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Posts Tagged: Author: Miranda Kenneally

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Excerpt + Contest: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in Contest, Excerpt, Spotlight1 Comment

Praise for Defending Taylor

 

“I can’t quite put my finger on what is so enthralling about Kenneally’s newest novel, but it totally sucked me in. I loved that Kenneally didn’t go with an easy, traditional happy-go-lucky ending. I also enjoyed the flawed nature of the characters, which made them feel more relatable. This is a great summer read and my favorite novel by Kenneally so far!” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 Defending Taylor

Summary:

 

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?

 

Goodreads // Amazon //  Apple // Barnes&Noble //  BooksAMillion // !ndigo // Indiebound

 

Excerpt 

Excerpt from Defending Taylor:

I now understand culture shock: it’s me experiencing Hundred Oaks High for the first time.

A lot of kids go here. Five hundred? A thousand? There are so many I can’t tell. At St. Andrew’s, there were only forty kids in my entire class. We lived on a calm, sprawling, green campus. Walking down the halls of Hundred Oaks feels like last-­minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall.

Two guys wearing football jerseys are throwing a ball back and forth. It whizzes by my ear. A suspender-­clad male teacher is hanging a poster for the science fair, while a couple is making out against the wall next to the fire alarm. If they move another inch, they’ll set off the sprinklers. At St. Andrew’s, kissing in the hall was an über no-­no. We snuck under the staircase or went out into the woods. Ben and I did that all the time.

Thinking of him makes me stop moving. I shut my eyes. Dating Ben was stupid. Going into the woods with him was stupid. Thinking about what happened makes me so mad, I want to rip that newly hung science fair poster off the wall and tear it apart.

A boy shoves past me, slamming my arm with his backpack. That’s what I get for loitering in the middle of the hallway with my eyes closed. He looks me up and down. “You coming to Rutledge Falls this afternoon?”

“What?”

“Paul Simmons challenged Nolan Chase to a fight. Rutledge Falls. Three o’clock. Don’t tell the cops.”

A fight? Where the hell am I? Westeros?

A girl bumps into my side. “Watch it!” Flashing me a dirty look, she disappears into a classroom with a group of friends, chattering away.

Seeing those girls together reminds me of my best friends, Steph and Madison. Right now, they’re probably gossiping before trig starts. I miss Steph’s cool British accent and Madison’s cheerful laugh.

I take a deep, rattled breath. And then another. I feel trapped, like the time I got locked in my grandpa’s garage and no one found me for an hour and I banged on the windows until my fists turned purple from bruises.

I can’t believe I had to leave my school. My home.

All because I made one stupid decision.

I check my schedule. My first class is calculus 1, the most advanced math course Hundred Oaks offers. Just a week ago, I was taking an advanced calculus quiz at the University of the South. St. Andrew’s is one of the best prep schools in the country, and they offer seniors the opportunity to take courses at the university, which is up the road. Even though I was still in high school, the professors treated me just like a college kid. I was only in the course for two weeks, but still. It was insanely difficult. The truth is, unlike everybody else in my family, I hate math. I have to work at it harder than anything else in my life.

But if I didn’t take college calc, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t get into an Ivy League school. I need to go to a top-tier school because that’s what people in my family do. My father attended Yale, and my sister Jenna is there now. According to Dad, my brother Oliver—­Jenna’s twin—­is a traitor for going to Princeton, but I think Dad respects him for having the balls to make his own decision.

Me?

When Dad called me into his home office last night, he barely looked at me as he pored over my new schedule. The silence was killing me.

“I don’t know how Yale will still consider me if I’m not taking all AP courses,” I said. “Hundred Oaks only offers AP chemistry.”

Dad sighed, took off his glasses, and set down my schedule. “I’m incredibly disappointed in you, Taylor.”

I looked him straight in the eyes. His quiet restraint worried me. I’d never seen him so upset.

But I was upset too. He rarely had time to call me when I was away at school, but he could spare a few minutes to comment on my one screwup? After how hard I’ve always worked?

Over the years, I’ve done hours of homework every night. I had a 4.2 GPA at St. Andrew’s. A 1520 SAT score. I was on track to be valedictorian. I was captain of the soccer team and on the debate team. I did everything I could to show Yale that I worked hard. That I am a unique individual. Because that’s what Yale wants.

But my one misstep has muddied my glowing record.

Dad ended our conversation with a death knell.

“Tee, I gave you all the tools you needed to succeed,” he said. “I’ve paid for your private school education since first grade, and you squandered it by getting kicked out.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, my face burning. “I’m going to keep working hard at Hundred Oaks though.”

“You’re damn right you will.”

My father had me so flustered, I wasn’t thinking straight when I said, “Maybe Yale will still take me because of who I am.”

“You mean because of who I am.” Dad rubbed his eyes. “I’ve always taught you kids the importance of integrity, and the minute you got into trouble, instead of owning it, you called me to bail you out. And now you’re doing it again. Using my name to try to get ahead.”

I hung my head. “I’m sorry, Dad.”

“I love you more than anything, but you have to take responsibility for what you did. You’ll have to figure college out on your own.”

“What does that mean?” I asked slowly.

“It means I’m not lifting a finger. I won’t be calling the alumni association or the school president to put in a good word for you.”

“But didn’t you do that for Jenna and Oliver?” I blurted.

He put his glasses back on. “You need to own up, Tee.”

So here I am, glancing around the unfamiliar halls of Hundred Oaks. The school is neat and orderly, but it doesn’t look completely clean, like no matter how hard you scrub, it still looks old. At least it’s not juvie.

I step into my math class, which is already filled with kids. I choose an empty seat at a wobbly wooden desk and stare out the window at the sunny, seventy-­degree September day. I bet at St. Andrew’s, my world politics teacher is telling my friends, “Gather your books. It’s a beautiful day out. Let’s have class in one of the gardens.”

I check out the problem set on the whiteboard. I could do this level of math years ago…

My former guidance counselor told me that colleges look for trends in our GPA and activities over four years of high school. So that means when colleges see my application, they will see:

      I’m taking easier classes;

      I’m no longer doing debate;

      I’ve lost my soccer captainship this year; and

      I was expelled.

I have never simply given up when calculus got a lot tougher or an opponent ran faster than me on the soccer field. So I refuse to believe my entire future is over because of one mistake.

I just need to figure out how to move forward.

Defending Taylor Quote

About the Author:

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. Visit mirandakenneally.com

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://mirandakenneally.com/

Twitter: @MirandaKennealy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mirandakenneally/

Contest

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Defending Taylor

 

Runs July 1-July 30 (US & Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DefendingTaylor-SocialMedia-506x253

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl
Published by Sourcebooks on 05 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl

Place(s) Traveled To: Franklin, Tennessee // Murfreesboro, Tennessee // Brentwood, Tenneessee

First Line(s): When I was a little girl, Dad installed a gumball machine in our house.

It’s taken me awhile to come up with the right words to fully express my thoughts on DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally and even these words don’t seem completely right. DEFENDING TAYLOR is everything that you would expect from a book by Miranda Kenneally but its also so much more. All off Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks books have some sort of theme to them, and not just the various sportsing that is mentioned either. For me, the main theme in DEFENDING TAYLOR is one of second chances. Its about making mistakes and learning to live with the consequences no matter what they are. Its about standing your ground when you think you are right even when telling one simple truth can change everything.

Taylor isn’t always the easiest character to like or even to understand at times but by the end of the book you can’t help but to sympathize with her and the tough choices she makes. What she did might be hard for some to understand but its something that happens all the time. Sometimes you make a tough choice thinking that the consequence won’t be that bad and if they are then you have to live them. I think that Taylor is very brave for what she did because her choice wasn’t an easy one and her family certainly didn’t make it any easier. Even though they could have done so. I really wasn’t a fan of Taylor’s family in this book so was really glad when she reconnected with Ezra as she needed a friendly face around.

Defending Taylor Quote

While at its heart DEFENDING TAYLOR is about making choices it also contains two of my favorite book tropes: second chance at love and friend of a sibling. Ezra is the BFF of Taylor’s brother and once upon a time they almost got together. When you learn their backstory it just makes your heart ache for what could have been. And while things could have been cleared up if the two just talked to each other there was pride and hurt feelings that got in the way. Plus, the timing then may not have been right as both of these characters needed to go through some things  before they were ready for their HEA.

DEFENDING TAYLOR is a book that I found hard to put down once I started it. I may not have always agreed with Taylor and her life choices but I did understand them. In the end, the thing I wanted most from DEFENDING TAYLOR was more. I wanted more story, more Taylor, more Ezra and just more of everything. Keanneally has a gift for writing feel good, heart achy stories and if you are a fan of her words then you don’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t read anything by Keanneally before then DEFENDING TAYLOR might be a good place to start. Its definitely a book that you want on your shelf this summer.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Defending Taylor

 

Add Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review, Click here for Andi’s review)

Add Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen to Goodreads. (Click here for Andi’s review)

four-stars
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda KenneallyJesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 07 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Music & Musicians, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Nashville, Tennessee // Franklin, Tennessee //Bristol, Tennessee // New York, New York // unknown, Viginia // Hoboken, New Jersey

First Line: Backstage, there’s so much security, you’d think it was the White House.

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally may only be the second book of hers that I’ve read but I think that it will be my favorite. I really love the whole rock star trope so this one will always have a special place in my heart. Just as Maya and Jesse will as well. I just loved these two characters and I loved how their chemistry just sizzled off the page. Things weren’t always the easiest between them as Jesse is already so jaded for one so young but I loved watching as Maya broke through his walls and they built a strong and solid relationship. They had their ups and downs but overall Jesse’s Girl was a cute and fluffy read and I just flew through the pages.

Not only did I love Jesse and Maya but I adored all the secondary characters. Well, with the exception of that one guy who was such a douchebag!! Oh my stars did I want to reach within the pages and just smack him! But while I hated what he did to Maya in the end it really was one of the best things that could have happened to her. Its a cliche, but when once door closes a new one opens and that is exactly what this moment and what meeting Jesse was for Maya.

 

Jesse's Girl Quote

 

Jesse’s Girl was a fun story. It made me laugh and it hurt my heart and I hated for it to end. I just loved these characters and this world that Kenneally created. Kenneally’s books just scream reality and its so easy to lose yourself within their pages and to become the main character of her stories. You feel all the ups and downs that Maya goes through over the course of the story and while I’d like to think I’d act differently than she did at some points her actions fit her as well as the story.

I know that Jesse’s Girl is a book that I will find myself reading again and again. And with all the multitude of books that I have to read this is a very big deal as it can be so hard to find the time to revisit a story. But from the first moment that I started Jesse’s Girl I knew that these characters and this story would become old friends. This is a story that I’ll pick up when I’m sick or feeling distracted and know that I can easily loose myself within its pages for a few hours. Jesse’s Girl is a book that makes you happy sigh even as you are turning the last page and then sitting there for a few moments debating on if you should go back and start it over again from the beginning. So if this one isn’t on your bookshelf then you’ll want to fix that, like now.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Jesse's Girl

 

Add Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler to Goodreads.

Add The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Own The Most Books From

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday2 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is about the authors that we own the most books from. This was a bit hard and easy for me at the same time as there are some books that I seem to buy obsessivly when I see a copy of it in the wild….especially if its a different edition than one I already own. I can be a bit like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory that way. So in no particular order, here are the authors I own the most books from:

1) Kim Harrington

2) Julie Garwood

3) Lorelai James

4) Diana Peterfreuend

5) Ally Carter

6) Julie Kagawa

7) Jim Butcher

8) JK Rowling

9) Erin McCarthy

10) Sarah Maclean

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda KenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 15 July 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 306
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Thousand Oaks, Tennessee

First Line(s): As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally is the first book of hers that I’ve read and I almost didn’t read this one as I didn’t realize that it was part of her Thousand Oak series. But after consulting with Twitter I was told that you didn’t need to read the others in order to read and understand this one so I decided to give it a shot. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a quick read but I did find it hard to get into at first as I just couldn’t connect with with the main character. She was just all over the place with her emotions and seemed to transfer them onto others as well. I get that she was dealing with grief but she seemed to take it to the extreme. I know that everyone experiences grief differently but it just seemed over the top and took me out of the story. And if the grief was real then I really wish that she was in counseling for it as she wasn’t coping very well and as a result made some poor life choices.

I also didn’t really connect with Jeremiah either because he was such an ass in the beginning. He and Annie randomly hook up at the very beginning of the book and then he ignores her and doesn’t treat her very well. She then mopes about until he has a change of heart and then she is on the way to repeating her behavior with her dead boyfriend. In that, she wants to wrap her entire life up, in, and around his to the exclusion of all others. So for the first half of this book I really just wanted to smack these two characters up the head sideways. But then, they both seem to have this epiphany and the whole tone of the book changed for me. All of a sudden I began to like both Annie and Jere more and became invested in their story.

I experienced those heart achy moments that I so love experiencing in books and it just made me happy. So for me, the ending is what made this book and I was glad that I had stuck with it. As I said it was a quick read and there were moments of it that I liked. I liked how Annie grew over the course of the book because I don’t think I would have been able to finish it if she hadn’t. I admired her drive to want to do something for her deceased boyfriend even though I didn’t really agree with her reasons for it. I also liked how over time it because less what he would have wanted and more about what she wanted to do for herself. And while I didn’t always like Jere I do think that he and Annie compliment each other.

I enjoyed Kenneally’s writing and the world that she has built so I will probably read the previous books in the series. I think it will be interesting to see how they all connect with one another. Breathe, Annie, Breathe will never be a favorite book of mine but in the end I don’t think that my time was wasted in visiting Thousand Oaks.

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irishdarkblue

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Breathe Annie Breathe2

three-stars
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