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.
After being injured in a freak accident, novelist Gerry Andersen lies in a hospital bed in his glamorous but sterile apartment, isolated from the busy world he can see through his windows, utterly dependent on two women he barely knows: his young assistant and a night nurse whose competency he questions.
But Gerry is also beginning to question his own competency. As he moves in and out of dreamlike memories and seemingly random appearances of a persistent ex-girlfriend at his bedside, he fears he may be losing his grip on reality, much like his mother who recently passed away from dementia.
Most distressing, he believes he’s being plagued by strange telephone calls, in which a woman claiming to be the titular character of his hit novel Dream Girl swears she will be coming to see him soon. The character is completely fictitious, but no one has ever believed Gerry when he makes that claim. Is he the victim of a cruel prank – or is he actually losing his mind? There is no record of the calls according to the log on his phone. Could there be someone he has wronged? Is someone coming to do him harm as he lies helplessly in bed?
Then comes the morning he wakes up next to a dead body – and realizes his nightmare is just beginning….
One of these days I plan to binge listen to all the Lippman books on my shelf, probably starting with this one. Guess I’ll have to since I got it for audio review. Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for putting this on my radar.
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s own nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal.
He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop. They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity.
He realizes that being a Native American in the 21st century comes at an incredible cost.
Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that’s as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.
One of my long-time Goodreads friends rated this 5 stars and sent me a recommendation to read it, which she rarely does. After reading her review and the description, I was very interested, even more when my library had the audiobook.
For 15 years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends. Over drinks, dinner parties and summer barbecues, the three couples have discussed the important stuff – kids, marriages, careers – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything.
But then the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone is caught in a lie. And soon after, six numbers come up that change everything forever.
Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth millions. And their friends are determined to claim a share.
Carla @ Carla Loves to Read featured this title as an upcoming read (she’s since reviewed it) and it got my attention. Fortunately, I got it for audio review.
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia’s parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro’s deportation and the family’s splintering – the costs they’ve all been living with ever since.
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. And all the while, the metronome ticks: Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?
Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family – for whom every triumph is stitched with regret, and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.
This is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. It’s a little out of my comfort zone but her selections have been great reads for me to date. I got the audiobook from my library.
Winona Belcourt left the Pine Ridge Reservation to become a wildlife vet in the small Colorado mountain town of Scarlet Springs. She now leads a busy life caring for sick and injured animals and watching over her aging grandfather. Apart from a complete lack of romance, her life is close to perfect. She doesn’t have time for dating, even if there were available men in tiny Scarlet who interested her. Then Jason Chiago comes to town, one of many volunteers here to help rebuild her family’s summer camp. Tall, dark, and hot as hell, he’s the friend of some friends and a member of the legendary Shadow Wolves, an all-Native unit of expert trackers who patrol the US-Mexico border. Sadly, he’s also taken—or so her friends say. Winona would never get involved with another woman’s man. Still, she can’t turn off the longing she feels for him—or stop herself from imagining the heat of his kisses.
She’s everything he wants…
As a Tohono O’odham man, Jason knows that life’s journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Still, he never expected to be where he is now—his ex-fiancée in prison and his job with the Shadow Wolves on the line. On administrative leave for taking out a killer on the wrong side of the border, he has come to Scarlet Springs to help rebuild a kids’ camp that burned to the ground—and to clear his head before his disciplinary hearing next month. Yet, from the moment Winona stumbles into him, he can think only about her. With her big heart, sharp mind, and sweet face, she is everything he’s ever desired in a woman. But he made a deathbed promise to his grandmother that he would never abandon his responsibility to the O’odham people and move away from the reservation like so many others have done. It’s his duty to pass on traditional lifeways so they won’t disappear and to be a role model for O’odham youth. Winona deserves better than a fling with a man who can’t stick around. That’s why he’s going to keep his hands to himself, no matter how much she makes him burn.
A love that won’t be denied…
When a wealthy rancher asks Winona to help find a wolf that is killing his livestock, Jason and Winona join forces to solve the mystery. There haven’t been wild wolves in Colorado for eighty years. But working closely side by side has consequences. As they move in on the wolf and uncover a more shocking truth, their attraction ignites into passion. Jason realizes he has a choice to make. He can either keep a vow he made long ago and break both of their hearts by walking away—or he can turn his back on his duty and his people to seize a chance at true happiness in the arms of the woman he loves.
I love this series and was excited when this book was announced for pre-order, which I quickly bought. It’s the 8th in the Colorado High Country series.
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
This is far out of my comfort zone but my sister wants to read this and it’s rare that we read a book together. I got the audiobook from my library.
Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan’s old girlfriends everywhere–at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.
While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world’s most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan’s apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it–never mind four. Five if you count Aggie’s eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.
But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane’s life is permanently intertwined with Duncan’s, Aggie’s, and Jimmy’s, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane’s eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Katherine Heiny’s Early Morning Riser is her most astonishingly wonderful work to date.
This is my kind of drama! I quickly accepted this one when offered for audio review.
Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means “slave girl,” she begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.
As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.
Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world.
I almost gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review. But, I was intrigued by the focus on women’s roles in compiling the words for dictionaries in the past and the idea of “lost words.”
Every year, Caroline Reed takes a trip with her best friend, Esme Lamont. They’re usually accompanied by their spouses—but this year, everything’s changed. Esme has just gone through a bitter divorce, and Caroline is wondering if her own marriage is reaching its breaking point, as she and her husband John cope with the discovery that their nineteen-year-old son has been abusing drugs. Still, the inseparable duo books a week-long stay at a beach-front home in Shoreham, Florida, inviting Esme’s brother, Nick, and his new husband, Ford, in hopes that the additional guests will help lighten the mood.
After a blissful first night in the vacation home, tragedy strikes, and one of the houseguests is found dead. While it’s assumed at first to be a horrific accident, it quickly becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at play, and over the course of this fast-paced, deeply chilling novella, the potential motives of each guest are revealed—until a shocking conclusion is reached.
My Goodreads friend reviewed this short Audible Original (it’s less than 3 hours) and it sounds so “Christi-esque.” It’s also free with my Audible Membership.
You met Roni Connolly in the Fatal Series, and now she headlines the all new Wild Widows Series, in which a group of grieving survivors come together, determined to find their “Chapter 2.”
A new series based on a Fatal series character? I didn’t even think twice when it was announced in the author’s newsletter. It’s not scheduled for release until February but I’m adding now.
Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed—tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her underwear drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.
For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green and was declared unfit for use, but it was too late for its residents, and the girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive and taking on a system stacked against them. And in a town where nothing ever changes, suddenly everything does.
Three unforgettable narrators join together here to tell a spellbinding story with wit, wonder, and deep affection. As she did in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel has written a laugh-out-loud-on-one-page-grab-a-tissue-the-next novel, as only she can, about how expanding our notions of normal makes the world a better place for everyone and how when days are darkest, it’s our daughters who will save us all.
Everything about this story intrigues me so I was thrilled when it was offered for audio review.
Until her paper, the Baltimore Star, crashed and burned, Tess Monaghan was a damn good reporter who knew her hometown intimately from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at twenty-nine, she’s willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl “Rock” Paxton.
In a city where someone is murdered almost everyday, attorney Michael Abramowitz’s death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer’s notoriety and his noontime trysts with Rock’s fiancee make the case front page news…and points to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend’s innocence could prove costly to Tess and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.
Speaking of Laura Lippman, I was unaware she’d written a series until one of my Goodreads friends reviewed a book later in Tess Monaghan. I decided to give it a try when I discovered my library has all of the books on audio.
When Paige Meyer gets an email from a DNA testing website announcing that her father is a man she never met, she is convinced there must be a mistake. But as she digs deeper into her mother’s past and her own feelings of being the odd child out growing up, Paige begins to question everything she thought she knew. Could this be why Paige never felt like she fit in her family, and why her mother always seemed to keep her at an arm’s length? And what does it mean for Paige’s memories of her father, a man she idolized and whose death she is still grieving?
Back in 1975, Betsy Kaplan, Paige’s mom, is a straightlaced sophomore at the University of Kansas. When her sweet but boring boyfriend disappoints her, Betsy decides she wants more out of life, and is tired of playing it safe. Enter Andy Abrams, the golden boy on campus with a potentially devastating secret. After their night together has unexpected consequences, Betsy is determined to bury the truth and rebuild a stable life for her unborn child, whatever the cost.
When Paige can’t get answers from her mother, she goes looking for the only other person who was there that night. The more she learns about what happened, the more she sees her unflappable, distant mother as a real person faced with an impossible choice. But will it be enough to mend their broken relationship?
Told in dual timelines, Little Pieces of Me examines identity and how the way we define ourselves changes (or not) through our life experiences.
I wasn’t sure about this one either but the Goodreads reviews convinced me that it is the story I’m hoping it to be. I’m glad to get it for audio review.
I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby.
With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.
I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.
As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?
This showed up at my library, the third book in the Bergman Brothers series, and I grabbed the audio version.
Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.
Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.
Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.
Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.
I’ve become a fan of the author’s contemporary fiction and this one sounds SO good. I’ve accepted the invitation for the blog tour but am holding out for the audiobook for review.
A couple of weeks ago I added the first two books of the New Orleans series by Lisa Jackson in anticipation that it would be chosen in one of my Goodreads groups as the next series read. Well, it was so I’ve added the rest of the books to my shelf since my library has all of them.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?