If Only I Could Tell You

Author: Hannah Beckerman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  Hannah Beckerman pens a life-affirming novel that tells the story of a family divided and the secret that  can possibly unite them—a must for fans of This Is Us.

Audrey knows that life is filled with ups and downs, but she can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years. Her dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Even more upsetting is the fact that Audrey has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.

If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, but ironically, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing once and for all Audrey and those she loves.

Is it too late for one broken family to heal and find their way back to each other…?

A beautiful novel of mothers and daughters, the bonds of family, and the secrets that can sometimes divide us yet also bring us together, If Only I Could Tell You will remain on your mind long after the last page is turned.

Ope’s Opinion:  I got tired of the “if only I could tell” until almost the end.  I would have enjoyed the whole book more if I were in on the secret from the start and see the fall out from there.  Instead, it just frustrated me – it made me skim parts with hopes to figure out what couldn’t be told.

If you are the kind of reader that likes being strung along until the very end, you will enjoy this book.  I just like being in the know, so I had a hard time waiting until the end for the reveal.

First Degree From Med School to Murder

Author: Kayla Hounsell
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Genre: Nonfiction, Crime
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  A murder, a missing body, and a sensational trial that shocked the community.

Will Sandeson seemed like a model son. A member of the Dalhousie University track and field team, he was about to start classes at Dalhousie’s medical school. He had attended a medical school in the Caribbean; he worked at a group home for adults with disabilities. “There’s times for whatever reason that things don’t go quite as planned,” a Halifax police officer told Sandeson shortly after he was arrested for the first-degree murder of Taylor Samson, who also, on the surface, seemed like a model son. Samson lived in a fraternity house near Dalhousie, and when the six-foot-five physics student disappeared without a trace, the focus eventually turned to Sandeson.

Sandeson’s trial, with surprising testimony and the unanswered question of what happened to Samson’s body, gripped the university city for months. Through interviews with friends and relatives, as well as transcripts of the trial and Sandeson’s police interrogation, award-winning journalist Kayla Hounsell paints a complex portrait of both the victim and killer, two young men who seemed destined for bright futures. First Degree includes previously unpublished photos and details never made public until now.

Ope’s Opinion: First you need to know, this is not my usual read.  I am a fiction reader most of the time.  This book caught my attention when we were getting ready to go to Book Expo this year.  I couldn’t imagine how a med student got caught up in a murder, so I wanted to read about it.

For me, there were too many details that didn’t seem important to the case or helping me understand what happened and why it happened.  I got lost a few times in the legal system – I do think this book should be a required read for a law student.

The epilogue had more to do with how the university was going to change their way of selecting students, then where everyone was at the present time. I wanted to know how the families were of both Will and Taylor, I wanted to know where their girlfriends are now and how Will’s brothers are doing.

10 Blind Dates

Author: Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Book Expo 2019

Goodreads:  Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

Ope’s Opinion: This is the kind of YA I would recommend for a young teen to read.  The characters are acting age appropriate and doing age appropriate things.  There are adults involved and they are interacting with the teens. There is very little foul language and physical relationships are appropriate for the age. 

There are ten blind dates ( obviously by the title ) – a few of them are sort of ridiculous, but it is a YA book.  The dates kept the story moving – there was much more to the story then just the dates, as a matter of fact, the dates are actually a side part of it. The whole family is involved in this story – they made it a quick, easy, fun read.

The ending is easy to see coming and perfect for this book.

Coming Soon….

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In October I hope to read….

Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books

Goodreads: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

What is coming soon …. to a bookshelf near you?

Let me know – I am always looking for a good read!

Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Ope’s Opinion: This is a really hard book to read, so don’t pick it up unless you are ready to sink into a dark story that could be real and is disturbing.  It is a heartbreaking story.

I thought Courtney Summer had an interesting way of telling the story from Sadie’s perspective and from the “Girls” ( podcast ) perspective. I would suggest you know your young adult  well before you advise them about reading this one.  It will leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The ending left you at a place that felt real, but I can’t say it felt complete or satisfying.

Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina Lamanna
Publisher: Sourcebook Landmark
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

Ope’s Opinion: I picked this book up on a whim at the  Book Expo 2019.  I had not read this author before and didn’t know much about the book.  The synopsis sounded cute and thought it would be a fun read. 

The introduction to each character at the beginning of the book was clever.  It gave you insight to each person, their relationship to the wedding and a little background, so you could understand them.

There wasn’t a reliable narrator – which was frustrating.  Who was really telling the truth? The murder seemed to be a side story.  The relationships are at the center of this book.

The ending and epilogue left me with more questions then it answered – not really satisfying.

The Birthday Girl

Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Mystery
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  In the thrilling, suspenseful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, all of Ellie de Florent-Stinson’s secrets come to light in one eventful evening full of twists, turns, and surprises.

Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget.

Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted: a handsome husband; an accomplished, college-age stepdaughter; a beautiful ten-year-old girl; adorable and rambunctious six-year-old twin boys; lush, well-appointed homes in Los Angeles, Park City, and Palm Springs; a thriving career; and a dazzling circle of friends.

Except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside–Ellie is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert–where everyone who matters in her life shows up, invited or not. Old and new friends and frenemies, stepdaughters and business partners, ex-wives and ex-husbands congregate, and the glittering facade of Ellie’s life begins to crumble.

Beautifully paced and full of surprises, The Birthday Girl is an enthralling tale of a life lived in shadow and its unavoidable consequences.

Ope’s Opinion:  This might have been a 3.5, but you would have to take the “f” word out and put in more creative descriptions.  I almost quit reading this book a couple of times.  I read a couple of reviews and they encouraged me to keep reading.  I was glad I finished it in the long run.

It took a long time to get involved in the story.  Some of the background was needed to understand how everyone ended up where they did, but I wanted it get there faster.  Switching from past to present felt like two different stories until closed to the end when they collided and it was brought to a nice clean end.