Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Book Title: Racing Savannah
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone/Companion
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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…

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
Yay, finally we get a book set on a horse farm! Like most girls, I loved horses as a child. I even took horseback riding lessons from 4th to 8th grade and I loved it. I was never all that good, but I loved doing it all the same. Some of my favorite books were The Saddle Club series and it’s spin-off Pine Hollow. My other favorite horsey series was Throughbred. So of course I had to get this book. It seemed like it was right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

It started off a little slow for me. It wasn’t until I was about 100 pages into it that I really started to get into it. I’m not even sure why that was. It could have just been my mood, because by the time I hit page 105 I was really getting into it and I loved all the horse racing stuff. It brought me right back to my childhood.

I liked Savannah, yeah she had some issues with rich people, but once you got the backstory behind that, I wasn’t bothered by her attitude towards the rich people anymore. She had a totally different life than the Goodwin’s or the Whitfield’s. Savannah’s dad, his pregnant girlfriend Cindy, and Savannah struggled to make ends meet. College wasn’t even something Savannah was entertaining because just to apply cost money and her grades weren’t great.

I didn’t love the romance in this one. It got better towards the end, but I never really liked Jack for Savannah all that much. I wanted to feel the heat, the sexual tension between them and I just didn’t feel it at all. That really bummed me out as I think it had the potential to be a very hot romance.

Savannah’s journey was absolutely fascinating and heartwarming to watch. Her journey from thinking that horses were all there was to realizing that she could go to college if it was important to her. Watching her relationship with her dad’s girlfriend evolve was definitely good to see. Despite it having been 5 years since her mother had passed, I think Savannah struggled with the fact that her dad was in love & having a baby with someone else. 

I did enjoy this book a lot, despite not liking the romance and I think it’s because there was a lot of self discovery happening for Savannah. I’m always a sucker for those stories. I am going to give it 4 stars, and Miranda Kenneally has earned herself a spot on my auto-buy authors list. I’m definitely a fan of her books.

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Book Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary
Standalone/Companion
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
I had a lot of hope for this book. I had heard awesome things about it and it was going to be my first Miranda Kenneally book, so I was definitely feeling apprehensive. What if I didn’t like it? What if it didn’t wow me like I wanted it to? I’m so glad I can answer this positively. It was an awesome book where I very quickly fell in love with Annie and with Jeremiah.

I loved how Jeremiah didn’t push her, he let things unfold at her pace and he didn’t try to rush her. He reminded me of my fiance in that way. He knew Annie was still grieving for the boy she loved before.

Yet he introduced her to his family along the way. Guys don’t do that unless they are seriously interested in a girl. He even took her to meet his grandfather who was living in an old folks home. Jeremiah had a close relationship with his PopPop, allowing them to joke around.

“Stop hitting on her PopPop. She’s not your type.” -Jeremiah-
“And what is her type?” -PopPop-
“Somebody under seventy.” -Jeremiah-

I loved the rest of Jeremiah’s family. They all seemed very close knit, and his mother especially seemed overly concerned. I understood why she was so anxious about her adrenaline seeking son, but as someone who is very much an adrenaline junkie, I totally sympathized with Jeremiah. I understood the feeling of wanting that rush, but not wanting to hurt or even scare my family.

Annie’s family was interesting. It was just her mom, Annie, and Annie’s brother Nick. Annie lives her life with constant thoughts of what if. She constantly blames herself for Kyle’s death although as we find out, no one is to blame. She even goes as far as to blame her mother for Kyle’s death. Of course she regrets saying that. 

Her mom never really felt things with Kyle were all that healthy. When Annie began dating Kyle, she dropped everything. Her friends, her activities, things she did for herself. If Kyle wasn’t a part of something, Annie didn’t want to participate. 

“A guy should fit into your life, Annie, not become it.” -Annie’s mom-

I totally agreed with her mom on this. A guy should never be your whole life. He should never become the only thing you think about or hang out with. A guy should compliment you, not complete you. 

Kyle was also the reason she lost friends. Kelsey in particular was hurt when Annie began dating Kyle and I totally understood. To Kelsey, it felt like Annie had left her behind in favor of a boy. While I understood Annie a little bit, I was also so angry with her. Boys should never come before friends and I was so annoyed that Annie had allowed that to happen.

I loved the ending, it was awesome and it left me incredibly happy. It felt like I was Annie for so many reasons. We were both afraid to move on, and love someone no matter how caring and supportive and patient they were. I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to read more of Kenneally’s books. 5 stars to this awesome book that broke me out of my reading slump.

“If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take risks, you can’t truly feel.”