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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.

 


Illicit IntentCalliope Garland’s newsdesk assignment was fairly straightforward—dig up the dirt on the sketchy CEO of a Wall Street hedge fund. But when the man is murdered and valuable data destroyed, a simple investigation turns deadly. Calliope is unwittingly in possession of vital financial information and a priceless work of art; either of which may get her killed. With an ever-growing list of people who want to harm her, Calliope must set aside her reservations and turn to the one man she knows can trust.

Miller “Tox” Buchanan is a study in contradictions: kind but lethal, passionate but distant, self-possessed yet hesitant. He knows he should keep his distance, but when Calliope is hurled into danger, Tox will stop at nothing to protect her.

…Her first instinct wasn’t to dial 911 but rather to call a certain Navy SEAL. She forced down the antiquated damsel in distress fantasy floating around in her head and rationalized the police would surely ask questions she was unwilling or unable to answer. She brought up her contacts. At the bottom, she touched the entry labeled, Tox, and the call rang through. A grizzly bear answered.
“This better be good.”
“Tox?”
“Calliope?”
“I need your help…”

I took a chance on this Indie author, accepted her first book in the series and loved the story. Of course I agreed to read and review this second book. 


ExitFelix Pink is retired. Widowed for more than a decade and a painfully literal thinker, he has led a life of routine and is, not unhappily, waiting to die a hopefully boring death. He occupies himself volunteering as an Exiteer – someone who sits with terminally ill people as they die by suicide, assisting with logistics and lending moral support, then removing the evidence so that family and friends are not implicated in the death. When Felix lets himself into Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of kindness and charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath.

But just 15 minutes later, Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life. Now his routine world is turned upside down as he tries to discover whether what went wrong was a simple mistake – or deliberate, a murder.

With a novel that is part murder mystery, part coming-of-old-age story – however short that future may be – Belinda Bauer continues to redefine the boundaries of crime fiction. With the compassion and dark humor of Jonas Jonasson and the twisted thriller plotting of Rear Window, Exit is a novel listeners will not soon forget.

I wasn’t aware that the author had a new book scheduled for release so thanks to Yvo @ It’s All About Books for the heads up. I’m hoping the audiobook shows up at my library as her others have in the past.


The Family TreeThe DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?

A gripping, original thriller for fans of My Lovely Wife, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and anyone who’s ever wondered what their family tree might be hiding…


Another tease from Yvo @ It’s All About Books. I hadn’t heard of this one either. 


The Bareknuckle GroomMeet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1869 Bareknuckle champion, James Thompson, is confident his future continues with beautiful women and victories in the boxing ring. Men admire his skills, power, and quick fists, and are more than willing to bet their hard-earned coins on his name. Women admire his handsome face, his undaunted confidence, and his powerful body. Nothing will change his successfully plotted course, until…

Lucinda Vermeal arrives on the Philadelphia social scene when her father moves them to the city in the hopes that his only daughter will find a suitable partner. After all, her husband will be intimately involved with Vermeal Industries whose business interests and political connections touch France, England and all of the United States. Lucinda’s pale statuesque beauty attracts the finest of Philadelphia’s young men, but her cool and reserved attitude keep them at arm’s length. Until she meets a man willing to challenge her at every turn.

Will James Thompson expose Lucinda’s passionate nature like no other man ever could?

This is the second book in The Thompsons of Locust Street series and since I loved the first, I’m hoping to get this one for review. It’s scheduled for release in March.


Killing TrailWhen a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the small Colorado town.

With the help of Cole Walker, local veterinarian and a single father, Mattie and Robo must track down the truth before it claims another victim. But the more Mattie investigates, the more she realizes how many secrets her hometown holds. And the key may be Cole’s daughter, who knows more than she’s saying.

The murder was just the beginning, and if Mattie isn’t careful, she and Robo could be next. Suspenseful and smart, Killing Trail is a gripping read that will have readers clamoring for more Mattie and Robo for years to come. Fans of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box will love this explosive debut.

I really like stories involving K-9 units so when I saw the review of the 5th book in this series by Carla @ Carla Loves to Read, I wanted in so I’m starting with #1. Thanks to my Audible plan, this was included in my membership…no credit needed!


The Echo WifeSarah Gailey’s The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride of lies, betrayal, and identity, perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Killing Eve.

Evelyn Caldwell’s husband Nathan has been having an affair – with Evelyn Caldwell.

Or, to be exact, with Martine, a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn’s own award-winning research.

But that wasn’t even the worst part.

When they said all happy families are alike, I don’t think this is what they meant….

After I read the review by Kyra @ Roots & Read, I absolutely needed to read this book! I’ve recommended the audiobook for library purchase so fingers crossed🤞.


GreenlightsFrom the Academy Award®–winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction

I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.

I gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review but then started reading the high marks given to it by trusted friends, even those who aren’t McConaughy fans. So, when the audiobook showed up at my library, I decided to grab it.


SophomoresThe late 1980s come alive in this moving and keenly observed story of one boy’s unforgettable sophomore year, and his parents’ surprising journey alongside him.

It’s fall 1987 and life as normal is ending for the Malone family. With their sterile Dallas community a far cry from the Irish-American Bronx of their youth, Pat and Anne Malone have reached a breaking point. Pat, faced with a debilitating MS diagnosis, has fallen into his drinking. Anne, his devoutly Catholic wife, is selected as a juror for a highly publicized murder trial, one that raises questions–about God, and about men in power–she has buried her entire life. Together, they try to raise their only son, Daniel, a bright but unmotivated student who is shocked into actual learning by an enigmatic English teacher. For once, Dan is unable to fly under the radar, and is finally asked to consider what he might want to make of his life.

With humor and tenderness, Sophomores brilliantly captures the enduring poignancy of coming of age, teenage epiphanies and heartbreak, and family redemption.

This was offered for audio review and after a lot of deliberation, I decided to give it a chance as it seems much more than what’s on the surface. Don’t you love that cover?


A Lady’s Formula for LoveWhat is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry—it’s elemental.

Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test—and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

I’m a fan of historical fiction and especially those featuring unconventional women so when this book about liberated female scientists was offered for audio review, I was most intrigued.


A deeply funny and shrewdly observed debut novel about being lost in the very place you know by heart.Super Host

Bennett Driscoll is a Turner Prize-nominated artist who was once a rising star. Now, at age fifty-five, his wife has left him, he hasn’t sold a painting in two years, and his gallery wants to stop selling his work, claiming they’ll have more value retrospectively…when he’s dead. So, left with a large West London home and no income, he’s forced to move into his artist’s studio in the back garden and list his house on the popular vacation rental site, AirBed.

A stranger now in his own home, with his daughter, Mia, off at art school, and any new relationships fizzling out at best, Bennett struggles to find purpose in his day-to-day. That all changes when three different guests–lonely American Alicia; tortured artist Emma; and cautiously optimistic divorcée Kirstie–unwittingly unlock the pieces of himself that have been lost to him for too long.

Warm, witty, and utterly humane, Super Host offers a captivating portrait of middle age, relationships, and what it truly means to take a new chance at life.

I was immediately drawn to this one when it was offered for audio review. New-to-me author but it’s narrated by the fabulous Julia Whelan, one of my most favorite.


You Look So Much Better in PersonFrom America’s favorite weather man, Today co-anchor, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade host Al Roker comes a funny and shrewd look at his career so far, what he’s learned, and what’s yet to come.

In his first-ever series of essays, Al details his childhood in Brooklyn and Queens and his start on a local channel in Syracuse while still in college, before making the move back to his NYC hometown and prime-time weather casting. Al’s trademark good humor and keen reportage have made him one of the country’s most trusted faces on television, but in this book, Al gives readers an all-access pass to his life beyond the screen. From co-parenting with his award-winning journalist wife, Deborah Roberts, and starting up his own production company, to his latest stint on Broadway in Waitress, Al has built up a wealth of knowledge and guidance. He has plenty to say about the good times and the bad; being mentored by Willard Scott; what he’s learned from working with news legends from Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel to contemporaries like Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Lester Holt; and moments where he held his tongue–and wishes he hadn’t…

I watch the Today show every day and am a Roker fan. This showed up at my library this week and I got it right away.


Heard it in a Love SongLayla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.

Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?

I discovered this author years ago when she self published her first book that became wildly successfully simply through reader word of mouth. She’s got a unique storytelling style that I like and she describes it as contemporary fiction with a “happily ever after.” This is scheduled for release in November and I’m hoping the audio version shows up at my library


Hot Under the CollarFirefighter Braden Mahoney is devastated when his beloved Weimaraner, Jelly Bean, fails the canine arson investigator test. Faced with the challenge of raising the money for advanced training, it’s Braden’s sweet grandmother and her best friend who suggest he use the services of the new event planner in town. Not that he needs a push in Cassie Santorini’s direction. Ever since she arrived, Braden has had his eye on the sassy Greek goddess…and can’t stop thinking about getting the rest of him on her, too.

Cassie has spent years putting family first, even moving to Bitter Bark when her mother falls in love with the local veterinarian. Having a huge new extended “family” is fun, especially when one smokeshow of a firefighter attends the gatherings, but Cassie has no plans to remain in this small town. She’s ready to pursue her big city dreams. But when Braden asks for an assist for his precious pup, Cassie agrees to help him set up a town-wide scavenger hunt. It isn’t exactly a hardship to be around those blue eyes and brawny shoulders, especially since they both agree everything – even the undeniable sparks that crackle between them – is temporary.

But when temporary gets complicated by feelings that might lead to forever, Braden and Cassie start to question the direction they’re headed. Should they follow their dreams…or their hearts? It’ll take a dog with a bad nose and a good heart, two particularly meddlesome grandmas, and some help from the clan that loves them to make sure Cassie and Braden follow the clues and find their way to each other’s arms.

Right now this is free on Amazon, the first book in The Dogmothers series, a spinoff of The Dogfathers. I’ve started that one and love the focus on the pooches. (It’s also free at Barnes & Noble as well as Kobo.)


All ConsumingWhen firefighter Kal Donovan transfers to the Tactical Rescue Team, he’s determined to succeed by giving work 100 percent of his attention. This proves more difficult at his 10-year high school reunion when he runs into Hannah Clark, his first love. She’s still the smart, funny, beautiful girl he loved in high school, but everything has changed. She’s divorced, has a son, and has zero interest in exploring an old romance.

Hannah has moved back home after a disastrous end to a marriage that never should have been. Now her only focus is getting her hair salon up and running and making sure her son is happy. She doesn’t have time for love – especially not with Kal. She intends to look forward, not backward, and Kal is most definitely part of her past.

However, as Hannah and Kal start spending time together, Hannah realizes that what she’s feeling for him isn’t nostalgia, but red-hot attraction. Kal’s intent on showing her what it’s like to be cared for, romanced, and consumed with passion – and Hannah loves it. But she wonders if she has the courage to risk her heart again, even as Kal vows not to lose her a second time.

I’ve started this series (this is #3) so I was thrilled to have it offered for audio review.


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

32 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. Arghh, every time I pop in to read these Saturday posts, I come away with a list of books to check out. No different today. Ha! Ha! And yeah, I too am interested in The Family Tree as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great haul Jo. I got Greenlights from my library this week as well, and added Exit based on Nicki’s and Yvo’s reviews. I just grabbed Hot Under the Collar, thanks for the heads up. There are a few more I am going to be checking the library for. Thanks for enabling my hoarding addiction. 🤗😂📚💜

    Liked by 1 person

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