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review 2018-04-11 16:28
Tedious Book Likened to Rebecca
The Beloveds - Maureen Lindley

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. It did not impact my review or rating. 


Spoilers about the book "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier are below. 


Look there can only be one "Rebecca". This book is in on way or shape at the level of "Rebecca" on it's best day.  The main character is insane. She also does very terrible things and is never caught. The voice of the main character feels older than what the book setting is. At one point I thought the book started in the 1950s or something, but no it seems to be in modern settings. The ending left me unsatisfied. If you are going to have me follow the ramblings of a Mrs. Danvers character, at least let some sort of comeuppance occur. 


"The Beloveds" is just a long and overly tedious book into the mind of a psychopath (our main character is  named Betty) who is obsessed with her family home. When her mother dies and leaves the home to her sister and her husband (Gloria and Henry Bygone) Betty plans ways in which to get the house she rightfully sees as her inheritance. 


There's nothing to Betty besides being cruel and petty. You would think that people would see another side to her, but based on what we are given to glimpse as a reader, she seems to be either drunk on gin and or taking pills most of the time. Considering her supposed weight (and the book mentions how very little she eats these days), how she wasn't passed out in all times is baffling to me. Betty is obviously supposed to be a stand-in for Mrs. Danvers. But for me, Mrs. Danvers wasn't obsessive about Manderley, she was obsessive about Rebecca and keeping Manderley the way that Rebecca wanted it.

The other characters are not developed very well. Probably because Betty takes no notice of them except to rage about her sister being seen as a Beloved, and other people as Beloved (they can do no wrong and are perfect). There are hints here and there that the character of Gloria is becoming suspicious of her sister, but that's all there are, hints. She seems just as clueless as other people in this book. 


Telling the book via first person POV was just a mistake. As a reader you don't have the chance to get away from Betty. You read about the terrible things she does (there's a comment made that you find out she murdered the family's pet when she was a child) and then you just keep reading about things she is doing/planning with no hint about it from other people. I just felt mentally exhausted by the time I got to the end of this book. 

The flow was not that great. We just stumble from one of Betty's schemes to another with her comments about how the house was talking to her and how her sister was a beloved and she didn't see why. Somehow we skip ahead months and years in this book with no reference for it except a quick word here and there said. Since I got an advance copy, hopefully the final book has some chapter headings with month/year included. 


The setting of this book mainly takes place at the family house in the country somewhere, not close to London, but in the general area. Sorry if I sound vague, but the author didn't really describe things in a way for me to get a sense of where this was besides somewhere in England. The house also doesn't even come alive for me the way in which Manderley does for me as a reader while reading "Rebecca". I still don't even get why Betty is obsessed with a house that doesn't seem to be anything special. 


The ending was a disappointment. The author just sets up that more bad things are coming. Why this is marketed as a mystery astounds me. There is no mystery here. 

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review 2018-04-01 06:44
The Beloveds
The Beloveds - Maureen Lindley

There's an expression that my grandmother used to say about people who thought a bit too much of themselves - 'I'd like to buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what they think they're worth.' That came to mind several times while reading The Beloveds. This story is told from the perspective of Betty Stash, one of the most unlikable characters I've come across in some time. Now, given that she's the antagonist of this tale, that's to be expected. Betty is unhinged at best with her obsession over her childhood home - a house that speaks to her no less. I could get behind the crazy obsession and even Betty's frustration over her sister inheriting the house, but for a story that was supposed to be about sibling rivalry, I really didn't see much of that here. Don't get me wrong, Betty definitely doesn't like her sister, but the thing is she doesn't like anybody, including her own husband, so it's more like a rivalry with everyone. She does have her sinister side, complete with plans to get what she wants. All of this could've made for a thrilling read, including when Betty's plans backfire on her. Unfortunately, this one lacked that edge of your seat feeling that should come with a thriller. Instead, Betty comes across as whiny and pathetic most of the time, and that whining went on and on for the majority of the story. Her self-entitled, that should be mine attitude and the incessant poor pitiful me theme wore thin pretty quickly and made for a story that felt much too long. There are a handful of moments when the tension ramped up, but they were just too few and far between to make up for the tedium of the rest of the book. The author clearly has talent, and the premise was good. In fact, this could've made for an excellent short story, but as it stands, I found myself wanting to skim more often than not and it was much too easy to set it aside for later.

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review 2018-01-26 00:35
Mannethorn's Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy (Volume 1) - Simon Lindley

Fans of the epic fantasy genre who appreciate complex, well-detailed and absorbing quest sagas will find Mannethorn’s Key the perfect choice for a long winter's night. 


The story opens with an intelligent drakehawk bird who is being called back home via magic. It turns out that Ka is the decoy for bringing Grailborn to the wizard's door, and the reward for her loyalty is betrayal. 


Algarth Willowbrow's kingdom is in ruins: Grailborn has overcome his wards, his magic tricks and drakehawk have failed, and all that's left is a secret that involves a costly compromise and a final encounter that will ultimately determine the fate of Drageverden. 


In another world, former broker Bartholomew Waxman has also gambled everything and lost; but he's about to embark on a journey between worlds he never knew existed, on a quest that could change them both.  


Can a wizard stripped of his powers and an unsuspecting human who has already lost everything amass a power between them that can save both realms? 


One pleasure of Mannethorn’s Key lies in its ability to depict two very different worlds and purposes and bring them together in unexpected ways. 


As Bart and Algarth consider their choices, breaches of tradition, and most of all, their failures, other characters enter the story that also have lost much and made decisions that conflicted with their interests.


Rage and revenge, a key hidden by Mannethorn that involves Bart in impossible circumstances, and mythical relics that explain much but are never found all make for a gripping story. 


It should be cautioned that violence, swearing, and clashes on more than one level permeate the story line. These are always in keeping with the tale at hand, but add an extra dimension of spice and angst to the story that may stymie fantasy fans looking for clean action reading. 


It should also be mentioned that Mannethorn’s Key is the opener to a series and only explores Bart's first day of experiences in Drageverden. More books are in order, and will likely flush out the story of guardians, spells, and dilemmas of a man who knows he is no savior, but seems to have been thrust into this unlikely role, with Mannethorn Lexipath holding the key to everything. 


Readers of epic fantasy looking for a powerful winter read will relish the detail and world Simon Lindley has crafted here, which sets the stage for further books in the Key of Life trilogy. 

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text 2015-10-22 20:37
TBR Thursday* October 22, 2015
Private Papers of Eastern Jewel - Maureen Lindley
Playing With Fire (Sultry Southern Nights) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
By Vincent Lam The Headmaster's Wager (Reprint) - Vincent Lam

Feeling really meh about new books that are coming out, especially in romance. So my pitiful list this week is down to three books. All books were on sale.


1. The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley. To be honest, I don't remember a damn thing about this book or why I picked it up. Probably because I have been on a real theme of Asian-inspired/located/peopled books lately.


2. Playing with Fire (Sultry Southern Nights #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello. Third book I have picked up by this author. Contemporary romance that sounds promising.


3. The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam. A book that explores an immigrant's life in Vietnam after the war.


*bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader



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review 2014-12-09 14:51
The Ties That Bind (Georgie Connolly #2)
The Ties That Bind - E.L. Lindley

Author: E.L. Lindley

Kindle Edition



After a harrowing couple of months, Georgie and James Finn prepare to take their relationship to the next level, only to find their plans scuppered by the arrival of Georgie’s estranged mother, Marilyn, who is accused of murdering her husband. Suddenly Georgie has to deal with issues that resonate back to her troubled childhood. 


Georgie Connolly is back. And although she may have been under the impression she and James Finn could spend quality time together after the traumas of recent weeks and their entanglement in the seedy world of a Russian gangster, a phone call from Los Angeles Defence Attorney, Leonard Spalding puts their plans on hold. Georgie’s mother, who abandoned her when she was six, has been charged with the murder of her husband. Bail has been set and Marilyn is now, much to Georgie’s discomfiture, released into her custody. Georgie hasn’t seen her mother for ten years and initially Marilyn’s self centred attitude clearly shows why mother and daughter are not close and explains Georgie’s reluctance to let go of her deep-rooted feelings of hurt and abandonment.


As James listened intently the attorney explained the situation and it wasn’t good. Georgie’s mother had married a man called Charles Beck, seven months ago and had actually been residing in Beverley Hills. He was left reeling by the idea that all this time Georgie had no idea that her mother was living here, in LA.  He could have quite happily strangle the woman on Georgie’s behalf.


James and Julie Sellars have become partners in a private investigation and security business and have decided to take on Marilyn’s case. James has serious doubts about the validity of the accusation levelled against Marilyn after speaking to Detective Sean Collins, his and Georgie’s very good friend and newly promoted Lieutenant in the Hollywood division. As James and Julie’s investigation deepens the case becomes ever more involved.


Callie Delaney, Georgie’s best friend, has offered to have Marilyn to stay at her house, much to her husband Eric’s chagrin. Georgie, on the other hand, is grateful and guilty in equal measure. She decides to put her time and effort into research for the job at hand. Little does she know this, along with her mother’s situation, will lead her into peril from the world of gang culture with its appalling and sordid crimes.


I’m really enjoying this series and the way the books are written, with serious and sometimes deadly implications as well as a light-hearted and humorous slant. Thank goodness Georgie and James’ unpredictable relationship gains ground eventually, with both ready to admit their feelings although even then, nothing goes smoothly. They’re each too good at disrupting the balance and it doesn’t help that James is struggling with life after the Marines and Georgie is focusing more on making her documentary about the public schools system. 


E.L. Lindley has created a great cast of likeable and realistic characters. Georgie is fortunate in her supportive network of friends and I love that she has her own personal friendly cab driver. Georgie is still as impulsive and liable to put herself in dangerous situations however, and this instance is no exception. 

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