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.
Fourteen years after her abrupt departure, Samara Davis is back in Marietta, Montana. Now a widow, all she wants is to give her anxious four-year old daughter, Jade, a happy, stable home. Unfortunately, the heritage house she purchased is nowhere near ready for occupancy. And the man responsible for the delay is none other than high-school golden boy and love of her life Logan Stafford, available, interested and just as swoon-worthy as ever.
But this single mother has one priority. She’s all Jade has, and she’ll do anything, make any sacrifice, for her child’s future. And getting distracted by a long-lost boyfriend is not on the agenda.
Logan Stafford never forgot the lonely girl from the wrong side of the tracks who broke his heart. Not only is she as irresistible as ever, but her delightfully odd little girl has him wrapped around her finger in no time. Believing they’ve been given a second chance, Logan’s determined to pull out all the stops on the house to prove to them both that he’s a guy they can count on. But, despite how easy it is to love Logan, a second chance is still a gamble Samara can’t afford to take.
This was a kindle freebie offered up this week and as I like second chance romances, I decided to give it a try.
They built a life on lies
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
The reviews are all over the place for this one but when the audiobook showed up in my library, I decided to take a chance on it and evaluate for myself.
An impossible pairing…
Hamish Douglas, the mercurial Laird of Glen Lyon, has never got along with independent, smart-mouthed Emily Baylor. Which wouldn’t matter if this brilliant Scottish astronomer didn’t move in the same scientific circles as Emily and if her famous father wasn’t his mentor. But when Emily looks likely to derail the event which will make Hamish’s career, he loses his temper with the pretty miss, and his recklessness leaves her reputation in ruins.
A marriage made in scandal…
Emily has always thought her father’s spectacular protégé was far too arrogant for his own good. But what is she to do when the only way she can save her good name in society is to wed the unruly laird? Reluctantly she accepts Hamish’s proposal, but only on the condition that their union remains chaste. That shouldn’t be a problem; they’ve never been friends, let alone potential lovers―except that after they marry, Hamish reveals unexpected depths and a host of admirable qualities, and he’s so awfully handsome, and now the swaggering rogue admits that he desires her…
From the ballrooms of London to the grandeur of the western Highlands, a battle royal rages between these two strong-willed combatants. Neither plans to yield an inch―but are these smart people smart enough to see that sometimes the greatest victory lies in mutual surrender?
I received this for review from one of my favorite authors. This is the 6th book in the series I’ve read from the beginning. Glad to be back in the Highlands!
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War.
Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.
I initially took a pass on this book when offered for audio review but finally went back and got it after too many of my trusted Goodreads friends raved about it. I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect but that’s the one common aspect of the reviews.
Two wildly different women—one a grifter, the other an heiress—are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.
It took me about five seconds to add this when offered for audio review. That synopsis is deliciously different.
An office attraction becomes something more when they’re off the clock in this delightful romantic comedy by the USA Today bestselling author of Not the Girl You Marry.
State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life–except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. To be honest, she has more important things to do like putting bad guys behind bars. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program.
Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget–total love at first sight–but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt asks her on a date. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Unless you put a ring on it.
I like the author, love the trope so my answer was “yes” when offered for audio review.
Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.
Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?
I’m happy that this week I was offered some fun stuff for audio review and this just seems like it will be be very lighthearted. I could use the distraction and I like the diversity.
Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words.
Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including—maybe especially—members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?
I’ve not read this author before but my Goodreads friends all echo the same comment about her writing being extraordinary. This is her first adult novel in 15 years. I accepted the offer for audio review.
Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.
It pays to sign up for these author newsletters as that’s how I found out Tucker was offering this kindle freebie. Though her stories can be hit or miss for me, I’m always game.
It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him.
That was seventeen years ago.
I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again.
Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.
This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken . . .
Another kindle freebie I learned about from the author’s newsletter.
Stan Weir is mourning a tragic loss when he meets a mysterious nine-year-old girl, who claims to be the reincarnated spirit of his late wife. Marcy Keef is a single mother trying to make ends meet, when her daughter Erin starts describing “past life memories.” Neither wants to believe Erin, but as violent secrets are revealed, the truth becomes harder to deny.
With echoes of Stephen King, Second Skin is a propulsive thriller about grief, guilt, and truths better left unknown.
Each month, Audible offers original content for free to members, normally a limit of two. This month they’ve lifted the limit and I added this one. It sounds sufficiently creepy for a great escape.