Book Reviews: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, The Mystery of Mercy Close & Table for Seven

While we Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

Official Description: When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…
Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.
Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.
And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.
For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives ofDownton Abbey.

My Take: 3 out of 5. It’s not a fabulous book, but it is pretty enjoyable, especially if like me, you are a Downton Abbey fan. Although the book is quite predictable, there are some twists you don’t see coming. I am also partial to stories of friendships blooming and this one develops quite nicely in unpredictable ways. I really enjoyed some of the characters, especially Edward, who was complex and well developed. The female characters however, were quite cartoony and I would have appreciate some more depth to them earlier in the book – such as Samantha. Closing warning;  I you haven’t watched downton abbey, do not read this book – spoilers abound. If you do watch it you will read this book and hate the fact that you have to wait so long between seasons of Downton!!!

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Mercy Close Cover

Official Description: I employ this thing called The Shovel List.’ ‘A shovel…?’ ‘No. A Shovel List. It’s more of a conceptual thing. It’s a list of all the people and things I hate so much that I want to hit them in the face with a shovel.’  Meet Helen – youngest of the Walsh sisters and a law unto herself. She’s easily bored, has an inability to filter her thoughts and was fired from every job she ever had before she found her true calling as a private investigator. But times are tough for PIs and Helen’s had no choice but to take on the search for AWOL boyband has-been Wayne Diffney – The Wacky One. It’s not all bad this game of Where’s Wayne. It may have brought her charming crook of an ex, Jay Parker, back into her life, but it’s giving her an excuse to avoid the usual Walsh family dramas and the intense looks from her gorgeous boyfriend Artie that make her heart beat wildly with lust and panic in equal measure. But most of all it’s an excellent distraction from the huge swarm of black vultures gathering over her head. If she hides out in her target’s empty house on Mercy Close for long enough maybe they’ll go away … But as Helen begins to unravel the mysteries secreted on Mercy Close she discovers a kindred spirit in a man unwilling to be found. Could someone be telling her to look a little closer to home . . . ?”

My take: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Disclaimer about this review: I am a huge Marian Keyes fan, have read all her books, and especially enjoy her Walsh sister stories. Needless to say, when I saw she had a new book out and that it was number 5 on the Walsh sisters series I was running to press the download button (isn’t it sad that we no loner run to the bookstore???). Unfortunately the book did not live up to my expectations at  all. Having read Marian Keyes, it is a disappointment. And even if you haven’t it’s still a pretty average, decent book, but nothing to fawn over. The story is quite intriguing, it has some mystery to it, that you really don’t see coming until the end. However, if you are reading it for the Wash sister aspect, it is fairly standalone, and not enough reference to the sisters is made. If you are reading it for the story, it is a pleasant chick lit read, but there are much better books. Not even the irish boy band aspect (that as a fan of westlife and boyzone I was digging) makes you completely engrossed. Its a good beach read – nothing more.

Table for Seven: Whitney Gaskell

Table for Seven: A Novel

Official Description: On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. Te night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.
 Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.
 Over the course of a year, against a backdrop of mouthwatering meals, relationships are forged, marriages are tested, and the members of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club find their lives forever changed

My take: 3 out of 5. This is a book that has a really good start, but it just doesn’t go anywhere from there. I was really enjoying the concept of the supper club, and the menus, and i thought it was going to be a great relationship of friendship and food (as you can see from previous reviews, I am a sucker for books and movies about food). Although those two aspects are there, the characters do not engage you enough to completely loose yourself in the book. you do want to know happens in the end, but not fully invested. Another decent beach read, but below my expectations.

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