Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Review:

I love reading an authors work as the years pass by because you see how their writing changes and how much better it gets overtime. It is pretty incredible really. At least I think so. From the very beginning I loved Miranda’s writing and that still has not changed. Especially if her writing keeps getting better which I didn’t think it could be possible. Alright enough gushing over her, let’s get to the real reason I am writing this review.

Defending Taylor is not your ordinary story. We get a glimpse into the life of a powerful family, yet it is not all the color of roses. The story also doesn’t follow your typical rich girl in a political world story. Taylor is just a girl who decides to cover for her boyfriend whom she loves and doesn’t want him to lose his scholarship to the private school they both attend. She thought she could cover for him because her father is a senator, but little did she know her father would not move a finger to help her. She ends up having to change schools and goes to Hundred Oaks now. There she learns to navigate the world and that any decision you make whether good or bad has the potential of being life altering.

I do want to point out that I loved how great and supportive Ezra is throughout the book. He is literally her other half. He is working through some issues and with encouragement and help from Taylor he is able to overcome his shame and get help.

Defending Taylor is about growing as a human being and being careful about the decisions you make. I know I may have made this book sound too deep maybe, but it is a great story with great characters. Like I said… Miranda’s writing is on point yet again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Vero Signature copy

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Breathe Annie Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

My Initial Thoughts:

I absolutely knew I was going to love it.

Review:

oh man, Oh man, Oh Man, did I absolutely love this book! It was everything I needed, wanted, and more! I think I will be using a lot of exclamation points the entire review!!!!

Let’s just start of by addressing the painful stuff first. Annie’s story about Kyle’s death and how it all went down was so sad…I was nearly in tears. I could imagine the guilt she felt. She was going to marry that guy. I seriously don’t know how she wasn’t a bigger mess. I think Kenneally did a wonderful job at explaining the importance of the marathon and Kyle to us, the readers, so that we could get it and understand why the marathon is so important to Annie.

Oh Jere. I remember you in Things I Can’t Forget and oh man I’m glad you’ve changed. What I really liked about Jeremiah is how honest he was with Annie. Jeremiah is exactly what Annie needed, and Annie is exactly what Jeremiah needed. Even though Annie was getting over someone who died, which I think is probably harder than getting over someone who is alive, she is able to stand on her own two feet and call out Jere out in his crap. I also love that Jere was there for Annie and waited for her to be ready. A man who can respect a woman. I like that. We need more men to be like that.

Breathe Annie Breathe didn’t just focus on Annie, but also addressed Jeremiah’s issue. I am a person that at times does somewhat risky things to get over a fear and likes to feel that rush of adrenaline that makes you feel like you’ve conquered the fear. I get why Jeremiah searched for that surge of adrenaline and how that road that led him to turning into an adrenaline junkie. He had to make some hard decisions throughout the entire book to change. The best part of each of the main characters were their interactions and how each could see through the other’s facade and actually address the issues and situations. Neither chickened out on each other.

The only reason I am giving this 4.5 stars instead of 5 is that the few pages before the ending were a little… weird for me and I felt like the story abruptly stopped. That ending was so not an ending.

Some of you might remember I had a few issues with Kenneally’s second book Stealing Parker for bad representation of certain groups of people, but I will say that I’ve loved every other books she’s written. So far I own all 5 Hundred Oaks books and hopefully I will keep owning more in the future.

I’m not done with the Hundred Oaks world yet Kenneally, and I hope you aren’t either.

Rating: 4.5/5

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

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…

My Initial Thoughts:

I loved Catching Jordan, I hated Stealing Parker, and I liked Things We Can’t Forget. In my head, I didn’t know if I would love this book or hate it. What did perk me up was the whole ranching side and racing horses aspect of the story. That intrigued me, but apart from that, I really didn’t know what my reaction to this book would be.

Review:

I am going to be absolutely honest with you… I LOVED THIS BOOK. I fangirled throughout the whole entire book. I love the way Miranda Kenneally develops her characters, how we can see them grow. I love that this book takes place several years after the first book, Catching Jordan, and we are able to see what has happened to our favorite characters in the past 4 years.

The romance in this novel is believable. Jack, that lovable bastard, is it just me or did he remind you of Adrian Ivashkov a little? Anyone? Maybe just me, but man I loved him as a character. He has his faults, several at the beginning, but he sees his wrongs and changes. That’s why I love him. 

Savannah was also a character I enjoyed because she didn’t let a guy define her. She one knew her worth and did not lower herself to please a guy in a way that degrades her. We need more girl characters in YA that know their self-worth and fight for their life instead of letting a guy fix all of their problems.

Overall, I recommend this book. It is a quick read that will have you gushing and screaming of joy. I can’t wait for Breathe, Annie, Breathe which is Ms. Kenneally’s next novel.

Rating: 5/5

Other

16 Blogging Days of Winter – Day 2

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Today’s topic is all about the TBR. What am I reading next? Yesterday I just finished reading The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes which was a awesome book (review to come soon). After reading a heavy murder mystery I need a contemporary and the book I picked is…

16045296Goodreads Summary:

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.

Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Things I Can’t Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Keneally

Things-I-Cant-Forget-cover1Goodreads Summary:

Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

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…

Read an excerpt here.

My Initial Thoughts:

You all know I had several issues with Catching Parker and I said I would not read more Miranda Kenneally books, but I decided to give her one more chance.

Review:

I’m actually happy I gave Ms. Kennneally another chance because I really liked Things I Can’t Forget.

I really liked the decision Kate made at the end. It seems like a lot of books nowadays, especially those that have christian characters, portray them in a way that is not realistic or true a lot of the time. I liked that Kate said no and no meant no. She didn’t care that she might lose Matt, she made the right choice and for that I’m so happy. I think that is one of the reasons why I loved this book. Someone that actually favors their beliefs instead of the guy. Someone that actually favors abstinence.

I also want to point out that Miranda’s writing style is unique. It’s not fake or unrealistic, it’s feels real. I feel like I know the characters in real life, it almost feels like I’m reading a journal. While I was reading the novel in my head Kate was my friend and everything I was reading were letters she had sent me, explaining what’s been happening in her life, the struggles that she is going through, and the things she has to figure out.

I also like the development of the characters and how inanimate objects were used to bring quirkiness and uniqueness to each character. For Matt it was his doorless Jeep. For Kate it was her paintings.

Overall, I think this is the best book out of the three books so far in the Hundred Oaks companion novel series. I liked Catching Jordan and I despised Stealing Parker. We will see if I will hate or love Racing Savannah when I read it next month.

I recommend this book to those who want a quick read. I read this book in a few hours.

Rating: 4/5

Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight #7: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

So, I know that this Book Spotlight is late. Why? I absolutely forgot about it. I apologize you guys. I don’t even know how it happened honestly, but I will be better about my posts from now on. I normally don’t do this which is why I am in a state of shock. Anyways, let’s continue with what you really want to read.

For this week’s spotlight we are going back to YA contemporary novels and the one that I will be focusing the spotlight on is:

Catching Jordan by Miranda
Catching Jordan by Miranda Keneally

I really really enjoyed Catching Jordan. Having a girl be the captain of the football team and play better than any of the other guys on the team was freaking awesome. It is a book about the unconventional. We have sports, romance, family, and friendship. Pretty much it has it all. Just thinking about this book makes me want to read it again. Yup, it’s that awesome.

Book title: Catching Jordan

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Originally Published: December 1st, 2011

Goodreads Summary:

Whoever said football and girls don’t mix hasn’t read Catching Jordan. I couldn’t put it down ” — Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series

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?

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally

(Author Edit 12/22/2014: I just wanted to add that I know I wrote a negative review about Stealing Parker and I vowed not to ever read any more of Keneally’s books, but I will say that I gave her a second chance and I absolutely love them! Please read her books! I will say that this one is still not my favorite for obvious reasons, but please don’t let my review sway you from reading any of her other books!)

Goodreads Summary:

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?

What I Like:

Miranda Kenneally did it again. I did not see that end coming at all. I guessed something would happen but not how it ended up happening. Yes, I am being very vague because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. I love that Kenneally writes stories that can seem cliche and adds her own twists that make it new and refreshing. The theme of sports within her books is something I like a lot. I think that hasn’t been done in YA, or at least not recently. I adored that Will and Parker were characters that were relatable. They both have crappy family issues going on. Both are not experts at dealing with difficult life circumstances but together along with some good friends, they figure it out. Somewhat, but that’s how life is. The ending isn’t perfect but it is believable. I love the open-endedness at the end of the book.

What I Dislike:

Here comes the bad stuff. I am sad to report that I will stop reading books written by Miranda Kenneally. Why? Because I don’t like an author trashing my believes. I dislike that she is making Christians look really bad. Yes, there are hypocrites within the church. Yes, there are some people in the church that are judgmental. What irritated me was the fact that the character, Parker, made the assumption that all Christians were the same. You may say, “but Veronica, Parker goes to another church and they don’t treat her like crap?” Well, Parker’s reasoning in the book is that they don’t judge her because they don’t know what happened. If they knew, she would become a social pariah again. It seems to be that the Christian characters being portrayed in the book are what I would call “Cultural Christians,” and not the real deal. The Christian characters in the book also disregard the bible and it is all about your personal relationship with God. Actually, it is supposed to be about both.

Another thing I disliked was Parker’s dad and his inability to stand up for himself. He seemed to read the bible so much in the book. I guess he forgot to read the book of Joshua where God calls us to be brave and not to worry because he will always be with us. It seemed to be that Parker’s dad was not being brave at all but was hiding behind the church as an excuse not do to anything in regards to all of the family issues. Okay, my rant is over.

Overall:

Overall, the story line was good, but I hated the incorrect portrayal of Christians. My reviews are a combination of the writing and my personal opinion on them. That’s how I calculate the rating.

Rating: 3/5

(The only reason it got a 3 was because the story line was great. If I only took into account what I disliked, It would be a 2.)

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it.

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book.

3/5: I liked it (A fun read).

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing.

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!