Blog Tour: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (Review + Giveaway)

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Blog Tour: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (Review + Giveaway)Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: July 5th 2016
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four-half-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?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I originally read Defending Taylor as a draft and I loved it right away. It was one of those books that made you think how far you would go for a friend or someone you loved and if it would be worth it. It made you think about how mistakes can define you even when you don’t want them to and how people can perceive you differently. And it did all this in pure Miranda fashion, with humor, a hot boy prospect, and natural drama.

Defending Taylor is about Taylor Lukens, high school senior and the daughter of a US Senator. Taylor has been working hard her whole life at her private boarding school. She wants to get into Yale and wants to make her parents proud. In a split second decision Taylor does something that completely changes her life and how people look at her. Now home and going to Hundred Oaks high school she finds herself lost. The people she was trying to make proud are disappointed in her, she no longer knows if Yale will be an option and she lost everything she loved about her life. She is lonely. And then she runs into her long time crush Ezra. Ezra helps her start to look at things differently. Suddenly Taylor has her eyes opened on more than just Yale. But when you made a bad decisions in the past does that mean you will do it again?

I guess what I love most about Miranda’s books is that she doesn’t use what I call manufactured drama. She takes her plot and makes her characters actually talk about things and fight instead of having misunderstanding where people storm off. Defending Taylor does all of this with great finesse and I just love that. Not to mention I really loved Taylor and that cutie Ezra.

Defending Taylor is yet another gem by Miranda Kenneally. Honestly I don’t really know what to say about her books any more That I haven’t already said. They are just the kind of books that make you feel good and books everyone should read.

Amazon || Apple || Barnes&Noble || BooksAMillion || !ndigo || Indiebound

About Miranda Kenneally

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
6/27: Bookiemoji 
6/29: Lost In Lit 
 
Week 2:
7/4: Andi’s ABCs 
 

3 Finished Copies of DEFENDING TAYLOR (US/Canada Only)

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Blog Tour: Jesse’s Girl – Miranda Kenneally (giveaway)

 Blog Tour: Jesse’s Girl – Miranda Kenneally (giveaway)Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #6
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: July 7th 2015
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four-half-stars

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?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I don’t deny the fact that I am a lucky girl. I got to read Jesse’s Girl for the first time when it was in draft form and wasn’t even called Jesse’s Girl. I fell in love with it then but I wanted to wait to review it until I had done a reread. Honestly, though, it didn’t matter. The book was awesome in draft and awesome in a final copy. Miranda Kenneally once again does what she does best and gives you awesome boys, wicked cool girls and a story that will keep you invested ill the end. Not to mention the laughs.

Jesse’s Girl is about Maya Henry (if you read Catching Jordan there is a reason the name seems familiar) a punk rock girl in a country world. Maya has dreams of being a famous punk rocker some day but those are few and far between in her hometown in Tennessee. When Maya is given the chance to shadow Jesse Scott, country music God, for one day she feels like this is her chance to see how the business works. Too bad Jesse doesn’t trust anyone, as they are all looking for something, and makes that very clear to Maya off the bat. Even with their differences, the two spend a day together that changes them both in a way they never expected.

If you have read a Kenneally book before you know they usually involve some kind of sport. Football, running, softball…they have all played a role in the past Hundred Oaks books. Jesse’s Girl is different in that case.  Instead of using a sport Miranda went with music and it worked for this story. I think the magic of two different music styles in a music city was the perfect way to take a tale about a normal girl and a famous guy. When I first read the synopsis I was sad there would be no use of sports, but it was the right decision for this story and I think ended up adding to it.
Nashville! What isn’t there to love about Nashville?? I have gone once and it has been one of my favorite cities that I have ever visited in the US. Having that is the background for Jesse’s Girl was pretty amazing as I was able to picture a lot of the places from my short visit there. I was also able to picture how easy it was for Maya to feel out of place as a punk rock girl because Nashville is anything but. It was pretty much the perfect setting for a story like this. Truthfully…it made me want to hop on a plane and go to the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry and pop in a Tootsie’s. Who’s in for a road trip??
Hands down what I liked best in Jesse’s Girl was the characters. Maya Henry…talk about spunk. She knows who she is and isn’t afraid to stand out. She stands up for herself and does what she thinks is the right thing. She’s funny and uncertain but also sure of who she wants to be and I loved that. And Jesse. Oh adorable Jesse Scott. He had some of the perfect one-liners in the book that just made me laugh, still make me laugh when I think about them. He is definitely closed off (and with good reason) but there is something very open about him too. Just add him to the list of the amazing Kenneally Boys (have we trademarked that term yet?? We should!). Plus you know there will be the inevitable cameo from characters in other books, I mean Maya’s last name is Henry for crying out loud.
All in all I loved Jesse’s Girl both times I read it. It made me laugh and cringe and then smile as Maya and Jesse navigated through whatever was going on between the two of them. I loved the way the story was told and how it all went down in the end. I loved the cameo of some old favorites while starting off a generation of new Hundred Oaks kids to love. It did exactly what I think a good book should do and it made you feel just like you were part of the day and had become friends with Jesse and Maya yourself.

Open Internationally (if The Book Depository ships to your country). Winner gets one Miranda Kenneally book of their choice. One winner. Goes until 7/6/15 at 11:59pm EST.

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Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe – Miranda Kenneally + a Giveaway {CLOSED}

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Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe – Miranda Kenneally + a Giveaway {CLOSED}Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #5
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: April 7, 2015
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five-stars

From the bestselling author of Catching Jordan comes a contemporary YA you won't forget.

The finish line is only the beginning.…

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


First and foremost I will state of the bat that I was lucky enough to read a very, very early draft version of this book that was sent to me by the author. I say this because I want it clear that the opinion I have on this book was not swayed by any shape or form by the opportunity to be a BETA reader. These thoughts are my thoughts and my thoughts alone.

With that out of the way I can tell you that Breathe, Annie, Breathe is the MOST FANTASTIC book that Miranda Kenneally has ever written. It had emotion and a beautiful story and fantastic writing. It had all the things I have come to expect from a Kenneally book but on a level that was different from her other books. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is definitely a heavier subject since it deals with death and guilt and being left behind, but Kenneally hit it out of the park with this one and showed the depth of her writing.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe is the story of, you guessed it, Annie. Annie is training to run a marathon to honor her boyfriend who unexpectedly died. Filled with anger and sadness and guilt, Annie decides to honor Kyle’s memory and to do the thing he dreamed of doing and never did, run all 26 miles. With the help of some familiar faces (see the first books in the Hundred Oaks series) Annie begins training and trying to start a life that doesn’t involve Kyle. What Annie didn’t expect though was the attraction she feels to her trainer’s younger brother Jeremiah. And as Annie and Jere get closer Annie has to make a decision just where she wants her life to actually go.

This book is really hard to put into words to show how really good it is. What I can say is that it was really poignant. My heart just broke for Annie. Here she was this 17-year-old girl that had her whole life to look forward to. She was going to college and was going to make something of herself. And the rug was pulled right under her when her boyfriend died. Sure she was still going to go to college and have a career, but Kyle was supposed to be by her side for all of it and then he was just gone. I can’t imagine what that would be like at my age never mind for a 17-year-old that thinks her boyfriend is the be all and end-all of her life. Even feeling so lost Annie did the one thing she could think of and that was to run because that was what Kyle liked to do and had dreamed of running a full marathon. Actually, the running was what I really admired about Annie because it ended up symbolizing two things. It symbolized her love for Kyle and it symbolized her having enough guts to keep on going even when the wind was knocked out of her. And in a weird way, it was Kyle telling her it was okay to move on in the direction of college and life. And he brought her to Jeremiah who changed her in a way she never saw coming.

Ah, Jeremiah Brown. What do I even say about him??!! I loved him for the brief time we saw him in Things I Can’t Forget so I was over the moon when I found out he was the “hot Kenneally boy” (that is a technical term!) in Breathe, Annie, Breathe. And trust me when I say hot he was. But he was also really sweet and patient and caring. He was pretty much a typical boy with his competitiveness and his need for a rush, but he also took thought when it came to other people’s fears and worry for him. And he was the PERFECT counterpart for Annie. She was terrified of losing someone else she loves so she held back, especially after learning about his love of extreme sports and danger. But Jere was also able to teach Annie a lot more about herself through his love of the rush. Basically, they had major chemistry and that is all I’m going to say about that.

Simply put, Breathe, Annie, Breathe was phenomenal. I’ve now read it twice and it got even better the second time which was hard to do. Kenneally put her heart and soul into this book and wrote a winner. It was one of those books that I just laughed and cried and smiled and sniffled over. It was 100% Miranda Kenneally and it was 100% awesome. Can’t wait for her next masterpiece.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Miranda Kenneally

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

 

And because this book is so awesome here is your chance to win a copy for yourself or a BN gift card for $50. Just click on the picture below to enter! US/Canada ONLY. Ends July 29, 2014.

jere

*Jere pin created by me and Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes.

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Review: Racing Savannah – Miranda Kenneally and a Pre-Order Free Gift(details below)

Review: Racing Savannah – Miranda Kenneally and a Pre-Order Free Gift(details below)Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: December 3, 2013
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four-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…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


There is nothing I love more than a good Miranda Kenneally story. Since her first book, Catching Jordan, I have fallen in love with her storytelling ability and her interesting and unique characters. She has held me capitated with every single one of her books, and Racing Savannah was no different. I loved Jack and Savannah’s, love from the wrong side of the tracks, story. It was fun and had a seriousness to it in the way only Kenneally can seem to do.

Racing Savannah is the story of Savannah, a 17-year-old girl that has been around horses all her life. Moving to a new school and a new farm, where her dad was just hired, Savannah is starting off a little out of her element as the Goodwin family is super rich. Dreaming to become a horse jockey someday Savannah makes an impression on the Goodwin’s 17-year-old son Jack. While the sparks fly between the two there is just one problem, the help isn’t supposed to get close to the Goodwin family. Trying to reach her dreams Savannah has to decide if it is more important to follow her heart or do what is expected of her when it comes to horse racing and even more so when it comes to Jack.

You know what I think I like the most about Kenneally’s writing, is the connection she makes between her characters. There is absolutely nothing similar about Savannah and Jack expect for their love of horses. Everything that connects them is superficial at best and they shouldn’t work as a couple. But Kenneally makes it so they do work, so you as the reader are rooting for them. You want them to say screw it and ignore the outside world and just be together. Because let’s face it, we all want the opposite attracts, forbidden love story. And Kenneally writes it flawlessly.

Jack could have easily come off as pompous and obnoxious with his rich, playboy attitude and Savannah has the potential to get on your nerves with her woe is me look on life. But together these two really worked and I got where they were coming from. Did Savannah get on my nerves at times? Absolutely. Most main characters do. And did I want to tell Jack he wasn’t God’s gift? No doubt about it. Nobody likes someone that loves themselves. But thanks to Kenneally’s writing abilities I was able to see past that and see the story of young love and two people figuring things out. Add in the awesome bonus of characters past and definitely a winner in my book.

Racing Savannah was just the kind of book I needed. It was serious and deep in places, but it was just a great wrong side of the tracks/two different worlds story. It had heart and made me laugh and smile. And it was undoubtedly a Kenneally book. There is no doubt in my mind that any reader that is familiar with her books would know this was from her without even reading the cover. Brava once again Ms. Kenneally, brava.

 

Pre-Order Free Gift
From Sourcebooks….

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn.  But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. 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 is 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.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

mkennally

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to teenfire@sourcebooks.com. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

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Second Chance Sunday – Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

As you may have noticed I’m a Miranda Kenneally fan, both of her and her work. She really has a way about her that hit the teenage soul in all of us and it doesn’t hurt that she writes a super adorable boy. In today’s Second Chance Sunday you will find one of my favorite boys she’s written. Oh, Corndog how I miss thee!

Second Chance Sunday – Stealing Parker by Miranda KenneallyStealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: October 1, 2012
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five-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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Completely head over heels in love with Corndog! Sorry, had to get that off my chest first and foremost. ♥ Now that that’s done, on to the book!

I really really loved this book. As a huge Miranda Kenneally fan, I was ecstatic when I realized there were going to be Catching Jordan companion books. And I was even more ecstatic when I was given an advanced copy of Stealing Parker. And even though it is considered a companion book, with some characters from Catching Jordan strongly present, Stealing Parker is definitely a book of its own. It is witty and quirky and gives a peek into how religion can affect some people’s thoughts and behaviors.

Stealing Parker is about Parker, a girl that at one time had it all. She was on the softball team, had really close girlfriends and loving parents. Then one day her mom announces that she is in love with a woman and Parker’s world as she knows it falls apart. Soon she is a victim to taunts by her so-called friends, a shunning of sorts by her church and is no longer comfortable playing the sport she loves since she is ridiculed mercilessly about it. Now unsure where she fits in Parker decides to become a girlie girl. She loses weight, gives herself a makeover and becomes a kissing fanatic. But when her best friend Drew signs her up as manager to his baseball team and Parker meets the new 20 something coach Brian she realizes maybe kissing only one guy isn’t so that bad, especially if that one guy is Brian. But is being with him worth the possible ridicule or is it possible there is someone out there that may just be everything Parker needs and more?

Honestly, I really liked Parker. There was something about her that was just likable. Was she confused about some things? Absolutely. And she was desperate for people to like her again after the debacle with her mom, but the thing I liked best was how clear she was on how the people in her church treated her family and how wrong it was. She never once really questioned how they treated her personally because she was struggling with how she thought she should be treated. What she didn’t like was how they treated her dad. That showed a lot of character to me and showed me what a stand-up person Parker really was. Sure she was young and getting mixed up with Brian may not have been her smartest move, but I could see where she was coming from. She was kind of a lost soul and Brian, the dirtbag that he was, feed off that without even knowing.

What I really liked most about Parker though was her friendships with Drew and Corndog. Parker to me was most herself around both boys and allowed them to be themselves around her. She did everything she could to stand by Drew no matter what, even if it hurt her in the process. And her relationship with Corndog was off the charts great. They had such ease around each other. Plus it didn’t hurt that he was a family guy and just adorable. Did I mention that I loved him? HAHA. But seriously I loved reading about how both relationships grew and changed but still remained strong.

If there was one thing I didn’t like was Drew’s reaction to something that happened towards the end. He bothered me with the way he responded. It wasn’t fair to Parker at all after everything she had done for him and been through with him. He was being childish and selfish. But really that is so minor compared to the rest of this amazing book.

Kenneally has once again shown just how in tune she is with the teen genre and told a story filled with love and heartache and figuring out who you are and who you want by your side. Well done! Well done! I look forward to more.

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