Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Posted August 16, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
The Restorer

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
three-flames

Series: The Graveyard Queen #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by MIRA
Released on September 1, 2016
Pages: 371
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Get it at: add to goodreads

The Delight

I needed a scary story for a book challenge and I needed it to be only sort of scary because…whimp on horror here.  Thankfully, I had this book ready and waiting on the dusty shelves.  And, it turned out to be another ‘why did I wait so long to pick up such a great read?’.  I love old-style romantic suspense, southern gothic, and a riveting murder mystery.  The Restorer had it all in one.

Review

The Restorer introduces readers to the author’s chilling world of dark ghosts and ghastly murders along with a quiet and reclusive graveyard restoration expert, Amelia Gray.  There is a mystery to Amelia’s past and both her parents keep secrets from her about that.  She shares the dangerous ghost seeing gift/curse with her dad and has avoided trouble with ghosts for twenty-seven years because she heeded her dad’s lessons and followed the rules.  But, then a fresh mutilated body is discovered in her latest graveyard restoration project at a university in Charleston.  Influential people are on its alumni and a brooding dark, haunted John Devlin is the detective on the case.  Devlin is her first real temptation to break the rules and even a killer, dark ghostly shadows, a grisly adventure or two and a secret society don’t deter her from the truth or John Devlin.

The first person POV works well for this atmospheric story that follows Amelia as she deals with life as one who has to deal with the lonely life of one who sees and must avoid interaction with ghosts.  She’ll never be normal, but for once, she would like to respond to her attraction to a man- even if the man is off limits in more than one way.

The introduction to the series and the characters was handled splendidly.  I was glad to not get an info dump or a stagnated plot.  The story kept up the spooky aspects and the casework, the relationship developments all while getting the reader up to speed.

I liked how setting and atmosphere never felt cheesy and very much seemed to be like another strong character in the story.  The author made good use of foreshadowing, but still gave some surprise twists that my jaw dropping a few times.  There was a good foundation laid for the rest of the series and the first book tied up immediate threads while leaving a few things to continue building during the remaining books in the series.

There is a fabulous blend of elements hinting at a sensual relationship in future, the solid mystery that was solved in this book with a few more mysteries to be rooted out in future books.  The backdrop of the Charleston, SC area and particularly the historic cemeteries and old ghosts was great.

Definitely a recommend for those who want a classic-style romantic suspense style writing and a Southern Gothic tone in their reading.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #251 UF
Mt. TBR #96
COYER Summer #51

Recommendations

  

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • Debbie Haupt

    Yep Its definitely my type of read and by my favorite publisher too

    • I think you’ll love this one, Debbie. It’s just a little scary, but the ambience and her work in the graveyards made it riveting.

  • I really need to get started with this series soon. Glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, Sophia Rose!

    • Yep, you really do. I think you’d really take to this series with all your thrillers and scarier ones, Carole. 🙂

  • graveyard restoration! Oooooo!

    • That was a huge element and so different. I loved seeing how it was incorporated in with its overt Gothic tones.

  • I’ve had this book for awhile, ever since I read a review on how wonderful it was and it’s just sat there on my Kindle. So I just skimmed your review but now I want to read it and I am so overwhelmed with books I want/have to read right now. There-I vented…

    • Buahaha! Lorna, you sound like me. I have a list and stack a mile long that gets me agitated. I think you’d have a good time with this one.

  • I have mad love for this series Sophia. I am so excited you are reading them!!

    • Yes! You are one of the folks who had great reviews for the latter half of this series and it put it on my radar. I have book two ready to go. 🙂

  • Northwomn

    I don’t know this series. I love romantic suspense but scary. I don’t know. I love Kay Hooper. I also have just started to learn Abbie Roads. This is urban fantasy so I might have to look into it. Anne – Books of My Heart

    • Its about equal scary to Kay Hooper so you should do alright, Anne. Yay, I like both Hooper and Abbie Roads, too.

  • Oh I’ve seen hers but was thinking maybe too scary for me. But hmmm maybe it’d be okay. Sounds good and I do like a well used twist 🙂

    • It nudged the too scary or too gruesome a few times, but stayed just a hair on the safe side for me. Now, that said, not sure what comes after this one or if I’ll have to tap out, but I’m going to give book two a go and see what happens. 🙂

  • shootingstarsmag

    I’ve heard good things about this author, and I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad the atmosphere was done well and it wasn’t cheesy.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    • You’re welcome, Lauren! I’m definitely eager to press forward with the series.

  • Glad you liked it. I read this one years ago. I feel like I need to re-read it. I wasn’t as impressed and wasn’t that scary to me. Great review!

    Mary

    • LOL, no, it’s probably not that scary to others. I’m easily freaked out with that sort of thing. 🙂