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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.

 


From #1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout comes a brilliant latticework of fiction that recalls Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity. Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, these pages reverberate with the themes of love, loss, and hope that have drawn millions of readers to Strout s work.

“As I was writing My Name Is Lucy Barton,” Strout says, “it came to me that all the characters Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories—of course!—and so the unfolding of their lives became tremendously important to me.”

Here, among others, are the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” now adults: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. Tommy, the janitor at the local high school, has his faith tested in an encounter with an emotionally isolated man he has come to help; a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD discovers unexpected solace in the company of a lonely innkeeper; and Lucy Barton’s sister, Vicky, struggling with feelings of abandonment and jealousy, nonetheless comes to Lucy’s aid, ratifying the deepest bonds of family.

With the stylistic brilliance and subtle power that distinguish the work of this great writer, Elizabeth Strout has created another transcendent work of fiction, with characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned.

I missed that there was a follow up book to Lucy Barton so I grabbed this from my library before I add the third book.


Groundhog Day meets One Day in December in this funny and romantic novel about a couple who call off their wedding after a disastrous rehearsal dinner—only to wake up the next morning stuck in a time loop.

Two people. One wedding. No end in sight.

Megan Givens and Tom Prescott are heading into what is supposed to be their magical wedding weekend on beautiful San Juan Island. But with two difficult families, ten years of history, and all too many secrets, things quickly go wrong. After a disastrous rehearsal dinner they vow to call the whole thing off—only to wake up the next morning stuck together in a time loop. Are they really destined to relive the worst day of their lives, over and over? And what happens if their wedding day does arrive?

A funny, romantic, and big-hearted debut novel, The Rehearsals imagines what we might do if given a second chance at life and at love—and what it means to finally get it right.

This just sounds like fun! I’m hoping my library purchases the audiobook version.


Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather–and the hot, grumpy local–that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan–and this town full of memories–may have already caught her heart.

I kept seeing this everywhere but was still unsure if I wanted to add it until I read the review by Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra and put it on hold at my library.


Freddy leads a life of little responsibility. His mother is dead, his sisters are far-flung across the globe, and he can’t quite work up enough motivation to find himself a girlfriend. But his memory-challenged grandmother lives in a nursing home nearby, and Freddy visits her often, simultaneously cherishing and hating the time he spends with the grandmother he always adored, who is now a ghost of her former self.

When another elderly woman is murdered in the nursing home, Freddy panics. His grandmother needs too much care for him to bring her home. His sisters are calling and texting him constantly, pressuring him to find a new nursing home to transfer her to. And a slight wrinkle in a side business he has been working on, which may not be legal in the strictest sense of the word, is causing extra complications – complications that could turn out to be deadly.

From international best-selling author of The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline B. Cooney, The Grandmother Plot is the story of a young man who can’t seem to straighten out his life, his beloved grandmother, who can’t seem to remembers hers, and the shadowy threat that hangs over them both.

Though I’m unfamiliar with the author, I added this when it showed up at my library because it sounds so interesting.


On a snowy evening in March, 30-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone. All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear.

The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again, but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

I immediately fell for this story after I read the wonderful reviews by Susanne & Kaceey @ Books Are a Girls Best Friend.com. An audio review hopeful.


Dauntless journalist Julie K. Brown recounts her uncompromising and risky investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex trafficking operation, and the explosive reporting for the Miami Herald that finally brought him to justice while exposing the powerful people and broken system that protected him.

For many years, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s penchant for teenage girls was an open secret in the high society of Palm Beach, Florida and Upper East Side, Manhattan. Charged in 2008 with soliciting prostitution from minors, Epstein was treated with unheard of leniency, dictating the terms of his non-prosecution. The media virtually ignored the failures of the criminal justice system, and Epstein’s friends and business partners brushed the allegations aside. But when in 2017 the U.S Attorney who approved Epstein’s plea deal, Alexander Acosta, was chosen by President Trump as Labor Secretary, reporter Julie K. Brown was compelled to ask questions. Despite her editor’s skepticism, Brown began poring over thousands of redacted court documents and tracked down over sixty of Epstein’s victims, now young women struggling to reclaim their lives after the trauma and shame they had endured.

Brown’s resulting three-part series in the Miami Herald was one of the most explosive news stories of the decade, revealing how Epstein ran a global sex trafficking pyramid scheme with impunity for years, targeting vulnerable teens, often from fractured homes and then turning them into recruiters. The outrage led to Epstein’s arrest, the disappearance of his closest accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and the resignation of Acosta. The financier’s mysterious suicide in a federal jail cell prompted conspiracy theories and speculation about the secrets he took to the grave—and whether his death was intentional or the result of foul play.  

Tracing Epstein’s humble beginnings to becoming one of the most successful financiers in the country—whose associates included Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton—Perversion of Justice builds on Brown’s original award-winning series and is a startling portrait of the deep-seated corruption of powerful men.

Julie Brown is the journalist whose dogged determination brought national attention to the injustice of the lame sentence handed out to Jeffrey Epstein in Florida. More importantly, she gave the women he harmed a second chance of being heard. This showed up at my library and I grabbed it immediately. I’m interested in hearing her story outside of the structured interviews she’s given in the past two years.


A family returns to their hometown – and to the dark past that haunts them still – in this masterpiece of literary horror by the ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘Wanderers’

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father – and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have – and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.

And now what happened long ago is happening again…and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family – and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.

Here I am adding another horror title for the second week in a row thanks to Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books. Thankfully, my library has the audiobook and I’m in the queue. Wish me luck!


 

Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwavefinds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are. 

One of my trusted Goodreads friends brought this book and author to my attention. Reviews are incredibly strong so I got the audio version from my library, intrigued by the prospect of discovering another talented writer.



Yash Raje, California’s first serious Indian gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants—and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: If you control your feelings you can control the world around you. 

But when a bigot with a gun attempts to assassinate him,  critically injuring his friend, Yash’s easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic.

Desperate to keep Yash’s condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust—his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, California’s foremost stress management coach. Raised by her grandmother and mother immersed in the practice of yoga long before it became trendy, India has helped San Francisco’s stressed-out overachievers for a decade without so much as altering her breath. But this man with his simmering intensity and absolute faith in his political beliefs is like no other client she’s ever had. Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed. 

India knows that for Yash to heal, he must face the feelings he’s buried, including the ones they once shared—a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens the life he’s crafted for himself. Sorting through the lies to get to the truth might be the only way to save him but it’s also guaranteed to destroy the dream he’s willingly shouldered for his family and community . . . until now.

Yay! This third book in The Rajes series showed up at my library this week, of course the audio version  



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

24 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. That Jeffrey Epstein book sounds like one for me. I did read Anything is Possible a while ago and have her new one, Oh William on my kindle.

    I added The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer, The Good Lie by A.R. Torrre, and Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy. (all on my library hold list)

    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, Jo, and enjoy all your new additions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marialyce💜 I’ve seen countless interviews with Julie Brown and it always felt like she was being guarded in them so I was thrilled when I saw she’d written a book.

      I was all set to add Oh William when I noticed I’d missed a book. I already added two of the books you did and am still pondering Once There Were Wolves, though so many of my friends have rated it 4 or 5 stars. I’ll see what YOU say😏

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, I love your choices, Jonetta! I’m really looking forward to the new Lia Louis (I’m reading Dear Emmie Blue right now) and The Rehearsal! I also want to try Maggie O’Farrell’s books in the near future. Happy weekend and happy reading! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

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