Meme

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.



A modern, yet timeless love story from Genevieve Wheeler, a fresh new voice in fiction.


Adelaide Williams is a 20-something American, living in dreamy London. With wonderful friends and fierce ambitions, Adelaide has little interest in finding “The One” right now, but when she meets Rory Hughes on a dating app—a charming Englishman who’s been placed there by fate, she swears—that all changes. All of the sudden, Adelaide finds herself completely in love.

Does he respond to texts? Honor his commitments? Make advanced plans? Sometimes, rarely, and no, not at all. But Adelaide is convinced that if she just tries and fights and loves a little harder, he’ll fall for her as deeply as she’s fallen for him. (He has to…right?) Because it’s clear to Adelaide that their fate was written in the stars. Why else would they have attended that same play last fall, or that Yankees game in 2016? Their paths never crossing until just the right moment.

Their relationship is made all the more complicated when Rory is thrust into a season of unexpected mourning, and soon Adelaide—the ever-supportive Adelaide—begins to fall apart herself, while striving to hold him together.

A millennial love story, Adelaide explores the complexities of grief, the power of friendship, and the nuance of mental health. With unflinching honesty, and zany warmth, this raw, vulnerable novel captures the timeless nature of what it’s like to be young and in love—with your friends, with your city, and with a person who cannot, will not, love you back.

I hadn’t heard of this until it was offered for audio review and found it intriguing. Early reviewers caution that this isn’t contemporary romance, more contemporary fiction.


Would you share your New Year’s resolution with a stranger?

When Carrie and Andy attend a high-class New Year’s Eve Party, they’re looking forward to closing out the year in style. But then they meet Martin and Michaela, a couple who haven’t just come out for champagne and fireworks. They have a New Year’s resolution, and it’s very unusual.

After sharing their own resolutions, Carrie and Andy receive a shocking but tempting offer, one that leaves them unsure of how to proceed. But whatever they decide to do, one thing is certain – this will be a New Year’s Eve they will never forget.

Thanks to my friend Marialyce @ yayareads for this short story. I’ve become quite a fan of the author so it didn’t take a lot of nudging to buy this one.



This is the age of vice, where money, pleasure, and power are everything, and the family ties that bind can also kill.


New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.

Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.

In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?

Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.

Another book and author I hadn’t heard of until it was offered for audio review. I got pretty excited as it’s my cuppa and since accepting, I’ve seen it on many lists as the book to read and my friends’ reviews are wonderful.


A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful—until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands—in this razor-sharp debut.

“Shroff captures the complexity of female friendship with acuity, wit, and a certain kind of magic irreverence. . . . The Bandit Queens is tender, unpredictable, and brimming with laugh-out-loud moments.”—Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife


Five years ago, Geeta lost her no-good husband. As in, she actually lost him—he walked out on her and she has no idea where he is. But in her remote village in India, rumor has it that Geeta killed him. And it’s a rumor that just won’t die.

It turns out that being known as a “self-made” widow comes with some perks. No one messes with her, harasses her, or tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for business; no one dares to not buy her jewelry.

Freedom must look good on Geeta, because now other women are asking for her “expertise,” making her an unwitting consultant for husband disposal.

And not all of them are asking nicely.

With Geeta’s dangerous reputation becoming a double-edged sword, she has to find a way to protect the life she’s built—but even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry. What happens next sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything, not just for Geeta, but for all the women in their village.

Filled with clever criminals, second chances, and wry and witty women, Parini Shroff’s The Bandit Queens is a razor-sharp debut of humor and heart that listeners won’t soon forget.

I initially gave this a pass until the audiobook showed up at my library and I changed my mind. My curiosity about the cultural elements took over.  



A professor’s life is turned upside down when he takes in his charming, wildly dangerous nephew, whose wealthy parents have just died under mysterious circumstances, in this propulsive, edge-of-your-seat debut psychological thriller.


The cleverest psychopaths hide in plain sight.

Gil is living a quiet life as a creative writing professor in a bucolic Vermont town, when he receives some shocking news: His sister and her husband have been killed in a car accident, and their only son is coming to live with him and his family.

Gil and his wife are apprehensive about taking in seventeen-year-old Matthew. Yes, he has just lost both his parents, but they haven’t seen him in seven years–and the last time the families were together, Matthew lured their young daughter into a terrifying, life-threatening situation. Since that incident, Gil has been estranged from his sister and her flashy, wealthy banker husband.

Now Matthew is their charge, living under their roof.

The boy seems charming, smart, and urbane, if strangely unaffected by his parents’ deaths. Gil hopes they can put the past behind them, though he’s surprised when Matthew signs up for his creative writing class. Then Matthew begins turning in chilling stories about the imagined deaths of Gil’s family and his own parents. Bewildered and panicked, Gil ultimately decides he must take matters into his own hands–before life imitates art.

Told in limber, mesmerizing prose, A Flaw in the Design is a twisting novel of suspense that brilliantly explores the tensions surrounding class, family, and the drive to control one’s own story…

This is one of the books on Penguin Random House’s The Most Anticipated Fiction of 2023 list. After reading the description, I had to agree. It’s a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in March.


A deliciously funny, sharply observed debut of family, love, and class, this zeitgeisty novel follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan

Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded, old-money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, middle-class and from New England, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider, wondering how she might ever understand their WASP-y ways. Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.

Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart escapist novel that sparkles with wit. It’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots and everything in between, and the insanity of first love.

This is another book from that Penguin Random House list. It’s a library audiobook hopeful scheduled for release in March.



A husband’s disappearance links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

Kubica is one of my auto read authors so I immediately added it after discovering this new book scheduled for release this month. It’s a library audiobook hopeful.


When you’re on top, you can get away with anything…

It’s the week before her wedding, and all of Eliza’s meticulous planning is about to pay off. She’s become the exact type of woman who would marry into the prominent, blue-blood Walker family – Ivy League credentials, a high-powered PR job, and a designer label wardrobe.

But as the big day approaches, secrets from Eliza’s past attending an Evangelical college start to throw her true motives into question. Who exactly is Eliza Bennet and what does she really want?

Written in a breakneck pace, capturing the glittering, privileged world of the one-percenters, The Social Climber is a gripping novel of one woman’s determination to seek justice at any cost.

This showed up at my library and I immediately jumped into the queue for the audiobook, especially after reading the reviews by several of my Goodreads friends. 



A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK

Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend’s sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. What she uncovers, deep in the woods, is hardly to be believed….


Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer–the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.

At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin….

Utterly unique and captivating, The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can ever fully confront the past and return home..

Another book I initially gave a pass until it showed up at my library and was selected by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club as the January pick. I’m in a fairly long queue.


This program is read by the author.

A front-of-the-house Kitchen Confidential from a career maître d’hotel who manned the front of the room in New York City’s hottest and most in-demand restaurants.


From the glamorous to the entitled, from royalty to the financially ruined, everyone who wanted to be seen—or just to gawk—at the hottest restaurants in New York City came to places Michael Cecchi-Azzolina helped run. His phone number was passed around among those who wanted to curry favor, during the decades when restaurants replaced clubs and theater as, well, theater in the most visible, vibrant city in the world.

Besides dropping us back into a vanished time, Your Table Is Ready takes us places we’d never be able to get into on our own: Raoul’s in Soho with its louche club vibe; Buzzy O’Keefe’s casually elegant River Café (the only outer-borough establishment desirable enough to be included in this roster), from Keith McNally’s Minetta Tavern to Nolita’s Le Coucou, possibly the most beautiful room in New York City in 2018, with its French Country Auberge-meets-winery look and the most exquisite and enormous stands of flowers, changed every three days.

From his early career serving theater stars like Tennessee Williams and Dustin Hoffman at La Rousse right through to the last pre-pandemic-shutdown full houses at Le Coucou, Cecchi-Azzolina has seen it all. In Your Table Is Ready, he breaks down how restaurants really run (and don’t), and how the economics work for owners and overworked staff alike. The professionals who gravitate to the business are a special, tougher breed, practiced in dealing with the demanding patrons and with each other, in a very distinctive ecosystem that’s somewhere between a George Orwell “down and out in….” dungeon and a sleek showman’s smoke-and-mirrors palace.

Your Table Is Ready is a rollicking, raunchy, revelatory memoir

I’m in a rather long queue for the audiobook after having given this a pass for audio review (I just didn’t have the time). It sounds interesting and unique.



I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.

If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.


When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend’s struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn’t easy. Bell River’s literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.

And in Maggie’s world, book rules are made to be broken.

To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.

Maggie will have to decide what’s more important: the books that formed a small town’s history, or the stories poised to change it all.

I jumped in the library queue when this audiobook showed up at my library. Who can resist a bookish story?


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

13 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed this morning either because I have a full plate, or Lulu has woken me up barking too many nights or I got upset by all the antics in the election of a Speaker of the House. Not sure.

    I haven’t heard of most of these except The House in the Pines was on my option list for filling in reviews this month. I wanted it but only had so many slots. I don’t like to get things when I don’t have a review slot for them.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a few of these on my shelf The Daniel Hurst is one plus Your Table Is Ready. All of them sound good and of course I am hoping you will love them all.

    I added:

    The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins
    Narrated by Nicola Barber

    A Quiet Retreatby Kiersten Modglin
    Narrated by Carly Robins

    and

    The Block Party A Novel by Jamie Day

    Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

    Like

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