Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper [Review, 2014 paranormal mystery]

Better Homes and Hauntingsby Molly Harper
Published byPocket Books on June 24th 2014
Genres:Mystery & Detective
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback


Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!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 a standalone novel by Molly Harper.

This is a book I received through Netgalley. I ended up purchasing the book and reading the print copy.

• Point of view: first person
• Tense: past tense
• Setting: Rhode Island
• Sexual Content: kissing
• Pet Peeves: none

Brief Summary of the Plot

Nina is a landscape designer. She goes to an old mansion to work on a project. Everyone starts having strange experiences. Nina and the others try to find out the truth about what happened a long time ago to a woman who was murdered. Meanwhile, Nina has to deal with a vindictive ex-colleague.

My Thoughts about…

• Characters

All of the characters are developed thoroughly. A good part of the first part of the book is character development. I felt like I got to know all the characters very well. They were realistic and likable.

• Romance

A romance develops between the mansion’s owner Deacon and Nina. I enjoyed this subplot because the author allowed the romance to progress naturally. There is also a romance between the architect Jake and Cindy the professional organizer. This romance was a little annoying because Cindy wouldn’t come out and tell Jake why she was upset with him, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

• Pacing

The book is somewhat slow in the first eighty or so pages because of the character development I mentioned above. Not a lot happens in the beginning. It is mostly about the work they are doing on the mansion. Once Dotty (Deacon’s cousin) shows up and decides to solve Catherine’s mystery, the story moves along at a quicker pace.

• Suspense & Mystery

The author established a mystery about who killed Catherine and why. I thought Molly Harper did a good job of keeping me wondering about who did it, but the outcome of the mystery was pretty predictable. I don’t mind that so much since I was kept entertained.

• Worldbuilding & Setting Details

I was able to picture the setting easily. The author included enough details.

• Prose

The writing was clear. I appreciated that the author didn’t decorate her sentences with too many adjectives.

• Plotting & Consistency

Everything made sense from start to finish. I thought it all fit together well, and I didn’t notice any inconsistencies.

Hooked or Not?

I really enjoyed reading BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS. It was a bit predictable, but the characters made up for that. I feel that the depth of characterization is the best aspect of this novel.

If you haven’t read BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS yet, I strongly suggest it. It is a great read for readers who enjoy ghost stories with a bit of romance. It’s a light read with some quirky characters who keep it fun. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for strong characterization, some great action scenes, and well-written, creepy ghost encounters.

Related Discussion Question

In BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS, the main love interest is a wealthy geek. He’s physically attractive, but not drop-dead gorgeous. Do you like this kind of character? Or would you rather read about Mr. Hottie? I actually loved the fact that he was an average guy (not counting the wealth). What do you think?

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