Review: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Goodreads: Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime
Panda Rating:

(Review posted from 2018)

From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, soon to be a major film starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattison, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the newly-created FBI’s first major homicide investigations.

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, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And this was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled it. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

“Today our hearts are divided between two worlds. We are strong and courageous, learning to walk in these two worlds, hanging on to the threads of our culture and traditions as we live in a predominantly non-Indian society. Our history, our culture, our heart, and our home will always be stretching our legs across the plains, singing songs in the morning light, and placing our feet down with the ever beating heart of the drum. We walk in two worlds.”

I’ve said it countless times before but I’ll say it again: I’m not usually a nonfiction reader. I always have trouble getting hooked into the flow and most of the time I lose interest after 35-50% or it takes me forever (read: months or years) to finish a book. BUT that wasn’t the case with this one.

This book sucked me in from the start – big props to David Grann and his writing! I don’t know what to say about this book though. It’s… appalling and fascinating? It is a chilling and despondent portrayal of a very dark side of humanity. Reading the history of the prejudices carried out against the Indians left me feeling incredulous. I know it’s not an isolated history and it still goes on today, but I guess reading about the full extent of the injustices done and the perpetrators’ attitude of absolute right and entitlement to do so… Really brings back the time age-old question: who really are the savages here?

That said, this book is also a testament to the strength and perseverance of a peoples – to come through that Reign of Terror, although even generations after the time, not unscathed. I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be like to know that justice will never be seen for the family that was lost in such sickening and brutal ways.

Although I’m not in any way connected to America or this American history, it’s still sad to know that this dark period is not something that’s taught to younger generations – “lest we forget”. It’s so important to not forget this history.

Have you read Killers of the Flower Moon or is it on your TBR?

Review: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Goodreads: Sourdough
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism
Panda Rating:

(Review posted from 2018)

Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighbourhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her – feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.


When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

If Vietnamese pho’s healing powers, physical and psychic, make traditional chicken noodle soup seem like dishwater—and they do—then this spicy soup, in turn, dishwatered pho. It was an elixir. The sandwich was spicier still, thin-sliced vegetables slathered with a fluorescent red sauce, the burn buffered by thick slabs of bread artfully toasted.

I really enjoyed this book! Sourdough is full of quirky and endearing characters and situations that make you laugh and fill your mind with wonder. It also made me insanely hungry (2020 edit: reading that quote above already has me salivating!) and brought to life a craving for sourdough – although I’m sure the loaf that I dug into is nothing like the legendary Mazg one (unfortunately). What I liked about this book is that you can take it as lightly as you want to, but if you want to give it a bit more thought, there’s also some meat for you to chew on. It doesn’t go into very fine details, which I didn’t mind because in a book like this, you can easily over-describe situations, events and processes until you bore your reader to death. Robin Sloan definitely doesn’t do that!

I have come to believe that food is history of the deepest kind. Everything we eat tells a tale of ingenuity and creation, domination and injustice—and does so more vividly than any other artifact, any other medium.

Lois, the main character, is so full of life and energy. I could really relate to her thoughts in terms of wondering at being a part of something more; something significant and important. I think that’s what we all go through in our 20s, 30s (and well, some even longer), especially as we finish university and start looking for a job and try to find more meaning in our lives. To find that purpose and to chase after what makes us tick – what gives us life. Lois is so passionate and just dives into situations that come at her – which is the complete opposite of me and probably why I find people who can do that so admirable. That energy of hers was palpable and as I read the book, I happily soaked up her enthusiasm for everything that she was doing. It made me think about what I’m currently doing and whether I am just living in my own version of “General Dexterity”? It’s a big Maybe.

Here’s a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.

Of course, there’s also some magical realism sprinkled throughout the book, especially as you come towards the end when you’re kind of doused in it all at once. As someone who is very picky when it comes to magical realism, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it but I absolutely loved it! It’s another element of Robin Sloan’s writing that I loved because it’s not entirely out of place or unbelievable in stories where the characters and events are so full of quirkyness.

I read someone’s comment about his books that summarised them in a really simple but accurate way – just as Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was about a secret society for book lovers, Sourdough is about a secret society for food lovers. And who doesn’t love food (and books and secret societies)?! After reading this, it’s pretty safe to say that I thoroughly enjoy the way Robin Sloan writes and he has got a fan in me! Can’t wait to read more from him 🙂

Have you read Sourdough or is it on your TBR?

Review: Donut Disturb (Donut Disturb #1) by Melissa Williams

Goodreads: Donut Disturb (Donut Disturb #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

A STANDALONE romantic comedy from author Melissa Williams. A hot cop and a donut baker, what could go wrong?

It was a donut emergency. A dough or die moment. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. It would explain why, from the moment Baxter DeCavhalo comes crashing into my kitchen, I’ve been acting out of character.

Why I’m sharing secret donut recipes, licking frosting off fingers that aren’t mine, and falling for the off-limits neighbor. I know better, I need to be focusing on my bakery and my next donut creation…but there’s just something about Bax that keeps me coming back for more. It’s not the heat of the kitchen that’s getting to me, it’s Bax. And this slow burn is about to combust.

I was looking for a light and fluffy romantic comedy when I came across this book and it sounded just like what I was looking for. It didn’t hurt that it also has such a colourful and eye-catching cover! I was sold. Unfortunately, this book was not it and it didn’t work out for me.

The plot and character arcs felt very underdeveloped because everything seemed to happen off-page. There were many allusions to “something not being right” with the friendships and sibling relationships, and that’s even before we get into the police drama that stems from Bax’s work as a police detective. It felt like there was a lot happening in the story but at the same time, not much either, if that makes sense. There were no discussions to try to solve those “not right” feelings with her brother and her best friend, although something was clearly up. It all came across as very vague.

I also didn’t connect with our heroine or hero. Cassidy seems to have a history of being hurt and so has built up her walls; however, we never really learn about what made the walls go up in the first place. Again, hints of her history are dropped but we don’t get any details. Of course these walls end up being a barrier to whatever is going on with Bax, but after some not-very-nice hints from her best friend about her inability to trust anyone, Cassidy simply decides that she’s going to let Bax in… And she does it. Despite a rough meet-cute for our characters, Bax became very quickly “all-in” with Cassidy. He decides at one point during their second interaction that he wants all or nothing, and he’s going to make Cassidy realise that he’s serious about them. I didn’t get it. Yeah, she’s quirky and makes delicious donuts but… That’s it? Don’t tell me he’s all in, show me why! I felt very little chemistry between them and that made their steamy scenes also fall flat for me.

Overall, a fairly disappointing read. It just never clicked for me and that’s disappointing because I was expecting more… Even the part about the bakery, which I thought would leave me with endless donut cravings, didn’t even really do that… I’m glad that I did give this a try though–I don’t think I could’ve resisted such a cute cover for very long, but I’m also glad it was on Kindle Unlimited!

Have you read Donut Disturb or is it on your TBR?

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

I wasn’t tagged to do this post so of course I’m going to be doing it before all the ones I’m actually tagged in! 🙃 I saw Kirsty @ Caffeinated Fae post this on her blog today and it looked like a fun and short tag to do and since my mind is clearly not gunning for the “heavier” stuff right now I thought why not do it!? So here I am and here we go…

What do you like about buying new books?

Does “everything” count as an answer? Well, except for parting with my money… 💸 But no really, I love the new book smell, I love adding an anticipated read to my shelves, I love discovering a new book that I’ve never heard of before. I love walking out of the story with new worlds full of delicious possibilities waiting to be discovered!

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#TopTenTuesday: Brand New Christmassy Books!

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: a freebie! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this freebie, but after some thought I decided that I would try injecting a little bit of holiday cheer to my blog, so I’m looking at the brand new holiday titles on my shelf. I’m not much of a holiday or seasonal reader so I don’t have any Christmassy books, but that is all changed today, friends! Early this morning I read Jana’s ‘A Bookish Little Christmas’ post and couldn’t help getting sucked right into the holiday mood, intense tropical heat notwithstanding! I mean, everything about the post screamed CHRISTMAS BOOK BUYING TIME…and what do you think I did? 😅 If you guessed that I went and bought all the Christmassy books then you’re spot on! Okay, I’m kidding (only a little bit). I did buy some but there are quite a few options available on Kindle Unlimited, in case you’re looking for a holiday read! I’m going to go ahead and say that pretty much 100% of these were cover buys 😍

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Brand New Christmassy Books!”