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.
Six standalone holiday short stories!
The Merry Mistake by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Note to self: Ask Santa for glasses this year. When I accidentally mistook a gorgeous man resting outside my building for a homeless person in need of lunch, we got into it. I’d only been trying to do a good deed around the holidays, but he called me righteous. I called him something far worse. If only I didn’t have to see him again. But fate had other plans.
Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover
A short story that brings back several of Colleen’s most beloved characters. Told from the point of view of Daniel from Finding Cinderella, readers will finally get the story they’ve been begging for more of. For the best reading experience, make sure you’ve read all three books that come together to make up this heartwarming and fun holiday short story; Finding Cinderella, Hopeless and All Your Perfects.
A Rock Chick Christmas by Kristen Ashley
What’s Christmas with the Starks like? Get a peek into the Rock Chick world and how Luke copes with Ava going Christmas gaga and just what he will, and won’t, do for his girls during the holidays.
Just Say When by Jill Shalvis
When the one you want …
Is the one you can’t seem to have…
Can love conquer all?
The Pact by Elle Kennedy
Thanks to my hectic schedule as a pro hockey player, my girl and I are spending more time apart than together. Luckily, I have a solution—a romantic New Year’s Eve getaway in the mountains, just me and Grace and plenty of sexytimes. Except this blizzard has other ideas…
The Package by K. Bromberg
Christmas week can’t get any worse for Jules Jilliland. Dumped by her boyfriend, rear-ended on the freeway, and fired from her job, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a handsome stranger. When their packages are accidentally swapped, will it end up being a misfortunate accident that suddenly brightens her holidays?
I subscribe to quite a few author newsletters and they are paying off! I got this free and it includes stories from three of my favorite authors.
Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.
Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.
Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.
Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.
I got a NetGalley email about this book and knew I needed to add it…but on audio. I’m holding out for audio review.
The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook-slash-secret food blogger.
Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.
One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.
I was all set to let this go by and then Berit @ Audio Killed the Bookmark had me rethink my decision. After all, I loved Little Women.Got this for audio review.
Shay Miller has three strikes against her: no job, no apartment, no love in her life. But when she witnesses a perfectly normal looking young woman about her age make the chilling decision to leap in front of an ongoing subway train, Shay realizes she could end up in the same spiral. She is intrigued by a group of women who seem to have it all together, and they invite her with the promise: “You are not alone.” Why not align herself with the glamorous and seductive Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane? They seem to have beaten back their demons, and made a life on their own terms—a life most people can only ever envy. They are everything Shay aspires to be, and they seem to have the keys to getting exactly what they want.
As Shay is pulled deeper and deeper under the spell of the Moore sisters, she finds her life getting better and better. But what price does she have to pay? What do Cassandra and Jane want from her? And what secrets do they, and Shay, have that will come to a deadly confrontation?
You are not alone: Is it a promise? Or a threat?
I loved this writing team’s An Anonymous Girl so when a Goodreads friend told me this was on NetGalley, I added it and am holding out for audio review.
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.
I was offered this for audio review and was intrigued by the description.
A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.
Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.
TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.
When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.
Maxwell Lewis has to make the play of his life in order to breach the woman of his dream’s defenses in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.
Brynn Larson owes a lot to reality television and professional athletes. Her bar hit new heights of success after becoming a local haunt for the Denver Mustangs players and their WAGs. But although she’s grateful, that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. And that’s exactly what she would be to ever consider dating a professional athlete. Even if it’s Maxwell Lewis, whose shy smile makes her wonder what going on behind those beautiful brown eyes.
Maxwell knew from the moment he met Brynn that she was going to change his life. It was only a matter of time. But when he finally makes a move, fate conspires against him and everything goes wrong. Now he has to show her that their potential is real. Too bad for him, Brynn isn’t fooled by his glamorous NFL life, and when ghosts from both their pasts make a sudden reappearance, she must decide who she can trust. But when the person she’s most afraid of is herself, navigating life’s tackles is harder than anticipated.
I have the first book in this series and plan to binge read these next month. Yum! All on audio, one for review.
In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.
Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people’s e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning’s handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit’s sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn’t right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to find the truth. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.
Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It’s a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.
This was offered for audio review and I vacillated about adding it. Then I read the mini review by Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra and decided to go for it.
A READ WITH JENNA • TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK
A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.
Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.
But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.
A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.
This got on my radar because of the Read With Jenna Book Club and I’ve waited patiently in the library queue for the audiobook. My number finally came up!
In this pulse-pounding short thriller for fans of Big Little Lies and The Last Mrs. Parrish, Maggie Cabot refuses to sit by idly as police re-open an investigation into the mysterious death of a woman her husband used to know.
After two decades in a near-perfect marriage, Maggie and James Cabot are enjoying their first year as empty-nesters in their charming Florida suburb, until two detectives arrive at their front door and change their lives forever.
The remains of a young woman have been found at a campsite in the Florida Keys. Hannah Nilsson, only 21 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen on a camping trip with a group of friends—including James, who dated Hannah long before he and Maggie ever met. Shocked and heartbroken, everyone on the trip said they assumed Hannah had wandered off toward shore, intoxicated from a long night of partying, and drowned. But the discovery of her body 25 years later, half a mile away from the campsite and buried six feet deep, makes it clear that her death was not accidental.
As the police dig back into the case, Maggie begins her own investigation, desperate to piece together the truth and clear her husband’s name once and for all.
The Christmas Pact
Heat up the holidays with this sizzling new novella from New York Times best-selling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!
Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her colleague, Kennedy Riley.
The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party. As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be gorgeous…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor – and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: He’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding.
It sounds easy enough. But little by little, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact – and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.
Both of these are Audible Originals, offered free to members for December. I pounced as I’m familiar with both authors and love the descriptions.
Twelve bestselling authors have come together to brighten your holiday with six ALL NEW co-written novels. Travel through six cities and fall in love with these enchanting love stories.
L.J. Shen & Helena Hunting
Just The Tip
It’s not every day you meet a stranger who knows how to jingle your bells…
Corinne Michaels & Melanie Harlow
Baby it’s Cold Outside
My Christmas list did not include a broken heart, freezing temperatures, or my tree stuck in the door to my apartment building, but that’s what I got. Just when I thought Santa had failed me, I got something I never thought to ask for …
Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Kissmas in New York
It was just supposed to be a simple kiss with a stranger. I’d done it to prove a point–that I hadn’t lost my sense of adventure. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Maybe I’d get something in my stocking after all this holiday season…
Sierra Simone & Kennedy Ryan
The Christmas Crown
Noelani, queen of Manaroa, has one mission on her diplomatic visit to the States: forge strategic alliances for her homeland. When she meets brooding security specialist Brock Grimsby, their unexpected alliance heats up the holiday. One night. No promises, but come Christmas, will either be able to walk away?
Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway
Two lonely souls find companionship in Dublin for one magical night. Broderick Adams doesn’t mind his solitude, until she walks in. Ophelia Kelly sings to heal her heart, but has no idea he’s listening.
Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Jamie and Wes are having a blast living and working in Toronto. Until a scout for another team swoops in to make one of them an offer that might complicate the life they’ve built together.
I found out about this free anthology through an author newsletter. Several of these authors are on my shelf.
Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.
As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.
With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai’i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.
Kyra @ Roots & Reads wrote a powerful review of this memoir. I loved that I could find it at my library.