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I Belong

Review: The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Abandoned

Author: Amanda Stevens

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Series: The Graveyard Queen (Book 0.5)

Publication Date: March 14, 2011

Format: eBook, 32 Pages

ASIN: B004RQD3J8 (Harlequin/Mira)

Reviewed by: Sheila


There are rules for dealing with ghosts. Too bad Ree Hutchins doesn’t know them.

When her favorite patient at a private mental hospital passes away, psychology student Ree Hutchins mourns the elderly woman’s death. But more unsettling is her growing suspicion that something unnatural is shadowing her.

Amateur ghost hunter Hayden Priest believes Ree is being haunted. Even Amelia Gray, known in Charleston as The Graveyard Queen, senses a gathering darkness. Driven by a force she doesn’t understand, Ree is compelled to uncover an old secret and put abandoned souls to rest—before she is locked away forever….

Quick & Dirty: A story reflecting the consequences of opening yourself up to ghosts.

Opening Sentence:  Ree Hutchins was dozing at the old woman’s bedside, a dog-eared copy of The Call of the Wild open on her lap, when Violet Tisdale passed away.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

In the past, I have been very harsh with novellas claiming to be prequel’s when the truth of that statement is in question.  Yes, The Abandoned, is a prequel.  It does introduce major characters in the main series, including the backdrop for the first book.  The difference is that this story is not about the main characters, but two separate people who also are drawn into Amelia and Devlin’s ghostly world.  I will note, however, that both Ree and Hayden are lightly mentioned in the second book, The Kingdom.

Ree Hutchins is a woman who firmly believes in things that are explainable.  She is a psychology major at Emerson University and a part time employee at Farrante Psychiatric Hospital.  When the passing of one of the patients leads Ree to discover a conspiracy to cover up heinous crimes, her sheltered world is forever changed.  Ree begins to obsess over the mysterious disappearance of a former patient, Ilsa Tisdale.  Little does she realize that Ilsa’s vengeful ghost is the one driving her to find out the truth.  Can a person who does not believe in ghosts come to accept that they are being haunted by one?  If you don’t know the rules on how to deal with ghosts, is there any hope to break free of them?

Hayden Priest finds the lovely Ree dancing around a graveyard in the middle of the night.  He doesn’t yet realize that she is being possessed by a ghost until she wakes up in the middle of kissing him.  Of course, he believes it’s possible because he happens to be a ghost investigator.  So his interest with Ree is purely professional, right?  It has nothing to do with how his body responds to hers, not at all.  Right!  Whatever the reason that brought them together, Hayden will do everything in his power to keep Ree safe.  Even if that means inviting the ghost to inhabit him so that “she” can exact her revenge.

Ree and Hayden’s search for the truth of Ilsa’s past puts them in harm’s way.  Not everyone wants to truth to be known, even if the death occurred so many years ago.  Will the people behind Ilsa’s demise and subsequent cover-up finally pay for their crimes?  Or will the unwilling helpers of the ghost be the ones to pay the ultimate price?

I read this novella first before I started on the main series.  I usually try to make an effort to read series in order, including any extra stories that are available, because I am a stickler for timelines.  After finishing the first book, I reread The Abandoned.  I have to say that, even though I enjoyed the novella as a stand-alone, it was much better after reading The Restorer.  I recognized characters and places mentioned in this novella from the main book that gave me a better understanding of the whole picture.  I would recommend this to readers that are already fans of the series.  If you do happen to read this novella first to see if the whole book would interest you, I recommend that you revisit it after you finish the book.  Otherwise, I think that you will be missing out on many of the subtle references spread throughout the novella.

Notable Scene:

Ree knew that she should leave, but instead she lingered, inexplicably drawn to a total stranger.  He was slim and attractive with an alternative edge to his demeanor and style that made her wonder if he was a musician, the kind one might see in some cool but slightly decadent after-hours club.  Not someone she’d expect to find hanging out in an abandoned graveyard.

She had no reason in the world to trust him, especially considering her state of undress when she’d… awakened, for lack of a better term.  But she wasn’t without memories, though hazy they might still be.  She’d kissed him.  He may have responded-that part was a little sketchy-but she was pretty sure she’d been the instigator.  Which wasn’t like her.  She was hardly a shrinking violet but she wasn’t exactly aggressive, either.  Certainly not with a stranger she’d just met in a graveyard.  It was all just so odd.  She’d felt compelled to kiss him, as if she had no will of her own.  As if she were merely a puppet in someone else’s dream.

The Graveyard Queen Series:

0.5. The Abandoned

1. The Restorer

2. The Kingdom

3. The Prophet

FTC Advisory: Harlequin/Mira provided me with a copy of The Abandoned. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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