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 long-awaited conclusion to the beloved New York Timesbestselling and “engrossing” (People) Beartown series—which inspired an HBO series of the same name—follows the small hockey town’s residents as they grapple with change, pain, hope, and redemption.
Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The residents continue to grapple with life’s big questions: What is a family? What is a community? And what, if anything, are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect them?
As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.
So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home?
I had no idea this third book in the series was being released in October! It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
This was selected as a group read in one of my Goodreads groups and it reminds me of something Neil Gaiman might write. My number finally came up in the library queue for the audiobook.
Austin’s Zilker Park neighborhood is a wonderland of greenbelt trails, live music, and moms who drink a few too many margaritas. Whitney, Annette, and Liza have grown thick as thieves as they have raised their children together for 15 years, believing that they can shelter them their children from an increasingly dangerous world. Their friendship is unbreakable – as safe as the neighborhood where they’ve raised their sweet little boys.
Or so they think.
One night, the three women have been enjoying happy hour when their boys, lifeguards for the summer, come back on bicycles from a late-night dip in their favorite swimming hole. The boys share a secret – news that will shatter the perfect world their mothers have so painstakingly created.
Combining three mothers’ points of view in a powerful narrative tale with commentary from entertaining neighborhood listservs, secret text messages, and police reports, The Lifeguards is both a story about the secrets we tell to protect the ones we love and a riveting novel of suspense filled with half-truths and betrayals, fierce love and complicated friendships, and the loss of innocence on one hot summer night.
This showed up at my library and the reviews are definitely mixed, more so because it reads more like contemporary fiction with mystery elements instead of a thriller as it’s marketed. I like these kinds of stories so I’m willing to give it a shot.
After butting heads, an event planner and a wedding officiant begin an enemies with benefits arrangement as wedding bells chime around them in the newest rom-com from acclaimed author Denise Williams.
Divorce attorney RJ would never describe herself as romantic. But when she ends up officiating an unplanned wedding for a newly engaged couple in a park, her life is turned upside down. The video of the ceremony goes viral, and she finds herself in the unlikely position of being a sought-after local wedding officiant. Spending her free time overseeing “I dos” isn’t her most strategic career move, but she enjoys it, except for the type A dude-bro wedding planner she’s forced to work with.
Former pro-football event manager Lear is a people person, but after his longtime girlfriend betrayed him, he isn’t looking for love. He knows how to execute events and likes being in control, so working with an opinionated and inflexible officiant who can’t stand him is not high on his list. He’s never had trouble winning people over, but RJ seems immune to his charms.
Surrounded by love at every turn, their physical attraction pulls them together despite their best efforts to stay an arm’s length apart. Lear refuses to get hurt again. RJ refuses to let herself be vulnerable to anyone. But when it comes to happily ever after, their clients might not be the only ones saying “I do.”
Another NetGalley email put this on my radar and it sounds fun. A library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in October.
With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty–it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery.
For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley.
After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.
Same NetGalley email, same reaction! Also a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in October.
Letty Davenport, the brilliant and tenacious adopted daughter of Lucas Davenport, takes the investigative reins in the newest thriller from number one best-selling author John Sandford.
By age 24, Letty Davenport has seen more action and uncovered more secrets than many law enforcement professionals. Now a recent Stanford grad with a master’s in economics, she’s restless and bored in a desk job for U.S. Senator Colles. Letty’s ready to quit, but her skills have impressed Colles, and he offers her a carrot: feet-on-the-ground investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
Several oil companies in Texas have reported thefts of crude, Colles tells her. He isn’t so much concerned with the oil as he is with the money: who is selling the oil, and what are they doing with the profits? Rumor has it that a fairly ugly militia group – led by a woman known only as Lorelai – might be involved. Colles wants to know if the money is going to them, and if so, what they’re planning.
Letty is partnered with a DHS investigator, John Kaiser, and they head to Texas. When the case quickly turns deadly, they know they’re on the track of something bigger. Lorelai and her group have set in motion an explosive plan…and the clock is ticking down.
I was unaware that Sandford was launching a new series! Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
Marisa and Jake are a perfect couple. And Kate, their new lodger, is the perfect roommate—and not just because her rent payments will give them the income they need to start trying for the baby of their dreams.
Except—no one is truly perfect. Sure, Kate doesn’t seem to care much about personal boundaries and can occasionally seem overly-familiar with Jake. But Marisa doesn’t let it concern her, knowing that soon Kate will be gone, and it will just be her, Jake, and their future baby.
Conceiving a baby is easier said than done, though, and Jake and Marisa’s perfect relationship is put to the test through months of fertility treatments and false starts. To make matters worse, Kate’s boundary-pushing turns into an all-out obsession—with Jake, with Marisa, and with their future child. Who is this woman? Why does she seem to know everything about Marisa and Jake?
In her quest to find out who Kate really is, Marisa might destroy everything she’s worked so hard to create—her perfect romance, her perfect family, and her perfect self.
Jake doesn’t know the half of what Marisa has created—and what she stands to lose.
When this was offered for audio review, I was immediately hooked by both the description and the cover. It’s my kind of story.
In this powerful audio exclusive, #1 New York Times bestseller J.R. Ward shares the star-crossed love story of reader favorite, and original member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Darius.
Darius, son of Marklon, isn’t looking for love the night destiny comes to claim him. He’s also not interested in crashing his new car. But when a human woman runs out into the road and he must swerve to avoid killing her…everything goes off course.
Disillusioned by his King’s lack of leadership and the losses in the war against the Lessening Society, Darius finds purpose in protecting a woman he cannot make his own. Love finds a way, however—until the truth of what he is comes out and she leaves him in horror.
Unbeknownst to them both, Anne is carrying his young, a female who is destined to be Queen—and after a tragic reunion, he vows to protect their daughter. Resigned to perpetual sadness, he is determined to serve the memory of his beloved no matter the cost…unless by some miracle, fate sees fit to once again bring them together.
I can’t be more happy and surprised about this Black Dagger Brotherhood prequel! I think it also portends of future stories that finally reveal secrets surrounding this character. I’m getting it for audio review in July.
What would you do if your dream man turned out to be real?
When law student Cass Walker wakes up after surviving a car accident, she is flooded with memories of her boyfriend, Devin. The only problem? Devin doesn’t exist. But everything she remembers about him feels so real, like the precise shade of his coffee-brown eyes; the texture of his favorite hand-me-down scarf; even the slightly crooked angle of his pinkie, broken after falling off a trampoline in third grade. She knows he’s a figment of her imagination – friends, family, and doctors confirm it – but she still can’t seem to get him out of her head.
So when she runs into the real Devin a year later in a Cleveland flower shop, she’s completely shocked. Even more surprising is that Devin actually believes her story, and soon they embark on a real-life romance. With her dream man by her side and an upcoming summer job at a prestigious law firm, Cass’ future seems perfect. But fate might have other plans….
From the beloved author of Shipped comes a magical and witty romantic comedy that explores what happens when our dreams come true – even when they’re not the ones we expect.
I enjoyed Shipped and like the sound of this one. It’s scheduled for release in July and is a library audiobook hopeful.
Still mourning the death of her own fiancée, Lauren Hudson must put on a brave face for her family as they gather in Zion National Park for her brother’s wedding. He’s co-founded a “glamping” (glamorous camping) start-up with Sadie, the soon-to-be bride whom the rest of the Hudsons have yet to meet, and they’re hosting their small destination wedding for their nearest and dearest right on their own campgrounds. But not long after Lauren arrives on the scenic property, doubts creep in about Sadie – could she be harboring a sinister secret? Or is the trauma of Lauren’s own past clouding her judgment? With the wedding looming ever closer, can Lauren discover and expose the truth before it’s too late?
A Goodreads friend gave this a thumbs up and it was also free with my Audible membership.
All the best love stories are tragic. Ours is no different.
Lennon is the woman who should have always been mine. The one that I let slip through my fingers time and time again. I was young, stupid, and arrogant enough to think love would wait.
Being in the Marines has taught me patience. The enemy never strikes when you expect it. Love is the same way.
And falling in love with your best friend requires a special type of patience.
So when tragedy strikes, the only thing I can do is be what I’ve always been to her — her best friend.
I’ve learned everything has a cost — even love. Lennon has paid dearly.
But I’m not about to let tragedy steal our happily ever after.
I’m a big fan of the author having read most everything she’s written. This is scheduled for release next month.
It was four o’clock in the morning. A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child – and in a way, she was.
She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn’t wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news.
The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Carolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off.
That is where the footage ends. It isn’t where the story ends, however. It’s not even where the story starts.
Another audiobook free with my Audible membership that was given a wonderful review by a Goodreads friend.
When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.
Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.
Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, this thriller introduces listeners to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil.
I’m convinced there’s someone at NetGalley specifically assigned to find books that will hook me and then send me an email. I wish this was being released now instead of June. It’s library audiobook hopeful.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?