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.

28 Summers

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

I’d had my eye on this one so when it was offered for audio review, I quickly grabbed it.


Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .

It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

In the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field—an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, one of the town’s women decides to take matters into her own hands, setting the stage for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader’s heart, this fierce, unflinching, darkly funny, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.

Many of my Goodreads friends posted strong reviews of this story and some didn’t quite connect. In my current mood, I was reluctant to consider this story at the moment it was available. However, the audiobook showed up at my library and I decided to go for it. It was a sign.


With a Twist

Love is somewhere near the bottom of Lily Thomas’ list of life goals, right next to competitive eating and underwater cave diving. She’s spent six years pirouetting and pliéing her way up the ranks of the New York Ballet with her eye on the prize and love in the back seat. But now that Blane Baker — Lily’s long time crush — is finally single, she’ll throw her rules out the window without thinking twice.

Reality with Blane isn’t as epic as the fantasy she imagined, and the truth sends her spinning straight into the arms of the man she never knew she’d always wanted.

West Williams has been friends with Lily since the day she moved into their building and he saved her armoire from a swift, sudden death by staircase. Their friendship has always been easy, the boundaries clearly defined. With neither of them willing to risk their relationship, they’ve drifted happily through the years as companions, never considering more.

That is, until they do. And that realization changes everything.

I love a good romantic comedy so when I saw this listed as a kindle freebie grab on Anne @ Books of My Heart’s Sunday Post, I grabbed it, too.


The Splendid and the Vile

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons (30,000 of them Londoners) and destroying two million homes. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally–that she was willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his wartime residence, Ditchley, where Churchill and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann.

The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when–in the face of unrelenting horror–Churchill’s eloquence, strategic brilliance, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

I’m always looking for non fiction titles that my hubby and I can listen to together during road trips and when this showed up at my library, I got in line. We both have an interest in this period of history and Churchill. My number came up this week!


Honor Avenged

Leah Giancarelli makes balancing her new role as a single mom look easy, but she’d have crumbled if not for her late husband’s best friend, Marcus. She has her issues with HORNET, an elite hostage rescue team—after all, Danny would still be alive if he’d never accompanied them on their last mission—but Marcus has always been by her side, a strong shoulder to lean on…

Until, after one impulsive kiss, he’s so much more.

Eaten alive by guilt, Marcus takes off, leaving both HORNET and Leah behind. Alone is easier. Safer. Because his feelings for Leah are all kinds of wrong, the worst kind of betrayal, and he can’t trust himself not to act on them.

But Danny’s death was only the beginning. Whoever hired the hitman is looking for something, and they think Leah knows where it is…

I LOVE this author and this series💜 She took a one-year pause so I was ecstatically surprised to see this show up in NetGalley. Got approved same day, I’m sure it’s because I’ve read everything Burrows has ever written and my enthusiasm about her and this series is unapologetic. If you like the romantic suspense genre, it’s a must read.


A Rogue of One’s Own

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

This isn’t scheduled for release until September but I already know I want it! Hoping to get it for audio review, it’s the second book in the A League of Extraordinary Women series.


More Than Neighbors

The only thing they have in common is a property line!

He’s trying to uncover his past.

She’s hoping for a brighter future.

Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes everything.

Shannon Stacey has a new series!!! I received an invitation to participate in the blog tour and quickly accepted. I loved her Kowalski Family series and this one shows promise.


Code Name Hélène

BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid New Zealand expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

As LUCIENNE CARLIER she smuggles people and documents across borders under the guise of an oblivious mistress. Soon enough the Gestapo hears of a female operative with a remarkable ability to evade capture, and Nancy earns a new nickname: THE WHITE MOUSE. But this one carries with it a five million franc bounty on her head. Forced to escape France and leave Henri behind for the safety of both of them, Nancy enters training with the Special Operations Executives, who transform her into Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly MADAM ANDRÉ. She soon becomes one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, known for her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and her ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces. But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she–and the people she loves–will become.

I passed this up when it was offered for audio review (my moods have been strange these days) but then my book twin, Tina @ Reading Between the Pages posted an excellent review that made me rethink my decision. Thankfully, my library came to the rescue. I’m on hold in a short queue.


Ruff Around the Edges

U.S. Army Night Stalker Major Aidan Kilcannon leaves Afghanistan after his best friend, Charlie, is killed in action. Aidan’s only consolation is the knowledge that he’s now solely responsible for Charlie’s dog, Ruff, a rambunctious boxer they found in a bombed-out hospital in Kabul. With the help of Aidan’s father, the Dogfather himself, they transport Ruff back to the states. But the day Ruff arrives, Daniel Kilcannon informs his son that Rebecca Spencer, Charlie’s younger sister, has a hard and fast claim on Ruff and Aidan has to relinquish the dog to her, no matter how impossible that is.

Beck Spencer is in Bitter Bark temporarily to help the only living relatives she has. After losing her parents as a child, and her brother six months ago, she, too, hopes that Ruff will offer the solace and companionship she needs. But when Ruff finally shows up at her door, the man holding the leash is obviously determined to talk her out of keeping the dog. In fact, Aidan uses every persuasive power her has to convince Beck to give up Ruff…and he’s as wild and unpredictable as the dog they both want.

With an uneasy truce, a restless dog, and a sizzling attraction, Aidan and Beck soon realize they can help each other heal. But as they fall deeply in love and discover the true meaning of family and home, they’ll have to face the pains of their past if they’ll have any chance of a future.

Yay! I won the April Library Love Challenge hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and Books of My Heart. One of the wonderful things about the monthly challenges is the winner gets to choose her own title that fits the theme for that month. I love this series and hadn’t yet added this sixth book and I’m thrilled I got it as a gift.


The End of October

In this riveting medical thriller–from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author–Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.

At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons–microbiologist, epidemiologist–travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city . . . A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare . . . Already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic . . . Henry’s wife, Jill, and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta . . . And the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions–scientific, religious, governmental–and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.

I gave this book a pass when offered for audio review (who wants to read about a hell we’re currently living?) but after watching an interview with the author this week, I changed my mind. Thankfully, it was still available!


Cold Season

“He called, Matt. It was him.”

When Lainie Childers receives a phone call from her ex-husband once believed to be dead, she calls Asheville Police Detective Matt Reyes for help.

Matt has a long history with Lainie’s ex, Cody, beginning with their being friends since childhood. But that was before Cody began his slow unraveling that ended in a murder and him faking his own death to elude prison. Matt has been on the hunt for Cody ever since.

It also turns out Matt has been carrying a torch for Lainie for nearly as long as he’s known Cody…something the possessive Cody knows too.

When a love triangle involves a gun, who will be left alive?

It’s only 22 pages and $.99 but it’s by one of my favorite romantic suspense authors who’s been on hiatus. I’ll just bet this develops into a new series (hinted at in her newsletter) so I’m getting started now!


Sex and Vanity

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with a glittering tale of love and longing as a young woman finds herself torn between two worldsthe WASP establishment of her fathers family and George Zao, a man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have the view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Curzio Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin, Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him”, Charlotte teases. Daughter of an American-born-Chinese mother and blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George.

But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucy is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world – and her heart.

Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

I’m jumping on early for this one, not scheduled for release until July. Hoping to get it for audio review.

Dangerous to Love

DANGEROUS TO LOVE is a limited-time boxed set of TEN full-length novels by some of the most exciting Romantic Suspense authors in the business.

Included in the box set:
COLD & DEADLY by Toni Anderson
DESPERATE PLAY by Barbara Freethy
ENDGAME by Dee Davis
COLD SIGHT by Leslie A. Kelly
WATCH ME by Cynthia Eden
COMING HOME by Meli Raine
BLINDSIDED by Gwen Hernandez
HARD TARGET by Pamela Clare

This is an AMAZING collection if you’re a fan of the romantic suspense genre. It’s free and these are all full length novels tied to series. Some are the first and others second or third in them. Eight of these authors are on my shelf so I got this book as soon as I received the newsletter. Here’s the Amazon link. Just get it and start with Anderson and Clare. You’ll thank me.


The Split

Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new standalone thriller about a woman on the run in The Split.

No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd.

Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he’s out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.

But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie’s relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her.

I’m a fan of the author but was going to wait on this one. But after seeing the umpteenth blogger and Goodreads friend post stellar reviews, I got in line at the library for the audiobook.



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

31 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I’m one of the readers that didn’t quite connect with Valentien, but I don’t think there was anything wrong with the book, it’s just one of those that didn’t evoke any strong emotions in me. And I can’t wait to read the next book in the A League of Extraordinary Women series – happy reading!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Corina💜 That’s what most of my friends who didn’t connect with the book said. I know I’m taking a risk but at least it’s available from the library. I’ve still got the first in the Extraordinary Women women series to read but will probably wait and read them back to back.


      1. Because there are so many that loved the book, I would definitely try it. There is a good chance you’ll love it too!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Some great picks as always. I got the Staci Hart and Romantic suspense anthology too. I’m also a fan of Cynthia Eden. Somehow I got the audio of Valentine as a freebie 4/23 on Audible. I haven’t read any Tonya Burrows but I do have the first book in the Wilde Security series as a freebie. Guess I need to move that up the list.

    I hope you are doing well and have a great week ahead. Happy reading!

    Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post   

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great finds/list!! I’m currently reading The Splendid and the Vile (Churchill) and loving it at over 50%. I bought the physical in hopes of pictures/maps, but it only has two. Also think my husband would enjoy listening to the audio…. if we ever go on a road trip or something. I also have the Evie Dunmore (looooved the first one so much) , but this one follows different characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was about a third of the way through Valentine and I pushed it aside for some time in the future. I know you are going to enjoy The Splendid and the Vile. It was awesome. I am on a very long list at the library for Code Name Helene, but hopefully someday soon it will be mine for a time.

    I added Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman, The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult, Luster by Raven Leilani, and Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter.


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