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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.


The Chain

VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.

YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN:
YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN

I kept seeing this title pop up so when it appeared in my library, I checked it out and snapped up the audiobook, especially when I saw that the narrator is January LaVoy!

 


The Grace Year

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their 16th year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life – a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

A really good friend of mine on Goodreads went nuts about this book and practically shouted that I must read this story! I had no choice but to add it, an audio review hopeful.

 


The Book Charmer

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

After seeing countless rave reviews from friends, I got in the library queue when it showed up and I finally reached the head of the line.

 


The World That We Knew

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

Another Goodreads friend loved this book and highly recommended. With its bit of magical realism, I was drawn to the story.

 


She Said

On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey—and then the world changed. For months Kantor and Twohey had been having confidential discussions with top actresses, former Weinstein employees and other sources, learning of disturbing long-buried allegations, some of which had been covered up by onerous legal settlements. The journalists meticulously picked their way through a web of decades-old secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements, pressed some of the most famous women in the world—and some unknown ones—to risk going on the record, and faced down Weinstein, his team of high-priced defenders, and even his private investigators.

But nothing could have prepared them for what followed the publication of their Weinstein story. Within days, a veritable Pandora’s Box of sexual harassment and abuse was opened, and women who had suffered in silence for generations began coming forward, trusting that the world would understand their stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry would be outed for mistreating their colleagues. But did too much change—or not enough? Those questions plunged the two journalists into a new phase of reporting and some of their most startling findings yet.

With superlative detail, insight, and journalistic expertise, Kantor and Twohey take us for the first time into the very heart of this social shift, reliving in real-time what it took to get the story and giving an up-close portrait of the forces that hindered and spurred change. They describe the surprising journeys of those who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves—and so changed us all.

I saw the Today show interview with these authors and immediately added the book as this movement is a cause I strongly support.

 


Akin

Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he’s discovered from his mother’s wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he’s never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip.

Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak frites to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy’s truculent wit, and Michael’s ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew.

Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together.

Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra wrote a compelling review of this story and I found it at my library!

 


Block 46

In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

My thanks to Yvo @ It’s All About Books for putting this series on my radar. She reviewed the second book so I’m starting from the beginning.

 


Before Sunrise

In Before Sunrise, a short, dark novel, we meet Will Fortin of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, on patrol in southern Alberta. It’s a lonely region where the sky meets the land on even terms, where the landscape exaggerates or diminishes your place in the world. If you’re lucky, trouble would never find you there. If you weren’t, this was your battleground.

It is here where Fortin experiences the worst any cop can face, the taking of innocent lives when he accidentally shoots two children while responding to a call at a farm involving a gun. His life destroyed his guilt unbearable, Fortin, a good man, struggles as a haunted soul, aching to redeem himself.

Years after the shooting, Fortin is assigned to escort a murderer to trial in Seattle, Washington. When their plane crashes in the unforgiving Rocky Mountains, Fortin is presented with his last chance at redemption.

Coming in at about the same length as The Old Man and the Sea, Before Sunrise, is a powerful, heart-wrenching story of love, heartbreak, courage and enduring human spirit.

This showed up as a Kindle freebie!

 


Faker

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

Another debut novel that just sounded too fun to pass up for audio review!

 


Dominicana

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

I’m not sure I would have given this book a second look without the compelling reviews of two of my Goodreads friends. A closer look had me more than intrigued. Here’s hoping it shows up at my library.

 


The Giver of Stars

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job–bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope. At times funny, at others heartbreaking, this is a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

It’s Jojo Moyes! And, it’s narrated by Julia Whelan, one of my favorites. No brainer for audio review AND it’s in development for a major motion picture film.

 


Guest House for Young Widows

Among the many books trying to understand the terrifying rise of ISIS, none has given voice to the women in the organization; but women were essential to the establishment of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate.

Responding to promises of female empowerment and social justice, and calls to aid the plight of fellow Muslims in Syria, thousands of women emigrated from the United States and Europe, Russia and Central Asia, from across North Africa and the rest of the Middle East to join the Islamic State. These were the educated daughters of diplomats, trainee doctors, teenagers with straight-A averages, as well as working-class drifters and desolate housewives, and they set up makeshift clinics and schools for the Islamic homeland they envisioned. Guest House for Young Widows charts the different ways women were recruited, inspired, or compelled to join the militants. Emma from Hamburg, Sharmeena and three high school friends from London, Nour, a religious dropout from Tunis: all found rebellion or community in political Islam and fell prey to sophisticated propaganda that promised them a cosmopolitan adventure and a chance to forge an ideal Islamic community where they could live devoutly without fear of stigma or repression.

It wasn’t long before the militants exposed themselves as little more than violent criminals, more obsessed with power than the tenets of Islam, and the women of ISIS were stripped of any agency, perpetually widowed and remarried, and ultimately trapped in a brutal, lawless society. The fall of the caliphate only brought new challenges to women no state wanted to reclaim.

Moaveni’s exquisite sensitivity and rigorous reporting makes these forgotten women indelible and illuminates the turbulent politics that set them on their paths.

Frankly, I’ve not understood how or why young women freely joined ISIS so when Ren @ What’s Nonfiction? featured and recommended this book that provides some valuable insight, i was all over it and got it for audio review.

 


Don’t You Forget About Me

You always remember your first love…don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way – bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: It’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And – make that two problems – he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat…what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief – and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened 12 years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth…or a second chance with the one that got away?

This showed up at my library and it sounds fun, which is nice to fit in between all those other serious titles.

 


Handle With Care

He wants to lose control

Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman.

She’s trying to hold it together

Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

I’ve wanted this book for awhile and it finally showed up at my library yesterday!

 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

22 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. Yep, The Chain is constantly popping up on various blogs. So far, I have resisted the temptation, but my defences are weakening. Guest House for Young Widows sounds like an interesting one. Like you, I would really like to understand the motivation for these women.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great selection of books! I hope you will enjoy the Emily Roy & Alexis Castells series (all three books are brilliant) and I have recently added The Chain as well! And I do love the sound of the newest Alice Hoffman. I hope you will enjoy these! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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