Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly-ish blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week.
1) I finished another virtual bike ride through The Conqueror Virtual Challenges. This one was a 500 mile ride along the coast of Scotland. It took me 84 days to complete on my Peloton bike. We are going to visit Scotland and Ireland in August, so this one had an extra level of enjoyment for me.
2) Speaking of Peloton, I took a fantastic ride this week- Emma Lovewell's 30 Minute Fleetwood Mac Ride. I am a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, and every song Emma chose was a favorite. I actually took it three days in a row, I enjoyed it that much.
3) I'm so happy that the Book of the Month Club started a podcast, Virtual Book Tour, and they chose a wonderful author to kickoff the initial episode- Adriana Trigiani, author of one of their May selections, The Good Left Undone (which I adored!). BOTM Editorial Director Brianna Goodman and Editorial Associate Jerrod MacFarlane spoke with Adriana about her inspiration for the novel, the importance of telling family stories, and how women's voices have traditionally been ignored in history. (And I can't wait to hear more about Adriana's Uncle Ralph, he has a great story.) I will be looking every other Tuesday for this terrific podcast, and if you a BOTM club member, this is a must-listen.
4) This week's episode of This Is Us was just stunning. After following the story of the Pearson family for six years, we come to the end of matriarch Rebecca's story. Beautifully written, the episode titled
The Train takes us through the last day of Rebecca's life. Mandy Moore's portrayal of Rebecca this season has been nothing short of amazing, and if she doesn't win the Emmy this year, there is no justice.
5) I spent four days waiting for various repair people to install a new refrigerator, install a new security camera, and most importantly, fix our broken internet connection. What to do with no internet or cable- why, read books of course! I read five books in four days, which was good because four of them are books I signed up to do on book tours.
First was Seraphina Nova Glass' On A Quiet Street (my review here), which gave me a Desperate Housewives vibe. (Remember that show?). It a mystery/thriller about three women who live in a wealthy Oregon coast enclave- Paige, whose 22 year-old son was killed near their home in a hit-and-run, Cora, whose believes her husband is cheating, and Georgia, mother to an infant, who never leaves her home. How these lives intersect made for page-turning reading. I couldn't put it down.
Next was Hannah Mary McKinnon's Never Coming Home (my review will post Monday, May 23rd), about a Lucas, sociopathic man who plans the perfect way to get a hold of his wife's money- he will hire a hitman on the Dark Web and have her kidnapped and killed. What could go wrong? McKinnon takes the reader through Lucas' meticulous planning, but when Lucas receives incriminating photos, his plan could go astray.
I always look forward to Susan Mallery's summer beach reads, and her latest, The Boardwalk Bookshop, holds special attention for me as it's set in a bookshop and I work in a bookshop, The Book Cellar, in NYC. (I wouldn't mind working in a bookshop at the beach though.) Bree owns the bookshop, and two other women share the space- Mikki, who owns the gift shop, and Ashley, who owns a bakery. Bree is closed off emotionally, Mikki is divorced and looking to start dating again, and Ashley has the perfect boyfriend. I loved all of them, and I'm always up for stories about women entrepreneurs. This has just the right blend of romance, friendship and career. My full review publishes May 31st.
Natalie Caña's first volume in her Vega Family romance series, A Proposal They Can't Refuse, also features entrepreneurs. Kamilah Vega's family owns a Puerto Rican restaurant in their gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. Sharing the building is Kane's Distillery, run by Kamilah's childhood friend-turned-nemesis Liam Kane. Kamilah and Liam's grandfathers, best friends who each founded their family businesses, come up with a scheme to bring their granchildren together and possibly save their family businesses at the same time. Again, I loved this story because of the emphasis on building a business, and I learned a lot about distilleries that I didn't know. The romance scenes are steamy, and there are familiar romance novels tropes of enemies-to-lovers, secrets, friends, and misunderstandings to overcome. You'll also get to practice your Spanish. I really liked this one, I'm looking forward to the next books in the series. My full review publishes May 26th.
The fifth book was one that has been out for awhile, and so many people have raved about it, I decided to read it. Robert Dugoni's novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, tells the story of a boy born with ocular albinism or "red eyes". The kids call him 'the Devil's son'. Sam Hill is the only son of a very devout Catholic mother who is determined that her son will lead an extraordinary life. His father owns a pharmacy in their town, and works long, hard hours trying to stave off the threat of chain pharmacies beginning to take hold in the 1970s. Sam is bullied at his Catholic school, but his friendships with Ernie, the only Black child at school, and Mickie, a tough girl who takes no guff from anyone, save him. Dugoni wrote this lovely story inspired by his younger brother who was born with Down's Syndrome. It is inspirational and uplifting.Have a great week, stay safe and healthy.
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