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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 Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design – especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he’d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open – bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.

I’ve become a Dugoni fan and saw a review for this book that I’d not seen before. I’ll probably have to use an Audible credit when I’m ready.

 


Beyond Scandal and Desire

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

If you love historical romance then you’ll want to read everything by this author. Her stories are SO good! Thanks, library!

 


The Darkest Secret

Real estate mogul Sean Jackson is throwing himself a splashy fiftieth birthday party, but trouble starts almost immediately: His ex-wife has sent his teenage daughters to the party without telling him; his current wife has fired the nanny; and he’s finding it difficult to sneak away to his mistress. Then something truly terrible happens: one of his three-year-old twins goes missing. No trace of her is ever found. The attendees of the party, nicknamed the Jackson Associates by the press, become infamous overnight.

Twelve years later, Sean is dead. The Jackson Associates assemble for the funeral, together for the first time since that fateful weekend. Soon the barbed comments and accusations are flying. By the end of the weekend, one will be dead. And one of Sean’s daughters will make a shocking discovery.

I’ve read one book by the author that I enjoyed and have two waiting in the wings. This audiobook just showed up at my library.

 


A Woman is No Man

This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.

My sister-in-law put this title in front of me and I immediately had to have it for cultural diversity in my reading experiences. Thanks again to my library for the audiobook!

 


What’s Left of Me is Yours

In Japan, a covert industry has grown up around the “wakaresaseya” (literally “breaker-upper”), a person hired by one spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in divorce proceedings. When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō’s job is to do exactly that–until he does it too well. While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter’s life.

Told from alternating points of view and across the breathtaking landscapes of Japan, Stephanie Scott exquisitely renders the affair and its intricate repercussions. As Rina’s daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother’s story and her own memory, Scott probes the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.

This took my breath away when it was offered for audio review…the cover and the story description. Added it immediately.

 


The Prisoner’s Wife

Inspired by the true story of a daring deception that plunges a courageous young woman deep into the horrors of a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.

In the dead of night, a Czech farm girl and a British soldier travel through the countryside. Izabela and prisoner of war Bill have secretly married and are on the run, with Izzy dressed as a man. The young husband and wife evade capture for as long as possible—until they are cornered by Nazi soldiers with tracking dogs.

Izzy’s disguise works. The couple are assumed to be escaped British soldiers and transported to a POW camp. However, their ordeal has just begun, as they face appalling living conditions and the constant fear of Izzy’s exposure. But in the midst of danger and deprivation comes hope, for the young couple are befriended by a small group of fellow prisoners. These men become their new family, willing to jeopardize their lives to save Izzy from being discovered and shot.

The Prisoner’s Wife tells of an incredible risk, and of how our deepest bonds are tested in desperate times. Bill and Izzy’s story is one of love and survival against the darkest odds.

I took a pass when this was first offered for audio review and was forced to rethink it after too many friends wrote stellar reviews. It was Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer that gave me the final push. Fortunately, it wasn’t too late to accept the request.

 


The Somerset Girls

No one knows you quite like a sister…

Summer in Sunset, Kentucky, means long, hot days—and sometimes surprising new beginnings. Through it all, the ties of sisterhood will be there, guiding Autumn and Ember to the lives, and loves, they need…

When they’re running the animal-rescue farm they inherited from their grandparents, Autumn and Ember Somerset are perfectly in sync. At all other times, not so much. Dependable Autumn would rather curl up with a good book than paint the town red with Ember. After the disaster that was Autumn’s last relationship, it’s pure self-protection. But when her high school crush comes back to town with his adorable young daughter, igniting memories best left forgotten, there’s only one person Autumn can turn to…

Beneath Ember’s free-spirited facade is a layer of deep hurt. She’ll gladly nudge Autumn toward a second chance. But risk her own heart? Not likely. The closer Autumn gets to her own happily-ever-after, the more Ember wonders what she might be missing—and if it isn’t her time to be bold, too.

I have a hit-or-miss relationship with Foster but this sounds so different from what I’ve read by her in the past. When it showed up at my library, I decided to give it a shot.

 


She’s the One

When a stranger walks up and punches him at a bar, he assumes there’s a good reason. But he’s stunned to learn it’s over a one-night stand that never happened — with his friend’s straight-laced sister. When he confronts her about the lie, she apologizes, but he realizes he doesn’t want her to be sorry… he wants the night they supposedly spent together.

The last thing she needs is to add to her long list of commitments. But when tempted with the chance to go crazy and fulfill a few fantasies, she can’t resist. Thank goodness one night isn’t enough time to fall in love…

A kindle freebie that sounds kind of fun!

 


The Most Precious of Cargoes

Set during the height of World War II, a powerful and unsettling tale about a woodcutter and his wife, who finds a mysterious parcel thrown from a passing train.

Once upon a time in an enormous forest lived a woodcutter and his wife. The woodcutter is very poor and a war rages around them, making it difficult for them to put food on the table. Yet every night, his wife prays for a child.

A Jewish father rides on a train holding twin babies. His wife no longer has enough milk to feed both children. In hopes of saving them both, he wraps his daughter in a shawl and throws her into the forest.

While foraging for food, the wife finds a bundle, a baby girl wrapped in a shawl. Although she knows harboring this baby could lead to her death, she takes the child home.

Set against the horrors of the Holocaust and told with a fairytale-like lyricism, The Most Precious of Cargoes is a fable about family and redemption which reminds us that humanity can be found in the most inhumane of places.

The review by a Goodreads friend brought tears to my eyes. Of course, I had to add it and am hopeful I can get it for audio review when it releases in September. It’s only 96 pages so it will be a short but lovely story.

 


Ordinary Hazards

It’s 5pm on a Wednesday when Emma settles into her hometown bar with a motley crew of locals, all unaware that a series of decisions over the course of a single night is about to change their lives forever. As the evening unfolds, key details about Emma’s history emerge, and the past comes bearing down on her like a freight train.

Why has Emma, a powerhouse in the business world, ended up here? What is she running away from? And what is she willing to give up to recapture the love she once cherished? An exploration of contemporary love, guilt, and the place we call home, and in the tradition of Ask Again, Yes and Little Fires Everywhere, Ordinary Hazards follows one woman’s epic journey back to a life worth living.

I read the review by Marialyce @ yayareads and knew immediately I’d have to listen to this story. An audio review hopeful.

 


Five Days at Memorial

In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos.

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

I remember this story when it happened real time but details were limited…just the outcome. Ren @ What’s Nonfiction? wrote an outstanding review so I chose this to fill in my gaps. And, she’s categorized it as narrative non fiction, a term I didn’t know until she clarified that for me😏  and a style I did know I liked. Again, my library came through with the audiobook because these are the kinds of stories you want someone to narrate.


In the Kingdom of Ice

On July 8, 1879, Captain George Washington De Long and his team of thirty-two men set sail from San Francisco on the USS Jeanette. Heading deep into uncharted Arctic waters, they carried the aspirations of a young country burning to be the first nation to reach the North Pole.

Two years into the voyage, the Jeannette’s hull was breached by an impassable stretch of pack ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship amid torrents of rushing of water. Hours later, the ship had sunk below the surface, marooning the men a thousand miles north of Siberia, where they faced a terrifying march with minimal supplies across the endless ice pack.

Enduring everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and labyrinths of ice, the crew battled madness and starvation as they struggled desperately to survive. With thrilling twists and turns, In The Kingdom of Ice is a tale of heroism and determination in the most brutal place on Earth.

The second book in the same post by Ren @ What’s Nonfiction?, it’s a story that I think my hubby and I can listen to together. Another narrative non fiction that I got from my library…on audio, of course!

 


The Awakening

#1 New York Times bestselling author of the epic Chronicles of The One trilogy returns with the first in a brand new series where parallel worlds clash over the struggle between good and evil.

Breen Kelly had always been a rule follower. So when her father left when she was twelve years old, promising to return, she waited. Now, more than a decade later, she needs to move forward. She can wait no longer. A summer trip to Ireland seems like the perfect next step. She never dreamed it would lead her through a portal to another world, where her latent powers of magick will be awakened, her true ancestry revealed and an epic battle against evil fought.

I’m not even sure if this is the right description but it doesn’t matter. It’s a new fantasy series by Roberts and I’m all in. An audio review hopeful scheduled for release in November.

 

 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

21 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. So happy Sam Hell is on your list. It was one of my favorite books of of 2018. So hope you love it! I also have The Prisoner’s Wife lined out for reading soon. So glad to see Ordinary Hazards on your list. That book hit all the right notes for me. Sadly, I was declined for The Most Precious of Cargoes and do hope the library will acquire it. Hope you love them all, Jonetta!

    I added Sad Janet by Lucie Britzsh and Dolls, Dolls, Dolls by Stephen Rebello.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That Nora Roberts book sounds interesting! I think that’s an author’s name that I’ve seen around soooo often but never knew what her books were about or if they could interest me hahaha Pretty cool selection of discoveries! Thanks for sharing, Jonetta! 😀

    Like

  3. A Woman is no Man caught my attention as well, but I never got around to read it. In The Kingdom of Ice sounds like my kind of book, I’ve always been fascinated by survival tales in the remote and brutal parts of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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