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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.

 



Twenty-seven years ago, Sheriff Bree Taggert’s father killed her mother, then himself. Now Bree and her younger brother, Adam, find human bones on the grounds of their abandoned family farm. The remains are those of a man and a woman, both murdered in the same horrible way.

When the investigation determines the murders occurred thirty years ago, Bree’s dead father becomes a suspect, forcing Bree to revisit the brutal night she’s spent most of her life trying to forget. The only other suspect is an unlikely squatter on the Taggert farm who claims to know secrets about Bree’s past. When he mysteriously disappears and Bree’s niece is kidnapped, the cold case heats up.

Bree has stoked the rage of a murderer who’ll do anything to keep his identity—and motives—a secret. To protect everyone she loves, Bree must confront a killer.

It’s the 4th book in the series and I’m hoping to get it for audio review when it releases next month.


Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall long-forgotten memories of her own youth. In each other, Ulysses and Evelyn find a kindred spirit amongst the rubble of war-torn Italy, and set off on a course of events that will shape Ulysses’s life for the next four decades.

As Ulysses returns home to London, reimmersing himself in his crew at The Stoat and Parrot—a motley mix of pub crawlers and eccentrics—he carries his time in Italy with him. And when an unexpected inheritance brings him back to where it all began, Ulysses knows better than to tempt fate, and returns to the Tuscan hills.

With beautiful prose, extraordinary tenderness, and bursts of humor and light, Still Life is a sweeping portrait of unforgettable individuals who come together to make a family, and a richly drawn celebration of beauty and love in all its forms.

I loved the author’s Tin Man and one of my trusted Goodreads friends loved this story. I’m hoping my library purchases the audio version.



Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.

When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.

Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.

I passed on this when it originally debuted last year. But when it showed up at my library recently, I gave it a second look and many of my Goodreads friends loved it.


Gone For Good is the first in a new mystery series from award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen, featuring Detective Annalisa Vega, in which a cold case heats up.

The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he’s gone for good.

Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.

Detective Annalisa Vega lost someone she loved to the killer. Now she’s at a murder scene with the worst kind of déjà vu: Grace Harper lies bound and dead on the floor, surrounded by clues to the biggest murder case that Chicago homicide never solved. Annalisa has the chance to make it right and to heal her family, but first, she has to figure out what Grace knew―how to see a killer who may be standing right in front of you. This means tracing his steps back to her childhood, peering into dark corners she hadn’t acknowledged before, and learning that despite everything the killer took, she has still so much more to lose.

I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and the audiobook finally showed up at my library. I love a good detective series and this one checks all my requisite boxes.



The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there—a man you’d recognize anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him.

But that can’t be because he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him.

This isn’t scheduled for release until January but I’m signing on now. Creepy doesn’t even come close and I’m hoping to get this for audio review. Thanks to Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer for an outstanding review and putting it on my radar.


A destitute woman deceives her way into the guesthouse of a Hollywood Hills mansion and inadvertently becomes a target in the twisted game of the wealthy family upstairs in the next intoxicating novel from Eliza Jane Brazier.

Lyla has always believed that life is a game she is destined to win, but her husband, Graham, takes the game to dangerous levels. The wealthy couple invites self-made success stories to live in their guesthouse and then conspires to ruin their lives. After all, there is nothing worse than a bootstrapper.

Demi has always felt like the odds were stacked against her. At the end of her rope, she seizes a risky opportunity to take over another person’s life and unwittingly becomes the subject of the upstairs couple’s wicked entertainment. But Demi has been struggling all her life, and she’s not about to go down without a fight.

In a twist that neither woman sees coming, the game quickly devolves into chaos and rockets toward an explosive conclusion.

Because every good rich person knows: in money and in life, it’s winner take all. Even if you have to leave a few bodies behind.

NetGalley emails strike again! Everything about this book got my attention. Another library audiobook hopeful.


Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever Afterexpects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

As soon as I read the review by Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra I wanted this book on my shelf. Another audio review hopeful.


At 26, Dahlia Lighthouse is haunted by her upbringing. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she is unable to move beyond the disappearance of her twin brother, Andy, when they were 16.

After several years away and following her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house, where the family makes a gruesome discovery: buried in their father’s plot is another body – Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Dahlia is quick to blame Andy’s murder on the serial killer who terrorized the island for decades, while the rest of her family reacts to the revelation in unsettling ways. Her brother, Charlie, pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister, Tate, forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic facade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

I was deliberately slow to add this to my shelf as reviews by my friends are all over the place. The audiobook showed up at my library so I decided to see for myself. Fingers crossed 🤞.



A 21st-century Highsmith, Virginia Feito conjures the unforgettable Mrs. March, an Upper East Side housewife whose life is shattered by her husband’s latest novel.

In this astonishing debut, the venerable but gossipy New York literary scene is twisted into a claustrophobic fun house of paranoia, horror, and wickedly dark humor. George March’s latest novel is a smash. No one is prouder than Mrs. March, his doting wife. But one morning, the shopkeeper of her favorite patisserie suggests that his protagonist is based on Mrs. March herself: “’But… – isn’t she…’ Mrs. March leaned in and in almost a whisper said, ‘a whore?’” Clutching her ostrich-leather pocketbook, she flees, that one casual remark destroying her belief that she knew everything about her husband – as well as herself. Suddenly, Mrs. March is hurled into a harrowing journey that builds to near psychosis, one that begins merely within the pages of a book but may uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of her past.

I hadn’t heard of this book until I read the review by N S Ford and now I’m seeing it everywhere, including my library. I have the audiobook on hold.


Teagan Firestone has always been the dutiful daughter, especially since her mom died. But as her father finally begins to move on, it’s her turn to do the same. Her destination: Pearl Lake, a close-knit community with an entrepreneurial spirit and secrets of its own.

One of them is Aaron Saunders, who dropped out of college to work construction for Pearl Lake’s upper class. He’s a mystery and has a playboy reputation—that is, until he meets Teagan. Neither of them is looking for love, but in a town this small, it’s hard not to let your heart get involved.

As their romance heats up, Aaron’s elusive past comes to light and Teagan is there for him, bringing them even closer together. But when Teagan is forced to face her own demons, her inability to accept the support of friends and family threatens the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Can Aaron love her, even when she can’t love herself?

I just finished listening to and reviewing the first book, Love Next Door, and learned about the upcoming next book in the series from the author’s newsletter (which I just signed up for!). An audio review hopeful.



Carol Denman divorced her husband over twenty years ago and has never looked back. But on the day before their daughter’s thirtieth birthday, John barges back into Carol’s life with a request that threatens the fragile stability she has built.

John Bowman is sick. Very sick. While he still can, he has some amends to make and some promises to fulfill. But to do that, he not only needs his ex-wife’s agreement…he needs her.

With the past hovering between them like a ghost, Carol and John embark on a decades-overdue road trip. Together they plunge back into a life without water…but which may ultimately set them free.

I loved the review by Carla @ Carla Loves to Read and was happily surprised when this suddenly appeared at my library. I’m in a short queue.



Event planner Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch extravaganza? But the second Kate meets—or rather, accidentally maims—the drop-dead-hot Drake Matthews, her well-ordered life quickly transforms into an absolute nightmare.

Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight and tired of his reputation as the Knight of Nightmares. He’s really a nice guy! But he’s not prepared for Kate, a fearless agent of chaos in steel-tipped stilettos, or for that sweet sting of attraction he feels for her. She’s inspiring him to take his writing in a whole new direction—one that no one expects. Because now Kate and Drake are changing up the rules, and this plot twist might just surprise everyone . . . including themselves.

Not sure how this one got by me but when it showed up at my library, I was surprised to see how many of my friends are fans. Again, in a short queue.



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

13 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. There are some interesting books on your list here! I’m very happy I made you add The Heights. It’s not really a creepy novel, more dramatic, but you’ll be immersed in it, you’ll see. The Family Plot is one I saw before too, I think I’d quite like to read (or listen to) that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful group of books here Jo. I have a few of them on my self, but the ebooks, not the audio. I hope you enjoy A Life Without Water as much as I did. I am waiting for the next one to show up in audio at my library. Enjoy them all!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous list of books Jonetta! I enjoyed Gone For Good. Hope you will too. The Family Plot fell a bit short for me. I’m hoping you will have better luck🍀. I’ll be watching for your reviews.🤓💖📚

    Liked by 1 person

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