Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

The Graveyard Queen Series Book 1
Pages - 376
Published by a Harlequin Imprint : MIRA Books in USA in April 2011
Book: From publisher via NetGalley

My father’s rules.
I’ve never broken them…until now.

From the first line of this book, I was sucked in, it was just so powerful.  I don't think I have ever read a ghost book quite like it, in fact I am positive I haven't read one like this. 

Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer who can see ghosts. However, unlike other ghost stories, her father has pleaded with her not to acknowledge them. By not acknowledging them she stops them from infecting her life and making it hell. She has always  managed to keep by her father's rule until she meets Devlin, a haunted policeman, who walks alongside his dead wife and daughter.

She is drawn into a world where murder investigations are priority, if not brutal.  Amanda aids the policeman, she is struggling to resist by trying to solve the mystery surrounding the symbolism found on each new grave.  Can she help to solve the murders without the ghosts realising she can see them. Can she keep the spirit world separate from reality.

I love that the ghosts in this book take on such a sinister role.  Amanda's resistance to acknowledging them adds an extra chill to this spine tingling novel.  This is spookiness at its best.  The book is set in Charleston, which gives it its rich Deep South flavouring. There is something intriguing about the blending of the Deep South and the spirit world. Especially with the introduction of cults and orders. Each character's background brings you closer to the killer.

The relationship between Devlin and Amelia is unbelievable. You can feel the sexual tension between them dripping off the pages. The intensity of their relationship intertwines effectively with the murder investigation.

This book will suck you in on impact. Imagine walking into a book, where all of a sudden, vines start shooting up and wrapping themselves tightly around your body in all different areas as you are pulled down into the plot. Each vine a new twist or a new layer you just were not expecting, until you are gripped so tightly in the story, you have to reach the end for release. That is how this book made me feel. With each new layer, I was on the edge of my seat.  In my mind, the same sentence kept repeating, 'Well, I didn't see that coming!' Nearing the end of the book, the plot is so thick, you haven't a clue who the murder is and I felt like I was sinking in a quagmire, never knowing what to expect next or whether I would ever find out the truth. At one point, I thought I knew who the killer was, but the author soon put pay to my theories.

The ending of the book tied up all the loose ends beautifully as the killer was discovered. However, the two main characters have unfinished business and I can't wait to watch their paths cross again. This book is brilliantly thrilling, crossing the paranormal novel with a murder investigation.

Amanda Stevens admits to being a taphophile (lover of tombstones) and her extensive knowledge of graveyards and gravestones is obvious throughout the book and I found it fascinating the information I learnt whilst reading it.

This is a powerful start to a great new series which I love already and I can't wait to read the next installment. I haven't been this excited about a teen series since Twilight!

The Graveyard Queen Series:
Prequel: The Abandoned (April 2011)
Book I: The Restorer (May 2011)
Book II: The Kingdom (November 2011)
Book III: The Prophet (May 2012)


  1. Ooh, this sounds like it would make a perfect Halloween read! I think I'll keep it in mind for then.

  2. I have requested this on Netgally but haven't heard back yet- looks so good though!

  3. Wow, sounds so... haunting! I love a good murder mystery but throwing ghosts in there too, awesome! It sounds like a good spooky story!
    I love your review of it too, the way you describe how it grabs you and pulls you in! :)

  4. Like Nymeth mentions, this looks to be a perfect Halloween read - I'm absolutely going to pick this one up! And that book trailer?! It's 8:30 a.m. where I am, the sun is shining - and that book trailer absolutely freaked me out!! It's a sure sign I would get pulled into it then! :)

  5. Sounds exactly my cup of tea! I love stories set in the deep south - not just paranormal ones either - the setting just adds so much darkness and mystery.

  6. The cover and the Charleston setting both draw me in. If you ever make it to Savannah, you can take in Charleston too.

  7. Wow, this really sounds like a grabber! ( like your vine image)
    Love the cover too and a southern setting.

  8. That last bit caught me off gaurd - I never would have pegged this as a teen read from your review. I really, REALLY must read this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Viv - going straight on the wishlist!

  9. This sounds great! Beautiful cover, too. Good review!

  10. I just love the way you describe how it sucked you in! It says everything I need to know

  11. Can I say "I love this cover", and it sounds like a great series start too.

  12. Vivienne, this sounds super scary and suspenseful. Terrific review! I even learned a new word, "taphophile"!

  13. I cannot believe you have made me add another book to my wishlist. Naughty but nice :D

  14. Nymeth - I would. I just love this series already.

    Dot - I hope you get it. I love Netgalley.

    Raimy-rawr - thank you. It was a brilliant book. The type that stays with you after reading it.

    Coffee&A Book Chick - sorry to freak you out!

    Mummazappa - there is something about the deep south and ghosts, I totally agree!

    Bermudaonion - gee I do hope I get there one day. You know how much I want to go.

    Kaye -thank you. Definitely a series to watch out for.

    Carmen - I get the impression that the MIRA imprint is for the older teen.

    S.M. Reine - thankyou.

    Blodeuedd - it took me a while to put that feeling into words!

    Diane - it was the cover that attracted me in the first place. I am that shallow!

    Suko - Me too! I had to look it up!

    Asamum - I am sorry! *Holds head in shame* If I had an actual copy I would sent it to you to read.

  15. Wow, I love that I've never heard of this one before and it sounds so wonderful! I think I too will consider reading it around Halloween.. it sounds perfect for then.

  16. I would so like to read this book! What a fantastic cover as well. I'd probably pick it up just for that.

  17. Vivienne--Thank you so much for this fabulous review! You really captured the spirit of the book. LOVE how you described it!

  18. sounds fantastic! I like how you described yourself getting sucked into the plot.
    and the cover is great.

  19. I've never heard of this book before, but your review was so good that now I WANT THIS BOOK! :-) I agree with Nymeth that this sounds like perfect reading for October/Halloween, so I'm vowing right now that I have to get my hands on it by then, if not sooner!

  20. This sounds so good thanks for the awesome review! I'm just about to start reading this and now I'm even more excited about it!!


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