Meet Savannah from Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks)

Please welcome Savannah Barrow to the virtual offices this morning!

[Savannah] Thanks so much for having me here today! I don’t much care for being inside and working on a computer, so let’s get to it!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Savannah] Short, redheaded, courageous, bold, and silly.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share a typical day in the life of Savannah?

[Savannah] Wake up at 4:30 am, go to work at 5:00am – exercising Thoroughbreds, finish my homework while scarfing down cereal for breakfast, go to school (sooo not my thing), come home to work with the horses some more. And hopefully sneak some kissing in there somewhere!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words come to mind when you think of Jack?

[Savannah] Determined, honorable, sweet.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Savannah] How he acts so differently at school vs. with his family. When he’s around his mom and dad, he’s totally proper and gentlemanly. At school, he flirts, makes jokes, and laughs all the time.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Savannah] There was a horse I loved named Moonshadow. If I could go back in time, I would’ve fought harder to find a way to make her my own horse.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Savannah] A lollipop!

[Manga Maniac Café] How do you relax after a hard day working horses?

[Savannah] I love hanging out with my new friends Rory and Vanessa. Also, KISSING.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Savannah] Win the Kentucky Derby.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

About the book:

Racing Savannah

By Miranda Kenneally

Sourcebooks Fire

December 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8476-2

Trade Paper/$9.99 

Ages 13+

They’re from two different worlds.

Savannah has been around horses her entire life.  Right before her senior year, her father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms, a farm that trains horses for the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. 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. 

After all, she caught singlehandedly caught the farm’s most expensive new colt when it ran away from three grown men.   She also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son.  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 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.

About the Author From gender roles, to parental expectations, to the influence of faith and the classic teenage search for identity, Miranda Kenneally isn’t afraid to take on all the hot-button issues of modern teen life. She is the author of Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker and Things I Can’t Forget, and is the co-creator of the website DearTeenMe.com. Miranda also writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest.You can visit her at www.mirandakenneally.com or @mirandakennealy.

Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

 

Racing Savannah

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is the second novel of Miranda Kenneally’s that I’ve read.  Catching Jordan didn’t really work for me because I couldn’t relate to Jordan.  Racing Savannah, on the other hand, worked on almost every level.  I loved Savannah, though, like Jack, I was little disappointed with her life choices- at first.  As Savannah is allowed to chase after her dreams, they begin to evolve and grow, and she quickly realizes that, despite her humble background, there isn’t a race that she can’t win.  By the end of the book, I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.  This is a satisfying fairy tale, and it all revolves around one of the things I love best; horses.

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Novella Review: Down the Aisle by Christine Bell

 

Down the Aisle (A Dare Me Novella) (Entangled Brazen)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I don’t get to read many Brazen titles because my reading schedule is jam-packed with releases from Entangled’s other lines. When I saw that Down the Aisle dealt with fertility issues, I immediately wanted to read it.  I haven’t read many titles dealing with this issue, so I was curious to see how Christine Bell handled Lacey’s disappointment that she can’t get pregnant.

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Review: Sidelined by Kendra C Highley

Sidelined (Entangled Teen)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she’s daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can’t get better.

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Interview with Trish Doller, Author of Where the Stars Still Shine

Please welcome Trish Doller to the virtual offices this morning!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Trish Doller] I write books for young adults. Or whoever wants to read them, really. Maybe you. I like dogs, Doctor Who, and drink too much caffeine.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the Where the Stars Still Shine?

[Trish Doller] It started with a visit to Tarpon Springs–the real life setting for the book–which has a very conspicuous Greek American population. As I walked through the sponge docks area among gift shops, Greek restaurants, and people who were speaking the language as if they’d just arrived from Greece, I wondered what it would feel like to be dropped in the middle of Tarpon Springs. When I started thinking about the character I wanted to drop into this little pocket of Greek culture, Callie came to life.

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Review: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins and Giveaway!

 

 

Title:  Temptation

Author: Karen Ann Hopkins

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Your heart misleads you.
That’s what my friends and family say.  
But I love Noah. 
And he loves me.  
We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms.
It should be  
ROSE & NOAH
forever, easy. 
But it won’t be. 
Because he’s Amish. 
And I’m not.


Review:

I am a fan of forbidden love stories, especially if the major obstacle is cultural.  When I saw the tour invite for Temptation and Belonging, I quickly signed up.  I wondered how Rose and Noah would find their HEA when so many road blocks stand in their way. Their families are against their relationship, so much so that Noah’s parents are willing to send him away to live with relatives in Pennsylvania.  They want  to split them up and force him to find a more suitable wife among his own kind.  I was wondering if Rose would give up her privileged life to be with Noah.  I know that I would have a hard time letting go of my electronics and gadgets, so I hope the zombie apocalypse is a long time in coming (at least until my Kindle is solar powered).

I am not sure how I feel about Temptation.  It’s a compelling YA romance, but I thought the resolution was over simplified.  Rose and her family have just moved from Cincinnati to a more rural part of Ohio, and after meeting Noah, she is smitten.  So is he.  Neither has met anyone like the other, and neither can stop themselves from thinking about the other.  Noah has never met a girl as wild and outspoken as Rose, and she fascinates him, unlike the Amish girls he’s expected to pick a bride from.  Rose finds Noah gorgeous, and she’s impressed by his maturity. 

Noah is a guy who knows exactly what he wants out of life; a loving wife, a large family, and his own land to work.  He loves his way of life and can’t imagine living any other way.  After he and Rose fall for each other, he’s determined to convince her to convert.  Though I hate to admit it, his reasons for her converting as opposed to him made a whole lot of sense.  His community would help them build a house, his parents would give him some land, and he would continue to work for the family business.  Those opportunities just would not be there if he left the Amish community.

Now, while I understood Noah’s thinking, my upbringing didn’t allow me to agree with it.  Rose would be giving up her dream of becoming a vet in order to marry Noah and start a family, far sooner than she ever imagined she would.  She would be joining a society where she would have little to no freedoms, and she would be giving up everything she owned.  I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I honestly don’t know many people who could.  Noah’s parents caution him, fearing that Rose will grow to resent him for giving up her former life.  I think he would have done himself, and Rose, a favor to have listened to them.

I enjoyed the alternating points of view, especially Noah’s.  The book was impossible to put down after the buggy accident, which was raw and emotional.  The end also left me conflicted. Rose still thinks she can get Noah to change for her, which made me think that her attempts to become Amish weren’t really sincere. Overall, this is an engaging story and I want to read the next book in the series.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Karen Ann Hopkins

Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Interview with Debbie Levy, Author of Imperfect Spiral

Please give a warm welcome to Debbie Levy this morning. Debbie is visiting the virtual offices to celebrate the release of Imperfect Spiral.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Debbie Levy] Mom, spouse, dog- and cat-friend. Reader, writer, nature-lover. Once upon a time: Newspaper editor. Lawyer. Don’t hold that against me.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Imperfect Spiral?

[Debbie Levy] In Imperfect Spiral, Danielle Snyder’s summer job babysitting five-year-old Humphrey Danker turns tragic when, as they walk home from the park, Humphrey runs into traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented immigrant—a politically charged immigration debate. Danielle’s thoughts are on Humphrey—her funny, fun, peculiar “Humpty” and the two months they spent together—but all around her, friends and strangers seem focused on everything and everyone else.

So the novel is about a tragedy, a community’s search for someone or something to blame, and Danielle’s growing realization that sometimes the most, and least, you can do is try to stop one bad thing from leading to another. And it’s equally the story of a deep connection between two slightly oddball souls—Danielle and Humphrey—that transcends age and, in some ways, even death.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Debbie Levy] My process is not tidy or organized—although I, personally, am both of those things, really I am—so I could honestly answer this by saying:

Who knows.

But I can also try to impose structure on the disorder that characterizes the inception of most of my projects. So I can say that the origins of Imperfect Spiral were my musings about a character, a teenage girl who feels that she is terribly peculiar. She’s not actually terribly peculiar but she may be a little bit peculiar. In a good way, in my opinion, but not hers.

There’s more. I thought it would be helpful for my character—Danielle—to come to see herself reflected in the eyes of someone else, but not a love-interest someone else, so I came up with a little boy. A great little boy, who is also a little bit peculiar. Who thinks Danielle is absolutely the greatest. And who can make it clear to the reader how great she is. I named that boy Humphrey.

And then. . . . Well, then, Humphrey died. At my hands, obviously.

And this is where the idea-making process gets even more difficult to explain. Once my two main characters came into being, they took on lives of their own. Once I had Danielle and Humphrey in play, the situation presented itself: that of something terrible happening to Humphrey, and happening on Danielle’s watch, when she was babysitting him. This is what presented itself, sad as the idea was.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Danielle?

[Debbie Levy] Work. In. Progress.

[Manga Maniac Café] Name one thing Danielle is never without.

[Debbie Levy] Her fare card for the Washington, D.C. area subway and bus system. Because you never know when you might want to go somewhere.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Debbie Levy] Books, woods, and water. Books, because they remind me that, hard as it is to write something that really touches people, it is possible. Woods and water, because walking in the woods, paddling in, or even just looking at, rivers and other bodies of water clears my head, helps me create, and also helps me deal when the creating is not going well.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Debbie Levy] An idea. And then two more.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was your biggest distraction while working on Imperfect Spiral?

[Debbie Levy] I was putting together presentations for my 2010 book, The Year of Goodbyes, which involved revisiting some very emotional territory. That book is about my mother’s last year as a child living in Nazi Germany in 1938, and what happened to her friends and family. I have a lot of photographs and other documentary material that I use to illustrate those presentations, and you know a picture is worth a thousand words (a cliché is a cliché because it’s true)—so this was all very intense.

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Debbie Levy] The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer. Before that, Stoner, by John Williams. It’s a quiet classic that I’d never heard of before this year, and I can’t piece together how I heard of it this year—but anyway, it is so intelligent, so clear, so non-gimmicky. Fiction for grown-ups. Before that, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Debbie Levy] Seriously, just one book?

Okay. All-of-a-Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Debbie Levy] I love to kayak, enjoying birds and other wildlife and also fishing from the kayak. I know, not so enjoyable for the fish, but we are not a vegetarian family and I only take the fish that I’m going to fillet and cook. I also love to read. (Surprise!) And to swim.

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Debbie Levy] Email me at debbie@debbielevybooks.com. Send me a Tweet at @debbielevybooks. Friend or message me on Facebook.

Or skywrite me a message. I’m always looking up.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

Purchase Link:

About the book:

Danielle Snyder’s summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she’s watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, outsiders use the accident to further a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn Humphrey, the sweet kid she had a surprisingly strong friendship with, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her. Through a new relationship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, she begins to work through her grief, but as details of the accident emerge, much is not as it seems. It’s time for Danielle to face reality, but when the truth brings so much pain, can she find a way to do right by Humphrey’s memory and forgive herself for his death?

Interview with Anna Cruise, Author of If I Fall

 

Please give a warm welcome to Anna Cruise! She’s visiting the virtual offices to share some info about her latest release IF I FALL.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Anna Cruise]  Writer of YA and NA. Eater of chocolate. Drinker of coffee. Driver of car filled with kids. In need of a vacation.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about If I Fall?

[Anna Cruise]  If I Fall is the story of Meg Calloway, a 15 year old girl in San Diego who feels like her entire life is imploding. Her parents have divorced, her house is being sold and her mom is on her way to rehab. She feels lost and alone. To combat those two things, she latches on to a boy. The absolute wrong kind of boy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Anna Cruise]  I think we all go through some incredibly rough patches growing up, periods of time where we make really dumb choices, choices we end up regretting. I know I did. So even though my circumstances were much different than Meg’s, I would say that the concept and characters were, in a very general way, inspired by my own experiences in high school.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Meg?

[Anna Cruise]  At the beginning of the book? Sad. Hopeless. Desperate. At the end? Well, you’ll have to read to find out… :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Aidan had a theme song, what would it be?

[Anna Cruise]  Highway to Hell.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Meg is never without.

[Anna Cruise]  Her phone. Until it’s taken away, of course.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Meg’s purse?

[Anna Cruise]  Out of all the questions, this is the hardest one to answer because I don’t carry a purse! I have a small backpack with my wallet, my lipstick and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Literally, that’s it. I think I’m the worst mother ever since I never seem to have band-aids or snacks when my kids need them. So thinking of what Meg wouldn’t have in her purse is hard! But, here goes. A pocket Bible. A condom. And birth control pills.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Meg’s greatest regret?

[Anna Cruise]   I don’t think she has many regrets at the beginning of the book. She’s too broken, too angry. But toward the end? That’s easy – how she chose to cope with her parents’ divorce.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Anna Cruise]  Life. Honestly, everything I look at, everything I hear, seems to spawn a story idea. A snippet of a news story, an overheard conversation, a person standing alone on a sidewalk. The wheels are always turning. Always.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Anna Cruise]  Caffeine. Chocolate. And the most important thing – an idea.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off? Um…every one?

[Anna Cruise]  I know people can be critical of books but, for me, I find something to marvel at in every single one. Whether it’s a character or a particular setting or an unexpected twist in the plot, there is always something that makes me stop and go, “Wow. That is freaking awesome.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Anna Cruise]  Green Eggs and Ham. I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. I devoured books – would come home with stacks and stacks from the library, would use my allowance to go buy the latest Sweet Valley High installment at the bookstore. Books have always been a part of my life. Always.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Anna Cruise]   Travel. Even if it means just heading someplace new nearby. I love adventure, love finding new things, love just heading out and letting the road take me some place new.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Anna Cruise]  My front door is ALWAYS open. Literally. Like, it doesn’t have a lock. But, for those who don’t live nearby, they can find me on Facebook, Twitter or shoot me an email. I love hearing from readers and authors!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase If I Fall by clicking the link below

About the book

Meg Calloway is at the edge.

Reeling from her parents’ sudden divorce, fifteen-year old Meg has never felt more alone. Her father is about to marry a woman she can’t stand and her mother’s only companion is an endless supply of alcohol. When Aidan Westwood, an older boy at school, shows interest in her, she grabs on and doesn’t let go, thinking he’s exactly what she needs to help stem her loneliness and despair. She quickly learns that Aidan lives a darker, more dangerous life than she does and the more isolated she feels from her family, the more willing she is to step into Aidan’s world.

As Meg drifts further from her friends, she tries to find comfort with a boy who is opening her eyes up to new things, none of them good. Will she listen to those around her who are warning her that she’s headed down a path of self-destruction?

Or will she fall too far…too fast…too deep?

About the author

Anna Cruise has been writing and drooling over boys since middle school. Lots of years have passed but some things never change…

IT WAS YOU is her debut NA novel and IF I FALL her debut YA novel. Additional titles releasing in 2013 include two additional NA titles (including Tana’s story from IT WAS YOU).

Anna loves to hear from readers and authors. Email her at authorannacruise@gmail.com. You can also like her Facebook page, find her on Twitter @AnnaCruiseBooks or friend her on Goodreads.