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.
Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”
But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.
Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.
Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.
This was offered for audio review and I was immediately hooked, from that cover to the description.
Georgeanna “Georgey” Woolsey isn’t meant for the world of lavish parties and the demure attitudes of women of her stature. So when war ignites the nation, Georgey follows her passion for nursing during a time when doctors considered women on the battlefront a bother. In proving them wrong, she and her sister Eliza venture from New York to Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg and witness the unparalleled horrors of slavery as they become involved in the war effort.
In the South, Jemma is enslaved on the Peeler Plantation in Maryland, where she lives with her mother and father. Her sister, Patience, is enslaved on the plantation next door, and both live in fear of LeBaron, an abusive overseer who tracks their every move. When Jemma is sold by the cruel plantation mistress Anne-May at the same time the Union army comes through, she sees a chance to finally escape—but only by abandoning the family she loves.
Anne-May is left behind to run Peeler Plantation when her husband joins the Union army and her cherished brother enlists with the Confederates. In charge of the household, she uses the opportunity to follow her own ambitions and is drawn into a secret Southern network of spies, finally exposing herself to the fate she deserves.
Inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters provides a vivid, detailed look at the Civil War experience, from the barbaric and inhumane plantations, to a war-torn New York City, to the horrors of the battlefield. It’s a sweeping story of women caught in a country on the brink of collapse, in a society grappling with nationalism and unthinkable racial cruelty, a story still so relevant today.
I loved Lilac Girls so I immediately accepted this for audio review.
A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly White high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the span of the next 20 years. On one side of the integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, ambitious mother. In the aftermath of a harrowing loss, she is determined to give her son the tools he’ll need to survive in America as a sensitive, anxious, young Black man. On the other side is Noelle’s headstrong mother, Lacey May, a White woman who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but White. She strives to protect them as she couldn’t protect herself from the influence of their charming but unreliable father, Robbie.
When Gee and Noelle join the school play meant to bridge the divide between new and old students, their paths collide, and their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that will shape the trajectory of their adult lives. And their mothers – each determined to see her child inherit a better life – will make choices that will haunt them for decades to come.
As love is built and lost, and the past never too far behind, What’s Mine and Yours is an expansive, vibrant tapestry that moves between the years, from the foothills of North Carolina, to Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Paris. It explores the unique organism that is every family: what breaks them apart and how they come back together.
This got on my radar when it was chosen as this month’s Read With Jenna book selection. When it showed up at my library, I grabbed the audiobook.
Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones and the Six in this funny, wise, and tender novel about a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her strait-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for—who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.
The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
Okay, I know those teasers aren’t always reliable but they got me at Daisy Jones. This was offered for audio review and the description also intrigued me.
When catching a thief requires becoming one.
Jared Towers has skills. One of them is being able to talk his way out of—or into—anything.
Audrey Abbott has skills, too. Need something hacked and only the best will do? She’s your girl.
They have absolutely nothing in common—except for a driving desire to take care of those who need it the most.
For Jared, that means assembling a team of thieves to steal back what rightfully belongs to the victims of a crime perpetrated by his own father. For Audrey, it means doing whatever she can to make sure her grandma never has to worry again.
And now they have something else in common: the art heist of the century.
It was supposed to be all business. Get in and get out, then move on to the next target. But when Jared finds himself falling for Audrey, artwork isn’t the only thing at risk of being stolen…
This is a pseudonym of an author I’ve previously enjoyed and the premise of this new series sounds fun. It’s an author review request and is available on NetGalley.
The first three books of Kaylea Cross’s bestselling Vengeance Series in one box set.
An expert thief and assassin meets her match in the soldier she left behind.
She’s an expert at getting into places she doesn’t belong. But for once she can’t escape from this situation on her own.
A female hacker assassin is pitted against the hitman sent to hunt her.
Revenge came at a heavy price. Chasing redemption may prove deadly.
A mild-mannered Pararescueman comes to the aid of who he thinks is a woman in distress, and quickly realizes he’s the one needing protection against the deadly demolitions expert that turns his world upside down.
Two opposites in uncharted territory. One explosive situation.
I already own the first two books in this series but this is on sale for $.99 at Amazon so I grabbed it to get the third book.
Meet The McGraths: a family as untamed as the land they call home.
Skye Kennedy has always loved the close-knit community of Sunrise Fellowship — but when she witnesses the commune’s new leader commit a terrible crime, she flees…and finds herself in Montana, on the McGrath ranch, and drawn to the stoic yet kind man determined to help her.
Declan McGrath has always handled things himself and focused more on work than his love life. With his newlywed brothers distracted by their beautiful wives, Declan has even more work on his hands. But when Skye arrives at the ranch starving and desperate for work, his loner days are over.
Skye wants to keep her distance and protect Declan from the deadly threats facing her, but soon their relationship morphs into something much more than either of them expected. When she fights back against those out to destroy Sunrise Fellowship, Skye and Declan will have to do everything to protect not just Skye’s community, but also their new love….
I’m listening to the first book in this series in a few days so I quickly accepted this second book for audio review.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?