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.
From the author of Buried Deep and The House on the Water comes a shocking thriller about a young podcaster who’s investigating a cold case in her hometown and determined to uncover the truth at any cost.
Paige Barrett was living her dream as a journalist in New York City, racking up bylines as a staff writer at The Razor, a cutting-edge online magazine. But when she’s suddenly fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, she finds herself back home in the quaint seaside town of Shoreham, Florida, waiting tables and living in her sister’s guesthouse.
Restless and itching for something meaningful to occupy her time, she decides to launch a true crime podcast about the death of Jessica Cady, a beloved teacher who died mysteriously twenty-years earlier. The case went cold with no leads and no suspects, but the more Paige digs into the woman’s death, the closer she comes to a killer. In a small town like Shoreham, it’s impossible to keep a secret forever.?
Tell Her Story is performed by Dakota Fanning and features the voices of LJ Ganser, Vikas Adam, Emily Bauer, Ann Osmond, Fred Berman, Jonathan Davis, and Laura Darrell..
I explored the Audible Plus catalog this week and found this short story that’s free with my membership. It’s a full cast narration.
Her bloody finger left a translucent smear on the phone screen as she glanced through the list of private investigators in Vegas.
Her stained nail came to rest on Sin City Investigations. Jim Bean would serve her well.
Private investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. He likes his cases to follow suit. But when his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become. As he falls deep into a manipulative game of cat and mouse, Jim uncovers the horrible truth about Sophie. Now he must set things right before her plan leads to the loss of innocent souls…even more than it already has.
Another find from my journey through the Audible Plus catalog. It’s an older title and first in a series with solid reviews by Goodreads friends.
I fell in love with Liam only to be left shattered into a million pieces. Again. The idea of being without him cripples me but the reality is, he’s gone.
He doesn’t understand and I can’t make him.
If only he’d see the conviction behind my words—then Liam would still be here.
Yet another find during my Audible Plus catalog journey! I have the first audiobook in the series.
A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history
Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack.
New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a 19th-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.
Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire, Horse is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America.
I’ve wanted to read a book by this author and several of my Goodreads friends recommended this latest release. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
The holidays were never her thing, until she accidentally conjures the Holiday Spirit…before her very eyes.
Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.
Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.
But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?
One of my Goodreads friends whose reading tastes are very similar to mine wrote a wonderful review of the story. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
A debut sexy romantic comedy about a woman getting her groove back and getting a second chance at love.
Vanessa Jared, a 40-something divorcée, decided that the best way to pull herself out of their post-divorce slump was to form The Savvy, Sexy, Singles Club and start the “Do Me” portion of her and her friends’ lives.
But on the two-year anniversary, a sexy sheriff shows up on Vanessa’s doorstep wanting her to help him keep his little sister from marrying her no-good ex. Vanessa is not down for this at all. She wants nothing to do with her ex…until she spots a photo of her ex’s new fiancée wearing her grandmother’s ring—which he clearly stole from her. So now it is on. Vanessa is ready to take this trifling (fill-in-the-blank) down. What she does not expect is to fall in love along the way.
Thanks to Toni @ Readingtonic for her great review that got my attention. I’ve recommended the audiobook for library purchase.
Sparks fly when a romance novelist and a documentary filmmaker join forces to craft the perfect Hollywood love story and take both of their careers to the next level—but only if they can keep the chemistry between them from taking the whole thing off script—from the New York Times bestselling authors of The Soulmate Equation and The Unhoneymooners .
Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.
Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?
Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter. But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element. Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution. What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to cast the contestants according to a list of romance archetypes. When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experimentbegins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.
The True Love Experiment is the book fans have been waiting for ever since Fizzy’s debut in the New York Times bestselling The Soulmate Equation. But when the lights come on and all eyes are on her, it turns out the happily ever after Fizzy had all but given up on might lie just behind the camera.
I learned about this upcoming May release from the publisher’s email and am super excited! I’ll be getting the audio version (audio review hopeful) but it’s not out there yet. CL is an auto read and this character (Fizzy) originated in The Soulmate Equation.
Two former female spies, bound together by their past, risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of World War II—an extraordinary novel inspired by true events from the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls
American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue are thrilled to be working in the French resistance, stealing so many Nazi secrets that they become known as the Golden Doves, renowned across France and hunted by the Gestapo. Their courage will cost them everything. When they are finally arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with their loved ones, a reclusive Nazi doctor does unspeakable things to Josie’s mother, a celebrated Jewish singer who joined her daughter in Paris when the world seemed bright. And Arlette’s son is stolen from her, never to be seen again.
A decade later the Doves fall headlong into a dangerous dual mission: Josie is working for U.S. Army intelligence and accepts an assignment to hunt down the infamous doctor, while a mysterious man tells Arlette he may have found her son. The Golden Doves embark on a quest across Europe and ultimately to French Guiana, discovering a web of terrible secrets, and must put themselves in grave danger to finally secure justice and protect the ones they love.
Martha Hall Kelly has garnered acclaim for her stunning combination of empathy and research into the stories of women throughout history and for exploring the terrors of Ravensbrück. With The Golden Doves, she has crafted an unforgettable story about the fates of Nazi fugitives in the wake of World War II—and the unsung females spies who risked it all to bring them to justice.
There’s a reason I make a point to not miss the Can’t Wait Wednesday post by Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra. It’s rare for me to not add what she’s featured. I loved the author’s The Lilac Girls where this prison is first mentioned. It’s scheduled for release in April and a library audiobook hopeful.
Her perfect life.
Is a perfect lie.
Ani FaNelli seems to have it all: a glamorous job at a glossy magazine; an enviable figure with the wardrobe to match; and a handsome fiancé from a distinguished blue blood family. But Ani FaNelli is an invention, that veneer of perfection carefully assembled in an attempt to distance herself from a shocking, sordid past.
As her wedding draws near, a documentary producer invites Ani to speak about the chilling incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School. Determined once and for all to silence the whispers of suspicion and blame, Ani must weigh her options carefully, when telling the whole truth could destroy the picture-perfect life she’s worked so hard to create.
With a singular voice and a twist you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the deep-seated desire to fit in and the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all.” Ani FaNelli is a complex and vulnerable heroine—one whose sharp edges protect a truth that will move, scandalize, and surprise you.
This is coming to Netflix and I want to see it. I’m in a library queue for the audiobook.
Three couples. Three houses. One home to die for….
Stacey and Felix are the glamorous owners of the stylish, modern Glass House, with its pool and floor-to-ceiling windows. Now they’re downsizing, but Stacey can’t sell to just anyone. She needs the right buyer, who will keep her secrets.
Millie and Tom have always imagined living in the Glass House. Now it’s for sale. With property prices booming, if they can sell quickly, it could be theirs. But is the house and its charming owners all they seem?
Harper and Kyle are moving up in the world. They need a new house, in the right school district, to give their children the start in life they never had. Millie and Tom’s is perfect. It’ll take every penny they have, and more, but it’ll be worth it. Won’t it?
When one of the sales falls through, how far will someone go to get everything they’ve always wanted?
A totally addictive and absolutely gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Family Upstairs, Our House and The Couple Next Door will be hooked from the very first word.
Recommended by a trusted Goodreads friend, this is a library audiobook hopeful. I think I might have to use a credit, though.
Stranded…with my nemesis.
AXEL: It’s bad enough an unseasonal blizzard means I’m stuck with my PA’s annoying cat, but to make matters worse, Mia Samson and her poison pen are in my house too. The renowned reviewer has tanked enough books with her dreaded DNF and I need to teach her a lesson.
But my enemy is not what I expect and if I’m not careful, I’m in danger of revealing my secret to the one person who can use it against me.
MIA: I know people in publishing call me the career-wrecker behind my back. What they don’t know is, I’m writing a novel, and when I’m lucky enough to win a week-long retreat with bestselling Axel Low in quaint Sugar Plain, Nebraska, I’m thrilled.
Until I discover being snowed in with the reclusive grump is merely the first trope my life has turned into, and soon I’m sorely tempted to enact enemies to lovers…
Which one of us will lose the plot first?
I love the sound of this one, recommended by a Goodreads friend. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
A cunning, twisty, and unsettling novel of psychological suspense with a startling conclusion by Loreth Anne White, the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Patient’s Secret.
Kit Darling is a maid with a snooping problem. She’s the “invisible girl,” compelled to poke into her wealthy clients’ closely guarded lives. It’s a harmless hobby until Kit sees something she can’t unsee in the home of her brand-new clients: a secret so dark it could destroy the privileged couple expecting their first child. This makes Kit dangerous to the couple. In turn, it makes the couple—who might kill to keep their secret—dangerous to Kit.
When homicide cop Mallory Van Alst is called to a scene at a luxury waterfront home known as the Glass House, she’s confronted with evidence of a violent attack so bloody it’s improbable the victim is alive. But there’s no body. The homeowners are gone. And their maid is missing. The only witness is the elderly woman next door, who woke to screams in the night. The neighbor was also the last person to see Kit Darling alive.
As Mal begins to uncover the secret that has sent the lives of everyone involved on a devious and inescapable collision course, she realizes that nothing is quite as it seems. And no one escapes their past.
The author is an auto listen and this is an audio review hopeful, scheduled for release in March.
A vanished mother, the grip of darkness, a lifelong mystery. Forty years later, a prosecutor faces them all again, this time as a murder suspect in a pulse-pounding legal thriller of psychological suspense.
On a steaming night in 1977, New York City is plunged into darkness and two boys, Joe and Robbie, are abandoned by their mother, Lois. Forty years to the day after this unforgivable moment, Joe is a hard-drinking ADA and Lois has resurfaced: Joe wakes from another alcoholic fog to learn she’s been found murdered on a Coney Island beach.
Joe throws himself into his work, struggling to reconcile his memories of Lois with the relative stranger found by the NYPD. And when another murder hits close to home and DNA links Joe to both crimes, he sinks deeper into the abyss. Joe can’t remember a thing. His last hope as the evidence mounts against him is Aideen Bradigan, a brilliant and dogged lawyer from his past.
It will take Aideen’s drive and Joe’s own shrewd legal mind to uncover a potentially terrifying truth—and to shatter the devastating secrets that claw back to that fateful night in the dark..
I got excited when this was offered for audio review! I’d had my eye on it earlier, even though reviews are mixed.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here comes an exuberant, bighearted novel about two teenage misfits who spectacularly collide one fateful summer, and the art they make that changes their lives forever.
Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another sad summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s unhappy house and who is as lonely and awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.
The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town. The art that brought Frankie and Zeke together now threatens to tear them apart.
Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge—famous author, mom to a wonderful daughter, wife to a loving husband—gets a call that threatens to upend everything: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that? And will what she knows destroy the life she’s so carefully built?
A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not The Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity, and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.
I pounced when this was offered for audio review, especially because of the author and the book’s description.
From New York Times bestselling author Courtney Cole, the Magic of the Christmas Season sends a woman back in time to the 1940s where she meets her own grandmother and learns the true meaning of family and the holiday.
Piper McCaulley doesn’t know which way is up or down. Her gran, her last remaining family, died two weeks before Christmas, leaving Piper to reevaluate her life. Did she really want to stay chained to the family business just to hang on to this old house? She didn’t care that her great-great-great grandpa had built it with his own hands. How could she make huge life decisions if she’d never even been outside of Alaska?
She needs to leave the snowy wilderness that’s her backyard and see the world, and since her gran left her a battered old compass, Piper takes this a secret message from her beloved grandmother: to follow her heart.
But before she is even a foot outside the door, Piper finds herself caught in a blizzard and wakes up in 1945 in the original home that her ancestors had built–a time when her gran was just a girl Piper’s age. Once she has gotten over the shock, Piper has the joy of getting to know her grandmother in a whole new way, a way that sheds light on everything Piper had come to know and not know about her own past.
Over the course of one magical holiday season, Piper must go on a journey through time to learn the meaning of real love, home, and how a family legacy can connect one another forever.
I ended 2021 reading this author’s last Christmas story that had me going into the new year pretty happy. It was offered for audio review and, of course, I quickly added this one.
A riveting psychological thriller with a killer twist about a woman forced to confront the darkest moment in her childhood in order to move on from her past and open her heart to love.
One night when Jeanie King is 12-years-old, her father comes home covered in blood. The next day, Jeanie wakes up alone. Her father has disappeared and he’s taken her beloved twin brother, Jamie. Inevitably, this loss leads to others, as Jeanie is ripped from her life in rural Washington and her childhood love, Maddox.
Twenty years later, Jeanie, now in England, keeps her demons at bay by drinking too much, sleeping with a married man, and speaking to a therapist she doesn’t respect. But her past catches up to her in the form of Maddox, who shows up at her dead-end job with a proposition: he’s found her father, he says, will she come with him to confront her dad and find out what really happened that night, what really happened to Jamie?
I hadn’t heard of this book until it showed up at my library. It sounds SO good and of course I got the audiobook.
Named a Most Anticipated Book by Time and The Associated Press!
From actor Constance Wu, a powerful and poignant memoir-in-essays.
Growing up in the friendly suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, Constance Wu was often scolded for having big feelings or strong reactions. “Good girls don’t make scenes,” people warned her. And while she spent most of her childhood suppressing her bold, emotional nature, she found an early outlet in local community theater—it was the one place where big feelings were okay—were good, even. Acting became her refuge, her touchstone, and eventually her vocation. At eighteen she moved to New York, where she’d spend the next ten years of her life auditioning, waiting tables, and struggling to make rent before her two big breaks: the TV sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and the hit film Crazy Rich Asians.
Through raw and relatable essays, Constance shares private memories of childhood, young love and heartbreak, sexual assault and harassment, and how she “made it” in Hollywood. Her stories offer a behind-the-scenes look at being Asian American in the entertainment industry and the continuing evolution of her identity and influence in the public eye. Making a Scene is an intimate portrait of pressures and pleasures of existing in today’s world.
I wasn’t sure about this one until it started getting a lot of buzz recently. It was offered for audio review so I finally accepted.
“The brilliant author of this brilliant book” will have you laughing and crying as Meredith, after spending three years inside her house, figures out how to rejoin the world one step at a time (Gillian McAllister, author of the Reese’s Book Club Wrong Place Wrong Time).
She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There’s her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson poems. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.
But something’s about to change. First, two new friends burst into her life. Then her long-estranged sister gets in touch. Suddenly her carefully curated home is no longer a space to hide. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door…
This was just offered for audio review and I fell in love with the description immediately. So much about it resonates.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?