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.
The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually. The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.
Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when he botches a murder and sets off a trail of escalating violence, he’s faced with a choice: stay and appease his kingpin father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he’s ever known.
I hadn’t heard of this book until I read the review by Susanne @ Books are a Girl’s Best Friend.com. It’s an older title and I was hooked. Thankfully, my library has the audiobook.
In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate. She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed. Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.
Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases. Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold. But Jeri has a suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades. Along the way, she has discovered other victims.
Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible. The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.
He is a judge, in Florida—under Lacy’s jurisdiction.
He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way. How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list?
I have a hit or miss relationship with Grisham’s more recent books but I’ll never give up on the author. My library comes through again with the audiobook.
What price would you pay for falling in love?
Rachel is a respected doctor who lives in a picturesque and affluent English village where her husband, Nathan, teaches at an elite private school. Competent, unflappable, and nearing 50, Rachel has everything in her life firmly in her control, even if some of its early luster has worn off. But one day a new patient arrives at her practice for emergency treatment. Luc is a French painter married to a wealthy American woman who’s just bought and restored a historic home on the edge of Rachel’s posh neighborhood. The couple has only recently arrived, but Luc is struggling with a mental disorder, and so he goes to the nearest clinic…to Rachel.
Their attraction is instant, and as Rachel’s sense of ethics wars with newly awakened passion, the affair blinds her to everything else happening around her. A longtime patient appears to be following her every movement, turning up unexpectedly wherever she goes. Her somewhat estranged adult daughter, Lizzie, is hiding a secret – or at least hiding it from Rachel. Nathan has grown sour and cold as well – or is that merely Rachel’s guilty conscience weighing on her? But when one of her colleagues winds up murdered and Luc is arrested for the crime, everything Rachel didn’t know about her life explodes into the open – along with her affair with her patient – a disgrace and scandal that will have consequences no one could have predicted.
One of my Goodreads friends recently reviewed this book and I found it intriguing. An audio review hopeful.
A sexy, hilarious, emotional, new romance from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.
Connor Daniels never thought he’d be starting over at dating square one. His career as a successful doctor, and his three boys, are everything to him. It’s not exactly a set-up conducive to a scorching love life—but he’s giving it a shot.
ER nurse Violet Robinson never intended for Connor to find out she’s had a crush on him forever. It was a dirty little secret only meant for her dirty dreams. Her heart trips every time he’s around—and so do her feet.
When Connor sees Violet coasting across the grocery store parking lot—and she falls on her face—he starts falling for the gorgeous, young nurse right back.
Dating can be tricky. And life can be beautiful and crazy and unpredictable. But when it gets real, you discover what matters most . . . and the one person you want loving you through it all.
I loved this author’s Tangled series and discovered this new release in another series from her newsletter. The audiobook is free with my Audible membership.
Sarah Vernon has spent twenty years trying to make it as a novelist…and she’s never even come close. None of her novels has sold more than five thousand copies, and she’s never earned enough money to make fiction her full-time job. After her last disappointing publication, Sarah’s agent dumped her, and it seems like her dream is dead. Sarah vows that she’ll do anything for one last shot at the bestseller list.
Enter Will Presser. Nicknamed The Viper, Will is a literary agent whose career-making reputation precedes him. A business dinner ends with a nightcap at Will’s apartment—and a night Sarah can’t remember. When she wakes up the next morning, Will says he’s got a plan to make her new book a hit. He sends Sarah off to Elder Island, a summer playground for the rich and famous that empties out between September and May, for her own personal writer’s retreat. He’s left word that Sarah needs complete privacy in order to write, and Sarah’s too bewildered and flattered by Will’s attention to do anything but pack her bags and board the ferry.
Alone in an isolated mansion, Sarah’s writing has never come more easily. She spends hours each day lost in a trance, falling into the world of her story. She tries not to worry about the nightmares that plague her…or the mornings she wakes up with dirt on her feet and blood under her fingernails.
Everything Will Presser touches becomes a success, and, now, Will Presser has touched me, Sarah thinks.
But Elder Island isn’t the pretty summer playground it seems to be, and Sarah’s going to learn that success comes at a cost, and that, whenever you sign a deal, it’s always wise to read the fine print.
This showed up at my library and I grabbed it. It’s a very short story and I was drawn to the author and the description.
A woman stops at nothing to find her husband’s murderer in this psychological thriller about twisted marriages, fractured families, and deadly obsessions…
When Rachel Rimmer’s phone rings in the early morning, she is shocked when she hears her husband’s housekeeper sobbing on the line. Her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France and all signs point to murder.
The French police conclude that Michael was killed by his gangster associates. They have no idea that the real killer is still out there: his ex-wife, Lucy. A year later, she and her children are happily living in London, unaware that Rachel is on the hunt for her. She may have never met this woman, but Rachel knows Lucy was the last person to see her husband alive. And there is nothing that is going to stop her from discovering the truth
It’s Lisa Jewell! Scheduled for release in August, I’m signing up now. An audio review hopeful.
A charmingly quirky seaside town offers a recently separated restauranteur a fresh start and possibly a new lease on love in A Season for Second Chances, by the author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
Annie Sharpe’s spark for life has fizzled out. Her kids are grown up, her restaurant is doing just fine on its own, and her twenty-six-year marriage has come to an unceremonious end. Untethered for the first time in her adult life, Annie doesn’t know what to do with herself. But when she finds a winter guardian position in a historic seaside home, she decides to leave her city life behind for a brand new beginning.
When she arrives at Willow Bay, Annie is instantly enamored by the charming house, the invigorating sea breeze, and the town’s rich seasonal traditions. Not to mention, her neighbors receive her with open arms–that is, all except for the surly and rugged nephew of the homeowner, who seems intent on making Annie feel unwelcome. His grand plans for the property are directly at odds with her long-term stay. As Christmas approaches, tensions and tides rise in Willow Bay, and Annie’s future is looking less and less certain. But with a little can-do spirit and holiday magic, the most difficult season of her life will become ASeason for Second Chances.
The audiobook showed up at my library and perfectly suits my current mood.
A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It’s supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother’s even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can’t imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen’s well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.
Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen’s own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.
The author is a recent discovery for me and I’ve added books from her backlist. When I learned this book is in production for a Netflix movie, I bumped it up.
A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a white militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America.
Tough-minded, vulnerable, and brave, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s precisely imagined debut explores burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. Set in the near future, the eponymous novella, “My Monticello,” tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists. Led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, they seek refuge in Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to outlive the long-foretold racial and environmental unravelling within the nation.
In “Control Negro,” a university professor devotes himself to the study of racism and the development of ACMs (average American Caucasian males) by clinically observing his own son from birth in order to “painstakingly mark the route of this Black child too, one whom I could prove was so strikingly decent and true that America could not find fault in him unless we as a nation had projected it there.” Johnson’s characters all seek out home as a place and an internal state, whether in the form of a Nigerian widower who immigrates to a meager existence in the city of Alexandria, finding himself adrift; a young mixed-race woman who adopts a new tongue and name to escape the landscapes of rural Virginia and her family; or a single mother who seeks salvation through “Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse.”
United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, MY MONTICELLO is a formidable book that bears witness to this country’s legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction.
I took a pass on this when it was offered for audio review. But when it showed up at my library, a few of my Goodreads friends had read and loved it, writing compelling reviews.
By the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers, Lily King’s first-ever collection of exceptional and innovative short stories
Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A bookseller’s unspoken love for his employee rises to the surface, a neglected teenage boy finds much-needed nurturing from an unlikely pair of college students hired to housesit, a girl’s loss of innocence at the hands of her employer’s son becomes a catalyst for strength and confidence, and a proud nonagenarian rages helplessly in his granddaughter’s hospital room. Romantic, hopeful, brutally raw, and unsparingly honest, some even slipping into the surreal, these stories are, above all, about King’s enduring subject of love.
I love short story collections and this one showed up in a NetGalley email. It also has an impressive list of narrators. A library audiobook hopeful.
A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.
Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.
The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .
As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?
I’ve had my eye on this for a long time since reading the review by Yvo @ It’s All About Books. I was thrilled when it was included in Audible’s 2-for-1 credit sale.
In 2013, twenty-three-year old Molly Diamond is a barista, dreaming of becoming a writer. One night at a concert in East Williamsburg, she locks eyes with the lead singer, Jake Danner, and can’t look away. Molly and Jake fall quickly and deeply in love, especially after he writes a hit song about her that puts his band on the map.
Nearly a decade later, Molly has given up writing and is living in Flynn Cove, Connecticut with her young daughter and her husband Hunter—who is decidedly not Jake Danner. Their life looks picture-perfect, but Molly is lonely; she feels out of place with the other women in their wealthy suburb, and is struggling to conceive their second child. When Sabrina, a newcomer in town, walks into the yoga studio where Molly teaches and confesses her own fertility struggles, Molly believes she’s finally found a friend.
But Sabrina has her own reasons for moving to Flynn Cove and befriending Molly. And as Sabrina’s secrets are slowly unspooled, her connection to Molly becomes clearer––as do secrets of Molly’s own, which she’s worked hard to keep buried.
Meanwhile, a new version of Jake’s hit song is on the radio, forcing Molly to confront her past and ask the ultimate questions: What happens when life turns out nothing like we thought it would, when we were young and dreaming big? Does growing up mean choosing with your head, rather than your heart? And do we ever truly get over our first love?
Yet another NetGalley email discovery! It’s not scheduled for release until June and I’ll be waiting, hopefully in my library queue, for the audiobook.
From the author of The Aftermath comes the story of a whirlwind friendship―and the dark secrets lurking beneath it.
After a tumultuous marriage, Mary Wilson is happy in her uncomplicated life, focusing on her twelve-year-old son. She’s always been content with her little family―but then she finds an old postcard that throws her whole past into question…
When an invitation arrives for her high school reunion, Mary jumps at the chance of a distraction from the shock discovery, and meeting her old classmate April feels like a gift. Despite barely remembering April, Mary throws herself into the new friendship and finds her previously quiet social life reinvigorated.
But as the bonds between them are forged, Mary finds herself drawn further and further into April’s life and marriage, increasingly fearing that everything is not as perfect as it seems. Is her own painful past clouding her judgement, or is Mary right to suspect that the people she trusts most are the ones with the most to hide?
This was offered for audio review and I quickly accepted!
What if everything you’ve ever loved, ever known, ever believed to be true…just disappeared?
Annie Beyers has everything – a beautiful house, a loving husband, and an adorable daughter. It’s a day like any other when she takes Hannah to the pediatrician…until she wakes hours later from a car accident. When she asks for her daughter, confused doctors tell Annie that Hannah never existed. In fact, nothing after waking from the crash is the same as Annie remembers. Five happy years of her life apparently never happened.
Annie’s marriage is coming to an end. Now a successful artist living in Manhattan, she’s no longer home in their beloved upstate farmhouse. Her long-estranged sister is more like a best friend, and her recently deceased dog is alive and well. With each passing day, Annie’s remembered past and unfamiliar present begin to blur. Haunted by visions of Hannah, and with knowledge of things she can’t explain, Annie wonders…is everyone lying to her?
The search for answers leads Annie down an illuminating path far from home, to reconcile the memories with reality and to discover the truth about the life she’s living.
Another book offered for audio review and I was really drawn in by the description.
New York Times best seller P. J. Tracy returns with Deep into the Dark, a brand-new series set in LA and featuring up-and-coming LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan and murder suspect Sam Easton.
Sam Easton – a true survivor – is home from Afghanistan, trying to rebuild a life in his hometown of LA. Separated from his wife, bartending and therapy sessions are what occupy his days and nights. When friend and colleague Melody Traeger is beaten by her boyfriend, she turns to Sam for help. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, a hard case like Sam is the perfect suspect.
But LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, whose brother recently died serving overseas, is sympathetic to Sam’s troubles, and can’t quite see him as a killer. She’s more interested in the secrets Melody might be keeping and the developments in another murder case on the other side of town.
Set in an LA where real people live and work – not the superficial LA of Beverly Hills or the gritty underbelly of the city – Deep into the Dark features two really engaging, dynamic main characters and explores the nature of obsession, revenge, and grief.
P. J. Tracy is known for her “fast, fresh, and funny” characters (Harlan Coben) and her “sizzling” plots (People); the Monkeewrench series was her first, set in Minneapolis and co-written with her mother. Now with Deep into the Dark she’s on her own – and it’s a home run.
Somehow I missed the release of this book and new series. I’m a big fan of the Monkeewrench series and know that the daughter of the former writing team is solo following her mother’s death. Fortunately, my library has the audiobook.
P.J. Tracy “seems to have found her literary sweet spot” (New York Times Book Review) with her dazzling new series, and in Desolation Canyon, fans get a deeper look into the complex characters who call Los Angeles home.
LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan is struggling to move forward after the death of her brother in Afghanistan and taking a life in the line of duty. Her stoic parents offer little support – they refuse to address anything difficult, and she’s afraid their relationship is eroding beyond the point of recovery.
The days off are the hardest, because they give Margaret time to think. A moment of weakness leads to cocktails with a colleague—an attraction she knows could be dangerous —at the luxurious Hotel Bel-Air bar. A stroll through the grounds leads to a grim discovery beneath the surface of Swan Lake: the body of a successful attorney who made his fortune in international trade.
It initially appears to be death by misadventure, but the case is anything but straightforward. As a series of shocking revelations emerge, Nolan finds herself confronting a sinister cabal that just might destroy her and everyone she loves.
I learned about the series when this book was included in that NetGalley email. Another library audiobook hopeful, it’s scheduled for release in January.
The holiday season is upon Calla and Jonah, and with the mistletoe and gingerbread comes plenty of family drama. Jonah is bracing himself for two weeks with a stepfather he loathes, and while Calla is looking forward to her mother and Simon’s arrival, she dreads the continued pressure to set a date for their wedding…in Toronto. Add in one bullheaded neighbor’s unintentional meddling and another cantankerous neighbor’s own family strife, and Christmas in Trapper’s Crossing will be anything but simple.
The upcoming release of the third book in this series was announced in the author’s newsletter and I realized I’d missed this novella. Turns out it is free with my Audible membership!
One Wish. Infinite Possibilities. The ultimate feel-good romantic comedy about love, friendship, and living life to the fullest!
Sleep-deprived Faith Daniels is desperate for help to plan the charity bachelor auction for the fall festival. Surprisingly, her best friend agrees to chip in, but the offer comes with strings attached. Faith must toss a coin into the infamous “Fountain of Love” and then undergo a complete makeover. She knows it’s all just a ridiculous ploy to get her back into the dating pool, but she would be crazy to say no. Besides, it’s not like wishes in that fountain come true.
Or do they?
Like magic, men begin to appear out of nowhere. There’s a doctor, a lawyer, a firefighter, and a swimwear model, for starters. All of them kind, generous, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. All of them interested in Faith. But what happens when she starts to enjoy the attention? Is it really possible to get a second chance at love?
When this was offered for audio review, it put me in my happy place!
In the newest installment of New York Times bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey’s Peachtree Bluff series, three generations of the Murphy women must come together when a hurricane threatens to destroy their hometown—and the holiday season in the process.
When the Murphy women are in trouble, they always know they can turn to their mother, Ansley. So when eldest daughter Caroline and her husband, James, announce they are divorcing—and fifteen-year-old daughter Vivi acts out in response—Caroline, at her wits end, can’t think of anything to do besides leave her with Ansley in Peachtree Bluff for the holidays. After all, how much trouble can one teenager get into on a tiny island?
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
As the “storm of the century” heads toward Peachtree Bluff, Ansley and her husband, Jack, with Vivi in tow, are grateful they’re planning to leave for the trip of a lifetime. But Vivi’s recklessness forces the trio to shelter in place during the worst hurricane Peachtree has ever seen. With no power, no provisions, and the water rising, the circumstances become dire very quickly…and the Murphy sisters, who evacuated to New York, soon realize it’s up to them to conduct a rescue mission. With the bridges closed and no way to access Peachtree Bluff by land or air, they set sail on Caroline’s boat, The Starlite Sisters, determined to rebuild their beloved town—as well as their family.
I’ve collected all the books in this series and was surprised to see this one when it showed up at my library.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?