Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
June 24 2014
Mass Market Paperback
Received from publisher via NetGalley
Yummy Man – Deacon Whitney
Kick Ass Chick – Nina Linden
From Goodreads –
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
Better Homes and Hauntings is the newest release by Molly Harper. If you are in the mood for a story filled with warm characters, giggle worthy scenes and dialogue and entertaining stories, then a MollyHarper book is exactly what you should pick up. Better Homes and Hauntings is no exception. It is all of those things with an interesting mystery thrown in too for kicks.
This book is actually a stand-alone title. I know right?! It’s so rare to have a stand-alone book nowadays!
Quickly about the story – Deacon is a very wealthy man who wants to restore a family estate/mansion (Crane’s Nest) on an island to its original state/glory. So he hires an architect, a landscaper, a professional cleaner/organizer and a contractor to work on the project. The kicker is they have to live on the island for the duration of the job because Deacon wants this job to be his employees’ one and only priority.
Oh, and the house is haunted and the ghosts are terrorizing the newest residents of the island.
You would think that this being a Molly Harper book that the ghosts would be light and funny. But nope. These ghosts are creepy as hell. Oh, and spooky too. I was quite surprised but happy with Molly’s decision to make them so because this made the story stronger for me.
I really enjoyed Deacon. I mean, a sexy clueless geek! What’s not to love?! He was definitely smart and cute. Nina had a bit of a geek streak too which made her even more endearing. I did like these two characters very much and liked them together but I have to admit to not feeling crazy chemistry between the two of them. They are a great match so that made it not so bad but I would have liked to feel them ‘click’ a bit more, especially considering how quickly the ‘I love you’ happened.
Who did click very well was Jake and Claire. That’s right. You get two romances for the price of one in this book! Jake and Claire have a very interesting story and they are definitely compatible. Jake was the character who delivered the most giggle worthy lines in the book and his friendship with Deacon was nice to read. Cindy seems one way when you first meet her but soon you warm up to her and find out she is a great character.
We also meet Dotty, Deacon’s cousin. At first I wondered about her but, as with Cindy, soon discovered that she is a wonderful character and that she does indeed belong among the others and in this story.
There was a subplot that involved Nina’s ex and how he’s crazy. I know why it was put into the story but I just didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary. Same goes for an ex-but-not-really of Deacon’s. There but not really necessary. To me, those two characters felt a bit forced and out of place.
My absolute favorite part of this book was the mystery. It was so different! Deacon’s great great grandmother was murdered on the island when she was a young wife. Everyone knows that and everyone assumes her husband was responsible for her death. But in this book, clues are found and stories shared and flashbacks revealed…but not the way you would expect them to be. I really enjoyed how the mystery and clues were presented. There were journals found but there were also dreams and visions/hallucinations that Deacon, Nina and company witnessed and lived through. I had never read a mystery done quite this way so for me, it was neat.
Overall, I enjoyed Better Homes and Hauntings. Molly’s books are usually quite silly (and I mean that in the very best of ways) but I found this one to be one of Molly’s less silly tales. It still contained some of her signature snark so it was all good for me.
Molly is a wonderful author, capable of bringing a level of warmth and charm to her paranormal romances that you don’t necessarily find often in the genre. Better Homes and Hauntings is an interesting and delightful read. If you are looking for a cute story with some unique spins on telling a mystery and some creepy ghosts, then definitely give this one a try.
Giggle worthy quotes –
“Cindy hesitated before finally muttering, ‘ We dated a few years ago.’
Nina considered that for a moments. ‘Yeah, that would be awkward being forced to live in close quarters with an ex for months at a time. Then again, my most significant relationship only lasted three months, and he ended up immediately leaving for an expedition to South America to research the potential medicinal properties of exotic monkey orchids. And I’m not sure that the continent of space between us made his assertions that I ‘wasn’t exciting enough for him’ any less awful. Seriously I bored a research botanist, a guy who catalogues exotic plant pollen as a hobby. A continent was not enough.’
When she looked up, Cindy was grinning at her. ‘Well, I just learned a whole bunch about you.'”
“‘Is it always this quiet?’ Cindy asked, surveying teh island with a worried expression.
‘Yes,’ Jake called from behind the wheel. ‘The Crane’s Nest is the only home on the island. So, no crazy neighbors or barking dogs to keep you up at night. Don’t worry, though. We’ll make some noise soon enough,’ he told her. Cindy’s delft-blue eyes narrowed at the suggestion, and Jake’s cheeks flushed. ‘I meant with construction equipment and workers! Hammering, nailing…oh, good God, there is no recovery from this, is there?'”