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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 Water Keeper

Murphy Shepherd is a retired priest, living alone on an island, and tending the grounds for a church with no parishioners. But when his best friend dies and asks that Murph scatter his ashes at the end of the world, Murph lashes the ashes to the front of his boat and heads south down the Intracoastal waterway.

Along the way, his path intersects with a dance instructor named Summer who is searching for her daughter. It doesn’t take Murph long to realize that Summer’s search is even more dire than they knew, and that her daughter has been abducted into the world of trafficking.

As they search for Angel, they also discover a stowaway. And it’s no coincidence the stowaway chose his boat. There’s more to Murph than it first seems, but agonizing memories have long compelled him to keep the truth hidden.

Susan @ Susan Loves Books put this on my radar in her NetGalley Haul post. This sounds SO good and I’m hoping to get it for audio review.

 


The Nickel Boys

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

I’ve waited months in the library queue for this one. Finally!

 


I Want You Back

Former NHL star Jaxson Lund has returned to the Twin Cities, but he’s at loose ends, unsure if he belongs at Lund Industries, or where he stands with Lucy, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Mimi. Despite the signs she’d like to leave him in the penalty box, the attraction burning between them reinforces his determination to prove that he deserves a second chance . . .

Lucy Quade is in a good place with a steady job, a nice apartment, and a well-adjusted daughter, which is why she’s hesitant when Jax insists on co-parenting. It’s not that Lucy doesn’t trust Jax . . . she’s just unconvinced he can handle multiple responsibilities when he’s been singularly focused on playing hockey.

But when issues arise with Mimi, Lucy’s shocked at how levelheaded and paternal he acts, giving her a glimpse of the Jax she used to know, the sexy, sweet man she fell for years ago. Once Lucy lets her guard down, Jax goes all in to show her how good they are together, but will their past remain too large an obstacle to ever overcome?

I’m a fan of the author and this showed up at my library, the first book in a new series.

 


One Little Secret

Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town – and desperate for some kid-free conversation – she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

Mackey @ Macsbooks put this on my radar months ago and I waited patiently in my library queue for it to finally free up! Gotta have a book that takes your friend out of a reading slump.

 


Darling Rose Gold

Mothers never forget. Daughters never forgive.

In her compulsive, sharply-drawn debut, Stephanie Wrobel peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships.

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

One of my Goodreads friends in the Traveling Sisters group raved about this book and her outstanding review had me add this one immediately! It’s an audio review hopeful.

 


The Red Lotus

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.

Honestly? I automatically add new books by this author to my shelf. And that cover!!! Another audio review hopeful.

 


Blue Flowers

A novel of dark obsession, missed connections, and violent love.

Marcos has just been through a divorce and moved into a new apartment. He feels alienated from his ex-wife, from his daughter, from society; everything feels flat and fake to him. He begins to receive letters at his new address from an anonymous troubled woman who signs off as A. and who clearly believes she is writing to the former tenant, her ex-lover, in the aftermath of a violent heartbreak. Marcos falls under the spell of the manic, hypnotic missives and for the first time in years, something moves him.

Blue Flowers alternates between the letters detailing the dissolution of A.’s relationship, and Marcos’ growing fixation with this damaged person. The letters become a kind of exorcism as both A.’s epistolary affair and Marcos’ personal life reach a crisis point. Possessed by A., he is driven to discover her true identity. Blue Flowers is a dark portrait of desire, undermining accepted truths about love and sex, violence and fear, men and women.

Continuing with my goal to include more literary fiction titles to my shelf, this one had a strong pull when offered for audio review. I’m such a fan of the epistolary form.

 


Recipe for a Perfect Wife

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.

I’m hoping this is a modern day Stepford Wives take with a fresh twist. Offered for audio review, it’s a new-to-me author that I’m definitely willing to try.

 


Wife After Wife

A wickedly entertaining and utterly absorbing modern take on the life and marriages of Henry VIII…if he were a twenty-first-century womanizing media mogul rather than the king of England.

Master of the universe Harry Rose is head of the Rose Corporation, number eighteen on the Forbes rich list, and recently married to wife number six. But in 2018, his perfect world is about to come crashing to the ground. His business is in the spotlight–and not in a good way–and his love life is under scrutiny. Because behind a glittering curtain of lavish parties, gorgeous homes, and a media empire is a tale worthy of any tabloid.

And Harry has a lot to account for.

A modern day Henry VIII story? When offered for audio review, I took the bait.

 


Mr. Nobody

He wants to remember. She needs to forget. . . . Memento meets Sharp Objects in a gripping psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water.

Who is Mr. Nobody?

When a man is found on a British beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him, to international medical experts who are baffled by him, to the national press who call him Mr. Nobody, everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?

Some memories are best forgotten.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient in a small town deep in the English countryside. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for, and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same town fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.

Places aren’t haunted . . . people are.

But now something—or someone—is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes that he knows the one thing about her that nobody is supposed to know.

I really liked her last book, Something in the Water, so I immediately added this when it was offered for audio review. Plus, she’s so good at narrating her own books!!

 


The Janes

The electric follow-up to Louisa Luna’s acclaimed thriller Two Girls Down, featuring private investigators Alice Vega and Max Caplan.

On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, and no family looking for them. Fearing the possibility of a human trafficking ring, the police and FBI reach out to Alice Vega, a private investigator known for finding the missing, for help in finding out who the Janes were–and finding the others who are missing.

Alice Vega is a powerful woman whose determination is matched only by her intellect, and, along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes before it is too late.

Louisa Luna is writing new classics of crime fiction, and her partnership of Vega and Cap is rightfully joining the pantheon of the most memorable in crime fiction.

I already have the first audiobook in this series and will binge listen to them both. I have it for audio review.

 


If I Had Two Lives

Vicky Collins has a seemingly enviable life. She is a successful cybercrimes special agent and lives with her social media star and real estate entrepreneur boyfriend in an upscale neighborhood of San Diego.

But appearances can be deceiving.

When Vicky is recruited to an elite unit at the FBI to investigate the possibility of a serial killer who piggybacks his killings on the crimes of other serial killers, her life begins to spiral out of control.

To complicate things further for the young agent, a routine background check at the FBI reveals a sibling DNA match — a brother she didn’t know existed. Determined to unravel the mysteries of her past and to find her long lost brother, Vicky retraces the boy’s footsteps through the foster care system, uncovering the abuse and neglect he suffered growing up. The secrets she unveils are more monstrous and terrifying than she ever imagined, and a new truth about her childhood threatens to consume her.

Then the Piggyback Serial Killer strikes again, but this time, Agent Collins has multiple suspects—including members of her own family.

This book was inspired by a young woman in a vegetative state who was sexually assaulted and impregnated by an employee of the care facility and delves into dark subject matter — murder, sexual violence, and childhood abuse. It is not for the faint of heart. If the story touches you as deeply as it touched me, I’d love to hear your opinion.

I’ve enjoyed several books by this author so when her newsletter announced that this was priced at $.99 for a day, I had no choice but to One-Click. Sale’s over but it’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

 


Come Back for Me

One night, eight years ago, she gave me peace.
No names.
No promises.
Just two broken people, desperate to quiet their pain and grief.

In the morning, she was gone and had taken my solace with her. I left for the military that day, vowing never to return to Pennsylvania.

When my father dies, I’m forced to go home to bury him. At least I’ll finally be rid of his farm, which is grown over and tangled with memories I’ve fought to forget.

And that’s when I find her. She’s even more beautiful than I remember and has the most adorable kid I’ve ever seen.

Years have passed, but my feelings are the same, and this time I refuse to let her go. They say you can’t bury the past, and they’re right. Because when long-ago secrets are exposed, rocking us both to the core, I have no choice but to watch her walk away again….

Susan @ Susan Loves Books featured this book in her most recent Can’t Wait Wednesday post and it caught my eye. Then I got the newsletter from the author and something about it all appealed to me, enough to use an Audible credit for it!


Good Girls Lie

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

I’d decided to let this one go, several times, but then it showed up at my library. Then my friends at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading featured glowing reviews in their blog tour stop. Too many “good” signs to continue ignoring. The audiobook became available this morning😏

 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

19 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

      1. Oh, I hear you, doing this kind of ‘read’ on a trip with someone else along to talk to, makes a big difference. And yes, I do love to read to learn, but sometimes, there are subjects that are too painful to tackle.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What a book haul! I must be tired because I can’t get excited about them right now which is unusual. I totally loved the only Charles Martin book I read though. I like Corinne Michaels and I do think I might enjoy Louise Luna. Enjoy your reads!

    Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post   

    Liked by 1 person

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