Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

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?

Can I first just say that I am a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally and it’s always inevitable that I end up falling in love with the main male character. Defending Taylor was no different, although the beginning was a bit too slow for my taste. However, the book was definitely nostalgic for me since it took place during the heroine’s senior year of high school as she goes through the process of applying to college.

Taylor is the perfect well-rounded student that all colleges want. She has straight A’s, is the captain of the soccer team, and is the daughter of a politician. Then she messes up and gets expelled. With her dad running a campaign at the same time, news of her expulsion makes a huge impact on his career. Already feeling guilty, Taylor doesn’t want to tell her parents the real cause of her expulsion. In comes Ezra, a total heartthrob, her childhood crush, and also her brother’s best friend, who helps her put her own life and decisions into perspective.

I’m a sucker for books like these, where the main character goes through a period of self-discovery and has no idea what she wants in life because HELLO *points at self*. I loved following Taylor through this journey of hers and literally reading about how she grows and accepts who she really is. When she discovers what she’s passionate about and what she actually wants to major in, I was there screaming “YESSS GIRL.” I had flashbacks of when I was applying to college… although I haven’t figured out the whole “what I want to do in life” part yet.

To be quite honest, I wanted to read this book because it seemed light and fun (like most of Kenneally’s books), so I didn’t think that I would actually learn so much about passion and self-love. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who’s going through something similar or if you’re just looking for a light read for the summer.

4 hearts


Reading Order: Hundred Oaks series

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally 

#1 ~ Catching Jordan: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Stealing Parker: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Things I Can’t Forget: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Racing Savannah: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Lacey’s Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Jesse’s Girl: Lacey’s Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • Goodreads
#7 ~ Defending Taylor: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Blog Tour + Release Day Review & Giveaway: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally!

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
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Practice makes perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya 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?

Purchase:
EbookHardcoverPaperback • B&N • BAM • IndieBound • iTunes

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It’s been a while since I’ve read a young adult book, but what better way to go back to the YA contemporary genre than by reading a Miranda Kenneally book? I really enjoyed Jesse’s Girl – it’s a super sweet, fun romance that fans of the series shouldn’t miss.

I loved that Jesse’s Girl is about Maya, Sam Henry’s little sister. We get to see a lot of Sam and Jordan (from Catching Jordan), which I was so happy about, because I adored that book. Maya is a high school senior who is passionate about music. She loves to play the guitar and sing (though she’s more talented at playing the guitar than singing), but when she gets dumped by her band and crush, she’s left feeling devastated. The one thing that makes her feel better is the fact that she’ll be ‘shadowing’ eighteen-year-old country star and heartthrob Jesse Scott, but things don’t go as well as Maya thought it would.

I was so excited about the opportunity to spend time with a famous musician, but Jesse Scott is a certified country-boy ass.

Jesse is rude to Maya, thinking that she’s just another ‘fan’ of his who only wants to use him. After being the in music industry for so long, he’s tired of all the fake people and wants to retire and focus on his family. So Maya is a refreshingly different to Jesse, though he’s still reluctant to mentor someone. He decides to change things up a bit and have a sort of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off kind of day with Maya. And the more time they spend together, the more they get to know each other, and know themselves as well.

The romance developed slowly – Maya and Jesse are both the wary kind of people, but they slowly break down each other’s walls. I liked reading about their adventures, their deep conversations, and how they slowly fell for each other. They both connect so well with music and they bond easily over it.

I felt like Jesse’s Girl was a bit too short – the pages flew by and when I got to the end, I was left wanting for just a little more. It’s a quick, easy read with not much drama, but it was still a lot of fun to read. It’s not my favorite of the Hundred Oaks series (that one would be Breathe, Annie, Breathe) but it was definitely a worthwhile, sweet read about chasing your dreams and falling in love. I highly recommend this for fans of the series!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Hundred Oaks series

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally 

#1 ~ Catching Jordan: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Stealing Parker: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Things I Can’t Forget: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Racing Savannah: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Breathe, Annie, Breathe: My Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Jesse’s Girl: EbookHardcoverPaperback • Goodreads
#7 ~ Defending Taylor: Shirley’s Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

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Miranda KenneallyGrowing 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.

Website • Goodreads • Facebook • Twitter

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Blog Tour + Early Review & Giveaway: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

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Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #5 (full reading order below)
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: July 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.

“Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You.

Purchase:
Amazon Kindle • Amazon Hardcover • B&N • Kobo • iTunes

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Oh, my heart is still fluttering after reading this book! Without a doubt, Breathe, Annie, Breathe is my favorite of the Hundred Oaks series so far. Miranda Kenneally does YA contemporary romance so well, I already knew I would end up enjoying this latest book of series, but I just never expected to love it THIS much!

I was in the perfect mood for reading a sweet, heartfelt story, and Breathe, Annie, Breathe gave me all that and more. It’s a quick read, but it packs powerful emotions within its pages. I felt every emotion Annie felt–I laughed when she laughed, I ached when she ached, and I loved when she loved. This book is about loss, but it’s also about hope. It’s about trying to find your way through life, and Miranda Kenneally does an excellent job of conveying this in Annie’s journey.

A quarter mile more.
One foot after the other.
Breathe, Annie, breathe.

After the loss of her boyfriend and love of her life, Annie signs up for the Music City Marathon. Her boyfriend, Kyle, was training for it until he died, so Annie decides to honor him by running the race for him. She hires a trainer, and every practice is brutal–Annie has to practice running for miles and miles before she’s ever ready for a 26.2 mile marathon. But what I loved best about Annie is that even when she wants to give up, she doesn’t. She keeps on going. And I loved that fact that she hated running–because I can completely relate to that. I am awful at running, but reading about Annie and her perseverance made me want to pick up a pair of jogging shoes and go out running.

Annie is easily relatable–she’s lost her sense of direction in life, and doesn’t know how to move on from Kyle’s death. She’s about to attend college in the fall, but doesn’t know what to do. It’s like she’s going through the motions in her life, but running is the one thing that makes her feel alive. She meets new people, new friends, while training. We see Matt, from Things I Can’t Forget, who is her trainer. And Annie becomes especially close to Matt’s younger brother Jeremiah.

Jeremiah is a total sweetheart. He’s cute, funny, and cheers Annie on throughout the entire book. Jeremiah wholeheartedly believes in Annie and believes that she has what it takes to finish the marathon. He’s also peculiar in that Jeremiah’s an adrenaline junkie–he’s always looking to find a new challenge to feel a rush. I loved how supportive he is of Annie, and I loved the tension between them. Sparks fly between Annie and Jere–they’re so perfect with each other, for each other. Their banter is hilarious and their friendship is rock-solid.

“Aren’t you gonna run up front and try to win?” I ask.
“I’d rather run with you.”
“You want to come in 5,094th place?”
His mouth quirks into a smile. “I don’t care.”
“Jeremiah? You make me happy.”
“You make me happy too,” he says quietly.

I just can’t get enough of these two! They had me smiling for the entire book. They’re absolutely adorable together!

But Annie, understandably, holds back. She loved Kyle, and finding new love is a scary thing. I loved seeing them grow close to each other, to learn to lean on each other. They fall in love slowly, and my heart was bursting for them.

We get cameos of other characters from the other books in the series, which totally made me squeal!

Overall, I had the most wonderful time reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe. I never expected to love a book about running, but I do! I was cheering for Annie the whole way through. I loved seeing her grow, both as a runner and as a person. The whole book is so emotional, and Annie’s journey warmed my heart.

If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take risks, you can’t truly feel.
And I’m ready to feel again.

I was honestly so sad to get to the end of this book–I never wanted it to end!

5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Hundred Oaks series

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally 

#1 ~ Catching Jordan: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Stealing Parker: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Things I Can’t Forget: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Racing Savannah: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Jesse’s Girl: My Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • Goodreads
#7 ~ Defending Taylor: Shirley’s Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

about the author button

Miranda KenneallyGrowing 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.

Website • Goodreads • Facebook • Twitter

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2x 50$ B&N Gift Card
3x Signed copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe

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