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.
A bighearted debut with technicolor characters, plenty of Texas swagger, and a powder keg of a plot in which marriages struggle, rivalries flare, and secrets explode, all with a clever wink toward classical mythology (Wildly entertaining –Richard Russo)
The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother’s wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms. Her husband’s own past affairs have made her tired of being the long-suffering spouse. Is it, perhaps, time for a change? Within days of March’s arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of alliances are shattered. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down.
An expansive tour de force, Olympus, Texas cleverly weaves elements of classical mythology into a thoroughly modern family saga, rich in drama and psychological complexity. After all, at some point, don’t we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love?
Yet another book I passed on when offered for audio review, following a long deliberation. Deep down, I knew I’d regret it and sure enough, Jan & Marialyce @ yayareads confirmed that. Check out their review. Fortunately, it showed up at my library.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
With the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.
This seemed too fun to be true when it was offered for audio review but our friend Stephanie, who has returned to Goodreads, said, “Absolutely delightful; one of the best books I’ve read all year!” That’s all I needed to accept.
The eagerly awaited novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home, a tender and haunting story of a father and daughter, crime and forgiveness, race and memory
When the roar of a low-flying plane awakens him in the middle of the night, Sheriff Winston Barnes knows something strange is happening at the nearby airfield on the coast of North Carolina. But nothing can prepare him for what he finds: a large airplane has crash-landed and is now sitting sideways on the runway, and there are no signs of a pilot or cargo. When the body of a local man is discovered—shot dead and lying on the grass near the crash site—Winston begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of the community that he has sworn to protect.
Everyone is a suspect, including the dead man. As rumors and accusations fly, long-simmering racial tensions explode overnight, and Winston, whose own tragic past has followed him like a ghost, must do his duty while facing the painful repercussions of old decisions. Winston also knows that his days as sheriff may be numbered. He’s up for re-election against a corrupt and well-connected challenger, and his deputies are choosing sides. As if these events weren’t troubling enough, he must finally confront his daughter Colleen, who has come home grieving a shattering loss she cannot fully articulate.
As the suspense builds and this compelling mystery unfolds, Wiley Cash delves deep into the hearts of these richly drawn, achingly sympathetic characters to reveal the nobility of an ordinary man struggling amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances.
I’ll share a little secret. Every Saturday after I post my latest Café additions, Marialyce @ yayareads shares her latest finds in the comment section. I love her messages as it’s the source of some wonderful new titles. This is one of them and yesterday it was also offered for audio review!
Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: PerfectLily. To keep it all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.
Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?
Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.
How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?
This was presented for review in eBook format but I’m holding out for the audio version, a library hopeful.
Hannah Morrissey’s Hello, Transcriber is a captivating mystery suspense debut featuring a female police transcriber who goes beyond the limits to solve a harrowing case.
Every night, while the street lamps shed the only light on Wisconsin’s most crime-ridden city, police transcriber Hazel Greenlee listens as detectives divulge Black Harbor’s gruesome secrets. As an aspiring writer, Hazel believes that writing a novel could be her only ticket out of this frozen hellscape. And then her neighbor confesses to hiding the body of an overdose victim in a dumpster.
The suspicious death is linked to Candy Man, a notorious drug dealer. Now Hazel has a first row seat to the investigation and becomes captivated by the lead detective, Nikolai Kole. Intrigued by the prospects of gathering eyewitness intel for her book, Hazel joins Kole in exploring Black Harbor’s darkest side. As the investigation unfolds, Hazel will learn just how far she’ll go for a good story―even if it means destroying her marriage and luring the killer to her as she plunges deeper into the city she’s desperate to claw her way out of.
This was also presented for review in eBook format but I’m holding out for the audio version, a library hopeful.
From internationally bestselling authors James Murray and Darren Wearmouth comes The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard…
Two years ago, Maria Fontana was the deciding vote on a jury that set alleged serial killer Wyatt Butler free. Now, she and her family are enjoying vacation on a two week long transatlantic cruise. But when passengers are discovered brutally murdered in a similar way to Butler’s ritualistic MO, the ship goes on lockdown. Maria, one of only twelve people in the world with intimate knowledge of the case, faces a perilous ticking clock. Is it a copycat? Or is she trapped on board with the bloodthirsty maniac she chose to set free?
This was the last of the eBooks offered by the Macmillan Insiders Reader Club for review that I’m holding out for the audio version. Love the premise of this one, a library audiobook hopeful.
A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.
This third book in The Kiss Quotient series is scheduled for release in August.
Some things shouldn’t be seen…
Cherokee Pointe, Tennesee. Deep in the Smoky Mountains, the victim lies, sacrificed on a makeshift altar—the gruesome work of a killer who has evaded the authorities in state after state. FBI agent Dallas Sloan knows the scene all too well—just as he knows the killings won’t stop until there are four more bodies…
Some warnings won’t be heeded…
Genny Madoc’s “sixth sense” has brought many of Cherokee Pointe’s residents to her isolated log cabin, looking for help from the disturbing visions she sees—images that are getting stronger and more violent day by day…
Some fears can’t be stopped…
Thrown together by necessity, drawn to each other by desire, Dallas and Genny must band together, searching the darkest heart of a town’s hidden secrets before a twisted killer can complete a sinister plan that will make one of them the fifth victim…
This showed up in the Audible Plus catalog, the first in a new series but the second in a connected crossover one. I’ve enjoyed another recent series by the author so I added this one.
When A Shocking Scandal Exposes Southern Secrets. . .
As the blazing heat of summer gives way to sultry September, a shroud of suspicion settles over Noble’s Crossing, a sleepy Alabama town. Nothing is as it seems–and never will be again. Lane Noble Graham stands accused of murdering her ex-husband. And the one man who can help, Johnny Mack Cahill, vowed never to return to the town that scorned him–or the woman whose love he knew he didn’t deserve.
. . .No One Is Safe From Cold-Blooded Murder
From the rusted-out trailers on the wrong side of the river to the stately pillared mansions along Magnolia Avenue, everybody has something to hide–but one secret could make Lane and Johnny Mack the next targets of a twisted killer, who’s struck once and is bent on striking again. . .
This is the first book in the connected series I mentioned above, also in the Audible Plus catalog.
A ninety-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s and a heartbroken young man end up sharing a ride to Brussels that changes their lives forever.
When Alex pulls up to meet “Max”, he expects everything but a ninety-year-old lady who has her heart set on getting to Brussels by carpool.
As for ‘Max’, who is actually called Maxine, she could not be more ill at ease when settling into the seat next to this young man with bloodshot eyes. God help her if he turned out to be a drug addict who hasn’t slept in days!
When it becomes clear that Maxine is suffering from Alzheimer’s and wants to take matters in her own hands while she still can, and that Alex battles severe depression, a wonderful friendship starts to form between the unlikely pair. Before long, their travel plans take an unexpected turn…
After reading the review by Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer, I was hooked. I’ve entered a Goodreads drawing for this one.
After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry-chef business. When her younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down, and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humor her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. It turns out that, for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister and he’s the best man to her maid of honor.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him, she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends, he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together. When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day without this turning into a recipe for disaster.
Okay, yes, the cover drew me in when this was offered for audio review but then the description finished me off🥰
If you loved A Man Called Ove, then prepare to be delighted as Jamaican immigrant Hubert rediscovers the world he’d turned his back on, in a novel that is “warm, funny, and gives you all the feels” (Good Housekeeping).
In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Birdpaints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul.
Until he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit.
Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship, and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all….
Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows, will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?
I fell for this immediately when it was offered for audio review and can’t wait to get started!
Lisa Taddeo illustrates one woman’s exhilarating transformation from prey into predator in Animal, the “ferociously beautiful” (Library Journal) debut novel from the author of the number-one New York Times best seller and international phenomenon Three Women, named to more than 30 best-of-the-year lists and hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “a heartbreaking, gripping, astonishing masterpiece” (Esquire).
I am depraved. I hope you like me.
Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child – that has haunted her every waking moment – while forging the power to finally strike back.
Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society.
Well, this is a tough one, offered for audio review. I’ll have to be in the right mood as it’s angry and violent, but the reviews are strong.
Live Your Life is the story of Nick and Amanda’s life together – of their beautiful relationship, of Nick’s dramatic fight for survival, of those sudden tragic months that permanently changed her world and ours – and of their interrupted future as a family. From the confusing early days of his illness to searching for signs of hope in every update from the doctors to the healing sound of Elvis’ laughter, Amanda details how she approached even the most devastating moments with the personal optimism and faith that have shaped her life. Written with her sister Anna Kloots, who was with her every step of this journey, Live Your Life explores how Amanda’s willingness to accept help from an entire community of people – friends, family, and even total strangers – played a vital role in enduring this hardship. In the process, she offers a touching meditation on how even the worst times have silver linings that deepen our connections to the world around us and to the people who matter most.
What emerges is an inspiring and unexpectedly uplifting message for life in the time of COVID, a vision of courage for anyone coping with overwhelming loss or the collective trauma of what the pandemic has taken from us. A poignant reflection on love, hope, motherhood, and the transformational power of music, Live Your Life is a love letter to Nick and a reminder that, sometimes, celebrating life today is the only path through tomorrow’s darkness.
From the moment I listed to the song, Hold on to Me by Lauren Daigle in the Music Monday post by Mischenko @ ReadRantRock & Roll as a tribute to this story, I knew I’d be listening to this book. I followed Nick Cordero’s courageous fight to beat Covid-19 through his wife, Amanda’s posts and was bereft when he lost the battle, not just for him but his family. Of course I grabbed it when it was offered for audio review.
A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK!
“Tia Williams’ book is a smart, sexy testament to Black joy, to the well of strength from which women draw, and to tragic romances that mature into second chances. I absolutely loved it.” (Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT best-selling author of The Book of Two Ways and Small Great Things)
Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again…
Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award‑winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.
When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that 15 years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry – or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.
Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect – but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered…
I’ve had great success with Reese Witherspoon book club picks and this is the June selection. I recommended it for library purchase.
Aussie billionaire businessman and pilot Cade Paxton has struggled to put his life back together after suffering a tragic loss. With his purchase of Carter Island Air and recent move to the small Massachusetts island, he sees his chance for a fresh start. Cade’s sole focus is on growing his investment and avoiding romantic entanglements at all costs. But then he hires Rebecca Carter Interiors’ new assistant designer to help him update the aging airport. Cade quickly finds himself fascinated by the sassy beauty who often speaks her mind, talking to him in a way most people wouldn’t dare.
Single mother Gwenyth Carter has recently been through hell. She’s starting over after several months of nasty surprises. Newly divorced and nearly broke, she’s rebuilding her life one step at a time. Gwen’s certain she has everything she needs: her sweet baby girl, a supportive family, and her dream career. She’s endlessly grateful when the lucrative airport project falls into her lap. But Gwen soon realizes that her new job comes with unforeseen complications, mainly the amount of time she’s forced to spend with her gorgeous client and his sexy accent.
Their mutual attraction is undeniable, yet Gwen tries her best to keep a professional distance, even when she recognizes how wonderful Cade is with her daughter. But it isn’t long before Gwen is dealt another unexpected blow that she struggles to handle on her own. Gwen will have no choice but to turn to the one man she’s determined not to want or risk losing what she loves most.
This is the third and final book in the Carter Island trilogy and I’m getting it for review. I loved the first two books and can’t wait to read this one.
The latest Mystery Writers of America story collection, featuring terrifying tales of encounters with strangers from some of the top bestsellers and award winners in crime fiction
It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories—a man takes a journey, or a stranger comes to town. While mystery writers have been successfully using both approaches for generations, there’s something undeniably alluring in the nature of a stranger: the uninvited guest, the unacquainted neighbor, the fish out of water.
No matter how or where they appear, strangers are walking mysteries, complete unknowns in once-familiar territories who disrupt our lives with unease and wonder. In the newest collection of stories by the Mystery Writers of America, each author weaves a fresh tale surrounding the eerie feeling that comes when a stranger enters our midst, featuring stories by prolific mystery writers such as Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, and many others.
I gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review and then my friend Mackey @ Macsbooks raved about it (as did a few other Goodreads friends!) so I recommended the audiobook for library purchase and they bought it! I’m in a short queue.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?