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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.

 


What a Happy FamilyNestled in the suburbs of Atlanta, a family learns the funniest punchlines can hide the hardest truths in this evocative women’s fiction novel from the author of Well-Behaved Indian Women.

From the outside, the Joshi family is the quintessential Indian-American family. Decades ago, Bina and Deepak immigrated to America, where she became a pillar of their local Indian community and he, a successful psychiatrist. Their eldest daughter, Suhani, is following the footsteps of her father’s career and happily married. Natasha, their middle daughter, is about to become engaged to the son of longtime family friends. And Anuj, their son—well he’s a son and what could be better than that?

But a family scandal shows that nothing is as it seems. Bina’s oldest friendship starts to unravel and she finds herself as an outsider in the community she helped build. Suhani discovers that her perfect marriage isn’t as solid as she thought. Natasha faces a series of rejections that send her into a downward spiral.

As they encounter public humiliation, gossiping aunties, and self-doubt, the Joshi family must rely on each other like never before. But sometimes, family has to fall apart in order to come back stronger than before.

After loving the author’s first book, Well-Behaved Indian Women, I quickly added her upcoming one, an audio review hopeful.


The Kindest LieA promise could betray you.

It’s 2008, and the rise of Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and abandoned—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. While her family is happy to see her, they remind her of the painful sacrifices to give Ruth a shot at a better future—like the comfortable middle-class life she now enjoys.

Determined, Ruth begins digging into the past. As she uncovers burning secrets her family desperately wants to hide, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. When a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, Ruth and Midnight find themselves on a collision course that could upend both their lives.

The Kindest Lie examines the heartbreaking divide between black and white communities and plumbs the emotional depths of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans in the wake of the financial crisis. Capturing the profound racial injustices and class inequalities roiling society, Nancy Johnson’s debut novel offers an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.

I gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review but was interested enough to grab it when it showed up at my library. Lots of thought provoking themes here.


The FiancéeSummer’s looking forward to a break from hustling for acting work in Manhattan when she, her husband Gabe, and Gabe’s nine-year-old son come to rural Pennsylvania for the annual family get-together at her in-laws’ sprawling estate. On the agenda are leisurely gourmet meals, tennis games, and plenty of relaxation by the pool. This year, Gabe’s baby brother Nick, a perpetual bachelor, has invited his new flame Hannah, who’s an actress as well. 

In fact, Summer immediately recognizes Hannah from a showcase they once did together, but strangely, Hannah claims not to know her. And that’s not the only thing that seems off. Yet she charms the other family members, and after Nick announces that he’s proposed to Hannah, Summer doesn’t have much choice but to grit her teeth and smile.  

Then the reunion is rocked by tragedy when another family member is found dead, and the doctors attribute the loss to natural causes. A grieving Summer believes that they may have overlooked something, and fears that the too-good-to-be-true Hannah is involved, but Gabe and the others keep ignoring her suspicions.

How far will Summer go to expose the truth? As she investigates just what Nick’s fiancée might have done to keep her perfect image intact, she begins to fear that the first death may only be the beginning . . .


Oh, yes! This sounds delicious! Another audio review hopeful, due for release in June.


Scandal Never SleepsThey are the Perfect Gentlemen of Creighton Academy: privileged, wealthy, powerful friends with a wild side. But a deadly scandal is about to tear down their seemingly ideal lives . . .

Maddox Crawford’s sudden death sends Gabriel Bond reeling. Not only is he burying his best friend, he’s cleaning up Mad’s messes, including his troubled company. Grieving and restless, Gabe escapes his worries in the arms of a beautiful stranger. But his mind-blowing one-night stand is about to come back to haunt him . . .

Mad groomed Everly Parker to be a rising star in the executive world. Now that he’s gone, she’s sure her job will be the next thing she mourns, especially after she ends up accidentally sleeping with her new boss. If only their night together hadn’t been so incendiary—or Gabe like a fantasy come true . . .

As Gabe and Everly struggle to control the heated tension between them, they discover evidence that Mad’s death was no accident. Now they must bank their smoldering passions to hunt down a murderer—because Mad had secrets that someone was willing to kill for, and Gabe or Everly could be the next target . . .

One of my Goodreads groups is selecting a new series to read together. This series is in the lead and voting ends today. Fortunately my library has the audiobooks for the entire series.


The Woman Outside My DoorAll children have imaginary friends, Georgina tells herself. It’s perfectly normal, and they all grow out of it in the end. But when her seven-year-old son, Cody, tells her about New Granny, the friend he’s met in the park, Georgina is instantly suspicious. Something—call it maternal instinct—tells her he isn’t making it up.

But maybe Georgina is losing her mind. It wouldn’t be the first time, after all. And with her own mother’s recent death leaving her bereft and trying to cope with life as a busy working mom, it’s no wonder she’s feeling paranoid that Cody has invented a “New Granny” to replace his beloved grandmother.

Her husband, Bren, becomes the voice of reason, assuring Georgina that it’s just a game, the product of their son’s overactive imagination. But what if Cody’s imaginary friend is not so imaginary after all?

Another book I passed on when offered for audio review (it wasn’t an easy decision) so I grabbed it from the library this week.  


Forgotten in DeathIn the latest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas sifts through the wreckage of the past to find a killer.

Yep. No description or cover and I’m adding it to my shelf right now. It’s book #53 in the In Death series, scheduled for release in September. I’ve recommended it for library purchase.  


The Downstairs NeighborOne House. Three Families. Countless Secrets.

From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you?

The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing 25 years before, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.

These kind of stories are like catnip for me! It was offered for audio review and I’m willing to take a chance on this debut novel. New-to-me narrator, too (Jasmine Blackborow).


UnfinishedA remarkable life story rooted in two different worlds, Unfinished offers insights into Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s childhood in India; her formative teenage years in the United States; and her return to India, where against all odds as a newcomer to the pageant world, she won the national and international beauty competitions that launched her global acting career. Whether reflecting on her nomadic early years or the challenges she has faced as she has doggedly pursued her calling, Priyanka shares her challenges and triumphs with warmth and honesty. The result is a book that is philosophical, sassy, inspiring, bold, and rebellious. Just like the author herself.

From her dual-continent twenty-year-long career as an actor and producer to her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, from losing her beloved father to cancer to marrying Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s story will inspire a generation around the world to gather their courage, embrace their ambition, and commit to the hard work of following their dreams.

I’m a fan of the actress and am interested in her story so I quickly accepted the audiobook for review.  


Everything AfterTwo loves. Two choices. One chance to follow her dreams.

Emily has come a long way since she lost her two passions fifteen years ago: music, and Rob. She’s a psychologist at NYU who helps troubled college students like the one she once was. Together with her caring doctor husband, Ezra, she has a beautiful life. They’re happy. They hope to start a family. But when a tragic event in Emily’s present too closely echoes her past, and parts of her story that she’d hoped never to share come to light, her perfect life is suddenly upturned. Then Emily hears a song on the radio about the woman who got away. The melody and voice are hauntingly familiar. Could it be? As Emily’s past passions come roaring back into her life, she’ll find herself asking: Who is she meant to be? Who is she meant to love?

*sigh* I fear this is going to twist my heart but I couldn’t resist when it was offered for audio review.


Northern EscapeBrielle Ives prefers dogs to people, and who could blame her? Her sled dogs are loyal to a fault, trust her implicitly, and couldn’t care less about the scars that mar her face. The only human who’s never disappointed her is her mentor, Dr. William Hunter. When his plane goes missing in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Bree will do anything to find him . . . even if it means turning to a frustrating, irresponsible, and too-sexy-for-his-own-good California boy for help.

When Ellis Hunter enlisted in the Army at eighteen, he put Alaska—and his womanizing drunk of a father—in his rearview mirror. He promised himself he’d never return, but even he can’t resist Bree’s panicked plea for help. If she’s hell-bent on trekking into the bush to find his father, then he’s determined to go with her. But Ellis isn’t the only one shadowing Bree’s rescue attempt…

When the search for answers leaves Ellis and Bree trapped together in the wilds of Alaska, they’ll have to put aside their differences—and an attraction hot enough to melt glaciers—to survive the elements. Because someone dangerous lurks in that icy wilderness—a killer desperate to keep Dr. William Hunter’s secrets buried deep in the snow.

I love, love, love this author’s writing! Her romantic suspense series, HORNET, is simply outstanding. I’ll read anything she writes in this genre and this is the first in a new series. Of course, I pre-ordered at Amazon.


The Paris LibraryBased on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris, an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship—and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places.

Paris, 1939.

Young, ambitious, and tempestuous, Odile Souchet has it all: Paul, her handsome police officer beau; Margaret, her best friend from England; Remy, her twin brother who she adores; and a dream job at the American Library in Paris, working alongside the library’s legendary director, Dorothy Reeder. When World War II breaks out, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear—including her beloved library. After the Nazi army marches into the City of Light and declares a war on words, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance with the best weapons they have: books. Again and again, they risk their lives to help their fellow Jewish readers, but by war’s end, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983.

Odile’s solitary existence in gossipy small-town Montana is unexpectedly interrupted by her neighbor Lily, a lonely teenager craving adventure. As Lily uncovers more about Odile’s mysterious past, they find they share not only a love of language but also the same lethal jealousy. Odile helps Lily navigate the troubled waters of adolescence by always recommending the right book at the right time, never suspecting that Lily will be the one to help her reckon with her own terrible secret.

Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris, The Paris Library is a mesmerizing and captivating novel about the people and the books that make us who we are, for good and for bad, and the courage it takes to forgive.

This book kept showing up on many of my friend’s bookshelves with solid reviews but I continued to waffle over adding it to mine until I read the review by Carol @ Reading Ladies Club. Thank goodness my library came through with the audiobook. 


Make Up Break UpLove, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

I hadn’t paid attention to this one until the review by Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books. So, when the audiobook showed up at my library, I grabbed it.


The Killer You KnowWhen a group of friends arrange a hometown meet up after fifteen years apart, they discover that one of their group might be a serial killer. And he may be coming for them next.

“You need to kill at least three people, right? So that’s what I’ll do.

“When Will jokes about becoming a serial killer, his friends just laugh it off. But Adeline can’t help but feel there’s something more sinister lurking behind his words.

Fifteen years later, Adeline returns to Blythe for a reunion of the old gang – except Will doesn’t show up. Reminiscing about old times, they look up the details of his supposed murder spree. But the mood soon changes when they discover two recent deaths that match.

As the group attempts to track Will down, they realize that he is playing a sinister game that harks back to one they used to play as kids. Only this time there are lives at stake . . .

This showed up at my library some time ago but the queue was long for the audiobook. My number finally came up! It’s also narrated by Imogen Church, a favorite.


Recipe for PersuasionChef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

My library came through again with the second audiobook in The Rajes series!



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

28 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I loved The Paris Library. It was exactly my cup of historical fiction tea! I added The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi (the second book by the author of The Henna Artist), The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, When the Stars Go Dark by Paula Mclain, and Surviving the Night by Riley Sager.

    I hope you enjoy each and every one of your additions, Jo! Have a great rest of the rainy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marialyce💜 I saw your 5-star review after I added it and just felt even better about the decision. I’ve got to escalate The Henna Artist! I also still have to listen to McLain’s The Paris Wife. And, I’m waiting for the audio version of the Riley Sager book. Can’t wait to see your reviews!

      We’ve got ice here and trees/branches are falling down around the house like crazy. So far, only one power hit. I’m hunkering down. Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  2. I’m glad you grabbed Make Up Break Up. I’m curious about what you think once you listen. The reviews were all over the place, but I felt like there were elements of it that perhaps just weren’t inherently understood like the author thought they’d be. Happy reading/listening!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Kindest Lie and The Paris Library both sound amazing. Can you keep your books from the library as long as you wish to or is there a time limit? I normally only download one library book at a time, it seems more manageable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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