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.
A mysterious guest at Christmas.
Spirited Anthea Bryars already has enough problems to deal with when a few days before Christmas, she stumbles across an unconscious stranger in the woods. She and her half-sisters will be homeless after New Year, now that Lord Denton has inherited Yardley Hall and given the family their marching orders. The last thing Anthea needs is a handsome, smart-mouthed distraction who makes her long for forbidden pleasures.
Secrets and passion…
After rakish Christopher Trant, Earl of Denton, tumbles from his horse in a snowstorm, his rescuer is the loveliest woman he’s ever seen. But waking up the next morning, he’s horrified to discover that at Yardley Hall, he’s universally hated as Wicked Cousin Christopher. He’d left London assuming the remote manor house was empty, but it turns out it’s occupied by three unknown cousins and an alluring lady called Anthea. To play for time, he pretends that his injuries have stolen his memory. But one small lie leads to others, until he’s so tangled in desire and deception, he doesn’t know where to turn.
A season of goodwill?
Will the revelation of Christopher’s identity destroy all his chances to win Anthea? Or might the magic of Christmas unite these two unlikely lovers and conjure up a bright new future for the whole family? Could four Christmas kisses mean goodbye or happy forever after?
A nice surprise from one of my favorite Indie authors! I got this for review and it’s the fourth book in the series.
This Christmas season, love comes where you least expect it.
For Jessica Connolly, there is no better place than her coastal hometown of Blue Moon Bay. She has a wonderful family, supportive best friends, and a successful bakery on Main Street. Unfortunately, every time she designs one of her ex-boyfriends’ wedding cakes, she’s reminded just how unlucky she is with love…and that she’s a good luck charm for men to find their happily ever after. With someone else. The minute they break up. So she’s decided to be done with love.
Dr. Mitch Jameson is more comfortable traveling the world with Doctors Without Borders than staying in one place. He just needs to survive the holidays in his small hometown before he can leave again. The beautiful, intriguing bakery owner with an aversion to dating might be just who he needs to occupy his restless heart.
From sipping hot chocolates at the local festival of lights to early morning dessert deliveries, Jessica and Mitch rediscover the spirit of the holidays. But when the 25 days of Christmas are over, will their romance be over, too?
My library came through with the second book in the Blue Moon Bay series. Of course I got it on audio.
Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.
Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?
This showed up at my library and I immediately jumped in the short queue for the audiobook. It sounds like a fun read.
Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates the brutal death of a young Amish man in An Evil Heart, the latest installment of the bestselling series by Linda Castillo.
On a crisp autumn day in Painters Mill, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder responds to a call only to discover an Amish man who has been violently killed with a crossbow, his body abandoned on a dirt road. Aden Karn was just twenty years old, well liked, and from an upstanding Amish family. Who would commit such a heinous crime against a young man whose life was just beginning?
The more Kate gets to know his devastated family and the people—both English and Amish—who loved him, the more determined she becomes to solve the case. Aden Karn was funny and hardworking and looking forward to marrying his sweet fiancé, Emily. All the while, Kate’s own wedding day to Tomasetti draws near…
But as she delves into Karn’s past, Kate begins to hear whispers about a dark side. What if Aden Karn wasn’t the wholesome young man everyone admired? Is it possible the rumors are a cruel campaign to blame the victim? Kate pursues every lead with a vengeance, sensing an unspeakable secret no one will broach.
The case spirals out of control when a young Amish woman comes forward with a horrific story that pits Kate against a dangerous and unexpected opponent. When the awful truth is finally uncovered, Kate comes face to face with the terrible consequences of a life lived in all the dark places.
I just got up to date in the series and learned of this next book scheduled for release in July. I’ve already recommended the audiobook for library purchase.
An urgent warning about the growing threat to our democracy from a twenty-year police veteran and former diehard Trump supporter who nearly lost his life during the insurrection of January 6th.
When Michael Fanone self-deployed to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, he had no idea his life was about to change. When he got to the front of the line, he urged his fellow officers to hold it against the growing crowd of insurrectionists—until he found himself pulled into the mob, tased until he had a heart attack, and viciously beaten with a Blue Lives Matter flag as shouts to kill him rang out.
Now, Fanone is ready to tell the full story of that fateful day, along with exploring our country’s most critical issues as someone who has had firsthand experience with many of them. A self-described redneck who voted for Trump in 2016, Fanone’s closest friend was an informant—a Black, transgender, HIV-positive woman who has helped him mature and rethink his methods as a police officer. With his unique insight as an undercover detective and intense desire to do the right thing no matter the cost, Fanone provides a nuanced look into everything from policing to race to politics in a way that is accessible across all party lines.
Determined to make sure no one forgets what happened at the Capitol on January 6th, Fanone has written a timely call to action for anyone who wants to preserve our democracy for future generations.
I watched in horror the assault on the Capitol police on January 6, refusing to believe what I was seeing. The least I can do is listen to Fanone’s story, who was just doing his job that day. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
Every house has secrets. But not all of them stay buried forever . . .
When the Burgess family move into their “forever” home, it seems like they are set for many happy years together at their new address. Steph and Grant, along with their children, Charlie and Amelia, settle into their new surroundings quickly. But then they receive an unexpected visit from a couple who claim to have lived in the house before.
They wish to come in and have a look around for old time’s sake. Seeming pleasant and plausible, Steph invites them in. And that’s when things begin to change. It’s not long after the peculiar visit when the homeowners begin to find evidence of the past all around their new home as they redecorate. But it’s the discovery of a hidden wall containing several troubling messages that really sends Steph into a spin.
After digging into the history of the house a little more, she learns it is connected to a shocking crime from the past. A crime that still remains unsolved . . .
When this was offered for audio review, I pounced on this one. The author is known for his clever and twisty stories and this sounds ideal.
A wealthy family shrouded in scandal; a detective tasked with solving an impossible cold case; and a woman with a dark past collide in Hannah Morrissey’s stunning new Black Harbor mystery, The Widowmaker.
Ever since business mogul Clive Reynolds disappeared twenty years ago, the name “Reynolds” has become synonymous with “murder” and “mystery.” And now, lured by a cryptic note, down-on-her-luck photographer Morgan Mori returns home to Black Harbor and into the web of their family secrets and double lives. The same night she photographs the Reynolds holiday get-together, Morgan becomes witness to a homicide of a cop that triggers the discovery of a long-buried clue.
This could finally be the thing to crack open the chilling cold case, and Investigator Ryan Hudson has a chance to prove himself as lead detective. If only he could stop letting his need to solve his partner’s recent murder distract him. But as Morgan exposes her own dark demons, could her sordid history be the key to unlocking more than one mystery?
Thanks to Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books for featuring this in her WWW Wednesday post as what she’s reading next. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.
Three women search for joy in #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery’s new novel of hope, heartache, and the power of friendship.
Heather is happy . . . ish. She has a successful business, a cute but contemptuous cat, and best friends Daphne and Tori who know where she’s broken and love her anyway. So why does she feel crushed when her ex gets serious about someone new? No problem, she has a plan. More connections will hold her together while her world falls apart, so she finally reaches out to the stranger who might be her dad.
Daphne isn’t having an emotional affair, despite what her husband believes. He started the rift in their marriage when he said they weren’t ready for a baby. They used to be the closest couple she knew. Can they find their way back to one another before it’s too late?
When Tori forms an inconvenient crush on Daphne’s brother-in-law, she suppresses her feelings. Until her apartment floods, and she moves in with the dog-loving doctor. If things go wrong, she could lose her friends. . . but if they go right, she could lose her heart.
This was previously titled The Single Rule and is scheduled for release in June. Mallery is an auto read and this is an audio review hopeful (still waiting on the cover).
An audio original novella from the bestselling author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, The Levee is a powerful, captivating story of a family, a storm, a complicated rescue, and the true cost of survival.
It’s 1927, and the most devastating flood in American history has swelled the Mississippi River to a width of eighty miles. In an attempt to save a family trapped by the rising water, four men in a tiny rowboat battle the treacherous flow: three are convicts, on loan from the local prison and pressed into service; the fourth, the leader of the team, is driven by his own hidden motives. But to their surprise upon arrival at Ballymore, an ancestral home protected by a high, circular levee, not everyone in the family feels the need to be saved. Pride, greed, loyalty, and even love create their own complex currents behind the massive wall. As the threat from the flood increases and time ticks away, the crew and the family must decide on a course of action, and a desperate plan is hatched to save the weakening levee and all it was built to protect.
The Levee is a propulsive, heartfelt tale of courage, cowardice, and sacrifice in a historic moment when the indomitable human spirit is pitted against the awesome and destructive power of nature.
I squealed with glee when this was offered for audio review. Krueger is one of my most favorite authors and this was a complete surprise. Right now, it’s only available in audio format, which is my preference anyway.
Laurel Snow Series
“Be prepared to stay up all night . . .”*
Laurel Snow wouldn’t call hunting a serial killer a vacation, but with a pile of dead bodies unearthed near her Genesis Valley, WA, hometown, she’ll take what she can get. Yet something about this case stirs her in unexpected ways. Like the startling connection she feels to Dr. Abigail Caine, a fiercely intelligent witness with a disturbing knack for making Laurel feel like she has something on her. Then there’s Laurel’s attraction to Huck Rivers, the fish and wildlife officer guiding her to the crime scene—and into the wilderness . . .
A former soldier and a trained sniper, Huck’s thirst for blood is rivaled only by his fierce pursuit of Laurel. He’s been burned by love, wounded by the government, and betrayed before, and to say he has trust issues is the ultimate understatement . Plus, he might be closer to this killer than anybody knows…
Once in the heart of darkness with Huck, Laurel must negotiate her distracting desire for him, her complex rapport with Abigail—and her mission to find a serial killer among a growing list of suspects and a danger that’s far too close to home. So close in fact, Laurel fears she will never find her way back to the woman she once was . . .
What do you do when a sociopath loves you? Rising star FBI profiler Laurel Snow is about to find out in New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti’s edgy new romantic thriller . . .
Calling Laurel Snow’s relationship with her newly discovered half-sister challenging is an understatement. Not only does Laurel suspect Abigail is behind the mysterious disappearance of their father, but her erratic behavior also makes life in Laurel’s small hometown interesting, to say the least. Still, when Abigail claims someone is now out to kill her, Laurel’s instinct to protect her sister goes into overdrive. Then things get even more dicey as dead bodies start turning up in the icy waters of the Sauk River and there’s only one connection among them: Abigail . . .
Having Fish and Wildlife Captain Huck Rivers bringing in those bodies with his dive team only complicates matters. Huck is as impulsive and fiery as Laurel is coolly analytical, which makes their alliance risky at best. But standing up to such a demonically brilliant killer is going to take all the help Laurel can get. Because Laurel’s attempt to save her troubled sister’s life might cost her own . . .
I gave this series a pass when the first book was offered for audio review but after reading the latest review by Anne @ Books of My Heart, I changed my mind and my library came through with both audiobooks (in a short queue for the second book).
A Read with Jenna Bonus Selection
An “immersive…illuminating” (Booklist) and life-affirming novel following the residents of an idyllic Connecticut town over the course of a year, A Little Hope explores the intertwining lives of a dozen neighbors as they confront everyday desires and fears: a lost love, a stalled career, an illness, and a betrayal.
Freddie and Greg Tyler seem to have it all: a comfortable home, a beautiful young daughter, a bond that feels unbreakable. But when Greg is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, the sense of certainty they once knew evaporates. Throughout their town, friends and neighbors face the most difficult of life’s challenges and are figuring out how to survive thanks to love, grace, and hope.
“A quietly powerful portrait of small-town life…told with wisdom and tenderness” (Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes) A Little Hope is a deeply resonant debut that immerses the reader in a community and celebrates the importance of small moments of connection.
After loving the author’s most recent book, A Quiet Life, I explored his backlist as Goodreads friends kept mentioning this one. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
Sophie Mills has worked her Manolo Blahniks off to reach the near-top of her profession. And she’s very happy with her priorities in life: her job, her neurotic cat Artemis, and her passion for shoes. After all, relationships only get in the way. And as for children? She hasn’t even begun to think about them yet.
Until one day an unexpected visitor brings news of a strange inheritance and Sophie is suddenly, out of the blue, in sole charge of two children under the age of six. But motherhood can’t be all that hard, can it?
Within 24 hours, her make-up is smeared all over the bathroom, Artemis has taken up residence on top of her wardrobe, and Sophie is in despair. And all her unconventional mother can suggest is Dr Roberts’ Complete Dog Training and Care Manual.
Determined to rise to the challenge, Sophie soon realises that she’ll need more than a business plan to cope with all this…
I recently subscribed to a new blog called Off the Shelf and they provide lists of recommended titles that fit specific topics. This showed up in the list called 8 Snuggly Books for Gilmore Girls Fans, which hubby and I are currently obsessed with and are binge watching on Netflix. This is on my Audible wishlist.
Knives Out and Clue meet Agatha Christie and The Thursday Murder Club in this “utterly original” (Jane Harper), “not to be missed” (Karin Slaughter), fiendishly clever blend of classic and modern murder mystery.
Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but it is the truth. Some of us are good, others are bad, and some just unfortunate.
I’m Ernest Cunningham. Call me Ern or Ernie. I wish I’d killed whoever decided our family reunion should be at a ski resort, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Have I killed someone? Yes. I have.
Who was it?
Let’s get started.
EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE
One of my Goodreads friends just reviewed this book and I was highly intrigued, both by the description and from what she had to say. It’s an audio review hopeful scheduled for release in January.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?