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.
In this new heart-pounding stand-alone from the internationally best-selling author, a single mother suspects her young daughter has witnessed a horrible crime when she draws a disturbing picture – but the deadly path to unravel the truth could cost her everything.
Maybe Tess is overprotective, but passing her daughter off to her ex and his new young wife fills her with a sense of dread. It’s not that Jason is a bad father – it just hurts to see him enjoying married life with someone else. Still, she owes it to her daughter Poppy to make this arrangement work.
But Poppy returns from the weekend tired and withdrawn. And when she shows Tess a crayon drawing – an image so simple and violent that Tess can hardly make sense of it – Poppy can only explain with the words, “He did kill her.”
Something is horribly wrong. Tess is certain Poppy saw something – or something happened to her – that she’s too young to understand. Jason insists the weekend went off without a hitch. Doctors advise that Poppy may be reacting to her parents’ separation. And as the days go on, even Poppy’s disturbing memory seems to fade. But a mother knows her daughter, and Tess is determined to discover the truth. Her search will set off an explosive tempest of dark secrets and buried crimes – and more than one life may be at stake.
I’ve read several books by this writing team and am a fan so when the audiobook showed up at my library, I jumped in the queue for the upcoming release. I’m near the top.
Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.
Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.
When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.
Another early release showing up this week at my library. I’m first in line for the audiobook, scheduled to be ready on the 26th.
Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of all your plans? Check. Unfortunately.
Grace Travis definitely has it all figured out. In between finishing interior design school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree. She’ll have her dream job. And most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her cold, manipulative mother could never make for her. When an opportunity to fix up —and live in — an adorable little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.
Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. A real estate developer with a knack for betting and winning big, he’s not one to let a good opportunity slip away. So when a beachside house with great bones is ripe for a remodel and flip, Noah doesn’t hesitate. Except in order to spruce it up properly (is it even a beach house if it doesn’t have a pool?), he’ll need to take over the house next door. The house with the willful and combative and way-too-intriguing woman living in it.
With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can turn out to be the person who shows you that home is always where the heart is.
Thanks to my friend Sandra @ Cross My Heart Reviews for this one. A library audiobook hopeful.
A woman in the forest thinks she’s going to die.
I know he’s coming back for me.
Jen Hansen, Kittie Spears, and Cynthia Nichols have been friends since childhood. They are now approaching forty and their lives have changed, but their insular East Texas town has not. They stay sane by drinking wine in the afternoons, dishing about other women in the neighborhood, and bonding over the heartache of their own encroaching middle age and raising ungrateful teens.
Then Will Harding comes to town, moving into one of the neighborhood’s grandest homes. Mysterious and charming, he seems like the answer to each woman’s prayers. He’s a source of fascination for Jen, Kittie, and Cynthia, but none of them are ready for the way Will disrupts their lives.
As Will grows closer with each of the women, their fascination twists into obsession, threatening their friendships and their families. When he abruptly pulls away, each woman scrambles to discover the source of his affection. But what they’ll uncover is far more sinister and deadly than any of them could have ever imagined.
Another NetGalley email put this one on my radar. This sounds like another delicious crazy sauce, a library audiobook hopeful.
The late summer heat in Echo Valley, Colorado turns lush greenery into a tinder dry landscape. When a young girl mysteriously disappears, long buried grudges rekindle.Of the two Flores girls, Marisa was the one people pegged for trouble. Her younger sister, Lena, was the quiet daughter, dutiful and diligent–right until the moment she vanished.
Detective Jo Wyatt is convinced the eleven-year-old girl didn’t runaway and that a more sinister reason lurks behind her disappearance. For Jo, the case is personal, reaching far back into her past. But as she mines Lena’s fractured family life, she unearths a cache of secrets and half-lies that paints a darker picture.
As the evidence mounts, so do the suspects, and when a witness steps forward with a shocking new revelation, Jo is forced to confront her doubts, and her worst fears. Now, it’s just a matter of time before the truth is revealed–or the killer makes another deadly move.
I’d forgotten about this series until the second book was reviewed by Anne @ Books of My Heart. Thankfully, my library has it and I’ve got it on hold
When You’ve Got Mail meets The Proposal, Melissa Ferguson’s latest romantic comedy is one for the books.
Savannah Cade’s dreams are coming true. The Claire Donovan, editor-in-chief of the most successful romance imprint in the country, has requested to see the manuscript Savannah’s been secretly writing while working as editor herself – except at her publishing house, the philosophy is only highbrow works are worth printing and commercial fiction, particularly romance, should be reserved for the lowest level of Dante’s inferno. But when Savannah drops her manuscript during a staff meeting and nearly exposes herself to the whole company – including William Pennington, new publisher and son of the romance-despising CEO herself – she races to hide her manuscript in the secret turret room of the old Victorian office.
When she returns, she’s dismayed to discover that someone has not only been in her hidden nook but has written notes in the margins – quite critical ones. But when Claire’s own reaction turns out to be nearly identical to the scribbled remarks, and worse, Claire announces that Savannah has six weeks to resubmit before she retires, Savannah finds herself forced to seek the help of the shadowy editor after all.
As their notes back and forth start to fill up the pages, however, Savannah finds him not just becoming pivotal to her work but her life. There’s no doubt about it. She’s falling for her mystery editor. If she only knew who he was.
The same NetGalley email included this book, which I find appealing on so many different levels. Another library audiobook hopeful.
Beloved writer Sean Dietrich – also known as Sean of the South – will warm your heart with this rich and nostalgic tale of a small-town sheriff, a mysterious little girl, and a good-hearted community pulling together to help her.
Folks in Moab live for ice cream socials, baseball, and the local paper’s weekly gossip column. Sheriff Winston Browne has watched over Moab with a generous eye for a decade, and by now he’s used to handling the daily dramas that keep life interesting for Moab’s quirky residents.
But just after Winston receives some terrible, life-altering news, a seemingly mute runaway with no clear origin arrives in Moab. The residents do what they believe is right and take her in – until two suspicious strangers arrive and begin looking for her. Suddenly Winston has a child in desperate need of protection – as well as a secret of his own to keep.
With the help of Moab’s goodhearted townsfolk, the humble and well-meaning Winston Browne still has some heroic things to do. He finds romance, family, and love in unexpected places. He stumbles upon adventure, searches his soul, and grapples with the past. In doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.
Sometimes ordinary people do the most extraordinary things of all.
A trusted Goodreads friend won me over on this one, which fortunately showed up at my library. In the meantime, many other Goodreads friends have served up 5-star reviews.
Following a long-standing family feud and looking to settle the score, a woman decides to dismantle her family home–alone and by hand–and move it across a frozen pond during a harsh New England winter in this mesmerizing debut.
Del has never had a good relationship with her family. After her parents’ divorce, and with the town rumor mill in full swing, Del’s uncle and the rest of the family shunned her and her mother. For years, there was nothing she could do about this.
Now, with both of her parents gone, a chance has arrived.
Her uncle wants the one thing Del inherited: the family home.
Instead of handing the place over and giving her uncle what he wants, and with no other resources at her disposal, Del decides she will tear the place apart herself, by hand – piece by piece.
But as she’ll soon discover, the task stirs up more than just old memories for Del as family members–each in their own state of unraveling–come knocking on her door.
This spare, strange, magical book is both a story of the powerlessness and hurt that runs through a family but also about the moments when brokenness can offer us the rare chance to start again.
Another NetGalley email put this in front of me. It’s not scheduled for release until April but I hope to be first in my library’s queue for the audiobook. There’s so much to be intrigued about this story.
After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.
While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.
Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?
What would my Saturday at the Café be like without a book I added because of Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra, the latest from her Can’t Wait Wednesday post? They are always too tempting.
In this witty and heartfelt rom-com debut for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Emily Henry, and Tessa Bailey, an Indian-American woman signs herself and her boyfriend up for a matchmaking site to prove they’re a perfect match, only to be paired with her ex instead.
High school sweethearts Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao were the golden couple, until the day he broke her heart. Now, six years later, Rita has turned her passion for furniture restoration into a career and has an almost-perfect boyfriend, Neil. The last thing she needs is for Milan to re-enter her life, but that’s exactly what happens when her mother, an unfailing believer in second chances, sets them up. Milan is just as charming, cocky, and confident as he was back in school. Only this time, he actually needs her business expertise, not her heart, to flip a hard-to-sell house for his realty agency.
While Rita begrudgingly agrees to help, she’s not taking any risks. To prove she’s definitely over him, she signs herself and Neil up on MyShaadi.com, a Desi matchmaking site famous for its success stories and trustworthy enough to convince everyone that she and Neil are the new and improved couple. Instead, she’s shocked when MyShaadi’s perfect match for her isn’t Neil…it’s Milan. Ignoring the website and her mother is one thing, but ignoring Milan proves much more difficult, especially when she promises to help him renovate the beach house of her dreams. And as the two of them dive deeper into work—and their pasts—Rita begins to wonder if maybe her match wasn’t so wrong after all….
I love stories that are of a different culture since I always learn something. The audiobook showed up at my library and, of course, the cover first got my attention. Then the story lured me in.
A father and daughter living in the remote Appalachian mountains must reckon with the ghosts of their past in Kimi Cunningham Grant’s These Silent Woods’, a mesmerizing novel of suspense.
No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world.
For eight years, Cooper and his young daughter, Finch, have lived in isolation in a remote cabin in the northern Appalachian woods. And that’s exactly the way Cooper wants it, because he’s got a lot to hide. Finch has been raised on the books filling the cabin’s shelves and the beautiful but brutal code of life in the wilderness. But she’s starting to push back against the sheltered life Cooper has created for her – and he’s still haunted by the painful truth of what it took to get them there.
The only people who know they exist are Scotland, an overly friendly hermit with murky intentions, and Cooper’s old friend, Jake, who visits each winter to bring them food and supplies. But this year, Jake doesn’t show up, setting off an irreversible chain of events that reveals just how precarious their situation really is. Suddenly, the boundaries of their safe haven have blurred – and when a stranger wanders into their woods, Finch’s growing obsession with her could put them all in danger. When a shocking disappearance threatens to upend the only life Finch has ever known, Cooper is forced to decide whether to keep hiding – or finally face the sins of his past.
Vividly atmospheric and masterfully tense, These Silent Woods is a poignant story of survival, sacrifice, and how far a father will go when faced with losing it all.
Thanks to Kyra @ Roots & Reads for her excellent review of this story. It was made even sweeter when I found the early release at my library. I’m in a short queue.
A week after the sudden death of her mother — her first and most devoted fan — and just before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, indie guitarist Greta James falls apart on stage. The footage quickly goes viral and she stops playing, her career suddenly in jeopardy — the kind of jeopardy her father, Conrad, always predicted; the kind he warned her about when he urged her to make more practical choices with her life.
Months later, Greta — still heartbroken and very much adrift — reluctantly agrees to accompany Conrad on the week-long Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their 40th anniversary. It could be their last chance to heal old wounds in the wake of shared loss. But the trip will also prove to be a voyage of discovery for them both, and for Ben Wilder, a charming historian who is on board to lecture about The Call of the Wild, and struggling with a major upheaval in his own life. As Greta works to build back her confidence, and Ben confronts an uncertain future, they find themselves drawn to and relying on each other.
It’s here in this unlikeliest of places — at sea, far from the packed city venues where she usually plays, and surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Last Frontier — that Greta will finally confront the choices she’s made, the heartbreak she’s suffered, and the family hurts that run deep. In the end, she’ll have to decide what her path forward might look like — and how to find her voice again.
Yet another NetGalley email discovery! It’s not scheduled for release until March and I’ll be waiting, hopefully in my library queue, for the audiobook.
Elin Hilderbrand’s brief, irresistible postscript to her #1 New York Times bestselling novel Summer of ’69.
Catch up with Blair, Jessie, and Kirby Levin ten years after the summer everything changed. This “Summer of ’69 story” by Elin Hilderbrand—which appeared in the New York Timesbestseller Reunion Beach, an anthology in tribute to the beloved novelist Dorothea Benton Frank—is now available as a standalone audiobook.
This is a follow up story that suddenly showed up at my library! Never saw it coming and quickly grabbed it.
In this new historical novel by the author of Daughter of the Reich, Londoners Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have wealth, status, and a happy marriage—but the 1929 financial crash is looming, and they’re harboring a terrible, shameful secret. How far are they willing to go to protect their charmed life—even if it means abandoning their child to a horrific fate?
Eleanor Hamilton is happily married and mother to a beautiful four-year-old girl, Mabel. Her wealthy husband, Edward, a celebrated war hero, is a leading light in the burgeoning Eugenics movement—the very ideas that will soon be embraced by Hitler—and is increasingly important in designing education policy for Great Britain.
But when Edward and Eleanor’s otherwise perfectly healthy daughter develops debilitating epileptic seizures, their world fractures. Mabel’s shameful illness must be hidden or Edward’s life’s work will be in jeopardy and the family’s honor will be shattered.
When Eleanor discovers Edward has been keeping secrets, she calls into question everything she believed about genetic inferiority, and her previous unshakeable faith in her husband disintegrates. Alarmed, distressed, and no longer able to bear the family’s burden, she takes matters into her own hands.
Inspired by the author’s personal experience, The Hidden Childilluminates the moral and ethical issues of an era shaped by xenophobia, prejudice, fear, and well-intentioned yet flawed science. Vividly rendered, deeply affecting, and impeccably researched, Louise Fein’s new historical novel is a sweeping story and a richly drawn portrait of a family torn apart by shame, deceit, and dangerous ideals.
I don’t add many World War II-related books to my shelf these days but this one got my attention and haunted me. Of course, the audiobook showed up at my library this week and I’m in another short queue.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?