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Book Review: What Lies Below

What Lies BelowWhat Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel is a mystery novel, a suspense novel, and a romance novel all rolled into one. Gilly O’Connell is a broken woman. She sees things other people can’t and it’s caused her unending heartbreak her entire life. She’s lost friends, family, and even her husband and child. Yet she can’t stop her dreams and must deal with the consequences that come with visions of events she is powerless to stop.

I read mysteries (a lot) and so very little in this book came as a shock to me. There was maybe one “WHOA!” moment in the entire book. However, that didn’t ruin it for me. The characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, and there were times that I thought characters could have asked more questions or probed deeper in a particular situation. Some of the chapters didn’t flow as smoothly into one another but it didn’t detract from the story. Finally, we all know that I hate the tidy bow at the end of a story and this one wrapped up just a little too cleanly for my tastes.

Overall, the book was a good read. It was quick and intriguing and I’d highly recommend it to any fan of mystery/suspense with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

*I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley.*

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Life Review: 2018

Holy shit.

That pretty much sums up my 2018.  You may have noticed, I’ve been scarce (again).  Well, you can thank 2018 for that this time.  Let’s recap.

The Good

  • Went to Baltimore and essentially completed my Masters thesis
  • Started bullet journalling
  • Surprised my mom on Mother’s Day
  • Kidlet moved in with us
  • Awesome visit with friends
  • 10 year anniversary with the hubs
  • Had an awesome visit with the whole family
  • New Bean on the way (October)
  • Interviewed my nonprofit role model
  • Led my nonprofit to their most successful event ever
  • Elected as President of a start-up nonprofit
  • Finished several knitting projects

The Bad

  • 5 year anniversary of grandma’s death
  • Got fired
  • Super, super sick
  • Have you seen the state of politics lately?

The Ugly

  • My mom died.

So, yes, Holy Shit is about all you need to know and you instantly understand my 2018.  I’d say I broke even.

There is one silver lining to this whole nightmare: I’ve learned that I am made of freaking diamonds.  I had no idea what I could handle until this year decided I needed to handle everything, pretty much all at the same time.  That whole mom dying, super sick, event managing and getting fired thing happened in the same month, the last three in the same week.  And, yes, I struggled, but I’m still standing nonetheless.

I’d be a fool to say I did it on my own.  Hardly.  I have the most amazing friends and family that anyone could ever hope to have as a support system.  I will be forever grateful to those who held me up when I fell before the finish line.  I couldn’t ask for a better crew.

Finally, a note on 2019.  I’m not challenging you at all.  I really just want to be friends.  If you could cut me some slack next year, that would be the most amazing gift ever.

Book Review: Ticker

Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial HeartTicker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart by Mimi Swartz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The person who comes up with a way to replace a failing heart with an artificial one, then, will save countless lives and change the future of humankind, much as Louis Pasteur or Sigmund Freud did, or Jonas Salk or Marie Curie. And, of course, the doctor or engineer (or, more likely, the team) who figures out how to make one will likely become very, very rich.”

This is what we are presented with in Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart by Mimi Swartz. The book tells the sordid history of a group of surgeons all vying to become the god-like creator of the first artificial heart. Swartz is a stunning and detailed researcher and the book flows well throughout the decades. She starts with the birth of Michael Debakey and Denton Cooley as the “bad boys: of cardiac surgery in Houston. From there, Swartz takes the reader on the stunning and sometimes vaguely unethical battle to be the best, to beat the competition, and to cash in for as much money as humanly possible. My only disappointment is that the book just seemed to end with no conclusion. That could be due to the unfinished tale of the artificial heart but it still could have wrapped up a bit better in my opinion.

I had some knowledge going into the book as my husband’s uncle was on the ground floor of Baylor’s race to be the best in cardiac care but much of the information was new to me. Readers who have grown up in Houston will know the cast of characters and possibly even the history of the cardiac teams that come into play. This book is not for the faint of heart, however. These are real people that have been used as guinea pigs and sometimes, that’s disheartening and upsetting. Know going into it that the early days of heart surgery were akin to the Wild West and not everyone was on the up-and-up.

*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.*

Happy Holidays

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From my family to yours,
A very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!

Best Wishes,
InnatelyKait

Anybody Out There?

You may have noticed a new book review popped up on your dashboard from none other than InnatelyKait.  Yes, I’m back ever so briefly.  Grad school is on break and I’m out of work so I finally have time to write those 2338574385 reviews I have waiting in my Goodreads and NetGalley queue.

I haven’t scheduled anything for December 25th or January 1st but you can expect to see reviews every Tuesday and Thursday after that.  I’ll also be chatting about my newish (since April — goodness it’s been a bit) hobby, bullet journalling.  Expect a few game reviews thrown in for good measure.

See you all on the flip-side, friends.

InnatelyKait