Book Reviews: Carrie Soto is Back, When in Rome & The Wedding Veil

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads blurb: 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. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out August 30th, 2022

my take: 4.5 out of 5. I got this ARC last week and needed to get straight to it. I love all of her books, Evelyn Hugo is amazing and one I recommend so much ( a book i gave 4.5 stars that really should have been 5 in hindsight as I was being quite stingy with my stars last year). This is a really good book just not quite as engaging as Evelyn. I loved the middle and the end, the start was a bit slow. I love that she ties all the books together, as Carrie Soto makes a cameo in Malibu Rising. I feel that to get to the core of the book a lot of description and buildup needs to be put in place that maybe was a tad slow. But when it gets going, it gets going and it is wonderful. I went from not really understanding or liking the character to shedding tears with her by the end. Such powerful character development. Also there are some mayor points to be had in this book as to how well the author conveys in writing the thrill of a tennis game. It could have been boring or repetitive, but no, I as on the edge of my page (pun intended) waiting for the game results and it was as effective as if I was watching the game on TV. This book, although great as TV, would be so good as a movie, it just has so much visual to it.

The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Goodreads blurb: Four women. One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it.

Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother Babs is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago.

1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates. In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, The Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. This book has a good concept, and its the type of Historical Fiction that I love, but i feel it might have one too many characters. There were storylines that were more interesting than others (Cornelia, who i thought was going to be the most interesting, definitely wasn’t) and I was wanting to fast forward to the interesting bits. What this book did give me? I’m looking to book a vacation to Ashville NC ASAP. Two books in the same month with it must be a sign and this book taught me about Biltmore (it might have been the most interesting character in the book) and now I need to go!

When in Rome by Sarah Adams

Goodreads blurb: Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her adoring fans, is burned-out from years of maintaining her “princess of pop” image. Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, she drives off in the middle of the night for a break in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is. When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbors to mind their own damn business. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room–but only until her car is fixed–then she’s on her own. Then Noah starts to see a different side of Rae Rose–she’s Amelia: kindhearted and goofy, yet lonely from years in the public eye. He can’t help but get close to her. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing, and she’ll help him open his heart to more. Amelia can’t resist falling for the cozy town and her grumpy tour guide, but even Audrey had to leave Rome eventually.

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out September 20th, 2022

My take: 4.5 out of 5. This book was a surprising absolute delight. I had not read anything from Sarah Adams before but I have a couple in my TBR because of great word of mouth so I was looking forward to this ARC. Conclusion I am now going to be reading all of Sarah Adams past books. When in Rome was a sweet and thoughtful rom com that gets to the heart. They had me at Roman Holiday inspired, because I might be as obsessed with Audrey Hepburn as Amelia, but the execution was very satisfying. This was one of those books that I read in one sitting and could not put down. Starting one chapter before bed at 10 meant i stayed up until 2am to finish it, but the sleepiness the next day was well worth it.

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