Saturdays at the Café

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 #1 bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, comes one of the most highly anticipated books of the year – the inspiring new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.

This was offered for audio review and I pounced!

A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.

Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.

When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.

But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.

Thanks to my friend Marialyce @ yayareads for this one, which she included in her comments on last week’s post. Scheduled for release later this month, it’s a library audiobook hopeful.

From the author of the breakout New York Times best seller Hamnet—winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award—an electrifying new novel set in Renaissance Italy, and centering on the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de Medici.

Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?

As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.

Full of the drama and verve with which she illuminated the Shakespearean canvas of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life, and offers an unforgettable portrait of a resilient young woman’s battle for her very survival.

So many of my friends have posted great reviews of this book but I gave it a pass until one of them wrote something that resonated strongly. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.

With echoes of Gone Girl and My Lovely Wife, Sarah Bonner’s debut novel introduces an exciting new voice in twisty thrillers.


When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband’s phone, she wants answers.

Leah already has everything Megan ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.

The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.

But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret?

I hadn’t heard of this until the audiobook showed up at my library. I have a weak spot for twin stories. 

Brace yourself for a scorching new series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose, where San Diego means sun, surf, sand…and serial killers.

Sam Reeves is a kindhearted psychologist who treats court-ordered clients. After one of his patients—a pathological liar—starts revealing plausible new details from a long-unsolved serial murder case, he’s compelled to report anonymously to the SDPD tip line, though his attempts to respect patient confidentiality land him facedown and cuffed by the aggressive (and cute) Detective McKittrick.

San Diego homicide detective Kit McKittrick loves the water. She lives on a boat, and when she’s not solving crimes with the SDPD, she’s assisting her foster sister with her charter fishing business, scuba diving, or playing with her poodle. But there’s nothing that intrigues Kit more than a cold case, so when an anonymous caller leads her on the path of a wanted killer, she’s determined to end the decade-long manhunt.

Sam is soon released but goes home with both a newfound distaste for the SDPD and a resolve–not unlike Kit’s–to uncover the truth. Kit and Sam repeatedly butt heads in their separate investigations but are forced to work together to find one of the deadliest serial killers the city has faced in a decade.

Whoa! Didn’t see this new one coming so close on the heels of the recent release so thanks to the author’s newsletter. This time the setting is San Diego and is scheduled for release in March. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.

A woman moves to a town where she becomes obsessed with watching the lives of her neighbors while stuck in a house that refuses to let her leave in this first ever short story from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Cold Cases.

Is there something wrong with Ginette Cox? It’s what everyone seems to think. When a doctor suggests that what she might need is less excitement, she packs up and moves from New York City to a house in suburban NY: 19 Howard Ave.

The town offers Ginette little in the way of entertainment in 1959, but at least she has interesting neighbors. Whether it’s the little girl with her doll or the couple and their mother-in-law, Ginette watches them from her window and makes up names and stories for them.

But it’s not all peaceful in suburbia. Ginette finds it hard to sleep in her new house. There are strange and scary noises coming from the basement, and she is trapped, either by a ghost or her own madness.

But when Ginette starts to think a murder has taken place and a mysterious man starts making terrifying appearances outside her window, it’s clear she must deal with whatever isn’t allowing her to escape this house…

I stumbled across this title and quickly added as the author is an auto read. It’s a short story I’m hoping will show up at my library.

At midnight, one of them is dead. By morning, all of them are suspects.

It’s the party to end all parties . . . but not everyone is here to celebrate.

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors.

But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.

Thanks to Jacob @ Hooked from Page One for putting this on my radar in August. I had to wait for the US version to appear, now scheduled for release in November. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.

My daughter is gone. She’s been taken. I grip the phone so hard I think it might break, and try to focus on what they’re saying. I realise I’m not crying, even though I feel like I’ve been split in two. And then they say a name that makes my blood run cold…

Suddenly, my past and present collide. My heart pounds in my chest, memories flooding my head. I have to focus on my daughter, Nelle, but I can’t escape the panicked questions rushing in. How do they know about Betty? And what else do they know?

I picture Nelle’s beautiful green eyes and freckled cheeks, knowing that I have a choice to make. Just how far am I willing to go to protect my beloved family—and my secrets?

They give me an address in a tiny lake town upstate. I know another mother, a better mother, would call the police, but in seconds I’m driving as fast as I can away from my perfect white house with its perfect green lawn and the whole perfect life I’ve built since I last heard that name, my knuckles white on the steering wheel.

I’m terrified I’ll never see Nelle again. But I’ve been hiding behind my lies for twenty years. If the truth finally comes out, will my daughter ever forgive me? I don’t know. But I have to save her first to find out.

From bestselling author Matthew Farrell, this unbelievably twisty, unputdownable psychological thriller will keep you guessing right up to the final page! Fans of Freida McFadden, My Lovely Wife and The Couple Next Door will be hooked.

This sounds SO good! Thanks to the wonderful review by Carla @ Carla Loves to Read, it’s now on my Audible wishlist. 

What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?


14 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. So many great sounding books for this time of the year. I sure hope you love The Marriage Portrait, Jo! (and I am saving Sign Here for a nice windy rainy evening). Also looking to see how many of you list are available at our library.

    I added Found in a Bookshopby Stephanie Butland
    Beasts of the Earthby James Wade
    What January Remembers(The Jolvix Episodes #3)
    by Faith Gardner
    Murder at Black OaksA Robin Lockwood Novel
    by Phillip Margolin (audio from ng)
    The Nazi ConspiracyThe Secret Plot to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill
    by Brad Meltzer; Josh Mensch
    (an0ther audio from ng) and
    A Most Efficient MurderThe Mr. Quayle Mysteries, Book 1
    by Anthony Slayton

    Out of control once again! 🙂
    Enjoy your weekend and hoping the sun comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good afternoon, Marialyce💜

      Wow, you’ve got some great titles lined up! That James Wade book sounds powerful. Have you read him before? Are the books in the Jolvix Episodes series connected or can you read them standalone?

      Hope you enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think Karen Rose ever writes a bad book and I’m excited for this one too. I ran right to the library to reserve The Last Party on audio and I’m #5. (I have just one library that puts books on the catalog so you can put holds in advance of release.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jonetta. I started jotting down the ones I liked, then I realised it was all of them. Arghhhh! They all sound great.

    This week I added:
    * Acne : a memoir by Laura Chinn. I’ve just looked over all Australian libraries and it’s not out, so I’ve requested my local library add it. It’s almost $50 if I buy it and I don’t mind purchasing but that’s a lot! (And of course I purhcase too many books!)
    * Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins
    * So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan (free short story online I found from American GR friends)
    * Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
    * Stockholm (Getaway, #3) by Catherine Steadman – I have a question about this one as you are so knowledgeable on series. Should I read this in order? I haven’t read any of them.

    And just now I received a couple of lovely Australian books with Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult sent from the publisher, but they were all water damaged as they were left in a really silly spot by the courier. So sad to see water damaged books as there’s no going back.

    Have a great week Jonetta ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Suzanne, and I hope you have a great week, too💜

      No, the stories in the Getaway series do not need to be read in order as they have no connection to each other except for theme. And, they’re written by different authors.

      That’s awful about the water damage. Can they still be read?


      1. Yes they are fine to be read. Just a shame about ‘Runt’ by Craig Silvey as I’m seeing him in person next week and it was the most damaged. It’s still ok just disappointing 🤷‍♀️😕

        Liked by 1 person

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