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.
“Welcome to the family,” Nina Winchester says as I shake her elegant, manicured hand. I smile politely, gazing around the marble hallway. Working here is my last chance to start fresh. I can pretend to be whoever I like. But I’ll soon learn that the Winchesters’ secrets are far more dangerous than my own…
Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.
I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband.
I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late.
But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am.
They don’t know what I’m capable of…
Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for including this in her message on last week’s post. Oh, this sounds so creepy! It’s on my Audible wishlist.
The latest twisty psychological thriller from internationally best-selling author Lucy Clarke, One of the Girls is the delicious story of a bachelorette trip on a stunning Greek island…that ends in murder.
It was supposed to be the perfect weekend away. Six very different women travel to a sun-soaked Greek island for a bachelorette trip, to celebrate Lexi’s upcoming wedding. From the glorious ocean views to the quaint tavernas and whitewashed streets, the vacation seems too good to be true. But dangerous undercurrents run beneath the sunset swims and midnight cocktails – because each of the women is hiding a secret. Someone is determined to make sure that Lexi’s marriage never happens – and that one of them doesn’t leave the island alive.
Gripping, twisty, and full of sun-soaked suspense, this timely thriller examines the joys of female friendship…as well as the deadly consequences when a relationship goes wrong.
I learned about this from a NetGalley email, scheduled for release in June. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a thrilling new look at the iconic origin story of Cat and Bones, as experienced by Bones…from the other half of the grave.
There are two sides to every story–and the sizzling British alpha vampire, Bones, has a lot to say…
Ever wondered what Bones was thinking and feeling when he and half-vampire Cat Crawfield first met? Or how their story might differ if he were the one telling it? Now, relive the beginning of Cat and Bones’ bestselling love story through Bones’ point of view, which reveals a darker, sexier take on their early days, as well as a deeper dive into Bones’ past, the vampire world, and other things that Cat didn’t see when their story was told only through her eyes in Halfway to the Grave.
Cat had her say. Now, it’s Bones’ turn.
I read this series many years ago and loved it, one of my first introductions to the world of vampires. This new story is a retelling of the first book but from the point of view of Bones, the vampire who changed Cat’s world. Thanks to Anne @ Books of My Heart and her wonderful review for letting me know that this was even out! It’s on my Audible wishlist.
Sean McKenna joined the Coast Guard to save lives. Now a flight mech, he loves living and operating in the wilds of Alaska. When a mission goes terribly wrong, Sean is badly injured. But no pain can compare to the guilt he feels over the loss of his best friend. It was Sean’s job to keep Justin, the rescue swimmer, safe. Now Justin is dead, leaving his wife, Eden, without a husband and their toddler son, Maverick, without a father. The best Sean can do is step up and help Eden in any way he can. As the months go by, he finds himself fighting a growing attraction to her. He knows people on base are talking. What kind of man hooks up with his best friend’s widow? But the heart wants what it wants, and this desire can’t be denied—because it’s mutual.
A heart torn…
Eden Koseki loved Justin from the moment he jumped out of a hovering helicopter, swam to shore, and asked her for her name and number. She thought they had all the time in the world. Losing him and the future they’d planned together is more devastating than she could have imagined. It’s only the support of her family—and Sean’s steadfast presence—that get her through those first months of overpowering grief. But as the weeks pass, she feels unexpectedly drawn to him. When she’s with him, she’s able to smile and laugh again—especially while watching him play with little Maverick. Still, her emotions leave her torn between loyalty to Justin’s memory and the living, breathing man who makes her feel alive again.
A second chance… if they’re both brave enough to take it
As winter turns to summer and snow turns to rain, the heat between Sean and Eden intensifies. So does the gossip in town. Still, Eden isn’t about to let anyone interfere in her business. She knows now just how fragile life can be. When Sean’s sense of duty threatens to keep them apart, Eden knows she must help him move past his survivor’s guilt—or risk losing this second chance at deep love and lasting happiness.
It’s a new book and series from one of my most favorite authors. It’s scheduled for review in June and of course I’ve pre-ordered.
When a middle-aged couple downsizes to the countryside for an easier life, their two daughters become isolated, argumentative and violent…a chilling, vicious and darkly funny psychological thriller from best-selling author, Helen FitzGerald.
Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Jen and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two 20-something daughters, Asha and Camille.
Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Jen and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.
When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry…and the stress of the family move.
But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that. This is a murder, just waiting to happen….
I read the review by Kelly @ From Belgium with Book Love and added this immediately. It’s also on my Audible wishlist.
A young mother has done everything possible to put the past behind her, but it might not be enough in a gripping novel of suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Jane Doe novels.
Abandoned by her fugitive ex-husband, Lily Brown is rebuilding her life on the edge of a Kansas town that still feels the sting of his crimes. Lily lies low, managing the isolated storage facility where she lives with her twelve-year-old son, Everett, and planning a better future for them both. That requires keeping secrets. Everett has them too.
After breaking into a storage unit, Everett finds photographs and news clippings of five girls missing for decades. For Everett, it’s an adventure and a tempting mystery to solve. But digging further into a stranger’s obsession is putting Everett and his mother in the crosshairs of a killer.
Then Lily’s ex resurfaces from the shadows. Just as suddenly, an attentive new man enters Lily’s life. And a suspicious detective, responding to reports of a prowler, watches every move Lily makes. It’s getting harder for Lily to know who to trust—or whose secrets pose the most frightening threat of all.
This was offered for audio review and I quickly accepted. I’m a big fan of the author.
With twinkling humor and heartfelt Christmas spirit, two friends find love in a town called Wishing Tree…
Until Camryn Neff can return to her “real” life in Chicago, she’s in Wishing Tree to care for her twin sisters. She’s not looking for forever love, not here. But handsome hotelier Jake Crane is a temptation she can’t resist, so she suggests they pair up for the season. No golden rings, no broken hearts. At his side, she sees her hometown through Christmas-colored eyes. The cheer is cheerier, the joy more joyful. She thought she had put her future on hold…but maybe her real life was here all along, waiting for her to come home.
New in town, River Best is charmed by Wishing Tree’s homespun traditions and warmhearted people. When she’s crowned Snow Queen, she’s honored but wary. Dylan Tucker, her king, seems like the stuff of sugarplum dreams, but she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something big. As they perform their “royal” duties—tasting cookies, lighting trees—Dylan’s good humor and melty kisses draw her to the brink of love. But she can’t let herself fall until she uncovers his secret, even if her lack of faith means losing him forever.
I fell in book love with this series and learned of this new installment from the author’s newsletter. It’s an audio review hopeful scheduled for release in October.
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
It was a really compelling NetGalley email that had me adding this one immediately. It’s scheduled for release in June and is a library audiobook hopeful.
From the best-selling author of All Is Not Forgotten and Don’t Look for Me comes a sharp, compulsive thriller about a young woman who narrowly escapes a violent crime and the psychiatrist helping to recover her memory of the suspect.
Gabby Ashford has just survived an attempt on her life. Detectives have connected her story to two other cases in the area: Professional women drugged at a bar, brought to their homes, and drowned in their bathtubs. Gabby, who miraculously woke up in her own bathtub unharmed, could be the key to finding a serial killer on the loose – but she has no memory of the attack.
Gabby admits herself to a high-end rehabilitation center to recover and to seek the help of a psychiatrist renowned for his work with memory recovery. As Dr. Forrester works with Gabby – interviewing not only her but her overbearing fiancée, her emotionally fragile brother, and the local detective working the case – questions about Gabby’s story, her past, and the ethics of memory recovery emerge.
Dr. Forrester, the central voice of Walker’s breakout debut All Is Not Forgotten, is a fascinating and deeply complicated character, barreling toward the truth of the case at hand while wrestling with the demons of his own past. Shocking and succinct, Hold Your Breath will have you on the edge of your seat from the first minute to the last.
Another book free with my Audible membership that I added because of the author and a friend’s review.
Strangers living worlds apart.
Strangers with nothing in common.
But it wasn’t always that way….
Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past.
Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back.
When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.
By turns funny and moving, Half a World Away is a story that will stay with you long after you listen its powerfully emotional, heart-breaking final minute.
I so loved All the Lonely People by the author so when Eva @ Novel Deelights included this in her This Week in Books post as a possible next read choice, I checked it out and added it to my Audible wishlist.
“I’m going to kill her. You’d better come if you want to save her.”
Lorraine—“Rainy”—lives at the top of Tiger Mountain. Remote, moody, cloistered in pine trees and fog, it’s a sanctuary, a new life. She can hide from the disturbing past she wants to forget.
If she’s allowed to.
When Rainy reluctantly agrees to a girls’ weekend in Vegas, she’s prepared for an exhausting parade of shots and slot machines. But after a wild night, her friend Braithe doesn’t come back to the hotel room.
And then Rainy gets the text message, sent from Braithe’s phone: someone has her. But Rainy is who they really want, and Rainy knows why.
What follows is a twisted, shocking journey on the knife-edge of life and death. If she wants to save Braithe—and herself—the only way is to step back into the past.
This showed up at my library and I decided to take a chance, especially since I’ve enjoyed other books by the author.
An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the private jokes, ancient grudges, broken hearts, and deep, abiding love that feeds them all.
Here are the three things the Sullivan family knows to be true: The Chicago Cubs will always be the underdogs; historical progress is inevitable; and their grandfather, Bud, founder of JP Sullivan’s, will always make the best burgers in Oak Park. But when, over the course of three strange months, the Cubs win the World Series, Trump is elected president, and Bud drops dead, everyone in the family finds themselves suddenly doubting all they hold dear.
Take, for example: Gretchen, lead singer for a 90s cover band, who has been flirting with fame for a decade, but beginning to wonder if she’s too old to be chasing a childish dream. Or Jane, Gretchen’s older sister, whose husband has become obsessed with fitness, is suddenly working late, and hiding the screen of his phone. Is he having an affair? Would he be so obvious about it if he were? And Teddy, their steadfast, unfailingly good cousin, is nursing heartbreak and confusion—his boyfriend dumped him but keeps showing up for lunch at JP Sullivan’s, where Teddy is the manager. How can any of them be expected to make the right decisions when the world feels sideways—and the bartender at JP Sullivan’s makes such strong cocktails?
A novel both outrageously funny and perfectly timely, Marrying the Ketchups is a delicious confection by one of our most beloved authors.
I hadn’t heard of this one until it showed up at my library. It’s narrated by one of my favorites so that pushed me to add it.
Hattie Kavanaugh went to work helping clean up restored homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at 18; married the boss’s son at 20; and was only 25 when her husband, Hank, was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Broken hearted, but determined to continue the business of their dreams, she takes the life insurance money, buys a small house in a gentrifying neighborhood, flips it, then puts the money into her next project. But that house is a disaster and a money-loser, which rocks her confidence for years to come. Then, Hattie gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. It’s a question of who will flip, and who will flop, and will Hattie ever get her happily-ever-after.
Filled with Mary Kay Andrews’s trademark wit, warmth, junking trips, and house porn, The Homewreckers is a summer beach delight.
I haven’t read anything by this author but after reading the review by Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books was completely wooed! It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top and Kim feels a sharp stab of sadness. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?
When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.
The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother. As she begins to untangle the dark web of secrets within the Daynes family, Kim and her team discover Helen had a history of clinical depression. But could it have driven her to murder her loved ones?
My love for this series is pretty well known so when the audio edition for the upcoming release finally showed up, I pre-ordered the audiobook, which I’ve never done before.
It should have been a routine investigation. Instead, DEA K-9 agent Adam “Deck” Decker watches in horror as one Denver hospital seems to be ground zero for overdoses of a new drug. Now Deck can only hope a certain icy, green-eyed ER doctor will help him and his canine partner track down the deadly source.
Dr. Tori Sampson has her reasons for not trusting federal agents, especially ones working for the DEA. But the rash of overdoses—including a heartbreaking case involving a teen—is alarmingly high. And the new opioid is not only extremely dangerous, it defies all the usual medical treatments. So Tori has a choice: work with the big, brawny, and annoyingly hot DEA agent . . . or watch more innocent people die.
Tori’s the only person who can help Deck break the case, and they’ll need to trust each other, no matter how high the tension and attraction sizzling between them run. But with every question answered, they realize there’s something more behind these typical teen overdoses. There’s a pattern here, and a pattern can only suggest one thing. There’s a killer on the loose.
My friend Anne @ Books of My Heart is such a fan of the author’s other K-9 series and also reviewed this one. When it was offered for audio review, I quickly accepted. I’m also a sucker for K-9 stories.
An utterly delicious debut thriller that tells the story of the most likable murderess you will ever meet, perfect for fans of Riley Sager and Jessica Knoll.
“I could just kill you right now!” It’s something we’ve all thought at one time or another. But Ruby has actually acted on it. Three times, to be exact.
Though she may be a murderer, Ruby is not a sociopath. She is an animal-loving therapist with a thriving practice. She’s felt empathy and sympathy. She’s had long-lasting friendships and relationships, and has a husband, Jason, whom she adores. But the homicide detectives at Miami Beach PD are not convinced of her happy marriage. When we meet Ruby, she is in a police interrogation room, being accused of Jason’s murder. Which, ironically, is one murder that she did not commit, though her vicious mother-in-law and a scandal-obsessed public believe differently. As she undergoes questioning, Ruby’s mind races back to all the details of her life that led her to this exact moment, and to the three dead bodies in her wake. Because though she may not have killed her husband, Ruby certainly isn’t innocent.
Alternating between Ruby’s memories of her past crimes and her present-day fight to clear her name, Blood Sugar is a twisty, clever debut with an unforgettable protagonist who you can’t help but root for—an addicting mixture of sour and sweet.
I’d ignored this until one of my picky Goodreads friends gave it a strong review, forcing me to take a closer look. The audiobook is on hold at my library and I’m in a short queue.
At the dawn of the 20th century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era’s new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, “an absurd delusion.” It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.
That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.
In Cuba, America’s overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau’s obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba’s indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau’s forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba’s own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.
In Galveston, reassured by Cline’s belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city’s beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation’s deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac’s Storm is based on Cline’s own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature’s last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac’s Stormcarries a warning for our time.
Weather and related disasters are fascinating so when this showed up at my library, I wasted no time putting it on hold. This is one of the worst hurricanes on record and Larson’s the best to tell it’s story.
Narrated by Viola Davis
In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.
This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.
As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.
Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.
I’ve been a fan of the actress dating back to the days when she did character roles on Law & Order. She stood out even back then. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?