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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.

 



Handsome, successful husband. Adorable daughter. Chairwoman of the PTA. Security for her ailing mom. Jane’s got everything life has to offer. Including the lie that could destroy it all.


See Jane smile. Thirty-nine-year-old Jane Osborne appears to the world like she has a charmed life. Her daughter attends private school. Jane chairs the PTA. Even her marriage to Dan, the handsome, prominent surgeon, is blissfully happy. Her universe is stable, and her future is fixed…just like that smile. Because it’s all a ruse. Unbeknownst to anyone, after eighteen years of marriage, Dan’s revealed that he’s been living a double life and is in love with a man. But for the sake of his career, Jane must keep that secret, secret.

See Jane lie. With their livelihood on the line, Jane agrees to maintain appearances. But soon the weight of Dan’s deception and the pain of his betrayal get the better of her. Something’s got to give.

See Jane snap. Quite publicly. And a bit unlawfully. With brutal honesty, Jane must confront her choices head-on and determine—for herself—if the facade of stability she’s been protecting is worth the price of her own sanity and happiness.

I snapped this up when it was offered for audio review! 


In 1979, Vincent Bianco has just graduated high school. His only desire: collect a little beer money and enjoy his final summer before college. So he lands a job as a laborer on a construction crew. Working alongside two Vietnam vets, one suffering from PTSD, Vincent gets the education of a lifetime. Now forty years later, with his own son leaving for college, the lessons of that summer—Vincent’s last taste of innocence and first taste of real life—dramatically unfold in a novel about breaking away, shaping a life, and seeking one’s own destiny.

I’m a fan of the author and accepted this when it was offered for audio review. Something a bit different for him.



After a harrowing escape from Russian agents on his last mission, Charles Jenkins thinks he’s finally done with the spy game. But then the final two of the seven sisters—American assets who have been deep undercover in Russia for decades—cut off all communication with their handlers. Are they in hiding after detecting surveillance? Or have they turned and become double agents? It’s Jenkins’s duty to find out, but he’s been added to a Russian kill list. It will require all of Jenkins’s knowledge of spycraft—and an array of disguises—to return to the country undetected.

But plans go awry his first night in Moscow when Jenkins gets involved in an altercation that ends in the death of the son of one of Russia’s most powerful organized crime leaders. Pursued by mafia henchmen, Russian agents, and a particularly dogged Moscow police detective, Jenkins is determined to track down the final two sisters and get them to America—or die trying. As various forces close in, Jenkins fears this time he might’ve pushed his luck too far.

I also learned Dugoni has another book in the Charles Jenkins series scheduled for release in February. An audio review hopeful.


Ever have the feeling you’re being watched?

Newlyweds Lina and Cain don’t make it out to their property on gorgeous Lake Tarawera as often as they’d like, so when Cain suggests they rent the house out to vacationers, Lina reluctantly agrees. While the home has been in her family for generations, they could use the extra money. And at first, Lina is amazed at how quickly guests line up, and at how much they’re willing to pay.

But both Lina and Cain have been keeping secrets, secrets that won’t be put off by fresh paint or a new alarm system. And someone has been watching them—their mundane tasks, their intimate moments. When a visit takes a deadly turn, Lina realizes someone out there knows something they shouldn’t…and that welcoming strangers into your home is playing a dangerous game.

Thanks to Kaceey @ Books are a Girl’s Best Friend.com for this one! A library audiobook hopeful.



The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals for an Arthur Miller play when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Haywood and his wife, Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy – nor of the good intentions of those involved. New actress Sam, a former NGO worker, raises doubts. But are her suspicions justified? Or does she have a history with the doctor involved? As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head the night of the dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material – emails, messages, letters – with a growing suspicion that a killer may still be on the loose.

A wholly modern take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a “daring…clever and funny” (The Times) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.

I’ve wanted this book since my international blogger friends featured it early this year. I learned from Carla @ Carla Loves to Read in her Stacking the Shelves post that the US version will finally be released in January. An audio review hopeful.


Read by a 45-person cast, with Holter Graham and the author

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower to The 9/11 Commission Report. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through firsthand.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker under the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from trying to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for offering this to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11. I plan to pause whatever else I’m listening to and honor the victims by hearing their stories from those who were there.



Ruby Taylor gave up pageant life the day she turned 18 and figured she’d never look back. But when an old friend begs her to show her beloved golden retriever at the upcoming West Coast Canine Classic, Ruby reluctantly straps on her heels and gets to work. If only she knew exactly what the adorably lazy lump of a dog was getting her into.

If there’s one thing veterinarian Spencer Wilson knows in this world, it’s dogs. Human beings are an entirely different animal – especially stubborn, gorgeous women clearly in way over their heads. As a judge for the local dog show, Spencer advises Ruby to quit while she still can, but her old fervor for winning has returned – and she’s determined to show the stern, broody-eyed judge that she’s more than just a pretty face.

It’s always dangerous for me to read the Can’t Wait Wednesday posts by Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra. This sounds like fun, a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in November.


Autumn brings haunting beauty to the sun-soaked dunes on Isle of Palms, where Lovie Rutledge lives in her beloved Primrose Cottage. As seasons change, Lovie remembers one special summer…

In 1974, America is changing, but Charleston remains eternally the same. When Lovie married aristocratic businessman Stratton Rutledge, she turned over her fortune and fate to his control. But she refused to relinquish one thing: her family’s old seaside cottage. Precious summers with her children are Lovie’s refuge from social expectations and her husband’s philandering. Here, she is the “Turtle Lady,” tending the loggerhead turtles that lay eggs in the warm night sand and then slip back into the sea.

In the summer of ’74, biologist Russell Bennett visits to research the loggerheads. Their shared interest soon blooms into a passionate, profound love—forcing Lovie to face an agonizing decision. Stratton’s influence is far-reaching, and if she dares to dream beyond a summer affair, she risks losing her reputation, her wealth, even her children.

This emotional tale of a strong woman torn between duty and desire, between tradition and change, is an empowering journey through the seasons of self-discovery. Until this autumn, this time of winds and tides, of holding on and letting go…

I subscribe to Simon & Schuster’s newsletter so since September is my birth month, they offered me a choice from an array of books as a birthday gift. I chose this one.



Pioneering psychologist William James leads an expedition to a remote isle in search of answers after a family inexplicably vanishes. Was the cause rooted in the physical world…or were there forces more paranormal and sinister at work? Available only on audio, because as Larson says, ghost stories are best told aloud.


A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a week-long holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation.

The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another – or even themselves.

Erik Larson has written a terrifying tale of suspense, underpinned with actual people and events. Created specifically to entertain audio listeners, this eerie blend of the ghostly and the real will keep listeners captivated till the blood-chilling end.

I was surprised to see the author attached to anything other than non fiction so this got my attention when it was offered for audio review.


Owen Mann is charming, privileged, and chronically dissatisfied. Luna Grey is secretive, cautious, and pragmatic. Despite their differences, they form a bond the moment they meet in college. Their names soon become indivisible – Owen and Luna, Luna and Owen – and stay that way even after an unexplained death rocks their social circle.

They’re still best friends years later, when Luna finds Owen’s wife brutally murdered. The police investigation sheds light on some long-hidden secrets, but it can’t penetrate the wall of mystery that surrounds Owen. To get to the heart of what happened and why, Luna has to dig up the one secret she’s spent her whole life burying.

The Accomplice examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering if you ever truly knew the only person who truly knows you.

NetGalley emails got me again, putting this title on my radar. It is scheduled for release in January, a library audiobook hopeful.


 


The year is 1996 – a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags – when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury – and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love….

The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Well, NetGalley emails strike again. Scheduled for release in January, an audio review hopeful.


 

It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Maybe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love…. But no, Hudson has a favor to ask – he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.

The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus-one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.

But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.

Yep, another NetGalley email strike! Scheduled for release in February, another audio review hopeful.



Everyone has those friends. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been, or how badly they’ve occasionally behaved, or how late it is when that call finally comes—you show up. No questions asked.

Honestly, that’s how the five of us ended up here in the Catskills. We did have the best of intentions. Especially after what happened to Alice all those years ago, we can’t bear to think of losing anyone else. In fact, we’ll do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll go so much farther than we ever thought we would.

In the end, maybe that’s what caught up with us. That, and the fact that we’re such a complicated group—so much history and so many big personalities. Secrets, too, that can slip out at the most inopportune moments. Of course, we love each other despite all of those things. We love each other no matter what.

There’s something so beautiful about that kind of unconditional love. It can turn ugly, though. Or maybe that’s just us. After all, we’ve already been through so much together. And we have so very much to hide.

This was offered for audio review and I grabbed it immediately.


 

Welcome to Wishing Tree, where the magic of Christmas in July will bring you home in this heartwarming story by number one New York Times best-selling author Susan Mallery.

Some heartbreaks hit harder than others. For Shaye Harper, the last one was so bad she swore off men for good. Wishing Tree, Washington, was supposed to be a pit stop on the road to a fresh start, but Shaye is swiftly drawn in by the quirky small town’s celebrations – and a handsome stranger she can’t resist.

After deployments around the world, army vet Lawson Easley knows there’s no place better than his hometown. And he’s determined to stay right here, forever. Too bad the first woman who feels like “the one” is just passing through. The more time he spends with Shaye, the more he knows that she’s the piece his heart’s been missing.

Swept up by the joyful summer festivities and Lawson’s obvious affection, Shaye starts to feel she belongs. Here, with him. She never meant to end up in Wishing Tree. Then again, she never meant to fall in love…
.

A new Susan Mallery series! This and the book below were offered for audio review, which made my day. This is the novella.



The Somerville sisters believe in love, but they’ve lost faith it will happen for them. Reggie hasn’t been home since the end of the world’s shortest engagement. When her parents decide to renew their vows, she buffs up her twinkle to help with the Christmas wedding. Unexpectedly, Toby, her first love, is back, too, and the spark between them shines as brightly as ever. In the spirit of the season, will they let go of past hurts and greet the New Year together?

Done waiting for the one, Dena is pregnant and on her own – on purpose. But then a gorgeous, sad-eyed songwriter checks in to a room at her inn. Micah, unable to write since he lost his wife, finds inspiration in Dena’s determination to be a mom. One snowflake-speckled kiss and he’s a goner. But Dena is afraid to believe that a rock star could fall for a cookie-cutter small-town girl like her.

As the Christmas wedding draws closer, these two sisters just might unwrap the most treasured gift of all – love.

This is the first full length book in Mallery’s new series (see above). I plan to listen to both back to back. It was also offered for audio review.


Reeve Banks desperately needs a clean break from her dark past. Luckily, today marks her triumphant return to her hometown.

Until a nail sticks it to her tire, stranding her by the side of a country road.

And an intriguing stranger, Mr. Tall, Dark and Sexy, shows up to rescue her…

I learned about this freebie from the author’s newsletter. It really does pay off to subscribe to those of your favorites. This is still free on Amazon.



What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

24 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I’m back! Yay! You once again have quite a list of goodies, Jo. Eric Larsen is always a favorite author so I am definitely adding that one plus I already got the Robert Dugoni one too! The Only Plane in the Sky is heartbreaking and it’s also hard to believe it was twenty years ago. I will never forget how we could see the smoke from the towers float over the school I was teaching in along with the loss of neighbors and friends. My husband, working in Manhattan witnessed the North Tower fall as well. Horrible day!

    I added The O.C. by D.P. Lyle (I read the previous 3/4 in this series), The Christie Affair by Nina de Graymont, A Flicker In The Dark by Stacy Willingham, and The Silent Sisters by Robert Dugoni (great minds think alike) …and my BOTM books are due in today!

    Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wheeee💜💜💜💜 Made my day seeing your name pop up in my post! How did you fix it?

      I didn’t know about your 9/11 history. That day must have been especially awful for you and your family. I cannot imagine experiencing it in New York and being personally impacted. I have relatives in Manhattan but they were never at risk.

      I thought about The Christie Affair but still can’t decide. I’ll wait on your review.

      Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday! Welcome back💜 You we’re missed.

      Like

      1. The funny thing is we did an update on my browser and that is what I think fixed it. Our computers are starting to show their age. My husband is just unwrapping his new Apple desktop right now.

        Yes, we were there. John worked for Coopers and Lybrand which later became Price Waterhouse (sadly). His office was on sixth avenue while I was in Floral Park, about fourteen miles from Manhattan. It was devastating. It was a gorgeous pre- Fall morning, and the kids wondered why we couldn’t go outside for lunch. We told them it was bc of a bee infestations. WE were informed by the principal not to mention what really occurred. I still wonder 20 years later, if that was the right call. I do remember how quiet it was and how when air traffic resumed, the kids and I ducked our heads as if we expected the worst. I use to think it was the worst of times. Today, I am not so sure it was.

        We lost a neighbor who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and firefighters who lived in the area as well as where I taught. One of the teachers I worked with lost her brother.

        The most frightening aspect was that John had an invite to the meeting being held at the top of the World Trade Center where the nurse in our school’s husband lost his life. He could not attend since he was too busy that morning with things in the office. Our daughter, Jill, was working about 11 miles from the Pentagon so that too was ever so frightening.

        Sorry to go on so, but it is so vivid and every time 9/11 rolls around, I can’t help but reflect on that horrible day.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience. Your husband must think about his close call all of the time. That’s just eerie.

          What a very small world. I started my career in New York City working for…Price Waterhouse! We were the first to occupy what was then called the new Citicorp building at East 53 & Lexington (the one with the strange roof) on the 55th floor. But my main client was then Chemical Bank downtown on Water Street. I spent 9 months out of the year at the client’s office. I left after two years (they were killing me in overtime).

          Like

  2. Great selection this week! When the World Played Chess and The Appeal sound really good. In theory I want to read The Only Plane in the Sky as well, but not sure if I will find it too depressing. I remember visiting the 9/11 memorial museum and needing to recover afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope you enjoy The Last Guests Jonetta! Can’t wait to see your thoughts! You have so many books listed that look so good! Adding The Accomplice, Friends Like These and The Appeal!🤩📚💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always love your choices, Jonetta! Can’t wait for your thoughts on these! I recently finished The World Played Chess and I loved it just as much as Sam Hell. Dugoni is so easily able to write in different genres. Just amazing! I hope you love it too!

    Liked by 1 person

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