Posted in Books and Shows

What I’ve Been reading: February 2023

Hello! I can’t believe it’s the last day of February! Since the month is wrapping up, that means I shared my favorite memes yesterday and then today I’m sharing the books I read this month.

This month I continued with my monthly average of reading three books:

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

Carrie Soto is Back:


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.

Quick Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every Taylor Jenkins Reid book that I’ve read, and I enjoyed this one too. I was talking to a friend a couple of months ago about books, and I asked if she’d read this book yet. She said, “I now play tennis because of this book!” haha

After about the first 100 pages, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is quite a bit about tennis.” {duh} So while I was enjoying it, I wanted more from the characters and the plot. Well, I ended up getting that! Once the plot picked up and it wasn’t just all about tennis, I started to enjoy it more and more. I loved Carrie’s relationship with her father as well as Bowe Huntley. I liked the pace of the book with her working towards her goal, match by match. Anyway, overall, I thought it was a really good book….and my streak of loving books by TRJ continues.


*First part of the book 4 stars, and second half 5 stars (4.5 stars overall)

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post:


Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . .

So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.

Marjorie’s journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father’s barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post’s Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.

And yet Marjorie’s story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.

Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.

Quick Thoughts:

In the past couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed historical fiction more and more. Who am I even?! This book caught my attention on the first page. I so enjoyed reading about Marjorie’s life and her loves. Reading about her business decisions and her wealth were both so interesting. To me, this book felt like a mix of Becoming Mrs. Lewis and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

After I finished the book, I texted my mom and Gma and told them they’d like this book. When I shared the book title, my Gma’s response was “Oh…Dina Merrill’s mother…” and my mom knew Marjorie Post owned Mar-a-Lago. Anyway, my point is that Marjorie Post definitely lived a life that spanned many decades and is a point of reference for many. I just recognized her name from Post cereal!


I think this will be one of the top books I read this year, and I highly recommend it.

Bridge to Terabithia:


Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

Quick Thoughts:

So, one of my students asked if I had ever read this book, and I hadn’t. He told me that he doesn’t like to read, but his 4th grade teachers gave him this book to read, and he’d read it many times in the years since she suggested it.

When a reluctant reader suggests a book to me, I’m going to read it. He even told me the book had won awards (“like the one with the gold sticker on the book!”) This book was sweet and charming with a touch of sad. I’m glad I took the time to read it. He also suggested that I watch the movie! Now, I will need to do that.

The author’s note was touching, and I liked that in the 40th anniversary edition includes Katherine Paterson’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech.


Reading Challenge:

I’m making my way through this reading challenge…

So far— I’ve covered:

  • B –Bridge to Terabithia
  • CCarris Soto is Back
  • I- The It Girl
  • L- Live Wire (Kelly Ripa)
  • MThe Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post
  • RRemarkably Bright Creatures

I’m currently reading Spare which I think I will use for the “one word title” box instead of “S.”

How is your reading going so far this year?