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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.

 


When the Stars Go DarkAnna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When unspeakable tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino. She spent summers there as a child with her beloved grandparents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her to heal. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. Anna is in no condition to become involved with the search–until a childhood friend, now the village sheriff, pleads for her help.

Then, just days later, a twelve-year-old girl is abducted from her home. The crimes feel frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when a string of unsolved murders touched Mendocino. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with these missing girls, she must learn that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together true crime, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another.

I had ignored this book until my friend Marialyce @ yayareads told me she had added it. I finally paid attention and realized it was something I wanted to read  I have it for audio review.


Who is Maud Dixon?Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…

Oh, this sounds SO good! I hadn’t even heard of this book until I read the wonderful review by Marialyce @ yayareads. I’m in a short queue at the library  


The Windsor KnotThe first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.

When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

Another book added based on a good friend’s review. This time it was Alexandra @ Alex in Murderland. Imagine my surprise when the audiobook showed up at my library yesterday!


I Don’t Forgive YouAn accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie’s desperate to make a good first impression. Then she’s framed for murder.

It all starts at a neighborhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.

Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts between them. She learns quickly that she’s been hacked and someone is impersonating her online. Her reputation—socially and professionally—is at stake; even her husband starts to doubt her. As the killer closes in, Allie must reach back into a past she vowed to forget in order to learn the shocking truth of who is destroying her life.

I’m a member of the Macmillan Insiders Reading Club and this is my pick for March. This just sounded too good to pass up.


Always Only YouRen

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie
I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

This showed up at my library, the second book in the Bergman Brothers series. I quickly grabbed the audiobook!


Hot Blooded
A prostitute lies strangled in a seedy French Quarter hotel room. Miles away, in a rambling plantation house on Lake Ponchartrain, late-night radio host Dr. Samantha Leeds receives a threatening crank call. But who would think to link the two?

As more dead bodies turn up, Samantha’s ominous caller persists, along with someone claiming to be a woman from her past—who’s been dead for years. With Detective Rick Bentz convinced that the serial killer prowling the streets is somebody close to Samantha, she doesn’t dare trust anyone. Especially not Ty Wheeler, her seductive new neighbor who seems to know more about her than a stranger should.

Somebody has discovered Samantha’s darkest secret. Somebody is convinced that lives must be sacrificed to pay for her sins. So far, the victims have been strangers. But as a cold-blooded killer grows bolder, Samantha wonders if she will be the next to die.

Cold Blooded
His Vengeance Will Be Repeated… A woman’s slashed, incinerated corpse is found in a seedy New Orleans apartment. Her killer is certain there were no witnesses, unaware that his every move was seen by a beautiful stranger–from her bed in a bayou cottage on the outskirts of town. . .

And Repeated…

Weeks later, another violent vision shatters Olivia Bechet’s sleep. Convinced a serial killer is stalking the city, Olivia turns to the authorities. But jaded detective Rick Bentz doesn’t believe her–even when a second body turns up, slain in exactly the same bizarre, ritualistic manner Olivia described. . .

And Repeated. . .

As New Orleans panics in the icy grip of a merciless killer, Olivia is frustrated by Bentz’s skepticism–and captivated by her attraction to him. But soon her dreams are invaded by images of another murder. One that has yet to be committed. This time, Olivia recognizes not only the victim’s face–but the murderer’s. And both are closer than she ever imagined. . .

One of my Goodreads groups is in the process of selecting its next group read and though the voting doesn’t end for another two days, Lisa Jackson’s New Orleans is in the lead by a wide margin. Thankfully, my library has the complete series! These are the first two.


Gilead
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition. Reverend Ames tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his best friend’s wayward son. Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.

Home
In this companion piece to her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, GILEAD, author Marilynne Robinson reworks the parable of the Prodigal Son through the eyes of Reverend Robert Boughton. The gifted Maggi-Meg Reed captures the world-weary tone of the characters as life ebbs from the failing but still faithful Robert. Reed shines brightest as Glory, the daughter who comes home to care for her father. Almost as affecting is Reed’s portrayal of Jack, the beat-down preacher’s kid who has fallen from grace. At times, Reed allows such overwhelming heartbreak to seep into her voice that the narrative is hard to listen to, but don’t give up. The uplifting ending and affirmation of faith are worth the trip home. 

Lila
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church – the only available shelter from the rain – and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.

Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.

Some time ago, I added the fourth and last book in this series, Gilead. Since Oprah selected the series as her book club’s next read, all of the previous audiobooks showed up at my library and I quickly grabbed them.


Local Woman MissingPeople don’t just disappear without a trace….

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, 11 years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find….

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times best-selling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

I received a request to participate in the blog tour for this one (though I’m also going to get the audio version). Kubica is an auto read because her stories are always provocative.


Such a Good WifeBetrayal was just the beginning…

Melanie Hale is a devoted mother to her two children, a diligent caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law and a trusted neighbor in their wealthy Louisiana community. Above all, she’s a loving partner to her wonderful husband, Collin.

Then there are the parts of herself that Mel keeps hidden. She’s exhausted, worried and unfulfilled. So much so that one night, after a writers’ group meeting, Mel begins an affair with a successful local author named Luke. Suddenly she’s transformed into a role she doesn’t recognize—a woman who deceives with unseemly ease. A woman who might be capable of just about anything.

When Mel finds Luke’s dead body in his lavish rented house, she realizes just how high the stakes have become. Not only does she have to keep her affair a secret in order to preserve her marriage, but she desperately needs to avoid being implicated in Luke’s death. But who would want to kill him? Who else in her life is keeping secrets? And most terrifying of all, how far will they—and she—go to keep those secrets hidden?

I received a request to participate in the blog tour for this one, too (also going to get the audio version). This is a new-to-me author and the description got my attention. It’s scheduled for release in August.


Where I Left HerWhitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter, Amelia, off at Lauren’s house. She’d never met the parents, and usually she’d go in, but Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead Whitney waved to her daughter before pulling away from the little house with the roses in front.

But when she goes back the next day, an elderly couple answers the door—Amelia and Lauren aren’t there, and this couple swears they never were, that she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of lies her daughter has told her—from the Finsta account to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s raised? And Amelia’s not the only one with secrets. Could Whitney’s own demons have something to do with her daughter’s disappearance, and can Whitney find her before it’s too late?

I received a request to participate in the blog tour for this one, too (also going to get the audio version). Yes, that’s three in one week! But you’ve got to agree these are hard to pass up. It’s also scheduled for release in August.


Her Dark LiesAt the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

I took a pass on this when it was offered for audio review and regretted it after seeing some of my friends’ reviews. So, when it showed up at my library, I took advantage of the second chance.


Apples Never FallThe Delaney family love one another dearly―it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaney family is a communal foundation. Stan and Joy are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killer on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are they so miserable?

The four Delaney children―Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke―were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups. Well, that depends on how you define success. No one in the family can really tell you what Troy does, but based on his fancy car and expensive apartment, he seems to do it very well, even if he blew up his perfect marriage. Logan is happy with his routine as a community college professor, but his family finds it easier to communicate with his lovely girlfriend than him. Amy, the eldest, can’t seem to hold down a job or even a lease, but leave it to Brooke, the baby of the family, to be the rock-steady one who is married with a new solo physiotherapy practice . . . which will take off any day now.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door. She says she chose their house because it looked the friendliest. And since Savannah is bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend, the Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, everyone will wonder what exactly went on in that household after Savannah entered their lives that night. Because now Joy is missing, no one knows where Savannah is, and the Delaneys are reexamining their parents’ marriage and their shared family history with fresh, frightened eyes.

Woo hoo! A new Liane Moriarty book, which I stumbled upon. It’s scheduled for release in September and I’ve recommended the audiobook for library purchase.


The Highlander’s Rescued MaidenThe myth of Fair Ellen of the Isles.

Across the Highlands, people recount the legend of a beautiful lassie in a tower, locked away from her clamorous suitors by a tyrannical father. Any person of sense dismisses the story as a fairy tale, no more substantial than a wisp of Scottish mist.

Rogue or hero? Or a little bit of both?

Dashing Highlander Will Mackinnon is a devil with the ladies, disinclined to fall for such romantic nonsense. But one day, his storm-tossed boat washes ashore at a rocky island dominated by a stone tower. Inside the tower, he discovers lovely, gallant Ellen Cameron and a passion that eclipses anything he’s experienced before in his reckless life.

Danger and desire…

This brave adventurer vows to rescue the captive maiden and make her his own forever. But dark shadows gather about the lovers and threaten to destroy all their hopes for happiness. Will has found the love of a lifetime—but will it end up costing him his life?

This is the final book in one of my favorite series, scheduled for release at the end of the month. I’m sorry to see it end as I’ve enjoyed the stories.


Dark RoadsFor decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.

When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.

Thanks to the wonderful review by Mischenko @ ReadRantRock& Roll, I discovered the author has a new book scheduled for release in August. Another library hopeful.


The Perfect NannyWhen Myriam, a mother and brilliant French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work, she and her husband are forced to look for a caretaker for their two young children. They are thrilled to find Louise: the perfect nanny right from the start. Louise sings to the children, cleans the family’s beautiful apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late whenever asked, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on each other, jealousy, resentment, and frustrations mount, shattering the idyllic tableau.

I’ve had my eye on this one for a long time so when it finally showed up at my library, I grabbed the audiobook.


Finding TessaJace and Tessa appear to be a young couple in love with nothing to hide. But looks can be deceiving.

When Jace Montgomery comes home late from entertaining clients, he discovers that his wife Tessa is missing. There’s broken glass at the back door. Clumps of her hair. Blood. The cops in their small New Jersey town have him pegged as a suspect, especially after he explodes at a reporter during a press conference. Jace maintains his innocence despite the mounting evidence against him, but when a coworker he’s accused of having an affair with also disappears and a search warrant turns up an illegal gun in Jace’s home, all signs point to him as the culprit. What is he really hiding?

Meanwhile, Tessa finally feels safe, having set up her husband to take the fall for her disappearance—and someone close to him is helping her put him away. Breaking her lifelong pattern of bad men is only one hurdle she has to overcome. The other is outrunning her secret past while trying to stay alive, especially when those in her new life aren’t who they appear to be.

Jace’s lies don’t add up and the authorities are closing in. Will Tessa’s old life catch up to her and drag her back to a life of abuse before justice is served? 

Finding Tessa is a smart domestic thriller where nothing can be taken at face value, where every twist reveals a deadlier secret than the one before. Fans of Gillian Flynn, Samantha Downing, and incisive, fresh psychological suspense won’t want to miss it. 

This sounds utterly diabolical and as soon as I read the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader, I had to have it! Another library hopeful, scheduled for release in May.


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

28 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. Wow, so many excellent choices. I am hoping to get many of the upcoming books you have listed as audiobooks as well. I am on the same blog tours. That Marilynne Robinson series sounds really good. I will have to see if my library has it. Enjoy them all Jo.

    Like

  2. So glad to see Maud on your list, Jo. Jan and I are almost done with When the Stars Go Dark, and the Gilead series is wonderful. I added Murder in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller, and Every Last Secret by A.R.Torre.

    Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also want to read Her Dark Lies by JT Ellison. I hope you enjoy these but I finished both book and audio yesterday and so will be starting new ones of each and am very moody at the moment where nothing sounds good. Sigh.

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great list. That Lisa Jackson series is on my list to read not sure if I will read it at the same time as you guys are reading it. I do have pretty much every Lisa Jackson and slowly reading them all. With school work and looking after my daughter reading is a bit slow, hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Harlequin Trade offered so many books for their summer mystery blog tours. It looks like you have many of them as I do. Can’t wait to read them, especially the Kubica book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When The Stars Go Dark sounds very compelling, I missed that review so I’m very happy you brought it to my attention. I only read one book by Mary Kubica (her first one I think), I really should add some more to my readlist! I was invited to read Sleepless by Romy Haussman (author of Dear Child) so I’m very excited to read her second novel!

    Liked by 1 person

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