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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.


Wartime Sisters

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

So many of my friends enjoyed this book that I put this on my library wishlist and it finally showed up.

 

 


Lucky Suit

Kristen Leonard is done with setups. She’s not interested in your son or your nephew or your butcher or the guy who mows your lawn, thank you very much, grandma! After all, she’s a modern woman—she’ll take her chances on the algorithms of online dating to find her ideal man. Before long, she meets a man who might just be the one—he’s hilarious, quick-witted, and full of heart. And when she meets up with Cameron in real life, he certainly looks exactly like his profile picture…but something’s not quite right.

There’s really no telling what brought them together and all bets are off as to whether or not they can trust their hearts over their heads. After all, can you fall in love with someone you’re not sure you really even know?

This was offered free from Audible. I have other books by the author so why not?

 


Killer by Nature

Are we born evil, or do we have evil thrust upon us? This is the eternal question of nature vs nurture at the centre of Killer by Nature, a brand-new psychological thriller from Audible Originals.

Dr. Diane Buckley, a talented freelance forensic psychologist, is drafted in to examine a grisly murder – a body found in a children’s playground. The murder carries all the hallmarks of one of her most famous incarcerated clients, ‘The Playground Killer’ (aka Alfred Dinklage). In a series of intimate 1:1 sessions, Buckley has to race against time to unpick the facts and delve into Dinklage’s often manipulative, complicated mind to understand his past whilst striving to prevent further murders…as someone out there will stop at nothing to complete Dinklage’s work.

Fully dramatized, with an immersive SFX soundscape, Killer by Nature features an all-star cast, including Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge), Rob-James Collier (Downton Abbey), Thomas Turgoose (This is England), Angela Griffin (Cutting It) and Will Mellor (No Offence).

Another Audible freebie, offered as part of their monthly selections of free performances for members. I love that it’s a dramatization.

 


Judgment

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and in a moment of weakness has an unforgettable night with him. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, it becomes clear that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy.

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are.

The fabulous Mackey @ Macsbooks lured me into putting this book on my shelf. It’s a standalone and I have most of his series already on my shelf.

 


Dreyer’s English

As authoritative as it is amusing, this book distills everything Benjamin Dreyer has learned from the hundreds of books he has copyedited, including works by Elizabeth Strout, E. L. Doctorow, and Frank Rich, into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best foot forward in writing prose. Dreyer offers lessons on the ins and outs of punctuation and grammar, including how to navigate the words he calls “the confusables,” like tricky homophones; the myriad ways to use (and misuse) a comma; and how to recognize–though not necessarily do away with–the passive voice. (Hint: If you can plausibly add “by zombies” to the end of a sentence, it’s passive.) People are sharing their writing more than ever–on blogs, on Twitter–and this book lays out, clearly and comprehensibly, everything writers can do to keep readers focused on the real reason writers write: to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. Chock-full of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts on the rules (and nonrules) of the English language, this book will prove invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people’s prose, and–perhaps best of all–an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.

When Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction? featured this book it was like Cupid’s arrow struck through my writing heart! I bought the hardcopy immediately.

 


A Brand New Ending

Ophelia Bishop was a lovestruck teenage girl when she and Kyle Kimpton chased their dreams to Hollywood. Kyle’s dreams came true. Ophelia’s did not. When Kyle chose his career over their relationship, Ophelia returned home to rural New York to run the family’s B & B—wiser, and more guarded against foolish fantasies. Now Kyle has come crashing back into her life, and all her defenses are down.

Kyle can’t think of a better place to write his latest screenplay than his hometown. After all, that was where he met the heart of his inspiration—his first love. He knows the damage he’s caused Ophelia, and he wants a chance to mend their relationship. If anyone can prove to Ophelia that happy ever afters aren’t only for the movies, it should be him.

As much as Ophelia’s changed, she still has feelings for Kyle. But her heart has been broken before, and she knows that Kyle could run back to Hollywood at any time. She gave up her dreams once, but maybe she can dare to change her own love story…one last time.

A friend on Goodreads who could be my contemporary romance twin raved about this story so I had to have it.

 


Trajectory

Russo’s characters in these four expansive stories bear little similarity to the blue-collar citizens we’re familiar with from many of his novels. In “Horseman,” a professor confronts a young plagiarist as well as her own weaknesses as the Thanksgiving holiday looms closer and closer: “And after that, who knew?” In “Intervention,” a realtor facing an ominous medical prognosis finds himself in his father’s shadow while he presses forward–or not. In “Voice,” a semiretired academic is conned by his increasingly estranged brother into coming along on a group tour of the Venice Biennale, fleeing a mortifying incident with a traumatized student back in Massachusetts but encountering further complications in the maze of Venice. And in “Milton and Marcus,” a lapsed novelist struggles with his wife’s illness and tries to rekindle his screenwriting career, only to be stymied by the pratfalls of that trade when he’s called to an aging, iconic star’s mountaintop retreat in Wyoming.

My Goodreads friend Angela reviewed this collection of short stories and enjoyed them. I love short stories and want to read more by this author.

 


The Last

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn’t ignored his wife Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer…

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn’t want to be found?

Beth @ Bibliobeth wrote a compelling review of this fascinating story and I’m hoping to get it on audio when it’s released in April.

 


The Unhoneymooners

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of…lucky.

I saw this on NetGalley and am holding out for the audiobook. This writing team is an auto listen.

 


In the Dark

Do you know what they’re hiding in the house next door?

A woman is found locked in a basement, barely alive, unidentifiable: the woman can’t speak, there are no missing persons reports that match their profile, and the confused, elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before. The inhabitants of the quiet street are in shock–how could this happen right under their noses? But Detective Inspector Adam Fawley knows nothing is impossible. And no one is as innocent as they seem.

As the police grow desperate for a lead, DI Fawley stumbles across a breakthrough, a link to a case he worked years before about another young woman and child gone missing, never solved. When he realizes the missing woman’s house is directly adjacent to the house in this case, he thinks he might have found the connection that could bring justice for both women. But there’s something not quite right, and the truth will send shockwaves through the force that Fawley never could have anticipated.

A deeply unsettling, heart-stopping novel about long-buried secrets and the monsters who hide in plain sight, In the Dark will have you double checking your locks and racing through the pages late into the night. The second gripping novel in the DI Adam Fawley series.

Woo hoo! The US version will finally be released later this month and I now have the 2nd book in the Adam Fawley series for audio review🥰

 


The Last Year of the War

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.

Tina @ Reading Between the Pages reviewed this story and twisted my arm (not really—it was a slam dunk at first read).

 


If She Wakes

Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she’s a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead–but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look in to Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation–and nerves–shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara’s car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hit man named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

Again, saw this on NetGalley and immediately added this to my shelf and am waiting for the audio version, hopefully for review. He’s an auto listen and since all of his books are narrated by Robert Petkoff (who could make a school textbook sound exciting), I’m always committed to the audio version of his books. If you haven’t read Koryta…run and get one! Any book!

 


Say You Still Love Me

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé–a fellow VP–on the other side of her glass office wall every day. Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller–the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life. The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name. Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

I subscribe to the author’s newsletter and got the heads up that this is coming. Another hopeful for audio review.

 


The Matchmaker’s List

Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…

As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams.

Berit @ Audio Killed the Bookmark & Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader, along with their Bestie Mackenzie @ PhDiva, sold me on this wonderful story. I have it for audio review.

 


Maybe Now

What is more important? Friendship, loyalty or love?

Colleen Hoover and Griffin Peterson collaborate once again to bring fans of Maybe Someday back into the musical world of Ridge Lawson and Sydney Blake.

And Maggie.

And Warren and Bridgette.

This full length novel is a follow-up to the New York Times bestselling novel, Maybe Someday. For the best reading experience, Maybe Now should be listened to after Maybe Someday and the spin-off novella, Maybe Not. However, Maybe Now can also be listened to immediately following Maybe Someday.

I’ve become a recent fan of the author though I’ve collected many of her books earlier (friends kept raving). So, when this was offered for audio review, I leapt. Gotta listen to the first book in the series ASAP!

 


I Owe You One

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

I’d decided to take a pass on this one…that is until I read the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader. I now have it for audio review.

 


Because You’re Mine

The truth will set you free—but it’s the lies that keep you safe.

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…

I received a request for review from the publisher and quickly accepted as I enjoyed the author’s debut novel.

 


Moonlight Sins

Julia Hughes has always played it safe until she learned a very painful lesson. Now Julia’s starting over with a job in the Louisiana bayou—and a scorching encounter with a stranger, only to discover he’s Lucian de Vincent… her new employer. The de Vincent brothers share a massive fortune and a dark reputation. Julia cares for their troubled sister, but a menacing presence in the mansion—and the ever-present temptation of Lucian—prove dangerously distracting.

Lucian’s grandmother claimed de Vincent men fall in love once—and hard. Apparently, it’s Lucian’s turn. Julia’s compassionate care of his twin makes Lucian want to lay himself bare. But some secrets are better for Julia not to know.

The recent “suicide” of Lucian’s father is the latest in a string of deaths on the estate. Someone is eliminating the de Vincents. And the best way to get to Lucian may be through Julia…

I belong to a Romance Readers Group newsletter and get freebie offers every month. I grabbed this one after reading so many 5-star reviews from Goodreads friends.

 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

28 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. Good Morning, Jonetta! Always such fun to see what you added this week to the never ending TBR. I have The Last Year of the War coming up soon, as well as Because You’re Mine. I did read Russo’s Trajectory (have you read others of his?) and I think you will like that one and I read The Wartime Sisters too! (anxious to see what you think of this one.) I am seriously looking at the Unhoneymooners as well. Christina Lauren books are such fun!

    I added Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen, Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz, and A Well Behaved Woman by Theresa Anne Fowler. Have a lovely week of reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love so many books of your list! Killer by Nature sounds quite fascinating and I really want to read a book by Christina Lauren. I’m also a fan of Colleen Hoover and loved Maybe Someday but haven’t read (or listened) to this one. I’m sure it’ll be a great book though, I hope you enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, so many great reads, Jonetta! Gosh! I want to read Koryta now- well, actually LISTEN due to your rave and so many others from above. I’m super excited to have the new Christina Lauren. I have a feeling we will easily love that one. I hope you enjoy the Kinsella and The Matchmaker’s List! And holy wow, the new CoHo! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went a little nutty this week but couldn’t see taking a pass on any of these! And, I never saw the CoHo coming. You can’t miss with the Koryta/Petkoff partnership, either. But, he’s not for the faint of heart.

      I’m listening to Christina Lauren now. Thought I’d listen for an hour and now I’m almost halfway through💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad I could recommend you Dreyer’s English! Looking forward to your thoughts on it. It’s such an excellent resource, I need to pick up the hard copy of it myself. Since I finished it I’ve found myself wondering in my work, “What did he say about this point again?” It’s the best and had me laughing so much..hope it’ll be a bright spot for you too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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