NetGalley

Book Review: The White Darkness

The White DarknessThe White Darkness by David Grann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s better to be a live donkey than a dead lion.

Full disclosure, I’ve never read a book by David Grann and didn’t love it. This book was no different.

In another riveting book by Grann, The White Darkness tells the tale of Henry Worsley who dreams of crossing the Antarctic on his own. Long an adventurer in his own right, Worsley spent years in the British military while pining for the icy abandon of the South Pole. Finally, Worsley is able to complete the quest of his idol, Ernest Shackleton, and he and his two companions (and relatives of those who originally traveled with Shackleton) voyage together to the South Pole.  Not satisfied with making history just once, Worsley decides to traverse the Antarctic alone with no food caches, just a single sled and his own fortitude. A lifelong leader, he always said “It’s better to be a live donkey than a dead lion” but his quest puts his motto to the ultimate test.

The White Darkness is short, coming in at only 140 pages. It’s built off Grann’s previous retelling, a short article in The New Yorker. The book doesn’t specifically improve on the earlier piece, but the photos are stunning. I was able to finish the book in about 2 hours and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

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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.*

Book Review: Baby Teeth

Baby TeethBaby Teeth by Zoje Stage

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is like if Stephen King and Lisa Genova had a baby. It’s creepy, it’s cerebral, it focuses on how a tiny brain misfiring can wreak havoc on everything in a person’s life. In short: it was great.

I’m a huge fan of the horror/thriller genre but I love a good science nonfiction book as well so this one was right up my alley. Zoje Stage’s debut novel focuses on a family that has it all — or at least they appear that way to the outside. However, inside their pristine home, life is a nightmare. Hanna is 7-year-old and has yet to speak. Suzette struggles with the pain of raising a disabled child while she herself is also quite ill. Alex rounds out the family as the handsome bread-winner, the prize possession of both his wife and daughter. Then one day, it all falls apart. Hanna speaks but what comes out of her mouth is devastating and terrifying. From there, things only get worse as Hanna invents dangerous ways to get back at her mother and Alex refuses to see the trouble his daughter creates. Everything comes to a head one fateful evening and nothing is ever the same after that.

The entire book had me on the edge of my seat as I waited for Hanna to concoct her next plan of attack. I felt Suzette’s fear, Alex’s anguish, and Hanna’s confusion. As the parent of an occasionally violent, mostly mute child, I know what it’s like to wonder what the day will bring. Luckily, I’ve never been in fear for my life but I could totally sympathize with Suzette the whole way through. Great read!