Author: Miranda Kenneally

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #8
Also in this series: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2), Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa, Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

It’s pretty amazing that this book is the eighth book in the Hundred Oaks series and I’m just as invested in these characters, from that high school as I was in the beginning. Sure, I’ve liked some books more than others but I’m still excited to read these books as if I’d read them for the first time.

This book follows Maggie and Levi. Best friends turned more than best friends. They’re competitive swimmers that grew up together, are always in each other’s pockets and with their schedules as jam packed as they are, they don’t really have much time for friends and relationships and what not. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem because Levi finds the time to hook up with girls and Maggie is too tired for anything more than swim and her weekly night out with her best friends. All of that is enough for Maggie until she goes on a college visit trip and becomes curious. She doesn’t have any experience with boys and now that the idea is in her head, she wants to hook up with someone. She wants to kiss and fool around and really, she wants more than just swimming.

Once that is decided, Maggie tries it on her own with disastrous results so she figures that she needs someone she trusts to help her out and who better than her bestie, Levi?

Levi is not excited about delving into this because Maggie is important to him and he doesn’t have the time and doesn’t want to risk what they have over kissing and hooking up. He’s scared of all of the normal things that will happen with other girls, things he doesn’t want to risk with Maggie but because he can’t say no to her, he goes along. He helps her out. They kiss. They make out. They learn from each other until things start to really heat up.

Maggie and Levi were adorable on their own and I really loved their friendship. They had a solid foundation as friends and I was glad that they were able to get back to that friendship once the waters were tested and their bond was shaken a little. Kenneally does a great job of telling both of their sides and helping them figure their stuff out and she does it all so easily. Not once was I bored. Not once was I frustrated with either Maggie or Levi and I really enjoyed seeing them come into their own while not losing what was between them. Sure, it wasn’t easy and their relationship wasn’t perfect but it was still pretty awesome and I really enjoyed being along for their journey.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 14, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7
Also in this series: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2), Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa, Coming Up for Air
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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?

Praise for Jesse's Girl:"A a fun, sexy, suck-me-in read."-Katie McGarry, author of Nowhere But Here and Pushing the Limits"An absorbing story...highly enjoyable."-Kirkus"Inspires as it entertains."-Publishers Weekly

This is how I felt after reading this book:

Miranda Kenneally wrote another fantastic contemporary YA book that I enjoyed a great deal. If she wanted to write nothing but Hundred Oaks books for the rest of her life, I would be quite happy. I haven’t been reading too many contemporary YA books lately but I can’t seem to stay away from certain authors and series and this author and this series is one of them.

This book follows Taylor Lukems after she was kicked out of her private school and starts school (and her new life) at Hundred Oaks High School. It’s her senior year and having to start all over at a new school is not going easy for her. It’s crazy how one lie could throw her entire life into a tailspin. Her Senator father’s campaign is thrown off course, she’s having trouble fitting in with her new soccer team and everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

The one thing that is different with this book than any of the other books in this series is that I thought the story revolved less around the couple and more around Taylor’s problems. I was totally okay with that though because I was interested in seeing her work through her problems and figure her shit out. She really comes into her own in this book and I was glad to have been a part of her journey. She’s smart and she’s strong and you really see her grow as a character, which I really enjoyed.

As much as I was okay with the romance being in the background (more so than I remember in the other books), it would have been nice to get more Ezra cause I liked him and wanted to know him more. I liked that he had that crush on his best friend’s little sister and I liked the way that he handled going about dating her. I also liked Taylor’s brother’s attitude toward his best friend dating his little sister.

There was much to like about reading this book. I liked Taylor, I liked the friends she made. I liked seeing the old characters again and I’m already looking forward to the next Hundred Oaks book. I can’t wait to dig into that sucker.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa by Miranda Kenneally

Posted October 24, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #0.5
Also in this series: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2), Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7), Coming Up for Air
Publisher: Miranda KenneallyGenres: Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Junior Year Following the Event that Shall Not Be Discussed: Me Blowing the Tennessee State Championship Football Game

Jordan Woods wants to do something special for her best friend Sam Henry for Christmas, but she knows he won't accept the present she has in mind. To make sure Henry doesn't object to her gift, Jordan decides to set up a gift exchange with the entire football team. The problem is that Jordan's teammates tell her flat out that guys don't do Secret Santa.

Set nine months before the events of Catching Jordan, Miranda Kenneally gives a glimpse of true friendship between Jordan, Henry, and the rest of the guys on the team.

What a cute little short this one turned out to be. After finishing Stealing Parker, I was super stoked when I saw someone rate this short story on Goodreads (I believe it was April from Books and Wine) so after a little digging, I found a short story by Miranda Kenneally and read the entire thing.

So this short story takes place before Catching Jordan, Sam Henry and Jordan Woods are just friends and it’s Christmas. Jordan wants to get Sam a gift for Christmas that Sam doesn’t want her to get him. The reason being, they’re super expensive and so Jordan starts plotting to find a way to get the gift to Sam in a way that he’ll have to accept them and that’s where the fun is.

I adore both Jordan Woods and Sam Henry. I loved them both in their book and adored them even more in this little short story. Their friendship is a true friendship and a friendship that I wished Parker from Stealing Parker had in her own life. This was such a cute story, the presents they exchanged, the lengths they went to make the other happy all made me sigh my heart out. I loved it! It was also great to see everyone from Hundred Oaks mentioned and be in this story. Really, I loved it!

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Miranda Kenneally. I read this story online, it was free but I’m still reviewing it since I read it.
Read the book: Here
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

five-stars


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Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Posted October 23, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Also in this series: Guys Do Not Do Secret Santa, Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7), Coming Up for Air
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 242
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

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?

I’m going to hide my review since there are going to be major spoilers (sorry, I couldn’t help it) so if you’ve read the book and want to go ahead and read my review, feel free to highlight the review and read it that way.

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MAJOR SPOILERS: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

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One of my hot buttons is the teacher/student relationship in books. I’m just flat out, not a fan of it. Actually, I should clarify that I’m not a fan of a minor student and teacher relationship. Professors and college students I’m not really against but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read those books unless they come highly recommended but with minors (and 17 is still a minor in my opinion), I don’t like it.

So with that said, I wondered how I would like this book because it’s got one of those relationships in it. Now, I’m a fan of the author because I absolutely adored Catching Jordan so despite my reservations going into this book, I had to read it because I enjoyed the last book by Kenneally that much.

The verdict is in: I liked it.

I liked the book in general but the part of the book that deals with the coach/student relationship, I wasn’t a fan of that. But that wasn’t what made this book. Or the entire book anyway so I was happy about that. The book focuses on the main character, Parker who’s mother came out of the closet and left the family with her lesbian lover. Parker, who grew up as a strict Christian has been shunned by her best friend, her friends and a lot of families at Church. Rumors fly around her school about how she’s going to follow in her mother’s footsteps and how she’s a slut as well. All rumors start with her ex-best friend Laura. Try as she might to ignore it all, Parker is very affected by the rumors, by her mother’s betrayal (which is how she sees it) and everything else going on in her life. Her father stubbornly insists that the family go to the same Church that turned their backs on them and that frustrates Parker to no end because a place that is supposed to be forgiving is anything but and really, the people at this Church pissed me the heck off.

Parker is trying to keep things going in her family now that her mother left. She cooks, she cleans and she runs things at home while her brother turns to drugs and alcohol to make it all go away and her father works and drowns himself in the Church which isn’t good for anyone. Parker turns to kissing boys and what I want to know is when did kissing boys make you a slut? That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was the friendship that blossomed between Will and Parker. I thought Will (Corndog) was such a cutie patootie but when the crap hits the fan with Parker and Coach Hoffman, the way that both Will and Drew turned on her made me so angry on her behalf. They should have had more faith in her because they were supposed to be her friends. She already had bad luck with shitty friends and for the two guys that I liked the most in this book to do what they did, gutted me because I was good and pissed at both of them. Nobody is perfect and Parker wasn’t any exception but she was a good person at heart and it really sucked that not one person outside of her family knew this. Everyone should have known that because to know her and Drew and Will knew her was to see how awesome she really was and so I hated that she had to deal with so much stupidity from the people at school and the people at Church….and then the people in her circle of friends.

Watching Parker deal with everything thrown at her made my heart hurt because she didn’t deserve all of that. Coach Hoffman, as cute and hunky as he was, made me want to puke. He was an adult that acted like a straight up douchebag and I couldn’t like him to save my life. Did I see what Parker saw in him? Totally. Did it justify what Brian let happen between them? Hell no. He was a no good, piece of shit that needed to get punched in his freaking face for taking advantage of Parker the way that he did. He had no flipping excuse for carrying on with her the way that he did and each trip to the laundry mat made me want to find him and punch his face in. He stopped being hot the minute he took advantage of Parker and he took advantage of her. Whether she was willing or not, he was the adult and the teacher, he should have put a stop to it and if they weren’t caught, he probably would have kept right on meeting her late at night across the street and doing what they were doing. Ugh.

After everything was said and done, I admired the heck out of Parker. She blossomed into such a strong person by the end of the book and I was really happy that things worked out for her but I wanted to see Will grovel more, I wanted Drew to suffer more for not having more faith in Faith and really, I wanted Drew to apologize to Parker for not trusting her. For not having her back when she needed him to have her back, especially since she was going to walk away from the one guy that she actually wanted a relationship with…FOR HIM. But still, Kenneally can write the heck out of a story so despite all of the things that made me mad in this book, I enjoyed the book and I cannot wait for more from this author.

She does good stuff, Miranda Kenneally does. I’m a total fan.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Sourcebooks. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://goodreads.com

four-stars


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