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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.

 


 

Thanks to Audible’s 2-for-1-credit sale (I stockpile credits just for these sales), I’ve an unusually large number of new books added this week. That’s such a lovely problem💜

 


 

The Cypress House

A journey to Florida’s coast becomes an inescapable nightmare in the newest supernatural thriller from international bestseller Michael Koryta.

Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before–a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong.

When Arlen awakens on a train one hot Florida night and sees death’s telltale sign in the eyes of his fellow passengers, he tries to warn them. Only 19-year-old Paul Brickhill believes him, and the two abandon the train, hoping to escape certain death. They continue south, but soon are stranded at the Cypress House–an isolated Gulf Coast boarding house run by the beautiful Rebecca Cady–directly in the path of an approaching hurricane.

The storm isn’t the only approaching danger, though. A much deadlier force controls the county and everyone living in it, and Arlen wants out–fast. But Paul refuses to abandon Rebecca to face the threats alone, even though Arlen’s eerie gift warns that if they stay too long they may never leave.

Found this at my library after I checked my list of Koryta titles. I’m a huge fan of the author and my most favorite narrator, Robert Petkoff.

 


The Girls

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

I was interested in this book when it was first released but the library queues were too long. The audiobook became available so I took the plunge.

 


Blue Skies

Nikki Burgess has survived a terrible marriage and an even worse divorce. And she’s just about given up hope of ever finding love and happiness. But when her ex-husband suddenly dies, she gets custody of her kids again and a chance to start over and do it right.
Dixie McPherson, on the other hand, has had way too much love. She has eleven tennis bracelets, dozens of trinkets, piles of sexy lingerie and a tarnished reputation when all she ever wanted was true love, a partner and a family.

Carlisle Bartlett is loyal, generous, kindhearted and the funniest guy slinging drinks in the back of an airplane. But he has an ugly little secret. The only kind of love he’s used to comes with bruises.

They are three people who could seriously use a break. A fresh start. A shot at success and a chance to shine. Maybe a little romance — the kind that sticks. And some adventure wouldn’t hurt. So when they’re presented with the challenge of joining a team starting a new airline in Las Vegas, they don’t hesitate. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, these three friends are going in search of their own blue skies.

I love this author’s writing and when it was included in Audible’s 2-for-1-credit sale this week, I bought it!

 


The Time Between

Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late father, a local shrimper, shared her passion for music. Now her memories of him are all that tempers the guilt she feels over the accident that put her sister in a wheelchair and the feelings she harbors for her sister’s husband.

To help support her sister, Eleanor works at a Charleston investment firm during the day, but she escapes into her music, playing piano at a neighborhood bar. Until the night her enigmatic boss walks in and offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, back on Edisto. For Eleanor, it’s a chance to revisit the place where she was her happiest and to share her love of music with grieving Helena, whose sister recently died under mysterious circumstances.

An island lush with sweetgrass and salt marshes, Edisto has been a peaceful refuge for Helena, who escaped with her sister from war-torn Hungary in 1944. The sisters were well-known on the island, where they volunteered in their church and community. But now Eleanor will finally learn the truth about their past: secrets that will help heal her relationship with her own sister and set Eleanor free….

I became an instant fan of the author after reading Dreams of Falling. I’d not heard of this title but it was included in the Audible 2-for-1-credit sale and I saw nothing but positive reviews from my friends.

 


The Mistake

You think you know the truth about the people you love.

But one discovery can change everything…

Eight-year-old Billy goes missing one day, out flying his kite with his sister Rose. Two days later, he is found dead.

Sixteen years on, Rose still blames herself for Billy’s death. How could she have failed to protect her little brother?

Rose has never fully recovered from the trauma, and one of the few people she trusts is her neighbour Ronnie, who she has known all her life. But one day Ronnie falls ill, and Rose goes next door to help him… and what she finds in his attic room turns her world upside down.

Rose thought she knew the truth about what happened to Billy. She thought she knew her neighbour. Now the only thing she knows is that she is in danger…

I struck gold this week with Audible’s 2-for-1-credit sale with this one. It is highly rated by many of my friends and the synopsis grabbed me. And, I’ve quietly collected most of this author’s books.

 


Outfox

Weston Graham is a chameleon. He has gone by many names, worn many faces, and assumed many personalities. These incarnations have enabled him to bilk wealthy women of their fortunes … and then to disappear along with the women, only to resurface with a new identity and his sights set on another victim.

FBI special agent Drex Easton’s mother was the first of eight known victims, whom Drex believes all died at their seducer’s hand, although none of their bodies has ever been discovered. Drex has made it his mission in life to bring this serial predator to justice.

The book opens with Drex learning of a likely suspect, a man living in suburbia with a new guise and a new alias: Jasper Ford. His probably next target is Talia Shafer, a successful businesswoman who made a fortune in the travel industry. She is also Jasper Ford’s much younger wife. In order to get close to the couple and ascertain if Jasper Ford is, in fact, Weston Graham, Drex must assume a false identity of his own and moves in next door to the couple. His goal is fixed on Jasper; his eyes are fixed on Talia.

In a high stakes game of wits, Jasper and Drex play each other, each trying to outfox the other. It’s a game which Drex must win before Jasper eludes him yet again … and Talia becomes victim number nine.

I’m a big fan of this author who excels at writing great romantic suspense stories. As a subscriber of her newsletter, I learned of this new book scheduled for release in August. I’ve recommended it for library purchase, of course the audiobook edition.

 


The Starter Wife

Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.

My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static.

When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. “Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

I was offered an opportunity to review this book written by a new-to-me author and that opening had me wanting more.

 


Paranoid

There are people in Edgewater, Oregon, who think that twenty years ago, Rachel Gaston got away with murder.

Rachel still has no idea how a foolish teenaged game turned deadly—or who replaced her soft pellet air gun with a real weapon. When a figure leapt out at her from the darkness, she fired without thinking. Too late, she recognized her half-brother, Luke, and saw blood blooming around his chest.

Despite counseling, Rachel’s horrifying dreams about that night continue. Her anxiety contributed to her divorce from Detective Cade Ryder, though he blames himself too. But as Rachel’s high school reunion nears, she feels her imagination playing tricks, convincing her that objects in her house have moved. That there’s a hint of unfamiliar cologne in the air. That someone is tailing her car. Watching her home.

She’s right to be scared. And as connections surface between a new string of murders and Luke’s death, Rachel realizes there’s no escaping the past, and the truth may be darker than her worst fears …

This was offered for audio review and I’ve yet to read anything by this author, even though so many of my friends rave about her books. I’m taking the plunge with this compelling story.

 


The Things I Know

Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott loves living and working on the remote family farm and B&B. But she also wants more. To see the world. To own her own home. To fall madly in love.

But those are fairy tales, and if her life is a fairy tale, then she’s the ugly duckling. Her deformed lip, her crooked limbs and her weak heart have kept her from taking chances. But that’s about to change.

When Grayson Potts comes to stay, he’s unlike anyone Thomasina has ever met. He’s aloof, eccentric and exceptionally kind. He’s also totally unconcerned with the physical flaws that have always defined Thomasina.

The two form a bond that neither has had before. It’s possible that it could become something more, but Thomasina also wonders if it’s too good to be true. By putting her heart on the line, Thomasina may open herself to heartbreak. But she may also open herself to so much more.

I’ve become a fan of this author’s flair for understated writing with powerful themes and messages. It was offered for audio review and I didn’t think twice before accepting.

 


I’ll Never Tell

What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she was found bludgeoned in a rowboat at the MacAllister family’s Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Now, after their parents’ sudden deaths, the MacAllister siblings return to camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate the camp occupies. Ryan needs to sell. Margaux hasn’t made up her mind. Mary believes in leaving well enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done.

But it’s more complicated than a simple vote. The will stipulates that until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t settle the estate. Any one of them could have done it, and each one is holding a piece of the puzzle. Will they work together to finally discover the truth, or will their secrets finally tear the family apart?

This author has a unique riding style that I really like. After reading the synopsis for this one, I greedily accepted the offer to review this on audio.

 


Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

· Never trust an outsider

· Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

· And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

I recently watched the movie version of Pride & Prejudice (finally!) and vowed I’d read the classic someday. This is a retelling that checks so many other boxes (multi cultural, family drama, etc.). And, it’s available from the library. Thanks to Berit @ Audio Killed the Bookmark for putting this on my radar!

 


The Favorite Daughter

From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days-and nights-at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl-dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading featured this book and had it as a group read in the Goodreads Traveling Sisters group, which put it on my radar. Unfortunately, I gave it a pass when it was offered for audio review so now I’m crossing my fingers that my library will heed my recommendation.

 


You Don’t Own Me

Television producer Laurie Moran recently became engaged to her investigative television show’s former host, Alex Buckley, and since then, the two have been happily planning a summer wedding, preparing for Alex’s confirmation to a federal judicial appointment, and searching for the perfect New York City home for their new life together.

But then Laurie is approached by Robert and Cynthia Bell, parents of Dr. Martin Bell, a physician who was shot dead as he pulled into the driveway of his Greenwich Village carriage house five years ago. The Bells are sure that Martin’s disgraced and erratic wife, Kendra, carried out the murder. Determined to prove Kendra’s guilt and win custody over their grandchildren, they plead with Laurie to feature their son’s case on Under Suspicion, ensuring her that Kendra is willing to cooperate.

As Laurie dives into the case, she learns that Martin wasn’t the picture-perfect husband, father, and doctor he appeared to be and was carrying secrets of his own. And what does the web of lies ensnaring the Bell family have to do with a dangerous stranger, who gazes at Laurie from afar and thinks, She is actually quite a lovely girl, I’m sure she’s going to be missed…?

I’ve waited in a long library queue for this audiobook for weeks! My number finally came up. I’m a fan of both authors and the narrator, January LaVoy.

 


The Song of the Jade Lily

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the Paris of the East. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.

2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother’s history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother’s own past in Shanghai.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family-and herself.

When this book first crossed my radar, I gave it a pass…that’s until I read the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader and realized this story was more than I’d first given credit. It’s on my library wishlist and I’m hoping they add the audiobook (I’m tabled from making recommendations at the moment).

 


A Killer’s Alibi

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters–some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

I absolutely love courtroom drama and when Debjani @ Debjani’s Thoughts reviewed this book, everything clicked. Now, it’s the third in the Philadelphia Legal series so I’m starting with the first two.

 


The Farm

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you’ve ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

I initially gave this a pass when the opportunity to review this on audio was presented because of all the mixed reviews by friends. But, then it showed up at my library and I decided to get it, on audio, primarily because I’m a fan of the dystopia genre and I want to explore for myself as it delves into so many interesting directions. Fingers crossed🤞

 


The Confessions Of Frannie Langton

A servant and former slave is accused of murdering her employer and his wife in this astonishing historical thriller that moves from a Jamaican sugar plantation to the fetid streets of Georgian London-a remarkable literary debut with echoes of Alias Grace, The Underground Railroad, and The Paying Guests.

All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being held in the Old Bailey.

The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore.

But Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, even if remembering could save her life. She doesn’t know how she came to be covered in the victims’ blood. But she does have a tale to tell: a story of her childhood on a Jamaican plantation, her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist who stretched all bounds of ethics, and the events that brought her into the Benhams’ London home-and into a passionate and forbidden relationship.

Though her testimony may seal her conviction, the truth will unmask the perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder and indict the whole of English society itself.

I subscribe to a ton of bookish newsletters and, unfortunately, can’t remember which one featured this title on the same day the audiobook showed up at my library. It’s a debut novel and the description sounds like it will be an emotionally wrenching reading experience. I’ve decided to take a chance on both (author and subject).


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

41 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

    1. Thanks, Alexandra! All but four as I’m in a library queue or waiting on the release. I typically don’t add them until I’ve received them except when I know I’ll be doggedly determined to get them, no matter how long a line I have to wait in or when I know I’ll have an opportunity to get them for audio review.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Phew, okay, that makes sense. You had me worried then wondering if we’d see you take a breather in between such a pile of books! lol And no wonder you’re excited, I would be too. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’d love to know what you think of The Girls. I’ve been wanting to read that one as well, but just am not sure about it because most of the reviews I’ve read about it were, for the most part, lukewarm.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been sitting on The Girls and The Mistake since forever. Not sure when i’m gonna read them tho. Read a K L Slater book recently – it was all right, but i didn’t like all that much. It was a bit weird.

    That Kaira Rouda book is also on my list 🙂 and just got a copy of The Farm.

    Liked by 1 person

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