The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan

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Hellllllo readers, a little bit of an emotional review for you today; I’ve spoken to a number of bookish bloggers about this but sometimes it gets a bit too much. I’ve thought for a while about taking a blogging break and step back for a while, create some breathing space, get through my review requests and get back on top of it all. We’ll have to see; sometimes it feels like it’s all a bit too much. The reading, reviewing, writing, the social media, the emails, and all whilst attempting to hold down a full-time job, travel home and see friends/family/Lola & Barbie and trying to build on a new relationship. Gah, I feel like I’m having a blogging midlife crisis. I’ve also struggled with the book used for today’s review; a fantasy book which I found difficult to read, but I’ll let you find out why.

When eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed. But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin. He seems determined to keep his distance.

The only bonus to her trip seems to be the housekeeper and gardener. And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows Crystal who has a horrible start in life in which both her parents die in a terrible car accident. Sent to live with her Aunt who is then a little shockingly killed in a house fire thing aren’t looking to positive. Alone in the world and spending her remaining childhood in a foster care home, a woman who claims to be her long lost great aunt appears seemingly out of nowhere, Crystal is invited to find out more about her mother and her family. But not is all as it seems, once in Thorncrest Manor, the family appear to turn on Crystal and her destructive relationship with Cray looks soon to burst; as readers we follow Crystal as she seeks to find out more about herself and the family she barely knew.

In terms of positives Crystal is a well-developed although complicated character. She has a lot of emotion and she’s written with passion. Her relationships throughout the book were thorny and although she has a lot of layers to her as a character, I found her difficult to warm to. At times she was prickly and her relationship with Cray is a little odd. They are both distant with each other and at times he treats her horribly whilst she adores him. It didn’t sit well with me as a reader. Their relationship is uncomfortable at best and they don’t interact in an open way at all. Additionally with her mood swinging, from needy to jealous to desperately in love, I was exhausted. Although the writing is quite strong in places, as to the description of characters and the like, the pace is slow and I found myself having to read the first few chapters a number of times to get into the book; saying this it does pick up but it’s a slow burner.

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I also questioned throughout Crystal’s decision to stay at the Manor. From almost the moment she arrives there, it becomes noticeably clear that there is something very wrong with the Locke family. Isobel’s character changes so utterly she’s barely recognisable (whilst she shows no intention of sharing any further information) and Crystal starts to suffer with terrifying nightmares which are suggested to be due to her being tormented by ghosts. Throughout Crystal attempts to rationalise what is happening whilst I was yelling to myself ‘get the hell out of there.’ It didn’t make sense to me that a girl with such intellect would stay there so long in such a unpredictable environment. Additionally towards the end of the book it becomes truly disturbing; there are a number of descriptions of rape and sensitive material that I didn’t find fitted or was needed. It all became a bit too much. Additionally the ending didn’t clear anything up for me. Many questions are left unanswered and although I assume due to the ending a second book is in the making I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

I guess for me this book just didn’t work. I’m not sure what I was supposed to get or enjoy from this book. The writing at times works well it has ebb and flow and although it moves with a slow pace many of the descriptions are spot on. I found however the situation that our main character is in and her personality as a whole jarred and became confused. Additionally as we work our way through the story and realise that we’re not getting the answers we expected it feels like the book was for nothing. It’s frustrating and unrealistic and I found it a difficult to read. Unfortunately one I’m a little saddened to have read.

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Leave a comment

  1. August 10, 2015 / 11:47 am

    Lizzy, you work so hard. I always wonder how you manage to do so much blogging/reading/reviewing, as well as working full time etc. It’s important not to burn yourself out, and you do need a real life too, just like the rest of us. Sounds as if you need to reduce your workload to me. Just do what feels comfortable for you and don’t let anyone make you feel pressured into doing more 🙂 x

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:41 am

      I must admit I rarely know how I keep up! I had a blog burn out about a year ago so I’m trying to acknowledge the signs and at the moment I’m loving all the comments and the lovely words but I think you’re right, I need to just lift the pressure a little and enjoy it more. thank you for the lovely comment 🙂 xxx

  2. August 10, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    I hope the new relationship is going well! Sometimes I think blogging is a substitute for a partner – not in a bad way, just for all those thoughts I would direct at someone if they were there.
    I do think it must be annoying when you have to read a book that doesn’t quite work for you, when you have so much else going on in your life.

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:40 am

      Do not want to jinx things but so far it’s going really well. I’m so happy :3
      I know, I think that’s the issue because I just kept trawling through and through and yet, it didn’t work! Ah well, you win some you lose some. 🙂 xx

  3. August 10, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    I do feel the same some days. I also have a full time job, and blogging, posting on IG and all it’s so time consuming. And my social life is also important to me so I can’t say “oh sorry my friends but tonight I’m gonna stay home, read pages and write a review “

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:39 am

      You want to keep up the hard work but then suddenly life kind of takes over. I went to a festival at the weekend and it was so nice to have a little break and step away for a little while. It’s horrible when you know you have to say no because of the blog but getting the balance right takes time so 🙂

  4. August 11, 2015 / 1:04 am

    Hmm, I just had a thought… Limit your back log to a specific number. Like 10 or something. Then don’t open for new review requests until maybe half of the backlog is done (in this example 5). This might help keep it more manageable. I dunno. I am sure you will come up with something. 🙂

    Looking at your description of Crystal, you kind of described a real person. I have seen men and women behave exactly that way before, which makes no logical sense but eh that’s people. Yeah this doesn’t seem like a book I would be interested in. Keep up the great work!

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:38 am

      That sounds like a great idea would help me get a hand on the reviews and slow down the panic that I’m not reviewing enough and free up some space.
      We’ll seee 🙂
      So glad you’re still enjoying the blog and the reviews. This book just didn’t quite click which was a shame really :/

  5. August 11, 2015 / 8:42 am

    Even fantasy needs to be believable and I can see that some parts of this book just didn’t work for you. I agree with Bradley, so you are closed to any new requests and just get through your backlog. I’m currently closed and have been for several weeks and this is my third closure in a year. There are many other book reviewers out there.

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:37 am

      I totally agree, it just was a mismatch and although I kept trying to struggle through it just wasn’t working.
      I think that’s the plan soon because there are so so many reviews. I nearly did last week but then I stopped myself we’ll see I guess 🙂

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