Racing Savannah Pre-Order Gift Campaign

Sourcebooks is offering a fun pre-order gift campaign for Miranda Kenneally’s upcoming release Racing Savannah. Here’s the information you’ll need…

From Sourcebooks….

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn.  But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. 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 jockey, Savannah is 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.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to teenfire@sourcebooks.com. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out. 

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

Blog Tour: Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

I’m a big Miranda Kenneally fan, so I’m really excited to be part of this blog tour for Things I Can’t Forget (review).  I love how she creates realistic characters who face challenges teens can relate to.  Since I love the stories she writes, and since I spend five days a week with high school students, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share her list of things she’d change about her high school years.

Things I Can't Forget

Top Ten things Miranda Kenneally would change about her high school years if she could go back in time

1.      I would do my homework the night before school rather than 10 minutes before class.

2.      I would pull my pants up. Sagging was not cool then and it’s not cool now.

3.      I would not consider the daughter of the owner of the local car dealership a “celebrity.”

4.      I would not wear those two-inch long crocodile earrings. Really, Miranda, what were you thinking?

5.      I would accept the soccer captain’s invitation to come swim at his pool instead of wussing out.

6.      I would’ve waited for my first kiss. The guy I kissed first was not a good guy, and it wasn’t worth it just to say I’d kissed someone.

7.      I would confront the school guidance counselor, who told me I’d “fail” if I went to an out-of-state college. And if I got in trouble for telling her off? So be it.

8.      I would push harder for a role in Fiddler on the Roof instead of settling for stage manager again!

9.      That time me and some of the guys took my mom’s SUV mudding? Yeah, I would not do that again. Even 5 trips through the carwash didn’t get rid of the mud. What a nightmare.

10.  I would read more books instead of worrying about guys so much! :)

Summary (From Goodreads): Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Review: Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Things I Can't ForgetTitle: Things I Can’t Forget

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 1st, 2013

Interest: Author / Contemporary

Source: E-galley via NetGalley/publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

I’m a big Miranda Kenneally fan, so I have been super excited to read Things I Can’t Forget.  I read Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker in one sitting each, but I didn’t have that experience with Things I Can’t Forget.  I was having a difficult time connecting with Kate because she and I are so different.  Thankfully, as Kate grew as a character, I grew more invested in the story and ended up really enjoying it.

Things I Can’t Forget is much different from Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.  It’s not nearly as light-hearted and it’s much more about faith and religion than the other two.  I’d also feel comfortable placing it in the New Adult category since Kate is getting ready to start college and is trying to figure out who she is, what she believes, and what she wants to do with her life.  Miranda Kenneally has taken each book up a notch in terms of sexuality and religion, so I’m curious to see what she has in store for us in her next book, Racing SavannahThings I Can’t Forget isn’t overly sexual, but some of the scenes and descriptions border on what I’ve read in New Adult novels.  I like how she handled the sexuality because it fits with where Kate is in her life and her beliefs.  She’s testing the waters and growing as a person.  Kate’s discovering what she’s okay with, what her limits are, how to discuss this maturely, and how it all ties in with her religion.

I didn’t grow up as religious as Kate, so it was difficult for me to connect with her, however I have students right now who remind me of her quite a bit.  Things I Can’t Forget is more serious than Kenneally’s other books, but I can see it benefiting teens who are like Kate and teens who are different from Kate.  Teens who have grown up like Kate might connect with her and enjoy reading about someone so connected to her faith, while teens who aren’t as connected might read this and be able to better understand their friends who are like Kate.

Kate’s working with a girl named Parker, and silly me didn’t realize it’s Parker from Stealing Parker until almost 70% into the book. I don’t know if that was a blonde moment or what, but it made me feel dumb.  Anyway, I was happy to see Parker because we get to find out how she’s doing and what’s happened to her since the end of Stealing Parker.  I have a couple students in class right now who will probably want to read this for that reason.  We get to see Jordan from Catching Jordan as well, which is equally as cool.

Besides not really liking Kate at the beginning of the story (This eventually changed. I even teared up a bit for her towards the end.), my big qualm with the book is the writing.  As opposed to Kenneally’s first two books, the writing in Things I Can’t Forget felt rushed.  Some of the dialogue is choppy and difficult to decipher who is speaking, and some of the sentence structure is too simplistic.  Parts of the book just didn’t read like they were edited thoroughly enough or like an author who’s already written and published two books had written them.  I’m not trying to be harsh or overly critical, but I know Kenneally’s  signed on for at least a couple more books with the publisher which makes me wonder if she really was rushing while writing this (the next book is due to release in December).

I do think it’s a good book with a solid story that has a place with teen readers.  I’m looking forward to hearing my students’ reactions because I have many who are looking forward to reading this.

Top Ten New To Me Authors of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

I’ve read some pretty fantastic books this year written by some pretty fantastic authors.  I love reading debut novels, so many of the authors featured on my list are debut authors.  I’d love to know which “new to you” authors of 2012 are your favorites!

1. Trish Doller–I’ve been raving about Something Like Normal since I read it this spring.  It’s a stunning debut and I absolutely CAN’T WAIT until Trish’s new book, Where the Stars Still Shine, releases next year.

2. Matthew Quick–I know his YA debut released in 2011, but I didn’t read one of his books until this year when I read Boy21.  This is another book that I rave about on a regular basis.  I love Boy21 so much I’m reading it out loud for the second time this year since I have a brand new group of students this trimester.

3. R.J. Palacio–I was late to jump on the “Everyone needs to read Wonder!” bus, but peeps, Everyone needs to read Wonder!  I’m so impressed by how Palacio wrote this book and has been able to reach so many readers across age levels.  I have sophomores reading Wonder and singing its praises.  I’ve been telling teachers I work with to buy it and read with their kids.  I will buy R.J. Palacio’s next book without a doubt.

4. Tammara Webber–Sigh…I LOVED Easy.  I hope Tammara Webber writes more New Adult novels because I had the worst book hangover after reading Easy.  I want more of her books!

5. Jessica Brody–I’m way late on this one!  I was asked to be part of the 52 Reasons to Hate My Father blog tour, so I was lucky enough to receive a copy to read.  And it was so much fun to read!  Since adding it to my class library, a few of my students have requested that I buy more of Brody’s books which I’m happy to do because I want to read all of them.

6. Jordan Sonnenblick–Again, he’s been around for a few years, but only this year have I been aware of his books.  I read Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, and since then I’ve been reading more and more of his books.  They’re great as audio and great as a traditional read.  His writing is engaging and his stories are heartwarming.

7. Jessica Spotswood–I bought Born Wicked on a whim and then read it straight through.  I’m usually hesitant to read historical fiction, but Jessica Spotswood wrote her debut in the best way.  Her historical fiction is romantic, magical (hence the witches), and engaging.  The language of the time isn’t overdone, but balanced and easy to read.  I can’t wait to read the sequel; I wish I didn’t have to wait until this summer!

8. Miranda Kenneally–I’ve read both Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker and love them both.  They’re incredibly popular in my classroom which made me eve more excited to find out that Kenneally is signed on to write six more books with Sourcebooks.

9. Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns released in 2011, but I didn’t read it until this summer.  I love Rae’s writing style and the characters she’s included in this high fantasy trilogy.  The sequel, The Crown of Embers, just released this fall and its been receiving lots of rave reviews.

10. S.J. Kincaid–I read Insignia last fall, but it didn’t release until this summer.  S.J. Kincaid is an exciting new voice in YA with the Insignia trilogy.  It’s exciting and refreshing and full of guy-appeal.

Home Run Blog Tour + Giveaway

I’m am super excited to be part of the Home Run Blog Tour for Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally!  I read Kenneally’s debut, Catching Jordan, in one sitting and did the same thing with her newest release, Stealing Parker.  My students are a big fan of her books as well.

I hope you enjoy Miranda’s guest post.  Make sure to enter to win a copy of Stealing Parker!

Summary (From Goodreads):

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

After her family’s scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.

Peanut Gallery:  Where does Miranda get her inspiration?  Find out as Miranda speaks about her idea origins. As a bonus, Miranda shares the best advice that she ever got about being a writer.

Geez, this is a pretty hard question. I get my inspiration from all over the place. From conversations I have with friends and people at work. From inside jokes with my husband. I read lots of books, and see how my favorite authors write plot arcs and characterization, and then I set out to do that too, but with my own edge. I often look through my junior and high school yearbooks to remind myself of how I felt when I was younger. I also like to read my old diaries. One time I got a book idea from a true fact under a Snapple lid. Another time I got a book idea because somebody had broken into my car!

I got the idea for the “Jerry Rice fake baby home ec” project in Catching Jordan because I remembered this time I was out on the football field in junior high, and a football player was pushing another player around in a stroller.

The best advice I ever got as a writer?

  • An editor told me my strongest skill as an author is writing groups of teens goofing off and talking about nothing, so now I try to have my characters bantering while doing lots of wild and wacky things while trying to move the plot forward. And I have a great time doing it! I try to write silly scenes that I hope people will enjoy reading.

Giveaway Guidelines

Giveaway is sponsored by Sourcebooks Fire and open to residents of the US & Canada.
Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
One entry per person.
Only one winner.
Winner will be contacted via email & announced on Twitter.
Giveaway ends Friday, November 2nd, 2012 @ 11:59 EST.

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: October 1st, 2012

Interest: Contemporary / Author

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

After her family’s scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.

Miranda Kenneally really knows how to hook a reader!  Her debut, Catching Jordan, kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down, and I had the exact same experience reading her sophomore release, Stealing Parker.

I’m confident that my girls in class are going to love Stealing Parker.  It’s more mature in  nature than Catching Jordan in regards to sexuality, but it also deals with an important issue.  Some may see the idea of a book involving a relationship with an older man who is also in a position of authority as taboo, but it’s not uncommon either.  I knew plenty of girls in high school dating significantly older guys, although none of them worked for the school.  The idea of that always made me uncomfortable, and it made me uncomfortable as a reader watching Parker enter dangerous territory with Brian.  I think the girls in class will enjoy watching Parker flirt with Brian, but as things grow more serious, I think they’ll be hoping it ends.  Miranda Kenneally did a fantastic job making the scenes with Brian tense as opposed to romantic.  Nothing about their interactions are romanticized.  Parker doesn’t think six years is that great of an age difference, and I remember thinking along those lines when I was her age too, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize that it’s actually a significant difference.  In the grand scheme of things we know that six years isn’t a huge age gap, but when you’re in high school and your love interest is beyond that, the life experience alone makes six years a huge age gap.

Parker’s other love interest serves as a sweet and simple balance to her relationship with Brian.  I’m not going to say who it’s with, but it’s absolutely adorable.  This character made me mad at times, but he still won me over.  I hope other readers cheer for him like I did!

Watching Parker grow as a character was really enjoyable.  She’s quite naive in areas of love and relationships.  The shocking revelation that her mom is a lesbian crushed Parker.  It threw her world into a tailspin and rocked her self-image and thoughts about love.  Her so-called friend, Laura, starts rumors that Parker’s a lesbian just like her mom.  As a result Parker wants to do everything she can to distance herself from her mother.  She loses weight so she doesn’t look “butch” and starts kissing lots of boys so people will know she isn’t a lesbian.  I can’t imagine going through what Parker goes through.  She’s completely lost which is what drives many of her poor decisions.  I love a good mother-daughter storyline which Stealing Parker has and does well (it even made me tear up!).  The only thing I didn’t need in this part of the story is Parker’s weight issues.  The story would have been just as strong without them. Her concerns with calories and weight were more of a distraction because I didn’t know if it was going to lead to something more severe as the story progressed.  I didn’t expect religion to play such a big role in Stealing Parker, but it works with the story.  I have quite a few students who are active in their church, so I think they’ll enjoy that aspect of Parker’s story.re

I thoroughly enjoyed Stealing Parker because it invoked so many reactions in me as a reader.  I was completely engaged and connected to the characters.  I wanted to smack Laura, I wanted to hug Parker, and I wanted to laugh with Drew and Corndog.  Miranda Kenneally tackles some heavy issues, but she does so with ease and charm.  I wish her next book, Things I Can’t Forget, came out sooner!

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