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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.


This week is a little different. I was able to learn about new titles planned for 2021, most scheduled between  March and July. I’m adding them now so I can schedule them on my calendar and read/listen to them close to their release dates. Only a few listed below are current or older titles.  I hope this helps in your planning, too! Special thanks to Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog for providing the link to the YouTube video of upcoming HQ Spring 2021 titles!


The Last GoodbyeHow can you move on if you can’t let go? 

Spencer was the love of Anna’s life: her husband, her best friend, her rock. She thought their love would last forever. But three years ago, Spencer was tragically killed in an accident and Anna’s world was shattered. How can she ever move on, when she’s lost her soulmate?

On New Year’s Eve Anna calls Spencer’s phone number, just to hear his old voicemail greeting. But to her shock, someone answers…Brody has inherited Spencer’s old number and is the first person who truly understands what Anna’s going through.

As her and Brody’s phone calls become lengthier and more frequent, they begin opening up to each other—and slowly rediscover how to smile, how to laugh, even how to hope.But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

Thanks to Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog for the link to the HQ 2021 Spring Showcase in her Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week post. It’s a YouTube video with each author describing their upcoming release. This is the first of many I added and it’s scheduled for release in June and is an audio hopeful.


The Girls are All So Nice HereTwo former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did 10 years before – and will stop at nothing to get it – in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her 10-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past – and the people she thought she’d left there – aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused – the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

Thanks again to Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog for another one of the HQ 2021 spring titles. This is scheduled for a March release and is an auto review hopeful.


Dial A for AuntiesWhat happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business – “Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!” – and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love – and biggest heartbreak – makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

What’s not to absolutely love about this one? Another from the HQ YouTube video and an audio review hopeful.


Version ZeroFrom the brilliant mind of New York Times best-selling author David Yoon comes a lightning-fast and scorchingly observant thriller about how we can save ourselves from the very real perils of a virtual world.

Max, a data whiz at the social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he questions what his company does with the data they collect, he’s fired…then black-balled across Silicon Valley. With time on his hands and revenge on his mind, Max and his longtime friend (and secretly the love of his life), Akiko, decide to get even by rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them.

But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended – and catastrophic – consequences.

Yet another from that HQ YouTube video, Yoon is married to Nicola Yoon and illustrated Everything Everything. This sounds timely and intriguing, another audio hopeful .


Kathleen is eighty years old. After a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. She’s not having any of it. What she craves – needs – is adventure.

Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza dream of a solo break of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advert for a driver and companion to take an epic road trip across America, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. Travelling with a stranger? No problem. She’s not the world’s best driver, but it couldn’t be worse than living with her parents again. And anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late for adventure…

Yes, it’s another one from the HQ Spring 2021 release video and, of course, an audio review hopeful. Morgan has become an auto read for me.


Find You FirstTech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a 50 percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation.

For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past….Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids – nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him – maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that 22 years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.

When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing – every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all. Who is the vicious killer – another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on? It’s a deadly race against time….

Another from the HQ 2021 video. Barclay is an auto read and an audio review hopeful.


Lost and Found FamilyShe would do anything to protect her children, including keeping her secrets buried with her late husband…

All families have secrets, and no one knows it better than Sarah Anderson. Hiding the truth about her late husband from their children is only half of it. She’s let her mother-in-law, Margaret, hate her for years, just to keep the illusion that her son was perfect intact.

But when the older woman threatens to remove the boys from her home, Sarah strikes a bargain: she’ll bring them for a six week visit, even though it goes against her every instinct.

Complicating matters is attorney Luke Thompson. An old friend of the family, he’s agreed to investigate Sarah’s past, although he doesn’t feel comfortable poking around in her private life. What he finds is a truth very different from the one he’s been led to believe.

All Sarah ever wanted was a family, and all Luke wants now is her love. The time has come to reveal the terrible secrets that have been kept for so long. In losing the past, a new love—and family—can be found.

I follow this author on Amazon and received an alert about this upcoming July release. It’s my kind of story and an audio review hopeful.


Waiting for the Night SongA startling and timely debut, Julie Carrick Dalton’s Waiting for the Night Song is a moving, brilliant novel about friendships forged in childhood magic and ruptured by the high price of secrets that leave you forever changed.


Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?

An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.

Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.

A startling and timely debut, Waiting for the Night Song is a moving, brilliant novel about friendships forged in childhood magic and ruptured by the high price of secrets that leave you forever changed. It is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.

The BuzzFeed “Mystery/Thriller Books We’re Highly Anticipating in 2021” newsletter featured this one, compared to Where the Crawdads Sing. Sold! Another audio review hopeful.


Quiet in Her BonesMy mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she’s back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband.

But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that’s housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago.

Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he’s determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance…but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren’t allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac. 

Another one from the BuzzFeed newsletter. This sounds SO good, another audio review hopeful.


Every Last FearIn one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family – his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister – have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain – and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny – currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte – was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison – putting his own life in peril – and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay’s Every Last Fear is not only a riveting thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

Another in the BuzzFeed newsletter! FYI, Finlay is a pseudonym for an author from the South now living in Washington, D. C. Of course, I’m dying to know who this is. An audio review hopeful. 


While Justice SleepsFrom celebrated national leader and best-selling author Stacey Abrams, While Justice Sleeps is a gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the US Supreme Court.

Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together – excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn – the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases – has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney.

Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court – a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.

As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chess-like sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth.

While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows

I’ll just bet she relies on inside knowledge! Another from the BuzzFeed newsletter, it’s an audio review hopeful scheduled for release in May. 


Stranger in the MirrorAddison’s about to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the big day. It’s not her fiancé; he’s a wonderful man. It’s because Addison doesn’t know who she really is. A few years ago, a kind driver found her bleeding next to a New Jersey highway and rescued her. While her physical wounds healed, Addison’s memory never returned. She doesn’t know her real name. Or how she ended up injured on the side of a road. Or why she can’t shake the notion that she may have done something very, very bad . . .

In a posh home in the Boston suburbs, Julian tries to figure out what happened to his loving, caring wife, Cassandra, who disappeared without a trace two years ago. She would never have left him and their seven-year-old daughter Valentina of her own free will—or would she?

As these two lives intersect, The Stranger in the Mirror hooks readers with riveting drama, told with Liv Constantine’s hallmark blend of glamour, tense psychological thrills, and jaw-dropping twists.

Another from the BuzzFeed newsletter, I was excited when I saw this one. I’ve had good times with this author’s books. An audio review hopeful.


Mirrorland

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.

One more from the BuzzFeed newsletter. This is a new-to-me author and this story sounds weird enough for me to need more! Of course, an audio review hopeful.


Wife UpstairsA delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie­ Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

I jumped on this immediately when it was offered for audio review! I’ll be listening to this soon.


Big Girl Small Town

Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.

But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.

Told in a highly original voice, with a captivating heroine readers will love and root for, Big Girl, Small Town will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and accessible literary fiction with an edge.

This took me a little longer to decide when offered for audio review. In the end, I found the subject and setting appealing.


MermaidIn the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep-sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, she urges her mother to allow her to make their annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade sea delicacies for pork. A sea-village girl, Junja has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth, and it is there she falls in love with mountain-boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja’s place.

Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father, Suwol gone, and the ghost of her mother haunting their home – from the meticulously tended herb garden that has begun sprouting weeds to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only herself. But the world moves on without Junja.

The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan’s forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of U.S. troops, and Junja’s grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea’s occupation, understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she’s ever known.

There’s something mystical about this story, which I typically love. I was really happy to get this for audio review.


PretendingApril is kind, pretty and relatively normal—yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that men aren’t looking for real women—they’re looking for Gretel.

Gretel is perfect—beautiful but low-maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not too easy. She’s your regular, everyday Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-Next-Door with no problems.

When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun—especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control. It’s refreshing. Exhilarating, even. But as she and Joshua grow closer, and the pressure of keeping her painful past a secret begins to build, how long will she be able to keep on pretending?

While this has all the makings of being a fun read, reviewers also say it has some serious themes, too. This was available at my library.


They're GoneTwo men from vastly different backgrounds are murdered one after another on the same night, in the same fashion with two bullet wounds: one in the head, another in the heart. The two slayings send their wives on a desperate search for answers – and a desperate attempt to save their families’ lives.

Grief takes a heavy toll on northern Virginia freelance editor Deb Linh Thomas when she learns of her husband’s murder. And utter dismay sets in when, just a week after the funeral, she discovers that he had been the subject of an FBI investigation after withdrawing a large sum of money from their shared accounts.

Elsewhere, Baltimore bartender Cessy Castillo is less bereft when her abusive husband, ex-cop Hector Ramirez, is killed. But it turns out that he was deep in hock – and now Cessy’s expected to pay up.

Deb and the FBI agent assigned to her case start digging into her husband’s murder and learn that he had been the target of criminals. As Deb and Cessy join forces to learn the truth, their investigation reveals an ever-darker web of clues, but if they’re not careful, they may just end up like their husbands.

This audiobook showed up at my library this week and I’d not heard of the title or the author. But, it sounds interesting so I’m giving it a try.


InvisibleSometimes all you need is one person to really see you.

Piper Parrish’s life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom’s crab boat capsized and his body wasn’t recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?

Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley delivers an unforgettable love story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow, and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts.

Okay, I took a quick peek at NetGalley when I was posting a review and saw this upcoming release. An audio review hopeful, I just need to know how this gets resolved!


Chicken SistersThree generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state–and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .

The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight–even if doing so pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

I took a pass when this was first offered for audio review. But then Reese Witherspoon selected it for her book club so I looked at it again and checked out reviews. Fortunately, it was still available for review.


After everything she worked for is destroyed, pediatrician Natasha Gray is determined to build a new life. Divorced, bankrupt, and suddenly a single mom, she’s ready to start over in Silver Springs – on her own. She certainly doesn’t need help from Mack Amos, the man who’s already broken her heart twice.

Although Mack has had feelings for Tash since they first met, too many things have stood in the way. He’s always given her the support she needs, though, and he’ll do the same now. Even if the desire he wrestles with threatens to undermine his intentions….

But her heart is not the only reason Natasha wants to keep Mack at bay. More time in her life means getting closer to her son, which could lead to a revelation neither of them is ready to face.

This isn’t scheduled for release until June but I love this series. And, it’s a crossover with her Whiskey Creek series, which I was a bigger fan of through the last book. An audio review hopeful.


Shadow RidgeDeath is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.

Thanks to Anne @ Books of My Heart for this one!  It checks all of my boxes and is available at my library.


Edge of LostOn a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter – one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island – has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to the San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell – and believe – in order to survive.

This is an older title that Carla @ Carla Loves to Read featured in her Throwback Thursday post. I fell for the story and it is available at my library.


Gathering DarkA convicted killer. A gifted thief. A vicious ganglord. A disillusioned cop. Together they’re a missing girl’s only hope.

Dr. Blair Harbour, once a wealthy, respected pediatric surgeon, is now an ex-con down on her luck. She’s determined to keep her nose clean and win back custody of her son. But when her former cellmate begs for help to find her missing daughter, Blair is compelled to put her new-found freedom on the line.

Detective Jessica Sanchez has always had a difficult relationship with the LAPD. And her inheritance of a multi-million dollar mansion as a reward for catching a killer has just made her police enemy number one.

It’s been 10 years since Jessica arrested Blair for cold-blooded murder. So when Jessica opens the door to the disgraced doctor late one night she expects abuse, maybe even violence. What comes next is a plea for help….

I’m a member of the Macmillan Readers Insiders Club and this month’s offerings were unbelievable. However, this is the kind of book I prefer to listen to on audio so I’m waiting for that format’s release in March. I’m sure my library will carry it but if not, consider the Audible credit spent. This just sounds crazy!


Too Good to Be TrueSkye Starling is overjoyed when her boyfriend, Burke Michaels, proposes after a whirlwind courtship. Though Skye seems to have the world at her fingertips—she’s smart, beautiful, and from a well-off family—she’s also battled crippling OCD ever since her mother’s death when she was eleven, and her romantic relationships have suffered as a result.

But now Burke—handsome, older, and more emotionally mature than any man she’s met before—says he wants her. Forever. Except, Burke isn’t who he claims to be. And interspersed letters to his therapist reveal the truth: he’s happily married, and using Skye for his own, deceptive ends.

In a third perspective, set thirty years earlier, a scrappy seventeen-year-old named Heather is determined to end things with Burke, a local bad boy. Inspired by the sophisticated mother of her babysitting charges, Heather vows to leave her impoverished hometown behind and make a better life for herself in New York City. But can her adolescent love stay firmly in her past—or will he find his way into her future?

On a collision course she doesn’t see coming, Skye throws herself into wedding planning, as Burke’s scheme grows ever more twisted. Meanwhile, three decades in the past, Heather’s longed-for transformation finally seems within reach. But of course, even the best laid plans can go astray. And just when you think you know where this story is going, you’ll discover that there’s more than one way to spin the truth.

This is another offering to members of the Macmillan Readers Insiders Club  I prefer to listen to on audio so I’m waiting for that format’s release in March. I recommended it for library purchase. This is twisted and I like twisted😏


The PlotJacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

Okay, this is the book I requested from the offerings to the Macmillan Readers Insiders Club  members. Fingers crossed✌ I get approved for this one. Love mysteries about writers and this sounds like a doozy. 


VineyardStep into the vineyard with Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, as one woman searches for the perfect blend of love, family, and wine.

Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all – a beautiful home, close friends, and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem – it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him – his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends, and, worst of all, her family.

Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews – but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.

This was offered yesterday by the publisher to participate in the blog tour in February. I’m also going to wait for the audio version. I love this type of contemporary fiction. 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

25 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. You have quite a bunch there, Jo! They look good especially The Wife Upstairs and The Invisible Husband …

    I added Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, The Once and Future Witches by Alix, E. Harrow, and The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Hamel.

    Have a great rest of the weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Jonettta! We have too many in common to list here- I’d basically love to read them all, but I’m most excited about the new Colleen Oakley book, as well as that Finlay book (and also really wondering who the author is!). I am also over the moon you are reading one of my favorite books ever, The Edge of Lost! Can’t wait for your thoughts. Happy weekend, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw the upcoming HQ books and was also excited. I hope several of them get offered for audiobook review. You have quite a list here, some I will be adding to my TBR and waiting impatiently to get. Great list.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow that’s a lot! I have a lot in freebies but I don’t have a deadline for reading those. I don’t know most of these authors either. I’m a bit bummed because my January is already so full. But I kept December open for more relaxed reading. I hope you have an amazing week with some excellent reads.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why am I not surprised that you are planning ahead when it comes to 2021 reading! 😊 I’ve never been brave enough to read new releases, unless it’s from an author I already know. So it’s great there are bloggers like you who tell me which of the new releases might be worth looking into. Hope you will be lucky with your choices!

    Liked by 2 people

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