Book Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime
Panda Rating:

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

This review was written on 19 December right after I finished reading it!

First of all, wow. WowwowwowwowWOW.
Second, I’ve only ever read one non-fiction that I devoured so quickly and I think I read this one even faster!
Third, JUST. WOW!

I really don’t know how to write this review right now because (clearly) I’m still a little shook. My brain keeps asking: did I just read a science fiction thriller or did this actually happen? I honestly can’t remember the last time I swore so much and so loudly while reading–there was a lot of “WTF, GTFO, and are you forking serious” going on during this read but I just couldn’t help myself! 😂 I had no intention of finishing the book today when I picked it up and decided to purchase the audiobook, but this was 100% unputdownable. I do think the audiobook is what helped me get through this so quickly though and I would definitely recommend it (I listened on 2x speed)!

Continue reading “Book Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou”

Goodreads Monday – Columbine by Dave Cullen

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday! It’s been a very hot minute since I did one but I figured I might as well get back into it! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s featured book is Columbine by Dave Cullen. This is a true crime non-fiction that was published in 2009 and it has a 4.28 star rating on Goodreads.

Continue reading “Goodreads Monday – Columbine by Dave Cullen”

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?

Top 5 Saturday: Books with a Colour in the Title

I totally spaced yesterday and forgot that it was Saturday because the days have blurred since I’ve been WFH… I only realised I had missed Saturday’s post when I was doing a little after midnight gaming. Oops!

We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books with a colour in the title.

I thought that I would be able to very easily recall five titles with colours in them off the top of my head but apparently I can’t! LOL So here comes Goodreads and Google searches to the rescue! I don’t know what I’d without these mad interwebs brains 😂

JADE CITY is a gripping Godfather-esque saga of intergenerational blood feuds, vicious politics, magic, and kungfu.
The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities. The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection. When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

JADE CITY! I can’t believe I forgot this one especially since it’s currently on my bedside table as I was attempting to read it a few weeks back! I put a hold on reading this for now because it requires a lot of concentration and I’m really not in the right headspace for it, although I did enjoy what I read!

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Books with a Colour in the Title”

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I spent part of my day in bed with The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule and friends, this book has me feeling some type of way and I don’t even know… I can’t even begin to imagine what it would do to someone knowing that a person you consider(ed) a friend is a serial killer whose trail you’ve followed so closely from the start. It’s terrifying! How she writes about Ted Bundy is creepy AF because the person she knew seemed legit like a pretty freaking decent guy. Saying that about a guy like Ted Bundy makes me want to gag a little but… How he was presented at the start of this book made me think that. I have a feeling this book is going to be a helluva ride. Just in case you don’t know the book I’m talking about, you can read the synopsis below.

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy’s death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer — the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew — Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

What are you currently reading?

It’s Sunday again (already) and surprise, surprise, I’m sad about it. Although my weekends have been relatively ‘chill’ recently, I usually do end up scheduling one or two activities that leave me feeling tired and productive enough to feel like I haven’t completely wasted my weekends away 😅 Yesterday I accompanied one of my close friends/colleagues to do one of her final prenatal check ups, followed up by lunch at what very quicly became one of our favorite places to eat for its delicious food and drinks! I had the tuna poké with a fresh summery fruit smoothie, and we rounded up our meal by sharing their delectable french toast. Friends, IT IS SO FREAKING DELICIOUS I CAN’T EVEN. My friend and I literally had dreams about eating that french toast again, which is why we decided to head back to get it again. You know when something invades your dreams it’s just really that good 🤤

Aside from that, I’m planning to try ‘Zero Gravity Float Therapy’ soon. One of my besties told me about it and she thought it might be something interesting for me to try out for my sleep and mental health related issues. I thought I’d booked my session for today but it turns out it’s actually next week 😅 So that was already a good start to my Sunday LOL I’m kind of glad that it’s next week though because it’s given me more time to get more comfortable with the idea of it. The thought of being enclosed in a small, dark space, surrounded by water and zero sound, kind of FREAKS ME THE F OUT… But apparently this therapy is pretty good and does things that normal therapy doesn’t! So… ehrm… I guess let’s do this?

Reading & Blogging Recap

I sadly haven’t read a lot this week and I think I’ve only managed to finish one book? November not off to the best start! A lot of that had to do with the fact that I’ve been trying to catch up on engaging on blogs and most of my nights after work have been spent writing and reading… Not to mention that I’ve been caught up in the Twitterverse a couple of times this last week… 🙃 Next thing I know it’s 2AM, I haven’t read, I’m not sleepy and I just spent the last 3 hours scrolling social media LMAO I know I’m not the only one this happens to, amirite?! But also, I spent a lot of time this week reading Wicked Saints. I’m so sad to say that it really didn’t blow me away like I was hoping it would. I was a little disappointed by it but I am looking forward to reading Ruthless Gods, the sequel, which I got an eARC of a few months back! You can check out my review listed down below 🙂

Like I said earlier, I’ve been trying to blog and engage a bit more this week. I haven’t been able to get back to the levels before mid-October threw me completely off my game, but I managed to knock out some tags and awards that I’ve been putting off for way too long. I love getting tagged and nominated for these things but I am undoubtedly the absolute worst when it comes to answering them 🤣🙃🤣 Please don’t stop tagging me though–I really do love it! 💜 I also started doing some of the weekly memes that I’ve missed over the last few weeks (Friday Favorites and Top 5 Saturday) and it felt good to get back into it! In case you missed them, you can check out the posts I’ve made this week down below!

Review: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan
Top 5 Saturday: Books with a Survival Theme!
Friday Favorites: Inspiring Characters
First Lines Friday: 08 November
Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
Are You Ready for Sweater Weather: The Autumn Tag!
Real Neat Blog Award!
Review: Frankly In Love by David Yoon
#WWWWednesday: 06 November
#TopTenTuesday: Books Giving Me Those Autumn Vibes!
Down the TBR Hole – 06
Goodreads Monday: 04 November

A special music shout out to HAIM this week for their new song: Now I’m In It. Contrary to what it sounds like, this is actually about depression and falling back ‘in it’. These sisters are amazing and whenever I start listening to them I can’t stop!

How has your week been? Hope everyone has/had a great weekend!

#TopTenTuesday (Freebie): Books from A Genre I Want to Read More of…

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: a freebie! You’d think this would be easy, right? But it actually took me quite some time to figure out what I wanted to post. I was tossing up a few topics that sounded fun, including some older TTT posts from when I hadn’t started blogging yet (there are tons!) but after some deliberating, I settled on: books from one genre that I’d like to read more of. It’s not the most exciting topic but I’ve been feeling a bit low on inspiration lately (see: severe sleep deprivation due to sleep issues). Every year I tell myself that I’m going to read more non-fiction and while I do make some effort, meaning I add a few non-fiction books to my shelves, I still end up only reading one or two at the most. It’s not that I don’t like NF, but I always find that unless it’s written in a very compelling fiction-esque way, my attention will waver faster than you can say go. But here are ten books that I’d love to pick up (soon?) from this genre that always eludes me 🙂

Side note: You’re very quickly going to see a pattern develop on my list today because I love true crime. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be true crime. There’s just something about these wickedly disturbing people and the horrifying things they do that compels to read all about it. I just want to know everything (pls don’t judge me. I’m not a creepy sociopath or serial killer, I promise).

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This has been on my wishlist for forever and I finally got my hands on it a few weeks ago. I really hope that I don’t let this one languish too long on my shelf. 🙈

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule
This is another one that has been on my wishlist for ages. Ted Bundy is terrifying but I’m just so curious to know more about how he functioned. Ann Rule was his close friend. I can’t even imagine what it’d feel like to realize that someone close to you is a serial killer. *shudders*

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Edward Douglas & Mark Olshaker
Criminal Minds featuring the BAU of the FBI is one of my all time favorite shows EVER. I find criminal profiling incredibly fascinating. Fun fact: I thought I wanted to be a criminal behaviour specialist when I majored in Behavioural Studies for my BA. Criminal Behaviour was my fave class!

Columbine by Dave Cullen
As far as I recall, this was the first time I’d heard of shootings in American schools and it was unfathomable to me that a massacre could occur in high school to kids my own age. It will never get easier to hear about these things. There’s a lot of praise for this book, so I’m looking forward to learning more about what happened that day.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
I actually started this on audiobook but there was a lot of information to take in. I felt I needed to have the physical book to follow along to so I put it aside. It’s tragic that McNamara never got to see what came of her years of work, but I’m glad that her husband, Patton Oswalt, saw it through.

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer’s Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon by David Grann
I read my first David Grann book last year, Killers of the Flower Moon, and I shocked myself with how quickly I devoured it. I finished it in one day! Grann’s writing is the perfect example of NF that reads like fiction and I was completely hooked. Of course I had to add this to my shelf right away!

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
Call me ignorant, but I’d never heard of The Curies’ use of radium in the products until I (somehow) stumbled across this book title earlier this year. It’s absolutely shocking and vile that they denied the nasty side effects of RADIUM on their workers. I’m so curious to know more about what happened.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
I’d seen this a lot in the bookstores when it came out but it never occurred to me to pick it up. Of course now that it’s no longer readily available in book stores here, I want it desperately. I heard it’s not only very funny (I mean, look at that cover) but it also gets very real about depression.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
I actually have this on audiobook but I’m really bad with audiobooks. So I’m waiting for my physical copy to come in (which I coincidentally just bought this morning as it was on sale)! There’s no way I’m not reading this one. I’m very excited. Michelle Obama is so inspiring!

Educated by Tara Westover
So I’ve actually been seeing a few mixed reviews about this book now that the incredible hype surrounding it has died down a little. People are saying it’s not authentic? Westover’s background is world’s away from what I’m familiar with, and her journey sounds very inspiring, so I’m looking forward to finally reading it (hopefully this year)!

Have you read any of these non-fiction books? What’d you think of them? So curious to know what others have come up with for their TTT freebie this week! Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments below so I can swing by your page and we can have a chat!