Summary (from the publisher):Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.
But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.
At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but as I’ve shared in my reviews and in my TJR book ranking, I have controversially felt medium on Daisy Jones and the Six (I do have a library hold on the audiobook) and although I flew through and really enjoyed Malibu Rising, I wasn’t screaming my love off the rooftops (or on the blog). However, I had seen such rave reviews for Carrie Soto is back over its first two weeks. With a free weekend ahead and some impatience for it to come in from the library , I bought my own copy. Reader, is it surprised that I finished the book in less than 24 hours?
Carrie Soto is Back follows the title character as she comes out of retirement when the current #1 player, Nicki Chan, threatens to break her record for the most amount of Slam titles. The book begins with Carrie’s decision to come out of retirement, with her father once again as her coach, but then goes from her days as a child to her early career to her most successful stages and then transitions back to the present day and quest to keep her title as the greatest of all time.
I know the title makes it easy to use the following pun, but my love for TJR’s books is back because Carrie Soto is Back is for sure one of my favorite reads of the year!
I told myself that I was going to create this Taylor Jenkins Reid book ranking post right after I read Malibu Rising and Maybe in Another Life back in June….but here we are 5 months later! Today, I am going to be sharing a much-anticipated (on my end at least!) by ranking Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. I started reading TJR’s books back in 2017 and have read at least one book of her’s every year since. I do still have to read her short story published through Amazon, Evidence of the Affair. I’ve made my rankings from favorite to least favorite, & I’ve included my star ratings & when I read the book.
1. One True Loves – I know many readers love TJR’s more recent historical fiction/big cast of characters type books more than her early contemporary books, but I’ve always held One True Loves as my favorite TJR book. TJR’s contemporary books tend to have what-if type storylines where the main protagonist has to make a choice in a partner or lifestyle that will lead to a totally different life. In One True Loves, the main protagonist is led to believe that her husband was lost at sea and returns to her hometown to heal and develops feelings for an old friend…only to find out that her husband didn’t die after all. The book definitely got bonus points in my book for partially taking place at a family-owned bookstore. My Rating:4.25/5 Stars Read In: 2017
2. Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo –The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the book that really put TJR on readers’ radar (it’s also her highest rated book on Goodreads) and was her first venture into the historical-fiction type writing she is now known for. The book follows unknown magazine reporter Monique, who is selected to learn about the glamorous and scandalous life of movie icon Evelyn Hugo. I remember absolutely loving the writing style throughout & how the story connected all together in the end.My Rating: 4/5 Read In: 2018
Summary (from the publisher): Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Malibu Rising is one of THE books of June, if not THE book of summer. I feel like I mentally grouped so many big contemporary June 1st releases together – including but not limited to Zakiya Dalia Harris’ The Other Black Girl, Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop, and Elin Hilderbrand’s Golden Girl because June 1st was THAT big of a new release day. At the time of writing this post, I’ve read The Other Black Girl and still have to read One Last Stop and Golden Girl, but out of the four, I was most anticipating Malibu Rising.
I’ve now read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, & I do plan on sharing a fun TJR ranking post later this summer. I was semi-inspired to do so after listening to Friends to Lovers Podcast’s TJR ranking episode recorded pre-Malibu Rising. They reminded me that I still needed to read Maybe This Time, which I read before about a week before diving into Malibu Rising. Controversial opinion that I’ll probably dive into in my rankings posts, but I prefer TJR’s contemporary romances to her latest releases, which don’t necessarily have a genre but tend to fall into historical fiction, including Malibu Rising. I feel like TJR’s latest three books are definitely distinct from her contemporary romance, but having read Malibu Rising and Maybe This Time so close together, I do see some of her old writing style come in – which don’t get me wrong, I love.
Book reviews are among my favorite blog posts to write. However, I sometimes struggle articulating reviews for books that I might’ve really enjoyed, but don’t know what exactly to say about them. I’ve read the following books in April and May, and they include: a book by a much beloved contemporary author, a 2018 release that hasn’t received too much attention, a vey much hyped and loved book, and a VERY current read.
First & Then by Emma Mills
Rating: 4/5 Stars
After really enjoying This Adventure Ends, I decided to go back and read Emma Mills books in publication order. Not only was I just genuinely excited to pick up her first book, First & Then, but its Friday Night Lights meets Pride and Prejudice premise had me sold at the get-go. You’ll know from my wrap-ups that Friday Night Lights is one of my most recent all-time favorite TV shows that has transformed into a more recent obsession with football documentary series. While I wouldn’t call it Friday Night Lights, I enjoyed First & Then’s football aspect. I thought it was really accessible to readers who may or may not be familiar with the sport.
First & Then is not really a plot-driven story, but rather focuses on relationship growth. Devon is figuring out relationships with many people in her life: her cousin, Foster, who has just moved in with her family; Cas, her best friend, who she’s always had feelings for; Ezra, the star running back, who unexpectedly chooses Devon as his gym class partner. Devon also must do some self-exploration, trying to figure out if she even wants to go to college. I didn’t mind that First & Then is quiet and on the shorter side, but I felt that the plot needed more. Although this book is very much about character and relationship growth, nothing much really eventful happens aside from the formation of Devon’s one relationship. I recommend this book for readers looking for quiet YA or a quick read on a beach or pool day this summer.
Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I had wanted to read a book by Adele Griffin for a long time. I decided on Tell Me No Lies mostly for its late 1980s backdrop, and yes, its gorgeous cover. Its mixed reviews on Goodreads made me put it off reading it for a little longer than I should have, but I am trying to somewhat prioritize books on my physical/owned TBR. Ultimately, I ended up really enjoying Tell Me No Lies! I really liked Adele Griffin’s writing style, especially for the book’s atmosphere. Our protagonist, Lizzy, rebels from her suburban and over-achiever life during her senior year and explores night life and the art scene in Philadelphia with the new girl in school.