The Ultimate Reading Challenge #1 – Listen To A Reading Themed Podcast

Hi all!

Welcome to The Ultimate Reading Challenge! I outlined in 2022 how the new series will work here, so check that out before progressing further. For my first challenge, I decided to listen (and subscribe) to a reading themed podcast. The host reviewed Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which I read in 2022. I want to discuss my thoughts on it, where it sits in my ranking of the author’s works (see here), the podcast itself and what my prize was for completing the challenge. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Podcast: ‘What I’m Reading with Kara Ready.’ 

The podcast I am subscribed to is titled: ‘What I’m Reading with Kara Ready.’ She is also the co-host for ‘To Be Honest’, which is truly excellent. That’s how I heard about this one. At this point in time, Kara has only put out two episodes. One was reviewing Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid and the other was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which I’ve also read. Kara shares her real feelings about each novel and provides some interesting insight that a listener might not have considered before. She also lives in the same state as me, so it’s nice to support a fellow Australian. I highly recommend checking out both podcasts. You won’t be sorry.

Review: ‘Carrie Soto Is Back’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

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.

I have wanted to review this book ever since it was released. I absolutely loved it. It was 5/5 stars for me and sits level with Malibu Rising in my ranking. I feel like Taylor could write about the most mundane topic and I would find it fascinating. Even if you’re not interested in tennis, she will make you take notice with her latest novel. What I loved the most about this story was Carrie Soto herself. She was flawed and layered. She was relatable and real. We saw a woman transform on the pages and undergo significant character development. I was rooting for her the entire time, both on and off the court. It wasn’t just about sport. It was about family, love and learning what truly matters. I definitely want to read more from the perspective of strong female POC protagonists. This was a satisfying read from start to finish and I could not recommend it enough.

Prize For Completing The Challenge: 

As you can see below, my prize for completing the challenge was a pin that says: The Book Was Better. It’s so cute! I have put it with all my other badges.

Thank you so much for reading! I will see you next month for a new bookish challenge!

Peace & Love xoxo

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