Saturdays at the Café is a weekly feature hosted here to talk about and discuss the books I’ve discovered during the past week, added to my shelf and am excited about reading. They may be new/scheduled releases I’ve seen on NetGalley, at the library, or from publishers or they may be older titles my friends have reviewed and shared on Goodreads or blogs.
Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series.
Jennifer ~ The Tar Heel Reader recommended this one.
None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?
My friends in the Traveling Friends group are reading this one. Thought I’d join in on the discussion later.
Meet Sarah Booth Delaney…an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi…if it doesn’t make her the deadest. No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state–or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash. But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself…and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.
I don’t normally read cozy mysteries but Stephanie @ Novel Fiction reviewed a book later in this series that reeled me in so I thought I’d give the first book a shot.
Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead. For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy. As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk. Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?
Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie reviewed this title this week and I couldn’t resist this compelling story.
A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation-perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key. On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation. Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets. When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.
I read Marialyce’s review @ yaya Reads and knew this should be on my shelf.
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.
British espionage is my kryptonite, especially one featuring a female agent. Mix in the historical factor and I was sold.
Pete Banning was Clanton’s favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning in 1946. he rose early, drove into town, walked into the Church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete’s only statement about it–to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends, and to the people of Clanton–was “I have nothing to say.” And so the murder of the esteemed Reverend Bell became the most mysterious and unforgettable crime Ford County had ever known.
It’s Grisham! I’ve this one for review. On audio!
I know my daughter better than I know myself and if there’s one thing I know for sure at this moment: it’s that Maisie is not ok. My ex-husband Shaun and I are still friends. We would do anything for our beautiful little girl, Maisie. But now Shaun has moved in with Joanne and suddenly, Maisie has a brand new family. And there’s something not quite right about it…I know Joanne isn’t everything she says she is. Yet no-one will listen. I need to discover what she’s hiding. Because if I don’t, my daughter will be in terrible danger.
Eva @ Novel Deelights wrote a really great review of this story. I’d eyed this book before and she tipped the scales.
Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do. Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?
I read a really great review of another book by this author and since this one was available, I thought I’d try this one first.
Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London. London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past. But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?
I’ve wanted to read this author and this is the first in the start of a brand new series. I was able to nab the audio, which features two narrators.
Children’s bookstore owner Addie Mayberry believes in the magic of Christmas. Or at least, she used to. So when a young customer needs some seasonal optimism, Addie sets out to give the vulnerable, heartbroken little girl the best Christmas ever. Which means helping the hottest man in Shadow Creek, Bella’s surgeon father, find his holiday spirit. Addie’s up to the challenge, but between tree decorating and late night talks, she realizes she’s starting to fall hard for the one man she definitely shouldn’t. Drew Barrett drastically changed his fast-paced life when he moved back to Shadow Creek, but it was all worth it to give his daughter a better life. He wasn’t exactly winning dad-of-the-year awards before, so he’s determined to make it up to Bella. And with Addie’s help, he’s slowly repairing his relationship with his daughter. The last thing he wants is to fall in love, since that road only leads to pain, but he can’t stop thinking about Addie. Not only is she gorgeous, sweet, and great with Bella, she fills something in him he never knew was missing. But Addie wants forever, which is more than Drew can offer…
I reviewed the previous book in the series this past week and was thrilled to see this one show up in NetGalley.
Seeking women ages 18-32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Carol @ Bookaria reviewed this title and when I sampled the audio…
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…
I’d circled this rom-com for awhile until Jennifer ~ The Tar Heel Reader posted her wonderful review. That’s all the push I needed.
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 meagre 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.
How many 5-star reads from my friends does it take for me to finally add this book to my shelf? Too many to count and this title could no longer be denied.
Guy Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving in 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Rikard von Holz is on the staff of the German Foreign Office–and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Now, when Guy flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Rikard travels on Hitler’s train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course. And once again, Robert Harris gives us actual events of historical importance–here are Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier–at the heart of an electrifying, un-put-downable novel.
I’m a fan of the author and didn’t know he’d released this book until I saw it featured by Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog in a Book Tag.
A double life with a single purpose: revenge. Jane’s days at a Minneapolis insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven. But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her. Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away. Just as he did to her.
This is an upcoming Traveling Friends group read I’m trying to squeeze in. The reviews are stellar.
Whew! Went a bit mad this week…