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.
A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the international bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people – though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes, it feels like she’s invisible.
All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend – her grandmother Zelda – who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.
Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending.
I finally have a family member who shares my love of books and she told me I had to listen to this one. It’s an older title and I got the audiobook from my library.
They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.
Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten book topping best seller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.
This showed up at my library and I just like the sound of the story. Great reviews from some of my friends don’t hurt either.
In a normal family, in a normal house, on a normal street, everything is about to go horribly wrong…
Today was meant to be an ordinary day.
A perfect summer morning, the weatherman predicting record highs. The children getting ready for school, five-year-old George packing his marbles and his twin sister Sophie, younger by three minutes, cradling her Polly Pocket doll. But it didn’t turn out that way.
In the suburbs, every day is an ordinary one. We never lock our doors, and the police only get called for missing cats. But not today… The doors are locked, the curtains closed, and there is no escape. In the darkness, it’s impossible to believe that it’s a beautiful sunny morning. Why is someone I love, someone we trust, punishing me like this? How could I have got it so very wrong?
It was meant to be an ordinary day. But now my children hold my hands, trembling with terror – and it’s up to me to protect them. When sirens screech through the air, disturbing the peace of our quiet street, I realise that things will never be ordinary again.
I failed to note how this title crossed my radar so apologies to whomever may have reviewed it this week. It’s on my Audible wishlist.
In this “tense, twisting mystery” and “absolutely can’t-put-it-down read” (Megan Miranda), no one bats an eye when a Black reality TV star is found dead in the Bronx—except her estranged half-sister, whose refusal to believe the official story leads her on a dangerous search for the truth.
“I found out my sister was back in New York from Instagram. I found out she’d died from the New York Daily News.”
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets—or ending up dead herself.
Offered for audio review, this was just too intriguing to pass up.
Nine out of ten dentists agree, Mazey Eddings’s rom-com A Brush with Love makes your smile brighter!*
*Not scientifically proven
Harper is anxiously awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program when she crashes (literally) into Dan. Harper would rather endure a Novocaine-free root canal than face any distractions, even one this adorable. A first-year dental student with a family legacy to contend with, Dan doesn’t have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does. Though he finds himself falling for her, he is willing to play by Harper’s rules. So with the greatest of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs, the two set out to be “just friends.” But as they get to know each other better, Harper fears that trading fillings for feelings may make her lose control and can’t risk her carefully ordered life coming undone, no matter how drool-worthy Dan is.
Blood, gore, and extra-long roots? No problem. The idea of falling in love? Torture.
Have you ever read a cuter description? Couldn’t resist when it was offered for audio review. And, early reviews confirm what I was hoping this would be.
Nina de Gramont’s The Christie Affair is a beguiling novel of star-crossed lovers, heartbreak, revenge, and murder—and a brilliant re-imagination of one of the most talked-about unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century.
Every story has its secrets.
Every mystery has its motives.
“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”
The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.
London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.
The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?
For some reason, this just wasn’t calling to me until I read the review by Marialyce @ yayareads. It was also selected by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club as their January title. I’m in a short library queue for the audiobook.
The Airport Novellas
An airport pet groomer meets her frequent flier crush in this captivating romance novella from the acclaimed author of How to Fail at Flirting
Ollie Wright loves the thrill of taking chances, like opening a pet grooming salon in an airport where every day is a little unpredictable. The one thing she won’t risk is her heart, so catching glimpses of a cute stranger from afar is enough romantic entanglement for her.
Bennett Baker is a professional risk assessor by day while writing popular romance novels at night, except he finds himself facing writer’s block. His life of carefully planned stability comes crashing down when he rescues a slippery pup in the airport and returns it to the enchanting pet groomer whose laugh inspires him to start writing again.
Their chance encounter and instant chemistry thrusts them into a whirlwind of airport dates at pretzel kiosks, stolen glances at empty gates, and late-night texts that leave them swooning. If the risk-adverse Bennett can take a chance on uncertainty and adventurous Ollie will break her own rule, their relationship might stop taxiing and actually take off.
Two strangers share a romantic night together only to discover months later they’re professional rivals in this grumpy meets sunshine romance novella from the acclaimed author of How To Fail at Flirting.
Gia loves her job as a professor, even when it means dealing with an elusive rival academic who’s made it his mission to criticize her work. When she meets him for the first time, she’s shocked to learn they’ve met before. Months earlier, they shared a perfect New Year’s Eve together in an airport during a weather delay.
After months of working together, Felix still can’t believe the person whose research he’s been challenging is the same captivating woman he kissed that night. The two couldn’t be more different. Gia is bubbly, friendly, and extroverted and drives ordered, serious Felix nuts.
Now the two have been assigned to embark on a five-school tour for work. Gia and Felix can’t imagine a travel partner they’d enjoy less until they feel the sparks fly over their shared armrests, security mishaps, and a shared hotel room. They’ll need to decide if they can manage their professional tension, or risk missing the connection of a lifetime.
Two best friends have one week to return a lost love letter found in a candy store—and to work up the courage to confess to the deep feelings between them—in this romance novella from the acclaimed author of How To Fail at Flirting.
Teagan’s job in an airport candy store pays the bills but she dreams of traveling the world. With one week until she boards a plane for an international adventure, she finds an abandoned love letter in the store and talks her BFF into helping her figure out who it belongs to.
Silas solves problems for a living as an airline customer service representative. One problem he can’t solve is how to reveal a big secret to his best friend that would risk changing their entire relationship. When she proposes they work together to get the love letter back to its owner, he jumps at the chance.
Teagan and Silas stumble on romantic clues, old stories, and more than a few dead ends along the way while trying to play Cupid, all of which bring them closer together. With only a few days before Teagan’s transatlantic move, the two of them must decide if the sweet temptation of falling for their best friend is worth the potential heartbreak or if either can stand to keep their feelings wrapped up.
I’m loving this new trend of themed novella-sized romances! Thanks to Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra for featuring them in her Can’t Wait Wednesday post (yes, again!). All are library audiobook hopefuls.
The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)
Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.
After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.
As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.
This audiobook also showed up at my library and I decided to take a chance on a new-to-me author and a different kind of story.
Emma Walsh has finally worked up the courage to confront her husband James about his drinking—his alcoholic rages, his blackouts, and the fear his behavior has created for her and their two kids. But James never shows up to meet her as planned, and all her righteous words go unsaid. And unsaid they remain, because the next time Emma sees James, his body lies crumpled amidst the wreckage of his flashy car, which has been smashed to its final resting place halfway through the back wall of their suburban house’s roomy garage.
In the aftermath of the fatal crash, Emma and her teenage children begin to embrace life without James’s looming, volcanic presence. Buoyed by the support of her two closest friends, she struggles to deal with her grief, complicated by the knowledge that her husband’s legacy as an upstanding business owner and family man shines only because so many people, for so long, were so willing to keep his secrets—secrets that twist into new and unexpected shapes as the mysterious details of his last day of life begin to come to light.
A sinister and suspenseful domestic thriller, lauded as “stylish” by Publishers Weekly and “delicious” by Booklist, Wish You Were Gone will keep you guessing “until not just the last page, but the last paragraph” (Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author).
I hadn’t heard of this title until the audiobook was offered for review. There are six narrators, which that fact alone reeled me in for a closer look, and the description is delicious.
A riveting story about a Black classical musician’s desperate quest to recover his lost violin on the eve of the most prestigious musical competition in the world.
“Utterly original and downright gripping.” (Zakiya Dalila Harris, New York Times best-selling author of The Other Black Girl)
Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a job at the hospital cafeteria. If he’s extra lucky, he’ll earn more than minimum wage. But Ray has a gift and a dream – he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.
When he discovers that his great-great-grandfather’s beat-up old fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. Together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition – the Olympics of classical music – the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars in its place. Ray will have to piece together the clues to recover his treasured Strad – before it’s too late. With the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-great-grandfather asserting that the instrument is rightfully theirs, and with his family staking their own claim, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust – or whether he will ever see his beloved violin again.
When this showed up at my library, I was unsure about it until I read the review by Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books. I grabbed the audiobook.
A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students—a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own…
“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.”
And so we are introduced to our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
With this bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured debut, author Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and wildly entertaining, Vladimir perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.
Okay, I must confess that I initially ignored this title when it was offered for audio review because I thought it was about Putin. But, after closer inspection, I figured out it was a piece of exquisite literary fiction. I took so long to ponder, it showed up at my library and now I’m in a short queue.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?