our favorite skater, Max. This story shows what Max’s life is like before she moves to Hawkins and then what her first months in Midwest, Indiana are like. We really get to know her more as a character as she is the main character in this novel and not a side one like on the Netflix series.

Character development is the high point of this book. If you have not seen the show then this would be irrelevant for you and I think for this installment in the books you have to see the show to enjoy the book. Max is a new side character in Stranger Things 2 but in this book she is the main character, it is at her point of view. We get to learn so much about her especially, and then her step brother, Billy. I think it would be awesome if we get more of these books that are from the point of view of side characters and during the events of the show because we get to learn their thoughts and then see what they are doing in scenes that they are not included in. I really hope we get more of these. I cannot wait to read Rebel Robin.

The previous Stranger Things books all take place outside of Hawkins in such places as Bloomington and New York City. This one actually takes places mainly in our beloved small town in Indiana. I loved that we actually got to read something in Hawkins as it just makes the book feel all the more like Stranger Things. We do get some scenes that flashback to Los Angeles and San Diego but those are necessary for the character building and I enjoyed those as well as it helps show why Billy and Max are the way that they are.

The writing in this really felt like the reader was hearing Max’s thoughts. I could truly see this being Max’s perspective. Sometimes it is hard to translate that coming from a show or movie and then making a book adaptation but the author does a fantastic job here. It was easy to read and fast paced. The chapters did get longer towards the end but it was never a hassle to get through them.

The plot is where this might fall short for some readers. This book is advertised as a prequel to Stranger Things but it’s really a few flashbacks before the fall of 1984. I would consider this a contemporary to season two as we are mainly seeing the events of season two, of the show, through Max’s eyes. This might be repetitive to readers and they might find the book as a waste of time as they had already seen these events play out.

I really enjoyed this installment in the Stranger Things books. Max was already one of my favorite characters and this just made her feel a little bit more relatable. (I still think Robin is the character I relate to the most by the Rebel Robin podcast.) We really get to see Max develop through this story and we get to see how her relationship with Billy got to point it is at and why they are so tense with one another. The reader also gets to immerse themselves into Hawkins as that has not been done in any of the previous books, it feels like home in a way. This book was fast paced but I would not say thrilling, I almost wanted to binge read it but I stood my ground and kept my read a book in three days going. The plot might throw some readers off but I thought it added more to season two as we got to see it through another set of eyes.

4 out of 5 stars.

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