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.
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own … creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else—but to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, “These are not my babies!”
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw, she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
After reading the review by Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks, I had to have this one. Another audio hopeful.
A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People’s History of Heaven.
Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India’s fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community made up almost entirely of women, mothers and daughters who have been abandoned by their men when no male heir was produced. Living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises, these women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.
A People’s History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.
This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love–even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian’s novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.
I fell in love with the idea of this story after reading the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader.
THE SIMPLE TRUTH It’s never what it seems…Young attorney Michael Fiske broke the law when he took Rufus Harms’s prison letter from the Supreme Court. But he also sealed his own fate. Suddenly everyone who has anything to do with Harms or his appeal mysteriously dies. Now Michael’s brother John, a cop turned attorney, comes to Washington to find out why his brother was murdered—and what it had to do with a crime that Harms committed twenty-five years before. But the one man who can help John, the one man who knows what really happened more than two decades ago—and why—has escaped from prison and is running for his life.
I’m a big fan of the author and jumped on this when the audiobook showed up at my library.
Leah, a popular sixteen year old, is uncharacteristically apprehensive the night before her new school year begins. She decides to take a moonlight paddle at her divorced parents’ Florida beachside inn to take the edge off her anxiety. Moments later she vanishes in the water without a trace. The police assume death by drowning since sharks had been sighted nearby earlier in the day. They do a cursory investigation and that’s it. The community comes out to give support, but days later her mother Emily is still wondering what happened to her beautiful daughter. And why is there no body?
In the days that follow, Emily accidentally discovers pornographic images of her daughter on her laptop. Some appear to be selfies taken for someone else’s pleasure. Others are clearly taken by a voyeur and sent to Leah. Shockingly, they reveal darkly tantalizing clues to an older man’s involvement. Emily’s heartbreak turns to deep rage as she sets out to unmask who this monster is who has stolen her daughter’s innocence–and perhaps more. As her suspicion falls on various locals who, as unlikely as they may seem, may have lured Leah into risky, even deadly, behavior–the youth pastor, the long time resident in bungalow 3, his son who visits from New York–she trusts no one. Suddenly her once close knit community, itself its own paradise, has been invaded by evil, an evil that is still lurking in the shadows–one that she is determined to expose.
All I needed to see was the thumbs up from Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader. Just read the synopsis and her review and you’ll understand.
When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore with a tiny passenger on her back.
Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He’ll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he’s resolutely mute.
Troy assumes that Paul’s frantic parents will be in touch with the police or the press. But what follows is a shocking and deafening silence. And Troy, a freelance writer, finds herself as fiercely determined to protect Paul as she is to find out what happened to him. What she uncovers will take her into a world of wealth and privilege and heedless self-indulgence—a world in which the murder of a child is not unthinkable. She’ll need skill and courage to survive and protect her charge and herself.
After reading a review by a Goodreads friend, I had to read this to find out what happened. And, it’s available from my library.
Claire Rawlings, mother of two and medical resident, will not let the troubling signs of an allergic reaction prevent her from making it in for rounds. But when Claire’s symptoms overpower her while she’s driving into work, her two children in tow, she must pull over. Moments later she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom-her car, and her precious girls have vanished.
The police have no leads and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.
I received an offer to review this on audio and jumped at the opportunity.
In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.
Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate.
Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.
I saw this book reviewed by so many and let it go by until one of my Goodreads friends was insistent that all of her friends read this book. Why resist that kind of offer, especially since I can get it from my library.
Life is meant to be savored, but that’s not easy with no family, limited prospects, and a past you’d rather not talk about. Still, Callie Smith doesn’t know how to feel when she discovers she has a brother and a sister-Malcolm, who grew up with affection, wealth and privilege, and Keira, a streetwise twelve-year-old. Callie doesn’t love being alone, but at least it’s safe. Despite her trepidation, she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping just maybe this will be the start of a whole new life.
But starting over can be messy. Callie and Keira fit in with each other, but not with their posh new lifestyle, leaving Malcolm feeling like the odd man out in his own home. He was clever enough to turn a sleepy Seattle mail-order food catalog into an online gourmet powerhouse, yet he can’t figure out how to help his new sisters feel secure. Becoming a family will take patience, humor, a little bit of wine, and a whole lot of love. But love isn’t Malcolm’s strong suit … until a beautiful barista teaches him that an open heart, like the family table, can always make room for more.
This showed up at my library and I thought the synopsis sounded delicious. And, it’s written by an author I enjoy. Got it on audio!