The Kingdom (Graveyard Queen Series #2)

The Kingdom (Graveyard Queen Series #2)

by Amanda Stevens

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Overview

Re-read award-winning author Amanda Steven's chilling modern gothic series and relivethe journey of Amelia Gray, Graveyard Queen.

THE KINGDOM

Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town…

My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an oldcemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purposehere.

Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to ahidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of thistown—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488006395
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 09/12/2016
Series: Graveyard Queen Series , #2
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 133,981
File size: 536 KB

About the Author

Amanda Stevens is an award-winning author of over fifty novels. Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas.

Read an Excerpt



The breeze off the water carried a slight chill even though the sun had barely begun its western slide. It was still hours until twilight. Hours until the veil between our world and the next would thin, but already I could feel the ripple of goose bumps at the back of my neck, a sensation that almost always signaled an unnatural presence.

I resisted the temptation to glance over my shoulder. Years of living with ghosts had instilled in me an aberrant discipline. I knew better than to react to those greedy, grasping entities, so I leaned against the deck rail and stared intently into the greenish depths of the lake. But from my periphery, I tracked the other passengers on the ferry.

The intimate murmurs and soft laughter from the couple next to me aroused an unexpected melancholy, and I thought suddenly of John Devlin, the police detective I'd left behind in Charleston. This time of day, he would probably still be at work, and I conjured up an image of him hunched over a cluttered desk, reviewing autopsy reports and crime scene photos. Did I cross his mind now and then? Not that it mattered. He was a man haunted by his dead wife and daughter, and I was a woman who saw ghosts. For as long as he clung to his past—and his past clung to him—I could not be a part of his life.

So I wouldn't dwell on Devlin or that terrible door that my feelings for him had opened. In the months since I'd last seen him, my life had settled back into a normal routine. Normal for me, at least. I still saw ghosts, but those darker entities—the Others, my father called them—had drifted back into their murky underworld where I prayed they would remain. The memories, however, lingered. Memories of Devlin, memories of all those victims and of a haunted killer who had made me a target. I knew no matter how hard I fought them off, the nightmares would return the moment I closed my eyes.

For now, though, I wanted to savor my adventure. The start of a new commission filled me with excitement, and I looked forward to the prospect of uncovering the history of yet another graveyard, of immersing myself in the lives of those who had been laid to rest there. I always say that cemetery restoration is more than just clearing away trash and overgrowth. It's about restoration.

The back of my neck continued to prickle.

After a moment, I turned to casually glance back at the row of cars. My silver SUV was one of only five vehicles on the ferry. Another SUV belonged to the couple, a green minivan to a middle-aged woman absorbed in a battered paperback novel, and a faded red pickup truck to an elderly man sipping coffee from a foam cup. That left the vintage black sports car. The metallic jet paint drew my appreciative gaze. In the sunlight, the shimmer reminded me of snake scales, and an inexplicable shiver traced along my spine as I admired the serpentine lines. The windows were tinted, blocking my view of the interior, but I imagined the driver behind the wheel, impatiently drumming fingers as the ferry inched toward the other side. To Asher Falls. To Thorngate Cemetery, my ultimate destination.

Brushing my hand against the back of my neck, I turned again to the water, mentally rummaging through the tidbits I'd gleaned from my research. Located in the lush Blue Ridge foothills of South Carolina, Asher Falls had once been a thriving community, but in the mid-eighties, one of the town's most prominent citizens, Pell Asher, had struck an unsavory bargain. He'd sold acreage to the state to be used as a reservoir, and when the dam opened, the area flooded, including the main highway leading into Asher Falls. Already bypassed by a new freeway system, the town sank into oblivion. The only way in and out was by ferry or back roads, and the population soon withered. Asher Falls became just another statistic in a long line of dying rural communities.

I'd never set foot in the town, even to conduct a preliminary assessment of the cemetery. I'd been hired sight unseen by a real estate agent named Luna Kemper, who also happened to be the town librarian and the sole administrator of a generous donation made anonymously to the Daughters of our Valiant Heroes, a historical society/garden club for the beautification of Thorngate Cemetery. Luna's offer couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I needed a new project and a change of scenery, so here I stood.

As we approached the dock, the engines powered down and we came to a near standstill. The heavy shadows cast by towering trees at the shoreline deepened the water to black. At no point could I see the bottom, but for a moment, I could have sworn I saw something—someone—just below the surface. A pale face staring up at me….

My heart took a nosedive as I leaned over the railing, searching those blackish depths. People without my ability would have undoubtedly wondered if the play of light and shadow on the water had tricked them. Or worse, if they might have spotted a body being washed ashore in the ferry's wake. I thought instantly of a ghost and wondered who on board might be haunted by the golden-haired apparition floating underneath the water.

"I believe this is yours."

A man's voice pulled me back from the railing, and I turned reluctantly from the lake. I knew at once he belonged to the sports car. He and the vehicle had the same dark, sleek air. I thought him to be around my age—twenty-seven—with eyes the exact shade of a tidal marsh. He was tallish, though not so tall as Devlin, nor as thin. Years of being haunted had left the magnetic police detective hollow-eyed and gaunt while the stranger at my side appeared to be the picture of health—lean, sinewy and suntanned.

"I beg your pardon?"

He extended his hand, and I thought at first he meant to introduce himself, but instead he uncurled his fingers, and I saw my necklace coiled in his palm.

My hand went immediately to my throat. "Oh! The chain must have snapped." I plucked the necklace from his hand and examined the links. They were unbroken, the clasp still securely closed. "How strange," I murmured, unlatching the claw fastener and entwining the silver strand around my neck. "Where did you find it?"

"It was lying on the deck behind you." His gaze slid downward as the polished stone settled into the hollow of my throat.

Something cold gripped my heart. A warning?

"Thank you," I said stiffly. "I would have hated to lose it."

"It's an interesting piece." He appeared to study the amulet intently. "A good luck charm?"

"You might say that." Actually, the stone had come from the hallowed ground of a cemetery where my father had worked as caretaker when I was a child. Whether the talisman retained any of Rosehill's protective properties, I had no idea. I only knew that I felt stronger against the ghosts when I wore it.

I started to turn back to the water, but something in the stranger's eyes, a mysterious glint, held me for a moment longer.

"Are you okay?" he asked unexpectedly.

"Yes, I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

He nodded toward the side of the ferry. "You were leaning so far over the railing when I came up, and then I saw your necklace on the deck. I was afraid you might be contemplating jumping."

"Oh, that." I gave a negligible shrug. "I thought I saw something in the water. Probably just a shadow."

The glint in his eyes deepened. "I wouldn't be too sure. You'd be surprised at what lies beneath the surface of this lake. Some of it occasionally floats to the top."

"Such as?"

"Debris, mostly. Glass bottles, bits of old clothing. I even once saw a rocking chair drifting to shore."

"Where does it all come from?"

"Flooded houses." As he turned to stare out over the water, I studied his profile, drawn by the way the late afternoon sunlight burnished his dark hair. The coppery threads gave him an aura of warmth that seemed to be absent from the midnight-green of his eyes. "Before the dam was built, the lake was half the size it is now. A lot of property was destroyed when the water rose."

"But that was years ago. You mean the houses are still down there?" I tried to peer through the layers of algae and hydrilla, but I could see nothing. Not even the ghostly face I'd spotted earlier.

"Houses, cars…an old graveyard."

My gaze shot back to him. "A graveyard?"

"Thorngate Cemetery. Another casualty of the Asher greed."

"But I thought." Uneasiness crept over me. I was good at my job, but recovering an underwater cemetery wasn't exactly my area of expertise. "I've seen recent pictures of Thorngate. It looked high and dry to me."

"There are two Thorngates," he said. "And I assure you that one of them does rest at the bottom of this lake."

"How did that happen?"

"The original Thorngate was rarely used. It was all but forgotten. No one ever went out there. No one gave it a second thought…until the water came."

I stared at him in horror. "Are you telling me the bodies weren't moved before they expanded the lake?"

He shuddered. "Afterward, people started seeing things. Hearing things."

I fingered the talisman at my throat. "Like what?"

He hesitated, his gaze still on the water. "If you look for this basin on any South Carolina map, you'll find the Asher Reservoir. But around here, we call it Bell Lake."

"Why?"

"In the old days, coffins were equipped with a warning system—a chain attached to a bell on the grave in case of a premature burial. They say at night, when the mist rolls in, you can hear those bells." He glanced over the railing. "The dead down there don't want to be forgotten…ever again."

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The Kingdom 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: I just finished The Restorer and then moved right into this book, but still this book managed to surprise me. It took a completely unexpected turn away from Amelia's relationship with Devlin and into the mystery of Amelia's past. In fact, besides mentions, you don't see Devlin at all in this book. If there was a single thing that I could complain about here, it would be that fact. But besides that fact, this book was amazing. It was even more chilling, even more creepy than the first book. At the 52% mark of the book, I actually experienced a full-body shudder with the pure creepiness and evil in this book. OMG...I can't believe how much I loved that about the book. Have I mentioned how much I am NOT a horror girl, but this book is so good!! It's all so well done, you can't help but to love it at the same time you worry about the faces you will see in the window that night. LOL! In this book, Amelia has moved to a new cemetery restoration out of Charleston. Immediately upon entering the town, Amelia feels the draw to it and the fact that there is something different about this town and her reaction to it. I slowly started figuring out where the story was going, but each time, it was only a few pages before the shocker was revealed. This is definitely a book that keeps you guessing and turning the page simply to find out what in the world is going on. So good. There is also a new love interest, but like Amelia's relationship with Devlin, there are roadblocks with Thane...one of the most serious being that Amelia is not ready to give up on Devlin. This was an intriguing aspect to the story and I really like the way this ended. I am sitting on pins and needles for book #3...I NEED IT NOW! There is a whole new cast of characters to this story and a whole new set of mysteries. I highly recommend this series. It's simply riveting reading. There are tiny elements of romance, but overall these books are about the suspense and horror that comes from Amelia's other senses. They are creepy and fun and just entertaining reading.
vickytren More than 1 year ago
A very talented author. I enjoyed the story. loved the characters and the ending
Tanya2011 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Graveyard series. The main character restores graveyards and also sees ghosts which makes for an interesting read. This book delved more into the personal side of the main character. I will be picking up book three as it came out yesterday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the first book in the Graveyard Queen series was one of the best books I'd read, and that it would be very hard to beat. Well... this one sprinted past my expectations and topped the first one. I love the characters. I got attached to Angus and seriously worried for his safety as if he was part of my own four-legged family. I felt Tilly's heartbreak. You get the point...relatable characters and a well-developed, well-written story line. I hated putting the book down, and can't wait to start the next. Amanda Stevens, please keep the Graveyard Queen stories coming!
zuzabel58 More than 1 year ago
After reading The Restorer and not being able to put it down I was a little leery of its sequel, but it turned out I could not put this book down either! Here Amelia has separated herself from Devlin, and the place that has drawn her is the place that will begin unlocking her secret past. With an eerie underwater cemetery, witches, ghosts, a creepy cemetery, an eerie young lady and another man who is dark and dangerous to attract Amelia's attention this sequel has enough southern gothic charm going for it as the first book did! I have a waiting line of ladies ages 20-73 on the "I have to read this" list and the ones who have read it can't wait for the third book- The Prophet! Great beach reading, or great reading anytime- except maybe while home alone in the dark! Couldnt put it down!
bookofsecrets More than 1 year ago
Last year THE RESTORER was one of my favorite books, and I've been waiting on pins and needles for the sequel to be released. I couldn't wait to find out where Amanda Stevens would take her Graveyard Queen next. After finishing THE KINGDOM, my initial thought is WOW! I may have liked the second book a smidge more that the first. Where THE RESTORER was more paranormal mystery/romantic suspense, THE KINGDOM is the perfect blend of mystery and eerie Southern Gothic fiction. If you're not familiar with the series, I'll briefly tell you about Amelia Gray. She's known as "The Graveyard Queen" because her life's passion is restoring old, dilapidated cemeteries. But what really makes her unique is her ability to see ghosts. Her adoptive father also has this gift (or curse, as the case may be), and he gave her strict rules for dealing with restless spirits. His most important rule was to IGNORE them, a rule Amelia broke in the first book, and it got her in a heap of trouble. In THE KINGDOM, Amelia is hired to restore a cemetery in the remote town of Asher Falls, hidden in the mountains of South Carolina. Immediately upon her arrival, Amelia knows there is something peculiar about Asher Falls. Much of the town has been deserted, and there's something "off" about the ones who remained. Amelia can sense an evil presence there, yet something compels her to stay in this majestic yet wicked place. Somehow she's connected to Asher Falls, and she's determined to find out how. The secrets and mysteries in this town run deep, and there are certain residents that want Amelia silenced before she discovers the truth. I would love to talk more about the plot and supporting cast, but I don't want to spoil this fantastic story for anyone! I highly recommend that you read the series in order, because you'll definitely want to know Amelia's history with John Devlin. Though he doesn't make an appearance in THE KINGDOM, Amelia mentions him a lot. Hopefully we'll get more of John in the third book. THE KINGDOM is the type of story that grabs your attention and doesn't let go. The plot was fast-paced with many surprising twists and turns along the way. Amanda Stevens has a talent for making the reader a part of her story. I loved the vivid imagery of the mountains surrounding Asher Falls. I could hear the ghostly chimes over Bell Lake myself. Chilling! Fans of creepy ghost stories and Southern Gothics shouldn't miss this series.
butterflly13 More than 1 year ago
I am hooked on this series, I can not wait for the third book. This one was creepier than the first but no less fun to read. If you tried the first one do get this one:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Really scary ghost story. Lots of surprises. Just the thing for a rainy, late night read. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series has an interesting twist on the typical supernatural romance genre. A bit of "The Ghost Whisperer", murder mystery, and romance mixed together. It is scarier than the run-of-the -mill but with less sex. How the heroine manages in the every day world is not really clear with her special talents. As someone who has read A LOT of mysteries and romances my complaints are the constant use of the words "chills up my spine", 'tingles at the base of my spine", chills on my neck".. I want to send the author a thesarus. I get tired of torn between 2 lovers theme too. And finally, as a resident of the SOutheast - get the freakin' plant life right!
snowmuffin More than 1 year ago
This is another of "The Graveyard Queen" books. I enjoy the plots and the characters. If you decide to read the series start with "The Restorer". Can't go wrong with this set. ENJOY!!!
mjmutch More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this series. i got the first book free from a Nook free Friday and ended up buying and reading all three. Great characters, great writing. I was totally caught up in the world she created.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Creepy good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written interesting characters and story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic series. Must read! I only hope there are more to come! Bring back the Graveyard Queen!
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
Amelia Gray has been hired to restore an old cemetery at Asher Falls, South Carolina. She has never been there before but feels a link to the area and the forbidding mountains. She finds a grave outside the cemetery that is unmarked except for the carving of a rose and a bud indicating a mother and child. No one seems to know who is buried there. At dusk, mist comes off the lake that covers a submerged cemetery and Amelia sees the ghost of a young girl. She had seen this girl’s picture in a group photo and was told the girl died in a fire. Amelia senses true evil in this town and is warned to leave but she has a job to do. Pell Asher hired her and when she learns the reasoning for her coming to Asher Falls, she is stunned to find out who she really is.
hairballsrus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amelia Gray, graveyard restorer, has elected to take a job outside of Charleston, with the hope of placing the haunted cop Devlin and the events of the previous Spring, behind her. She enters Asher Falls the only way anyone can, by car ferry. It is an isolated community in a mountain valley, shut off from the mainland by a deliberately released dam. From the first, she realizes there's something not quite right with this town. It's as if the soul of that place has been eaten away. The people, the houses...even the very air seems befouled. If I were to compare Amanda Stevens' style to anyone, I'd say these books remind me of the old Barbara Michaels novels. Only in Stevens case, she has amped the creep level up several notches. That's a definite compliment. It has been a long time since I've had the joy of being totally freaked out by a scene. There is a point about halfway through this book that sends a definite chill down the spine. In this book, we solve some of the mysteries of Amelia's past. While the story stands on its own, it is also building up to the next novel. Not all of Amelia's ghosts are dead people. Yes, the story is full of cliches. Yes, you figure out the big reveal long before the heroine does. But that's okay. The journey is worth it. Danger comes from all directions in this story. Sometimes it feels like everyone is out to get her. Favorite new character: Definitely Angus the dog! If you want an old fashioned gothic thriller, this book is for you. I eagerly await The Prophet and have already pre-purchased it on my Nook.
bacillicide on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Meh, is my first reaction to this book. I didn't like it as much as the first, but I liked the idea of it more than than the first, and I like Thane much more than Devlin (shame that Amanda Stevens seems to like Devlin more. I was hoping he was off the scene for good). But the creep factor that was there in the first seems to be gone in this one. The only thing that was creepy was Freya's death and if I wanted a creepy murder novel, I would have read a creepy murder novel instead. All this ~ghostly winds~ and ~ghostly fog~ doesn't really do it for me. But perhaps I'm jaded, this is pretty "light horror" for me, more thriller than actual horror, which is sad to say the least.While reading it I was a bit struck by the idea that this is a bit of "retelling" of Rosemary's Baby except Rosemary wasn't murdered and the creepy cult wants the baby for a different reason. Well that and the baby isn't a baby anymore but I digress.But I loved the underwater graveyard imagery. That was a lovely addition.I'll probably try out the next book. I often find the second book in a series falls a bit flat.
wearylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed when the book ended, I wanted it to go on forever. Stevens' writing is crisp and real. She doesn't make her characters too far out, which is difficult considering the subject of her novels. In this book, Amelia returns to Asher Falls, only she doesn't realize she has been here in the past. Her roots are here but no one is happy to see her return.
wnk1029 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd give this one a 2.5This paranormal/horror/mystery novel is the second in the Graveyard Queen series, focusing around Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who has the ability to see the dead. The topic of cemeteries as a link to history and the past has always intrigued me, and the first book was one that I enjoyed (with the exception of a really weird, out-of-place sexual encounter near the end). I was hoping for a bit more of a digging-through-history, learning-about-cemeteries kind of story, but I was kind of disappointed.What I liked about this book... It definitely held my interest, and the mystery that Amelia turns up is intriguing. I wanted to know what really happened, and for the strange occurrences to be explained. Also, I liked that some of the questions about Amelia's past were finally answered -- who her real parents are, why she can see ghosts, etc. There were also some pretty freaky parts that definitely gave me chills, and I give the author credit for those things. (Underwater graveyard? Very creepy. Being buried alive in utero? Incredibly bizarre.)What I DIDN'T like seems to outnumber the likes, though.- Amelia FREAKS OUT about EVERYTHING. There was a whole section devoted to her being freaked out about hitting a bird with her car. Really? REALLY? Every bump in the night or twig snapping in the day seems to make her jump out of her skin.- MORE creepy/weird sexual encounters, believe it or not.- Situations that are too unbelievable for me to take seriously, even in a work of paranormal fiction. (view spoiler)- Villain monologues. There were TWO in this story.- Thane Asher. The love interest in this novel is basically the foil of Devlin. Thane puts a high value on his family name, where Devlin did not. Thane is not haunted by his lost love, where Devlin is. Thane dresses casually and pursues Amelia and tells her how much he likes her, where Devlin did not. The fact that Amelia so quickly moved on to a new love interest (even one whom she had strong reservations about) baffled me, and they seemed to follow the exact same pattern as Amelia & Devlin in the first book -- friendship, attraction, passion, then "eh, now's not a good time."- My biggest gripe, however, is that this book seemed to lack all of the interesting cemetery tidbits that the first one had. There wasn't anything new to learn about cemeteries or burials or how people care for the dead that hadn't already been mentioned in the first book -- HUGE disappointment for people like me actually interested in learning something new.I will still probably read the third book -- there are still questions I'd like answered -- but I can't see ever re-reading this one... it was a little too cheesy-horror-flick for my tastes.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the series and I feel like I missed a few things by not reading it first. The story is still good but I feel if I had read the first would of not been lost and confused. I do want to go and read it nowAmelia Gray sees ghosts and she restores grave yard. Amelia has been hired to restore Thorngate cemetery in Asher Falls.The only way into the town now is across a ferry over a Asher Reservoir or bell lake as locals call it because of at least one cemetery is buried under the reservoir and people hear the bells ring.Thane Asher heir to his grandfathers money. Pell Asher.The town of Asher Falls is almost a ghost town. Amelia sees lots of ghosts around the town and feels weird things. Thier are pictures with ghosts in them. pentagrams and talk of witches. She finds a hidden grave outside the cemetery. People warn her away and threatens her. One of the ghosts she sees she knows was murdered but everyone says she died in a fire.the society she thought had hired her was a local historicaol soiety but others say it was witches who brought her here.If I saw ghosts and wanted to ignore them I don't think I would work in cemeterys like Amelia and her father do. I was lent this ebook in exchange of honest review.03/27/2012 PUB Harlequin Mira Books
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A woman dragged into a world where her unknown heritage comes back to haunt her.Opening Sentence: The breeze off the water carried a slight chill even though the sun had barely begun its western slide.The Review:The second installment of the Graveyard Queen series, The Kingdom, lives up to the expectations of the first book. This one focuses not on Amelia¿s present and possible future, but on her past. Her new restoration job in Asher Falls is just what she needs to separate herself from her jumbled feelings for the haunted detective she left behind in Charleston. But the quiet town has more than a few secrets; secrets that no one there wants to come to light. Amelia¿s own past is intertwined with this little town and the oppressive evil that permeates it.Amelia Grey has a lot to think about these days. The rules that her father gave her to live by no longer offer the protection it once did. The man she loves is haunted by the ghosts of his deceased family. All of this has left Amelia with the need to discover her own past and face her own ghosts. She begins to question all the things her parents told her that she once took for granted. How did she come to be adopted by her parents? Where did she come from? This place, this dying town of Asher Falls, calls to her on a level she doesn¿t understand. And when she is drawn to an unmarked grave, the questions it raises are not ones that anyone in town what to answer. Will the answers she seeks about her past be her undoing?Even with all the trouble Amelia finds in her new commission, there are a few good things that she does find. For instance: her new dog, Angus. A stray Amelia found lurking around the place she was staying at; Angus¿s physical scars reflect Amelia¿s emotional ones. Even after all the apparent pain he was put through, the dog remains steadfast and loyal to his new owner. A pet is a good companion for someone who needs to reexamine their lives. Angus offers silent acceptance at a time that Amelia feels that the foundation of her world is crumbling.Amelia also finds a kindred spirit within the town. Sidra is a teenage girl that can also see ghosts. For someone that has purposely alienated herself from others, Amelia realizes how alone she really was before she met someone like herself. I believe that this is a pivotal moment for our heroine. Amelia sees some of herself in the teenager, Sidra. But can she see a different path available for the young woman, different from the one she herself chose? She starts to see that there are options for her now, other than her father¿s rules. Can she truly break out of her box? Will she explore other avenues, now that she no longer feels so alone in the world? Should she take the chance, even if it may lead to her doom?Of course, there is always the handsome Thane Asher. Even though there is a spark of passion between them, both of their hearts belong to others. Amelia is not yet ready to give up John Devlin and Thane is still in love with his old fiancé, Harper. But there are forces at work that want these two people together, one way or another. How far is the Asher family going to go to secure their ¿legacy?¿ What will they do if Thane and Amelia dig too deep into things they want forgotten? I like Thane¿s character. He puts on a good front of disinterest, but his good nature shines through in all of his actions. I hope that Amelia learns to judge people by their actions and not their words, including her family.One of the neat things about The Kingdom is its villains. Or should I say its lack of true villains. Everyone in the town has something to hide and they all have varying degrees of desperation in keeping them quiet. That makes for a lot of people that have the potential to hurt Amelia, and not all for the same reasons. This one fact lets the reader keep guessing who is behind all the trouble our heroine keeps getting into. Who is to say that the person she feels i
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Graveyard Queen series. The third book in the series, The Prophet, release in April 2012. I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, The Restorer, and was very excited to read this book. I loved the haunting setting, the beautiful writing, and the tragic characters. We learn a lot about Amelia's past in this book and it was a wonderful read.Amelia is leaving Charleston behind to travel to the isolated mountain village of Asher Falls to restore a cemetery there. Upon arrival she meets the dashing Thane Asher who tells her about the first cemetary underneath what is now Bell Lake. Why did they flood this cemetary? Who hired Amelia to restore the newer, Asher cemetary? Why is Amelia so drawn to this town and to the secret grave she finds at the bottom of the cliffs? There is an evil the haunts this town and Amelia needs to solve the riddle behind it before the evil takes her too.I love Stevens writing style; it is haunting, mysterious, and beautiful...just an absolute joy to read. The plot is creepy, compelling, and made the book impossible to put down. This book has a very southern gothic feel to it.Amelia is a great character. She has a backbone and is brave, yet still comes across as vulnerable at times. There were a few times in this book where Amelia did some really stupid and dangerous things, these were those moments in a horror movie where you yell "No! Don't go into the dark forest by yourself!" So a couple times I was exasperated with her, but I still just love her character so much and love how her curiousity drives her.Devlin isn't in this book at all. We see a couple letters to Amelia from him and Amelia pines for him, but he is never present. Instead the playboyish Asher Thane is the male lead. I enjoyed Asher; he was a complex character, that had mysterious motives. His character worked wonderfully with Amelia and he gives Devlin a run for his money.The plot is wonderfully woven; elements from the first book are woven into the story seemlessly and you can really tell that Stevens meticulously planned this whole story out. I loved the mystery, the creepiness, and the way everything was woven so neatly together. Some of the things revealed in the second half of the book will absolutely blow you away; I was surprised and stunned. The book does end with a pretty big cliffhanger...so I am excited that I got the third book The Prophet for review last week....I will be reading it soon.Overall I just loved this book. The writing is so beautiful and easy to read; it just flows so nicely. The characters are realistic, complicated, and absolutely endearing. The plot is complex, mysterious, and very well woven together. The book was incredibly engaging and I just had a ton of trouble putting it down. This book is very much a gothic paranormal mystery of sorts. It is different from all the other urban fantasy out there, but should really appeal to fans of that genre. I highly, highly recommend this series to fans of gothic literature or fans of urban fantasy/paranormal stories. This is seriously one of my favorite series right now. I cannot wait to read The Prophet!
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are in the mood for ghosts and a spooky story, have I got the book for you. Amelia Gray restores cemeteries. She also sees ghosts. She is adopted and curious about her heritage. When she takes a job in Asher Falls, she begins to unravel the complicated story of her life. This book has a seriously gothic atmosphere filled with portents, creepy characters, and strange circumstances. Because she has seen ghosts since she was a small child, she is used to being alone and lonely. She can't go out after sunset. She is good at ignoring the ghosts and following the rules her father set down to keep her safe but her adventures in the first book of this series - The Restorer - opened her up to ghosts. Almost the first thing she does when she comes to town is rescue a dog that had been used as bait in dog fighting and then abandoned. Angus becomes her faithful companion and a good guard both against the ghosts and the humans who frighten her.Amelia also meets Thane Asher who is the adopted grandchild of the man who controls the whole town and who has hatched a number of Machiavellian schemes. They form a sort of tentative relationship that might be a romance if she wasn't hung up on the guy she left in Charleston and he wasn't hung up on his fiance who died in a car accident. And, then, Amelia isn't sure who she can trust in the town and is hesitant to trust him. This was a spooky story that was a real page-turner. I recommend it to anyone who likes modern gothics. The story stands alone but read The Restorer first to get to know Amelia. The Prophet, book three in this series, will be published soon too.
marcejewels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From my blogAmanda Stevens has a way with words, she creates a euphoric creepy atmosphere that you can visualise and at times feel. Such a great build up with the mystery tension weaving around as you read. I enjoyed taking my time and being fully engaged in the story, blocking everything else out.Amelia knows she is different, not an outcast but different. She has been requested to go restore another cemetery and when she gets there she doesn't understand the natural pull of belonging but in a scary way. She is there to do a job and will fulfill it even though she knows she is not from breaking her fathers rules she is no longer safe and has put herself at mysterious risk. Asher Falls has the feel of a ghost town, is it deserted or not, why does everyone stay in after dark, trying to stay safe when dusk falls. All these questions and those around her purposely trying to make her uncomfortable. If they are not they are either saving her from troubled situations or possibly manipulating her in some way. Amelia continues to think about her forbidden feelings she has for Delvin, the haunted detective from The Restorer. This causes guilty feelings when she starts to have a connection with Thane. I would highly recommend reading this series in order, a great flow from one to the other but great on their own also. The outcome of the mystery was perfect, the dark family secrets and Asher Fall, the overall pull Amelia felt while there and why she was the chosen restorer. There were a few small unfinished business scenarios for me but they didn't take away from this fantastic creepy mystery. A favourite quoteAs I hurried along the path, my nerve endings tingled with an awareness I didn't understand. It was as if some long-dormant instinct had suddenly come alive, and I could feel the forest reaching out to me, hear the leaves whispering to me once again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read....admittedly gave me nightmares when I slept but I continued reading it anyway. If you are a lover of mystery and ghost stories, this is the book for you