Tag: Miranda Kenneally

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #8
Also in this series: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7)
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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: Coming Up for Air
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 7, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

jesses girl
Rowena’s review of Jesse’s Girl (Hundred Oaks #6) by Miranda Kenneally.

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow the Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

This series is one of those series that I will probably read until the very last book (and there’s two more books coming, woot!). These books are comfort stories for me. They’re about characters with real problems and real dreams and Miranda Kenneally does a great job of telling stories that readers can enjoy and introducing characters that they’ll can connect with.

Jesse’s Girl follows Mya Henry, Sam Henry’s younger sister (Sam in the love interest in Book 1) as she meets and falls in with Country Music Superstar, Jesse Scott. For some reason, I was thinking of Hunter Hayes as Jesse Scott when I was reading this book.

Anyway, it’s time for career mentoring at Hundred Oaks High School and Mya Henry wants to be a musician. She thought she would spend time at like a record store but when she finds out that she’ll be shadowing country music star Jesse Scott, she’s excited…until she meets him, finds out he’s kind of a douche and walks out. Jesse of course thinks that Mya is probably another groupie, only around to use him to get famous or whatever so when he finds out that Mya is a legit musician, he grudgingly agrees to help Mya out. Oh, the link between the big superstar celebrity and Hundred Oaks High School is Jesse’s uncle is the principal at Mya’s school. He’s doing this as a favor to his uncle.

Both characters are surprised at how well their career mentoring has gone. Mya wants a real shadow day, filled with anything and everything Jesse can teach her about music and crafting her music to make something of herself in the business. Jesse isn’t sure what he wants at first but over the course of the book, you realize that he needs a friend. Someone that likes him without any strings attached. You see him struggle with trying to accept that Mya can be that person for him, if he’ll let her.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought Kenneally did a great job of making me fall in love with these two young kids that are just starting to dream and reach for the stars. Jesse wants things money can’t buy and Mya’s dreams are too expensive to reach for but with a little bit of hope and a lot of hard work, you really see these two grow into themselves.

My favorite part of this book was probably Mya. I enjoyed seeing her grow into that girl in the end. She’s a survivor. She survived betrayal, the paparazzi, crazy Jesse Scott fangirls, money woes and she came out on top in the end. I really liked seeing her with Jesse, with her best friend Dave and with her family. She may not have been rich but she led a rich life. I liked that she knew she was lucky to have the love of family and I really liked that she wanted to share all of that with Jesse.

Jesse was hard to take at first because he was so suspicious of everyone. I understood why he was the way that he was, I mean, I can’t imagine that it would be easy to live your life under a microscope but I really liked the young man he grew into as the story progressed. I really liked the young man he came to be for Mya. Once he let go of the worries and the drama, I liked the way he was with Mya. Their romance was sweet and it rang true and it was everything that I have come to love about this series. I can’t wait for more!

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 1, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

9781402284793-PRRowena’s review of Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally.

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.

This is Book 5 in the Hundred Oaks series and it follows Annie Winters as she prepares to run a 26 mile marathon, in honor of her dead boyfriend Kyle.  Kyle was training to run this marathon but died before he could get it done and even though Annie has never run anything longer than a mile (which she did because she had to in order to pass P.E.), she’s vowed to get it done.

Annie is feeling a lot of guilt for Kyle’s death. She loved Kyle more than anything but she wanted things out of life, things that didn’t exactly go hand in hand with what Kyle wanted.  Kyle wanted to get married, he wanted to be with Annie for the rest of their lives but Annie wanted to go to college first.  She wanted to be young before it was too late and when Kyle died, Annie is feeling a lot of that teenage angst that comes with teenage grief…they put a lot on themselves, when they shouldn’t.

Annie hires a trainer to help her get ready for the marathon (her trainer just so happens to be a familiar face from previous Hundred Oaks books, Matt from Things I Can’t Forget) and it is during her training that she starts to change…and grow.  She meets Matt’s younger brother, Jeremiah and he starts to become more than just a friend.  Of course, Annie’s not ready for anything more than a hook up and Jeremiah wants her in his life so they become friends…which is a good thing since Annie doesn’t have any friends.  Her life revolved around Kyle and the things they did but with Kyle gone, she’s been a lone star at school.

I really liked this book.

I thought Kenneally did a fabulous job of taking us on Annie’s journey to growing up and dealing with the death of a loved one.  Everything she felt, I felt it too and as the story progresses, I fell in with everything that she went through.  It’s one of those satisfying reads that gets you every time.

What I like most about this series is that each book can be read as as stand-alone but you don’t get the full effect of all the squeeing when recurring characters pop up. And quite a few recurring characters pop up in this book.  I loved all of that…if I had to list a gripe, I would have wanted a little (okay, a lot) more Jeremiah but that’s just me being greedy.

This is a book that I will most definitely be recommending to anyone who will listen to me.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Posted June 1, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Racing Savannah
Rowena’s review of Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally.

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 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..

This is Book 4 in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally and while it wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I still enjoyed it.

Savannah is starting her senior year at Hundred Oaks, a new school far away from her old school because her father started working at a new place, managing the stable of a large estate that races horses.  Savannah has always grown up poor so when she comes across Jack Goodwin, the Prince of the Estate, it’s hard for her to remember her place.  They come from two different worlds, he’s rich and she’s not.  He sits at the dinner table and she serves his dinner.  But despite knowing that he’s her boss, her Dad’s boss even doesn’t stop the two of them from liking each other.

Jack shouldn’t be trying to get with one of his employees but there’s something about Savannah that he can’t stay away from and you see him struggle with trying to do the right thing for his family, to stay away from Savannah and failing miserably.

Both Jack and Savannah were interesting characters.  There were times when I wanted to strangle Savannah because her attitude and her emotions made me want to smack her.  Jack wasn’t any better.  He made some dumbass mistakes too.  Mistakes that made me want to karate kick him in the junk.  But even with all of the ways that they annoyed me (Savannah jumping down Jack’s throat when he wanted to protect her & Jack being a dumb ass about Savannah’s feelings), Kenneally wrote their characters in a way that made them interesting anyway.

Together, Jack and Savannah were cute.  I liked their interactions and I liked getting to know them and I really liked getting to know their friends as well.  Rory was such a cutie patootie and I loved his relationship with Vanessa.  I liked Vanessa and Savannah’s friendship too.

My main gripes were with the way that Savannah and Jack handled their relationship.  I didn’t like the way that Savannah thought it was okay to get mad at Jack for things that were out of his control and I didn’t like the way that Jack try to dismiss Savannah’s feelings for him but while I was annoyed, I remembered that these two are so young and the way that reacted to the things that were thrown at them rang true for their age.  They reacted the way that most teens would have reacted and as soon as I remembered that, it was okay.

What I like about this series is that we’re living in the same world as the previous books but we’re getting stories from a wide variety of people, not just one set of people.  The characters in this series are linked but they’re not really close friends or anything like that and I enjoy getting to know more than just the core group of friends from the first couple of books.  This way, it feels like even though it’s a series, we’re meeting a fresh set of characters with each book and it always feels brand new.

This was another book that I dug right in and it hasn’t dampened my love for the series.  I can’t wait to read the next book, Breathe Annie Breathe.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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