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Hundred Oaks #4

Racing Savannah

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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…

304 pages, Paperback

First published December 3, 2013

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About the author

Miranda Kenneally

18 books4,191 followers
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.

Note: I don't answer direct messages, but do answer questions on Goodreads and Twitter. Please feel free to check in with me there!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 910 reviews
Profile Image for Kels.
315 reviews165 followers
February 19, 2016
The thing I'm learning about this series is: the books are all so formulaic. They all share near identical themes, with cliched characters that encounter similar problems, namely in the department of romance lurve.

Girl meets guy. Love at first glance. Problems ensue. Girl and guy stop talking. Girl meets another guy. Then either a) The first couple somehow work it out, and depart off into happily ever after land, or b) girl gets with rebound, and of course, departs off into happily ever after land.

The only thing that changes are the names and the sport. It's getting old, and it's becoming increasingly hard to differentiate the novels.

A big issue I had in particular with Racing Savannah was the romance. I just wasn't buying it. Savannah fell head over heels in insta-love at first sight with play-boy Jack, and despite him giving her the run-around, and at one point she was willing to selfishly risk her families job just to get with him. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that Jack was filth rich. Nope.

For me, I just don't find it at all appealing when the main characters hinges everything on someone they just met. Especially when the protagonist is still in high school, because are you freaking kidding me!? Savannah became so easily and quickly obsessed with Jack, and then became so undone when it appeared to be over. It was all so very melodramatic, and cliched, and highly predictable. I just wanted to shake Savannah hard, and rip this book apart.

That said, somehow I still enjoy Miranda Kenneally's effortless penmanship. I mean she certainly has a talent in the way that she writes, but with specific regards to creating unique characters and plots with an added layer of depth, my opinion is that it's not a particular strength of hers.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,954 followers
August 9, 2016
From his pocket he whips out a red lollipop - one of the fancy ones you can only get at the Cracker Barrel.

3.5 stars. It is entirely possible that the above sentence made me think of the unfortunate interview in the picture below.

That noted, I do think Cracker Barrel has some awesome candy.

What's my point in all of this, you ask? Well, my point is, that I might have laughed a few times at the character antics in Racing Savannah. It was a fun, cute, and enjoyable love story.

I won't act like there weren't a few moments sprinkled throughout which made me twitchy, but I'm able to overlook a little bit of awkward pining, repetitive questioning of self worth, an overdone focus on scents, and ridiculous snap judging when there was some character growth present. It was all kind of a balancing act. Sure, I kind of had a "trying to be relevant?" thought when Twilight and Harry Potter references showed up, but then one of the main characters had Star Wars sheets and I couldn't help but smile. So yeah...balancing act. We almost toppled over a few times, but I felt like there was enough positive to keep the stack from crashing.
I never want to hear my dad say "doing the nasty" again.

When stacking this book up against similar books in the genre, I think it came out ahead of the last several I've read. I wanted to smile. I wanted to see some horse racing. And I guess I got that!

The strength of this story was mainly in the humor and the details around Savannah chasing her dream of racing horses. The characters themselves were not always three dimensional in my mind. I felt like they were popped out of "make your own YA character" molds and dropped into the story.

Even if I didn't attach to the characters and wanted to tell Savannah to loosen up a good portion of the time, I'm glad I took a chance on the book. It might have taken me a week to read because I was busy, but I keep coming back when I had the chance.
"In my heart, I'm an exotic dancer," Jack replies.
"What. A. Dumbass."

This book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.

My review can also be found on Booklikes
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
November 12, 2013
I've come to expect a super sweet, romantic, and character oriented read when I pick up a Kenneally book and this is, again, exactly what I got from Racing Savannah. This one has its own charm that separated it from the others as it's kind of like the "new generation" of this series. We see glimpses of our beloved characters from the other books who have now gotten a bit older and their relationships are moving ahead which was very exciting to see, and bittersweet because it made me miss them! :)

This time our wonderful protagonist is Savannah. She has a passion for horse racing - well horses in general - and a take-no-crap attitude that I loved. As a girl, she unfortunately get the expected chuckles and odd looks from the other hose jockeys, thinking she's not tough enough to be a part of this sport. Well, she surely shows them! You can't help but root for this girl! As usual, the side cast provides great personality to the book as well. While the other novels focused on either a sports team or a whole camp personnel, Racing Savannah brings us into the lives of the elite, and the help who work for them. I'm always fascinated by this rich side of society that I don't often - or ever - encounter where I'm from. Live-in maids and farm help who are barely making ends meat, working for - and living with - a family who could buy a million dollar farm at a moment's notice. I especially loved the dynamic between the workers; the "stick together" bond they all seem to have.

With that said, Savannah and the love interest, Jack, are from quite opposite spectrums. Plus, Jack being her boss was given a rule to never mingle with the staff - but you and I both know this never stops young love, right? *dreamy sigh*. I wasn't sure what to make of Jack at first, thinking he would sustain the stereotypical snotty attitude that's often associated with his status and social standing. Instead he quickly grew on me. His hesitations stemming from his need to show his dad he's got what it takes to run the farm, not his monetary ranking. He also learns he has to stand up for what he wants. The romance has that great forbidden fruit vibe with a ton of chemistry, but it's not all flowers and butterflies either. They both have to overcome obstacles built from their differences in class and realistic expectations of their futures - theirs and their parents'.

Fans of the series are sure to find themselves swooning over this newest installment in the Hundred Oaks series. Like the others, it's not necessary to have read the prior books to fully understand this one. Though, it's so much fun to see our old beloved characters from new angles, to realize everyone in this small town is all interconnected somehow, that I truly recommend reading this series as a whole.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Maria .
125 reviews6 followers
December 7, 2013
Okay I don't think Miranda is doing this on purpose but after writing Catching Jordan she lost her touch I'm sorry it might be harsh but it is true. I remember when I read Catching Jordan for the first time I was so psyched about it that I read it 3 times that first week. Honestly it was just that good. And then when Stealing Parker came out and I read it I was distraught I couldn't believe it was the same author and then came Things I can't forget it was the same. Honestly they were just that bad. For some reason I still didn't lose hope and thought this one would cure the past hurts. I know right how stupid can you get. I did not learn from my mistakes.

It's like fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me but what happens the third time? I'll tell you I should be kicked out of the reading books circle for not knowing what to read and what not to.

Okay so let me tell you about what happens in the book. Basically there's this dumb protagonist of ours Savannah who doesn't know what's good for her and doesn't think at all. I swear through out the books you can't get a handle on her thoughts it's like one minute she's thinking something but she does the direct opposite confusing the reader makes you want to smack her and scream at her "bi*** get a hold of yourself or go die". Right so she's a horse trainer and her dads working for these rich people he's like the head of the stable staff. These rich people have a shallow dumb witted son, Jack, who can not stand up for himself and his only redeeming quality are his good looks. Savannah gets to be the jokey for one of the horses, as the horse doesn't like guys, and Jack being the head gets to know her pretty well he wants Savannah to be his dirty little secret, still like the stupid wh*** that she is she keeps on going to the third base on the side, with him. It's not until he actually says that they are friends with benefits does she put an end to their not-so-much-relationship.

"I thought you wanted to be together....like, in secret. As
friends with benefits."
Did he really just say friends with benefits?
"Like, we'd hook up, but we'd never go out on dates and stuff?"
"Yeah. We'd be together on the down low."
Did he really just say down low?

Honestly this is how stupid she is. And Jack is stupider and has no respect for women since they are on the staff even though he keeps claiming otherwise.

In the end they do end up together and that happens because she is about to be raped, in open day light, by the son of one of the guys who is doing business with Jack's dad and Jack comes to save her saying stay away from my girlfriend. By that time you are like WTF?
And guess what Savannah takes him she accepts him as her boyfriend no serious apology whatsoever for using her. Surprised? No? I wasn't either because yes she is that dumb and stupid.

So in the end all I'd like to say about this book is that please guys don't read it, it sucks but hey go ahead and read it so we can bit** about it together.
And that one star is one star too many if there were an option for hate it I'd pick that one.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews747 followers
November 25, 2013
Miranda Kenneally has quickly become one of my auto-buy authors, she knows how to charm you into one of her beautiful stories and leave you with a nice glowy feel good feeling once you finish the last page of her book. I have been recommending her books to everyone I know because each time she releases a new book, she always delivers a solid read for me.

With Racing Savannah however things were different, I didn’t find myself as involved with the characters or the gorgeous world Kenneally had created straight away. But knowing the way I had loved Kenneally’s previous books, I knew my reward for reading this book would still come. And it did. Personally I blame my reading mood lately for my slow start with this book, it’s either taking me ages to read a book lately, or I find myself reading for the sake of reading. But Kenneally once again reminded me why I love reading in the first place. She was able to take something which meant a lot to her in her own life and bring this belief out strong in her characters. Savannah never had the most privileged life, her family used to get by just fine, but then with her mum’s sudden illness and medical fees to pay, things became a bit tight. But then Savannah’s dad was given a great opportunity, Savannah and her family would be working for the Goodwin family of Cedar Hill farms. They were a well established family renowned for their horses. They’d had several successful horses under their belt already, not only would Savannah’s family get the chance to work with luxurious horses (Savannah’s dream), it was a job which they would pay them all well and provide a roof over their head at the same time too. But it meant Savannah had to leave everything behind during her senior year, make a fresh start and of course there was the Goodwin’s son Jack who was cocky, self-assured, but oh so cute, but as he was in charge of the farm and the Goodwin’s son clearly off limits. Could Savannah finally make a life for herself here and her family? And keep her head and heart in check around Jack?

Kenneally for me is amazing at creating swoon worthy characters; Sam Henry, Will Whitfield and Matt are definitely on top of my fictional crushes list. So you could say I was expecting a lot from her latest character Jack. Whereas Jack could be caring and considerate when he wanted to be, I thought that he really wasn’t his own person. He did a lot of things to please others or because it was the right thing to do. A couple of times I did think he’d made the wrong decision and that I wouldn’t be able to forgive him, but he was quick to pull out some sweet gestures when I least expected him to. Although Jack wasn’t my favourite fictional crush, he has some great scenes in this book that I’m sure will woo many readers over.

Whilst I had my ups and downs with Jack’s character, this was not the case with Savannah at all. She was such a hard working girl who wore her heart on her sleeve that I just wanted her to get her happy ending she deserved. Despite not been given many opportunities at Cedar Hill farm, she slogged it out to work her way up, despite disencouragement from many others including her father. Also she also knew in her heart what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to put it on the line. Alongside Savannah once again there were brilliant secondary characters, friends who were quick to take her side, when others were quick to make assumptions about Savannah. Also these two people went on to show just how brilliant they were, by having Savannah’s back whenever she needed it the most, but also brightening up a scene immensely with their bubbly personalities.

Kenneally was able to deal with several real life issues in a realistic way, but a central idea to this book was family. There were several families involved in this book, they all had their different ways of how they treated one another, or how much money they had, but at the end of the day the question which mattered the most was, how important was ones family? There were times when some ran the risk of their family losing their history entirely, others which said family was important, but then did something completely different to contradict this and others who made decisions with interests of their families future in mind. I loved all the different areas in which Kenneally explored the idea of a family and how she made it such an integral part of the story.

Kenneally totally surprised me with Racing Savannah, first of all I have never had any interest in horses, but Kenneally quickly enough got me into a first name basis with the horses and I soon understood Savannah’s passion and gentleness with them. Secondly Kenneally was able to change my earlier impressions I had made of several characters quite quickly, once I’ve made an assumption or decision I’m quite adamant in my ways, but here I found myself being won over quite quickly. Third this was a great story which explored several realistic issues that I’m sure many individuals could relate too. It also had a solid set of characters and a nice sprinkling of sweet scenes along the way. Also fans of the previous books will not be disappointed, there were a great amount of re-appearances and name dropping of characters from previous books that all I wanted to do was to re-read all three books there and then. Overall Racing Savannah was simply a sweet and beautiful story.
589 reviews1,031 followers
January 4, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

3.5 stars

Thank you Xpresso Book Tours for sending me this copy.

I think I'm getting to that point where I am insanely sick of contemporary romances. Six in a row is just about enough now. I'm quite sure, under different circumstances, I would have enjoyed this so much more but I wouldn't give this more than 3.5 stars at the current situation.

How willing are you to risk everything to be with the one you love? Savannah and Jack come from two different backgrounds. She works at the stable while he lives in an estate house and owns the farm. She's poor while he's swimming in his wealth. She's the one with big, dangerous ambitions and he's the one that can make them come true. She's the one that's been warned that he's not worth it. He's the one that's been told she'll bring him down. But still, they want to be together no matter the odds.

Savannah has been around horses for most of her life; she trains them and finds herself in the stable most of the time. When she gets the opportunity to become a horse jockey, she wants it more than anything. Not only did I love Savannah's passion for horses, but her humorous remarks kept me grinning like a fool. She doesn't like being treated like shit and is a strong young woman. I loved her attitude and how determined she is. Moreover, I liked how she would go to her father and talk to him openly, other contemporaries have the MC closing up towards their parents, not telling them anything. Per contra, I struggled to get used to how observant Savannah could be. There was constantly the phrase: "He's staring at me" or something like that. You're not looking at him but you can still see him staring at you? Kinda creeeepy. Especially when it happens so many times.

Another aspect that shined was the friendships. Rory and Vanessa’s relationship with Savannah was truly amazing. The three would stick up for each other and were totally honest. Exactly what an authentic friendship is like. For example: Rory and Vanessa offered to kick Jack's ass because he was being a dickhead.

For me, what did not make this a hugely lovable novel were Jack and the romance. Unfortunately, I struggled to like Jack for half of the story. Savannah and Jack's connection was so hot and cold and too fast. I get that Jack's nature is to flirt, but I seriously hated his approach sometimes. There's something about flirty cocky guy gone all gooey and sweet that just doesn't work for me. I would have preferred if there was a better build up.

All in all, Racing Savannah was a great read even though I failed to connect with Jack or believe in the romance 100%. This was my first Miranda Kenneally novel, and I think I am willing to try her previous ones.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
909 reviews157 followers
August 30, 2016
I'm really sorry to say this, but this is my least favourite Kenneally novel to date. It's as if her books are going for a bad turn.

I really don't know why but nothing in this book stuck as cute or nice to me and the only reason Im giving this is a 3 star instead of one is due to my somewhat biased loyalty to Ms. Kenneally. I partially disliked Things I can't Forget but still it was pretty good enough I gave 4 star but this one?

What can I say? Savannah got on my freaking nerves. She was annoying (did I mention that before? Of course I did), selfish and acted like a freaking brat most of the time. I know she liked Jack but her old swings were swinging out my patience also. Seriously the girl was too much for me.

Then we got Jack. The jackass of all guys. I mean the man was a spineless ass for most of the book. Keep the relationship on the down low? And he had the freaking guts to tell to be friends with benefits???????

Seriously I was screaming that into the book when I saw that line.
If I were Savannah I would have pretty much slapped him on the spot and left (Better yet, I would have punched him). So you can pretty much see where I was going in the beginning when I said this was my least favourite. There were many other reasons too like Savannah's dad. I didn't like him or Cindy for a matter of fact.

The only thing I liked in the story, ok maybe one, was Rory. He was sweet. I think I would have liked if the story was about him rather than stupid Jack and Savannah.

The other thing?? The cameos by Will, Parker, Henry, Jordan, Matt, Kate,Ty and even Carter!!! The last part with Carter was hilarious.

I sincerely hope that the other book will be much better than this. Now I'm off to read that one too :D
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews331 followers
April 7, 2016
2,5 stars
I have to say that this is my least favorite Miranda Kenneally book so far. It wasn't bad, just a bit cheesy for my taste. Also, it didn't touch me like her other books did and I didn't particularly care for the characters, though the whole group of friends was fun. I guess the story just wasn't quite for me. I'll definitely read the rest of her Hundred Oaks books though. Only two left now!
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,650 followers
May 26, 2020
Reread thoughts from 2020:
This is the first in the series that hasn't really held up for me. Aside from the first couple in the series, I didn't read these back to back originally but as they came out. That means I didn't really compare them to each other, but now that I'm doing so, this one isn't up to the standard of the prior books. There's an emotional depth to the others that this one doesn't have. It could have made powerful points about poverty and sexism, but it doesn't really. The romance could use more development, as could Savannah's relationship with her family. It feels like it's set up for there to be a whole arc with her dad's girlfriend that just doesn't happen. To my current eyes, the book feels a bit unfinished. I also don't like that ; that was not a good choice.

My rating's honestly between two and three stars, but I'm rounding up because it's a cute contemporary as long as you don't hold it to the high standard Kenneally's books have set. This is fluffy and quick, and it will be the right thing depending on mood and expectation, I think.

Original review from 2013:

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars, rounded up because OH MY LITTLE PONY but this is a Christina book.

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.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.
Profile Image for Lindy.
797 reviews200 followers
February 20, 2017
I am a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks Series. The first book in the series, Catching Jordan was outstanding, and instantly hooked me! As I continued reading this series, I quickly realized that Ms. Kenneally is a very unique and talented author. Her stories always deal with real life issues, and leave me in a very contemplative mood. She tends to address social dynamics, norms, and stereotypes pertaining to gender roles, sexuality, religion, and socioeconomic class. Her stories not only highly entertain, and engage her audience, but they also make us think critically about our own beliefs, values, and ethics, as well as societal norms.

In Racing Savannah, Ms. Keneally tackles two such social dynamics. First off, Savannah is talented and passionate when it comes to working with horses. She wants to be a Horse Jockey, which is mostly a male filled role. Ms. Keneally shows us the prejudices in the horse racing world, as Savannah deals with disrespect from the male jockeys, as well having to prove herself fully capable, and fight for her position. Before reading this story, I was ignorant to the world of horse racing. Ms. Kenneally completely captured my interest and attention when it came to reading about this fascinating sport. Not only am I more knowledgable on the topic, but Ms. Kenneally, seamlessly incorporated the lifestyle and details of this profession into the story in a highly entertaining manner.

Another social dynamic that Ms. Keneally addresses is the lifestyles of the "Haves" and the "Have Nots." Jack Goodwin comes from a wealthy and well-respected family, and is training to one day take over his father's running of Cedar Hill Farms, which trains horses for the Kentucky Derby, and Breeders' Cup. Savannah Barrow comes from poverty. She grew up getting free lunch in school, going to the salvation army for all of her clothing, and with the expectation that she would never be able to afford a college education. Her father uproots her along with his pregnant girlfriend, Cindy, from West Virginia to Tennessee, after he gets a better paying job working as the head horse groomer at Cedar Hill Farms.

Jack and Savannah are attracted to one another, and have a lot in common. However, Jack is quickly warned against "dating" any of the servants, and Savannah's father tells her to stay away from Jack as well, for fear that he will lose his job if she upsets Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin. Savannah is expected to be satisfied with a high school education, because her father could never afford for her to attend college. On top of that, Savannah doesn't want her unborn half sibling to suffer financially like she did as a child. So she asks Mr. Goodwin to use her paychecks to supplement Cindy's income. Savannah was very responsible, hard working, spirited, passionate, and giving. I absolutely adored her character. She had so much spunk, and would not accept the status quo! I loved how independent, strong, and courageous she was. She went after what she wanted, and didn't let anything stand in her way. I loved watching her stand up for herself, and demand the respect that she deserved. On the other hand, Jack greatly frustrated me. He was so concerned with pleasing his father, that many times he seemed to be lacking a backbone. Jack let his father control his life, and I desperately wanted him to break away, and take back control. I'm happy to say that he went through a great amount of character growth in this story.

Racing Savannah was a great read! The main characters were fully developed, realistic, and relatable. The plot was fast-paced, intriguing, and thoroughly engaging. The setting was beautiful. I loved the depth of this story, and how the themes, and issues addressed evoked such strong and passionate emotions inside of me. I felt anger, frustration, anticipation, and excitement! I give Racing Savannah 4 Fast-Paced, Uplifting, Intense, and Tenderly Romantic Stars!

My Favorite Quotes:

"But you're kind of like a great book...you know, you pick up a book at the bookstore because is has a beautiful cover...but it's what's inside that pulls you in." (eARC, Loc. 762)


"When I looked out Jack's large bay window, I could see a million stars. My window is so small, I can only see a handful. If I had been born to a richer family, I'd have so many more stars to wish upon." (eARC, Loc. 2050)


"It doesn't matter where you dance. It's only who you're with." (eARC, Loc. 2564)


*To Read More Book Reviews, Visit A Bookish Escape at http://www.abookishescape.com
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
December 19, 2013

Miranda Kenneally has fast become one of my favorite YA contemporary authors and with Racing Savannah she proved once again what a talented author she is.

The characters in Racing Savannah were so different from those from her other books and it put me off a bit, but over time they began to grow on me. Savannah was a likeable character and I especially loved how hard she was willing to work in order to make a life for herself. She also had such a giving personality and I loved how kind-hearted she was, especially when it came to her pregnant step-mother. Savannah would actually take the work shift of her step-mother when the latter had difficulties and that is something I really admired in her. Savannah's love for horse-racing and her willingness to show others that as a woman she could do anything that men did as well were also endearing qualities. When it came to horse racing, Savannah did not always succeed, but she didn't also give up easily. Overall, she was simply a fantastic character. The character that I had the hardest time with was Jack. I was never sure of his intentions and in all honesty, some of the things he did were questionable and I certainly did not approve of them. Over the course of the book, we do watch him grow into a much more mature person, but I still don't think I loved him as much as I loved the other Kenneally boys.

The romance in Racing Savannah wasn't perfect and for almost half of the book, I wasn't convinced with it. I attribute that to my dislike for Jack's character for most of the book. It did have its sweet and swoon-worthy moments, but I can't say it made me want to be in Savannah's place. What I did love in Racing Savannah was the friendship. Miranda Kenneally is wonderful when it comes to depicting growing friendships and in this book, she did not disappoint at all. I especially had a soft spot for Rory. His relationship with Savannah made me smile so many times during the book. What I love the most about Miranda's books is that there are always messages about growing up and learning from your mistakes. Her books aren't just about the romance, but there's a strong moral that the reader can take after closing the book.

While Racing Savannah wasn't my favorite Miranda Kenneally book, it was still highly entertaining and a book that is worth the read. I don't hesitate recommending this author when it comes to YA contemporaries at all.
Profile Image for Henrietta.
207 reviews24 followers
December 5, 2013
Entertaining, uplifting and heartwarming, Racing Savannah brings us a story about riders and racehorses. Even though Jack may be young and rich, he is not aloof or haughty. I like that he is friendly, pleasant and approachable. He respects his staff and it’s really sweet to see him treat his animals with love, tender and care. I like his character growth and it’s wonderful to see him take a stand to honor what he values in the end. Savannah may have started out thinking she could not achieve much in her life but I like that she is always doing something to help and support her family. Even when she feels hurt about some of the things that have happened, she never lets others force her into doing things that are demeaning. As she learns to dream bigger and focus on making changes that are positive and transformational, I like that she’s still the same good-natured, sincere person that she’s always been. This is the first book that I read by Kenneally and after reading it, I’m curious about some of the characters being mentioned. I think I’ll have to read the story about Parker and Will. :)


Originally posted on LeisureReads.com

A copy of the book was provided by publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for bookaholic_kim.
408 reviews50 followers
November 29, 2015
This is the fourth story in the Hundred Oaks series. The story takes place more out of school setting. You will mostly read the characters in the stable or in the ranch.

Savannah and Jack are 2 high school students who have more responsibilities than other teens their age.

Jack is taking charge of his father’s ranch for a year. Handling everything like making big decisions and hiring new employees.

Savannah’s father is a new worker in Jack’s ranch so she needs to move in with her father and her girlfriend. Savannah is a promising jockey however she is just a girl. She needs to prove herself to everyone that she has the skill to be a jockey.

These 2 characters would be working together. Will Jack have the guts to date one of his employee? And will Savannah risk her father’s job to date Jack?

This is a book that centers on family pressure and responsibilities. The content and message fits teenagers and young adults readers and even though the story is predictable, it is still a recommended read especially to contemporary readers.
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,517 followers
August 20, 2015
Savannah wants something more. More than a working class job and a working class life, like those of her dad and his pregnant girlfriend. But Savannah also wants her new brother or sister to have a future. So all of her hard-earned income as an exercise rider goes toward helping out her family.

And Savannah’s own future seems stuck in a holding pattern, with the exception of Jack Goodwin. Jack is trouble—the privileged son of her father’s boss. Savannah knows she should stay away. But Jack is managing his father’s Kentucky horse ranch for the year: purchasing racehorses, approving exercise riders, and selecting jockeys.

When he taps Savannah to race his new horse, she’s definitely interested. In the job. And in Jack.

Racing Savannah is a YA romance with an intriguing setting, class conflict, and a less-than-perfect hero. I liked Jack. Most of the time.
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
June 13, 2013
My love for Miranda Kenneally’s work will never cease to be a high point in my life every time I pick up one of her novels. She always incorporates the right amount of athleticism, romance and friendship in her stories and gets the reader so wrapped up in her characters lives. She nailed it again with Racing Savannah, and while I did feel like the characterization of our MC wasn’t quite what I had hoped it to be, I loved this story and everything that it stood for.

We meet Savannah, who is a new addition to the Hundred Oaks gang. She just moved into town with her father and his newly pregnant girlfriend because her father got a job as a groomer at Cedar Hill Farms. The one rule that was enforced upon her as she began living at the farm was to stay out of the lives of the Goodwins (the owners of the farm) because they value their privacy. But once she meets Jack Goodwin, who is 17 years old and acting as owner of the farm in practice for his future, she can’t keep her eyes off of him. As always, we are given a pretty swoon worthy romance. For much of the novel I was frustrated with Jack and his inability to do what he wanted for fear of disappointing his father but the stolen moments that him and Savannah found were really great. Along with the budding romance we get to watch Savannah settle in and make some strong friendships along the way. I had worried that the camaraderie I have come to expect in these novels wouldn’t be present in this one because Savannah is new to town but Miranda made sure it was there in full force. Rest assured that you still get all the inside jokes and awkward moments that were present in the previous novels.

We also get glimpses of some of the characters that we have come to know and love. Will and Parker make a very special appearance and even Jordan, Sam and Ty take the stage here and there. I can’t stress enough how much I love seeing characters that I have loved in the previous books. Through Miranda included these scenes that they are in we have really gotten to watch them grow up and see all the different, sometimes unexpected, places that life has taken them.

I did find myself longing for more of a connection to Savannah through the first half of the novel. I’m not sure what was missing there, but something kept me from becoming completely lost in her story. But as the story goes on we come to see that she she is an incredibly headstrong girl. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to go after it. I loved watching her excel in a predominantly male sport and her love for horses had me actually feeling for the animals as well. This is quite the feat because I am not an animal person at all, but I have to admit that I loved Star (the horse that she begins to train and later jockey.) This horse had an attitude! I didn’t know much about horse raising/racing/grooming but I think I learned a lot from this novel. We learn about the good and the bad of the sport, there are some people out there who put the horses through some pretty cruel things just to earn a buck.

Another strong addition the a series that I have come to love so very much, Racing Savannah is a must read, just like everything else by Kenneally. I can definitely see animal lovers finding a special place in their heart for this one and of course people who love themselves a good romance will as well. As a last little note I have to say to Miranda that I came out of this really wanting Kelsey’s story. So uhh, just think about that please.

An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
Profile Image for Ambur.
802 reviews429 followers
November 29, 2013
I am seriously so smitten with this series...and with each book I grow to love it more and more! :D While I loved the three previous books, I definitely have to say that Racing Savannah is my favourite so far!! :D I absolutely LOVED IT!!!

Savannah was an AMAZING narrator!!! I loved that she was so true to herself, and that she knew that even though she was poor, she still had value! Too many heroines...and people in real life, too, don't value themselves enough, but Savannah definitely didn't have that problem, and I totally loved her for it. I was so proud of her throughout this book, and I absolutely loved that she stood up for herself the way that she did. Savannah is one of those characters that you just have to love, not only because she's an amazing person, but also because she's the kind of person we all should aspire to be more like. I really hope that we see more heroines in YA like Savannah because she's fantastic.

Also, I absolutely loved Savannah's relationship with the horses! And of course, I loved her relationship with Jack, too. ;D Sometimes the boy got on my nerve, but like I said, I was proud of Savannah, and in her interactions with Jack, she definitely made me proud...Jack did in the end, too. All in all though, I loved Jack...and if I were Savannah, I would've been smitten with the charismatic cowboy, too. ;D I honestly just loved the characters in Racing Savannah, they were great! I really enjoyed getting to know them, and I loved getting to see the siblings of a few of the previous characters growing up, it was pretty neat.

Racing Savannah actually takes place a few years after Things I Can't Forget, but we did still get to see our favourite characters from the previous books, they're just a little bit older...trust me though, you will LOVE that you get to see them! I was totally giddy and squeeing when I saw what the characters were all up to. ;D

Overall, I absolutely LOVED Racing Savannah! It's my favourite in the Hundred Oaks series so far, and I thought that Savannah was an amazing heroine! She was strong, funny, and just all-around awesome! I think she's one of the best YA heroines out there, and I loved reading her story. I can't wait for more from Miranda Kenneally because the Hundred Oaks series just keeps getting better and better!
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,726 reviews1,278 followers
January 1, 2014
(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
16-year-old Savannah loves horses, but she wants more from life than the minimum wage that her father gets. Instead Savannah wants to exercise horses for a good wage, and she wants to start at the stables where her father works.
Jack is managing the stables for his father, and isn’t sure about giving Savannah a go as a horse exerciser, unless she can ride Star – Jack’s well-bred but untameable horse.
Can Savannah tame Star? And can she tame Jack too?

This was an okay story, and I liked the romance, even if the love interest annoyed me a bit!

Savannah was a girl who wore her heart on her sleeve. She didn’t pretend to be someone she wasn’t, and she didn’t try to be what other people wanted her to be. She didn’t lie about the fact that she missed her mother, she didn’t pretend when it came to falling in love, even when Jack disappointed her, and she was always honest about what she wanted. I also admired how she tried to look after her father’s pregnant girlfriend, even when she didn’t particularly like her.

I liked the storyline in this book, and it was obvious that Savannah had a way with horses. Horses aren’t really my favourite animal, but I was still able to enjoy this book, and it was obvious that the author had researched the topic of horse racing before writing the book.
I liked the romance in this book, although at times I got really annoyed with Jack. One moment he was being lovely and sweet, and the next he wasn’t being nice at all. There were some really sweet and steamy moments in this book, which I really enjoyed, but there were also frustrating moments!
The ending of this was okay, although things did seem to turn around really quickly. I liked that Savannah got a happy ending, even if things weren’t tied up 100%.
Overall; okay story with a sweet romance, but the love interest was a bit annoying.
6.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
April 21, 2016
Here’s another contemporary book from Miranda’s lovely Hundred Oaks series that I couldn’t wait to read, only this time it’s a new character named Savannah who works at a horse ranch with her father. She trains and rides horses for exercise, and when she meets the handsome James she realizes that she could be in love with him. That proves to be problematic only because she’s from a working class and he’s from an upper-class family.

I wished Savannah had more backbone to be confident and not offended that her family didn’t make millions. But I guess that’s what you get when you’re a teenager. Learning how to be more confident and self-assured. I also didn’t get how she would judge people by what they looked like. She would say something negative about the character at first, then she would befriend them and start to make up her mind that they’re great people underneath. Glad that she finally realized it.

I liked how the themes in this book are straight to the point. It works well with the rich boy and “poor” girl. There’s always the story that I love when the two come together to overcome their family and obstacles because they’re in love. Even though this is purely a romance, I thought there would be more of a focus on her horses or maybe I was wishing there was more importance to it. I loved reading about that world and Savannah interacting with them.

Not only did Miranda bring in another set of characters that you know and love, but she also added some little notices of where the other cast of characters are and how they’re doing.

Overall, here’s another one to add to your contemporary collection that will sure race into your hearts as much as it did to mine!
Profile Image for Damaris (GoodChoiceReading).
611 reviews226 followers
September 23, 2013
Out of all of Miranda Kenneally books, Racing Savannah has to be my second favorite -- Catching Jordan being the first, of course.

I have to admit that the last two books Kenneally has released weren’t horrible, but did not blow me away either. Ever since Catching Jordan I have been waiting for her to release something just as good, if not better, but it just hasn’t happened. However, I never gave up hope. I love her writing style; I love the characters she creates, so I will always read what she puts out in the world.

I jumped into Racing Savannah a little hesitant because of this, though. I really, really wanted to love it. After I finished reading it I asked myself “What the heck was I worried about?” It rocked my socks!

One thing I love most about Miranda Kenneally’s characters is that they seem so real. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. There is always at least one character that I can say hey, I know someone like that. You can easily compare them to someone you know in real life. It is so easy to connect with them and put yourself in their shoes. No surprise that with Racing Savannah I quickly fell in love with all the characters. Another thing I love is that the author always gives readers an update on past characters. It brings back all the emotions I had while reading the other books in the series.

Racing Savannah felt a lot like Catching Jordan to me. It was different in so many ways, but the same feelings I got while reading Catching Jordan, I got reading Racing Savannah. I’ve been waiting for this book since forever. It had everything I hoped and more!

I need more! I also love the cover. It fits the story perfectly! A Good Choice for Reading. :)
Profile Image for Muse-ic ♬.
385 reviews111 followers
December 27, 2016
I think this one is marginally the best of the Hundred Oaks books I've read, except for Catching Jordan.

All of these books follow nearly the exact same formula. It's not terrible, but it's going to get old soon. It hasn't quite yet but I can feel it creeping up on me.
I love how each main character has their own different passion.
Jordan is a football player.
Parker is a softball player.
Kate is an artist.
Savannah is into horseback riding.
Annie is trying to run a marathon.
Maya is a musician.
It's cool!
And each one is trying to overcome some internal and physical struggle.
And then there is a boy. For each girl, there is a boy that happens to be "the one", their true loves.
I also like how there are so many cameos.
These books' protagonists are all tied together in different ways like, for example, if the protagonist of one book is dating the younger sibling of a main character from another book.

So this one!
I liked Savannah and her relationship with horses! It was adorable.
I also love how kind the Goodwins (the family who owns the farm that Savannah and her dad work on). You don't often hear of rich people highly respecting their staff.
And because of that, Jack was able to go after Savannah without being like ew, staff.
However, when Jack was like I can't create scandal by dating my staff. Let's be FWB I was like oh heeeeelllll no!
Thankfully, Savannah stood up for herself and said it for me! She demands respect and boy does she get it!
It was fun!
Star the horse is definitely one of my favorite characters. He has a fear of boys teehee ^_^
Profile Image for Bèbè ✦ RANT  ✦.
405 reviews133 followers
November 16, 2013
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Racing Savannah is a story about understanding that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, how much money you have – you have the right to go after whatever you want. You have the right to make your dreams come true…

Reading about Savannah and Jack and seeing how their friendship became something more was really entertaining. I don’t really like the thought of being country and have all that interest in horses but this really made me see the exciting world that lies beneath the races. Savannah is so sure about working full-time and making some money, she doesn’t know what to do when Jack tells her about college. And when opportunity of being a horse jockey comes along, she knows that her life would be changed forever.
There were times when Savannah acted pretty immature but I loved her relationship with her dad and how comfortable she was with him. Seeing her be so strong without having her mother was eye opening and made me really like the character.

If you are looking for fast paced and engaging story, Racing Savannah is definitely for you. Even though this is the fourth book in Hundred Oaks, it can be read as a stand alone and doesn’t have any cliffhangers. Kenneally’s writing style has definitely made me want to read more of her books.
Profile Image for Veronika.
356 reviews104 followers
February 11, 2015
I loved the premise, the whole setting, the horses... I was excited to start this book. And it was good but I would be lying if I said it lived up to my expectations.

The characters were cute I guess, but to be honest, I couldn't care less what was happening around them. THE STORY WAS MISSING! I felt like the book was about nothing in particular, except maybe about the main characters falling for each other. The problem was, Savannah and Jack had no chemistry IMO.

The book was enjoyable and fast-paced, the writing was great as always. I just wish the emotions were a bit deeper.

*** 3 stars ***

50 reviews4 followers
April 2, 2013
This kind of reminds me of the show Wildfire. But I'm still not sure if I'll read it or not though. It seemd like each book in the series is getting more and more reglious.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
December 17, 2013
Four stars: Another terrific addition to an outstanding YA series!

Savannah is worried about relocating right before her senior year. Still she understands that her father could not pass up a promising job opportunity. Money is tight and Savannah's dad now has another baby on the way. Savannah settles in at the wealthy estate and sets her sight on becoming a horse exerciser. The wealthy Goodwin's have a stable full of pure bred racehorses and her father is going to help with the training. On Savannah's first day on the grounds, she manages to catch a runaway horse. Star just so happens to belong to Jack, the future owner of the ranch. At seventeen, Jack is handsome, charming, a bit cocky and extremely wealthy. He is way out of Savannah's league, and in fact, she is not to mix with the Goodwin family. Sparks of attraction fly, and Savannah finds herself in way over her head. Can Savannah protect her heart from Jack?
What I Liked:
*I love that I can count on Miranda Kenneally's books to provide me with genuine and realistic characters. The characters in her stories become like old friends, and I appreciate that they have plenty of flaws along with all the qualities that makes me love them in the first place. With each new introduction, I know I am going to meet a new friend and watch them tackle important issues. I know by the end they will show growth and they will win my heart. That is indeed the case with Jack and Savannah in Racing Savannah. Jack and Savannah fit right in with the rest of the wonderful inhabitants of Hundred Oaks, and I thoroughly enjoyed their story. If you have yet to meet the folks from Hundred Oaks, I suggest you rectify that immediately and grab any one of the four books. The main characters along with the secondary characters always manage to make me smile with each and every book.
*This is the fourth book in Kenneally's Hundred Oaks Series, but it can certainly be picked up and read without having read any of the preceding books. All the books in this series are companion novels so they each have a complete story. However, what makes these books shine is that in each of the subsequent books, we get tiny glimpses of the characters from the other books. For instance, Racing Savannah occurs five years after Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker and Things I Can't Forget. Jordan, Sam, Will, Parker, Kate and Matt are five years down the road. There are brief snippets of how things turned out for them and even a wedding on the way. I loved learning how everyone fared and catching up with them. I also liked that some of the siblings of the earlier characters appear in this book. I absolutely adore companion novels because I love that you can pick them up and read them in any order and I always enjoy catching up with old friends from earlier books. Of course, you can read these any way you choose but it enriches the experience to read them as they were written so you can delight in the cameos of the characters in each subsequent book.
*In this book, Savannah is a girl who comes from a family that fights every day to make ends meet. College isn't even a possibility for her as she struggles to come up with the money for her ACT exam. Jack, on the other hand, comes from wealth and privilege and he has no idea what it is like to do without. This is certainly a case of opposites attract. The romance is forbidden as neither one of the fathers wants to see their child hook up with the other as they know that a wealthy boy has no business dating the hired help. Unfortunately, the heart wants what the heart wants. I liked watching the two fight to come together. The romance is a struggle, as Jack makes some questionable moves, but in the end it is sweet and satisfying. I especially liked that this time around the romance remained straight forward and there weren't hints of a love triangle like in the previous books.
*Horse racing is not something I know much about, and I appreciated that Kenneally was able to immerse me into the world of horse racing. She exposes the thrill of the race along with the ugliness and danger that accompanies this sport. I am in awe of Kenneally because when she makes up her mind to write a story on a particular topic, she does plenty of research before she digs in. I had no idea that she really knew nothing of football and horse racing before she wrote her books. Kenneally spends the time learning and researching and it certainly shows in her books. I am a big fan of her work!
And The Not So Much:
*The romance is a bit predictable. From the first moments, it was apparent that Jack and Savannah had chemistry. I liked that there was no second guessing, but I disliked that you knew how it was going to play out. Yes, there were some big obstacles and plenty of stumbling blocks, but you know from the first chapters what is in the works. Not a big deal because I enjoyed the ride and getting to the sweet finish line.
In the previous books, Kenneally has tackled some big and often troubling issues that teenagers are facing today such as stereotypes, sexuality, abortion, religion, etc. I was a bit disappointed that this time out there weren't any important topics. This is a straightforward read about a girl overcoming poverty and fighting for her dream. A sweet story with a strong message but it doesn't deal with anything tough.
*There were several story lines that were left undone and I wanted more answers. At the end of the book, there is an epilogue eight months down the road. I was hoping for a bit more resolution. I wanted to know what happened with Star? Did he ever win a race? What about Rory and his family and their farm?
*This book is best suited for older teenagers as it does have some sex scenes. Nothing too graphic, but there are discussions on sex and a scene that involves oral sex.
*This is a minor point, but I was sad that there wasn't more information on Kate and Matt. There is plenty of detail on Jordan, Sam, Parker and Will, but only a small mention of Kate and nothing of Matt. I wished that there was just a bit more as Kate ended up being one of my favorite characters.

Racing Savannah is another terrific addition to Miranda Kenneally's beloved Hundred Oaks Series. I love that it gives us a peek at the lives of the characters in the first books five down years down the road. This is a sweet and satisfying romance that follows a girl who is willing to follow her dreams and believe the impossible. If you are a fan of Kenneally's other books, I am certain you will find this to be a worthy addition to the collection. I am a big fan of Ms. Kenneally's books and I will continue to read her work.

Favorite Quotations:
"You are really pretty...." He drags a hand through his blond hair. "But you're kind of like a great book... you know, you pick up a book at the bookstore because it has a beautiful cover...but it's what's inside that pulls you in."
"As I am swaying in Jack's arms, there's only one road I want to take. The road with him standing at the end. And it's not an easy road. I decide to be bold, to take the curvy, pothole-filled path."
"We don't know what other people are thinking. We never will unless we ask."
"It doesn't matter where you dance. It's only who you're with."

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,254 followers
January 18, 2014
I loved the previous three books in this series and devoured this one in one night. Savannah has moved to a new town for her dad's new job. She lost her mom but her dad's new girlfriend is now expecting a baby. Money is tight so she wants to help out and when the opportunity to become a horse jockey pops up she is excited. The owner's son Jack, has been taking over duties and Savannah has caught his attention but both their parents prefer for them to stay on their own sides. Sneaking around isn't for Savannah. She wants it all but the pressure is on because her dad can't lose this job with a baby on the way.

The thing I love most about this series is how well I can relate to the characters. Even though I may not have ever been in their exact position with their exact passions, I love the way real life problems are brought up and dealt with. A girl wanting to do something she is passionate about but that others think only men should do. First love and new friendships, growing up and how that changes relationships with your family. Going after what you want despite all the difficulties in your way. Making all kinds of mistakes along the way but learning and changing.

Savannah wants to be a horse jockey even though her dad is afraid of her getting hurt and others think only men should do it. She wants to go to college even though she doesn't think she could ever have the money. Balancing family responsibilities along with her own needs. Some of these things used to stop her but I love how she changed and took charge. Miranda Kenneally's characters have a way of making me tear up with their struggles and then tear up some more when they overcome them. Even standing up to Jack and demanding to be more than a secret or a friend with benefits.

Jack is adorable. Every love interest in this series steals your heart. He is rich and Savannah thinks he will be stuck up but he is really kind and down to earth. He wants to do well and take over the farm and make his own way. I think his father at times had too much influence on him but being a teenager is about making mistakes and learning. Eventually he stands up for himself. There is plenty of great romance along the way. They try to stay away from each other but that doesn't last long. Lots of sweet stolen moments. And of course we still get to see the characters from the previous books and even a wedding! You don't have to read them all in order to follow but it makes it that much more fun. A great series to get started on!

"You are really pretty..." He drags a hand through his blond hair. "But you're kind of like a great book...you know, you pick up a book at the bookstore because it has a beautiful cover...but it's what's inside that pulls you in."
That might be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.

"Would you stop trying to distract me?"
"Talking about my underwear distracts you? If only I'd known that sooner."

"And now you're using it to sneak a girl into the house and into your room?"
"How do you know that's where I'm taking you?"
"Because if you aren't, I'll be really pissed."

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Karen.
1,406 reviews108 followers
December 5, 2013
I really enjoyed Racing Savannah. It takes on quite a few serious issues like class but it’s done in a thoughtful, almost breezy way.

Savannah is the most refreshing of YA girls. She lost her mom to cancer, has a new step mom and step-baby on the way, works in the stables of a horse farm with her family, living one paycheck away from being destitute, has to work as a maid serving her crush – the wealthy son of the horse farm owner – Jake, yet she takes it all in stride. Sure she’s worried about it all but she isn’t mired down in despair over it. She’s worried about bills and lack of health insurance, dating, college prep fees…just like all of us.

Savannah goes after what she wants. She’s seen her father struggle with money and wants a better future for herself and goes after it. When she falls for Jake – she goes for it. I just adored her.

The romance wasn’t quite as forbidden and swoony as I hoped. I liked him but Jack was….well not someone I could really swoon over. He has so much pressure put on him at a young age as he tries to prove to his father that he can take over the family horse racing business. He’s not supposed to be dating the help but he can’t seem to stop his attraction to Savannah. One of the things I liked about him is how much he respected her talent and abilities with the horses. But as a boyfriend? Not so much. He doesn’t stand up to his father and I get that – there wouldn’t be a book if he does the right thing immediately - but he treats Savannah in a way when they're alone one time that just crossed a line for me. I couldn’t forgive him as easily as she did. It’s nothing huge or dramatic – but shall we say – dick-ish? Yes, I shall say that. Jack is probably one of the more authentic YA boys I’ve read about though. He’s flawed, screws up, and tries to make it right but he's just not my cup of tea in the boy department.

The secondary characters were fantastic and I loved how the story allowed Savannah to have male friends that weren’t love triangle material. Everyone was just so real.

I read a few reviews that said the horse lingo aspect wasn’t authentic and I don’t know enough myself to judge that. All I know is that this book felt open and free to me. That probably doesn’t make sense but I loved when Savannah was cleaning the stalls, riding the horses, watching a race. I felt exhilarated with her – like I was outside in a big wide open field.

Final thoughts: Although the romance didn’t quite work for me it didn’t matter. I loved Savannah and her refreshingly honest attitude about life. She’s not overly brash but knows what she wants out of life – even as new possibilities open to her. Racing Savannah has wonderful friendships and a beautiful sense of family and honor.

Also posted on my blog: http://www.fwiwreviews.net/2013/12/re...
500 reviews2,413 followers
January 5, 2014

The first Hundred Oaks novel, Catching Jordan, was an absolute favorite of mine, while the following two (Stealing Parker and Things I Can't Forget) weren't as good but still made me laugh and cry. Racing Savannah wasn't a particularly bad book, but it just felt a bit flat. I expected to bawl my eyes out in the last part of the novel as I did with the first three, but there wasn't nearly enough angst--or any other emotion, in fact--to make me cry.

We're given a fairly generic setup: the rich boy and the poor girl. And of course, he's her boss. Even though it seems like nothing interesting will come out of reading Racing Savannah, Miranda Kenneally does know how to entertain her readers. There was humor mixed in, mostly coming from Savannah's friends, Rory and Vanessa. They were a cute pair and I adored their support towards whatever Savannah wanted, as well as their banters.

As for the actual romance, I liked Savannah and Jack well enough. There were some times where I questioned their feelings for each other, but it was overall an alright relationship. They didn't really share the bond that the other characters in the previous books had, which was very disappointing. It felt a little forced, as though they were dating/flirting for the sake of it, not because they really liked each other. In other words, there wasn't enough development in their relationship. It would've been fine with me if, for example, they were best friends for a long time like Jordan and Henry. I wished they'd gotten to know each other more, instead of all the casual flirting here and there.

Now, my favorite part about Savannah's character was her love for horses. She deeply cared about them, as if they were humans rather than just animals used to earn money. She wouldn't let anyone hurt them and openly cared for them. She was very passionate about her job as well. Despite the danger of being physically hurt (permanently and not), she would stop at nothing to reach her goals.

Overall, I did enjoy some parts of the novel but not as much as I did the previous books. Some scenes felt off and stiff, but the side characters definitely made up for it. If you liked the first three books in the series, this one is still worth a shot.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
November 27, 2013
Initial Thoughts:I'm so glad that I discovered Miranda Kenneally's young adult series. This author manages to write realistic stories about teenagers. I love how her characters (especially the girls) are so strong and know what they want. Nicely done.

The Review:Racing Savannah was a pleasant surprise for me. I had read Catching Jordan earlier this year and I was eager to try out another book by Ms. Kenneally. I’ll admit that I know nothing about horses and horseracing yet I still enjoyed this book.

I think that what I liked best about this book was the main character, Savannah Barrow. Savannah is a spunky 17 year old high school senior who is quite gifted when dealing with purebred horses. Savannah has not had an easy life. Her mother died of breast cancer and her father’s current girlfriend is pregnant. Money is scarce and Savannah desperately wants a job at the Cedar Hills farm where her father works and where she and her family live.

The story is told from Savannah’s point of view. Her character feels so authentic. Savannah is strong and caring, and she puts the financial welfare of her family first. Savannah also knows what she wants, even though it may not be possible. I loved how she was able to “tame” a crotchety purebred horse and how she determined the source of that horse’s discomfort.

Savannah’s love interest Jack Goodwin came across as a real player at first. Jack’s family owned the farm but his father put him in charge so he could learn the business. Jack is good looking and his father warns him about consorting with staff. Needless to say, there is an attraction between Savannah and Jack. At first Jack wants Savannah to be with him in secret. I loved how Savannah rejected that idea outright. This is a girl who is strong and who doesn’t put up with crap.

The secondary characters were also interesting. I loved the camaraderie between Savannah, Rory and Vanessa. Rory was a hoot and he made me laugh especially when he told Savannah that he couldn’t possibly date her because she was too short.

Racing Savannah was a fun peek into the world of purebred horse racing. Even though I’m not a horse racing fan, I was able to enjoy this book. I’ll have to make sure that I find the other books in this series and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a review copy of this book.

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.
Profile Image for Molli Moran.
Author 7 books221 followers
November 25, 2013
Today I'm hosting a tour stop + giveaway on my blog for RACING SAVANNAH!

Despite having a hit-or-miss relationship with Miranda Kenneally’s books, I still get excited about each new one from her. And the truth is, she’s on my auto-buy list: I own all her books on my Nook and want to own them in paperback at some point. Miranda writes these amazing genuine, real characters, like Jordan, or Parker, or even Kate. Her characters get under your skin, even as you feel like you know them.

Now I can add Racing Savannah to the list of another book I loved from Miranda Keneally. With great, natural pacing that never felt off-putting or jolted me out of the story, I fell hard for leads Savannah Barrows and Jack Goodwin. Savannah had a realistic inner voice – Miranda knows how to write teens that THINK and sound and ACT like teens should. And Jack, while he made some bad choices at times (just like Savannah did) was pretty darn swoon-worthy. Savannah and Jack had great chemistry, but more than that, they had a real connection, and I loved watching them come together.

Kenneally nails characters and their interactions, and obviously that’s her strong suit, but she’s a good storyteller. The tension in Racing Savannah was definitely there from the beginning, and it only increased as the story spun to a close. I always go into a Kenneally book expecting a few things: swoony romance, good characters, and strong friendships. All those were present in Racing Savannah, and more! I love the friendships between Savannah and Rory, Savannah and Vanessa, and so forth.

At first it was odd following a “the next generation” type story, but ultimately I loved how Kenneally makes references to her other characters. We see glimpses of Jordan, Henry, Will, etc. We see where their lives have gone, and they’re clearly still relevant, even though the Hundred Oaks series is moving forward. I for one can’t wait to see where it goes next!

Pros and Cons!

Pros: A great romance, and an emphasis on friendship mix with a fantastic story. HORSES!

Cons: I didn’t really connect with the characters in terms of feels, but the story was super cute at times, and enjoyable.
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