Thursday, July 17, 2014

Audiobook Review: Better Homes & Hauntings by Molly Harper (Narrated by Amanda Ronconi)

Title: Better Homes and Huntings
Written by: Molly Harper
Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi 
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
Format: Unabridged 
Release Date:06-24-14
Publisher: Audible Studios
Program Type: Audiobook
Ratings:
Overall: 3.5   Preformance: 4 Plot: 3
 
 
 
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 19th-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.
 
Review of the Plot:

Deacon Whitney, the only successful Whitney for four generations, has decided to use some of the wealth he earned from his social media company, EyeDee, and restore his family’s home, The Crane’s Nest, so he hires a group of professionals and brings them to Whitney Island where things go bump in the night.
 

Ghosties haunt, romances happen, creepers creep, a mansion is renovated, and snark reigns supreme.
 

I’m a huge Molly Harper fan. I have read her Naked Werewolf and Half Moon Hollow books until they are raggedy resemblances of their former book glory, but Better Homes and Hauntings just didn’t appeal to my obsessive-must-read-again-and-again side the way her previous novels have. It’s not a bad book, it did have its moments of greatness, but I have read better from her. 
 

I think the huge problem with this book was my inability to connect with the characters. While the blurb makes it sound like Nina and Deacon are the shining stars, there is a whole cast of characters that have their own storylines, so the book feels a little crowded. And, because I was listening to the audiobook, I had to pay close attention to the head hopping so I wouldn’t get confused about what was going on. Another problem with the book was the amount of time the characters spent in their own head, which limited the interactions and dialogue between the characters.
 

Also, there was a lot of info dumping at random and awkward times about The Cranes’ Nest. I was seriously starting to wonder if there was going to be a pop quiz at the end of the book.

 
What I liked about the novel was Deacon. He was geeky, shy, socially awkward, and completely loveable. Nina, who was hired to do the landscaping, was the perfect geekette for him and I can see them totally living blissfully happy in their geekery for years to come. It was like a match made it comic book heaven.

 
Jake, the architect, and Cindy, the cleaner, make the book worthwhile. They were previously involved and things didn’t end well so the tension—and Cindy’s propensity to throw heavy objects at Jake’s head—made the book well worth reading. You know, I hate to say it, but I wish that Jake and Cindy would have been the main characters.

 
Dotty, Deacon’s cousin, is at The Crane’s Nest in search of research for the book she’s writing that will clear the family name, although Deacon is convinced that this is just another one of her started-but-never-finished projects that usually end up costing him. I liked Dotty, she was a bit kooky but fun nevertheless.


The mystery was so easy to figure out, I had the who, what, when, where, and why, figured out by the second chapter.

 
Overall, the book was a quick little read. Although be warned, it’s a slow start at the beginning. The characters are snarky and quick-witted. I guess I would classify this book as gothic comedy or humorous hauntings.

 Review of the Audiobook:

Amanda Ronconi and Molly Harper go together like peanut butter and jelly. I could not imagine a better narrator to capture the wit and snark of Molly’s characters.


Every Kindle should have at least one Molly Harper novel narrated by Amanda Ronconi on it.
 

 
 
Visit Angela @ Simply Angela
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Product Review: Business Cards from Build a Sign

 
I had been looking for a trusty, easy-to-use company where I could order business cards, banners, magnetics, and other custom-designed promotional products. So, when BuildASign.com asked me if I wanted to review one of their custom products, I was over the moon.

The first thing I did was nose around their website. I was very pleased to see that they offered a broad array of products from business cards (which I elected to review) to feather flags and the prices were very reasonable.

Next, I wanted to know how easy it was to use their designer, and I am pleased to report that it was exceedingly easy to use. I liked that it gave you the option to either start from scratch, where you can upload your own designs, or choose from one of their templates, which are 100% customizable.
 
I played around with a few designs and finally decided to use one of their templates and customize it to my preference.



Was their website easy to use? Yes, it was very easy to use.

Was there a nice selection to choose from? There were so many options, I think it took me longer to decide which format I wanted to use rather than figuring out how to use their designer.

How was the quality? The quality is brilliant. The cardstock is durable, the images and font are nice and crisp. These are definitely the type of cards you would want to hand out.

Overall: I have to say, I am very pleased with the finished product and I will most definitely be ordering from BuildASign.com in the near future.



 To visit their website...click HERE
 
Barbara