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.

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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.

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.

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

10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

The Girl who Played with Fire

Millennium Book 2

by Stieg Larsson

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Working on a story about sex trafficking, famous reporter and publisher Mikhael Blomkvist, stumbles on sensitive information that gets a colleague killed. Lisbeth Salander’s past catches up to her and she is framed for the murder of a Swedish couple. Now Mikhael and Lisbeth must use all their skills of espionage, blackmail, hacking, and researching to solve the murders before one of them is the next victim.


10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth is a badass. This genius hacker takes no bullshit from anyone and although small, can hold her own in a fight. While rough around the edges and abrasive, she cares for those around her fiercely and loyally.  Lisbeth is one of my favorite heroines with her sarcasm, brutal honesty, and devilish thinking.

2. Sex Trafficking

Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire” centers around the issue of sex trafficking, having this be the topic main character Mikhael Blomkvist is researching and reporting on. In the real world, there are about 25 million victims of sex trafficking globally and it is the fastest growing crime.

3. Violence Against Women

Another important theme seen in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series is that of violence against women. Having witnessed a young girl being gang-raped at the age of 15, Stieg Larsson was a feminist and used his books to portray the abhorrent violence many women are subjected to.

4. The Characters

Stieg Larsson creates characters that are so in-depth, realistic, and relatable. Even the main characters are seen with positive qualities and some pretty major faults.

5. System Failure

Stieg Larsson also touches upon the issue of system failure, especially that in the mental health field. Lisbeth’s backstory includes her being placed in a mental health facility and instead of treatment she received more abuse and trauma at the hands of professionals.

6. Thrilling

While the mystery/thriller genre is not a favorite of mine, putting “The Girl who Played with Fire” down was nearly impossible. Very well written, Stieg Larsson provided an intriguing and complex murder-mystery with an unforgettable heroine.

7. Zala

An interesting and realistic power-hungry villain with the twist of being Lisbeth’s sadistic father.

8. Friends

While lacking in a love story, “The Girl who Played with Fire” features so much love amongst friends. Touching and inspirational, characters consistently provided limitless love and support to their friends throughout the story, even when it caused a danger to themselves.

9. No Romance

While a huge romance genre fan and a sucker for love stories, it was refreshing and surprising that the main male and female characters were not starcrossed lovers trying to achieve their happily-ever-after. Continues with the feminist ideals that a woman is strong and worthy on her own, no man needed.

10. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Thankfully this is not the last of Lisbeth Salander and there is Millennium Book 3: “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

What are your favorite things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

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

5 Touching Things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”

“Too Dangerous to Desire” Lords of Midnight Book 3

by Cara Elliott

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: After years of running from his past and a broken heart, Cameron Daggett returns home. Determined to continue his rogue ways, he closely guards his heart against his ex-sweetheart, Sophie. But his past catches up to him and Sophie is now in danger. As Cameron and Sophie work together, they find themselves falling in love once more. But will cautious, responsible Sophie allow herself to be swept away by Cameron, a criminal and Hellhound, or will she choose to be prudent and walk away from their love once more?


5 Touching Things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”

May contain Spoilers

1. The Story

The story overall was very engaging as you try to figure out everyones’ motives as one character is being blackmailed, another’s birthright is being denied, and then the suspicious death of a whole family.

2. Childhood Sweethearts

Sophie and Cameron grew up together and they are adorable, there is just something heartwarming about childhood sweethearts.

3. Birth Control

“Too Dangerous to Desire” is the first romance novel that I’ve come across (that I remember) that includes any mention of birth control. Although it is only briefly mentioned, Cara Elliott allows her story to be that much more realistic having her characters take measures to prevent pregnancy.

4. Hotness

Cara Elliott includes some pretty steamy and romantic scenes in “Too Dangerous to Desire.”

5. Partners in Crime

Cameron and Sophie had plenty adventures as kids. And even as adults Cameron teaches Sophie a few tricks of the trade and includes her on some of his “jobs.” While he worries for her, he also realizes that she is an equal and she can make her own decisions.

What are your favorite things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

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