Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer 11 Book Giveaway- Cleaning Out My Shelves

Oh goodness is it time to clean out my bookshelves and share these titles! I have read all of these books and while they were all good, I either have multiple copies or know I won't re-read them. 
I want people to enjoy reading and I want to share great books with those who haven't read them. 
Some storylines stick with you or make you think differently.  A book can have an impact when you least expect it. 

Here are the titles included: 


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This giveaway is for the U.S. only and one winner will be randomly picked. 
These are all in paperback and I will ship them all in one package to the winner.

Enter below and thanks so much for stopping by! Ends August 9th.







a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Hit Review


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About the Book



The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villiers was not a popular man, both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity – and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead – and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder. (Goodreads)





My Thoughts

I'll be honest, this book was not the book for me. It sounded exciting but for me, it was a slow mover and hard to get into.
The setting is good and the mysterious storyline is there but the way it's written doesn't keep the reader engaged in my opinion. It's difficult to understand what all is going on. So many others have loved this book so I suggest that if you like this type of book/story line go ahead and give it a try!

Three stars.

"I received this book from Kregel for free in exchange for an honest review."













       

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love Review


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About the Book


Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after? (Goodreads)


My Review

I have really loved all of Beth's previous books and was so excited to read this story. While still good, this is my least favorite book by her. I wish I had a different take on it but this was a difficult book to get though for me. I like the idea of the story but it lacked depth of character and really a plot line. And I'll be honest, I was a little irritated with the "early marriage judgment" because I understand it far too well. We got married when I was eighteen and guess what, we are still married! It's not an end of the world thing and it is possible to actually be in love when you are young. This book really puts the negativity into getting married young and that was a bit depressing for me to read because it's so typical. The book is also somewhat split between the current day happenings and Vanessa and Logan's high school years. It wasn't very well organized with the back and forth and while it was nice to know their history I thought it went on a bit long.
Needless to say, I still will continue to read Beth's books and encourage readers to read them! This book was just not for me but I know many others will enjoy this storyline.
If it sounds like the book for you by reading the back cover, by all means read it! : )

Three stars.

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."





Saturday, July 25, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias Review


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 About the Book

Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander

The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything—her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray

When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers that she is very ill and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love

Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser

Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe. (Goodreads)



 My Review


 I never know how good a collection of novellas will end up. I've read some great collections, and I've read some really bad ones. This book lands right in the middle for me. I love the cover and have read these authors before. I think my favorite two stories are An Outlaws Heart by Shelley Gray and To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander. The other two were okay just not as intriguing. It's hard to get an entire storyline in just a few chapters, let alone get to know a character. I think Shelley and Tamera did the best job on creating characters and getting the reader to really be in the story. 
I also like that they are all set somewhere different just with southern flair. 
I think this is a great collection if you want a short southern romance. 

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1Igkc7H

About the authors:
Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. A native of west Tennessee. website, Twitter, Facebook 

Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. website, Twitter, Facebook

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. website, Twitter, Facebook

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls 'entertainment with a soul.' For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. website, Twitter, Facebook
 
Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair MagnoliasDon't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Berenstain Bears Harvest Festival Review




 About the Book

A new addition to the bestselling Berenstain Bears' Living Lights series that teaches simple Christian truths to children.
In this newest addition to the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, The Berenstain Bears Harvest Festival, it’s autumn in Bear Country and the Chapel in the Woods is celebrating its first ever Harvest Festival.
Young readers will delight in joining the Bear family and all their friends as they gather at Farmer Ben’s farm for this new tradition filled with the fun of apple-picking, pumpkin patch wandering, hayrides, and more. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts

I love harvest time and this book shows kids how fun that time of year is! The illustrations are fantastic and I like how "mother nature" is talked about and how God is the one who is really in control. The family goes to the harvest festival and they pick pumpkins, and apples, and go on a hay ride. I think kiddos will love this book with all of it's color and fun while still getting a good message of God's creation. 

"I received this book from BookLook bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review." 













Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Luther and Katharina Review-It's a Good One

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About the Book
 
Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.

As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.

As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts

This book was so much better than I anticipated! I love Jody Hedlund, but this time period and setting is not my favorite to read. BUT she wrote this story in such a way that made it so interesting and historical, I really couldn't put it down. This is a great story of real life in 1523 and all of the events and issues going on at that time. At the end of the book I was happy to read that the majority of the storyline is fact and really happened. Luther and Katharina are such unique characters and real. They both have faults and I love that it wasn't easy to fall in love or instant. I also like that the Bible is presented many times. Reading it in this time period made me realize, the Bible hasn't changed, they had many of the same words we do today. 
The romance is sweet and a large portion of the book is about their relationship, the good and bad. This is definitely a romance so don't pick this book up expecting otherwise, there is nothing detailed but lots of kissing. 
I loved every aspect and Hedlunds' writing has a way of capturing your attention until the end. I have yet to read a book by her I haven't loved. 

Five stars. 

Look for this book in stores October 6, 2015!!


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."






Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where Treasure Hides Review


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About the Book

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever? (Goodreads)



My Thoughts


I love the cover of this book, it really draws the reader in from the start. The first few chapters I really got into trying to figure out the story and where it was going to go. The characters didn't click with me right away but grew on me slowly. The romance was a little "silly" for me, love at first sight stuff and some of the dialogue seemed a bit drawn out. This is a pretty long book and I felt like the story seemed really long. I love historical fiction and I loved the setting and time in this storyline. The book didn't grab me and it was a bit difficult for me to get through at times, which I wish wasn't the case! I would definitely read more by this author, this just wasn't my all time favorite.

Four stars-it's still a good one guys!

"I received this book from Tyndale Publishing for free in exchange for an honest review."














The Reason for My Hope Review





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About the Book


From America's evangelistic elder statesman

Salvation is what we all long for, when we are lost or in danger or have made a mess of our lives. And salvation belongs to us, when we reach out for the only One who can rescue us--Jesus.

The saving message of the Gospel is the heartbeat of this preacher and evangelist. Millions around the world have heard Billy Graham proclaim this unchanging truth. He has never forgotten the transformation of his own life, when he first said yes to God's gift of salvation, and he has witnessed multitudes turn their hearts to the God of Hope.

"The Reason for My Hope: Salvation "presents the essence of that transformative message. It is biblical and timeless, and though simple and direct, it is far from easy. There are hard words, prophetic words, directed toward a culture that denies the reality of sin and distracts us from the veracity of Hell. But through its ominous warnings shines a light that cannot be extinguished--a beacon of hope that Jesus came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). (Goodreads)



My Thoughts


I really liked the layout of this book. Each chapter has stories that relate to real life and then the Biblical aspects on how to live life differently. I love books written like this because it makes more sense to me to compare in real life. He is straight forward with the fact that we make bad choices or things go wrong and that we need to focus on what really matters-salvation. Honestly, I haven't read too many books by Billy Graham but I appreciate his writing. I think this is a good book on the importance of salvation and the reasons why. There were a few slow parts but otherwise a good book.

Four stars.

"I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review."






Sunday, July 19, 2015

Goodbye, Magnolia Thoughts




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About the Book


Wedding photography is Maggie’s passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she’s worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn’t been so lucky in love.
Behind the camera, it’s easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.
As she travels the state of Michigan photographing weddings, she struggles to keep her business afloat and the wall around her heart intact. But along the way, she learns more about loyalty and love than she ever imagined. (Krista Noorman Website)



 My Thoughts

I love reading new authors and was so excited to read this novel by Krista Noorman. I love the cover and the entire storyline sounded like a pretty good setting for a love story. The book spans a few years so I actually liked that concept within the story because the relationship doesn't just happen in an instant. So many romance stories make everything seem so easy and fast but this book makes it realistic. I liked the characters and the professional photographer setting/idea. This book takes you into the life of Maggie and what she sees behind the camera. The flow of the book is good with the storyline, while the dialogue was okay, sometimes I thought the words were forced and awkward. The title of each chapter starts with the date-which is fine if you are spanning more than six months. As a reader, I didn't need the week by week timeline and date. That is just my opinion and it certainty didn't take away from the storyline it's just a pet peeve of mine as a reader. 
That all being said this is a fun book that is a light clean romance and I highly recommend!
 Krista's  writing reminds me a bit of


















Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Heart's Promise Review

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A rival threatens Emmie's budding romance with Isaac.

At Fort Laramie, soldier Isaac Liddle determines he will court and win Emmie Croftner's hand. Though courting seems improbable for a woman in her condition, Emmie begins to care deeply for Issac and chafes as Jessica Dubois sets her bonnet for him.

When Jessica learns of Emmie's secret pregnancy, she blackmails her. With the Sioux Wars raging outside the safety of Fort Laramie, Emmie knows she cannot lose Isaac. But will he reject her--and her child--if he learns the truth? (Goodreads)




 
 My Thoughts

This is the second to last book in this series and I will say it's one of my favorites. I felt like things moved along at a good pace and the characters, all we have met before, seemed to be better developed. At the ending of this book I was eager to read the next because once again it just ends! The only thing that really bothered me was the dialogue. I highly recommend that if you want to read this series, get them all at once and read in order!

Five stars. 

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."



Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1Gc4QeO

About the author:

Colleen Coble
has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Find Colleen online:website, Facebook, Twitter

To Capture Her Heart Review



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It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montauk tribe, is enjoying her wedding feast when her groom is killed and she is kidnapped by a rival tribe and held for ransom. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is nonetheless left to die in a Connecticut forest--until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her long friendship with family friend Benjamin Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice--stay true to her friend or follow her heart. (Goodreads)


My Review

Oh how I wanted to love this book. The setting is great and the idea for the storyline intrigued me. The plot moves so slowly and I really couldn't get into the characters, I didn't feel like I got to know them. I'll be honest this book was really difficult for me to finish after the first few chapters. Nothing grabbed me from the start and I wish it did.

I wish this could be a better review but this was not the book for me.


Three stars.

To Capture Her Heart Book Launch  

"I received this book from Revell for free in exchange for an honest review."

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Lost Garden Review -So Enjoyable!


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About the Book


Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident, and at thirty-seven she is made guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister Rebecca. They leave Hampshire for the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast, and settle into Bower House on the edge of the village church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca’s interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden’s secrets. In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell’s vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of - or at least distract her from - her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor’s father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising - and unsuitable - friendship unfolds.(Goodreads)



My Review


This book is beautiful is inside and out. I loved every page and really didn't want the story to end. I feel like this storyline could have kept going chapters more and I felt it ended too abruptly. The setting is wonderful as Marin and Rebecca move into a new village and start a new life. The book switches between 1919 to present day and I enjoyed both sides. The past takes you more into the "lost garden" and how it came about. Eleanor's family is still reeling from the war and losing her brother, I love the history part! There are so many issues and personalities that blend these pages together.  The only thing is the name of every male in the book starts with J and made it really confusing as to who was saying what.
I loved it and highly recommend this book and the author!

Five stars!

"Thanks to Kregel for offering me a free copy in exchange for an honest review."














Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor Review



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About the Book


When Heather Toulson returns to her parents cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder. Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. As Heather digs, she finds a mysterious journal that belonged to a woman she never knew and it contains clues that lead to the truth about a mysterious drowning decades ago. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history. Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways. Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.   (Goodreads)


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1HuCCkT

About the author:
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of thirteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. Melanie lives with her husband Jon and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.

Find Melanie online: website, Twitter, Facebook









My Review

I read this book in one sitting or rather an afternoon. You know a book is good when you think about the storyline days after reading it. I loved everything about this book. There are two storylines going on but it all flows well. Present day Heather returns to her parents place in England to settle their estate. Past, Libby is raised in the 1950s and we see a different type of society. I don't want to give away the storyline but I love how Melanie wrote about things that many don't. Especially with a Christian theme. I love how people were in their lowest point and yet trust in God was the final answer. Also, one main point is about a child's life and really autism which is talked more about by the author at the end of the book.
There is romance but there is also history and I love how the past and present are put together.

Five stars.

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."








Monday, July 6, 2015

Refining Fire Review

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About the Book


Militine Scott, twenty-two, is in training at the Madison School for Brides in Seattle, Washington. Though she has no intention of pursuing marriage–believing no man will have her–she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to hide her unsavory past.

Thane Patton, though fun loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing a haunting pain similar to his own.
Will they finally allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of the past? (Goodreads)




My Thoughts

I have read many of Tracie Peterson's books and I know she is a great writer. This book was so terribly slow for me and really hard to get into. I felt like there wasn't very much character depth or really a strong storyline. It was so predictable and I wish I could say otherwise. I didn't really like Militine's character though I did like the setting. Who knew there was a Madison School for Brides?! I love the historical setting I just wanted more out of the storyline. 

Four stars. 

"I received this book from Bethany House for free in exchange for an honest review."














Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Second Street Station Review


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 About the Book


A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary Handley, the first woman detective in Brooklyn, as she tries to prove herself in a man's world while solving a high profile murder.

Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She's fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from her job at the hat factory for insubordinate behavior, Mary finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is hired by the Brooklyn police department—as the city’s first female policewoman—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary has other plans. As she delves into the mystery, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer and depends on her ability to unearth the machinations of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures, men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets.

Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, Second Street Station presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Mary Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose wit, humor, and charm will delight readers from the very first page. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I love a good mystery but I also like a well written storyline. This book has a unique history/mystery aspect to it but the writing style was difficult. As a reader, I felt like there was way too much information being told, each person's outfit and hairstyle etc. It would almost seem this book was written more for a movie and that is not what I like to read. I liked the setting and the little known facts about Edison and Tesla in particular. There is a rape scene and language that I wasn't expecting, though I think the rape was realistic and common. The author really liked writing about Mary and Charles lovemaking, as said in the book, and that got really irritating for me. It had nothing to do with the storyline and I didn't really care when or how they did it. 
 I can see that there will be more books to follow this one but this one disappointed me. 

Three stars.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."