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.
Six new holiday short stories from six New York Times Bestselling Authors.
Sexy Scrooge by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Big Baubles by Jodi Ellen Malpas
The Naughty List by Emma Chase
Joyous—A Quantum Christmas by Marie Force
A Holiday Lift by Corinne Michaels
Best Christmas Ever by Susan Stoker
I received this free as a newsletter subscriber to two of the authors’ newsletters!
Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.
This is worse.
When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.
But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.
After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?
Mackenzie @PhDiva featured this book in her Saturday at the Café post last week and it captivated me as much as it did her.
The President disappears. The world is in shock.But the reason he’s missing is much worse than anyone could imagine.With details only a President could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.The President Is Missing.The most gripping and surprising thriller in years.
I waited in a rather long library queue for this audiobook and I finally reached the head of the line.
Brady…What the hell do I know about raising a baby? Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. Yet here I am, the sole guardian of my niece. I’d be lost if it weren’t for Katherine, the beautiful girl who seems to have all the answers. Katherine, who’s slowly finding her way into my cynical heart. I keep reminding myself that I can’t fall for someone when we don’t have a future. But telling myself this lie and believing it are two different things.
Katherine…When Brady shows up on a Harley, looking like an avenging angel—six feet, three inches of chiseled muscle, eyes the color of wild sage, and sun-kissed skin emblazoned with tattoos—I’m not sure if I should fall at his feet or run like hell. Because if I tell him what happened the night his family died, he might hate me. What I don’t count on are the nights we spend together trying to forget the heartache that brought us here. I promise him it won’t mean anything, that I won’t fall in love. I shouldn’t make promises I can’t keep.
I was listening to Reckless and realized there might be an earlier connected book and this is it. I knew one chapter in it was going to be a 5-star read so I added this immediately. Even better, I have it for audio review!
A Dutiful DaughterSophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run of the mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things. After all, even a dutiful daughter has her limits.
A Taciturn TradesmanNed has come a long way since his days working as a draper’s assistant. He’s wealthy, ambitious, and eager to take a wife. But the courtship advice issued in The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Though he’s followed it to the letter, Miss Appersett still doesn’t wish to see him again. Frustrated and hurt, he’s more than happy to oblige her.
A Christmas CourtshipSevering ties with her former beau isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to the annual Christmas party at Appersett House and give him one more chance to win her? But this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.
Between Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader’s review and this gorgeous cover, I just had to add this book!.
Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.
As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.
When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…
Nora issued her book release calendar this week and I immediately added her new romantic suspense scheduled for next July. I only listen to her books on audio these days (she selects the BEST narrators) and hopefully I’ll get this for review.
A seemingly perfect marriage is threatened by the deadly secrets husband and wife keep from each other.
Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
Max dismisses the note as a prank. But days after a neighborhood couple comes to dinner, the husband mysteriously dies in a tragic accident while on a run with Max. Soon thereafter, a second note appears on their door: DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT?
Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets from the world and from each other secrets that could destroy their family and everything they have built. Thomas Christopher Greene’s The Perfect Liar is a thrilling audiobook told through the alternating perspectives of Susannah and Max with a shocking climax listeners will never expect, from the bestselling author of The Headmasters Wife.
Holly B @ Dressed to Read reviewed this and it sounded intriguing. I’m waiting on the audiobook.
While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders.
Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment.
But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.
I subscribe to Amazon’s Romance Newsletter and every month they offer me a $3 credit for selected books. I chose this title as I’ve read another book by the author and want to start this series.
“Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.”
In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.
When the four of them are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator, the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception and intimidation thrive.
Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?
Shalini @ Shalini’s Book Reviews is responsible for putting this on my radar. Check out her review and see if you can resist.
From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.
Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.
But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.
Robyn Carr is an auto read author and when Susan @ Susan Loves Books featured this as her Waiting on Wednesday selection, I added it right away. It’s also on NetGalley.
A cop lies dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun—a local lawman who may well have become the next sheriff of Cochise County.?The police brass claim that Andy Brady was dirty, and that his shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna Brady, his devoted wife and mother of their nine-year-old daughter, knows a cover-up when she hears one . . . and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to hunt down an assassin and clear her husband’s name are placing Joanna and her surviving family in harm’s way—because in the desert, the one thing more lethal than a rattler’s bite . . . is the truth.
I’ve eyed this author for YEARS and this week, Anne @ Books of My Heart reviewed the 18th book in the series and she’s still loving it. I got the first audiobook from the library and it’s narrated by one of my favorites, Hillary Huber.
Forgive and forget? The past and present collide for two sisters who survived a tragedy—and must now survive the truth behind it.
It’s been twenty years since Cara’s boyfriend died in a horrible accident and her sister, Anna, went to prison. The tragedy has become a local legend, but Cara has moved past her grief to have a successful career and a happy family. Pity about Anna. Recently released from incarceration, she’s struggling with addiction, guilt, and shame—a shattered life. Cara’s forgiveness seems to be the only thing that helps her pick up the pieces.
But as Anna pulls herself together, her memories of that night on the bridge start to come into focus. And few of them match her sister’s.
As past secrets unfold and nothing is what it seems anymore, Anna desperately searches for the truth. But what if Cara doesn’t want her to find it?
Darinda @ Nightcap Books reviewed this and I was hooked before I finished reading her summary. I’ve entered the Goodreads giveaway for the Kindle book so fingers crossed!
Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas’ ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.
Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.
Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader strikes again! I love the historical fiction genre and the Gilded Age so I pounced on this one. I’m even willing to read the paperback version if I win the giveaway😏
Eve West, a police officer with a hidden past, is drawn into a dark and complex case when she’s asked to investigate a miscarriage of justice.
A highly effective police officer, albeit one who keeps her past carefully hidden, Eve West is suspended from duty after a police operation goes catastrophically wrong. Receiving help from an unexpected quarter – a criminal she put away many years before – Eve feels she has no choice but to agree to his request to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice in return. But why is a hardened criminal like John Duran so keen to help a fellow-inmate convicted of the murder of a stable-girl? And why has he chosen Eve to look into the case?
Teaming up with crusading journalist Dan Cooper, Eve begins to uncover disturbing flaws in the original investigation. But as her past is dragged to the surface, she comes to realize she has been plunged into a case more complex and sinister than she ever imagined.
Darinda @ Nightcap Books got me again! I love detective series and this one sounds so good, enough that I’m willing to use an Audible credit.
YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS…The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity. Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…
My Goodreads friend Paromjit reviewed this and I just had to have this one. However, it will be an uncomfortable read.
Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women-the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others-and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.
As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.
Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.
Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls on the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.
Set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.
I’ve languished in my library queue for a long time for this book and I think it will be worth it. Mixed reviews from my Goodreads friends and it’s unusual. Just how I like it.
London, 1938. The effervescent “It girl” of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy moves in rarified circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th century’s most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose, the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe, and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire.
But their love is forbidden, as Kick’s devout Catholic family and Billy’s staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. When war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick gets work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties lie–with family or with love . . .
I saw this for the first time at Jennifer ~ The Tar Heel Reader and waited to see if it would show up at my library (it did) before adding to my shelf. I’m always interested in stories about the Kennedys and especially Kathleen who I haven’t heard much about.
Catching a killer is dangerous. And could be fatal if the best bait . . . is you.
From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .
Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.
But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.
Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?
The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .
Jewels @ Books Bejeweled reviewed this yesterday on Goodreads. And, since I’ll never pass up a book written by this author, I added the audiobook, which won’t be released for some time. No matter. I’ll wait.