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 darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true, from the author of The Return.
All her life, Annie has played it nice and safe. After being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Annie seeks a fresh start. She accepts a teaching position that moves her from Manhattan to a small village upstate. She’s stunned by how perfect and picturesque the town is. The people are all friendly and warm. Her new apartment is dreamy too, minus the oddly persistent spider infestation.
Then Annie meets Sophie. Beautiful, charming, magnetic Sophie, who takes a special interest in Annie, who wants to be her friend. More importantly, she wants Annie to stop apologizing and start living for herself. That’s how Sophie lives. Annie can’t help but gravitate toward the self-possessed Sophie, wanting to spend more and more time with her, despite the fact that the rest of the townsfolk seem…a little afraid of her. And like, okay. There are some things. Sophie’s appearance is uncanny and ageless, her mansion in the middle of the woods feels a little unearthly, and she does seem to wield a certain power…but she couldn’t be…could she?
I don’t read much in the horror genre but one of my trusted Goodreads friend’s review convinced me to give it a try. Thanks to my library for the audiobook edition.
From the bestselling author of My Lovely Wife comes a reckless, delicious thriller about a young couple that gives a whole new meaning to the dangers of modern dating.
Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They’ve never felt anything like it. It’s the kind of romance people write stories about.
But what kind of story?
Because when it’s good, it’s great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.
When it’s bad, it’s really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.
But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconnections needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy–and she’s a detective.
There’s something Wes and Ivy never talk about–in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.
If they can stick together, they can survive anything–even the tightening net of a police investigation.
Because one more breakup might just be their last…
I stumbled across this upcoming book from one of my favorite authors. It’s scheduled for release in July and I’ve recommended the audiobook for library purchase.
A woman embarks on an unexpected journey into her past in an engrossing novel about identity, family secrets, and rediscovering the need to belong.
Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.
Though Meena’s impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It’s a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it’s a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.
Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.
I’ve had this on my Audible wishlist for a few months and it finally was included in the most recent Audible 2-for-1-credit sale. I’m intrigued by the cultural aspects of the story.
In this page-turner of a thriller by bestselling author T.R. Ragan, unlikely partners PI Jessie Cole and crime reporter Ben Morrison search for clues to a mystery buried in their own pasts—only to discover that sometimes the truth is better off buried.
Ten years ago, PI Jessie Cole and reporter Ben Morrison each suffered a tragedy that changed their lives—and now these two strangers are about to share a nightmare.
For Jessie, who makes her living finding missing persons, no case has consumed her more than the disappearance of her younger sister, Sophie. But left alone to raise Sophie’s daughter, she realizes that solving the case has become an unhealthy obsession.
For Ben, a horrific car accident resulted in scars both physical and emotional—and amnesia that has made his life a mystery. But curiously, out of his shattered memories, there’s one person he recognizes without a doubt: Jessie’s sister. He just doesn’t know why. Yet.
But Sophie isn’t the only phantom drawing Jessie and Ben together. An elusive serial murderer known as the Heartless Killer has reemerged from the shadows. His next move will cut even deeper into Jessie’s worst fears. And for Ben, what happens this time is going to be unforgettable.
Another book I had on my Audible wishlist that I bought as part of the 2-for-1-credit sale.
June 1815. The people of London wait, breathlessly, for news as Napoleon and the forces united against him hurtle toward their final reckoning at Waterloo. Among them is Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, frustrated to find himself sidelined while recovering from a dangerous wound he recently received in Paris. When the mutilated corpse of Major Miles Sedgewick surfaces from the murky waters of the Thames, Sebastian is drawn into the investigation of a murder that threatens one of his oldest and dearest friends, Irish surgeon Paul Gibson.
Gibson’s lover, Alexi Sauvage, was tricked into a bigamous marriage with the victim. But there are other women who may have wanted the cruel, faithless Major dead. His mistress, his neglected wife, and their young governess who he seduced all make for compelling suspects. Even more interesting to Sebastian is one of Sedgewick’s fellow officers, a man who shared Sedgewick’s macabre interest in both old English folklore and the occult. And then there’s a valuable list of Londoners who once spied for Napoleon that Sedgewick was said to be transporting to Charles, Lord Jarvis, the Regent’s powerful cousin who also happens to be Sebastian’s own father-in-law.
The deeper Sebastian delves into Sedgewick’s life, the more he learns about the Major’s many secrets and the list of people who could have wanted him dead grows even longer. Soon others connected to Sedgewick begin to die strange, brutal deaths and more evidence emerges that links Alexi to the crimes. Certain that Gibson will be implicated alongside his lover, Sebastian finds himself in a desperate race against time to stop the killings and save his friends from the terror of the gallows..
This is one of my most favorite series and I was thrilled to learn of this new book, scheduled for release in April. I’ve recommended it for library purchase.
A savage murder rocks a quiet Massachusetts suburb, revealing the dark secrets at the center of a group of friends and setting two women–one with a traumatic past, the other a Boston police detective–on a hunt for truth in this stylish debut thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Shari Lapena…
Snow falls softly outside Molly Bradley’s home on a frigid January night. Inside, half a dozen close friends are gathered to celebrate the fortieth birthday of Molly’s psychologist husband, Jay. Candlelight gleams against dark wood, wine flows, and the house rings with laughter. Everybody loves Jay, Molly most of all. Yet next morning, Molly discovers Jay dead on the floor of his office, his throat brutally slashed.
After decades working with the Boston PD, Detective Rita Myers has grown accustomed to the banality of evil—the murders that make no sense beyond bad luck or a tragic brush with the worst of humanity. But Jay Bradley’s murder isn’t random, or a mere crime of opportunity. Rita is convinced that someone in the couple’s small circle killed him. Someone who was celebrating with them that night.
Devastated, Molly tries to make sense of her husband’s death. Jay was her rock, the only person who really understood the nightmare she lived through long ago. He knew the horrors she’s kept hidden even from her friends. But shocking revelations are making her question if Jay was all he seemed to be—and whether someone else knows her past too. And until Molly figures out who she can really trust, she won’t be able to stop herself becoming the next target.
This showed up at my library and I jumped in the short queue for the audiobook, especially after reading the rave reviews from quite a few Goodreads friends.
She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…
Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.
Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.
Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.
The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.
What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…
A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi Macfarlane, and Christina Lauren.
I’d not heard of this author or book until a really good friend on Goodreads recently reviewed the story and loved it. Since she and I have very similar tastes in this genre, I quickly added the audiobook.
Detective Erika Foster is back in FATAL WITNESS – with a chilling new serial killer case in Robert Bryndza’s multi-million bestselling crime thriller series!
How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?
Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.
Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night. When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.
The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.
One of my Goodreads groups started a buddy read of this series, one I’ve wanted to read for years. I’ve collected all of the audiobooks except this one.
From the author of the “dark and devious…beautifully written” (Stephen King) Mirrorlandcomes a richly atmospheric thriller set on an isolated Scottish island where nothing is as it seems and shocking twists lie around every corner.
A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.
Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.
For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray—a place she’d never visited—had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.
Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth.
Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.
Thanks to Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books for including this in her WWW Wednesday post. It’s scheduled for release in January and is an audio review hopeful.
In a fast-paced new novel in the vein of Big Little Lies, a single mom goes undercover to investigate a host of disturbing secrets held by the leaders of a local suburban parent-school association, including embezzlement, bribery, adultery, and murder—by the bestselling author of Wish You Were Gone.
Paige Lancaster, single mom and prodigal daughter, has returned to the East Coast from her prestigious, well-paid job in Los Angeles, writing for the smartest detective series on television. Something terrible happened to her back in Hollywood. Okay, two terrible things, one featuring a misplaced tire iron—and now she’s broke, homeless, and living with her widowed mother and eight-year-old daughter, Izzy, in her Connecticut hometown.
Paige needs to buckle down and find a new writing gig but first, she meets the movers and shakers of Izzy’s school’s Parent Booster Association, run by the intimidatingly gorgeous Ainsley Anderson, who just happens to be married to Paige’s old high school flame, John.
Then she shows up at the annual Parents and Pinot fundraiser, held at Ainsley and John’s dazzling mansion in the toniest part of town, where she’s caught in a compromising position with John, accidentally destroys the guest bathroom, overhears an incriminating conversation, and discovers that her purse has gone missing. And later that night, Ainsley turns up dead at the bottom of her own driveway.
Did she fall? Or was she pushed?
Paige may have only written about detectives, but she is convinced she can handle a little undercover sleuthing. After all, it’ll give her an excuse to spend more time with John. Still, she can’t help but wonder: could he be capable of murder? Or could one of the PBA members have planned a dastardly crime to reach the top? But the most important question of all: will Paige ever get her life back on track?
I learned of this new release from a BuzzFeed newsletter that featured books to look out for in 2023. I loved Wish You Were Gone and am intrigued by this one. It’s an audio review hopeful due out in January.
In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world.
There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?
Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.
I’ve waited in a long library queue for weeks and this audiobook finally freed up! I’m a big fan of the former First Lady and will listen to this in bites.
Amy Poeppel brings her signature “big-hearted, charming” (The Washington Post) style to this wise and joyful novel that celebrates love, hate, and all of the glorious absurdity in between.
In the heart of Greenwich Village, three women form an accidental sorority when a baby—belonging to exactly none of them—lands on their collective doorstep.
Lauren and her family—lucky bastards—have been granted the use of a spectacular brownstone, teeming with history and dizzyingly unattractive 70s wallpaper. Adding to the home’s bohemian, grungy splendor is the bar occupying the basement, a (mostly) beloved dive called The Sweet Spot. Within days of moving in, Lauren discovers that she has already made an enemy in the neighborhood by inadvertently sparking the divorce of a couple she has never actually met.
Melinda’s husband of thirty years has dumped her for a young celebrity entrepreneur named Felicity, and, to Melinda’s horror, the lovebirds are soon to become parents. In her incandescent rage, Melinda wreaks havoc wherever she can, including in Felicity’s Soho boutique, where she has a fit of epic proportions, which happens to be caught on film.
Olivia—the industrious twenty-something behind the counter, who has big dreams and bigger debt—gets caught in the crossfire. In an effort to diffuse Melinda’s temper, Olivia has a tantrum of her own and gets unceremoniously canned, thanks to TikTok.
When Melinda’s ex follows his lover across the country, leaving their squalling baby behind, the three women rise to the occasion in order to forgive, to forget, to Ferberize, and to track down the wayward parents. But can their little village find a way toward the happily ever afters they all desire? Welcome to The Sweet Spot.
One of my Goodreads friends just reviewed this book and I was drawn to the family chaos! It’s scheduled for release in January and is an audio review hopeful.
A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from international sensation Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars
Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?
Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope—she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam Kemp—in the bleakest point of her life—has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag—she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.
Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
Another book I learned about from that BuzzFeed newsletter. It’s scheduled for release in February and is a library audiobook hopeful. Moyes is a favorite author!
The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.
Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.
Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).
Wheee! A new Ware book, due out in June. Another discovery from that BuzzFeed newsletter, it’s an audio review hopeful.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Colson Whitehead continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its seedy glory.
It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It’s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him — until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated – and deadly.
1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists, and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters, and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook – to their regret.
1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole county is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. (Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney’s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent, and the utterly corrupted.
CROOK MANIFESTO is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. Colson Whitehead’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem is sure to stand as one of the all-time great evocations of a place and a time.
Yet another find from that BuzzFeed newsletter! It’s a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in July and the second book in the Ray Carney series.
In this beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.
“Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature.”—The Guardian
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
My last addition from that BuzzFeed newsletter, this is scheduled for release in August and is an audio review hopeful. I enjoyed The Dutch House, becoming a big fan of the author’s writing style.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?
12 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”
I got The Light We Carry as part of myChristmas, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Especially as Becoming was so interesting.
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Yay! That’s wonderful, Alexandra💜
I don’t read much non fiction but couldn’t resist Michelle Obama’s story.
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Wow so many great books to look forward to Jo!
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I went a little crazy this week thanks to BuzzFeed😏
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As usual, lots of things I want to read too. I’m curious to know what you got besides the TR Ragan book in the 2-1 sale?
Anne – Books of My Heart
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See the book right above it. They were the only two I got.
I have not a one of these on my list, but I do now. Thanks for once again adding to my list! Happy New Year too!
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Happy New Year, Marialyce🥳🎉🎊
Great additions! I’ve enjoyed both Holiday Romance and Fatal Witness, and I’ve added the new Samantha Downing recently as well. I didn’t know Ruth Ware had a new one coming out, so that’s going straight to my wishlist!
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Thanks, Yvo💜 Great feedback about both books. Downing and Ware were serious surprises.
Wow, lots of books that I am not familiar with at all. Off to see what I can find from my various sources.