Saturdays at the Café

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 perfect neighborhood can be the perfect place to hide…

Who wouldn’t want to live in Brighton Hills? This exclusive community on the Oregon coast is the perfect mix of luxury and natural beauty. Stunning houses nestle beneath mighty Douglas firs, and lush backyards roll down to the lakefront. It’s the kind of place where neighbors look out for one another. Sometimes a little too closely…

Cora thinks her husband, Finn, is cheating—she just needs to catch him in the act. That’s where Paige comes in. Paige lost her son to a hit-and-run last year, and she’s drowning in the kind of grief that makes people do reckless things. Like spying on the locals, searching for proof that her son’s death was no accident. And agreeing to Cora’s plan to reveal what kind of man Finn really is. All the while, their reclusive new neighbor, Georgia, is acting more strangely every day. But what could such a lovely young mother possibly be hiding?

When you really start to look beyond the airy open floor plans and marble counters, Brighton Hills is filled with secrets. Some big, some little, some deadly. And one by one, they’re about to be revealed…

Thanks to Carla @ Carla Loves to Read for featuring this upcoming release by Glass in her Stacking the Shelves post. I enjoyed the author’s last book, Such a Good Wife and am hoping to get this for audio review. It’s scheduled for release in May.

Ayesha Shetty lost her brother seven years ago, the same time she lost everything else important to her: her dreams, her fierce independence, and the man she loved. Not wanting to see her mother hurt anymore, she put her wild self away and became the dutiful daughter her mother needed and took on her brother’s role in the family business.

Now her best friend’s big, fat Indian wedding is a chance to get away from her endless duties at the restaurant and maybe even have some fun (if she remembers how). But a setup arranged by her mother, with a doctor no less, is the last thing she needs. The fact that he checks all her mother’s boxes just makes everything better…and worse.

Then Emmitt Hughes shows up. Her brother’s best friend. The love she once chose over family duties and her responsibilities. The one she asked to leave, and who did. The one who knows the real Ayesha. Torn between a love from the past that could cost her the only person she has left and her sense of obligation to her mother, will Ayesha find the strength to stop thinking about what everyone else wants and finally put herself first? Or is the old Ayesha truly gone for good?

This is free with Amazon Prime, included in this week’s slate of offerings. It’s only two hours and seems interesting.

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Ralph Elllison’s Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of modern American Negro life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching–yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places. It is a book that has a great deal to say and which is destined to have a great deal said about it.

After a brief prologue, the story begins with a terrifying experience of the hero’s high school days, moves quickly to the campus of a Southern Negro college and then to New York’s Harlem, where most of the action takes place. The many people that the hero meets in the course of his wanderings are remarkably various, complex and significant. With them he becomes involved in an amazing series of adventures, in which he is sometimes befriended but more often deceived and betrayed–as much by himself and his own illusions as by the duplicity of the blindness of others.

Invisible Man is not only a great triumph of storytelling and characterization; it is a profound and uncompromising interpretation of the Negro’s anomalous position in American society.

I can’t believe I’ve never read this. My much younger cousin recommended this version, narrated by Joe Morton and my library came through, again!

When Indian American journalist Smita returns to India to write the story of a young widow Meena and the murder of her husband, it’s Smita’s first time back since her family left when she was a child. Both Smita and Meena were raised in a culture where a woman exercising a basic human right – the right to love and marry whoever she chooses – is met with brutal punishment. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita must reckon with the privilege that becoming an American has given her, as well as face the trauma that shaped her as a child and led to her family leaving.

Dual love stories propel the narrative, as different as the cultures from which they emanate. We follow how Meena fell headfast in love with a person forbidden to her due to his religion and faced the violent consequences of her choice; and Smita’s freedom to have a casual love affair and to decide, later, how much it means to her.

Moving, perceptive, and heartbreaking, this is a story about two women and what they inspire in each other as they navigate a home where terrible things have occurred, and are allowed to keep occurring, a country that they want, more than anything, to love.

This January selection by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club didn’t call to me at first but after reading quite a few compelling reviews by Goodreads friends,  I grabbed the audiobook when it showed up at my library.

Up-and-coming screenwriter Cara Kennedy has the biggest meeting of her career in two days — but for now, she’s on vacation. Her short trip to Ireland is all planned out: 1. See the sites around Dublin. 2. Don’t think about the jerk of an ex she was supposed to spend this trip with. 3. Relax with some Irish whiskey. 4. Propose to a sexy Irish musician on Leap Day. 5. Wake up married.

Wait, those last two things weren’t on her list….

A whirlwind trip to Ireland is supposed to end with a suitcase full of wool sweaters and souvenir pint glasses — not a husband you only just met! Now, her flight is in four hours, and that meeting is in exactly two days — nothing she can do except take her new husband (and his adorable dog) back to LA with her and try to untangle the mess she’s made of her life….

I hadn’t heard of this until a Goodreads friend reviewed it and all I could think of was fun! Then the audiobook showed up at my library and of course I grabbed it.

Tall, dark, and brooding—to say that American Maxwell Crenshaw stood out in the glittering ballrooms of London is an understatement. He vowed never to set foot in England again, but when a summons from his father along with an ultimatum to secure his legacy has him crossing the Atlantic for the last time, reuniting him with the delectable Lady Helena March, he can’t deny the temptation she presents. Or the ideas she inspires . . .

Lady Helena March is flirting with scandal. Instead of spending her time at teas and balls in search of another husband, as is expected of a young widow, Helena pours her energy into The London Home for Young Women. But Society gives no quarter to unmarried radicals who associate with illegitimate children and fallen women, and Helena’s funding is almost run out. So when the sinfully seductive Crenshaw heir suggests a fake engagement to save them both—him from an unwanted marriage and her from scorn and financial ruin—Helena finds herself too fascinated to refuse the sexy American.

I was thrilled to get this third book in the Gilded Age Heiresses series for audio review!

Newly married and navigating life with a toddler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job which allows her to “potter in, coffee in hand and log on for a spot of internet shopping–precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance.” But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couple’s counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.

But when Manon is on a walk with her two-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job, full-force, trying to solve the suicide–or is it a murder–in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.

This third book in the DS Manon Bradshaw series showed up at my library and I jumped in the short queue.

There are two types of relationships: fake and real.

Chuck and Kate’s used to be real, oh-so-real. But after she broke his heart four months ago, leaving him, it became all just pretense for the sake of their entwined families.

With parents who are best friends and business partners, it’s not easy for Chuck and Kate to announce they’ve split up. But with the holidays looming over them, they can no longer keep pretending.

They head home for Christmas, determined to tell the truth — and end up accidentally engaged instead. The more they try to pull apart, the more the universe seems to push them back together, shortening the road to the altar. And when just-for-show kisses stir up forgotten feelings, things get even more complicated.

Now, with the midnight hour approaching, will Chuck and Kate’s relationship turn out to be fake or real?

I’m a sucker for romances that begin with a fake relationship so when this showed up at my library, I grabbed the audiobook.

Meet Yinka: a thirty-something, Oxford-educated, British Nigerian woman with a well-paid job, good friends, and a mother whose constant refrain is “Yinka, where is your huzband?”

Yinka’s Nigerian aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, her work friends think she’s too traditional (she’s saving herself for marriage!), her girlfriends think she needs to get over her ex already, and the men in her life…well, that’s a whole other story. But Yinka herself has always believed that true love will find her when the time is right.
Still, when her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find-A-Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Aided by a spreadsheet and her best friend, Yinka is determined to succeed. Will Yinka find herself a huzband? And what if the thing she really needs to find is herself?

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? brilliantly subverts the traditional romantic comedy with an unconventional heroine who bravely asks the questions we all have about love. Wry, acerbic, moving, this is a love story that makes you smile but also makes you think–and explores what it means to find your way between two cultures, both of which are yours.

I just couldn’t resist the whimsical title and cover when this appeared at my library. Didn’t think twice about grabbing the audiobook.

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only one who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years―all around her birthday―Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.

I’ve been interested in this series for some time and when Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books reviewed the fifth book, I decided to go for it because it sounded so good! And, my library now has most of the audio versions. This is the first!

A secret rebel…

Beautiful, spirited Lady Imogen Ridley is the toast of London’s glamorous season. Her blue-blooded admirers would be shocked to know that beneath her glittering veneer, she loathes society’s shallow snobberies. All she wants is to return to her gardening projects in the country.

Her reckless attempt to spark a scandal that will result in a quick trip home goes awry when she meets a handsome stranger in a dark gazebo. A string of forbidden trysts follow that fateful encounter, as immediate attraction soon turns to blazing passion. But Imogen has been promised to another, and her father is powerful and ruthless. He won’t tolerate any challenge to his ambitions for his daughter.

A man from a different world…

American Caleb Black finds himself at odds with England’s hidebound rules. Despite his wealth and brilliance as a landscape designer, he’s considered little better than a servant in status-obsessed Mayfair. So when he sets his sights on marrying the Earl of Deerforth’s lovely daughter, he knows he’s asking for trouble.

And trouble is exactly what he gets. Caleb needs to call on all his cleverness and determination to court his exquisite lady, let alone engineer a chance to make her his. With every secret meeting, every stolen caress, desire burns hotter, while danger and disgrace loom ever closer. Will this impossible love affair shatter the towering barriers of class and pedigree? Or will noble lineage, family duty, and centuries of tradition forever separate this man of the people from his aristocratic beloved?

Got a wonderful surprise from one of my favorite Indie authors! This is the third book in the A Scandal in Mayfair series, one I’m enjoying immensely. I have this for review.

LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch work together to hunt the killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.

A year has passed since LAPD detective Renée Ballard quit the force in the face of misogyny, demoralization, and endless red tape. Yet, after the chief of police himself tells her she can write her ticket within the department, Ballard takes back her badge, leaving “the Late Show” to rebuild the cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.

For years, Harry Bosch has been working a case that haunts him but that he hasn’t been able to crack—the murder of an entire family by a psychopath who still walks free. Ballard makes Bosch an offer: come work with her as a volunteer investigator in the new Open-Unsolved Unit, and he can pursue his “white whale” with the resources of the LAPD behind him.

The two must put aside old resentments to work together again and close in on a dangerous killer. Propulsive and unstoppable, this new novel demonstrates once again why “Connelly is the real deal” (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)

No cover or title but a great description! Doesn’t matter because this is an auto read author and series, scheduled for release in November. As soon as it gets a title, I’m recommending the audiobook for library purchase.

Hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime, Val McDermid’s award-winning, internationally bestselling novels have captivated readers for more than thirty years. Now, in 1979, she returns to the past with the story of Allie Burns, an investigative journalist whose stories lead her into world a corruption, terror, and murder.

The year started badly and only got worse–blizzards, strikes, power cuts, and political unrest were the norm. For journalist Allie Burns, however, someone else’s bad news was the unmistakable sound of opportunity knocking, and the year is ripe with possibilities. But Allie is a woman in a man’s world. Desperate to get away from the “women’s stories” the Glasgow desk keeps assigning her, she strikes up an alliance with wannabe investigative journalist Danny Sullivan. From the start, their stories create enemies. First an international tax fraud, then a potential Scottish terrorist group aiming to cause mayhem ahead of the impending devolution referendum. And then Danny is found murdered in his flat. For Allie, investigative journalism just got personal.

The first novel in McDermid’s newest series, 1979 is an atmospheric journey into the past with intriguing insight into the present, and the latest addition to McDermid’s crime pantheon.

Thanks to Jacob @ Hooked from Page One for his great review of the first book in a new series by one of my favorite mystery/thriller genre authors. I’m in a very short queue for the audiobook.

What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?



19 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. So many great additions Jo. When you listen to The Vanishing Season, let me know what you think. My library has 4 & 5 on audio, but that’s it. I want to know if I should use an audible credit to get it, or just read it. I just finished listening to Lucky Leap Day and absolutely loved it, the narration was wonderful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, I have read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. I remember that there was so much to unpack in the novel but I was pretty wowed by it. And you are going to love the Ellery Hathaway series! Schaffhausen said that the fifth book was the last but she always said she never says never, so🤷‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read or I should say was required to read in high school Invisible Man and I am super sure I would definitely get more out of it today than when I was a teen. I am currently reading Honor with Jan. Good reading with your other additions.

    I didn’t add any this week bc we were up in NY visiting my mom.

    Liked by 1 person

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