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Saturdays at the Café

Saturdays at the Café - Body

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.

 


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Fire chief Eric Hawke knows it’s only a matter of time until the next big wildfire. He’s done everything he can to prepare his crews for the inevitable. When high winds turn a small blaze into a raging crown fire that threatens Scarlet Springs, he, Brandon Silver, and the rest of Scarlet FD put their lives on the line to save the town and its citizens. But the one thing Hawke hadn’t planned for was bureaucratic red tape and waffling from higher-ups that could turn this crisis into a catastrophe. When his requests for support go unheeded, he’s faced with the prospect of watching the town he loves burn to ashes.

But sometimes help comes from unexpected places.

Marc Hunter, Julian Darcangelo, and Zach McBride are in the mountains above Scarlet Springs for an interagency training exercise when they see a single wisp of smoke to the west. What begins as a fun day of playing cops and bad guys soon becomes a battle against time, as they join forces with Hawke and members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team to save friends trapped by the fire.

Together, they pit their strength and courage against a terrifying and unforgiving force of nature. Will it be enough? Or will the ravenous flames claim lives—and leave the people of Scarlet Springs forever scarred?

This got added as soon as I received the author’s newsletter. Her I-Team & Colorado High Country series are two of my favorites and here she’s written a story that intersects both. I can’t WAIT to read this.

 


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Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The Mortal Instruments series was selected as a group read in my 2-3-4 Challenge Goodreads group and I discovered there was also a prequel series that intersects it. Doesn’t this cover look awesome?

 


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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

And here it is! The first book in The Mortal Instruments series, which I’ll begin reading in January with my Goodreads group. I don’t read a lot of Fantasy but when I do, it works best for me on audio. I’m pretty excited about this one.

 


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A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family has destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to school girls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation without dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives for the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible–and rich–bachelors, certain that their luck is about to change. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors. But his friend, Valentine Darsee, is clearly unimpressed by the family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her, quickly dismissing him and his snobbish ways.

But as the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal–and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man.

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader reviewed this Pride & Prejudice retelling and I was hooked by the cultural and historical aspects. Must admit I haven’t read P & P!

 


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ONE ROOM. TWO LIARS. NO WAY OUT.

THE NEXT SPINE-TINGLING THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE HOUSE

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.
He knows her.
And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter.

I got the opportunity to review this audiobook gem and I leapt on it. Wouldn’t you?

 


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It’s a story that Ted Grayson has reported time and time again in his job as a network TV anchor: the public downfall of those at the top. He just never imagined that it would happen to him. After his profanity-laced tirade is caught on camera, his reputation and career are destroyed, leaving him without a script for the first time in years.

While American viewers may have loved and trusted Ted for decades, his family certainly didn’t: His years of constant travel and his big-screen persona have frayed all of his important relationships. At the time of his meltdown, Ted is estranged from his wife, Claire, and his adult daughter, Franny, a writer for a popular website. Franny views her father’s disgrace with curiosity and perhaps a bit of smug satisfaction, but when her boss suggests that she confront Ted in an interview, she has to decide whether to use his loss as her career gain. And for Ted, this may be a chance to take a hard look at what got him to this place, and to try to find his way back before it’s too late.

Talk to Me is a sharply observed, darkly funny, and ultimately warm story about a man who wakes up too late to the mess he’s made of his life… and about our capacity for forgiveness and empathy.

Another audiobook review opportunity that seems provocative. I decided, after lots of consideration, to add the title. It should be a bumpy ride.

 


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1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Marialyce @ yayareads wrote a fabulous review of this book and since the genre has become my catnip, I added it. Also, it will fit my Historical Fiction Challenge!

 


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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Yvo @ It’s All About Books reviewed the second book in the series and sold me after seeing this for the umpteenth time. I’ve added both and will be listening to them.

 


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A sexy and intense prequel to The Edge Series.

There’s a war going on.

I need to pay attention to my job, not the surgeon. Not his sky-blue eyes or the confidence in his hands. Not the smile under his mask or the way it fits on his jaw.

And doctor or not, gorgeous or not, only a complete jerk would drop his pants in front of me just as a show of dominance.

But he’s a force of nature, and I don’t think I can resist him much longer.

It’s not until I’m the casualty and he’s standing over me that I realize I love him.

I want to tell him before I go under. Just a few words before we’re separated.

But it might be too late.

Anne @ Books Of My Heart gave this Kindle freebie a rave review so I’m giving it a try.

 


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When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself—an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook—in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure—the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.

As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town—crumbling but still colorful—to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.

Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction? wrote an outstanding and heartfelt review of this book that connected with my own life experience. I’ll be reading this over a number of weeks.

 


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Nobody cuts deeper than family…

Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them. Anna is a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble that is brewing. Events take a deadly turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her only daughter, but the realization that her daughter’s murder was at the hands of a husband she loves. New information sends Maggie searching for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

This just showed up at my library and sounds interesting.

 


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Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s-ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway…half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the supply closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

I won this in a giveaway hosted by Rachel @ In Between Book Pages. Grey is a new-to-me author.

 


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In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned. Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what? Written in gorgeous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking novel that startles and provokes, about the possibilities contained within a human life—in our waking days and, perhaps even more, in our dreams.

I’d taken a pass on this for audio review but then, along came the Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader review and I backtracked.

 


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She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

So many mixed reviews on this one, and that’s just from my friends! But, it reminded me of a recent 9-1-1 TV series episode I loved so I decided to give it a shot on audio. Fingers crossed🤞

 


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Nellie Bly has the story of a lifetime. But will she survive to tell it?

Enraged by an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’, Elizabeth Cochrane pens an angry letter to the Pittsburgh Dispatch, never imagining a Victorian newspaper would hire a woman reporter. Taking the name Nellie Bly, she struggles against the male-dominated industry, reporting stories no one else will – the stories of downtrodden women.

Chased out of Mexico for revealing government corruption, her romantic advances rejected by a married colleague, Bly earns the chance to break into the New York’s Newspaper Row if she can nab a major scoop – life inside a madhouse. Feigning madness, she dupes the court into committing her to the Insane Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

But matters are far worse than she ever dreamed. Stripped, drugged, beaten, she must endure a week of terror, reliving the darkest days of her childhood, in order to escape and tell the world her story. Only, at the end of the week, no rescue comes, and she fears she may be trapped forever…

Based on the real-life events of Nellie Bly’s life and reporting, What Girls Are Good For is a tale of rage, determination, and triumph – all in the frame of a tiny Pennsylvania spitfire who refused to let the world tell her how to live her life, and changed the world instead.

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader featured this book during the blog tour and I was astounded at what I learned about Nellie Bly. I wanted to know even more about this fascinating woman who profoundly changed the lives of future women.

 


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The repercussions of an illicit affair unfold in this short story by bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Dear stranger…

A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives.

My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you…

The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here.

Told entirely through the letters of two comforting strangers and those of two illicit lovers, Evidence of the Affair explores the complex nature of the heart. And ultimately, for one woman, how liberating it can be when it’s broken.

Kyra @ Roots & Reads wrote a short but impactful review of this collection of short stories and I had to read this one. Even better, after I shelled out $1.99 for the Kindle book, I snatched up the audiobook for free at Audible. Review to come shortly!

 


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A man serves on the jury of a murder trial — for the crime that he committed.

Peter Robertson, 33, discovers his wife is cheating on him. Following her suspected boyfriend one night, he erupts into a rage, beats him and leaves him to die… or so he thought. Soon he discovers that he has killed the wrong man – a perfect stranger.

Six months later, impaneled on a jury, he realizes that the murder being tried is the one he committed. After wrestling with his conscience, he works hard to convince the jury to acquit the accused man. But the prosecution’s case is strong as the accused man had both motive and opportunity to commit the murder.

The pressure builds, and Peter begins to slip up and reveal things that only the murderer would know – and Christine, a pretty and intelligent alternate juror, suspects something is amiss.

As jurors one by one declare their intention to convict, Peter’s conscience eats away at him and he careens toward nervous breakdown, revealing details about the crime that had not been disclosed in court.

Cathy @ What Cathy Read Next reviewed the second book in this series and it sounded so good! I don’t read out of order so when I read the blurb for the first book, I just had to have it, especially at $1.99.

 


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Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment .

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader reviewed another book by this author (I’m waiting to add that one) and recommended this title, which I wanted immediately. I’m in a real short library queue for the audiobook.

What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

30 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I love Pamela Clare. I’ve read the whole I-Team series but only started the other one. I’ve read a little of Cassandra Clare. I’m glad you’re going to try Cutting Edge. I also got The Dreamers after reading Jennifer’s review. Have a lovely holiday week! I’m going to try to fit in even more reading / listening. Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my first by Cassandra Clare so I’m excited. You’re going to like Clare’s other series. It’s not RS because she was blocked from writing in that genre for a period of time. But, there’s a teeny bit in each of the books.

      I’m reading a lot this weekend, too, Anne. Enjoy!

      Like

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