Book review roundup

Book review roundup
Photo by Jamie Street / Unsplash

Often I DNF (do not finish) books, but the past few weeks I've hit the literary jackpot and come across three in a row I could not put down. Here are brief reviews, also shared on BookBub. None are steamy romance, but I would say that all three are love stories--including Carrie Soto, although the love interest isn't necessarily human.🎾

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I should start by saying that I have (tried to) hit a tennis ball around a court only a few times in my life and in addition know very little about the game. But I trust Taylor Jenkins Reid and I was intrigued by the idea of reading about a world mostly unknown to me but with relatable themes such as aging and ambition, family relationships, and falling in love "later" in life.   To sum it up, I was completely riveted. I could "see" Carrie's matches; I loved learning how she strategized and how her relationships--with her opponents and with her father and Bowe--developed in ways she was not open to earlier in her life. Fascinating and gripping.

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

A beautiful love story told in simple but affecting prose. Author Nina LaCour had me feeling the grief and the small moments of joy of Emilie and Sara as they try to build, and rebuild, their lives individually and together. Perfect details, realistically drawn characters with loving friends. Also compassion, acceptance, courage. Side note: I recently answered a question on another platform about fictional worlds I'd like to visit. The world in Yerba Buena was one of the three I chose. Here's how I answered--and if you haven't read the book, don't read any further: "I'd like to visit Long Beach and see Emilie's Ocean Avenue mansion, with its high ceilings and bold kitchen backsplash and then drive around with her and Randy to look at homes for her next flip. At the end of the day, we'd stop wherever Sara is working behind the bar and try one of her drinks, something with a homemade syrup and garnish of caramelized orange peel."

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

I adored this book, maybe one of the most honest, sweet I've read. What struck me most was how the author's voice blended so seamlessly with the characters', mainly Annika's. When I stopped to think about the writing itself, it was hard for me to differentiate it from Annika's voice. Which gives this book a directness that pulls the reader completely in (to the point of burning dinner because you are standing by the stove, lost in the story, unable to put the book down long enough to stir). I found The Girl He Used to Know a wonderfully interwoven coming-of-age and love story. Must. Read. (But read when you're not cooking.)

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