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6 Knowledgeable Things about Adam Hochschild’s “King Leopold’s Ghost”

King Leopold’s Ghost

by Adam Hochschild

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: A meticulously researched book focused on the exploitation of the Congo by King Leopold. A detailed account of key players and how abuse and slavery were able to continue for years with the world none the wiser. An honest, disturbing look at how colonialism continues to negatively impact the world today.

6 Knowledgeable Things about Adam Hochschild’s “King Leopold’s Ghost”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Educational

This book was a huge eye-opener. Nowhere in any formal education was there mention of the massacre that happened in the Congo, or anywhere else in Africa, due to colonialism. As in everywhere else in history, the victors write the history books and conveniently omit any negative images of themselves.

2. Citing Sources

Hochschild did his research diligently. His pages of notes and bibliography provide ample evidence and support of his narrative of what happened in the Congo under King Leopold’s rule.

3. Characters

In “King Leopold’s Ghost,” Hochschild does an amazing job of bringing his historical characters to life. He includes key life events to help readers understand their motivations and values that may have impacted their decisions. However, there is a lack of African voices and Hochschild makes note of this and gives valid reasons why this is so.

4. The Atrocities

While not giving traumatizing details, Hochschild clearly paints a picture of the horror many Congolese people experienced at the hands of their European suppressors. From forced slavery in terrible conditions to being used as target practice, King Leopold encouraged a holocaust in the name of greed.

5. Silence

“King Leopold’s Ghost” includes an explanation of how these atrocities were not made public and how King Leopold was able to manipulate others in power and the media to keep the silence of the massacre that was occurring.

6. Impact

One of the strongest points Hochschild presents in “King Leopold’s Ghost” is how colonialism continues to have an impact in the Congo today. Due to American and European investments, these governments continue interfering with democracy in the Congo going so far as in 1961, providing the means to assassinate Lumumba, an elected prime minister.

What are your favorite things about “King Leopold’s Ghost”?


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

6 Tender Things about Kate Cross’s “Touch of Steel"

Touch of Steel

Clockwork Agents Book 2

by Kate Cross

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary:  Gravely injured while fighting Howard, the murderer of her beloved brother, Claire Brooks falls into the hands of the Wardens of the Realm. As an agent for the Company, she is now at the mercy of her enemies and chooses to defect in order to reach her goal. Teamed up with Warden Alastair Payne, they hunt Howard while pretending to be engaged. An irresistible attraction develops between Alastair and Claire and they must decide if they are truly allies or enemies.

6 Tender Things about Kate Cross’s “Touch of Steel”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Claire

A deadly agent who loves fiercely and loyally as evident in the way she hunts the murderer of her beloved brother.

2. Friendship

Kate Cross created characters that show friendship at its best! Without knowing Claire, Arden and Luke stand beside Alastair’s decision to include Claire in the Wardens because they trust and love Alastair, no further proof was needed.

3. Alastair

While Alastair has many faults, including coveting his best friend’s wife and being a stubborn ass, he is a good man. Publicly defending and proclaiming his love for Claire redeemed him in many ways.

4. The Heat

Erotic scenes between Alastair and Claire were hot and steamy.

5. Happily-Ever-After

“Touch of Steel” was quite the rollercoaster and while it turns out Claire’s brother was a huge dick, Claire at least got her happily-ever-after with Alastair as they continue fighting as Wardens of the Realm.

6. Breath of Iron

The Clockwork Agent series continues in Kate Cross’s next steampunk novel “Breath of Iron.”

What are your favorite things about “Touch of Steel”?


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Homely Things about Kate Cross’s “Heart of Brass”

Heart of Brass

Clockwork Agents Book 1

by Kate Cross

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary:  After 7 years of hoping that he was still alive, Arden Grey sees her husband with her own eyes, as he tries to kill her. Luke remembers nothing of their love or anything before he was Five, an agent for the Company. Working for the Wardens, the Company’s sworn enemy, Arden must find a way to get Luke to remember her and their life or risk them having to say goodbye forever.

7 Homely Things about Kate Cross’s “Heart of Brass”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Arden Grey

Incredibly smart, Arden is not only employed as a woman but is an inventor. This woman has no problems telling the status quo to f-off and to take matters in her own hands. Even with her husband back in her life, she does not allow him to tell her what she can or cannot do.

2. Estranged

“Heart of Brass” had the unique premise of the main hero and heroine already being married, just estranged.

3. Characters

Character development was done well and realistic that both Arden and Luke would be different after 7 years. It was a pleasure watching them fall in love and find their way back to each other again while still being who they are.

4. Marriage

Kate Cross gives an honest view of marriage, it is never perfect and entails forgiveness and a lot of compromises.

5. Steampunk

The Clockwork Agents series takes place in 1898 London with added steampunk elements creating a vibrant, interesting setting.

6. Happy Ending

“Heart of Brass” was an overall imaginative and riveting story that came to a touching, happy conclusion.

7. Touch of Steel

Thankfully Kate Cross’s steampunk Clockwork Agents series continues in “Touch of Steel.”

What are your favorite things about “Heart of Brass”?


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

4 Swell Things about Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender”

Sweet Surrender

Sweet Book 1

by Maya Banks

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary: Looking for a man to dominate her, Faith, is caught at a kinky sex club by her new colleague, Gray Montgomery, a previous Dallas cop. As Gray tries to deny their mutual attraction, he continues searching for the murderer of his partner. But then Faith is threatened and Gray will stop at nothing to protect and take care of her.

4 Swell Things about Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender”

(May Contain Spoilers)


1. GRAY MONTGOMERY

Strong, alpha male, who is dominate but also thoughtful, protective, and kind. While also being a sexy cop. Instant win!

2. SUB & DOM RELATIONSHIP

Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender” focuses on a true sub and dom relationship, not just kinky sex in the bedroom but a relationship in which one partner is blatantly submissive to the other partner who is dominant in a manner that extends past the bedroom. A healthy sub and dom relationship is based on mutual respect and trust and can be deeply satisfying to both parties.

3. HAWT

Erotic scenes in “Sweet Surrender” were kinky, passionate, and hot, hot, hot! A third player sometimes was featured too.

4. SWEET PERSUASION

While “Sweet Surrender” happily concludes Gray and Faith’s story, Maya Banks continues her erotic stories in “Sweet Persuasion.”

What are your favorite things about “Sweet Surrender”?


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Millennium Book 3

by Stieg Larsson

NIKKI’S RATING: 10 OUT OF 10

Summary: Shot in the head and fighting for her life, Lisbeth Salander must now prepare for the trial of her life. Facing charges for 3 murders, Mikhael Blomkvist is desperate to prove Lisbeth’s innocence. But now it is not just Lisbeth’s father they will expose, but the Swedish government. The clock is ticking as government agents move to silence Mikhael and Lisbeth forever.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. the writing

As with the other books in the Millennium series, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” was a thrilling masterpiece. Hard to put down, this novel was a rollercoaster of emotions and anticipation.

2. Lisbeth Salander

An unforgettable heroine who continues to push on with strength and determination regardless of being the victim of traumatic abuse at the hands of so many men in her life.

3. Sexuality

Throughout the Millennium series, Lisbeth’s character never conforms to a label on her sexuality and openly opposes the idea of giving herself a label. She consistently displays a healthy acceptance of herself and her fluid sexuality without judgment.

4. Polyamorous

The Millenium series also includes a portrayal of a healthy polyamorous relationship that is presented in a nonjudgemental manner with the characters being mature and respectful of each other.

5. Sexism

Larsson uses his characters and their stories to portray the sexism that many women experience every day in real life. From questions about their sexuality and other sexual comments to believing that their work is less than simply because they are a woman; sexism leads to violence against women.

6. Violence Against Women

Larsson’s most important theme throughout the Millennium series is that of violence against women. Larsson includes examples of rape, assault, stalking, and harassment of women in the series.

7. The Characters

The whole Millennium series includes characters readers become invested in and truly care about. Characters with depth, with both irritating and endearing qualities; readers fall in love with them, regardless of their faults.

8. Corruption

“The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” accurately portrays how easy it is for a group of people, especially in the government, to be seduced by the idea of their own power and importance. Without proper oversight and transparency, corruption is easy and can have devasting effects for many.

9. Sweden

While by no means a detailed account of Sweden, it was enjoyable and interesting to read a book that was placed in modern-day Sweden.

10. The Ending

Happy to report that while Larsson intended for the Millennium series to continue and then unexpectedly died after completed the transcripts for the first 3 novels, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” concludes satisfyingly and has an overall happy ending with no cliffhangers to drive readers mad.

What are your favorite things about “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”?


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Reviews of October 2019

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier

Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan

Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Long