Spoiler Free Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Carrie Soto Is Back

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: August 30th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Format: eARC

Publisher: Balantine Books

Pages: 384

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Carrie Soto the winner of 20 Grand Slams titles who has since retired is watching a game at the 1994 U.S. Open where a younger Nicki Chan is about to break her record. The Battle-Axe has built a career in tennis as a fiercely driven, competitive and grant no mercy icon. She lives, breathes, and dreams tennis alongside her father Javier a former champion himself who has dedicated his life to training her. Carrie may not have the charisma the fans look for or the likeability factor in her favor but she’s well respected as one of the greats. When she announces her return from retirement for the sake of reclaiming her record/title, the sports casters are ruthless. They voice their disapproval and break down all of the reasons (age & stamina) she should just stay in retirement and let the younger tennis players have their day.  Carrie could care less about anyone’s opinion, she knows she’s taking on a task many have already counted her out of but it only serves to further motivate her. This book is heavy on the tennis talk, it can never be said that TJR doesn’t research her subjects thoroughly. We see Carrie both on and off the court with her dad Javier running plays and really pushing her body to the limits day and night. It is a story about a father/daughter relationship that is nurtured through tennis. It is a story about grief, that of loved ones and that which we experience when certain chapters come to a close. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s signature style story-telling has delivered some of the most memorable female protagonists. Carrie Soto is an archetype she writes well and will remind readers who’ve read TJR’s previous books of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones, and Nina Riva. In similar fashion TJR throws out some easter eggs with mentions of characters we’ve met in her previous books. Readers should also know that there are bits of Spanish sprinkled throughout the book (translation guide not included) yet that does not make this a Latine book. We are made aware that these are Argentinean characters but that’s about as deep as it gets with regards to their ethnicity and culture. I went in knowing this and did not pick it up for Latine representation since TJR is not a Latine author. My pull towards this book was the father/daughter relationship that was mentioned in the synopsis since these types of stories are my Achilles heel for personal reasons. Yes, the tennis was well researched and engaging. Yes, Carrie herself is intriguing and complex. Yes, the sportscaster commentary mixed in made for a more realistic play by play of the matches. The father/daughter relationship however was the real highlight of this book and Javier in my opinion is the real star of the show. Javier has a special place  in my heart and will be quite difficult to forget.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: The Daughter Of Doctor Moreau

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pub. Date: July 19th 2022

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Format: eARC

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 320

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 10/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 10/10  Plot: 8/10  Intrigue: 9/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 67/9.6 =  ☆☆ 5 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

The genre blending Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back with another hit and this one has managed to dethrone Mexican Gothic for me! didn’t think it was possible, foolish me. This time we’re transported to 19th century Mexico in a reimagining of H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau. Carlota Moreau is growing up in a lavish estate alongside her father who’s genius mind pushes boundaries and defies ethics, a madman who was exiled from his birth country in Europe. Moreau’s work is centered on creating human-animal hybrids, his experiments have led to the creation of many that are deformed and suffering from the pain of their limbs/bone structure. The benefactor of the estate is beginning to apply pressure on results and has threatened to cut off funding. The Hybrids come to life, some with endearing personalities and others with a whole lot of heart and desire for something more than a life in hiding. Some have heard the rumors of a Mayan rebel leader who is fighting back against colonization out in the Yucatan Peninsula. They dream of escaping by joining his rebel groups and want Carlota to leave with them. When the benefactor’s son Eduardo Lizalde arrives at the Hacienda, it’s love at first sight and Carlota’s dad who is desperate for continued funding is overjoyed with their romance. The only person who stands in their way is the new Mayordomo in the Hacienda, Montgomery Laughton. 

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Friends, to say that I hated Eduardo is an understatement. A sleaze ball who sees Carlota more as a trophy he must win. In the other corner we have Montgomery Laughton who is the second POV we get in this story. Yes, he does have a LOT of demons and Yes I still ended up enjoying his broody drunk character. There’s an age gap between him and Carlota but he isn’t pressed to try and win her over even though he acknowledges the fact that he loves her. SMG gives us Gothic vibes in a historical backdrop where we have themes of colonization, human exploitation/experimentation and the ethics bound to it, racism towards the Mayans, abuse of power, and a feminist MC who could EASILY have become a better scientist than her father if she weren’t expected to conform to societal expectations. That being said, seeing Carolta’s evolution was satisfying on a whole other level! This is one not to be missed especially if you were on the fence over Mexican Gothic. I’d say give this one a go but be prepared to see yourself become over protective of Cachito, my favorite of the hybrids! ❤


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