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Review – Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon
Author: David Grann
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. The book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating.

Review:
Over the last few months I have been focusing more on reading non-fiction books because I’ve been feeling so burnt out on the vast majority of the fiction books that I’ve been reading (or trying to read). So when the quarterly reading challenge picked this book for the Summer reading challenge, I knew without a doubt which of the 3 choices I was going to read (the other options were Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead). What drew me to this was not on another series of events in history that I’d never heard about, but also because it was how the FBI came to play such an important role in law enforcement (in fact when the events in this book took place, FBI agents couldn’t legally arrest folks, they needed local law enforcement to actual arrest the folks).

The mystery surrounding the deaths of multiple Osage Indians was one that had spanned many years and different types of death, from execution style shootings, to a bombing to poisoning that appeared to mimic illness. There were few commonalities between the victims and witnesses and people trying to solve the murders were also being killed – it was a mystery that would take many years to solve. But there was one commonality between all the victims (but don’t worry, I’m not cruel enough to tell you what or who that is)…I will admit that for me, the solving of the murders and the steps that the FBI took to solve it, was more interesting to me than the background of the FBI (probably because I’ve read enough about J. Edgar Hoover to really not care too much although in part, his personality and persistant was key in the eventual solving of the murders).

More interesting to me was how the US government treated the Osage Indians who were all individually wealthy because of the discover of and subsequent selling of oil leases for their land and yet were treated like (for lack of a better term), delinquent children. Having guardians assigned to these Indians as a way to control them (needing approval to access funds that were rightly theirs, people marking up merchandise the Osage wanted to purchase 4-5x the normal cost and other shady business practices). This was another of those dark periods in history that are valuable to study and yet have been hidden away until an enterprising researcher discovers it and decides to start unraveling the mystery.

Killers of the Flower Moon was an solid mystery and intriguing examination of a lost time period. I found the pictures that were sprinkled throughout of the victims and the FBI agents who eventually solved the crime, as well as the murderer(s) themselves. A solid 4 star read.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in Book Review

 

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Review – Riptide – Skye Jordan

Riptide
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #6 in the Renegades series

**Review Copy Provided by Author**

Description:
When pro surfer Zach Ellis isn’t traveling the world-wide competition circuit, he works as a Renegade stunt double for the hit TV series, Hawaiian Heat. After years of tangling with the ocean, his body has paid the price. So when he gets a shot at a star role on the show, Zach’s all in. He celebrates the career opportunity by taking a chance on a woman who’s not his usual island-girl type, only to discover he can’t bear to let her go.
 
Tessa Drake belongs mired in legislation battles in Washington DC, not standing on the sidelines of a filming set in Maui like a wannabe starlet. But even more important than her law career, Tessa needs Zach Ellis’s signature on legal papers. Papers that relinquish his parental rights so Tessa can adopt the girl who already calls her mommy. When she discovers Zach has slipped out of town before she makes contact, Tessa takes solace in the sexy star of Hawaiian Heat. A man whose warmth and dazzling grin makes her Mensa-level IQ vanish into thin air.
 
After an electrifying night together, Tessa is horrified to discover just who rocked her world. Zach is stunned to learn he’s a father. And both find themselves caught in a riptide pulling them in the opposite direction of their dreams.

Review:
I’ll admit, when I first got the email from the author asking if I would be interested in reviewing her newest Renegades book, I was a bit skeptical because I’ve been in a serious reading slump lately – I think I’ve had more 1-2 star reads in the last month than all of last year. But since I’ve pretty much wholly enjoyed all the previous books written by her – I figured what the heck and said, sure I would love to read it. And it did the trick to help pull me out of my slump!

Previous to this, I’d only read the first book in the Renegades series, but I will definitely be adding the other ones to the TBR pile (or borrowing via KU) in the near future. This was one of those books that just tugged at my heart-strings with the storyline (adoption, single mom) and add in the hot hunky stunt double (who was a former pro surfer – ummm yes please) for a solid romance that just made me all happy inside. Unlike many books I’ve read that feature children, where they kind of just stay off to the side, Ms Jordan made sure that Sophia was integral to the story – I laughed at some of the one-liners she came up – total gems that you would expect to hear from a 3/4 year old as well as the portrayal of the epic kid meltdowns (you know, when you just look at them wrong and the world implodes).

I also learnt a lot about legislative law (which I’d never really heard of before this) – aka, the lawyers that work with politicians to craft the bills that go before congress. I applaud the author for maintaining a very even keel POV on something that is often so fraught with emotions (never really demonizing any one group of people that play a role in the process). I always love when I learn new things from reading romance novels 🙂

I know that I’m looking forward to going back and reading the intervening books in the Renegades series, as well as more books by Syke Jordan in the future. A solid 4 star read and a recommendation for anyone who likes action driving contemporary romance.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: #1 in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Audiobook Narrator: Nicola Barber
Run Time: 9hrs, 26min
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

Review:
I have to admit that the premise of Stalking Jack the Ripper intrigued me, but I was a bit disappointed with how it all played out. I liked the idea of a female practicing forensic medicine in this time era – since it was so not done. But Audrey Rose as a character was horribly annoying and for someone as skilled as she was supposed to be in understanding people and crimes, also naïve. Now I will say that Thomas Creswell will definitely described as being eye (and most definitely ear candy).

The historical aspect of the story was fun and I liked how the author took portions of the real history about Jack the Ripper and his victim’s to make the story more believable. There was a pretty substantial author’s note at the end went into some more detail about why she opted to cover the parts that she did. But when considering both the character development and the historical aspects of the story – the historical definitely won out over the actual characters in the story. I did like how the author tied the story up at the end, so there were no open ends…but don’t worry – I won’t tell you guys what happened because that would ruin all the fun 🙂

Nicola Barber isn’t a new narrator to me (although I’m totally blanking on what else I’ve listened to her narrate right now) and I enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper more than I may have if I had read it. I found that she had a solid range of voices that fit all the different characters from the naïve young girl, to the hot forensic science student to Audrey Rose’s cantankerous old father. I never had any moments where I had to stop and think about what character was speaking at a given time. In fact, I found myself hoping for some traffic on my commute home (yeah, I should probably burn in hell for that), so I could listen to a bit more. While I wanted to slap Audrey Rose upside the head, at least the narration was solid.

I’m kind of conflicted if I will read (or most likely listen) to the second book when it comes out – I kind of what to and yet, if Audrey Rose is as naïve in the next one, I just don’t know…

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Audiobook Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

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Review – The Negotiator – Avery Flynn

The Negotiator
Author: Avery Flynn
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
Wanted: Personal Buffer

Often snarly, workaholic executive seeks “buffer” from annoying outside distractions AKA people. Free spirits with personal boundary issues, excessive quirks, or general squeamishness need not apply. Salary negotiable. Confidentiality required.

Workaholic billionaire Sawyer Carlyle may have joked he needed a “buffer” from their marriage-obsessed mom, but he didn’t need a waiting room filled with “candidates” to further distract him. (Thanks, bro.) But when a sexy job applicant shooes his mom and the socialite in tow out of his office, Sawyer sees the genius of the plan. And the woman. In fact, Miss Clover Lee might just get the fastest promotion in history, from buffer to fake fiancé…

This “free-spirit” might look like hot sunshine and lickable rainbows, but she negotiates like a pitbull. Before Sawyer knows what hit him, he’s agreed to give up Friday nights for reality tv, his Saturdays for flea markets (why buy junk still baffles him), his Tuesdays and Thursdays for “date nights” (aka panty-losing opportunities if he plays his cards right). And now she wants lavender bath salts and tulips delivered every Monday?

Yup, she’s just screwing with him. Good thing she’s got this non-negotiatable six-weeks-and-she’s-gone rule or Sawyer may have just met this match…

Review:
I don’t know if I was in a bit of a reading funk, or if real-life was just kind of overwhelmed – but this wasn’t my favorite Avery Flynn (and it kills me to say that because she is an auto-buy author for me). Don’t get me wrong – it was cute definitely a cute romantic comedy with her trademark snarky humor and hot in places – but I just wasn’t as sucked into it as I have been with previous books. Other books by hers, I’ve based closed myself off to read it – but when it came time to read this one – I just didn’t have the time to do that (which might have contributed to my lack of concentration when it came to reading).

I will admit that I found Clover to be one of the more unique characters that I have read recently which did contribute to my enjoyment level – she was kind of quirky in a relatable way. But Sawyer just seemed very much in the hard-working young billionaire character mold (which if I’m honest, is not a character that I typically find myself attracted too). So my enjoyment of the two main characters kind of played off each other. The actual “relationship” negotiation was one of my favorite parts of the story (as well as the scene in the diner early on after Clover’s first event as Sawyer’s Personal Buffer (now, if I could be the buffer for him, sign me up please 🙂 )

The Negotiator was a solid 3.5 stars for me – and I do recommend it to anyone who likes snarky romantic comedies (and I have no doubt that I’ll maybe re-read it in the future, to see if maybe this is a mood based rating that could change).

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon – The Final Post

Yeah, so i’m kind of fooling with my timing on this post (since the read-a-thon is technically done and over). Unfortunately, I didn’t come anywhere close to hitting my goal because my 1hr nap that I decided to take at 10pm, turned into 8hours of sleep (which based on the icky throat that is now surfacing might have been a good idea). In fact, even though I had gotten 8 hours of sleep that night – I still spent a good portion of Sunday napping and reading some more.

Over the course of the 14hours that I did read, I finished up 4 books that I had in progress pre-readathon, as well as 2 complete books and 1 full audiobook (and listened to about 3 hours of another one).

Books Finished (In progress when Read-a-thon started)
Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age – James Essinger – have to say wasn’t too impressed with this in general – it wasn’t really a biography, but at the same time, wasn’t really a non-fiction computer book either.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond – this was the April group read for Doing Dewey – this was a very stark read, but highly recommended.
This Love of Mine – Miranda Liasson – cute contemporary romance with reunited love/teenage love come true/relationship of convenience
The Ghosts of Belfast – Stuart Neville – yeah…i’m kind of wishing that I had left this book on Mt TBR where its been hiding for at least 3 years…pretty much the only reason I stuck it out was because I was slotted into a challenge (yeah, I might be a bit of a masochist).

Books Finished (complete reads)
Playing with Pleasure – Erika Wilde – custom corset maker and hot Dom – yes please! (need I say more).
Wrong Place, Right Time – Elle Casey – single mom and single dad finding love with a touch of suspense/danger (although I did find Jenny to be a tad annoying at times)

Audiobooks
Colonist’s Wife – Kylie Scott – solid sci-fi romance that has just been released in a duo audiobook with another of Ms Scott’s backlist.
Heart’s A Mess – Kylie Scott – cute workplace/bar romance – but really short (I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a bit longer).

While I didn’t read as much as I had planned – looking back, I got a fair amount completed – I just set myself really high standards. I can’t wait until the October Read-a-thon to try again!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

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Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon – Hours 9-12

Halfway there! 12 hours down and 12 to go (although I do find the need to take a bit of a snooze…so I probably will…but I suck at taking naps – I sleep, not nap – anything less than 2hrs is just not going to do it for me!). I was definitely more productive during this four hour block than the last one – finishing up 3 books, including 1 audiobook and starting another one. Although in true Dee fashion, I opted to borrow something new via Kindle Unlimited than tackle one of the many books I borrowed from the library or that I already had on my kindle…haha!

Surprisingly, I also hit my goal of 11000 steps for the day – normally on weekends (not just readathon ones) – I’m a bum and struggle to get 3000, so I’m trying to be extra aware to hit my goals during the day. The errands I ran during this block helped me to finish up for the day (now I don’t feel guilty about doing nothing for the rest of the readathon).

Books Finished:
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond – started pg207 (134pgs)
Wrong Place, Right Time – Elle Casey (358pgs)
Colonist’s Wife and Heart’s a Mess – Kylie Scott – 1hr, 23min to finish it up

Audiobook Started:
Rookie Move – Sarina Bowen – 33min listened

As we get into the time of night when people start wanting to head to bed – I wish everyone luck with your reading adventures! See y’all at midnight!

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

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Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon – Hours 5-8

What do you do when its nearly 90 degrees out and readathon day? you queue up an audiobook and take a nice long week (quite coincidently to the local library). That is how I spent a good portion of the last four hours – I left not long after I posted my first update and it was close to 2hours later when I got home (and it added nearly 5000 steps to my daily goal of 11000) – I also finished up this four hour period by taking both of my devils (aka the German Shepherds for a walk – if you ever want to hear something pathetic, you should hear them when one gets left behind, so I can walk the other). Because of this, I didn’t manage to finish any books during this time period – although I’m getting close on a couple of them (both my current audio and one of the non-fiction books that I had in process before we started).

Books In Progress:
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond
The Spring at Moss Hill – Carla Neggers
Wrong Place, Right Time – Elle Casey

Audiobook in Progress:
Colonist’s Wife and Heart’s a Mess – Kylie Scott – listened to another 2hours 4min (finishing up the first book in the duo and started the second one – does that count as finishing up a book?)

Kade says have fun reading for the next four hours and talk to you then 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

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