Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted June 24, 2014 | 27 Comments

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperBetter Homes and Hauntings
Author: Molly Harper
Published by: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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.

I finally read a Molly Harper book! Everyone seems to love her Naked Werewolf and Jane Jameson series, so I made it a mission to read something by her. When I saw Better Homes and Hauntings, a new standalone, I jumped on it. Since this was my first attempt at reading one of her books, I don’t have anything to compare the quality of it to. I honestly don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. While I liked it, I wasn’t overly impressed.

The loveable:

– I really liked the setting. Deacon Whitney hired a team to renovate his family’s ancient mansion, which sits on its own private island miles off of Newport. The main characters are secluded on the island with the creepy 100+ year old mansion and the ghosts that reside there. Being so far away from society added a nice element of spookiness.

– The characters … The book blurb only mentions Nina and Deacon, but there are actually five that are instrumental to the story. We get all five POVs, plus the occasional sixth (who will remain unidentified here). It’s these five who live on the island during renovations. There’s Deacon, the nerdy comic book loving billionaire. Nina, the landscaper extraordinaire. Jake, Deacon’s architect best friend. Cindy, the master organizer and owner of a successful cleaning service. Dotty, Deacon’s whimsical cousin. The dynamic within the group was pretty fun. They all hit it off and became good friends, so it was nice to have a close group who liked each other and joked around. They were all good characters, but I liked Jake the most.

– There’s some romance between Deacon and Nina that was adorkable. They’re both socially awkward, so it made for some cute moments. There’s also a humorous loath-to-love storyline with Jake and Cindy. Well, one of them loathed anyway.

– There is a murder mystery that goes along with the island that involves Deacon and Dotty’s great-great-great-grandparents. I loved this, it was probably my favorite aspect of the book. Dotty plans to write a book about the great mystery that surrounds their 3x-grandparants, and hopefully find proof that will vindicate them.

– If you couldn’t already deduce from the title, there are ghosts haunting the island/house. So yes, there is a paranormal factor at play, and it doesn’t always play nice. It wasn’t scary, but there are a couple of semi-creepy moments. The ghostly beings are all part of the mystery I just mentioned.

– Since this is a Molly Harper book, I expected there to be humor. Better Homes and Hauntings wasn’t exactly a laugh riot, but it did have some funny moments and humorous quips between characters.

The not so loveable:

– Quitting the book crossed my mind a couple times in the beginning. It was a bit boring and I had a hard time getting into it. It’s not a long book, but it felt like it was taking me a long time to get through it, at least the first 40-50%.

– As I mentioned, there are multiple POVs, but it’s also in third person. I don’t mind this at all. However, there were parts that were awkward when I read them. For instance, in the very beginning we are getting Nina’s perspective as she talked to Jake. She said something, and then her mouth was described as lush. It made it sound like she described her own mouth as lush, which seemed silly. But then I figured it must have been an observation by Jake, even though there’s nothing to imply that. There are quite a few instances of this, but I eventually adjusted and just went with the random crossover POV snippets.

– I did read the ARC, so hopefully this will be cleaned up, but there were a few discrepancies that annoyed me a little. One example is when Nina and Deacon have an in-depth conversation about her ex-boss and how he put a bid in for the job on the island. Names included. Then literally a page or two later she wondered how Deacon figured out who her ex-boss was and had his info so quick. I mean, really?

Overall, Better Homes and Hauntings was good once I pushed through the boring. There was a nice blend of cute and funny, with a side of creepy. Even though this is the only book by Harper that I’ve read, I’m betting this isn’t her best. So I still plan to read one or both of her other series.


27 responses to “Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

    • Christy

      I don’t mind a lot of POVs, but when one infiltrates another out of the blue, it can be a little weird. lol.

  1. Christy I LOVE her books. Seriously they’re some of my favorites and she makes my Must Reads lists often but this one was not as good as her others. I wasn’t able to finish it actually and DNF’d it for now at the 25% mark. Her others have a very different feel to them in my opinion. Funnier, quicker, more engaging. I don’t remember the awkward pov transitions either though it’s been a while since I’ve read them so that could have slipped my mind.

  2. Ria

    EGADS!!! Holy terrible play on words book title and is that girl disappearing? QUICK someone take that little shovel out of her hands and give her a sandwich!! lol sometimes my first thoughts on a cover and title get the best of me sorry(its the I burden bear)…I just ranted about the exact same thing on your Reviving Izabel (In the Company of Killers, #2) post…but the covers of 2&3 2DIE4

    I’m glad the story wasn’t a total bummer and I too have heard great things about Ms. Harper!


  3. I haven’t read her books, but this one sounds intriguing. However, I admit the 40-50% that took you from getting into it kinda stops me from buying it right away… Still, I’m glad you liked it in the end and that you’re willing to give her other books a go.

    Thanks for the review, and I’m a new follower via Bloglovin’ 🙂

  4. I tend to love murder mysteries and some adorkable romance would sound great, lol, though I’m not so hot about third person narrative from multiple POVs. I mean I don’t like hate it, but I do much prefer the first person and a 2 POVs at most 😀

    I was thinking about trying it out because the cover/blurb combo was tempting, and I haven’t read anything by the author either, but meh. Going in the “maaaaybe” list for now 🙂

    Livia recently posted: Night Owl by M. Pierce
  5. I was looking forward to reading this one since I adored How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf but 5 POVs? Eeeek. That’s a little hard to get behind for me. Multiple POVs always make it harder for me to completely love a book *sigh*

    And not as much humor? noo that’s a pity :/

    I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you wanted to.

    Fantastic review, Christy! 🙂

  6. I haven’t read Molly either so I may take this one up… in my spare reading time – ha! Actually, what I might do is grab the finished book from work and read it. I hate third person so I can see if it’s still confusing 🙂

    I like how you set up your review… I might have to do mine like that, too. My reviews are getting quite wordy these days 🙁

  7. Hmmm. I like the sound of a lot of things about this book – the adorkable romance between Deacon and Nina, and the loath to love romance of Jake and Cindy, but I struggle big time with multiple POVs. Dual POVs I’m good with, but anything more than that and I sort of check out of the story, so I think 5 and 6 will be too many for me. Glad you gave Molly Harper a try though Christy! I did enjoy her Naked Werewolf series:)

    Jenny recently posted: Review: The Murder Complex
  8. That’s a bit disappointing. I was thinking this is one that I might really love but if you found it was boring at times, that’s not so good. But maybe this is one that would do well on audio, like Kimba said. I might have to look into that. I won’t rush out and buy this just yet, but maybe I’ll pick up her other series and give them a try instead.

  9. I just finished this and it was also my first Molly Harper book. I agree with you that the beginning was a bit slow, but the characters, romance and spine tingling mystery just grew on me and I ended up really enjoying it. LOL, as you mentioned, the “romance between Deacon and Nina that was adorkable” was such a nice change. Glad you enjoyed Molly Harper as much as I did 🙂

    Kim { Book Swoon } recently posted: Waiting On Wednesday: Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh
  10. Thanks for the heads up on the slow start! I’ve got this one coming up but am not familiar with the author so I really have no idea of what to expect. I’m excited about the setting and it sounds like that really gets used. So I’m looking forward to reading this one but I will definitely be aware. Great review!

    Katherine recently posted: Vertigo 42 - Review
  11. I’ve been meaning to try Harper book too. I do have this and I hope I like it, and that the little issues you noticed are fixed.
    Thanks for the review, Christy!

  12. I have the first book in Naked Werewolf but have not read it yet! I really should get on with that because I have heard so many good things about it. I do understand trying a standalone from her first though, it’s much easier to try an author’s work than going in an established series. Even though there some boring parts, I’m glad you were able to get past that and get to the good stuff Christy! From your review I think I’m still going to try the Naked Werewolf first but maybe if I ended up loving her books, I will get to this one as well. Lovely review!

  13. Hmmm I’ve been wanting to read a Molly Harper book for ages since so many bloggers seem to love her, and I might have jumped on this since it’s a stanadalone but I don’t like the fact that you weren’t into it and contemplated DNFing. That isn’t a good sign. I think I’ll try her Naked Werewolf series instead. Thanks for your honest review!

    Lauren recently posted: Book Review: PANIC by Lauren Oliver

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