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.
Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.
At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.
But then their real identities–Ava and Matt–must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?
I’ll admit I have a hit or miss record with Kinsella but when it’s a hit, it’s epic. So, I’m adding this one with the hope it will be that hit. An audio review hopeful.
She faked her own death…
Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.
He’ll cross every line to save her…
When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.
This was a kindle freebie and I’ve enjoyed Reus in the past.
I have three confessions to make:
1. I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don’t remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams…and that’s half a lie.
Girl running…from a year she can’t remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman’s dead and mutilated body, she’s soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder…then another.
Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen’s driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she’s come to call home. Yet she wonders–with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past–could the killer be staring her in the face?
Free with Amazon Prime, it’s a new series by Dodd.
It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. Her pretty face still hangs like a watchful queen on the posters on the walls of the town’s Baptist church, the police station, and in the high school. They all promise the same thing: We will find you. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives as a pariah in the desolation of the old family house, cleared of wrongdoing by the police but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion and in a new documentary about the crime.
When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, making silent wishes, he believes she is a sign. The town’s youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can’t look away. She shares a wound that won’t close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru.
Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past – the night her friend disappeared, the night that inspired her to become a cop, the night that wrote them all a role in the town’s dark, violent mythology.
In this twisty psychological thriller, Julia Heaberlin paints unforgettable portraits of a woman and a girl who redefine perceptions of physical beauty and strength.
I’m not sure I would have added this if not for the review by Kyra @ Roots & Reads. Another audio review hopeful, I’m a big fan of twisty psychological thrillers.
As the daughter of a respected general, Elizabeth Schuyler is accustomed to socializing with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents’ home has affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They marry quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country’s most important figures, that she truly comes into her own.
In Washington, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion[AA1] to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for. Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza’s indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton’s most crucial ally in life, but his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy while pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.
Yeah, I watched Hamilton and adored Eliza Hamilton. Thanks to my library, I was able to get the audiobook written by one of my favorite historical writers. She’s known for her attention to historical details so this should be wonderful.
Justin Childs is handsome, likable, smart. A devoted son to his mother, Carol; a loving husband to his wife, Annie; and a sure-footed, savvy business partner to his best friend from college, Will. To so many, the perfect man.
He’s also a liar. And now he’s dead.
When Justin’s body is retrieved from the wreckage of a car accident, his death leaves his loved ones with more questions than answers. In life, his charm and easygoing nature inspired trust, making him friends wherever he went. Now that he’s gone, the cracks begin to show: disturbing discrepancies in his company’s financials, unaccounted-for absences, a medical record that appears to be entirely fabricated.
As the secrets and betrayals pile up, Annie, Carol, and Will realize their beloved Justin was not the man they thought he was. And why was he found dead with Valium in his system when he notoriously detested drugs? Was the crash that killed him really an accident – or did Justin finally get caught in something he couldn’t lie his way out of?
Convince Me is a chilling look at what makes a sociopath in an age of untruth – and a high-octane, surprising listen to its very last moment.
I read the synopsis, saw the cover and grabbed this right away for audio review! I just want to drop everything and listen to it now.
Charlotte, a midthirties Long Island woman, has felt so alone since her promising career in neuroscience imploded. But she has an online support group for trauma survivors; she has Rachel, a friend who has seen her through the worst of it; and now she also has Peter, a mysterious new boyfriend who has asked that their budding romance remain a total secret.
That is why she is too scared to report his disappearance to the authorities when he vanishes without a word.
Weeks later, police contact her to make an ID on a body and she fears the worst for her missing beau. Instead, she arrives at the morgue and feels a terrible relief when she sees a woman she has never met before on the table in front of her. But relief is replaced by confusion, then terror, when Charlotte realizes she has become a person of interest.
Why did Jane Doe have Charlotte listed as her emergency contact? Was it revenge or a warning? And where exactly does Peter factor into all this? As Charlotte becomes the prime murder suspect, she enters into a race against the clock to find truth about the dead woman and the connections they shared. But what she discovers is beyond anything she could have ever imagined.
Ooh, this sounds SO good! Got it for audio review.
Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes—or misfortunes—in tealeaves.
Ever since she can remember, Vanessa has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.
After her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa sees death for the first time. She decides that she can’t truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric Aunt Evelyn shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to California and bonjour to Paris. There, Vanessa learns more about herself and the root of her gifts and realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is.
From the title, to the cover, to the description, everything about this book screams “read me.” I heard the call and grabbed this for audio review.
Through forty-four compressed gems, Peter Orner, a writer who “doesn’t simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls” (NYT Book Review), chronicles people whose lives are at inflection points, gripping us with a series of defining moments.
Whether it’s a first date that turns into a late-night road trip to a séance in an abandoned airplane hangar, or a family’s memories of the painful mystery surrounding a forgotten uncle’s demise, Orner reveals how our fleeting decisions between kindness and abandonment chase us across time. These stories are anchored by a poignant novella that delivers not only the joys and travails of a forty-year marriage, but an entire era in a working-class New England city. Bristling with the crackling energy of life itself, Maggie Brown & Others marks the most sustained achievement to date for “a master of his form” (New York Times).
I love short stories and couldn’t resist this well regarded collection that has loose connections to one character (remember Olive Kitteridge?). I got it for audio review.
Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.
An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.
Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.
I was iffy about this when it was offered for audio review and took a pass. When the audiobook showed up at my library, I grabbed it.
In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, and from the anti-German sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army, hoping to prove his loyalty. But an even more urgent threat has arrived. Spanish influenza is spreading through the city. Soon, dead and dying are everywhere. With no food at home, Pia must venture out in search of supplies, leaving her infant twin brothers alone . . .
Since her baby died days ago, Bernice Groves has been lost in grief and bitterness. If doctors hadn’t been so busy tending to hordes of immigrants, perhaps they could have saved her son. When Bernice sees Pia leaving her tenement across the way, she is buoyed by a shocking, life-altering decision that leads her on a sinister mission: to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.”
As Pia navigates the city’s somber neighborhoods, she cannot know that her brothers won’t be home when she returns. And it will be a long and arduous journey to learn what happened—even as Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost. Only with persistence, and the courage to face her own shame and fear, will Pia put the pieces together and find the strength to risk everything to see justice at last.
Tina @ Reading Between the Pages is responsible for me adding this audiobook. Another audio review hopeful.
At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.
Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?
Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.
Emer @ A Little Hazel Book Blog made me fall in love with this story and after listening to the audio sample, I’ve got to have it in that format. Fingers crossed 🤞 my library purchases it since I recommended it.
Terminated for inappropriate behavior.
I couldn’t believe the letter in my hands.
Nine years. Nine damn years I’d worked my butt off for one of the largest companies in America, and I was fired with a form letter when I returned home from a week in Aruba.
All because of a video taken when I was on vacation with my friends—a private video made on my private time. Or so I thought…
Pissed off, I cracked open a bottle of wine and wrote my own letter to the gazillionaire CEO telling him what I thought of his company and its practices.
I didn’t think he’d actually respond.
I certainly never thought I’d suddenly become pen pals with the rich jerk.
Eventually, he realized I’d been wronged and made sure I got my job back.
Only…it wasn’t the only thing Grant Lexington wanted to do for me.
But there was no way I was getting involved with my boss’s boss’s boss. Even if he was ridiculously gorgeous, confident, and charming.
It would be completely wrong, inappropriate even.
Sort of like the video that got me into trouble to begin with.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
But sometimes it’s twice as fun.
Audible has a continuing 2-for-1-credit sale going on and this was one I picked up. My Goodreads romance officianados friends strongly recommended the book.
Sexiest man alive, scene stealer, Hollywood headliner.
That’s what the world calls him. I’ve got more colorful names for him, all of which would be bleeped out if I was on air doing my radio show. Even if he hadn’t broken my heart, he would just be Knox to me. Not a famous movie star.
Just a boy.
The boy who grew to be my first love. That is, until he ripped my heart out of my chest and stepped on it, live on the red carpet.
I thought that was all behind me. Until he decided to come waltzing back into my life. Granted, he looked hot as heck doing it, but that’s neither here nor there.
He may have acted alongside some of Hollywood’s hottest “it” girls, but being my leading man is a much harder part to win.
Prescott is one of my auto read authors and I’ve read just about everything she’s written. No brainer for me.
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
Don’t throw tomatoes at me but I’ve never read Jane Austen. This showed up at my library and too many of my friends loved this book so I added it. Maybe it will inspire me to finally read Austen. Any recommendations?