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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.


Where are the ChildrenNancy Harmon had fled the heartbreak of her first marriage, the macabre deaths of her two little children, the hostile front-page newspaper stories and the shocking charges against her. She changed her name, dyed her red hair sable brown, and left California for the wind-swept peace of Cape Cod. Now she was married again, had two more beautiful children, and the terrible pain had begun to heal…until the morning when she looked in the back yard for her little boy and girl, found only one red mitten, and knew that the nightmare was beginning again…

As a tribute to Mary Higgins Clark who died in January, my book club selected her very first book to read next month. I remember reading a lot of her books as a teen and may have read this one. If I did, I don’t remember enough of it to matter.


The Wrong Family
Have you ever been wrong about someone?

Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.

Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.

Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…

She shouldn’t get involved.

She really shouldn’t.

But this could be her chance to make a few things right.

Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

I learned this week that the author has another book scheduled for release! An audio review hopeful.


Love After Love
After Betty Ramdin’s husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr. Chetan, to move in with her and her son, Solo. Over time, the three become a family, loving each other deeply and depending upon one another. Then, one fateful night, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment.

Solo flees Trinidad for New York to carve out a lonely existence as an undocumented immigrant, and Mr. Chetan remains the singular thread holding mother and son together. But soon, Mr. Chetan’s own burdensome secret is revealed, with heartbreaking consequences. Love After Love interrogates love and family in all its myriad meanings and forms, asking how we might exchange an illusory love for one that is truly fulfilling.

In vibrant, addictive Trinidadian prose, Love After Love questions who and how we love, the obligations of family, and the consequences of choices made in desperation.

I discovered this book on a BuzzFeed list of important titles we should be reading so I was on the lookout for it at my library and grabbed the audiobook as soon as it showed up.


The Last House Guest
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

My friends’ reviews are all over the place about this book but I decided to see for myself when the audiobook showed up at my library. The description is intriguing.


Dear Ann
Ann Workman is smart but naïve, a misfit who’s traveled from rural Kentucky to graduate school in the transformative years of the late 1960s. While Anne fervently seeks higher learning, she wants what all girls yearn for—a boyfriend. But not any boy. She wants the “Real Thing,” to be in love with someone who loves her equally.

Then Jimmy appears as if by magic. Although he comes from a very different place, upper-middle class suburban Chicago, he is a misfit too, a rebel who rejects his upbringing and questions everything. Ann and Jimmy bond through music and literature and their own quirkiness, diving headfirst into what seems to be a perfect relationship. But with the Vietnam War looming and the country in turmoil, their future is uncertain.

Many years later, Ann recalls this time of innocence—and her own obsession with Jimmy—as she faces another life crisis. Seeking escape from her problems, she tries to imagine where she might be if she had chosen differently all those years ago. What if she had gone to Stanford University, as her mentor had urged, instead of a small school on the East Coast? Would she have been caught up in the Summer of Love and its subsequent dark turns? Or would her own good sense have saved her from disaster?

Beautifully written and expertly told, Dear Ann is the wrenching story of one woman’s life and the choices she has made. Bobbie Ann Mason captures at once the excitement of youth and the nostalgia of age, and how consideration of the road not taken—the interplay of memory and imagination—can illuminate, and perhaps overtake, our present.

I took a pass on this when offered for audio review as I wasn’t certain that this was my cuppa. It showed up at my library and I decided to chance it. There’s something haunting about the description.


Death Deserved
Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series….

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number one has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation 19 years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl.

Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated…evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing….

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic and thirst for attention. Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it….

I have Yvo @ It’s All About Books to thank for this one. I’m weirdly attracted to Nordic noir and put this on my Audible wishlist.


The Twelve Dates of Christmas‘Tis the season for finding romance in this hilarious and uplifting holiday read

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

This sounds like a great holiday story and I was delighted when it was offered for audio review!


Memorial
A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a Black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years — good years — but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.

But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end.

I’m always looking for something different and this is perfect for that objective. I snapped it up when offered for audio review.


Troubles in ParadiseTravel to the bright Caribbean one last time in the satisfying conclusion to the nationally best-selling Winter in Paradise trilogy by Elin Hilderbrand, “Queen of the Summer Novel” (People).

After uprooting her life in the States, Irene Steele has just settled in at the villa on St. John where her husband Russ had been living a double life. But a visit from the FBI shakes her foundations, and Irene once again learns just how little she knew about the man she loved. With help from their friends, Irene and her sons set up their lives while evidence mounts that the helicopter crash that killed Russ may not have been an accident.

Meanwhile, the island watches this drama unfold – including the driver of a Jeep with tinted windows who seems to be shadowing the Steele family. As a storm gathers strength in the Atlantic, surprises are in store for the Steeles: help from a mysterious source, and a new beginning in the paradise that has become their home. At last all will be revealed about the secrets and lies that brought Irene and her sons to St. John – and the truth that transformed them all.

This is third book in the series and I grabbed it when it showed up at my library.


Mother May I
Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat’s single mother warned her that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected her mother’s fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Marrying into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree has all a woman could ever dream: a loving lawyer husband, two talented young teenage daughters, a new baby boy, a gorgeous home, and every opportunity in the world.

Until the day Bree awakens and sees a witch peering into her bedroom window, an old gray-haired woman all dressed in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.

Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daughters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s baby son, asleep on the seat beside her, vanishes. It happened so quickly—Bree only looked away for a second. A note warns no police. No deviations. And she is being watched.

The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It’s her child.

To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price, making her complicit in a tangled web of tragedy and shocking secrets that will destroy everything she loves. It is the beginning of an odyssey that will lead Bree to dangerous places, explosive confrontations, and chilling truths.

Bree will do whatever it takes to protect her family—but what if the cost tears their world apart?

It’s scheduled for release in April but I’m signing up now! Another audio review hopeful.


Joint CustodyA mischievous dog takes matters into his own paws when his beloved owners split up in this offbeat romantic comedy.

The Man has custody Monday through Friday, The Woman has custody on the weekends. But that’s not enough for Gatz, who will do anything to bring them back together–even if it kills him. And it almost did. Of course he knows chocolate is bad for him, especially two whole pounds of it, but it’s the risk he’s willing to take to get them back together.

Gatz knows that The Man and The Woman are perfect for each other–how can they not see it too? She is an editor and he’s a writer. She’s a social butterfly and he’s as introverted as a guy can get. After the misguided death-by-chocolate attempt, Gatz thinks he still has time. But when New Man–so handsome, so nice, so perfect–enters The Woman’s life, he realizes he’ll need to step up his game. And you know what they say: drastic times call for drastic doggy measures.

A laugh-out-loud romance that will touch your heart and make you want a furry friend of your own.

Oh, this sounds cute. Another audio review hopeful that I hope is as fun as it sounds.


JackJack tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the black sheep of his family, the beloved and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa, a drunkard and a ne’er-do-well. In segregated St. Louis sometime after World War II, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African-American high school teacher who is also a preacher’s child, with a discriminating mind, a generous spirit, and an independent will. Their fraught, beautiful romance is one of Robinson’s greatest achievements.

The Gilead novels are about the dilemmas and promise of American history—about the ongoing legacy of the Civil War and the enduring impact of race and religion. They touch the deepest chords in our national character and resonate with our deepest feelings.

My literary fiction addition I got from my library, on complete faith in one of my trusted Goodreads friends who said it was, “one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read.” Who can resist that!


Watch Her VanishFear hits her like a wave crashing against the sheer cliffs nearby. She sees the woman’s feet first, then the legs bent like broken driftwood. Then, the blouse strewn open; the marks on her beautiful neck. Her knees buckle as a hand grabs her elbow to break her fall.

Forced home to Fog Harbor, California, to look after her little sister, Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. Until, at church one morning, the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a missing local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her own murderer father behind bars—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of brooding and handsome Detective Will Decker.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Olivia and Will to admit they are out of their depth and must work together to crack the case.

The deeper they dig, the deadlier the trail becomes. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead. But then a note written on a scrap of paper found in the last victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: the killer has his sights on Olivia’s little sister as the next victim…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reader featured this book and it checked all my mystery series boxes. Even better? It’s $.99 at Amazon!


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

26 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. Wow, this is a huge haul for you Jonetta. There are a few I will be checking out. I just got the audiobook for the Elin Hilderbrand book from my library this week as well. Enjoy them all.

    Liked by 1 person

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