Finding a Balance in Fantasy Worlds and Contemporary Settings... Rose Petal Graves Book Review - Reading List

Finding a Balance in Fantasy Worlds and Contemporary Settings... Rose Petal Graves Book Review

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Rose Petal Graves Book Review and Book Tour

There is no doubt that fantasy books draw in big crowds, probably because it truly is such a break from reality. Many people pick up a book to escape some part of their reality for a small bit. And fantasy really encompasses such a vast world of book: space travel, time travel, alternate worlds, dystopian settings, dragons, magic... really the list is endless.

Contemporary is a more specific genre of fiction. The world is common, something the reader can most likely visit even. The people are normal, with real life issues that tend to surround jobs, families, and/or school. They still provide a break from a person's reality, but not a vast departure from the world either.

So what happens with a book merges the two?  What reality lines can be blurred by the fantasy without hurting the reader's expectations? What kind of new realities can be laid on top of the actual world and still be believable?

It appears that Olivia Wildenstein walked that line of merging two genres in her new book Rose Petal Graves.

The real question is whether or not readers will enjoy it.

Rose Petal Graves Book Review and Book Tour

Rose Petal Graves

Olivia Wildenstein

Story Overview 

Catori has grown up in a very small town in Michigan where everyone knows everyone. Her family has run the cemetery for generations, and it is simply a part of her life.  While her mother has always relied on natural remedies passed down through the generations of their Gottwa tribe ancestry, Cat has decided modern medicine is her calling. She does not hesitate to leave her small community in order to advance her education as soon as she is done with high school.

Then the unthinkable happens, and Cat receives a call that her mother unexpectedly has died from an apparent heart attack. Rushing home, Cat discovers that there is more to her family's history than her mother ever told her. Maybe even more than her mother ever knew. And now she is facing a reality she could not have even come up in her worst nightmares.

Personal Likes

I actually really enjoyed the mixing of genres in this story.  The idea that a specific, small (completely fictional) Native American tribe had been given the power to protect the world from power hungry fae was interesting. I thought Wildenstein did an excellent job of making Cat seem like a typical college student, with professional goals, while still connected to her family and small hometown.

The pace of this story was excellent. I could have easily sat all afternoon and read this straight through if only life would allow such a luxury.  While Cat has just enough naivete to be believable as a college student, she also isn't dumb. She asks questions, she seeks answers, all while trying to be considerate of those she loves. She wants to trust people, to see the good in them. Yet, she has lived long enough to be a little wary of new people, and she starts meeting quite a few new people.

The entire cast of this story is incredible. Wildenstein has a great talent for bringing her characters to life, no matter how minor their role is in the story. Its fascinating, and really helps this small town seem like one you might actually know along the Great Lakes.

Rose Petal Graves Book Review and Book Tour

Personal Dislikes

I was not a big fan of Aylen and her family dynamic. While it certainly played as a wonderful paradox of Cat and her immediate family, Aylen's family was annoying. I wanted to smack her kids for their rudeness, and scream at Aylen for her lack of parenting attempts. All the while Aylen wanted to give advice to others... it was strange.

Overall, I do not really have many critiques with this book. There were times when I was questioning, but as the book continued it was clear the points that could have become plot holes were managed and all of it set up the next book well...

For some, the idea of a fictional Native American tribe was too much. And for others it was a hurtle they couldn't get over. Yet, fantasy worlds allow for this more than contemporary, so if you are ready for it, maybe it won't be such an issue.

Reading List Rating

I am giving this a five heart rating.  Partly because I didn't really have any expectations going into it, which allowed the story to sweep me away completely. And because Wildenstien truly has talent I haven't seen in a new author in a while. I enjoyed it, and couldn't find any major flaws. 

My Suggested Audience

I would hold that this is a NA, which means it's a good choice for young adults 18+. While it isn't a heavy romance story, there are some interesting love stories starting to develop and I am guessing will play a bigger role in the next book. So for those younger, maybe hold off a bit... In this manner, I can see the reference to ACOTAR.

While this is a minor note for many, there is common swearing throughout this story as part of conversations. And it involves a ton of superstitions that some people might not care for.

For those are often into the fantasy and fae stories, this is going to be vastly different from other books you are picking up. If you are expecting a new world to escape to, this does not really have that... it's more of a story of what might happen if fae actually did walk among us today in this world.

For contemporary fans, realize that the Native American tribe that Cat is from is completely fictional.  It isn't that Wildenstein is ignoring the rich history Native Americans have, it appears she is rather trying to set up a fantasy world that runs parallel to our reality and needed to have more room to play than using a historical factual tribe (for this reason I refuse to go along with those shelving this book as historical ficiton...).

About the Author

Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.

When she’s not writing, she’s psychoanalyzing everyone she meets (Yes. Everyone), eavesdropping on conversations to gather material for her next book, baking up a storm (that she actually eats), going to the gym (because she eats), and attempting not to be late at her children’s school (like she is 4 out of 5 mornings, on good weeks).

Wildenstein lives with her husband and three children in Geneva, Switzerland, where she’s an active member of the writing community.

Author Links:

Wondering Questions to Consider

The story deals with death, and life after death, heavily. These types of books are excellent ways to think about such topics ourselves. What is the purpose of life? Why live a certain way? What goals should you make if there is a life after death?

Also family and friendship are huge aspects of the story. How much do you know about your ancestry? How well to do you love and care for those closest to you? Do they know?


Granted, you need to preorder the book... but it's only $1.99 and if it sounds interesting, you should give it a try! Just scroll down to my Amazon affiliate link, and click over to the kindle edition.  Then grab your receipt number for the giveaway.  (The giveaway runs thorugh March 28th 2017, I believe)

Rose Petal Graves Book Review and Book Tour

Let's talk fae.  This is a subgenre I didn't get into really, until about 18 months ago. Does that surprise you? Are you a fan? Do you have a favorite author of this little subgenre? I'd love to hear your thoughts, your favorites and why! 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here - it doesn't cost you anything extra, and it would simply make my day!!  In fact, just click through and do your shopping, even if you decide not to get this particular book. TIA

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from YA Bound Book Tours, and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

See where I share my posts!

You Might Also Like


  1. I like your involvement in the story you reviewed, I mean the review is far from detached. Trying something unusual takes some courage and I'm happy you think the author did it successfully. Thanks for sharing. Tweeting if I see a button.

    1. oh thank you... I'm sorry you didn't see the sharing buttons (they are not visible in mobile apps as there is not always room on the screen- you need to switch to web version, which is linked at the very bottom of the page)

  2. Your book reviews are soooo thorough! I love that you spend so much time and put so much thought into each review. So helpful in determining if a book is something one would want to read.

    1. Thank you Kathleen - I know there are many many books to choose from, and not everyone has time to read as many as they want, so I hope to really help present the book as honestly as possible to help others decide. We all enjoy different types of stories, so it's good to show a variety


I love comments!!

Let me know what you thought of this one... don't forget to share your blog link so I can stop by!

Like me on Facebook