Book Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Title:Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author:Miranda Kenneally
Series:Hundred Oaks

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

It should really be no surprise that I’d probably read anything Kenneally wrote and published. This is the fifth book I’ve read from her, and with each book, I fall a little more in love with her writing, her settings, and her characters. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is no different.

Annie is training to run a marathon in honor of her boyfriend, Kyle. She blames herself for Kyle’s death, and the marathon is her way to staying connected to him, and completing the things he will never get to complete. She’s never been a runner, so she begins a training program that will get her in marathon shape. It’s hard and painful, but she is determined to do this for Kyle.

What she does not expect is for the brother of her trainer to show up. Jeremiah is an adrenaline junkie, and running provides him with a little thrill, but he’s always looking for more. He’s gotten into trouble for it, and is not working for his brother as a way to stay on a safe path.

I think what I loved most about this book was reading Annie comes to terms with her loss, and find a way to move on, while still preserving her memories. Annie is hurting. She blames herself for Kyle dying. She can’t help but think about all the “what ifs” that might have kept him alive. She’s determined to run the marathon to honor him, and she has people cheering her on. Kyle’s family is there for her. Her family is there for her. Jeremiah is there for her. As much as I loved the romance in this book, Annie’s growth is what made this book amazing for me.

I love the world Kenneally has created, and only love it more with each book. I love that she ties every book back to the previous ones in the series. It makes it feel like an entire world exists beyond the pages of the novels. These aren’t characters you read in a book and then never see again. They’re always woven into each other. It’s wonderful. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is another must-read book from a must-read series, written by a must-read author.

If you’d like to read Breathe, Annie, Breathe, you can purchase a copy here:
Barnes and Noble

Book Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Title:Racing Savannah
Author:Miranda Kenneally
Series:Hundred Oaks

Racing Savannah

It’s not rare for me to forego sleep to finish a book. I tend to lose any sense of time when I read and then, somehow, it’s 2am and I’ve finished a book. It is rare for me to purposely give up sleep because I know I’ll be annoyed with myself for closing my eyes when there’s an amazing book right in front of me.

That’s what coffee is for, right? To make a semi-functional human after ignoring sleep to stay up reading.

Racing Savannah is one of those books. I clearly knew I would be finishing it around 3am, but I did not care. I’d drink some coffee, maybe take a nap. Sleep was not as important as finishing this book.

I loved Savannah. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to fight for it, yet she’s also got insecurities just like anyone. She doesn’t let those insecurities hold her back, though. She knows what she’s good at and focuses on that, rather than wallowing in what she’s not as comfortable in. Working with horses at a ranch dominated by males, I think it would have been understandable if she felt like she wasn’t a right fit. However, I’m so happy that she not only stepped right in like she belonged, but was determined to prove that she was better than the boys.

Jack is a sweet guy, and even though he’s not my favorite guy Kenneally has written, he still got to me. It’s clear he’s trying to figure out how to handle expectations from his family against his own personal desires. He’s trying to find the balance between making everyone else happy and making himself happy.

I loved the horse racing in this novel. I’ve always had a great respect for horses, and reading about the racing world was really intriguing. I also enjoyed the growth Savannah’s family went through in the novel. Savannah’s struggle to find a place in her new family unit was interesting to read. I’ve never been through something like she has, but I can understand the feelings she was having.

Kenneally has another wonderful book to add to her name. The world of horse racing draws you in, but it’s Savannah that makes this story amazing. She’s a powerful character, and one of my favorites in contemporary literature recently. I’m really happy that there is more coming from Kenneally, as I’m not ready to let this world go.

If you’d like to read Racing Savannah for yourself, you can purchase a copy here:
Barnes and Noble

Book Review: Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Things I Can’t Forget
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks Companion series
Rating: ★★★★★

Things I Can't Forget

It only took one book for me to fall in love with Kenneally’s writing. I read Catching Jordan because it was a Kindle Daily Deal, and I haven’t looked back. Kenneally writes the teen experience really well, and each of her characters has a different personality. She doesn’t take the same characters and put them in new situations. Each book has something new and Things I Can’t Forget is no different.

Kate is a good girl who goes to church and loves the Lord. She has let the Bible and her faith guide her in growing up, which have good and bad consequences. She’s full of guilt, though, over what she helped her best friend do. It makes her question herself and her faith. So when she gets the chance to be a camp counselor for the summer, she wants to get away from her secret. She ends up learning a lot about herself and how faith fits into her life.

I didn’t like Kate right away, but I sympathized with her. I grew up going to church every weekend and have a religious family. I can understand why Kate holds onto her faith so tight. It’s how she is able to face the good and bad of each day and find peace with it. Until she does something that goes against her faith, and she’s left questioning everything. She was judgmental in the beginning of the book, but not just toward others. She also judged herself. The growth her character goes through as the novel progresses is fantastic. She comes to accept that faith is not the same for everyone, and she can find a way of practicing her faith that works for her.

Matt was such a sweetheart in this novel. It was wonderful reading how he slowly helped Kate find comfort in her faith. He showed her that faith comes in many forms and that one way is no better than another. He also helped her find confidence in herself and her faith. Matt was the perfect person for Kate to find, at the time in her life when she needed it most.

I also loved how Parker played a role in this novel. She was also a counselor at the camp, and slowly she and Kate became friends. I wasn’t expecting this friendship to form, but I’m really glad it did. Parker was another person that showed Kate that it is okay to adapt faith in a more personal way.

Things I Can’t Forget is an amazing novel that kept me up until the early hours of the morning to finish. I loved it from beginning to end, even if Kate wasn’t always my favorite character. I think this is a must read book for any fans of contemporary romance, and ever ones who aren’t.

If you’d like to read Things I Can’t Forget, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundren Oaks series
Pages: 462 pages
Rating: ★★★★

Sometimes, companion novels worry me. I spent time falling in love with the characters of one book and introducing me to other characters can rattle me a bit. I was already so in love with one set of characters, why not write more of their story? Why risk writing a new story when people already love the original?

Stealing Parker makes me rethink my view on companion novels. It is a separate entity from Catching Jordan, but it is still just as sweet. Through the entire novel, I just wanted to pull Parker away from the choices she was making and make her see what she was doing. My heart hurt for her and how much hurt she had gone through. Trying to navigate through some tough issues while still being a teen is never easy.

Right from the beginning, it’s easy to see things aren’t going to be easy. Things keep building up; creating a precarious tower that could fall at any second. For each little happy thing that happened, something equally as horrible was added to the pile until it all falls down.

The ending was sweet, but I felt like there was a little bit more story to tell. Parker has a few choices in front of her and I wish I got to read the path she decides to take. The end tied up loose ends, but the ends were still a little bit frayed and there was the possibility to explore just a little bit more.

I really didn’t think I would end up enjoying Kenneally’s books as much as I have. Catching Jordan caught my attention and as soon as I finished it, I knew I was going to be a Kenneally fan. She writes teens exceptionally well and manages to put in some good life tips while doing so. Stealing Parker is another fabulously sweet novel and has me anxiously awaiting Things I Can’t Forget.

If Stealing Parker sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

I’m not the easiest to impress when it comes to Young Adult romances. I typically like a little something else to go with the romance, something to keep my heart racing and keep me turning the pages. That’s why I expected to enjoy Catching Jordan, but not really love it. But as I got further and further into the story, I found myself loving it.

I think one thing I liked most about Catching Jordan was the lack of the typical teen “Queen Bee.” Yes, there were girls that got on Jordan’s nerves. But they weren’t out to destroy her, or at least, that wasn’t what the story was about. Kenneally kept the story focused on Jordan and the boys in her life.

That’s another thing that really worked. Yes, this is mainly a teen love story. But there’s also a team full of guys that respect Jordan as their team captain, but also look at her as the little sister they have to protect from all world evils. I liked that once the boy drama started, the rest of the team wasn’t ignored. The other guys had as much of a place in the story as Jordan did.

As for the romance, I loved it. It wasn’t overly cheesy and it didn’t feel like Kenneally was trying to fit an adult romance into a teen book. It was what high school love should be: sweet, wonderful, but not all-consuming. It also wasn’t insta-love, but rather the much more acceptable instant attraction.

Catching Jordan is a book that sneaked up on me. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I was prepared for a bit of cheesiness with a side of fluff, but Catching Jordan is a lot more. I’ll be checking out more of Kenneally’s books for sure.