While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

Title: While we were watching Downton Abbey
Author: Wendy Wax
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Chick Lit, fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: It was set in my home town, so I was curious

What it’s About: Three women become fast friends when the concierge of their apartment decides to host weekly screenings of Downton Abbey.

The Good: I think it may just be because I grew up in and around Atlanta, but I found that it was easy to visualize the landmarks that Wax mentioned in the book.

The Bad: Well…Where to begin? First off, Like I’ve said this is my hometown. I’ve lived in Atlanta for 28 years, and I’ve only met a small handful of people who have southern accents. And they were visiting from Savanna or other states. But according to Wax, everyone who lives in Atlanta has a southern drawl. Second Wax used full names too much. One minute a character would be simply called Edward, then in the next sentence it was Edward Parker. It would flip flop like that through out the whole book. Or she would call them simply by their last name, like she couldn’t settle on what to call them. Thirdly, There is no way that Any establishment, even Barnes and Noble, would fail to inform people that an events special guest would not be able to attend and they have gotten a replacement guest. Another thing, The way the blurb made it sound, it seemed like Edward would have a bigger part to play in the book. He was a key player, but as for him being part of the newly formed friendship, it didn’t feel that way to me. We got a small glimpse of his life in England, but then it was only ever mentioned once more and in a fleeting fashion at that. He was the reason the three main characters became so close, so he should have been treated more like one of them, instead it felt more like Wax just intended for him to be a puppet master.

Final Thoughts: I had high hopes for this book. Not only because the blurb on the back seemed promising, or because it was linked to one of my favorite shows, but because it took place in my hometown. It let me down deeply, and It relied too heavily on the hype that surrounds Downton Abbey. I guess Wax thought that if she marketed it to DA’s fans, the story itself wouldn’t matter. I don’t know. I can’t say for sure. All I can say is that this book was at worst boring, and at best a quick read. It also occurred to me that while I said it was easy to see the places Wax mentioned, it’s mostly because I know those places, not because she described them in any detail or did them justice. Just because they were familiar.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: I liked Flynn’s first Novel, so I thought I’d give this one a go.

What it’s About: When Libby was seven her mom and two sisters were killed. Libby escaped, and testified that her Brother Ben had been the murderer. Twenty-five years later, Libby meets Lyle a member of the Kill Club, and is soon questioning if her brother is guilty of the crimes after all. With Lyle’s help and money, Libby sets out to find out the truth of her family’s murder.

The Good: As with Flynn’s debut novel, Dark places was just as gritty and just as gripping. Flynn has shown time and again that she has a flair when it comes to imagery, and I honestly had a difficult time putting this book down. And I’ll admit I didn’t truly relate to any of Flynn’s characters, but I did like a majority of them. I think the only exceptions were Diondra and Trey. Also, the twist at the end, unlike with Sharp Objects, I would not have guessed, and that was, I think the best part. The pacing was perfect, and I liked the story being told from Libby’s perspective in the present day, and both Ben, and Patty’s perspective in 1985 in the hours leading up to the murders.

The Bad: I honestly can’t pinpoint any one particular thing I didn’t like about the book. Although I do think that Flynn put pressure on herself for it to be just as good, if not better, than Sharp Objects, and that in itself was where the book failed. I will say this, I really HATED Diondra. More than once she had me rolling my eyes, and I just wanted to slap her. Or shake her.

Final Thoughts: Another good story from Ms. Flynn. I can’t wait to get started on Gone Girl, and I look forward to the movie.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Length: 312 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: R.I.P. Challange

What it’s About: When Bod was a baby, his family was murdered and he ended up in the Graveyard across from his house. Since he was being hunted by the man Jack, the graveyard’s inhabitants think it best to give Bod a home and protection and make him part of the graveyard.

The Good: My favorite thing about this book was Bod. He’s a boy who is friends with Ghosts and for him, that is his Normal. Reading about him growing up and how his relationships with the ghosts change over the years. I also enjoyed when he was going to school. It was kind of fun to see the sticky situations he would get himself in and out of. Silas was a subtle character. It never said it, but you just knew that he was a vampire, and same thing with Miss. Lupescu. It was never said, but you knew she was a werewolf.

The Bad: The ghosts never answered Bod’s questions. I don’t know why, but anytime he asked a question, they would give him a runaround answer, or no answer at all. Silas was the same way, but at least he’d give a reason. I think that sometimes Bod relied a little too much on the tricks the ghosts taught him. They came in handy, but I don’t think Bod needed to use them all the time. Certainly not in school. He could have just been the quiet kid instead of using his fade all the time. There were some characters that just weren’t needed at all.

Final Thoughts: This book was incredibly cute, and I loved the illistrations. Gaiman has an imagination and knows how to use it. I’m glad this was my first Gaiman book. It was a surprisingly light and fast read, and I can’t wait to recommend it to someone.

If I should die by Amy Plum

Title: If I should die
Author: Amy Plum
Length: 405 pages
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Final book in the trilogy, R.I.P. Challange

What it’s About: This is the final Chapter of Plum’s Revnant Trilogy. Kate and the rest of Paris’s revnants must go to war with the Numa leader and her numa.

The Good: The story proved to be just as gripping as the previous books, and it was great to see Kate become a stronger version of herself. Also, I loved the family dynamic between Kate and her grandparents. It’s always been there, but this book took it to another level and it’s not something you see in a lot of books, or even in media of any kind. There were some parts that really made me tear up, and some that made me roar with laughter. And of course, there were some things that made me mad and annoyed. I said earlier that Kate had become a stronger person in this book, but I think it was a lot of the characters. Even Kate’s Grandparents seemed to really come into their own.

The Bad: While a lot of characters were great and I loved them, I still can’t stand Georgia. She was one of the few people in the books that started shallow and stayed that way. Yes, her closeness with Kate was good, but other than that she just didn’t seem to care about anyone but herself. I mean, there is a war between supernatural beings going on and all she really cared about was playing hard to get and impress Arthur. Another thing that irked me was how predictable things were at times. I figured out in in the first book what was going to happen to Kate, and I figured out in the last book who would be the champion. While there was a nice amount of action, I felt that the final battle was a little too easy, also the ending left something to be desired….like another book perhaps. It just felt a little stunted as far as an ending, and personally I think it left a few too many questions unanswered.

Final Thoughts: I devoured this trilogy and I would definitely give it another read, if only to understand revnants a little better, but I think this is a stand out book series, and if the covers don’t draw you in, the story inside definitely will.

Die for Her by Amy Plum

Title: Die for Her
Author: Amy Plum
Length: 60 pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Why not?

What it’s About: This is Kate and Vincent’s story told from the perspective of Jules.

The Good: I LOVE reading a story I’ve already read from a new perspective. Usually the author tell it from the other Protagonist’s POV, but Plum went a totally different way by telling it from the POV of a secondary character. It was nice to be in Jules’s head for a while, and get to know him better.

The Bad: One of the main reasons I don’t like Novellas is that they are too short. This particular one went a little too fast. Especially when you consider that the first and second Revenants books take place over the course of five months.

Final Thoughts: This would be a good spin off novel, and I’d like to get to know some other secondary characters better as well. I think the only thing that really would have made this better is if it were longer. And as Usual, the cover art is breath taking. This was a great choice for my first Novella read, and I highly reccomend it if you are a fan of Plum’s books.

Unsweetined by Jodi Sweetin

Title: Unsweetined
Author: Jodie Sweetin
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Memoir
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Curiosity

What it’s About: This is a book all about Jodie Sweetin’s drug and alcohol addiction and her battle to overcome it.

The Good:…..Well, she was very honest about her struggle, and in the end she did get clean. There were some nice tidbits from her full house days, and it was fun to read about how close she was/is with the rest of the cast and the crew from the show.

The Bad: While critics have called this book a terrifying and uplifting memoir, and even some have used the words “explosive”, it was anything but. At least for me. I’ll be honest, I LOVED full house. It was a staple in my house every friday when TGIF was on, and while I read and hear things every so often of the Olsen twins, and Saget, and even Stamos, I barely give a thought to the other cast members. I really read this book because I was so surprised to see anything about Sweetin after so long. That really is it. There was nothing surprising about this book other than the fact it exists. It seems that Sweetin went the way of a lot of child stars after they can’t find work. This book practically screamed “I’m still here, look at me!” It seemed more of a way for her to make a quick buck and less of a cautionary tale. If not for this book, I wouldn’t know she was even on meth.

Final Thoughts: I wish this book had been better. Word of advice, if you want to read a recovery memoir, skip this one and go for….I don’t know, Russell Brand’s. Or any of the other hundreds that are just like it.