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.
It seems like any other day: You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.
From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?
The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined; pen pals finding refuge in the unknown; a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush; a doctor who cannot save himself; and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.
Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.
I hadn’t heard of this book until it was announced as the Read With Jenna book club July selection. I enjoy dystopia and this is an interesting angle. Of course I grabbed the audiobook when it showed up at my library.
Samira Wilder has never had it easy, and when her latest lousy job goes south, things only promise to get harder. Until she unexpectedly meets a man who will change her life forever. Renowned pro golfer Roland Graham is wealthy, handsome, and caring, and Samira is dazzled. Best of all, he seems to understand her better than anyone ever has. And though their relationship moves a bit fast, when Roland proposes, Samira accepts. She even agrees to relocate to his secluded Colorado mansion. After all, there’s nothing to keep her in Miami, and the mansion clearly makes him happy. Soon, they are married amid a media firestorm, and Samira can’t wait to make a fresh start–as the second Mrs. Graham…
Samira settles into the mansion, blissfully happy–until she discovers long-hidden journals belonging to Roland’s late wife, Melanie, who died in a tragic accident. With each dusty page, Samira comes to realize that perhaps it was no accident at all–that perhaps her perfect husband is not as perfect as she thought. Even as her trust in Roland begins to dwindle and a shadow falls over her marriage and she begins to fear for her own life, Samira is determined to uncover the truth of Melanie’s troubled last days. But even good wives should know that the truth is not always what it seems…
Another book I hadn’t heard of until it showed up at my library. I loved the description and these type stories so I grabbed the audiobook. Didn’t hurt that several of my friends have posted strong reviews on Goodreads.
Opposites do more than attract when an older woman falls for a younger man in Reese Ryan’s brand-new Harlequin Desire series, Valentine Vineyards!
A red-hot romance between a career-focused woman and a determined younger man?
Dr. Julian Brandon is too charming, too sexy and too young for Chandra Valentine. But after the successful bachelor rescues her—twice—she owes him. Still reeling from life-changing family revelations, Chandra somehow agrees to pose as Julian’s girlfriend. And now the irresistible Julian has plans that start with seduction under the mistletoe and end with their fake relationship erupting into a scorching affair. Now Chandra’s questioning everything she believed about love…
Along with the author being one of my auto reads, the last book in her Bourbon Brothers series set up this book nicely. Scheduled for release in November, it’s a NetGalley hopeful.
Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask—or not—was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.
But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.
As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger’s teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone’s son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.
In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris.
I became a fan of the author after reading Me Talk Pretty One Day and listening to him on NPR. This is his latest and a friend has selected it for a group discussion. My library came through with the audiobook.
As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.
Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.
A NetGalley email provided a heads up about this upcoming January release. It has multiple narrators, led by Julia Whelan, and is a library audiobook hopeful.
A woman’s seemingly perfect second marriage is rocked by a discovery about the death of her first husband in this twisty psychological thriller from Kate White, the New York Timesbestselling author whom Entertainment Weekly called “impossible to outwit.”
Recovering from the unsolved murder of her first husband, Derrick, thirtysomething Emma Hawke has built a new life with Tom, a handsome, successful, and loving widower who finally makes her feel safe again.
Then one day a police detective shows up at their house on the Connecticut shore, asking questions about Derrick’s death. Emma was sure she’d been cleared in the days after the tragedy. So why is law enforcement taking another look now—and questioning the timing of her relationship with Tom? She hadn’t even met him until after Derrick’s death.
Then Emma is shocked to discover that, in fact, she and her second husband attended the same business dinner two months before Derrick’s murder. Did Tom, unbeknownst to Emma, spot her there? Could he have set his sights on her and orchestrated a plan to make her his wife, whatever the cost.
With twists and turns all the way to the last page, this fast-paced, expertly plotted novel will have you asking that age-old question: how well do you really know the ones you love?
I reluctantly gave this a pass when it was offered for audio review (trying to limit my obligations) so was thrilled when it showed up at my library.
From the author of My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan’s uplifting novel tells the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.
For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger.
On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her.
As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.
If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.
I had my eye on this one so was thrilled when it was offered for audio review.
Introducing internationally bestselling author Bolu Babalola’s dazzling debut novel, full of passion, humor, and heart, that centers on a young Black British woman who has no interest in love and unexpectedly finds herself caught up in a fake relationship with the man she warned her girls about.
Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.
They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?
A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.
I jumped at the chance to get this for audio review! It’s going to be even more delicious in this format.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?