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.


Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home.

Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….

This twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending.

Harding is one of my auto read authors. Thanks to my Goodreads friend Holly B for the heads up. This is scheduled for August release.

I was born in captivity…

Two decades ago Marissa Mo escaped a basement prison—the only home she’d ever known. At twenty-seven, Marissa’s moved beyond the trauma and is working under a new name as a freelance photographer. But when she accepts a job covering a string of macabre murders in Portland, it’s impossible for Marissa not to remember.

Everything is eerily familiar. The same underground lairs. Sad trinkets and toys left behind, identical to those Marissa had as a child. And then there is the note meant just for her that freezes Marissa’s blood: See you soon, Missy.

To determine the killer’s next move, Marissa must retrieve her long-forgotten memories and return to a past she’s hidden away. But she won’t be facing her fears alone. Someone is waiting for her in the dark.

I gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review but with much reluctance. After reading the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader, I knew I’d made a mistake but thankfully it wasn’t too late to get it.

To Julie Metz, her mother, Eve, was the quintessential New Yorker. Eve rarely spoke about her childhood and it was difficult to imagine her living anywhere else except Manhattan, where she could be found attending Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera or inspecting a round of French triple crème at Zabar’s.

In truth, Eve had endured a harrowing childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna. After her mother passed, Julie discovered a keepsake book filled with farewell notes from friends and relatives addressed to a ten-year-old girl named Eva. This long-hidden memento was the first clue to the secret pain that Julie’s mother had carried as a refugee and immigrant, shining a light on a family that had to persevere at every turn to escape the antisemitism and xenophobia that threatened their survival.

Interweaving personal memoir and family history, Eva and Eve vividly traces one woman’s search for her mother’s lost childhood while revealing the resilience of our forebears and the sacrifices that ordinary people are called to make during history’s darkest hours..

Another title I’m adding after reading the review by Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader. I don’t normally listen to memoirs of individuals I don’t know of but this sounds more like historical fiction. It’s a library hopeful.

What strange fate befell these doomed men? The heavy sea whispers their names. Black rocks roll beneath the surface, drowning ghosts. And out of the swell like a finger of light, the salt-scratched tower stands lonely and magnificent.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1972, when a boat pulls up to the Maiden Rock lighthouse with relief for the keepers. But no one greets them. When the entrance door, locked from the inside, is battered down, rescuers find an empty tower. A table is laid for a meal not eaten. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a storm raging round the tower, but the skies have been clear all week. And the clocks have all stopped at 8:45.

Two decades later, the wives who were left behind are visited by a writer who is determined to find the truth about the men’s disappearance. Moving between the women’s stories and the men’s last weeks together in the lighthouse, long-held secrets surface and truths twist into lies as we piece together what happened, why, and who to believe.

In her riveting and suspenseful novel, Emma Stonex writes a story of isolation and obsession, of reality and illusion, and of what it takes to keep the light burning when all else is swallowed by dark.

Last week, Marialyce @ yayareads listed this as one of the books she added to her shelf and after research, I wanted to read it, too. It’s on library hold.

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.

Yet another title I added because of Marialyce! An audio review hopeful scheduled for release in May.

After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families—a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.

In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.

Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.

With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy, but inspiring a new kind of family.

The last of the books I added this week based on Marialyce’s shelf! Everything about this one calls to me. Another audio review hopeful.

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

Lots of crazy sauce here and Mischenko @ ReadRantRock & Roll wrote a compelling review that sparked my interest, especially when I learned it’s based on a true story. Thankfully, my library has the audiobook.

Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.

Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?

This is the April selection for the Read With Jenna book club and I actually almost got this for audio review. Fortunately, my library purchased the audiobook.

As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms “the portal,” where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats–from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness–begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal’s void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. “Are we in hell?” the people of the portal ask themselves. “Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?”

Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: “Something has gone wrong,” and “How soon can you get here?” As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.

Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.

I gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review, ignored it when it showed up at my library. But, I just couldn’t ignore the critical acclaim it keeps receiving so I caved.


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?


31 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. It looks like Marialyce and Jennifer were bad influences on you this week. 😁 Of course, in turn, it also adds more to my shelf. I missed some of those reviews and recommendations, but am slowly catching up. There are a few here that I will be adding to my wishlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m looking forward to Lies We Bury and The Lamplighters. Jen, Jan, and Marialyce always increase my TBR too! 😂 Thanks for linking up to my Tampa review. I’m really interested in your thoughts on that. Hope it doesn’t horrify you too much. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning! I know I have so many of these books on library hold and I just was approved for Good Company by ew.

    Eve and Eva sound good to me so I will definitely add that one and No One is Talking About This as well. Too many enticing books!

    I added The Colors of Death by Patricia Marques, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osmond, and Lightening Strike by William Kent Krueger to my mountain of books.
    Have a super weekend! oops forgot Olympus Texas by Stacey Swann!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so curious about Eva and Eve, especially since it’s a story from my former home of Vienna, which isn’t the setting of a whole lot of English-language nonfiction! But I’m also hesitant on WWII memoirs since I’ve read so many over the years and it takes a really special one to feel like it stands out. I’m excited to hear what you think of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Vienna is on my and hubby’s top list of cities to visit someday. I’ve been to Austria (as a child) but not this beautiful city. Like you, I’m now picky about WWII stories after having read so many as a teen to date. But this one had too many new elements for me to ignore. Fingers crossed 🤞 that my library buys the audiobook.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you must visit!! For some reason Vienna isn’t as popular of a destination for Americans compared to the “go-to” European cities like London, Paris, etc. I can’t understand why because it’s easily one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen and just has so much to recommend it. I was ready to leave when I did (I lived there for 7 years), but I do miss it. My husband’s family moved to Austria when he was a child so he mostly grew up there, at least we’ll always have the connection. If you ever decide to go, let me know, I have lots of tips and info to share if you’d like!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I will! Our family traveled through Austria on our way to vacation in Germany when we were living in Italy. I was young but still remember the beauty of that countryside vividly. A coup,e of years ago, Hubby and I watched a travel segment on PBS featuring Danube River excursions and the piece on Vienna just engulfed us. We looked at each other and just nodded. We were sunk😏

          Liked by 1 person

        2. It is just stunningly beautiful, both the city and the countryside around it. There are a lot of river cruises you can do too, including between capital cities like Vienna-Bratislava. Something to look forward to! 🙂


  5. I really hope you enjoy Lies We Bury and Eve and Eva, Jonetta! ♥️ Lies is written by an Asian American author, and she’s so talented. I definitely want to read her first book now. And Eve and Eva, my heart still breaks when I think of Eve keeping her entire early life secret from her family, never saying a word. You have so many great reads and listens here. I want to read them all!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really want to read The Lamplighters too! Tampa is not new is it, I think I have this title in my library for years, I haven’t read it yet though. The mixed reviews have something to do with it, although I think I’m more open-minded than some so I still see myself enjoying this novel.


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