The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
I was so reluctant to read this book, but Ruby had been trying to convince me for months and then I saw a copy in the $1 bargain bin and I realized resistance was futile.
And boy am I glad I did! Amelia is a total sleepover party, BFF charm swapping, kindred spirit kind of character. She's a graveyard restorer and while there's definitely an ick factor to the profession (especially when fresh bodies turn up where they don't belong and oh my gosh that crypt scene), but it also shares all the cool historical mysteries stuff that I love about old historical house books.
The fact that she can see ghosts is a blessing and a curse, but I don't blame her at all for being a somewhat reluctant medium. I also don't blame her for being a reluctant romantic partner for one of her choices because, eh, I'm not sold on him (he has dead wife issues), but I totally blame her for not jumping all over her book 2 love interest because he is absolutely perfect for her.
Each book ends with the central mystery solved, but there's an overarching mystery (the dead wife, who so inconveniently haunts her husband) and this isn't finished yet. I read the first book fully expecting to find it meh. Instead, as soon as I finished it I checked out the sequel (which I loved even more) and then the third book. Now I'm impatiently waiting for book four to come out and considering just re-reading book two again while I wait. Definitely recommended.
Purchased #1, library for 2 & 3
Rating: 4 out of 5 for the series overall
This is an adult book
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
I picked this one up from the $1 bin too and was hoping it would fill the Restorer void for me. Inherited old houses (which are right up there with discovering treasure), ghosts, hidden diamonds, and a generational mystery were enough to make me say YES PLEASE. Prickly Mellie, oh so charming Jack and aw-inducing family moments cinched the deal.
Plus, I have to mention the house again because it's practically a character itself. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it from the details of the restoration project to snooping through all the drool-worthy antique furniture and old timey stuff. The Tradd Street house is so vividly and lovingly described that it feels real.
I flew through the first book and I'm currently devouring the second. Thankfully I have two more waiting in the wings when I'm done.
Purchased #1, library for #2
Rating: 5 out of 5
This is an adult book