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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.

 


A new epic of love and war among gods and humans, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Awakening.

The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two–including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.

But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

The second book in Roberts’ fantasy series, The Dragon Heart Legacy, is scheduled for release in November. It’s an audio review hopeful.


The highly anticipated portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, by the prize-winning, bestselling author of Say Nothing.

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling.

Ren @ What’s Nonfiction put the Sackler family on my radar when she reviewed Dopesick, long before they appeared in recent headlines. I really need to fully understand what they perpetrated. I have the audiobook on library hold.


There, on the dusty floorboards, was a piece of paper, folded neatly. A newspaper article, written in German, alongside a faded picture of two men in Nazi uniforms staring at the camera. I was about to place it back in the box of forgotten things when something in the text jumped out at me. My breath caught in my chest. I know that name.

London, present day. Isla has grown up hearing her beloved grandad’s stories about his life as a child in pre-war Poland and as a young soldier bravely fighting the Germans to protect his people. So she is shocked and heartbroken to find, while collecting photos for his 95th birthday celebration, a picture of her dear grandfather wearing a Nazi uniform. Is everything she thought she knew about him a lie?

Unable to question him due to his advanced dementia, Isla wraps herself in her rainbow-coloured scarf, a memento of his from the war, and begins to hunt for the truth behind the photograph. What she uncovers is more shocking than she could have ever anticipated – a tale of childhood sweethearts torn apart by family duty, and how one young man risked his life, his love and the respect of his own people, to secretly fight for justice from inside the heart of the enemy itself…

A heartbreaking novel of love, betrayal and a secret passed down through a family. Inspired by an incredible true story. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.

Another book I added from the list Marialyce @ yayareads shared on last week’s post. This sounds intriguing.


When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?

Look what you started.

I wasn’t even aware of this book’s upcoming August release until it popped up at my library. I’m in the queue for when it’s available.


Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz, as the Nazis try to erase any evidence of the prisoners held there. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued.

And this is where the story begins. From there, the three sisters travel to Israel, to their new home, but the battle for freedom takes on new forms. Livia, Magda, and Cibi must face the ghosts of their past – and some secrets that they have kept from each other – to find true peace and happiness.

Inspired by a true story, and with events that overlap with those of Lale, Gita, and Cilka, The Three Sisters will hold a place in listeners’ hearts and minds as they experience what true courage really is.

This is the third book in the Tattooist of Auschwitz series, a library audiobook hopeful.


In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. She has no fondness for the Germans who patrol her streets and impose their curfews, but has never given much thought to what goes on behind the walls that contain her Jewish neighbors. She knows all too well about German brutality–and that it’s the reason she must conceal her true identity. But in befriending Sara, a nurse who shares her apartment floor, Elzbieta makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.

Using Sara’s credentials to smuggle children out of the ghetto brings Elzbieta face-to-face with the reality of the war behind its walls, and to the plight of the Gorka family, who must make the impossible decision to give up their newborn daughter or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs him to rebellion with a zeal not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. But his recklessness brings unwanted attention to Sara’s cause, unwittingly putting Elzbieta and her family in harm’s way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever.

One of my trusted Goodreads friends wrote a beautiful review of this story and strongly urged us to read it. This is my week for stories related to the Holocaust.  I have the audiobook on library hold.


Sebastian James Murphy is 20 years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy. She wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants. Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark. When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

Thanks to Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer for introducing me to this author and book. It’s a compelling review.


On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing. In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness….

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care. It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes….

The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined. Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

Another interesting book recommended by one of my mystery loving Goodreads friends that I added to my Audible wishlist. She had me at Angela Marsons.


When a young woman is found murdered in a Painters Mill motel, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is shocked to discover she once knew the victim. Rachael Schwartz was a charming but troubled Amish girl who left the fold years ago and fled Painters Mill. Why was she back in town? And who would kill her so brutally?

Kate remembers Rachael as the only girl who was as bad at being Amish as Kate was – and those parallels dog her. But the more Kate learns about Rachael’s life, the more she’s convinced that her dubious reputation was deserved. As a child, Rachael was a rowdy rulebreaker whose decision to leave devastated her parents and best friend. As an adult, she was charismatic and beautiful, a rabble-rouser with a keen eye for opportunity no matter who got in her way. Her no-holds-barred lifestyle earned her a lot of love and enemies aplenty – both English and Amish.

As the case heats to a fever pitch and long-buried secrets resurface, a killer haunts Painters Mill. Someone doesn’t want Rachael’s past – or the mysteries she took with her to the grave – coming to light. As Kate digs deeper, violence strikes again, this time hitting close to home. Will Kate uncover the truth and bring a murderer to justice? Or will a killer bent on protecting a terrible past stop her once and for all – and let the fallen be forgotten?

The newest release in the Kate Burkholder series showed up at my library this week and I’m in a library queue for the audiobook. I resumed reading the series with one of my Goodreads groups and am thrilled to be back in this world.


It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a 50-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace” – the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: Last night Elle and her oldest friend, Jonas, crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside. Now, over the next 24 hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.

I got an email from Reese Witherspoon’s book club announcing this as the next pick and was immediately hooked. As I was preparing to recommend the audiobook for library purchase, it showed up!  I’m in a short queue.


Good girls keep quiet. Quiet girls won’t stay silent forever.

When Alex arrives in Provincetown to patch things up with his new wife, he finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. The police believe that Alex’s wife simply left, his marriage crumbling before it truly began. But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality:

His wife has always carried a secret. And now she’s disappeared.

In his hunt for the truth, Alex comes across Layla, a young woman with information to share, who may hold the key to everything his wife has kept hidden. A girl without a clear recollection of her own past. A strange, quiet girl whose memories may break them all.

To find his wife, Alex must face what Layla has forgotten. And the consequences are anything but quiet.

This is the Big Library Read selection for 2021 so I decided to go for it as it sounds pretty interesting.


So this is how it ends. It is clear to me now: one of us has to die.

Mark and Evie had a whirlwind romance. Evie brought Mark back to life after the sudden death of his first wife. Cleo, Mark’s sister, knows she should be happy for him. But Cleo doesn’t trust Evie…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As Evie stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

My mystery loving Goodreads friend strikes again! Another one I added to my Audible wishlist.


For generations, Rich Gundersen’s family has chopped a livelihood out of the redwood forest along California’s rugged coast. Now Rich and his wife, Colleen, are raising their own young son near Damnation Grove, a swath of ancient redwoods on which Rich’s employer, Sanderson Timber Co., plans to make a killing. In 1977, with most of the forest cleared or protected, a grove like Damnation—and beyond it 24-7 Ridge—is a logger’s dream.

It’s dangerous work. Rich has already lived decades longer than his father, killed on the job. Rich wants better for his son, Chub, so when the opportunity arises to buy 24-7 Ridge—costing them all the savings they’ve squirreled away for their growing family—he grabs it, unbeknownst to Colleen. Because the reality is their family isn’t growing; Colleen has lost several pregnancies. And she isn’t alone. As a midwife, Colleen has seen it with her own eyes.

For decades, the herbicides the logging company uses were considered harmless. But Colleen is no longer so sure. What if these miscarriages aren’t isolated strokes of bad luck? As mudslides take out clear-cut hillsides and salmon vanish from creeks, her search for answers threatens to unravel not just Rich’s plans for the 24-7, but their marriage too, dividing a town that lives and dies on timber along the way.

Told from the perspectives of Rich, Colleen, and Chub, in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, this intimate, compassionate portrait of a community clinging to a vanishing way of life amid the perils of environmental degradation makes Damnation Springan essential novel for our time.

NetGalley emails strike again! An audio review hopeful.


At just thirty-five, reclusive billionaire Robbie Malcolm is a renowned financial prognosticator, a celebrated philanthropist, and a mathematical genius. Also, he’s dying, which is a fact he’s carefully concealing from the world.

As he takes stock, Robbie realizes that his wealth means nothing if he can’t help the people who matter most. So he invites his oldest friends—Blair, Cat, and Wade—to their beloved Fenwick Island on the coast of Delaware to share his secret and to reveal plans for each of them that he believes will change their lives forever.

However, Robbie isn’t the only one with secrets. The bonds the friends formed as teenagers still exist, but adulthood has brought a whole new set of complications, like unrequited loves, marriages on the brink, and so much unfulfilled potential. Robbie’s plans may look good on paper, but are they any match for the utter disaster that is real life?

As everything comes to light over a wild weekend full of surprises, Robbie learns there are still some things money can’t buy, and a group of friends who thought their best years were behind them realize just how much they have to look forward to.

I apologize to the blogger friend who reviewed this book and hooked me because I failed to note it for attribution. I’m recommending the audiobook for library purchase.


This wasn’t the plan. Judge Herman Calvert, eighty-eight, never thought he’d outlive his beloved wife, Marie.

Yet now he finds himself alone, a grieving widower, desperate for escape from the home they built together, where every turn brings a painful reminder of his late wife.

So the judge retreats to his lake cabin in rural Wisconsin, a place where an old man can find peace and solitude. A place where nature can take its course.

But something new has moved in.

The judge’s property is crawling with Persicaria perfoliata, an invasive vine that has no earthly business in Wisconsin lake country. And this plant has teeth. Its barbs and tendrils have snaked deep into the ground, choking the life out of everything they touch, including the old oak tree he and Marie planted on their honeymoon.

If the judge doesn’t do something, fast, the vine will take everything he has left. And it won’t stop there. He believes it’s after him.

A Goodreads friend reviewed this short story, free to Audible Plus members, and did more than strongly urge us to get it. I decided I’d bite, given the writer and narrator.


From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano, comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead—the hilarious and heart-pounding followup to Finlay Donovan is Killing It

 


This doesn’t even have a description yet but I’m getting in early. As soon as I can, I’m recommending the audiobook for library purchase.


Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, is known by locals as “Billionaire’s Mile” and is locked behind a heavy gate. Sandwiched between barbed wire and a meadow with a sign that reads “Don’t Get Shot!” the resort boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients. Now it also promises a second chance for Jack, a return to normalcy after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find.

But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation. A novel as gripping as it is lyrical, as frightening as it is moving, The Guide is another masterpiece from Peter Heller.

Carol @ Reading Ladies Book Club featured The River as her Thursday Throwback choice and gave me the heads up that this is the upcoming sequel. It’s scheduled for release in late August and I’m hoping to get the audiobook version from my library as I loved the first book and the narrator.


From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

I’ve made no secret of my fandom for this author and her narrator of choice, Julia Whelan. After finishing Malibu Rising, I’m committed to some of her other books from her backlist and my library has this audiobook (I’m in a queue). Plus, several of my Goodreads friends gave this high ratings.


They were the Three Amigos: Duncan Holloway, Imogen Swan and Corey Szabo. Two young boys with difficult lives at home banding together with a cool girl who didn’t mind mucking through the mud on their hikes.

They grew up to be Duncan Holloway, activist, CEO and face of the popular River Rain outdoor stores, Imogen Swan, award-winning actress and America’s sweetheart, and Corey Szabo, ruthless tech billionaire.

Rich and very famous, they would learn the devastating knowledge of how the selfish acts of one would affect all their lives.

And the lives of those they loved.

I subscribe to the author’s newsletter and yesterday she offered this book free to her subscribers! 



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

29 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of Empire of Pain, I’ve heard it’s very engrossing and he’s supposed to be a fantastic writer. Unraveling what’s went wrong on so many fronts in the opioid epidemic is upsetting but so crucial.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have Empire of Pain of Pain plus The Rainbow on my list. Some of the others you mentioned have caught my eye as well. I sure hope you will love The Warsaw Orphan. For me, it was a wonderful example of what historical fiction should be.

    I added The Hollows by Mark Edwards, Once Upon A Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (loved her Saving Savannah), and Beautiful World by Sally Rooney.

    Enjoy the gorgeous weekend, Jonetta!

    Like

  3. You’ve outdone yourself with these selections, Jonetta! I am chomping at the bit to read them all now! I really want to try a Kristen Ashley book again (I remember reading one at least 10 years ago and loving it). Also, I really loved the first in this series from Nora Roberts! Such a unique book and I can’t wait for the follow-up. I hope you love your new reads!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, so many good books on this post, Jo. I added a couple to my TBR (Paula Hawkins, The Paper Palace, The Rainbow and Perfect Remains). I have several already and read a couple so I won’t be adding too many to that wishlist of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

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