Friday, May 3, 2024

Book Review: The Perfect Sister

Title: The Perfect Sister

Author: Stephanie DeCarolis

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Publication Date: July 16, 2024

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Stephanie DeCarolis' latest psychological thriller, "The Perfect Sister," is a gripping tale shrouded in mystery and deception. With excellent character development and a menacing, suspenseful atmosphere, this novel kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

From the outset, DeCarolis masterfully weaves a web of secrets and lies, introducing us to a cast of characters who seem to be harboring dark truths beneath their carefully crafted facades. The narrative builds tension with each chapter, leaving breadcrumbs of intrigue that had me eagerly turning the pages, desperate to unravel the enigma at the heart of the story.

However, it was the latter half of the book that truly elevated "The Perfect Sister" to a five-star read for me. The twists and turns that DeCarolis un
leashes are nothing short of brilliant, causing my assumptions and theories to crumble one by one. Just when I thought I had a grasp on the narrative's direction, the author skillfully pulled the rug from under my feet, leaving me reeling and craving more.

DeCarolis' talent for creating multidimensional characters is undeniable. Each player in this intricate drama feels fully realized, with their own motivations, flaws, and secrets that slowly unveil themselves as the story progresses. The relationships between the characters are equally compelling, layered with complex dynamics that add depth and authenticity to the tale.

Overall, "The Perfect Sister" is a masterclass in psychological suspense. DeCarolis' ability to craft a menacing, atmospheric narrative coupled with her deft handling of character development and jaw-dropping plot twists make this a must-read for fans of the genre. Brace yourself for a wild ride; you won't be able to put this book down until the final, shocking revelation.

A hearty thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This is one book you don’t want to miss.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Book Review: The Power Foods Diet

Title: The Power Foods Diet

AuthorNeal Barnard

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: March 26, 2024

Rating: 5 out of 5

Guest Review by Sharon Baggs

As someone who has recently adapted to a primarily plant-based diet, I was eager to read another book from Dr. Neal Barnard and consume another layer of knowledge from his research.

The book focuses on Appetite-Taming Foods, Calorie-Trapping Foods, and Calorie-Burning Foods. Participants in Barnard’s research studies provide credible testimony of how these play out for the person looking for help in their dietary journey.

The chapter on the Best Foods for Powering your Weight Loss provides a roadmap for how to get started.  Six categories of fruits and vegetables, along with adding in cinnamon, hot peppers, and ginger can boost both flavor and beneficial results. Pasta, potatoes, and rice are welcomed as partners in dietary fiber, something we don’t get enough of.

My favorite chapter was chapter 3: Foods that are Less Healthful than you’d Think. Some deeper thoughts come into play here on what we consume and how it may affect us. If weight loss is the goal, the foods discussed here can help shift assumptions we have about certain foods. It challenged my mindset on: “What benefit am I getting from what I consume?”

The book is interesting to read, packed with practical information, and easy to implement changes to your diet. I highly recommend this book and any other books by Dr. Barnard.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. I received an advanced reader copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Book Review: Like Mother, Like Daughter


Title: 
Like Mother, Like Daughter

Author: Kimbely McCreight

Publisher: Knopf Publishing

Publication Date: July 9, 2024

Rating: 5 out of 5

When NYU student Cleo arrives home for a reconciliatory dinner with her mother, she finds the door open, food burning in the over and blood on the floor. Katrina, her mother is missing without any sign of where or why. So begins this domestic thriller.

McCreight's latest book is a slow-burner. After the compelling start, she slowly unfolds the characters: Cleo, the emotional student, Katrina, the buttoned-up lawyer, Aiden, the swaggering husband, and Kyle, the rich boyfriend / contemptuous drug dealer. And as she does so, new facets of each emerge. 

Cleo begins to see that there is more to her mother than meets the eye. There are secrets from her past that are coming back to haunt the present and determine their future.

Although opposites in many ways, Cleo is her mother's daugther and despite stern warnings from the police not to get involved, she takes it upon herself to investigate and solve Kat's disappearance. And it's not until almost the very end that McCreight drops a bombshell that ties the daughter in with the mother so that it becomes truly like mother, like daughter. A very fun and fast read.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. I received an advanced reader copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Book Review: A Calamity of Souls


Title: 
A Calamity of Souls 

Author: David Baldacci

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: April 16, 2024

Rating: 5 out of 5

The latest book by Baldacci is not another in a series, nor is it a thriller as such. It's a legal novel set in the south in the 60s, and is more Grisham than Baldacci. Indeed, it reminded me of A Time to Kill, that great story by John Grisham. But this book retains the fine points of a Baldacci tale: strong characters, great plot, and plenty of twists.

Set against the backdrop of the recent assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, a young black man is found in his rich employer's house standing over two dead bodies: those of his rich white employer and wife. Immediately arrested, indicted and all but convicted ... even before his trial. Enter Jack Lee, a young poorish white lawyer who takes on this all-but-impossible case. Then just as he is getting his bearings on the case, Desiree DuBose, a black lawyer from Chicago comes on the scene to take over the case on behalf of the accused and to fight for black civil rights. Jack decides to work with Desiree and discovers the ugliness of racism.

With every turn, obstacles mount. The case is rushed to court. The judge is clearly not impartial. The jury is all white. Evidence emerges almost on demand for the prosecution. And yet, the pair of defense lawyers rise to each occasion, not giving up hope, expecting the best. And this is a story, unlike a non-fiction work, and so we expect a happy ending, a strong conclusion. And it is there that Baldacci wraps it up surprisingly well but in a very unexpected way. Happy ending? You'll have to judge for yourself.

This book excited me, angered me, challenged me and made me think a lot about racism and its effects in society. I suppose that is the sign of good art, to provoke contemplation. It is a great read!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. I received an advanced reader copy of this book in return for an honest review.