October 31, 2018

The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

"The U.S. government planned to break up Indian Territory and make it a part of what would be a new state called Oklahoma." ~ pg. 48

Today is Halloween and you may be dressed in costume or passing out candy to children. Take a few minutes to grab a warm beverage and allow me to share a review of a real life horror story.

Have you ever heard the tales of the Osage Hills? It is a story of the American frontier where cowboys and Indians were said to roam. Where the Osage held black gold. Where the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie explained the government would soon make the Osage move away so white people could settle on the best land. It is also where the richest people in the world lived in the 1920s.

A brief history lesson for my bookhearts. The Osage Indians in Oklahoma discovered oil beneath their land. With this fortune, they were able to build mansions, send children to study abroad and boost the economy. Until they were forced to cede acres of their land and moved to Kansas. Then murders began. They were being mysteriously killed off one by one, along with anyone who investigated the murders. So enters the newly created FBI. The Osage murders was the Federal Bureau of Investigation's first major case. A conspiracy soon unraveled thanks to the FBI together with the last living Osage, J. Edgar Hoover, and a Texas Ranger named Tom White. All are illustrated in Killers of the Flower Moon book along with a note on sources.

"History is a merciless judge." ~ pg. 219

Killers of the Flower Moon may be non-fiction but it has a novel feel. A full-blood Osage woman named Mollie Burkhart lost her entire family in mysterious sinister ways. Her money was also tied up in a corrupt system of guardianship. Her story is told in a timeline of events that coincide with the FBI investigation.

The Washington Post noted in a headline: CONSPIRACY BELIEVED TO KILL RICH INDIANS. The Osage murders created terror in the community. People suspected neighbors, friends and even family. Souls were scalped. Hearts were shot. Bodies were poisoned. It was a gotdamn bloody crime in American history! Creepier than any horror film. Very appalling to read and a reality check. This country been ain't shit. Yet kudos to writer David Grann for his journalism and story-telling skills. This is a true tragic tale that I pray won't repeat history. 

"Like most Americans, when I was in school, I never read about the murders in any books; it was as if these crimes had been excised from history." ~ pg. 208

I do not read or review non-fiction books often. So when I do take the time to study history through pages, it is meaningful. Killers of the Flower Moon was not on my radar until it was recommended by my Sistah J. I buddy read with Chickadee so we could discuss chapters as we read along. What a riveting true-life murder mystery it turned out to be!

Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Author: David Grann
Published: April 2017
Pages: 303
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 30, 2018



The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

"It ain't really my grave." ~ pg. 160

Lives and losses intersect in this novel of heavenly reunions. Years ago, war veteran Eddie died saving the life of a young girl named Annie at an amusement park. She blocked the accident from memory, only able to recall that it took her left hand. Her guilt-ridden mother moves Annie away hoping to leave the traumatizing past behind. But Annie feels haunted until she reunites with childhood love, Paulo. Happiness is short-lived as another accident ends their wedding night. Now Annie is on a journey to heaven, meeting people along the way. Each telling a lesson on how life matters.

Do not fret if you did not read the first book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. This may be the long-awaited sequel but it can be read as a standalone. Exactly how I read it actually! I was not lost as it gives enough backstory on the main character. Also do not let the title deter you. It is not a religious book but instead a spiritual hug of pages.

"What's time between a mother and her daughter? Never too much, never enough." ~ pg. 148

Let's talk presentation for a quick second. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven is the perfect pocket-size book. It is short and thin. Very lightweight for a hardcover. I carried it in my handbag and whipped it out when I had a spare minute to read: in the grocery line, in a parking lot and while walking. You can easily balance the book in one hand with your favorite hot beverage in the other hand. Just don't mix the two!

Support Michigander Mitch Albom and purchase The Next Person You Meet in Heaven. It left me with a priceless sense of serenity. I guarantee you will enjoy the story and its message.

Title: The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
Author: Mitch Albom
Published: October 2018
Pages: 213
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 28, 2018

Series Sunday: Ambush

(Detective Michael Bennett #11) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is Ambush, the 11th book in the Detective Michael Bennett series by James Patterson. The famous detective with a fiancΓ© and ten adopted kids has such a busy dangerous life. Where he finds the time to raise a family and fight crime, I don't know. Well, it is totally possible in fiction land.

Nevertheless, in the latest book of this series, Detective Michael Bennett steps in the line of fire...literally. He is ambushed and caught in a drug war between the Mexican cartel and the Canadian mob. The first shootout happens within pages of the book's opening. Bennett soon realizes he was the intended target. Before he can catch his breath good, his son is rushed to the hospital due to a vicious injury. Then a series of murders follow with a distinct weapon called the stiletto. Can it all be related? Bennett organizes a task force that covers all five boroughs of New York to catch an assassin before the assassin finds him.

"They were calling it the Battle in the Bronx." ~ pg. 26

What a good reason to unplug and bury my thoughts into a book. I spent an entire day reading Ambush and it was worth it. The short chapters are always a motivator to keep reading along. Ambush is a good balance of suspense and family time with a new character (Father Alonzo) added to the mix. And hopefully wedding bells soon! The sequence of events in this book set the stage for more to come in the thrilling world of Detective Michael Bennett. I am happy to report this series is not getting stale. ✊🏾knock on wood✊🏾

Please Note: Readers are treated to a bonus short story at the end of Ambush titled Manhunt. Double the mystery for your buck!

Title: Ambush
Author: James Patterson and James O. Born
Published: October 2018
Pages: 303
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 26, 2018

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"In late November 1954, a woman who identified herself as Zelda Zonk drove quietly to the LAX airport and boarded the evening's last plane to New York. Accompanied by a young photographer named Milton Greene, the woman wore no makeup, a man's oxford shirt, and Jax cigarette pants under a full-length black mink. She wore a black wig cut in a blunt pageboy and, though it was nearly midnight, black Wayfarers. She lit cigarettes and bit her nails like any other jittery twenty-eight-year-old about to jettison marriage, home, and career in the course of one midnight flight."

~ Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy by Elizabeth Winder 


October 25, 2018

Dinner at Sam's

"People say life is short all the time. But it's real, real long when you ain't livin', when you feel like you have to punish yourself for mistakes you made." ~ 83%

Vanessa is trying to get divorced without breaking the bank or her ex's pocket. She is not vengeful enough to take him for everything he's worth. She isn't even seeking child support for the two daughters he basically abandoned. She just wants to cut all ties and move on with life.

Gibson is an attorney that focuses on helping people, not wracking up excessive billing hours like his family firm would prefer. He would rather serve the community than high profile clients. When Gibson's mother dismisses Vanessa because she's not out for a messy divorce, Gibson takes interest. He wants to do right by Vanessa. Get her divorced so she can start a new life...with him.

"She's all over Instagram and bragging everywhere to anyone who will listen about having lunch in Miami and dinner in New York." ~ 14%

Now that's a life goal! Reading as Vanessa and Gibson's relationship develop gave me all the feels of an organic love story. The romance is not forced. The flirty lines are not cheesy. And most importantly, the main characters are realistic as you and I. Glad I stuck with the story after almost being turned off from lack of editing in the beginning of book. So treat yourself to this good read on a chilly day this autumn.

Title: Dinner at Sam's
Author: D.L. White
Published: April 2017
Pages: 276
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 24, 2018

Lit to Movie Review: The Hate U Give

Just as excellent and powerful as the book!

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Cast: Amandla Stenberg (Starr), Algee Smith (Khalil), Regina Hall (Lisa), Russell Hornsby (Maverick), KJ Apa (Chris), Issa Rae (April Ofrah), Common (Uncle Carlos), Anthony Mackie (King)
Release: October 2018
Time: 2 Hours, 12 Minutes
Genre: Drama
Movie Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€
Book RatingπŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 23, 2018

The Good Samaritan

"That's the one sound that matters to me above all others...the one precious moment when someone breathes their last then slips away." ~ 9%

Do you ever turn the last page of a book and just sit still in silence processing what you just read? πŸ™‹πŸ½‍♀️
Let me introduce you to The Good Samaritan.

End of the Line is a service that provides hope and encouragement that life is worth living. Unless you're unlucky enough to call and be connected with Laura. She has her own agenda. Laura doesn't give anyone hope. She wants people to die. In fact, she provides detailed steps to suicide. Far from a good samaritan!

"Commit is a word we never use, as it makes suicide sound like it's a crime, which it isn't." ~ 19%

Ryan's world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, holding hands with a strange man. Why did they die together? Who was the man? Why wasn't she happy enough to live? Ryan vows to answer these questions and hunt down the truth. He dials End of the Line and is connected with none other than Laura. Let the revenge game begin! Ryan and Laura get involved in the most epic tale of tit-for-tat.

"A never-ending cycle of shittery." ~ 35%

Seriously, bookhearts. Download this eBook now while it's under $2! I take full responsibility in advance of you staying up late to read. You may experience multiple emotions. You may throw your Kindle/Nook across the bed in frustration. You will snack more than usual and refill an adult beverage several times. Then you will find me and say thank you for recommending your next best psychological thriller. As I thank my IG/tweetheart Candee!

Title: The Good Samaritan
Author: John Marrs
Published: March 2018
Pages: 400
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 21, 2018

Series Sunday: Past Tense

(Jack Reacher #23) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is Past Tense, the 23rd book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. In true Jack Reacher fashion, he sticks out his thumb hitchhiking for a ride across America. This time, Reacher is not traveling far. He is going to a small town where his father was born. Why not learn more about where his dad grew up? Except according to the city clerk's office and census experts, there is no record of anyone with the surname Reacher ever living in town. Meanwhile, a couple gets stranded at a motel in the middle of nowhere. Their car refuses to start and the motel staff seems strange. The storylines attempt to merge into one big suspenseful mystery.

"Dead as the deadest thing that ever died." ~ 9%

Past Tense is the 23rd book in the series but only my sixth book read in the series. I am still fairly new to the character Jack Reacher. But enough to know he has a strong presence in every room he enters. He has a sharp mind. I've learned his appearance is tall, not so good looking and a little unkempt. His instincts are top notch. He can evaluate a situation and peg a person in seconds. It is these small details that make Jack Reacher stand out as a mystery main character amongst the likes of Myron Bolitar, Alex Cross, Mike Bennett and Easy Rawlins.

"Just three words, but in a tone also learned long ago, with whole extra paragraphs hidden in the dying vowel sound at the end of the phrase, about the inevitable and catastrophic result of attempted resistance." ~ 40%

Here's my three words: it didn't flow. Much like the sentence above. My newfound fondness for Jack Reacher took a disappointing dip. Past Tense was more like a bunch of short stories with a thin connection. Throwing in a subplot and a couple details of Reacher's past did not grab my attention. In fact, I struggled to finish. However, this does not discourage me from continuing with the series and my perpetual reading challenge. Even if I am reading the books backward.  

Happy Early Pub Day, Lee Child. Past Tense will be available Monday, November 5.

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Past Tense
Author: Lee Child
Published: November 2018
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Perpetual Jack Reacher
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 19, 2018

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"This is a story about a woman named Annie, and it begins at the end, with Annie falling from the sky. Because she was young, Annie never thought about endings. She never thought about heaven. But all endings are also beginnings. And heaven is always thinking about us."

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom 


October 18, 2018

Juror #3

"I feel rich as a Lannister." ~ pg. 153

Ruby Bozarth is a newcomer to Rosedale, Mississippi; hence, new to the Mississippi Bar where she is appointed as defense counsel in a racially charged felony case. One of the town's oldest rich families lost a relative. The woman was murdered allegedly by an injured college football star turned waitstaff. Totally inexperienced but Ruby is determined to build a defense that will stick.

"My mama didn't raise no quitter." ~ pg. 31

Ruby finds help from a cast of colorful characters. Suzanne is a hard-working armed attorney. Shorty is a diner cook with shady country club connections. And Lee Greene happens to be Ruby's ex-fiancΓ© also on trial for murder. This small town is full of opinions and secrets, especially from the twelve men and women on the jury.

"...whispering 'Sheeiitt' under his breath." ~ pg. 9

I love and hate when James Patterson releases a standalone novel. In this case, Juror #3 was like two novels hard-bound into one. Of course I love his writing and consider myself a super fan (stan much). But I am disappointed when I actually like the main characters from a standalone novel because I won't ever read about them again. Sequels are not common for Patterson. And the co-author may or may not team up with him a second time. But I so want Ruby Bozarth and friends to be made into a series! That is how much I enjoyed Juror #3.

Title: Juror #3
Author: James Patterson & Nancy Allen
Published: September 2018
Pages: 304
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 17, 2018


"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." ~ pg. 16

Like most Black Americans, I had an unfavorable opinion of Omarosa Manigault Newman. I only knew what the media portrayed her to be. I didn't pay much attention to her work for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. I forgot she served in the Clinton White House and was instrumental in Hillary Clinton's campaign. I didn't become interested in her story until she appeared on one of my favorite reality TV shows, Big Brother, and emotionally told a fellow housemate that things will not be okay. I watched her mannerisms, her game strategy and her diary room sessions with a new interest. Dare I say I wanted her to win! (I root for everybody black though.)

So I hurried to the library and reserved my copy when her much-anticipated tell-all book was released. Admittedly, I did not want to spend my hard-earned coins in case she was on some bullshit. Instead I made use of my tax dollars and borrowed it from the local public library. I didn't know what to expect but promised I would begin the book with no preconceived notions and with an open mind.

"I'm not here to make friends." ~ pg. 46

First of all, the subtitle is misleading. Omarosa goes way beyond her time at the White House with Trump as President. She begins the story years back when she first met him and appeared on his reality show, Celebrity Apprentice. Forward through her time spent in politics for the next 20+ years. Then she chronicles life post-White House Trump era. Readers will get more info than the subtitle suggests as well as her take on things outside of the last election. But her purpose remains: showing just how unhinged the White House is today.

This book is indeed an inside look into the current administration. Corruption details and controversy fill the pages. Omarosa has been in Trump's circle for over 15 years. She knows all the inside scoop because she not only had a front row seat but shared the podium. Keep in mind that Omarosa owes the public nothing. We don't need an explanation on why she stuck by this man's side. Why she advocated for him. Why she cut ties with Hillary Clinton. Or even why she chose to be a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother. Yet she answers all of our unasked nosy questions in Unhinged.

"I kept getting tackled by my own teammates, always playing defense. I was working as hard and as fast as I could—my schedule during Black History Month alone exhausts me just writing about it—but the headlines were always asking, 'What's she doing there?'"
 ~ pg. 204

After reading Unhinged with an open mind, I believe that Omarosa is misunderstood and misjudged. Unlike the artist formerly known as Kanye, she acknowledges wrongly supporting a man and aiding in his representation of the country. She also had intentions of bettering the black community despite other people's agendas. Do I believe Omarosa was honest in her account of working with Trump? At times, yes. I more-so believe that she believes everything told in her story really happened as she has written. Do what you will with that tidbit, bookhearts. Whether you are a concerned citizen or merely looking for your next nonfiction read, Unhinged is worth the time.

Title: Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House
Author: Omarosa Manigault Newman
Published: August 2018
Pages: 226
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 16, 2018

Evidence of the Affair

"You are only for me. It is as if I have lived with a hard shell all over my body and you have cracked it and it has all fallen off. I am fresh again." ~ pg. 17

Imagine my delight when I noticed a new eShort on Kindle from bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid! After reading my review, go ahead and download this Amazon.com original story for less than $2!

Who ever discusses the nitty gritty repercussions of an affair? Oh because there are plenty! But often in stories we only read about how an illicit affair began and then how it ends, from the perspective of the cheating spouses. What about the other way around? Hmmm...

"Thank you for helping me hold my head a bit higher at a time in which it has every reason to hang low." ~ pg. 58

In Evidence of the Affair, a young woman writes a letter to a man she's never met. This one act changes both their lives. The correspondence between the two reveals the painful details of an affair between their spouses. They confess their feelings, insecurities and fears with every letter. Yet they remain "oblivious" of the affair when at home. Evidence of the Affair is told entirely through letters of these two comforting strangers and those of the illicit lovers.

Different spin, right? Yup!

Title: Evidence of the Affair
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: September 2018
Pages: 89
Edition: eShort
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


October 14, 2018

Series Sunday: The Christmas Scorpion

(Jack Reacher #22.5) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is The Christmas Scorpion, book #22.5 in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. A super short and to the plot eBook that was easy to read from start to finish. The details made it addicting to read in one sitting. Quite the opposite from the quote below.

"Except the story didn't work." ~ pg. 18

Just like the birds, Jack Reacher likes to head south for winter. He carefully plans his route and arrives in Southern California just before Christmas. But it's a freak blizzard! He finds refuge in a roadhouse with four other strangers: an older couple and two British military police separated from their VIP. So much for protecting their subject. Reacher offers to help find their VIP but he can't very well leave the older couple snowed in. Now Reacher is responsible to keeping everyone safe from an undercover assassin on the loose in a snow blizzard.

The Christmas Scorpion is a great short book for the Perpetual Jack Reacher challenge! Lose yourself in a fictional snow blizzard mystery for an hour or so.

Author: Lee Child
Published: October 2018 
Pages: 48
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Perpetual Jack Reacher
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 12, 2018

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma."

~ Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann