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.
Two sisters, one long-ago murder, and a web of terrifying secrets collide in a gripping standalone thriller from acclaimed author Edwin Hill . . .
At first glance, Natalie Cavanaugh and Glenn Abbott hardly look like sisters. Even off-duty, Natalie dresses like a Boston cop, preferring practical clothes and unfussy, pinned-up hair. Her younger sister, Glenn, seems tailor-made for the spotlight, from her signature red mane to her camera-ready smile. Glenn has spent years cultivating her brand through her baking blog, and with the publication of her new book, that hard work seems about to pay off. But her fans have no idea about the nightmare in Glenn and Natalie’s past.
Twenty years ago, their father’s body was discovered in the woods behind their house. A trauma like that doesn’t fit with Glenn’s public image. Yet, maybe someone reading her blog does know something. There have been anonymous online messages, vague yet ominous, hinting that she’s being watched. And with unsettling coincidences hitting ever closer to home, both Glenn and Natalie soon have more pressing matters to worry about, especially when a dead body is found in an abandoned building . . .
Natalie is starting to wonder how much Glenn really knows about the people closest to her. But are there also secrets Natalie has yet to uncover about those she herself trusts? For two decades, she’s believed their father was murdered by their neighbor, with whom he was having an affair. But if those events are connected to what’s happening now, maybe there’s much more that Natalie doesn’t know. About their father. About their neighbors. About her friends. Maybe even about herself.
But there are no secrets between sisters . . . are there?
Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for including this title in her message on last week’s post. After reading the description, I added it, too and soon after, the audiobook showed up at my library.
Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina – the tobacco capital of the South – where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. After years of war rations and shortages, Bright Leaf is a prosperous wonderland in full technicolor bloom, and Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives.
But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems. A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems, and although Maddie is quick to believe that this is a coincidence, she inadvertently uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.
Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust – and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud, strong women with whom she has forged strong bonds.
Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth.
I took a pass on this book initially but it kept popping up. Then I read the review by Carla @ Carla Loves to Read and gave in. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
FOUR FRIENDS. THREE ENEMIES. TWO TRAGEDIES. ONE TERRIBLE TRUTH.
A small English town is rocked by the disappearance of a local woman, Tina. As the search continues, someone is targeting her former best friends for revenge. Lauren, Jess, Claire. They all hide secrets. Who knows what they did? Who’s watching them? The truth is stranger and far more sinister than they can ever imagine.
A dark, twisty thriller which will grip you until the very last page.
The author is one of my followers and I’ve eyed her book for a while. When it went on sale this week, I took the plunge!
It’s Christmas time, and Mary Valley is in a funk. She’s a writer for home magazines, but she’s lost touch with what home means. Her life seems meaningless. The last house she wrote about was a gazillion-dollar mansion with a moat! Plus, she’s estranged from her daughter, CC, and granddaughter, Larkin, and mired in a dead-end relationship with her boss.
Daniel is a man adrift since his son Timmy was killed in Afghanistan. He’s living on a houseboat in Florida with Timmy’s three-legged dog, Tripod, and taking tourists out on fishing charters. But his life is on the edge. He’s painting his houseboat black, and he can’t stop thinking about “getting lost at sea.”
When Mary’s boss tells her he’s spending Christmas with his ex, she books a trip with her family to The Low Key Inn, a hotel on the edge of the Everglades. But things go wrong from the get-go. CC bails out of the vacation, and Mary is stuck with an unhappy Larkin. The hotel is dated and down on its luck, and perhaps its owner is a witch. Then Mary meets Daniel, casts a hook into his head and wrecks his boat.
This is the story of how wounded people can help each other heal, how lost people can help each other find their way home. How life can become a love story….
I hadn’t heard of the book or author until Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books included it in her list of NetGalley book hauls on her Sunday Post. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
Lizzie has made endless mistakes. Kitchen fires, pyramid schemes, bangs (of the hair and human variety), you name it, she’s done it… and made a mess of it too. One mistake she’s never made is letting anyone get closer to her than a single hook-up. But after losing yet another bakery job due to her uncontrolled ADHD, she breaks her cardinal rule and has a two-night-stand that changes everything.
Once burned, twice shy, Rake has given up on relationships. And feelings. And any form of intimacy for that matter. Yet something about charming, chaotic Lizzie has him lowering his guard. For two nights, that is. Then it’s back home to Australia and far away from the pesky feelings Lizzie pulls from him. But when Lizzie tells him she’s got an unexpected bun in the oven, he’ll do whatever it takes to be a part of his child’s life… except be emotionally vulnerable, obviously. He’s never going to make that mistake again.
Through a series of mishaps, totally “platonic” single bed sharing, and an underground erotic baking scheme, Lizzie and Rake learn that even the biggest mistakes can have the most beautiful consequences.
It’s not a proper Saturday without a book from Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra featured in her Can’t Wait Wednesday post. This sounds wonderful and is a library audiobook hopeful, a September release date.
An obnoxious tech genius determined to keep everyone at arm’s length. The shy but feisty server who sees right through him. An explosive chemistry…
Genius tech millionaire Isaiah Harper, better known as “Crazy Isaiah,” alienates everyone he encounters with his abrasive personality. Not that he cares. Until he meets his match during a run-in with the feisty server at his family’s restaurant in small-town Journey’s End.
Alyssa Banks knows she needs to make some life changes and stop acting like a doormat. But she never expected her big moment to come while nose-to-nose with intriguing Isaiah Harper, who doesn’t strike her as crazy. At all…
I learned of this Kindle freebie from the author’s newsletter. I’m collecting her books.
Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal–an experience that shocks him to his core.
Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.
A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.
Though I first learned of this book from a NetGalley email, I didn’t pay attention until the audiobook showed up at my library. Sometimes science fiction calls to me, especially when it’s mixed with multiple genres.
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Oprah Daily, Essence, Glamour, Business Insider, Marie Claire, The Millions, She Reads, Book Riot, Bad Form
Summer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.
As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.
Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.
I hadn’t heard of this book until it was announced as the April selection by the Today show’s Read with Jenna book club. I grabbed the audiobook when it showed up at my library and learned it was narrated by two favorites.
Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?
Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.
Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)
Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!
Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.
How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?
I hadn’t remembered this one until the audiobook showed up at my library. Thanks to Yvo @ It’s All About Books for helping me to decide!
When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.
Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.
Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.
I’m a big fan of the author and learned of this new title from a BuzzFeed email. Scheduled for release in May, it’s an audio review hopeful.
Charlotte Parks feels like she’s going crazy. From misplaced items and phantom scents to specters of the past in the form of hallucination.
But as the incidents become more targeted, the coincidences increasingly cruel, Charlotte begins to suspect that someone is deliberately using her family history of psychosis to torment her for their own ends. Escaping to the serene waters of Lake Rabun, she first runs afoul of the local sheriff, Ethan McCloud, before finding it necessary to enlist his aid.
Is Charlotte being stalked, or is she simply paranoid? Because sometimes the most treacherous depths are in our mind..
Clark O’Neil is one of my most favorite romantic suspense authors and I was thrilled to learn of this new release. She’s an Indie author and I implore you to check out her Southern Comfort series, beginning with the book Serendipity. You’ll thank me!
2019: Andie Figuero has just landed her dream job as a producer of Mansion Makeover, a popular reality show about restoring America’s most lavish historic houses. Andie has high hopes for her latest project: the once glorious but gently crumbling Sprague Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, summer resort of America’s gilded class—famous for the lavish “summer cottages” of Vanderbilts and Belmonts. But Andie runs into trouble: the reclusive heiress who still lives in the mansion, Lucia “Lucky” Sprague, will only allow the show to go forward on two conditions: One, nobody speaks to her. Two, nobody touches the mansion’s ruined boathouse.
1899: Ellen Daniels has been hired to give singing lessons to Miss Maybelle Sprague, a naive young Colorado mining heiress whose stepbrother John has poured their new money into buying a place among Newport’s elite. John is determined to see Maybelle married off to a fortune-hunting Italian prince, and Ellen is supposed to polish up the girl for her launch into society. But the deceptively demure Ellen has her own checkered past, and she’s hiding in plain sight at Sprague Hall.
1958: Lucia “Lucky” Sprague has always felt like an outsider at Sprague Hall. When she and her grandmother—the American-born Princess di Conti—fled Mussolini’s Italy, it seemed natural to go back to the imposing Newport house Nana owned but hadn’t seen since her marriage in 1899. Over the years, Lucky’s lost her Italian accent and found a place for herself among the yachting set by marrying Stuyvesant Sprague, the alcoholic scion of her Sprague stepfamily. But one fateful night in the mansion’s old boathouse will uncover a devastating truth…and change everything she thought she knew about her past.
As the cameras roll on Mansion Makeover, the house begins to yield up the dark secrets the Spragues thought would stay hidden forever….
I’ve not only been to Newport but toured six of those American “castles.” My interest was sparked when I attended a Smithsonian Institute seminar about them. Thanks to an email from the publisher for putting it in my sights. It’s an audio review hopeful, scheduled for release in May.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?