Book Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Title:  Better Homes and Hauntings
Author:  Molly Harper
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Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type:  Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Pages:  352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley/Publisher
Publisher:  Pocket Books

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.

This is my first read by Molly Harper and I'm so glad I finally got the opportunity to read one of her books. Well know for her Naked Werewolf series and and the Half Moon Hollow series, I couldn't resist the opportunity to try Better Homes and Hauntings, a new standalone by Molly. As a new reader, I went into this with open expectations, and I'm happy to say that I'm a new fan of Molly's writing. 

What I liked about Better Homes and Hauntings

It's a standalone. Better Homes and Hauntings is the perfect opportunity for new readers to experience Molly Harper's quirky and humorous writing style. Fans can relax with a fun, new standalone.

A great setting. The story takes place at Crane's Nest, a secluded ancestral estate located on a private island off the New England coast. Nice and secluded. Perfect for supernatural happenings. One of the fun things about the setting was while it is a mystery with supernatural happenings, you have cast of characters slowly bringing back to life the estate through landscaping, architectural remodeling, and interior decorating. It was like flipping through a Better Homes and Garden or remodeling magazine at times, yet the mystery and romance were always present. Kind of fun and unique way to go about the background setting of a story.

Fun, sassy characters and witty dialogue. There's actual a small cast of renovators / characters that become quite close by the end of the story. Our stars, Deacon Whitney, a sexy tech mogul who reads comics (known to have an hidden action figure or two) and Nina Linden, the sassy and shy landscaping vixen with a vulnerable past, are our hero and heroine in this story. But there's also Jake, the architect and longtime friend of Deacon and Dotty, a slightly nutty and loveable cousin to Deacon that arrives on the scene. And last but not least, Cindy, a maid-slash-origanizational-diva on the scene to keep everyone on there toes and organized. The characters take a little bit of warming up to in the beginning, but soon they feel like old friends. This is where I would say the pace lagged and got slow for me, but like an ivy plant, they all just started to grown on me. There's plenty of snark and camaraderie growing between the group as strange accidents and supernatural activities are slowly ratcheted up and tension is delightfully built.

Chilling mystery and some wonderful ghostly appearances and hauntings. Better Homes and Hautnings is the kind of story where the mystery and supernatural happenings becoming increasingly dangerous and are revealed as the story progresses. There's a steady climb of tension and scariness, and I was chilled and thrilled with some ghostly appearances and dark deeds. Hidden passages, secret diaries, and ghostly apparitions. The mystery, in my opinion, was nearly perfectly timed. Building as each page is turned. The mystery behind the estate, and Deacon's family intertwines with the characters in a way that will have you peaking over your shoulder.

Romance between two slightly vulnerable and awkward characters. There's a delightful, slow brewing romance with plenty of sexual tension between our hero and heroine. Deacon, for all his techno smarts is a bit of a nerd. Nina is vulnerable, her trust shattered by someone she cared about. So, these two do a bit of dance around one another, every coming closer. And sparks do fly when these two finally get it together. And it's Hot. Wait for it.

A feelgood ending with no cliffhangers. Wow, it's so nice to have an enjoyable story that is a standalone and wraps everything up nicely and leaves you with a happy and satisfied feeling. *happy sigh*

What I didn't care for in Better Homes and Hauntings

As I mentioned before, the beginning was pretty slow paced for me. I enjoyed many of the details about the setting and getting to know the characters, but it was slow moving at first with little action. I appreciated the steady progression of tension, but wanted a little bit more oomph and excitement in the beginning.

My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Pocket Books in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Pocket Books for the review opportunity!