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.
In Poland, as World War II rages, a mother hides with her young daughter, a musical prodigy whose slightest sound may cost them their lives.
As Nazi soldiers round up the Jews in their town, Róża and her 5-year-old daughter, Shira, flee, seeking shelter in a neighbor’s barn. Hidden in the hayloft day and night, Shira struggles to stay still and quiet, as music pulses through her and the farmyard outside beckons. To soothe her daughter and pass the time, Róża tells her a story about a girl in an enchanted garden:
The girl is forbidden from making a sound, so the yellow bird sings. He sings whatever the girl composes in her head: high-pitched trills of piccolo; low-throated growls of contrabassoon. Music helps the flowers bloom.
In this make-believe world, Róża can shield Shira from the horrors that surround them. But the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róża must make an impossible choice: whether to keep Shira by her side or give her the chance to survive apart.
Inspired by the true stories of Jewish children hidden during World War II, Jennifer Rosner’s debut is a breathtaking novel about the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter. Beautiful and riveting, The Yellow Bird Sings is a testament to the triumph of hope—a whispered story, a bird’s song—in even the darkest of times.
One of my trusted Goodreads friends wrote a beautiful and moving review of this story. It showed up at my library this week.
No day is ordinary in a world where technology and magic compete for supremacy…. But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself – and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base; Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says, “It is better to marry than to burn”.
Hugh and Elara may do both.
This is a spinoff of the Kate Daniels series, which I love! When one of my friends wrote a glowing review, I was able to find the audiobook at my library.
A heart-wrenching kidnapping thriller. Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, Liane Moriarty, LJ Ross and Lisa Jewell.
What do you do when the unthinkable happens?
8 August, 2000
A carefree birthday party goes horribly wrong. The children scatter to play hide and seek. But one little girl never returns.
Three-year-old Grace has vanished without a trace.
Fourteen years later
With the case long-since gone cold, Grace’s family have done their best to move on.
But her sister, Elise, has never given up hope.
And now Elise thinks she may have found her…
Is Elise going crazy? Could Grace really have returned?
And if she has, where was she taken…?
This was offered for audio review and got my attention. I’m a sucker for these type stories.
Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up. This stay-at-home mom has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.
But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it’s nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son’s baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie’s faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle.
Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.
I fell for the Netflix series so I thought I’d give the audiobook a try, thanks to my library
In 1933, twenty-two-year-old Marion Crawford accepts the role of a lifetime, tutoring the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Her one stipulation to their parents the Duke and Duchess of York is that she bring some doses of normalcy into their sheltered and privileged lives.
At Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral, Marion defies stuffy protocol to take the princesses on tube trains, swimming at public baths, and on joyful Christmas shopping trips at Woolworth’s. From her ringside seat at the heart of the British monarchy she witnesses twentieth-century history’s most seismic events. The trauma of the Abdication, the glamour of the Coronation, the onset of World War II. She steers the little girls through it all, as close as a mother.
During Britain’s darkest hour, as Hitler’s planes fly over Windsor, she shelters her charges in the castle dungeons (not far from where the Crown Jewels are hidden in a biscuit tin). Afterwards, she is present when Elizabeth first sets eyes on Philip.
But being beloved confidante to the Windsors comes at huge personal cost. Marriage, children, her own views: all are compromised by proximity to royal glory. In this majestic story of love, sacrifice and allegiance, bestselling novelist Holden shines a captivating light into the years before Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.
I originally decided to pass on this one until I read the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader. Thank goodness it wasn’t too late to get it for audio review.
Grey’s Anatomy meets Scrubs in this brilliant debut novel about a young doctor’s struggle to survive residency, love, and life.
Having spent the last twenty-something years with her nose in a textbook, brilliant and driven Norah Kapadia has just landed the medical residency of her dreams. But after a disastrous first day, she’s ready to quit. Disgruntled patients, sleep deprivation, and her duty to be the “perfect Indian daughter” have her questioning her future as a doctor.
Enter chief resident Ethan Cantor. He’s everything Norah aspires to be: respected by the attendings, calm during emergencies, and charismatic with the patients. As he morphs from Norah’s mentor to something more, it seems her luck is finally changing.
When a fatal medical mistake is made, pulling Norah into a cover-up, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the secret. What if “doing no harm” means risking her career and the future for which she’s worked so hard?
This was offered for audio review and I’m intrigued by its comparison to the two television series. I know all about the social media ruckus and will take the debut author’s apology as sincere.
It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.
In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder’s life is turned upside down when the only home he’s ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband’s homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.
Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett’s masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.
I read Pillars of the Earth years ago and loved it. I could pass up the opportunity to get this for audio review.
A top NYPD detective is pulled out of retirement to take down a notorious drug dealer. But will he risk the only family he’s ever had to crack the case?
As one of the NYPD’s most trusted “tin badges” – retired detectives brought in to solve cases that are beyond the reach of the everyday force – Tank Rizzo has faced off against some of the city’s toughest criminals without breaking a sweat. To tackle a case involving a dangerous kingpin known as Gonzo, Tank turns to his best friend and ex-partner, Pearl; a former mobster living out a seemingly quiet retirement as the owner of Tank’s favorite Italian restaurant; and a team of expert misfits he would trust with his life. But Gonzo will stop at nothing to defend the empire he’s built, and won’t hesitate to make it personal.
Then Tank gets a call telling him that his brother and sister-in-law, estranged from him for many years, have been killed in a horrific car accident. Tank is the only family left for his orphaned teenage nephew, Chris, although he knows his lifestyle is ill-suited to win him father of the year.
Chris moves in with Tank, and the two circle each other warily. It’s only when Chris reveals an interest in true crime and a genius-level skill with computers that they begin to bond. Chris’s skills may be exactly what Tank’s team needs to take Gonzo down – but getting him involved could put his life at risk.
If there’s one kind of person Tank Rizzo hates most in this world, it’s a dirty cop. Criminals are at least honest about being dishonest; dirty cops are a disgrace to the badge they carry. Detective Eddie Kenwood is one such disgrace. He’s got the highest signed-confession rate in the NYPD and a distinguished career built on putting men behind bars–whether they’re guilty or not doesn’t matter much to him. When Tank’s partner, Pearl, tells him about an old family friend Kenwood put in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, Tank and Pearl vow to take Kenwood down.
Also in need of a takedown: the money-laundering accounting firm where Tank’s brother used to work–before he mysteriously died, leaving Tank the sole guardian of his nephew, Chris. Chris smells a rat, and enlists Tank’s help to bring the men who had his father killed to justice.
Working two big cases means getting out the big guns, and Tank assembles his A-team. With help from a retired mobster, a professional boxer, a Chelsea psychic, a dog named Gus, and the U.S. Attorney–not to mention his and Pearl’s own quick wits and Chris’s burgeoning skills as a computer whiz–Tank gears up to take on his most dangerous and personal cases to date.
I’ve found a new detective series! The second book was offered for audio review and I found the first book at my library.
Sheriff Bree Taggert is both hunter and hunted in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s blood-freezing thriller of murder, rage, and revenge.
New sheriff Bree Taggert is called to a shooting in a campground shuttered for the winter. But she arrives to find a perplexing crime. There is no shooter, no victim, and no blood. No one but Bree believes the sole witness, Alyssa, a homeless teenager who insists she saw her friend shot.
Bree calls in former deputy Matt Flynn and his K-9 to track the killer and search for Alyssa’s friend. They discover the battered corpse of a missing university student under the ice in Grey Lake—but it’s not the victim they were looking for.
When two more students go missing and additional bodies turn up, Bree must find the link between the victims. She knows only one thing for certain: the murders are fueled by rage. When Alyssa disappears, Bree must race against time to find her before her witness becomes another victim.
This is the second book in the Bree Taggert series and I got it for audio review. I’ve become a recent fan of the author and have the first audiobook.
A bride’s dream honeymoon becomes a nightmare when a man with whom she’s had a regrettable one-night stand shows up in this electrifying psychological thriller from the acclaimed author of Eight Perfect Murders.
Abigail Baskin never thought she’d fall in love with a millionaire. Then she met Bruce Lamb. He’s a good guy, stable, level-headed, kind—a refreshing twist from her previous relationships.
But right before the wedding, Abigail has a moment of uncertainty. The drunken one-night stand from her bachelorette weekend, the sexy guy who wouldn’t give her his real name, didn’t really mean anything she keeps telling herself. She puts the incident out of her mind, and now believes she wants to be with Bruce for the rest of her life. Their honeymoon on a luxurious, secluded island in Maine will be the beginning of their blissful lives together.
Then the mysterious stranger suddenly appears—and Abigail’s future life and happiness are turned upside down. He insists that their passionate night was the beginning of something much, much more. Something special. Something real—and he’s tracked her down to prove it.
Does she tell Bruce and ruin their idyllic honeymoon—and possibly their marriage? Or should she handle this psychopathic stalker on her own? To make the situation worse, strange things begin to happen. She sees a terrified woman in the night shadows, and no one at the resort seems to believe anything is amiss… including her perfect new husband.