The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens (@AmandaStevensTX)

First off, this is the second book in a series – The Graveyard Queen. A co-worker recommended it. I liked the title, so I picked up the first book. I had already taken it out of the library when I realized it was published under the Harlequin banner. Normally, that would have sent me running for the hills but I was going camping. I wanted something super fluffy. The Restorer totally filled this niche. In the first book, we meet Amelia, a renowned cemetery restorer who can also see ghosts. There are some murders. There’s a cop. There’s sexual attraction made more complicated by the ghosts tied to him that drain her energy. You know the kind of story I’m talking about. Check out the book trailer to see what I mean.

The Graveyard Queen series is definitely popcorn reading. Much like a summer thriller, it’s a creepy read where you occasionally roll your eyes at the dialogue and the protagonist’s poor decisions. Also like a cheezey movie, you see the plot twists coming from very early on, but somehow, you find yourself totally entertained.
skeletons

The Kingdom picks up with Amelia running away from her feelings to work a job in a cut off little mountain town. The creep factor in this book is excellent. A flooded cemetery. A waterfall with mysterious symbols. A hidden grave. A wealthy evil family with no heirs. How could this not combine together to create a marvellously eerie world to get lost in? While I figured out that Amelia was the long lost heir to the family very early in the book, I still read on expectantly. For me, this book was damned creepy. The lake… shudder… even know, I can remember how that felt.

Book two was superior to The Restorer in both creep factor and characters. Thane is a much more interesting and complex character than Devlin, and it made me a little insane that Amelia doesn’t give in to that connection. However; I also hate when female characters bounce back and forth between the convenient male characters in a series. So, while I’m glad Amelia isn’t a fickle boy hopper. It’s a conundrum. The secondary characters were a totally predictable – the evil grandfather, the spoiled uncle, the vain trollops who covet money and witchcraft – but they were delightfully selfish and evil.

Sidra and Ivy, the two younger characters, were by far my favourite supporting characters. I loved Sidra’s (crap, is that her name? I can’t remember and I don’t have the book with me, so that’s what I’m going with. Steven’s website is really shameful in regards to her actual books) quiet presence and lack of confidence. Her abilities mirror Amelia’s and I wish they’d had more interaction. I would have loved if she’d taken Sidra to live with her and train her, but Tilly is a good secondary option – and a convenient way to not have to deal with Amelia now having a teenager to look after. And, there’s great fodder for future stories if the series continues. Looked it up – I see now that there’s a fourth book in the works. I hope it includes Sidra. If it does, I might forgive how disappointing the third book was. Then there was Ivy, a strangely relatable character. A girl who can’t fit in this small, suffocating town, so she acts out in the most obvious way – sex and the occult. Her stalker tendencies read pretty believably, and it’s nice to have a character that has nothing supernatural about her but is still able to influence the main character.

But, I need to be honest – the writing is ridiculous. Amelia makes stupid choices. If this was a movie, someone would probably be yelling at the screen. The girl gets herself into most of her predicaments. I give this book a little more leeway for the writing style because I was expecting so very little from it – and that’s what I got. I know I’ve been hard on some authors for their writing, but it’s because I expect more. Read that like your high school teacher and you’ll understand my level of expectations. The Graveyard Queen in the kid that chews their hair and stares out the window and I’m pleasantly surprised that the work was even done.

It’s not high reading, but it sure was fun.

graveyardqueen

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