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 the first line of Ocean State, we learn that a high school student was murdered, and we find out who did it. The story that unfolds from there with incredible momentum is thus one of the buildup to and fallout from the murder, told through the alternating perspectives of the four women at its heart. The murderer Angel, her mother Carol, and the victim Birdy, all come alive on the page as they converge in a climax both tragic and inevitable. Watching over it all is the retrospective testimony of Angel’s younger sister, Marie, who reflects on that doomed autumn of 2009 with all the wisdom of hindsight.
Angel and Birdy love the same teenage boy, frantically and single mindedly, and are compelled by the intensity of their feelings to extremes neither could have anticipated. O’Nan’s expert hand paints a fully realized portrait of these women but also weaves a compelling and heartbreaking story of working-class life in Ashaway, Rhode Island. Propulsive, moving, and deeply rendered, Ocean State is a masterful novel by one of our greatest storytellers
Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for her outstanding review. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
A wrenching psychological thriller in the vein of Tana French’s In the Woods, Jon Bassoff’s Beneath Cruel Waters reminds us that the sins of the mothers are the sins of the sons.
Holt Davidson, a Kansas firefighter, hasn’t been back to his hometown of Thompsonville, Colorado, for more than two decades, but when he learns that his estranged mother has taken her own life, he returns for the funeral, hoping to make peace with her memory. He spends the night at his childhood home, rummaging through each room, exploring the past. But instead of nostalgic souvenirs, he discovers a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid photograph of a man lying in his own blood.
Who is the dead man? Was his mother the one who killed him, and, if so, why? Who sent the love letter? And what role did his sister, institutionalized since she was a teenager, play in this act of violence? As his own traumatic memories begin to resurface, Holt begins an investigation into his mother’s and sister’s pasts—as well as his own.A wrenching psychological thriller in the vein of Tana French’s In the Woods, Jon Bassoff’s Beneath Cruel Waters reminds us that the sins of the mothers are the sins of the sons.
Another book I hadn’t heard of until Marialyce @ yayareads mentioned it in her comments last week. It’s scheduled for release in May, another library audiobook hopeful.
Art teacher Angie Newcastle’s life is all monotone.
She wasn’t always this dull. She’d been an up-and-coming artist with the world at her feet. But after contracting the Wrong Man Syndrome and spending years doubting herself, she no longer recognizes herself.
When she loses her job, she can’t afford to keep ignoring the obvious: her life needs a serious overhaul. And she knows exactly where to start: in Ireland, teaching art classes to her ex-pat cousin’s village community.
Angie expected the golden fields beside her ancient Irish cottage to inspire her. She didn’t expect them to be populated by sheep sprayed with uplifting words. And she certainly didn’t expect anyone like their owner, reclusive sheep baron Carrick Fitzgerald, or the matchmaking ghost determined to bring them together.
Neither want to find love—especially Angie, who’s on a self-imposed man-fast because she doesn’t want her life to take another nosedive. Only she slowly realizes that Carrick is the most unexpected of Prince Charmings and that he might help her make all her dreams come true.
Though I haven’t read anything by Miles in a long time, I still recall how much I loved her stories. This showed up on sale for $.99 this week.
When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it’s a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.
Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband’s ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley’s brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He’s the first man to see past Bree’s barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she’s stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she’s ever wanted?
At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.
I’ve come to love her contemporary fiction, the latest I featured yesterday. Scheduled for release in May, it’s an audio review hopeful. Thanks to Carla @ Carla Loves to Read for featuring it in her Stacking the Shelves post.
A secret romance pushes three estranged sisters to the Amalfi Coast to follow clues about their mother’s past, and challenges them to a whole new future, from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
Sisters Priscilla, Devon, and Bailey haven’t been close in years, but when they’re forced to come together to settle their mother’s estate, they discover a secret none of them knew. In an old trunk, they happen upon ownership papers for a house on the Amalfi Coast, along with a love letter from their mother to an anonymous man, promising to meet him in Italy during the summer of her seventieth year.
Now they’re questioning everything they knew about her history. In order to get answers about the woman they thought they knew, they’ll have to go back to where it all started. The sisters embark on a trip to the stunning cliffside village of Positano, Italy, to track down the mysterious ex-lover, and figure out who their mother really was.
As Priscilla, Devon, and Bailey unearth the truth, they also experience the magic of Italy, the power of sisterly love, a little unexpected romance, and newfound hope for the future.
This showed up at my library and I didn’t think twice about grabbing it, especially when I discovered it was narrated by three of my favorites.
Rizzoli & Isles are back! From New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, this harrowing thriller has Jane and Maura investigating a brutal murder with dire implications, and this time, with Jane’s intrepid mother, Angela, looking into a mystery of her own.
“Suspense doesn’t get any smarter than this.” – LEE CHILD, on the Rizzoli & Isles series
Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are plagued by what seems like a completely senseless murder. Sofia Suarez, a widow and nurse who was universally liked by all her neighbors, lies bludgeoned to death in her own home. But anything can happen behind closed doors, and Sofia seemed to have plenty of secrets in her last days, making covert phone calls to old contacts and traceless burner phones. When Jane finally makes a connection between Sofia and the victim of a hit-and-run months earlier, the case only grows more blurry. What exactly was Sofia involved in? One thing is clear: The killer will do anything it takes to keep their secret safe.
Meanwhile, Angela Rizzoli hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in all the years since her daughter became a homicide detective. Maybe the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Nothing in her neighborhood gets by Angela – not the gossip about a runaway teenager down the block and definitely not the strange neighbors who have just moved in across the street. Angela’s sure there’s no such thing as coincidence in her sleepy suburb. If only Jane would listen; instead she writes off Angela’s concerns as the result of an overactive imagination. But Angela’s convinced there’s a real wolf in her vicinity, and her cries might now fall on deaf ears.
With so much happening on the Sofia case, Jane and Maura already struggle to see the forest for the trees, but will they lose sight of something sinister happening much closer to home?
Whoa! I was completely shocked to learn of a new installment in the Rizzoli & Isles series is scheduled for release in July. I had given up hope. It’s an audio review hopeful.
Nisha Sharma’s new romantic comedy features enemies to lovers, a cast of best friends, and a gaggle of aunties determined to make a match.
Hi! I’m Kareena Mann. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m looking for my soulmate. In four months. And he must gain the approval of my meddling aunties.
Kareena dreams of having a perfect love story like her parents did. That’s why on the morning of her thirtieth birthday, she’s decided to suit up and enter the dating arena. When her widowed father announces he’s retiring and selling their home after her sister’s engagement party, Kareena makes a deal with him. If she can find her soulmate by the date of the party, he’ll gift her the house, and she’ll be able to keep her mother’s legacy alive.
Hi, I’m Dr. Prem Verma, host of the Dr. Dil Show. Prem means love, Dil means heart, and I’m a cardiologist. Don’t let my name fool you. I only fix broken hearts in the literal sense.
Prem doesn’t have time for romance, which is why it’s no surprise when his first meeting with Kareena goes awry. Their second encounter is worse when their on-air debate about love goes viral. Now Prem’s largest community center donor is backing out because Prem’s reputation as a heart-health expert is at risk. To get back in his donor’s good graces, he needs to fix his image fast, and dating Kareena is his only option.
Even though they have warring interests, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he thinks she’s might actually be the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. In this Taming of the Shrew re-imagination, for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.
I first saw this in a NetGalley email, hoped it would show up at my library and it did! The audiobook is on hold.
Strangers aboard a London bus unite to help an elderly man find his missed love connection in the heartwarming new novel from the author of The Last Chance Library.
When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, brokenhearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 that he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like hers. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery art museum, but Frank lost the bus ticket with her number on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her, but with no luck.
Libby is inspired to action and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she papers the bus route with posters advertising their search. Libby begins to open her guarded heart to new friendships and a budding romance, as her tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the 88 bus is slipping away.
More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness—before it’s too late—in a beautifully uplifting novel about how a shared common experience among strangers can transform lives in the most marvelous ways.
Oh, I loved everything about this when I saw it in a NetGalley email! It’s a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in August.
A new heartfelt novel about the power of loneliness and the strength of love that overcomes it by critically acclaimed author Roselle Lim.
Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.
In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.
This was included in that same NetGalley email, another library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in August.
Point Break meets And Then There Were None in a pulse-pounding beach read that explores the dangerous ties between a group of elite surfers who are determined to find the perfect waves at any cost…even murder.
The waves are to die for.
Three years ago, passionate surfer Kenna Ward lost her two great loves – after her boyfriend drowned, she hung up her surfboard and swore off the water for good. But she is drawn back to the beach when her best friend, Mikki, announces her sudden engagement to a man Kenna has never met – a member of a tight-knit group of surfers. Kenna travels to a remote Australian beach, entering a dangerous world far from civilization where the waves, weather, and tides are all that matter. Kenna is tempted back into the surf, and drawn into the dazzling group and the beach they call their own.
But this coastal paradise has a dark side, and members of the group begin to go missing. Kenna realizes that in order to protect Mikki and learn more about the surfers, she must become one of them…without becoming one of their victims. What follows is an adrenaline-fueled thriller packed with twists and turns, exploring the dangerous edge between passion and obsession.
My Goodreads friend Debra @ OpenBook Posts wrote a compelling review of this story that hooked me right away. It’s scheduled for release in July and is a library audiobook hopeful.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?