Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line.
At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man - and not end up a construction casualty herself....
©2010 Julie Goodson-Lawes (P)2013 Tantor
AKA The Geeky Blogger
Read/Listened for Fun (Physical Copy, Kindle, and Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 3.75
Character Rating: 4.25
Audio Rating: 4.50 (Not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: I was actually redoing a room while listening and this just added to the fun factor!
Story Thoughts: Poor Melanie! All she wants to do is disappear to France and go native for a bit. Family responsibilities though prevent that and so she is now running the family's remodeling historic houses business. She also can see ghosts. These two combine to make for quite a fun way of solving a murder, discovering clues, and looking like your crazy! Actually I felt a bit bad for her as those pesky spirits could just pop up when it is inconvenient. Overall, the case is pretty solid and there were a few twists/turns. Not being able to figure out who did it immediately was great! Though you will figure it out before Mel, you will still have fun watching her come to the realization of who was behind it!
Character Thoughts: I really liked Melanie. Her forthright behavior, backbone, and smarts made her a very strong woman. She was just quirky enough to identify with and knew when to stand her ground. She was also loyal to everyone: family, step-children (previous marriage), and friends. She is the kind of person I would want to have as a friend. Graham, I am not sold on yet but their eventual love match wasn't played up to much in this book. So I can take time to get to know him just as Mel will again.
Narrated By Xe Sands / Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
Xe is one of those narrators that truly sounds different in every book they do. She tends to merge with the characters and bring out their quirks, behaviors, and insecurities. She is fantastic at pacing, nuances, and emotions. I loved her as Mel! She just got her really well. I can't wait to get book 2!
Final Thoughts: Great beginning to a fun series. I just wish I had half the remolding gumption as Mel!
This was a well written novel with interesting characters. Melanie Turner moves home after her mother's death to take over her father's construction business restoring historic homes. In doing so she finds out that she can communicate with ghosts. This discovery leads her to help solving a murder mystery and self discovery. The book is a bit slow which give Mel a chance to learn about her new ability, but other than that it is very good and enjoyable. The only thing that I did not like is that occassionally the narrator's voice would play out and I could not hear the end of a sentence. Other than that the narrator did an okay job with the voices and makeing the characters come to life. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
I loved this book, it is laugh out loud funny, and full of wonderful details on renovating old houses.
Hard to say who a favorite character would be, I liked them all.
I liked the first time the ghost shows himself to Melanie.
I did listen to this book in one sitting. That's the great thing about audiobooks, you're free to do many other things while listening. With hard copy you're tethered to the book and turning the pages.
Xe Sands once again does a fantastic job narrating this book. She amplifies the story so well and makes the characters really pop.
Listening to Xe Sands makes this story that much better
I love Juliet Blackwell's stories. A great mystery, with plot twists and turns, but it is her ability with secondary characters and locations that give her stories so flavor
The narrator, Xe Sands, has such an enchanting voice you could listen to her read stereo directions. She truly brings the story to life. She was a great addition to the story experience
I can't wait until the rest of this series is released on audiobook
Yes, I would. I found that the second listen was actually better than the first.
It was different, I enjoyed the building side and ghosts.
At first I thought her words were non distinct. Shortly after I appreciated her manor and she created since of humor.
I love Juliet Blackwell's writing style. Her main characters always are polite and thoughtful with a dash of humility. Mel is no different she's a smart confident woman (although she doesn't know it) working in a man's world. After reading this book I immediately bought the next. If or when your looking for good clean fun stop right here.
Xe Sands is a great narrator. This series is quite different from her Lilly Ivory series, though both are based in San Francisco. The main character runs a construction company that restores historic houses. In my opinion, this is the best of the first three books in the series. I hope this series continues.
I particularly enjoyed the first time Mel saw Kenneth's ghost.
I loved all of the times Graham showed up and helped Mel.
Mel is a thoroughly relatable character, and XE Sand's portrayal of her is spot-on. She channels Mel in every aspect of her delivery, and flawlessly conveys all of Mel's emotions, down to wry humorous moments. XE does an admirable job on the elderly ladies, and the younger men, but I found at times I had difficulty hearing all of the older men's parts, and also Matt's, because the volume dropped off. Her pacing was wonderful, and the pauses were well-placed. This narrator inhabits each of her characters and has a solid grasp on how to differentiate between each of them. I would absolutely look for more from this narrator/author combination.
I really like the voices of the narrator, but I think reading and listenings can't be compared. Listening you receive the story and the interpretation of the narrator, while reading the interpretation is up to the reader.
The different voices for different characters, especially the male characters. I usually find this a critical marker for a narrator and Xe Sands does a terrific job.
It made me chuckle a couple times.
There were a bit too many male characters to keep track of.
I live on audiobooks.
The narrator is wonderful and has a great way with sexy guy-voices. I'm surprised I've never heard her read. It's like listening to Anna Fields; you are able to forget there is a narrator and enjoy the great story.
Mel's great love for the grand old homes of the Bay Area, especially of San Francisco. It was a new insight to me to hear of the beautiful old homes and their history, and resulting tidbits of the history of the Bay Area. I was totally engrossed and enjoyed the story line. There is a perfect balance of humor, romance, technical information, GHOSTS, & character development (quite a few lovable characters, well developed). When read by such a great narrator, it is the best series I've read in a long while.
MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!
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