Blog Tour Review: Racing Savannah

Blog Tour Review: Racing Savannah

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

Blog Tour Review: Racing SavannahRacing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on December 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Xpresso Blog Tours
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four-half-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…

Racing Savannah is Miranda Kenneally’s fourth novel and, thus far, she’s not written a single book that I do not like and/or love. That, my friends, is an accomplishment. In some ways, all of the Hundred Oaks books are really consistent and similar to one another, but they’re not the same book over and over, which I love. Some are darker, particularly Things I Can’t Forget, and others are fluffy goodness. Racing Savannah‘s definitely on the fluffy end of the spectrum, though perhaps not quite as much as Catching Jordan. Personally, Racing Savannah is my favorite Kenneally novel yet, because Savannah’s my favorite heroine and there are horses.

Up to now, I’ve been swooning over Kenneally’s male leads, but the heroines, while I generally liked them or really appreciated their powerful characterization, haven’t been ones I’ve strongly bonded with. That changes with Savannah. This girl is awesome, and not only because she gets to ride horses all the time which my childhood self is super jealous of and honestly I’m still a bit envious. When I was like five, my dream was to be a jockey even, so it is no surprise that I admire Savannah. However, I was too tall by the time I was in fourth grade or something like that, so not so much. Savannah, on the other hand, is five feet even, so she can live one of my dreams.

Right, I got distracted, but I was talking about how awesome Savannah is. Basically, she’s really honest and direct and funny. Unlike so many YA heroines, if she doesn’t think she’s being treated right, she takes action. If she wants a job, she puts the work in and she gets it. If she feels like a guy’s not respecting her, she ends things. Oh, also, she’s very comfortable with her sexuality. Before her romance in Racing Savannah, she had a sort of friends with benefits sort of situation about which she feels no guilt. Love it! Miranda Kenneally’s novels are so sex positive that I want to hug them. Oh wait, I just made a pile of them all and did.

Speaking of sex, Miranda Kenneally is a serious master of bringing the swoon. I’m pretty sure she has given me stomach butterflies in every single book, but maybe especially in these last two. There are few better kissing scenes in this world. If you enjoy Katie McGarry books for the romance but wish they weren’t so melodramatic, these ARE the droids books you’ve been looking for. Kenneally always sells the romances, but they’re always a fairly slow burn and run in a really realistic way for a teen relationship. Plus, you are guaranteed many kissy scenes.

Back to characterization, Miranda Kenneally is one of the best YA authors at characterization full stop. I praised the awesomeness of the heroine, but she’s one among many. Though Jack’s one of my least favorite Kenneally boys, he’s still got a really great character arc as he becomes more of a boss to his employees (because he’s managing the family business over the summer) and to himself. Star, the horse that Savannah’s working with, feels so real too, and has more personality than a lot of main characters I’ve read. Then there are the rather scene-stealing Rory and Vanessa, Savannah’s best friends. They are freaking adorable as well, and I pretty much just want to hang out with these people.

One of the criticisms I’ve seen of Kenneally’s novels in the past is that they can go a bit too far with the heroines only being friends with boys. Savannah breaks with that tradition, though she starts off that way. She bonds with Rory first and they very quickly establish that they’re only interested in being friends (take that, When Harry Met Sally!). However, Savannah ends up being really close friends with Vanessa and getting all sorts of wonderful girl talk with her. Towards the end, there are even signs that Savannah and Kelsey might bond, which rules because Kelsey was portrayed as a mean girl rival for much of the book. The character arcs, people, are brilliant. Even the parents are developed, which does not happen often in YA.

Much as I want to give Racing Savannah all of the stars, I do think the ending gets a little bit too perfect. Savannah’s family has serious financial issues and, though they’re not resolved, it feels like all throughout the book opportunities feel in Savannah’s lap way too easily. I mean, yes, she’s talented and works hard, but life generally is not that easy. View Spoiler »

I loved every single moment of Racing Savannah, carried away by the adorable feels and the hilarious and realistic cast. This is my favorite Kenneally novel to date and I think anyone who was obsessed with horses as a child will definitely feel the same way.

Favorite Quote:

I can’t think of a good word to describe how this Brent guy makes me feel. Resentful? Flattered and angry? Flangry.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Totally worth the risk of walking into stuff. Pony-approved.

Totally worth the risk of walking into stuff. Pony-approved.

19 responses to “Blog Tour Review: Racing Savannah”

  1. Kim W. says:

    I love Miranda Kenneally’s books and I’m so glad to hear that this one is great as well. I’m even more excited to read this one because you it’s your favorite of all her book so far.

    I agree with you that while her books are quite similar, they are not the same plot with the same kind of characters with each new book. I thought I had her series figured out after the first two books, and I assumed Things I Can’t Forget would have been another book with a girl who loves sports, but she really surprised me there.

    I do like that Racing Savannah is going to focus on a sport again (although I don’t know how much in comparison to Catching Jordan for example). I like horses and I wish I have had some lessons when I was a kid. I mean, I’ve had one lesson but that was a disaster. I fell of my horse, hit my head and had a concussion and NEVER wanted to ride a horse again.

    Can’t wait to read about Savannah & the horses. I also can’t wait to read about her love interest. He’s got some serious competition as to being my favorite Kenneally hero, as I LOVE Corndog (Matt is my least favorite).
    Kim W. recently posted…Review: Monstrous BeautyMy Profile

  2. Giselle says:

    Right? Savannah is awesomesauce! And while I’ve never ridden a horse or ever even had the inclination to do to, being a jockey sounds like fun – at least she made it sound awesome. I loved her attitude when guys would snort at her being a girl in “their” sport, too. Pfft to them! I definitely agree about the romance – so much feels without the extreme drama like some (or most) NA books. Glad you liked it, C! I found this one a bit different from the others, too it was fun to get a change but it was still the expected awesome characters and sweet romance 🙂
    Giselle recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (101)My Profile

  3. I’ve shied away from this one because of the horses. Not a fan. But describing her books as bringing the swoon and having a slow burn makes me want to take a chance. Which one should I try first?
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…The One About Being a Whiny BratMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      NOT A FAN OF HORSES? *does not compute*

      Ummm, well, I’m generally a fan of starting in the beginning which would be Catching Jordan. But if you’re picky about themes, here’s a bit of a breakdown:

      Catching Jordan: fluffy, football
      Stealing Parker: softball, teacher-student relationship (dark, not romantic), religion (in a non-preachy way)
      Things I Can’t Forget: summer camp, religion, much darker than the others

  4. Gillian says:

    OH MY GOD I WOULD TOTALLY SAY THAT QUOTE. I’ve only read Catching Jordan, but CLEARLY I need to hurry up and read the rest so I can get to Savannah. Also, I totally wish I was a horse person. They scare me in real life, but I still love them and pretend I am a horse person. Shhhh, don’t tell.

    MK does do really great character arcs and REALLY great swoons (SAM HENRY, Y’ALL). Totally going to try to at least read Catching Parker over the holidays now.
    Gillian recently posted…Top Ten Bookish Things I’m Thankful ForMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Right? I could totally see you doing that. It’s perfection. You will loooooove the series. Also, the fact that you do not like horses irl is sad. My feels.

      THE SWOOOOOONS.

  5. Molli says:

    I loved this one too! I was all YESSSS when Savannah had enough integrity to end things when a certain someone was being a douche. And I just basically loved Savannah a lot. And the positive messages about sex make me SO happy as well as references to SAFE sex. WHEEE!

    ALSO HORSES. I used to love horseback riding so I was geeking out reading this. Aww at Savannah living your dream. haha. But like you I did think the end was sorta unrealistic, and I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wished I had.
    Molli recently posted…Discussion Post: ARC Questions Roundup (ARC Etiquette & Sending Reviews to Publishers)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      How often does the girl in a book say “actually, I’m not cool with the way you’re treating me, so bye”? Not often enough. And then he finally personed up and stood up for what he wanted. Also, yes, safe sex. Very important.

      Oh really? I connected with Savannah like whoa. She’s most like me of the Kenneally heroines in thought processes, if not life or interests, oddly. Didn’t super care for Jack, but meh.

  6. Lili says:

    That GIF at the end though! I’ve only read Kenneally’s first book thus far and I plan on reading her second soon, but I’ve had my eye on this one for a while because of the horses. I’ve been slightly worried about it because I know several people struggled with book three, but you make me really excited. I think I’m going to put this one on my wishlist now. <3

    I also really love how you said you connected with Savannah in a strong way because I need a strong heroine in my life. Plus…kissing scenes. They make the world go 'round.

    • Christina Franke says:

      HORSES. I love book three, but the heroine’s a real piece of work. You might like it too though, because it’s one of those where she’s REALLY judgmental and people who are nice are like WHAT NO, and I’m like “totally been there.” I wasn’t religious, but otherwise I was just like Kate.

      KISSING SCENES. Hers are amaaaaaazing.

  7. Woo Hoo for sex positive YA! It’s definitely one of the things I love most about Miranda’s books. And the heroines. And the boys. And the swoons. All of it in fact 🙂

    (And way to throw in a Star Wars reference. Yeah, I caught that…)
    Heather@The Flyleaf Review recently posted…Waiting On…We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I am so glad someone appreciated my totally random SW reference. I just could resist, even though I usually don’t like strikethrough humor. Whatever, I had the need.

  8. I love Racing Savannah so much. It’s my favorite of all Miranda’s books.
    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (26): Wish You Were ItalianMy Profile

  9. Danielle says:

    Awesome, glad you enjoy her books so much! I went on a shopping binge a while back and picked up a couple of hers on sale. I should read them in order but HORSES!! so really want to read this one first! So glad to hear they present a healthy image of sex too, happens all too little. Great review, shall be checking these out soon.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Reading them out of order will “spoil” the romances, but I mean yeah you know anyway, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal if you want to do that. I can’t because it makes me twitchy, but you are obviously a much more daring reader. :-p

  10. Genevieve says:

    I’ve always kind of avoided Catching Jordan, even though I’ve been on a big contemporary kick lately, because I’m not a football fan, but now I think I’ll check it out after hearing so many great things about the books! Your review of this and Things I Can’t Forget make me think that these are my types of book, whether I like football and horses or not (not that I hate horses like I do football!)
    Genevieve recently posted…All the Books (70)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Personally, I haaaaate football, but I don’t mind it so much in books where I don’t have to watch it. The football in Dairy Queen and Catching Jordan was totally at an acceptable level.

  11. Ellis says:

    I’m a Kenneally EXPERT now. I binged hard.

    “Miranda Kenneally’s novels are so sex positive that I want to hug them.” Precisely this. That was the most pleasant surprise I got out of these novels, you know, besides them being seriously addictive.

    RORY. *squishes all the Whitfield boys* You know I shipped him with Savannah, but their friendship was so good. Yes, I did want him to break his neck already, but he and Vanessa were one of the sweetest items ever. Nom nom nom. Whitfield boys.

    I agree about it coming easy to her, but I also think it’s because Jack has a hand in both those things. I’m not sure if he would have done the same if they hadn’t been romantically involved, though, which is something I HATE.

    Blegh, Jack. I have the same problem with him as I had with Xander (The Distance Between Us), which is that they often don’t seem to show any understanding towards not everyone having the same opportunities as them. I was fine with Savannah not wanting to go to college, because it is not for everyone. Jack, however, pretends like the world is ending when he hears it. Entitled, much?

    FLANGRY. I highlighted that part too! God, Savannah was good. I did think she sounded a bit younger than the three previous heroines but her directness deserves all the cookies.
    Ellis recently posted…Review – Breaking the WrongMy Profile

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