#5Books: Book recs and looking back at an old show with new eyes

I found The X-Files on a streaming channel — hallelujah!

The X-Files season 1 is a revelation. This is my show, the show I will love beyond all good reason — including Home, which is the one episode I can’t watch again. So I was thrilled to find it streaming, finally.

The season 1 epsiodes are so different — they’re so much younger obviously, and they’re finding their feet as Mulder and Scully, and the first time Mulder called Scully Dana shocked me (as did the cheek caressing) — I’d forgotten they’d done that. The later episodes show characters that are so much more restrained, or Scully is, more than anything. Here, she responds to Mulder more emotionally, and well Mulder remains Mulder.

I can’t remember when Mulder and Scully became the Mulder and Scully of later seasons — maybe season 3 or 4? I wonder what the show would have been like had Scully been allowed to respond more emotionally to things and Mulder — and yup, OTP forever. #MSRomance

Tiny Imperfections

The Wedding Date meets Class Mom in this delicious novel of love, money, and misbehaving parents.

All’s fair in love and kindergarten admissions.

At thirty-nine, Josie Bordelon’s modeling career as the “it” black beauty of the ’90s is far behind her. Now director of admissions at the most sought after San Francisco private school, she’s stylish, single, and determined to keep her beautiful and brainy seventeen-year-old daughter, Etta, from making the same mistakes she did.

But Etta’s passion for ballet has her envisioning a very different future than the one her mother has planned–and their beloved matriarch, Aunt Viv, has Etta’s back. Meanwhile, Josie’s best friend thinks all Josie needs is to get back out on the dating field . . . unfortunately the only eye candy around is Golden Boy, a gay dad of one of Josie’s prospective kindergarteners.

As the admissions season winds down, those closest to Josie turn out to be full of surprises, and Etta’s future might have more to do with Josie’s past than she could have ever imagined

First, I adore the setting for Josie’s character — as admissions for a private school! The parents and the setting there are bound to create some havoc as parents can try way to hard to get their kids into private schools (and yes Josie’s dating ambitions are interesting too). Then, there’s Etta and Josie and the conflict brewing between the two.  So, yes, I am utterly looking forward to this one!

The Herd

When an exclusive New York women’s workspace is rocked by the mysterious disappearance of its enigmatic founder, two sisters must uncover the haunting truth before they lose their friendships, their careers–maybe even their lives.

The name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over each other to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an “in,” thanks to her sister Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, its charismatic founder.

Eleanor is a queen among The Herd’s sun-filled rooms, admired and quietly feared, even as she strives to be warm and approachable. As head of PR, Hana is working around the clock in preparation for a huge announcement from Eleanor–one that would change the trajectory of The Herd forever. Though Katie loves her sister’s crew, she secretly hopes she’s found her next book subject in Eleanor, who’s brilliant, trailblazing–and extremely private.

Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suspect foul play, everyone is a suspect: Eleanor’s husband, other Herders, the men’s rights groups that have had it out for The Herd since its launch–even Eleanor’s closest friends. As Hana struggles to figure out what her friend was hiding and Katie chases the story of her life, the sisters must face down the secrets they’re keeping from each other–and confront just how dangerous it can be when women’s perfect veneers start to crack, crumble, and then fall away all together.

So many secrets! I like that this is focused on a group of women, and in particular the sisters. I’m all for finding out what lies behind the ‘women’s perfect veneers’ because the whole situation is perfect for combustible egos and, well secrets. Eleanor herself is an enigma that sounds so promising — approachable and feared? She is the type of character around which brilliant mysteries can revolve.

In Five Years

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

A little bit Sliding Doors, a little bit not — what happens when Dannie meets the man of her literal dreams? I imagine life has gone on for Dannie since she had her vision — that would probably be the heartbreak maybe?

The Beauty of your face

A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.

A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.

As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.

The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman’s life in a nation at odds with its ideals.

First, what a beautiful cover this is! I love that this explores the hope that Afaf and family find in their religion (as any religion should provide). There’s so much here, I sincerely hope it’s just amazing.

Something She’s Not Telling Us

Charlotte has everything in life that she ever could have hoped for: a doting, artistic husband, a small-but-thriving flower shop, and her sweet, smart five-year-old daughter, Daisy. Her relationship with her mother might be strained, but the distance between them helps. And her younger brother Rocco may have horrible taste in women, but when he introduces his new girlfriend to Charlotte and her family, they are cautiously optimistic that she could be The One. Daisy seems to love Ruth, and she can’t be any worse than the klepto Rocco brought home the last time. At least, that’s what Charlotte keeps telling herself. But as Rocco and Ruth’s relationship becomes more serious, Ruth’s apparent obsession with Daisy grows more obvious. Then Daisy is kidnapped, and Charlotte is convinced there’s only one person who could have taken her.

Ruth has never had much, but now she’s finally on the verge of having everything she’s ever dreamed of. A stable job at a start-up company, a rakish, handsome boyfriend with whom she falls more in love with every day—and a chance at the happy family she’s always wanted, adorable niece included. The only obstacle standing in her way is her boyfriend’s sister Charlotte, whose attitude swerves between politely cold and outright hostile. Rebuffing Ruth’s every attempt to build a friendship with her and Daisy, Charlotte watches over her daughter with a desperate protectiveness that sends chills down Ruth’s spine. Ruth knows that Charlotte has a deeply-buried secret, the only question is: what? A surprise outing with Daisy could be the key to finding out, and Ruth knows she must take the chance while she has it—for everyone’s sake.

As the two women follow each other down a chilling rabbit hole, unearthing winding paths of deceit, lies, and trauma, a family and a future will be completely—and irrevocably—shattered.

Oh Charlotte and Daisy both sound like deliciously complex characters — with their own view on the situation. What’s interesting, is I can’t figure out if I believe either of them in this blurb.

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