Book Fifty-Four of 2014: BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS by Molly Harper



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.

I recieved this First Reads Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a romance set in a small island just off of Newport, Rhode Island. If you don’t know much about Newport, know this: there are HUGE mansions there. I actually got to see a bunch of them when I visited my mom a while back. I didn’t take any pictures of the homes (should have), but they are amazing. Think Vanderbilt. Yeah, those kind of mansions.

Anyway, Molly Harper sets her book in this lavish lifestyle. It reminded me a bit about The Haunting (90’s remake of an old B&W horror, staring Catherine Zeta-Jones). The house was dark and creepy. It had a life of its own. With a curse and a hundred year old murder mystery, Harper sets this romance in what could have been a horror with romantic elements. As such, it was a romance that bridged the living and the dead with some horror elements.

Most of the ghostly scenes aren’t too creepy. There are moments where characters are nearly killed and have ghostly figures visit their beds. The bed moments are seriously creepy. It is the characters that really make the story. And by characters, I do add the dead ones. The living characters are hilarious. Even in moments of stress they find humor. They all have their own quirks and are rather geeky (some more than others). I LOVED the geek references and was always smiling or laughing. It has been a long time since I had laughed out loud with a book.

The dead characters, though not seen all the time, have an interesting depth that gets the reader wondering what their lives were like (I found myself wondering about my own ancestors as well). Possessions and cold spots galore make you wonder who was the killer. It was like a love triangle only it ended badly. I pretty much pegged the villain, but it didn’t stop me from reading to the end.

This book had the creep value, the romance felt more like reality, there’s geektastic humor as well. A fun book to read on a rainy day or a bright and sunny one.

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