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.
An atmospheric tale of romantic noir with shades of Hitchcock about a man who is swept into a vortex of irresistible passion and murder when an old love mysteriously reappears
George Foss, a forty-year-old employee of a Boston literary magazine, has passed the age when he thinks he might fall madly in love or take the world by storm, or have anything truly remarkable happen to him. He spends most of his evenings at his local tavern talking about the Red Sox and the minutiae of everyday life, and obsessing over a lost love from his college days who vanished twenty years earlier. Until she reappears.
George has both dreamed of and dreaded seeing Liana Decter again. She isn’t just an ex-girlfriend or the first love George could never forget. She’s also an enigma and quite possibly someone who was involved in a murder years ago, a woman whose transgressions are more in line with Greek tragedy than youthful indiscretion. But suddenly, she’s back—and she needs his help. She says that some men are after her and that they believe she’s stolen money from them. And now they will do whatever it takes to get it back.
George knows Liana is trouble. But he can’t say no—he never could—and soon his quiet life is gone as he is pulled into a terrifying whirlpool of lies, betrayal, and murder from which there is no sure escape.
Bold and masterful, full of malevolent foreboding and subtle surprises, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart is an addictive, nonstop reading experience—an ever-tightening coil of suspense that will hold you in its grip right up to its electrifying end.
This comes from the author’s backlist but a new find for me at my library. Swanson has become one of my favorite authors.
Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.
Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Callan Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…
Nora’s an auto read and this is her next scheduled standalone title, due out in May. Fingers crossed for audio review.
Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?
In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.
Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.
No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.
Goodwin is my favorite biographer and my library came through again with the audiobook. She’s used several well known actors as her narrators. I’ll savor this in bits at a time.
Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome took Victorian England by storm when she landed on its shores. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she gave birth to a man who defined the twentieth century: her son Winston. But Jennie–reared in the luxury of Gilded Age Newport and the Paris of the Second Empire–lived an outrageously modern life all her own, filled with controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph.
When the nineteen-year-old beauty agrees to marry the son of a duke she has known only three days, she’s instantly swept up in a whirlwind of British politics and the breathless social climbing of the Marlborough House Set, the reckless men who surround Bertie, Prince of Wales. Raised to think for herself and careless of English society rules, the new Lady Randolph Churchill quickly becomes a London sensation: adored by some, despised by others.
Artistically gifted and politically shrewd, she shapes her husband’s rise in Parliament and her young son’s difficult passage through boyhood. But as the family’s influence soars, scandals explode and tragedy befalls the Churchills. Jennie is inescapably drawn to the brilliant and seductive Count Charles Kinsky–diplomat, skilled horse-racer, deeply passionate lover. Their impossible affair only intensifies as Randolph Churchill’s sanity frays, and Jennie–a woman whose every move on the public stage is judged–must walk a tightrope between duty and desire. Forced to decide where her heart truly belongs, Jennie risks everything–even her son–and disrupts lives, including her own, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Breathing new life into Jennie’s legacy and the gilded world over which she reigned, That Churchill Woman paints a portrait of the difficult–and sometimes impossible–balance between love, freedom, and obligation, while capturing the spirit of an unforgettable woman, one who altered the course of history.
I’m pretty sure that the review by Marialyce @ yayareads put this book on my radar. I added it to my library wishlist. It finally freed up after months of waiting!
Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.
Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone—presumably drowned while fishing on his boat—so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.
Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted—or dangerously possessive. But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.
I stumbled across this and was immediately intrigued. I’m hoping to get this for audio review. Scheduled for April release, it’s also narrated by one of my favorites, January LaVoy.
I hate him.
I want her.
I’ve been turning him down for two years straight.
Every shut-down makes me work harder.
I’m not a one-night stand kind of girl.
She doesn’t realize I won’t settle for only one night.
He’s a distraction I don’t need.
She’ll say yes eventually because I’m not giving up.
This showed up at my library and I decided to give this author a try as so many of my Goodreads friends are fans. And, the audiobook is narrated by two favorites, Andi Arndt & Sebastian York.
This audio novella is a stand-alone prequel to the Cormac Reilly series
Twenty-two year old Niamh Turley thought she had problems, dealing with the obnoxious principal of the school she’s teaching in as well as the anxious parents of her little charges, but when she wakes one morning to a missing roommate and a garda knocking on her door, her life spirals out of control fast…
A free audio novella for subscribers to Dervla McTiernan’s newsletter.
I learned about this prequel audiobook from a Goodreads friend’s review. It’s free if you’re a subscriber for the author’s newsletter. You’ll be given a password. I’ve collected all of the current audiobooks in the series.
Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…
Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.
When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.
Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.
Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.
Carr is another auto read author and has been for years! I’m hoping to get this one for audio review.
It’s June 1814, and the royal families of Austria, Russia, and the German states have gathered in London at the Prince Regent’s invitation to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon and the restoration of monarchical control throughout Europe. But the festive atmosphere is marred one warm summer evening by the brutal murder of a disgraced British nobleman long thought dead.
Eighteen years before, Nicholas Hayes, the third son of the late Earl of Seaford, was accused of killing a beautiful young French émigré and transported to Botany Bay for life. Even before his conviction, Hayes had been disowned by his father. Few in London were surprised when they heard the ne’er-do-well had died in New South Wales in 1799. But those reports were obviously wrong. Recently Hayes returned to London with a mysterious young boy in tow–a child who vanishes shortly after Nicholas’s body is discovered.
Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is drawn into the investigation by his valet, Jules Calhoun. With Calhoun’s help, Sebastian begins to piece together the shattered life of the late Earl’s ill-fated youngest son. Why did Nicholas risk his life and freedom by returning to England? And why did he bring the now-missing young boy with him? Several nervous Londoners had reason to fear that Nicholas Hayes had returned to kill them. One of them might have decided to kill him first.
Imagine my surprise when NetGalley approved me for this book, #15 in one of my favorite series, Sebastian St. Cyr. I was turned down for the last two.
What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
Tina @ Reading Between the Pages featured this title in her Read All About It — Look Who Has a New Book Coming Out post. I read anything Sager.
There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.
Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.
When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown–the sleepy countryside village where she grew up–Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.
DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.
One of them knows more than they are letting on. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Alternating between Anna’s and Jack’s points of view, His & Hers is a fast-paced, complex, and dark puzzle that will keep listeners guessing until the very end.
Another title featured in Tina’s post. I’m a Feeney fan and hope to get this on audio review.
Cam Booker learned the hard way that commitment and love aren’t for him. Fresh out of a relationship that nearly saw him go to jail, he’s focused on building a life and building his business. But when he suddenly finds himself responsible for a motherless five-year-old, his world is turned upside down. What does he know about caring for a little girl? On top of that, his newest client, the notorious widow Banes is definitely the kind of trouble he doesn’t need.
But the thing about trouble? It always has a way of finding him…
Bluebell Banes hides behind a cool façade of disinterest and money. She’s knows what the locals think of her—the Vegas showgirl hit it big when elderly David Banes married her. But they don’t know the pain she carries, or the past she’s running from. They don’t know the desire Cam Booker stirs in her, or the yearning his little girl evokes. The man has her thinking of things she shouldn’t be thinking about. Forbidden things. Hot things. Complicated things. Blue doesn’t do complicated. It’s too much trouble and there are too many risks.
And the biggest risk of all is something she’s guarded for years. Her heart…
Years ago, I read the author’s series set in Crystal Lake and was sad when it ended. This is a spinoff and is a kindle freebie! It’s still free here.
Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.
An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.
She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.
So many of my Goodreads romance reading friends love this author and this series. When the audiobooks showed up at my library, I quickly got in the queue.