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Graveyard Queen #1

The Restorer

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My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer, and to his other victims, lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

376 pages, Paperback

First published April 19, 2011

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About the author

Amanda Stevens

248 books2,154 followers
Amanda Stevens is the award-winning author of over fifty novels, including the modern gothic series, The Graveyard Queen. Her books have been described as eerie and atmospheric, “a new take on the classic ghost story.” Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas, where she enjoys binge-watching, bike riding and the occasional Horror Night with friends.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,103 reviews
Profile Image for Lori.
359 reviews425 followers
October 16, 2020
"I was nine when I saw my first ghost." So begins "The Restorer," book one in the seven-book Graveyard Queen series. They're a mixture of paranormal (ghosts, and they're not all friendly), mystery and a bit of romance. It's not a book I'd ever have found or picked up but for a few great reviews from GR friends. I'm not keen on mystery or romance. Ghosts are another story -- and old cemeteries.

I'm, I now know, somewhat of a taphophile. I've always been drawn to old cemeteries for the artistry of the graves, the beautiful and profound sculptures, mausoleums and tombs and the inexplicably weird ones. The protagonist of this series, Amelia Gray, is a professional restorer of old cemeteries in the southern United States. Her father was caretaker of an old cemetery in South Carolina and she grew up helping him. Each has the unusual ability to see ghosts.

Amanda Stevens had me at that first sentence, Amelia is a terrific narrator, Stevens a great writer, and it all makes for a great book. From nine on Amelia's father taught her rules about the ghosts -- but not all of them. That's when I realized I was reading a series, something I don't often do and I hope they're all as good or nearly as good as this one.

In "The Restorer" her commission is to restore an old cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina connected to a college attended by many of the city's elite. Stevens's descriptions of Charleston alone would have made the book worth it for me. She often uses fragrant flowers to set the tone and she's so adept at describing them I felt like they were under my nose and the ones I've not encountered I rued missing out on. Integral to the story and seamlessly integrated in it are the meanings of different flowers and symbols on gravestones, which I found fascinating. There are some compelling epitaphs too.

Before long a dead body is discovered. And another and another, old ones and fresh ones, killed in what may be ritualistic ways. Because she's an expert the police consult Amelia, whose expertise is useful. There's a handsome detective who is followed by the ghosts of his beautiful wife and their five-year old; Amelia can see them but he can't. There's an attraction complicated for him because he's still actively mourning them and for Amelia because getting nasty and mocking looks from the ghost of a man's dead wife is a major mood-killer.

The mysteries are compelling, the secondary characters well done, each carrying their weight in the book. Amanda Stevens doesn't waste words but she sometimes does lovely things with them. The creepy parts are not scary, they're atmospheric and chilling. The tension steadily mounts, the suspense and the stakes too. At a certain point I, who never guesses the killer, worked it out but I wonder if at that point the reader was meant to.

Throughout I was engaged, invested and entertained. The graves, the tombs, the cobwebs, the mounting mysteries and complicated attraction, the suspense and danger, Amelia herself, who is a great narrator, and the city of Charleston all make for a book that's not one I ever would have reached for had I not seen those reviews -- and Goodreads friends for the win again, because I loved it. I'm already reading the second, which features Amelia restoring a very intriguing cemetery in an eerie rural South Carolina setting. Oh, there's an election going on? I'd forgotten ;)
Profile Image for Beatriz.
831 reviews706 followers
October 20, 2016
Me encantó. Hace tiempo que no leía una novela que durante toda su lectura me mantuviera con el vello erizado. Y es que además de un ritmo muy ágil y un estilo que traspasa la ansiedad de una seguidilla de acontecimientos que te mantienen pendiente del libro en todo momento, la autora logra una historia muy original, combinando en forma muy equilibrada la condición paranormal de la protagonista con el misterio asociado a una serie de asesinatos.

Giros en la trama, más de una sorpresa y unas ganas terribles de que Amelia rompa las reglas que su padre le inculcó desde pequeña. A pesar de que se da un cierre al conflicto principal, quedan muchos cabos sueltos que asumo se retomarán en su segunda entrega.
February 17, 2013
I abandon most paranormal series because they're rather annoying. Most of the ones I've tried to read have contained vampires, werewolves, etc., and a variation of otherworldly politics and conspiracies, one would have to use a great deal of suspension of disbelief to really get into those stories. This series is believable, it's not too out there as far as paranormal activities go. One can be induced to believe that ghosts do exist, and aren't visible to everyone. This book sticks to ghosts, the subtle, haunted, stuck-to-one-place, not poltergeist-y type of ghosts, which is just fine with me. There are no fairies and angels and demons and other shit here. I found the main character, Amelia, very sympathetic and likeable. She is a level-headed person, not prone to hysterics and wild actions the way so many TSTL paranormal heroines are. Her love interest, Devlin, is mysterious and likeable, an alpha male without the jackassery; their chemistry and relationship development was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am making my way through book 2. And holy atmosphere, Batman...I loved Amanda Stevens' vivid descriptions of the South.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews847 followers
December 30, 2015
2.5 Stars
The Restorer was a mixed bag for me. Let’s start with what I enjoyed:

The creepy vibe. I do love the thrill of wondering what darkness lurks in the shadows. I can’t think of a place I’d feel more tension and an undercurrent of fear than an old cemetery in the South. Ms. Stevens made the setting sound beautiful, but haunting, just the way I love a spooky story! The ghosts were a believable presence upping the scare factor big time.

The mystery unfolding, although it’s one of my complaints, as well, because I don’t think we got enough of it and I think the story would’ve benefited from focusing on it more instead of the romance.

The knowledge of cemeteries: significance of headstone inscriptions, history, and the process of restoring a graveyard back to its original state. I found it fascinating and even though I do feel cemeteries are a little unsettling, I think the old historic ones are interesting and beautiful.

I had issues with:
How the mystery was wrapped up. It felt rushed and not enough was explained. If you’re going to write a satisfying mystery you cannot leave so many threads loose! I can understand leaving bits of the continuing story arc left unanswered, but not the current mystery. Several points were just dropped, like the whole Coffin and Claw business.

I realize that this is probably part of the continuing story arc, but it annoyed me that

The romance seemed very one-sided because we’re never really clued into Devlin and his thinking, and because of that he felt very one dimensional to me. I never got to know Devlin, and I never felt like Amelia did either, which made the romance very unfulfilling. I especially didn’t care for it because it seemed like Devlin was hung up on his dead wife. How am I supposed to root for a relationship that felt so one-sided?

Questions over Amelia’s past and circumstance of birth were raised, but nothing was answered.

The ending. Sure, I know this is the start of the series, but according to the description and reviews of the next book Devlin isn’t even around.

In spite of all these frustrations I have already bought the next book because I am invested in Amelia’s story and I want some answers!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,891 followers
June 5, 2012
So beautiful and chilling.
The Restorer was recommended to me by someone I trust implicitly when it comes to books (that someone being my favorite author, Ann Aguirre) so it’s no wonder I didn’t hesitate to pick it up as soon as I found it in my mailbox. My intention was to read a chapter or two to get a feel of the story and then leave it for the night, but I ended up reading it all in one sitting. Let me tell you, reading this book at night, in a dark and silent house wasn’t the smartest move I ever made… but it was definitely exciting.

First and foremost, I need to point out that Amanda Stevens is an excellent writer. She has a tremendous talent for creating the right atmosphere, a very good sense of pacing, and a way to evoke very strong emotions at exactly the right time. Her detailed descriptions never failed to send chills down my spine. Even though The Restorer is marketed as paranormal romance, it is, in fact, urban fantasy in all its glory. For one, it is written in first person and told from a single point of view, whereas paranormal romance is usually told in third person, from alternating POVs. Romance (or lack thereof) makes a big part of the story, but it’s certainly not the main motivator as it always is with PNR. Besides, as someone who gets a strong allergic reaction whenever I come within a hundred yards of a paranormal romance novel, I can tell you with absolute certainty that this is not it. From what I understand, detective John Devlin is not even present in book two, The Kingdom, which I suppose proves my point.

The worldbuilding is fairly simplistic: the presence of ghosts is all that is unusual. Amelia Gray can see them, but she’s learned through life-long instructions by her father, not to acknowledge them in any way. She restores graveyards for a living and is very good at hiding her reactions and emotions from the occasional spirit. One of her father’s rules is never to get involved with someone who is haunted, which is why Amelia is less than thrilled when an obviously haunted (and devastatingly handsome) police detective comes asking for her help.

Amelia is the type of delicate, quiet and restrained heroine that you grow attached to in time. She’s spent her entire life on cemeteries, following strict rules imposed by her father. She has a very lonely way of life and very few personal connections.
John Devlin… *fans self* Amanda Stevens knows how to write a gorgeous and wounded romantic interest that makes you want to murder the heroine and take her place... except, in this case, it would be pretty pointless. The one Devlin wants is already dead.
He said my name then. Just that. Amelia. But in the slow, proper drawl of the Charleston aristocrat, stringing out the syllables with an elegant, imperious cadence that was tinged with decadence, indulgence and the kind of secrets that can only fester in the deepest shadows of the South.

I absolutely adored the Southern setting. Not many urban fantasy books take place in Charleston, and I relished the opportunity to learn about the city through Amelia’s eyes. Amanda Stevens and I share a fascination with Southern accents and the fact that she kept mentioning the famous Southern drawl never failed to make me smile.

I didn’t even wait to finish this book before I ordered book two, The Kingdom, from The Book Depository. I’ll make sure to find a sunny and bright place to read it, though. I bet it will be just as creepy as the first one.

Also posted at The Nocturnal Library
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,221 reviews2,052 followers
November 12, 2017
Repeat to myself - I do not need another series, I do not need another series.......oh well, I guess I have found another series. I read The Restorer for a challenge (read a book with a grave on the cover - for Hallowe'en). Damn these challenges:)

Anyhow it was a great book. Nice and creepy without being too scary, lovely Southern atmosphere and two very attractive main characters. Amelia can see dead people, which is always good for a start, and Devlin is like a sexy vampire without actually being a vampire. No blood involved anyway.

I enjoyed the mystery and failed to guess the murderer as usual. A lot of things were left hanging at the end of the book and I will certainly be reading the next one soon.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,203 reviews918 followers
March 25, 2013
Amelia Gray restores graveyards, having spent her whole life in cemeteries as her father is a caretaker of them. And, she sees ghosts and has since she was nine-years old. Her father sees them, too, and he's taught her the rules to follow to protect herself, one of them being to never let ghosts know she can see them. Amelia has also never told anyone else about her gift.

Amelia is on an assignment in Charleston, restoring an old cemetery associated with a university and gets embroiled in a murder mystery when a body is discovered there. She finds herself connected in odd and mysterious ways to the tortured, handsome and sexy detective assigned to the case, John Devlin, as well the investigation.

This was a fantastically written story, capturing the essence of old Charleston, the creepy but ethereal beauty of the ancient cemetery and the assembly of odd characters connected with the case. Amelia and John's relationship is in the background mostly but sets the tone for this captivating story. While the murder mystery is resolved, there are so many issues remaining to uncover and explore. It's great storytelling and the next book is calling!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,482 followers
March 14, 2018
Sale Alert: 14Mar18 not sure how long it will hold but right now this is $0.99 on Amazon

3.5 Stars

Forbidden love stories always hook me hard. Add ghosts, murder and a creepy cemetery into the mix and you have my attention.

Amelie sees dead people, she always has as long as she can remember. Rule #1 don’t let them know you see them, Rule #2 never stray to far from hallowed ground and Rule #3 avoid people who have ghosts attached to them never invite them into your life. Rules are made to be broken, right? And Amelia is about to break them all for the attractive and haunted detective John Devlin.

“There was something so primal and hungry about the way he stared down at her..the way their bodies unconsciously strained toward one another as if nothing - not even time, not distance, not even death- could ever keep them apart.”

Things I liked:

Obviously I liked the forbidden love angle between Amelia and the haunted John Devlin. I loved the southern setting of the book and the graveyards. The ghosts were semi creepy but not over the top and seemed like what a real haunting would be. The murder mystery was engaging and I didn’t figure it out until the end with a little supernatural help. I liked the setup for the backstory, not yet revealed and hint of the overlapping plot line to the series.

Things that missed the mark:

The ending was a little rushed and unclear, whether by design or not I’m not certain. I really wanted a few more details about the ghost’s involvement maybe those will come later in the series but it felt a little unfinished compared to the rest of the story. I few parts of the story got a little jumbley whether that is because the revelations will come later I’m not sure it was just a little unclear.

All in all I really liked the set up to the story and Amelia is a likable if slightly unusual heroine. I will definitely be continuing on with the series.
Profile Image for Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker.
596 reviews370 followers
March 6, 2011
Can you say creepy?

Can you say wonderful?

If you love spooky, creepy, darn right oh-my-god-I-just-saw-something-in-the-corner-of-my-room scary type books, this is your book. If you want to be frustrated by a blossoming relationship between two main characters, this is also your book. Let me explain.

I love to be scared. While this book IS scary, it is not the blatant in your face, gory, axe murdering serial killer type of scary.

Instead, it is the hair rising, I cannot see him, but I knew he is behind me type of scary. I loved it. The author is a master at making you “feel” her descriptions. There are scenes where ghosts touch people and the way the author described the touch, made me think someone was brushing their hand along my neck (and the hubby was nowhere in sight).

Now onto the relationship. There is a "non-relationship" relationship in this book. Amelia, the main character, is seriously lusting after John Devlin. Throughout the book, the reader is unsure how Devlin feels about Amelia but on the contrary, Amelia’s feelings are pretty darn clear. Too clear! Over and over again, we get Amelia’s internal dialogue on how she lusts for Devlin but she is unsure of how he feels and how she doesn’t want to break the unwritten rules regarding messing with people who are clearly haunted. This internal dialogue goes on and on and becomes tedious at times. I kept wanting Amelia to jump Devlin’s bones and get on with it. It NEVER happens. Why am I telling you this? Because there is so much good about this book, if you get caught up in the relationship or lack thereof, you will be disappointed in the story. However, if you move on from the relationship, you will enjoy the story.

The story-

It is complex, and full of mystery. I really had to pay attention because there was a lot of story and side story here. However, once you get the logistics down, the story flowed. Oh and the last few chapters seriously stumped me. I did not expect it and frankly, it saved the book from a 3 star rating (I hated how the non-relationship was going throughout the book between Devlin and Amelia).


I seriously enjoyed the book. Take out the disappointment regarding Amelia’s lusting after Devlin and receiving no satisfaction in that department, you then have a very good book.
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
381 reviews1,650 followers
March 10, 2015
I gave this book 5 stars because some day I would love to reread it.
Amelia saw ghosts from the age of Nine. Her father have her rules to follow and she was never to acknowledge a haunted man and to stay far away from one. There were Three rules that she needed to live by and she had broken every rule!

This is a great spooky Gothic mystery. There are several Murders, where keeps you guessing till the end on who was doing it. I love this Game. Ghosts were everywhere. If you love to read paranormal mysteries and love books about spooky ghosts, this book will definitely give you chills, and it is a sure winner.
Every cemetery has a story, Every grave, it's secrets. This is a first book in a trilogy. This was a fun read and I loved the characters. The characters that I love are Devlin, Amelia of course and the kid ghost and mother. What an awesome read, and if you like to be spooked, it sure will spooky you out. If you love books with the Gothic atmosphere brewing throughout the end, this one is definitely for you. Well I got to go so I can start on the second book.
Enjoy reading this and have lots of fun.
Profile Image for Mada Linx.
238 reviews29 followers
May 26, 2018
It’s 1:35AM, I’m going to sleep...


Okay, it’s 8:30AM.

This book has everything I ever wanted.


Since I picked this book up, I ignored everything else around me and I couldn’t put it down. I was looking at the time and knew I have to go to work the next day, but still I read one more chapter....one more....one more....till I finished it.

Devlin and Amelia are both great and can’t wait to read more about them.

I’m continuing with the series.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
994 reviews506 followers
January 3, 2016
Uf! No me lo esperaba, de verdad. En ningún sentido me lo esperaba. La historia es fascinante, única, original. Y sus personajes... ¿qué se puede decir de ellos: de Amelia y Delvin? Solo que muy pocas veces uno tiene el placer de leer una historia de amor tan intensa y prohibida. Desde luego, un estupendo libro con que empezar el año.
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews516 followers
July 21, 2012
Pictures of Oak Grove Cemetary, from Amanda Stevens’s website: www.thegraveyardqueen.com

Book Quote:
An old live oak guarded the darkest corner of the garden, and a swing hung like a childhood memory from one of the gnarled branches.

★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Oh, this one is excellent! The first thrilling mystery in the Graveyard Queen series is narrated by the wonderful Khristine Hvam , who is perfect for this first person POV telling of a Southern gothic. She doesn’t miss a beat in maintaining the eerie, ghostly ambience of Ms. Stevens’ story. Really, I’m such a wuss, I didn’t even try to listen to this one, except in the safety of broad daylight.

While I enjoyed this audiobook, I also had to refer to my Kindle copy occasionally; the words are beautiful, lyrical, haunting, making it very atmospheric. Sure, I loved hearing them, but I also wanted to feast my eyes upon them. Such a dilemma! Such a delight! This one will prickle your flesh to goose pimples – the slow rising kind! Nevertheless, you’ll enjoy the shiver all the more with the knowledge they are crawling up your arms and down your spine.

Amelia Gray, as a cemetery restorer and blogger catering to taphophiles*, also happens to see ghosts; and there are certainly plenty in the old Charleston graveyard where a young woman is found brutally murdered. Then there is the yummy John Devlin, police detective with the Charleston PD, who needs Amelia’s expertise with headstones, epitaphs, and graveyards. He’s oozing irresistible Southern gentlemanly charm and masculine protectiveness from every pore; however, as attractive as he is, he has two intriguing ghosts of his own shadowing him. That certainly counters her father’s third rule! But the killer is communicating through Amelia’s blog and the murders keep mounting, so Devlin’s not keeping his distance. Throw in Southern politics, manners, and cover-ups and you have an edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Is this a “Paranormal Romance”?
Hmmm…good question. It certainly is a deceptively gritty thriller with romantic overtones. While Devlin and Amelia’s complex relationship is a slow burn, it is more of a hot, languid smoldering – that you just know is going to be incendiary – than a quick brush fire. I can only hope the series as a whole can be called a “romance” with a Happily Ever After, but that certainly isn’t divulged in the first book. Can’t wait for the next installment; I already have it in my audible.com “wishlist.”

*taphophile: “lover of tombstones”

Music to go along with Ms. Steven’s book, from her website.

The Abandoned (Graveyard Queen #0.5) by Amanda Stevens The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens The Kingdom (Graveyard Queen #2) by Amanda Stevens The Prophet (Graveyard Queen #3) by Amanda Stevens
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
June 29, 2014
2,5 stars


Having already read the second one, I can definitely say that I won't be reading any other books of this series.
I've also removed a star, since on further consideration I've decided that this was just an okay reading.
Yes, there were some aspects that I liked, but in the end, the negative parts surpassed the positives.

Former Review:

It's impossible for me to say that I didn't "like" the book.

I did, it was completely different from what I've been reading.

But at the same time there was something that just felt a little off...like the characters and the feelings portrayed that just felt a little too "harlequin" novels for me.

The only compliment I can give it, is that I had no idea where the story was going to go.
I was completely at the author's mercy to know what was going to happen next.

The negatives:
Another of the things that I disliked, was the way that Amelia's characterization at times didn't seem compatible with her age.
She had no emotional maturity...imagine a thirteen year old on a twenty seven year old body.

The "crush" she has on Devlin, is n embarrassing and obnoxious "insta-crush". Did I mention that she's twenty seven years old?

I also would have liked to see Devlin playing a more "active" part in the story, since he's the leading male character, and all that.

Because in the end for me, his character just felt too insignificant. And not all that interesting...

The mystery was interesting, but the romance just felt out of place, and forced.
I felt that it was just created to counteract the creepy aspects of the book..
Because Devlin, on account of his past, never showed a real interest in Amelia.
And Amelia, felt a little like: "Oh, tall, handsome, BROODING_ this word appears quite a number of times_ yes, I'm interested in him!"

In the end, I just felt like the author kept "all her aces" to herself in order to fill the following books, because there's still a lot of secrets to unravel, and questions to be answered.
For instance, who Amelia really is.
Whom are her biological parents, and what is the secret that her mother keeps to herself.

As a side note, I can't help but mention that I thought that it was kind of strange, that Amelia should share her "gift", her cursed gift, with her supposedly adopted father.
What are the odds of that?

But this is part of a series, so, I guess one just has to keep reading it...to find out the answers to those questions.

In the last pages of the book we see the reality of her life completely take another route. Every rule that Amelia has been following since she was nine years old, when she first saw her first ghost has dramatically changed.

Profile Image for Fani *loves angst*.
1,641 reviews237 followers
May 20, 2011
6 stars

Well, I'm dazzled, stunned, shocked and yes haunted. This is an amazing book, the best I've read so far in 2011. I don't feel like picking another book right now, my mind's stuck there with Amelia, Devlin and their ghosts. And for a book that does not belong in the romance genre, the attraction between them was a very powerful and vivid thing.

Many people have described the plot, but I find it difficult to explain to someone who hasn't read the book. In short, there are some gruesome murders, John Devlin is the detective in the case and Amelia is the restorer of the graveyard where the bodies are turning up. It would be a typical mystery book if Amelia wasn't able to see ghosts but tried to ignore them following her father's advice, Devlin didn't have two of his own following him around and an old fraternity who likes to delve in the occult wasn't involved. As it is, this is one complicated and highly addictive mystery that I couldn't put down until the final page. The fact that it's spiced with a lot of PNR elements and some romance doesn't hurt at all!

The writing was superb. There is no other way to put it. I've never been to Charleston or anywhere near the South, but I felt I was there, smelled the jasmines, the honeysuckle, the shrimps and even the dampness in the hot air. I just loved the way Ms Stevens pulled me in her world. And I loved how she had me sitting in the edge of my seat the whole time while Amelia went looking for clues in the graveyard and met with people who I couldn't tell if they were friends or psychopaths. Finally, I loved the palpable attraction between her and Devlin, the sizzle of electricity between them and also her fear whenever he came too near; I just couldn't get enough of their scenes together. These are two lonely and haunted people that definitely belong together, if only Devlin could escape his past.

I feel like I'm rambling instead of writing a review, so I'll just wrap it up. I loved the book (obviously) and can't wait to read the next one to find out more about Amelia, her father, Tom Garrick and of course Devlin and his ghosts. Not everything is answered by the end of the book, but at least the who-dunnit is fully explained and resolved. If you like mystery & suspense stories, this is a book you absolutely must read!

ARC Provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Coco.
1,017 reviews420 followers
July 6, 2016
Sencillamente brillante.

La Restauradora es la primera parte de una serie que realmente deja el listón muy alto para sus siguientes continuaciones.
Me ha encantado la trama, el ritmo y sus personajes.
Amelia es una mujer solitaria que dan ganas de achucharla. Y Devlin tiene tanto misterio a su alrededor, que no puedo evitar desconfiar de él.
Amanda Stevens crea una atmósfera espeluznante con la que consigue ponerte los pelos de punta a lo largo de todo el libro.
La parte del misterio junto con los asesinatos está muy bien lograda, pero ha sido una lástima que haya averiguado tan rápido al culpable.
Con respecto a la paranormal nos dejan muchas preguntas en el aire, de las cuales espero obtener una respuesta pronto.
Profile Image for Pepa.
937 reviews236 followers
July 15, 2016
Reseña completa: https://masromance.blogspot.com.es/20...

Le daría 3.75
Enganchar engancha y está bien escrita.
No creo que se trate de una novela romántica, sino (dado que esa parte no me ha gustado) bajaría de puntuación.
En mi opinión, es un thriller o suspense, o como se llame, pero no romántico y solo por el hecho de no haber averiguado al culpable ya se ha ganado otra estrella.
Por lo demás, muy entretenida y muy visual. Aunque hay muchos momentos repetitivos. Resulta algo cansina cada vez que ella lo mira. La relación entre ambos me ha parecido muy fría.
Profile Image for Alisha.
204 reviews97 followers
July 16, 2011
Rating: 4.5 (After some more thought: A five, really.)
Quick Take: Loved it. Loved. It. Steven's writing style is so easy to get into. To say that I look forward to more of this series is a serious understatement. Highly recommended to all of my ghost-story-friendly urban fantasy peeps. It might give you a fright, but it's well worth the thrill.

Freaking A, man. What an awesome book this is!
I must confess that, as a scaredy cat and ghost-story wimp, I was hesitant at first to read Amanda Stevens's trilogy opener. The book description sounded very intriguing, but it was obviously meant to give the potential reader a taste of the eerie setting and chilling theme of the full novel. Boy, am I glad I got past that hesitancy. I was thoroughly creeped out whilst reading this tale, but more importantly, I was exhilarated.

So let's start with that emotion. Yes, this book is creepy; the author is quite skilled at creating atmosphere. Stevens's writing style is resonant, engaging, and very easy to fall into. The language is crisp and easily accessible--not simplistic--and yet descriptions are vivid, crafting a clear visual and understanding of both the characters and the settings. I'd imagine that's precisely what one would want when attempting to scare the pants off of someone. ^_^

It's perhaps good that the mechanics of the language used does not confound, because this is indeed a dense book. There are numerous details that are integral to the storyline, and the main mystery is quite multilayered. In fact, there are elements in play that suggest the author is focused on the bigger, series-wide picture at all times. In that regard, this story's events solve mysteries, but titillate even more. The narrative barely scratches the surface of the main characters' struggles and inner scars. Protagonist Amelia Gray is one complex individual; amiable as far as protagonists go, but clearly haunted (literally and figuratively). That she finds herself drawn to an equally haunted man will provide a lot of arresting emotional material in upcoming installments.

If you can manage a highly atmospheric, spooky and complex book that absolutely must be read as part of a series arc, you need to pick up The Restorer. This will be a standout series, just you wait n see! ^_^
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,989 reviews194 followers
December 30, 2014
Finally, a great ghost story ! I had good old fashioned goose bumps while reading this wonderful tale. It was scary with a subtle touch, slowly unraveling. I was enchanted, by the characters, the mystery, and the hint of a romance.
The Amelia Grey, a cemetery restorer, loves her job, repairing the forgotten treasures of our ancestors. She is a southern girl, her father a cemetery grounds keeper. She see’s her first ghost at nine years old. Her father warns her and gives her a set or rules she must follow. She follows them until she meets John Devin, a handsome, dark and haunted detective. She is tied to him through the graveyard restoration she is working on, and her heart. A terrible mystery must be solved, there are many twists and turns. Her world is about to change forever. There are more terrifying things in her world then her father ever warned her about. Fantastic..I never saw the ending coming. I will be first in line to buy the second book in this series
Profile Image for Paula.
545 reviews7 followers
October 31, 2014
This book seemed to drag on and on for me. The main problem was that I didn’t care for the main characters, Amelia and Devlin. Amelia spent most of the book dwelling on her attraction to Devlin to the point of obsession. It didn’t help that Devlin was a dull character without much of a personality. I’d have liked to have learned more about the secondary characters in the book, since I thought they were much more interesting than Amelia and Devlin. There were some good creepy scenes in the book, but unfortunately this was not enough to save it for me.
Profile Image for Anzû.
548 reviews1,108 followers
October 6, 2012
Keep your distance from those who are haunted.

Long story short
Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who can see ghosts, is forced into a police investigation when a body is found in the cemetery she is restoring.

My thoughts
The first thing that made me check out The Restorer was the cover. I absolutely love that sad angel statue. It makes me think of an extremely gloomy story. Which is exactly what The Restorer is. Amanda Stevens nailed the cover, it's perfect for the story. The second thing that made me add the book to my “Want To Read” list was the title, The Restorer, and the name of the series, Graveyard Queen. Then I went on to read the summary and holy shit! She’s a cemetery restorer who can see ghosts. Whaaaaaat?

Like right now!

Lucky for me, my wonderful friend Alk chose it as a birthday read (which is supposed to be mandatory) so I had to read it. I can’t say that I was sad about it. On the contrary, this was the perfect excuse to spend a bit more money on an ebook. I mean, it is a mandatory read, right? *wink*

Anyways, I’ll keep this short. I fell in love with The Restorer. I love Amelia’s job, I love Amanda Stevens’ writing style. I love cemeteries and I love ghosts. I love creepy stories, and this is one hell of a creepy story. It could have been scary, but my definition of “scary” is different than the one you would normally hear from people. I need something worse than this to get scared. But creepy is the perfect word for it. The Restorer is deliciously creepy and intriguing. I am going to read Graveyard Queen #2 as soon as possible.

To buy or not to buy?
There are a few simple questions that can help you take this decision.
- Do you like ghosts?
- Do you enjoy reading creepy and disturbing stories?
- Do you mind mysteries?
- Do you mind a bit of romance in your books?

If your answer is yes to at least two of those questions, then The Restorer is the book for you.

Favorite quote
“You are a very strange woman.”
“I thought I was practical.”
“Strange, stunning and practical.”

Review also posted on
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
August 7, 2019
The Restorer
The Graveyard Queen, Book 1
By: Amanda Stevens
Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
Series: Graveyard Queen, Book 1
This is my kind of ghost story! It is creepy, slightly dark, a few mysteries, a couple of men to one woman and she doesn't know who to trust, she can see ghosts, there is something darker out there, and I love this! Amelia restored cemeteries, she started with her dad at a young age. Her and her dad also share another talent, they both can see ghosts. He gives her rules to live by but she starts breaking the rules on this assignment. Someone also killed someone and put the corpse in the cemetery Amelia is working in. There are lots of action, strange situations, suspense, odd people, and more. The book ends leaving many things left untied. Definitely starting book two!
The narration was great!
Profile Image for MISS VAIN.
200 reviews496 followers
January 24, 2012
There was no mistaking her intent.
She knew I was there.
She knew I could see her.
And she was letting me know that she knew.

Lock your doors, check your windows, plug in your night lights, and prepare to be frightened! 

This book chilled me to the bone, and I adored every minute of it. I stayed up all night to finish this not just because it was sooooo good (it was) but I was too much of a scardy cat to sleep. Amanda Stevens has made spooky graveyard stories my newest obsession. A woman's body has been found at the cemetery that Amelia is restoring and from that moment her life changes forever, and she quickly becomes wrapped up into a chilling murder mystery spook fest!The Restorer is a page turner from the beginning, and never have I read book that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. There's one part in the book where a ghost draws a "heart" on Amelia's fogged window at her home, my own heart immediately started racing a little quicker...I'm not ashamed. 

His reluctance to elaborate only whetted my curiosity. He couldn't know it yet, but my persistence could sometimes border on obsession when I set my mind into something.

Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer by trade and she sees dead people. Her father taught her at an early age not to acknowledge their presence. She's likable, believable and very relatable. Unfortunately she becomes instantly involved in the investigation of solving this murder as a consultant. This thrill ride had me guessing right along with her the entire read. Each time I would think I had fingered the murderer another suspect would reveal themselves and I was duped again. That's my favorite kind story, that keeps me guessing until the very end. Amelia and Detective John Devlin work together closely to solve this murder and they soon discover that in the presence of each other sparks unite, despite how much they try to hide their true feelings. All the supporting characters as well assist in telling this CHILLING story  this web of murders, secrets and mysteries together to solve a crime spree lasting over fifteen years. 

"I shouldn't be here. With You. "You scare me." "I do?" I said. "Sometimes you make me forget." My heart was pounding so hard, I though it might burst in my chest. "Is that bad?" "I don't know. I've held on for so long....I'm not sure I'm ready to let go."

She meets the delectable and oh so tortured Detective John Devlin and she simultaneously begins breaking all her fathers rules. Oh Devlin is one juicy, charismatic, scary, charming man that I hope to see more of him The Kingdom. He carries a huge burden with him in life as a survivor of a tragedy that only makes him that much more mysterious, guarded, tortured and heavy on the sex appeal!  If I were stuck inside a mausoleum inside a cemetery this would be the detective I would want to come to my rescue. Amelia is immediately drawn to him but wary nonetheless because although he's unaware of it he has two protective ghost following his every move. This makes Amelia reluctant to have anything but a professional relationship with him in fear of betraying her fathers rules of staying far away from the ghosts. "Don't look at them, don't speak to them, don't let them sense your fear."

I didn't want this book to end, I'll be starting The Kingdom immediately! I recommend this book to anyone that is in the mood for a bone chilling ghost story, with a tortured romantic hero, and a very likable protagonist!

There was something so primal and hungry about the way he stared down at her......not time, not distance, not even death could tear them apart....

Like what you see here, check out more of my reviews at http://missvainsparanormalfantasy.com/

June 7, 2016
On the quest for adult ghost novels, I have become an Amanda Stevens fan! Despite a skewed portrayal of spirituality, I enjoyed her story immensely. The whole atmosphere of “The Restorer” was exciting and suspenseful. It transferred the riveting, taut exhilaration of a movie; captivating our attention in a way that authors accomplish rarely. I genuinely felt reeled into the momentum and emotions of this mystery and could visualize it like a film. It is unfinished and dependent upon this series. I am seeking volume two eagerly!

Amelia Gray is a professional cemetery restorer like her Dad. He thinks spirits are parasites who latch onto people, if they prove to be aware of them. When his daughter began to see ghosts, he warned her to pretend oblivion and also to avoid people who are trailed by spirits. I suspect it will be better to ask spirits what they need but meanwhile, the need to seek out hallowed safe havens and to avoid ghosts after dusk, created a fun, chilling atmosphere. At the same time, this is a surprisingly excellent mystery novel. Old and new burials are discovered in cemetery plots. Someone knows symbolism well enough to select gravesites that leave general messages about the victims. Amelia helps a policeman, who has survived tragedy, solve this case.

An awful motive started in the past, which readers can’t surmise. Amelia clued into it by querying the right person. I appreciate the brain and physical work that the solution required. The origins of our heroine and secrets bothering her adoptive parents, furnish additional fodder for our enthusiasm. Fictional romance is not my forté but because the mystery and the ethereal come first and due to liking both protagonists, that aspect is alright. A trek through spooky tunnels certainly is my cup of tea!
Profile Image for Jeanny.
1,875 reviews144 followers
June 4, 2018
This book counts towards CG Book Challange June: Read a scary (horror, psychological thriller, ghost story) Book
Audible version.

Just not for me prepare for my rant...

An excruciatingly slow read. The verbose prose was tiresome. The dialogue & its southern formality isn’t to my taste. I wasn’t a fan of the h or the H & felt the author forced the “chemistry” between them. It was very much one-sided for a good portion of the book & when he finally shows interest it doesn’t feel genuine. What little we do learn about Devlin amounts to a guilt-ridden but honorable man who has lost his passion for much of anything. As for Amelia, I was completely apathetic towards her character’s plight. It is impossible for me to care less about her mysterious birth or of her father’s secrets. I found the secret society & the H pendant much more interesting yet the author brought them up & never gave the reader answers. I’m going to assume it was left unresolved in an attempt to get the reader to buy book 2 in this series but in my case, this method failed. This was a lackluster read. On the positive side although the author failed at most everything that makes a book appealing to me she did manage a definite creep factor. 1 I’ll readily forget this book star.

If you're wanting to read about a female h who sees ghosts & solves mysteries I'd recommendFirst Grave on the Right

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of southern bells, gothic mysteries, period romances, or historical novels & although this book was set in a modern SC it felt very much like it could’ve been 19-century countryside.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
September 26, 2011
4.5 stars

Eerie, haunting, and definitely spooky, The Restorer is unlike any ghost story I’ve read before. The Restorer is part ghost story, part murder mystery. There’s a touch of voodoo and witchcraft in it along with a mysterious secret order. Add in a pretty eccentric cast of characters and there you have it – a compelling read.

Amelia Gray sees dead people. She’s seen them for most of her life. Amelia follows a strict set of rules to help her cope with her ability so that no ghost will attach to her and drain away her energy.

Amelia’s chosen occupation is rather unusual. She cleans up old abandoned cemeteries. Amelia is well known in her field and blogs about her work. She is known as “The Graveyard Queen” by her fans. Her work also attracts the attention of the Charleston Police Department and she is hired on as a consultant.

John Devlin of the Charleston Police Department is Amelia’s love interest. Devlin is haunted by two ghosts and Amelia is torn between breaking her strict rules and falling for Devlin. Devlin has some sort of effect upon Amelia and she is physically drained after spending time with him.

There is so much to love about this book. The writing style is lovely, evoking images of the steamy South. The main characters were surrounded with a quirky ensemble of secondary characters that ranged from humorous to dark and downright evil. The main character was so different from the usual heroines in this genre. She was practical and efficient rather than kick ass. Devlin provided strong support, yet he had his own past to deal with.

I loved this book and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, The Kingdom.

Check out my review on Badass Book Reviews

Profile Image for Ann Aguirre.
Author 88 books6,631 followers
June 4, 2011
This is absolutely amazing. The writing is evocative, lyrical, the epitome of elegant restraint. Ms. Stevens' grasp of setting as character is nothing short of sublime. Her Charleston is a fascinating place, every bit as vivid and enthralling as her lead characters, Amelia Grey and John Devlin. This book is a must-read for those who enjoy Gothic-touched mystery threaded through diamond-bright with sexual tension and forbidden longing. Why are you still here? Go get this book, and then read it immediately.
Profile Image for Sunny.
1,426 reviews
July 28, 2012
Amelia Gray
John Devlin

Several years ago I visited Charleston, South Carolina in the middle of summer. The weather was hot, the humidity was oppressive and the pace, well, people took their time. I signed up for a graveyard ghost tour, not my normal vacation time activity. But it was Charleston, and being a Southern history fan, I couldn’t resist. This was the center of antebellum South, where the cruelty of slavery and the genteel manners of Southern folks co-existed. I loved my tour and I loved imagining the life and hardship of those who walked those streets before me. This book reminded me of my trip, both in the places described and the pace of the book.

This book came to my attention through Gotta Have Paranormal Romance with a Kick’s Undercover Enabler’s Challenge. It was one of three choices I had to read. Based on the reviews, I chose this one because it had the best of the lot.

Amelia Gray can see ghosts. But ghosts are not innocuous, they suck your vitality and life-force away. Since the time she saw her first ghost at 9 years old, she has been living by four strict rules as dictated by her father:

Rule 1 - Never acknowledge the dead
Rule 2 - Never stray too far from hallowed ground
Rule 3 - Keep your distance from those who are haunted
Rule 4 - Never, ever tempt fate.

The rules are given to keep her safe, but it also makes her a guarded, introverted, lonely person. Until, there is a dead body found in the cemetery in which she is restoring that puts her into direct contact with Detective John Devlin. She is immediately drawn to him. Unfortunately, he is surrounded by two ghosts that cling to him. As she is pulled into the mystery of the dead body, Amelia keeps putting herself at risk by helping to pursue the killer and by breaking the rules to be with Devlin.

My review? Interesting read....

Things I loved:
* Cemetery restorer? Really, who knew there was such a profession? It is a combination of historian, detective,art historian, gardener and garbage collector. I thought context of the story was unique and compelling.

* New words learned
Fan-wanking - Arranging a story to meet personal needs.
Taphophiles - A person who has a passion and enjoyment for cemeteries. (Again, who knew?)

* Reminds me of ….
Karen Moning’s Fever series. John Devlin has a bit of Jericho Z. Barrons in him. He has piercing eyes, brooding demeanor, is taciturn and oozes sexual tension.

*Characters and setting
I liked getting a flavor of the South through the descriptions of Charleston. Charleston has an abundance of churches and graveyards. I thought it was the perfect setting. Stevens’ descriptions of the garden, the smell of flowers, quiet of the afternoon sun was very appealing. It made me want to drink some sweet tea and go sit out on my patio. (Unfortunately, I have no plants and am surrounded by the concrete jungle) . We also get a the peek into Creole culture, of witches and superstition. I hope this gets more flushed out in future books.

Like the Fever series, this books takes it time to tell the story. (I was more than 60% into the story and there was very little movement). Also, unfortunately, there is limited interaction between Amelia and John, which is why their “romance” less believable to me. I didn’t understand the source of their deep attraction. However, because of how this book is written, I believe this mystery will unravel itself out in the sequels and really, I can’t wait to start.

Profile Image for Theresa .
1,361 reviews75 followers
February 1, 2018
5 Superbly Creepy Stars... Fantastic writing, unique premise, strong historical context, captivating characters, and a terrifying but fascinating supernatural element all dominate this phenomenal read... I was enthralled from the very first page and could not be pulled away until the final page turned; if you love a psychological thriller wrapped in a supernatural blanket that keeps you guessing and your heart racing until the end then you need to pick up this book up, take a deep breath, and hold on for one incredible ride:)
Profile Image for Elena.
236 reviews194 followers
April 16, 2017
Me ha gustado, pero quizá esperaba más debido a todas las buenas opiniones o puede que no fuera el momento de leerlo. Le tenía ganas a esta serie desde hace tiempo, quería leer algo distinto pero a lo mejor no es para mí, así que de momento no voy a seguir con La reina del cementerio (aunque puede ser que un día me pique la curiosidad por saber como sigue).
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