Friday, April 11, 2014

Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally | Review

Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally | ReviewRacing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on December 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

picadillybluePure perfection!  If I had to review Racing Savannah in only two words, those would be them.  Miranda Kenneally has done it again (and I’m sure you’re not surprised by that.)

Readers will immediately be drawn in to Savannah and Jack’s world; the world of servants, jockeys, horse racing, and lots of money.  It’s a world very unlike my own and I was drawn in from the very first page.  It’s clear that Miranda Kenneally did her research with this one because everything was so authentic.  I’ve never been a fan of horse racing (or even horses) but just like with football in Catching Jordan, Miranda Kenneally made everything about it supremely interesting.

Savannah and Jack might be my favorite couple from all the books so far.  They come from very different worlds but from the second they meet, they like each other.  I’m not talking insta-love though.  They respect each other, they find each other attractive, and they grow to be friends, even when it’s frowned upon.  Savannah is technically Jack’s employee so things aren’t easy for them.  Their relationship is full of twists and turns and I was flipping pages as fast as I could.

As for the actual characters (not just as a couple), Savannah and Jack were both strong, smart, well-rounded people.  Savannah was a little broken and unwilling to trust, at first.  Jack was very overworked but he didn’t’ let it get to him.  Savannah was mature, kind, and while she was selfish at times, she was also very selfless at others.  Jack was rich but didn’t let the money go to his head.  He was a good person.

Also, the cameos in Racing Savannah made me so happy.  Racing Savannah takes place a few years after the other books so the characters are older now.  There’s a big (happy) event at one point in the book that put the biggest smile on my face.  Fans of the first three books will love it.

Overall, clearly I highly recommend Racing Savannah.  Miranda Kenneally is an all-time favorite authors of mine and I love her books.  If I could give Racing Savannah more than 5 shoes, I would.  It really is just that good.

What others are saying about Racing Savannah:

Rainy Day Ramblings’ review: “Another terrific addition to an outstanding YA series!”

For Love and Books’ review: “If you like romance, YA and or contemporary this book is for you!”

Anna Reads’ review: “So, I’d say: If you liked the other books, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.”

Friday, April 5, 2013

Things I Can’t Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Kenneally | Review

Things I Can’t Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Kenneally | ReviewThings I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 5, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Things I Can’t Forget is probably my favorite of Miranda Kenneally’s books. It’s fun and cute just like the rest but it’s also such a powerful story. I was seriously impressed and I’m even more excited for her next book now.

Where do I even begin? I loved everything about this book! At first I was a little nervous because I’d heard some really mixed things but I went in with an open mind and I’m so glad I did. Kate was really judgmental and preachy at first but I really suggest you just get past that and keep reading. I know it will bother some people (it did me) but it’s worth it to get past it. The story wouldn’t work at all if Kate wasn’t the way she was. She’s a truly devout girl and she doesn’t know how to deal with people who either don’t believe in God or just don’t believe the same way she does. She thinks that her way is the only way and it’s pretty much impossible for her to look past that. As the story progresses though Kate really starts to look a little deeper, not just into her own faith but into the faith of the people around her, from friends to family.

The other characters weren’t nearly as hard to like as Kate was. Take Matt, for instance. Oh gosh, Matt. Miranda Kenneally continues to impress me with the guys she writes. Matt may be the best yet. He’s funny, charming, sweet, and, oh yeah, he plays guitar and writes music. What’s not to love? He continually cracked me up and he did so much to help Kate come out of her shell and start to see the people around her. Then there were Will and Parker. Now, I’m ashamed to admit this but it took me a little while to realize that they were the Will and Parker from Stealing Parker. Yeah, I know, I’m a ditz. They were just as awesome as in Stealing Parker but maybe even more so now. Their relationship has really changed and they were so dang cute together. I also really enjoyed seeing them both become friends with Kate. Also, Kate’s parents were great, especially her dad. Her parents were always there for her and they were always willing to talk to her about anything and everything. Oh and I have to mention Matt’s family and fraternity. Matt’s family was so funny and so cute. His frat brothers were the best though. They’re only in the book briefly but I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them. And yes, you do get some Jordan and Sam Henry action!

The story moves along pretty quickly and Things I Can’t Forget won’t take you long to read at all. There were some rather dumb moves on Kate’s part but I felt that they really fit with her character and so they didn’t bother me all that much. However, they did kind of make me want to slap her a few times. Really, the story was just fun and cute but like I said, it had a heavier side to it that I really enjoyed. The religious part of Things I Can’t Forget was done amazingly well and it truly made me think. It was a bit preachy at times but I don’t think it could have been done any other way. Just stick with this one, I swear it’s so worth it.

Overall, Things I Can’t Forget is a must read for contemporary fans. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m so excited for the next book in this series!

Looking for more reviews of Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally?
Oh Damn Books’ review
A Reader of Fictions’ review
My Heart Hearts Books’ review
Maji Bookshelf’s review

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally | Review

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally | ReviewStealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 245
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

Miranda Kenneally is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors; right up there with Jennifer Echols, Sarah Dessen, and Sarah Ockler. I had very high hopes for Stealing Parker and I am so happy to say that I was not at all disappointed.

Parker is a lot like Jordan in some ways. She’s feisty, strong-willed, athletic, and most of her friends are boys. However that is where the similarities end. Parker is not nearly as easy to like as Jordan was. Parker does some stupid things and she’s very messed up. She doesn’t always think things through and sometimes she’s very selfish. She is a good person at heart though and a great friend. She just doesn’t quite know how to handle life anymore. Her family kind of spiraled out of control and she can’t fix it. Her friendships went the same way and she just gave up. Now she spends all her time trying to control what she can: her life, especially her love life. It’s not easy for Parker to trust people or to love them so instead of looking for a relationship, she looks for one night hookups. All that changes though when she starts to fall for someone that she just might want to be with for more than one night.

Once again the boys are what make this book and I’m not just talking the love interests. Miranda Kenneally has a way of writing friendships betweens guys and girls that are just natural and perfect. Drew is Parker’s best friend and he was a guy I would love to have as a friend. He stood up for Parker to his friends, he was there for her no matter what, and he liked Harry Potter marathons. Drew was a boy after my own heart! Then there was Corndog (Will). Corndog cracked me up! He’s a guy who thinks outside the box and never does what people expect him to. He’s a nice guy and a total sweetheart. And of course there is Brian, the assistant baseball coach, who Parker falls for. I actually really liked Brian and felt that he was just really confused. Sure he should have known better than to act how he did with Parker but other than that he was a pretty good guy.

Oh and there are a few mentions of Henry and Jordan in the book! Yay!

Stealing Parker is a rather short book and it’s super fast-paced. Things take off very quickly and it’s impossible to stop reading until you know exactly how everything is going to work out. There is quite a bit going on, what with the family drama, the church drama, and relationship drama but it’s never too much. And yes there is some religious stuff in Stealing Parker but it’s never preachy and never overdone. It fit perfectly with the story and I thought it really added to everything going on.

Overall, Stealing Parker is another must-read from Miranda Kenneally. You don’t need to read Catching Jordan first but I do recommend it. (Also, I just like any excuse to tell people to read that book.)

Looking for more reviews of Stealing Parker?
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally | Review

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally | ReviewCatching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on December 1, 2011
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 281
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

picadillyblue

Catching Jordan is the perfect romantic comedy.  Anytime you are in the mood for a fun YA read I highly recommend this one.  Miranda Kenneally’s debut novel makes me long for a plate full of nachos and some cute boys playing football!

Jordan is a pretty fierce girl.  She’s captain of the football team (as well as quarterback) and she can hold her own with the guys.  They don’t intimidate her (although some of the cheerleaders do.)  She definitely has some flaws though.  She doesn’t see some of the things that are right in front of her face.  And she really starts to want things when she can’t have them.  I also felt that she didn’t always take other people’s feelings into account.  She thought only of herself for quite a while.

Now there is quite a bit of a love triangle (you’re blind if you don’t see it coming from the beginning) but it’s one of the better love triangles in YA books.  Both Henry and Ty are great guys, just very different.  Ty is a little needy but also a little demanding.  However he’s a total sweetheart who cares deeply for his family.  Henry is kind of a player but it’s clear to see that he does it because he wants to be with Jordan and can’t.  He’s very torn.  I was definitely Team Henry.  He’s impossible not to love but Ty did appeal to me too.

The best part of Catching Jordan is the friendship aspect.  Jordan may not know it but she has a lot of friends.  The guys on the football team would do anything for her.  They all see her as their best friend even though she’s a girl.  They just think of her as a more delicate guy.  As for the girls, they see her either as a threat (like some of the cheerleaders) or as someone to look up to.  She’s also very loved by her family even though she doesn’t always see it.

Disclaimer: I am not a football fan.  I like some sports but football has never been one of the ones that I enjoy.  However I great enjoyed the games and practices in Catching Jordan.  Everything I needed to know was explained but not overdone.  And it wasn’t all about football.  =)

Overall, Catching Jordan is a must-read for contemporary fans.  This is one that I will definitely be re-reading in the future!

Looking for more reviews of Catching Jordan?
Once Upon A Prologue’s review
Books Over Boys’ review