Hi everyone! I’m here today for the last day of the blog tour (hosted by the lovely people at the Fantastic Flying Book Club) for Girl at the Grave, a debut YA novel by Teri Bailey Black. After checking out my review, don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a book beau!
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.
Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC through NetGalley.
Trigger Warnings: Death and murder, Violence, Death of a parent, Mention of physical abuse
I discovered this book thanks to one of my new favorite authors, Kerri Maniscalco. The cover is absolutely gorgeous – and you guys know how I’m a sucker for beautiful covers – and how could I ignore a book with a title like Girl at the Grave? It seemed like another perfect creepy read during the Halloween season and I was eager to devour it. Plus, I kind of have a soft spot for characters named Rowan, thanks to Josephine Angelini’s Rowan in the Worldwalker trilogy, the first Rowan I absolutely fell in love with. Haha
Things I Liked:
First off, let’s be clear that there is absolutely no paranormal/supernatural elements in this book whatsoever. Based on the title and cover alone, one might assume – like I did – that there would be such elements in this book, but there isn’t. It is creepy at times but not in the paranormal sense; it’s more of a mild historical murder mystery novel, with romance. I say mild because the emphasis was divided between the murder mystery and love triangle, but I didn’t really mind it because it was executed well.
Valentine is such an admirable character and I could not help but feel inspired by her strength and resilience in the face of so much heartbreak, tragedy, and unfounded suspicion. After the hanging of her mother, Valentine was forced to grow up and become self-reliant sooner than a child should have. Despite everything that she had gone through, however, Valentine maintained her strong sense of morality and kindness. Her interactions with Birdy were so sweet; she was always so patient with her, brought her gifts to make her happy, and protected her. One of Valentine’s major flaws, however, is her tendency for jumping to conclusions without thinking of every possible outcome first, which causes her some problems later on.
I liked Sam in the first half of the book, but once he started becoming more jealous of Rowan’s interest in Valentine he started to irritate me. He was a wonderful best friend to Valentine and logically, they did make sense together and she could settle with him but I really disliked how he made a lot of assumptions in terms of his relationship with her. Sam constantly assumed how Valentine was feeling and made decisions for her, whereas Rowan was the perfect gentleman and always gave Valentine choices. He was always selfless and had her best intentions at heart, which was one of the main things I adored about Rowan.
It was really fun uncovering the mystery of the murderer and trying to connect all the dots. I actually had already figured out who it was halfway through the book without trying so hard, and came up with the most likely suspect pretty quickly. I felt so proud of myself. Haha The mystery itself was really interesting because there were several suspects, including Valentine herself, but rather than feeling like an urgent matter that had to be solved right away, the mystery was just more of an adventure. The message of staying true to yourself, your heart, and your morals was more prominent than the actual murder mystery.
Things I Disliked:
I wish the getting-to-know-each-other phase of Valentine and Rowan’s relationship was elaborated on further rather than just condensed into a few scenes followed by a time lapse. It’s probably because those are one of my favorite couple scenes for any book that has any amount of romance in it, but having that would have also helped me see the development between them more and make their relationship feel more genuine.
I also found the confrontational scene with the main villain to be a bit unrealistic and stereotypical with how they just started blabbing their entire evil plot to the hero from beginning to end. Instead of that scene creating and escalating the tension, I found myself rolling my eyes and almost laughing at the silliness of it, imagining the villain going “mwahaha!” at the end of it.
A fun, slightly creepy, historical murder mystery, Girl at the Grave had me enraptured by the investigation as well as the romantic drama. I’ve been craving more historical fiction novels lately, and the fact that this not only contained romance but also a murder mystery made it all the more enticing. A lovely gothic YA debut that I highly recommend if you’re looking for a fun murder mystery with a significant amount of romance.
About the Author:
Teri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.
Prize: Wonderland Book Beau, XL for standard hardcovers
10/25/18 – 11/2/18
Have you read Girl at the Grave yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks so much for checking out my stop for the blog tour! Today is the last day of the tour so don’t forget to enter the giveaway ASAP because it ends tomorrow!