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.
Three ordinary people risk everything for a chance at redemption in this audacious, utterly gripping novel of catastrophe and survival at the end of the world, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.
Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors. They’ll need to work together to escape—with their sanity and secrets intact.
Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board. They are heading to a place known only as “The Retreat,” but as the temperature drops and tensions mount, Meg realizes they may not all make it there alive.
Carter is gazing out the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, something hiding in the chalet’s depths threatens to escape, and their fragile bonds will be tested when the power finally fails—for good.
The imminent dangers faced by Hannah, Meg, and Carter are each one part of the puzzle. Lurking in their shadows is an even greater danger—one with the power to consume all of humanity.
Thanks to my friend Marialyce @ yayareads for this one, which she included in her comments on last week’s post. Scheduled for release in January, it’s a library audiobook hopeful.
Everything that shaped him happened near that river…
Now its banks are filled with lies and greed, shame, and murder…
Adam Chase has a violent streak, and not without reason. As a boy, he saw things that no child should see, suffered wounds that cut to the core and scarred thin. The trauma left him passionate and misunderstood—a fighter. After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam is hounded out of the only home he’s ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears, fades into the faceless gray of New York City. Now he’s back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.
But Adam has his reasons.
Within hours of his return, he is beaten and accosted, confronted by his family and the women he still holds dear. No one knows what to make of Adam’s return, but when bodies start turning up, the small town rises against him and Adam again finds himself embroiled in the fight of his life, not just to prove his own innocence, but to reclaim the only life he’s ever wanted.
One of my Goodreads friends reviewed this book and I found it compelling. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
Lynda Cohen Loigman’s The Matchmaker’s Gift is a heartwarming story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy expectations to realize their unique talent of seeing soulmates in the most unexpected places..
Is finding true love a calling or a curse?
Even as a child in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her gift: she is a maker of matches and a seeker of soulmates. But among the pushcart-crowded streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Sara’s vocation is dominated by devout older men—men who see a talented female matchmaker as a dangerous threat to their traditions and livelihood. After making matches in secret for more than a decade, Sara must fight to take her rightful place among her peers, and to demand the recognition she deserves.
Two generations later, Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, is a successful Manhattan divorce attorney, representing the city’s wealthiest clients. When her beloved Grandma Sara dies, Abby inherits her collection of handwritten journals recording the details of Sara’s matches. But among the faded volumes, Abby finds more questions than answers. Why did Abby’s grandmother leave this library to her and what did she hope Abby would discover within its pages? Why does the work Abby once found so compelling suddenly feel inconsequential and flawed? Is Abby willing to sacrifice the career she’s worked so hard for in order to keep her grandmother’s mysterious promise to a stranger? And is there really such a thing as love at first sight?
As soon as I read the review by Marialyce @ yayareads, I knew I wanted this book! Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
A pasture of dead trees, a hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons, and shipments that have mysteriously gone missing—Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.
In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only there is no boyfriend.
Enter her best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.
Lovelight Farms is a romantic comedy featuring a handsome freckled data analyst, a messy, optimistic Christmas-tree-farm owner, and a small town with the best hazelnut lattes on the east coast.
This sweet and steamy romance is a holiday happily ever after and the first book in a series of interconnected standalones following the three Lovelight owners.
Several of my Goodreads friends wrote rave reviews about this book and, indeed, the description yanked me in, too. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
From Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout comes a poignant, pitch perfect novel about a former couple in lockdown together—and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.
With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout once again turns her exquisitely-tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, this time following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton and Oh William! through the early days of the pandemic.
As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and longtime friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea. They will not emerge unscathed.
Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear, struggles, and isolation that come with life in a global pandemic, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love. “We all live with people—and places—and things—that we have given great weight to,” Lucy says. “But we are weightless, in the end.”
This 4th book in the Amgash series showed up at my library so I’ve jumped into the queue for the audiobook.
It’s the biggest night of President Nick Cappuano’s life. Will his first lady make it to the Capitol in time for his speech?
President Cappuano has been working for months on his first State of the Union address, his highest profile moment yet as the country’s new president. He’s dealing with a wide array of complex issues and is counting down to the televised speech before a joint session of Congress. While he tries to strike the right tone to assure the American people that their new president is hard at work on their behalf, his wife, Metro Police Lt. Sam Holland is faced with one of the most confounding cases of her career and juggling some complex issues at home with the couple’s children. Add to that some vexing security concerns, and the first couple are on edge as they wonder whether they’ll pass this first big test for the fledgling Cappuano administration.
As always, when things get too hot to handle in the rest of their lives, Sam and Nick turn to each other for solace as their bond grows deeper by the day in this latest installment in the First Family Series!
I’m behind in this series but will definitely be catching up as it’s one of my favorites. I used one of my Libro.fm credits for the audiobook.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All Your Perfects and It Ends With Us. Sometimes two people have to fall apart to realize just how much they belong together.
As Layken and Will’s emotion-packed story continues, a stunning and unforeseen revelation about Will’s past leaves them questioning everything that they thought they knew about each other. With the foundation of their relationship at risk, they must decide whether they are willing to fight for a future together, or to retreat back into solitude and heartache.
How far does Will have to go to prove to Layken his love for her will last forever? It will require something truly extraordinary to keep this couple together, and the decisions they make and the answers they find will change not only their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.
This is the second book in the Slammed series that I accepted for audio review. I’ll be listening to both audiobooks next month, back to back.
In the follow-up to the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning Less, the awkward and lovable Arthur Less returns in an unforgettable road trip across America.
“Go get lost somewhere, it always does you good.”
For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.
Less roves across the “Mild Mild West,” through the South and to his mid-Atlantic birthplace, with an ever-changing posse of writerly characters and his trusty duo – a human-like black pug, Dolly, and a rusty camper van nicknamed Rosina. He grows a handlebar mustache, ditches his signature gray suit, and disguises himself in the bolero-and-cowboy-hat costume of a true “Unitedstatesian”… with varying levels of success, as he continues to be mistaken for either a Dutchman, the wrong writer, or, worst of all, a “bad gay.”
We cannot, however, escape ourselves—even across deserts, bayous, and coastlines. From his estranged father and strained relationship with Freddy, to the reckoning he experiences in confronting his privilege, Arthur Less must eventually face his personal demons. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning, must-read breakout book, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.
I didn’t even know a second book was released until the audiobook showed up at my library. I’m in a short queue.
Three fathers collide far beyond the reach or safety of the law in this breathtaking thriller from the bestselling and beloved author of The Stolen Hours and The Life We Bury.
Max Rupert has left his position as a Minneapolis homicide detective to live in solitude. Mourning the tragic death of his wife, he’s also racked by guilt—he alone knows what happened to her killer. But then the former local sheriff, Lyle Voight, arrives with a desperate plea: Lyle’s daughter Sandy and his six-year-old grandson Pip have disappeared. Lyle’s certain Sandy’s ex-husband Reed is behind it, but the new sheriff is refusing to investigate.
When Max reluctantly looks into their disappearance, he too becomes convinced something has gone very wrong. But the closer Max and Lyle get to finding proof, the more slippery Reed becomes, until he makes a break for the beautiful but formidable Boundary Waters wilderness with vulnerable Pip in tow.
Racing after the most dangerous kind of criminal—a desperate father—and with the ghosts of their own pasts never far behind, Max and Lyle go on the hunt within a treacherous landscape, determined to bring an evil man to justice, and to bring a terrified child home alive. .
Another book I didn’t know was scheduled for release in a series I’ve started! It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
Los Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarified world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into this insular realm of privilege and gives her a glimpse of the darkness behind the glitter.
The body of beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his luminary friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned. But when his powerful brother-in-law is murdered, he and Nolan both find themselves entangled in a scandalous deception of deadly proportion that shakes the very foundation of Hollywood’s untouchables.
A new P. J. Tracy book scheduled for release in January. I’m a fan and thanks to Anne @ Books of My Heart for the heads up. Another library audiobook hopeful.
Following the intense, toxic friendship of two kindred spirits across their lifetimes, The Best Friend is a dark, suspenseful novel and first standalone from Jessica Fellowes, New York Times bestselling author of the Mitford Murders series and the companion Downton Abbeybooks.
Bella and Kate. Kate and Bella. From childhood they were bosom friends, Bella sensible and cautious, Kate gregarious and just a little dangerous.
Yet in spite of their intimacy, their trust is fragile. Men came into their lives and things changed: a black seed was set in the heart of their relationship. Over decades, acts of both cruelty and love ferment until one shocking event tests them more than ever. Neither will escape unscathed.
Reminiscent of Elena Ferrante and Sally Rooney, and for readers of Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and Ashley Audrain’s The Push, The Best Friend explores the darkest corners of female friendship, a place where loyalty and betrayal intersect with deadly consequences.
I am still not sure about this one as the reviews from my friends are all over the place. When the audiobook showed up at my library, I put it on hold while continuing to think about it. Finally decided to give it a try as it’s not very long and I’m still intrigued.
Imagine if you made one little mistake when you were young and were punished for it for the rest of your life. Well, that’s what happened to Lydia (yes, that Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister from Pride and Prejudice), and she’s here to set the record straight. Hold on to your teacups and get ready for sophisticated (and a little bit naughty) hot takes and witty banter that’ll make you laugh—and think.
We meet Lydia just as she is denounced by her family, exiled miles from home, and married to the rogue George Wickham, who seems to love all women…except his own wife. She must learn to summon great bravery to carve out a place for herself in the society that has brutally rejected her.
Lydia isn’t the traditional Austen heroine, and this isn’t a traditional, polite period drama. Lydia is a badass. A trailblazer. She’s fierce and fiercely funny. And she might inhabit the Regency period, but she’s fighting the same battle many of us are today—having to defend the decisions she’s made and the person she chooses to love, to shut out the ‘trolls’ and gossips, to hold her head high in a world that will judge her for any mistake she makes.
Starring Academy Award nominee Jessie Buckley (Fargo, The Lost Daughter) and Johnny Flynn (Lovesick, Stardust), this hilarious and timely listen is for fans of classics with a twist. Writer and creator playwright Sarah Page says that she wrote Mrs. Wickham to ‘entertain people with a romantic, optimistic, and seductive comedy,’ but that there’s also a ‘message held at its heart to treat each other with kindness.’
If you binged Bridgerton, this one’s for you.
One of my trusted Goodreads friends reviewed this yesterday and I knew it was something I wanted to listen to, especially since it’s free with my Audible membership.
Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.
They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.
Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.
Thanks to Anne @ Books of My Heart for her great review of this audiobook. It’s also my kind of story and recommendations are flowing, even though reviews by many of my Goodreads friends are mixed (they either love it or rate it low). Thanks to my library, I’m in a short queue.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?