Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks Series #4)

Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks Series #4)

by Miranda Kenneally


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402284762
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 12/03/2013
Series: Hundred Oaks Series , #4
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 130,131
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Growing up in Tennessee, MIRANDA KENNEALLY dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit

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Racing Savannah


Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Miranda Kenneally
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-8477-9


Roots and Beginnings

Welcome to Cedar Hill Farms of Franklin, Tennessee. Est. 1854. John C. Goodwin III, Owner.

Welcome to Hell would be a more appropriate sign, considering Dad just uprooted me from West Virginia and hauled me to Tennessee two days before senior year.

My father couldn't give up this opportunity to work as head groom at a fancy farm that trains horses for the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup, and I didn't want to be the evil daughter who stamped her foot and refused to come.

It doesn't totally matter, because home is where my dad is. But it still sucks that I had to leave my part-time job exercising horses. It would've become a full-time position when I graduated from high school, and now I have to start all over again.

I punch the code into the alarm box, the heavenly white gates swing open, and I steel myself for the half-mile trek to Hillcrest, the staff quarters. My claustrophobic new home. Hillcrest is attached to the gargantuan white manor house, where a smattering of comfy rocking chairs dot the wraparound porch, waiting for someone to sit down.

Back in West Virginia, it was just me and Dad and She Who Must Not Be Named living in our trailer. Now we're sharing quarters with six other staff members and their kids. To escape, I took a walk to downtown Franklin this morning, but I'm cash poor at the moment so there wasn't much to do besides loiter, and the last thing I need before school starts is to gain a reputation as that weird girl who loiters.

So here I am, back in hell, gathering my courage to go talk to the lead trainer about getting some work as an exercise rider so I can cease being cash poor. I used to exercise racehorses at the track and casino in Charles Town. But that was at a totally different level — the horses I rode there were like driving a Ford and here they are like Ferraris. Hell, the Queen of England stables her horses thirty minutes away.

What if the trainer thinks I'm unqualified? Or a hack? I've been riding since I was four, but still. Just go talk to him, Savannah! The worst he can say is no ... and then I can go back to loitering. I inhale then let out the deep breath I've been holding and take in the scent of cornbread, fresh laundry, dirt, cedar trees, and of course, horseshit.

I can do this.

I charge down the driveway and suddenly a wailing, high-pitched alarm goes off. My first thought is: Tornado! But the skies are as blue as a robin's egg. Seconds later I see a brown and white blur streaking across the grass. A racer. Two guys on ponies are chasing it. He must have escaped!

I sprint toward the horse as he zigzags my way. The horse seems curious. But not curious enough to slow down. He zips past me as I yell "Stop!" and take off after him. The horse circles back around. I hold a hand up. "Whoa, there."

The horse slows to a jog, studying me, his expression both wary and nosy. Then he charges me. I reach out and snatch his bridle. With a firm grip, I thrust him away from me, showing him who's boss. That's when I discover he's wearing a saddle.

"Did you throw your rider?" Suddenly he rears up and kicks his feet. When he returns to all fours, I get up in his face again. "Whoa!" He cowers, bowing his head.

One time a horseman told me I have a way with horses. Dad told me not to listen when men say things like that because they're just trying to get into my pants. But I do have a way with horses. Dad, however, does not have a way with words.

I confirm the horse is a boy then gently slap his neck, checking the engraving on his bridle. Tennessee Star is his name.

"You sure are fast," I tell the young horse, petting his nose. He's beautiful — a light brown chestnut with white markings. A Ferrari. I never rode such a well-made colt in Charles Town.

Then, from the fields beyond the manor house, a guy comes riding up on a horse. I don't take my eyes off that rider, even when Tennessee Star tries to yank away.

I haven't met the owner's son yet, but I've seen him riding around like he's king of the place. Which is technically his title, I guess. When we arrived two days ago, Mr. Goodwin's chief of staff told me the Goodwin family is fiercely private and that non-housekeeping staff aren't allowed inside the manor. We were instructed to keep our distance from the Goodwins. Since I don't want Dad to get fired on day three, I haven't spoken to the boy.

Still, he's beautiful. I should start a magazine called GQCowboy, and he could be the cover model every month. Wavy hair the color of straw curls out from under his cowboy hat. His snowy white button-down shirt is spotless and pressed, tucked into his jeans, the arms rolled up to his elbows. The three coonhounds that always seem to follow him around bound up and sniff my jeans.

Last night a giggling maid told me his name: Jack Goodwin. And he's seventeen, like me. He attends Hundred Oaks High, the school I'm starting on Monday.

"Star!" Jack says, dismounting fluidly. "You're too smart, you know that?" he scolds the horse, then grabs the bridle as I let go. Two farmhands jog up on ponies and Jack wordlessly hands Star off to one of them, slapping the horse's flank before they lead him away.

"If I didn't love that horse so much, I'd send him to drag a tourist carriage in New York City," Jack says in a deep Tennessee drawl. "That'd teach him not to buck his rider and run off."

Once he confirms he has a good grasp on his stallion's reins, Jack turns to me. His blue eyes widen and a bright smile spreads across his face.

"Thanks for catching Star. That was insane how you cornered him with no corner. I've never seen anything like it."

"No problem."

"So what can I do you for?" He tips his cowboy hat in an exaggerated manner and smiles again, revealing perfectly straight white teeth. Behind closed lips, I run my tongue over my slightly crooked front ones. "You're a bit late for the tour. They're at eight a.m. and it's nearly noon now."

He thinks I'm here for the tour?

"No, no," I say, starting to explain, but then he unleashes his megawatt smile. It makes my throat close up and my heart pounds even harder. This guy is hot, but I don't like boys who get whatever they want without trying. I worked damned hard to get my part-time exercise rider job back in Charles Town. Just like I'll work damned hard to get a position here.

"Soo ..." Jack says, stroking the stallion's mane. "Do you want a private tour? You know, to say thanks for catching my horse?" A private tour? Like, me and Jack alone? Dad would kill me for breaking the Goodwins' privacy rules. Besides, hanging around people like Jack is not my thing.

"I'm not here for a tour. I —"

"I didn't know Mom was hosting guests this weekend," Jack says. "I hope she's not having another fashion show for charity, because I barely survived the last one."

"We haven't met."

He thrusts a hand out, grinning. "I know. I'd have remembered you. I'm Jack Goodwin."

I shake his hand quickly. "Savannah." What a player. "I gotta get up to the house."

I stalk off and Jack hustles after me. "Wait! I'll escort you."

He'll escort me? How primitive.

The horse makes clickety-clack sounds on the pavement. It's a young stallion — probably no older than five — and he's sprinkled with white and black, like Rocky Road. I can't resist touching his nose. "Who's this?"

"This is my bro, Wrigley."

"Your bro?"

"My sister tells me I'm an idiot around girls."

That's the biggest bunch of bull I've ever heard. I can sense the cocky confidence radiating off his tanned skin.

"So why did Star run away?" I ask.

"Two baby raccoons climbed a fence at the track. One of the hands managed to chase them away, but not before a bunch of the colts and fillies started screaming. I think that's why Star took off."

"Makes sense." Anything will scare horses when they're young. Especially if they're Thoroughbreds. Dad says they're crazy because of inbreeding. Thoroughbred bloodlines are worse than the royal families of Europe.

When we reach the top of the hill, the racetracks and barns come into full view.

"Here we are," Jack says, glancing over at me.

Exercise boys are riding around both practice tracks. A field of haystacks sits beyond the tracks, and a garden full of sunflowers and vegetables lies between the tracks and the manor house. The biggest of the six barns is larger than a Walmart. The barn Dad worked at in West Virginia is a shack by comparison.

Wrigley starts sniffing my hair and nuzzles his face against mine.

"Wow," Jack says. "Wrigley doesn't like anybody but me. My father hasn't raced him yet 'cause he's too stubborn and mean."

"Maybe he's just lazy and doesn't want to race." I kiss the horse's muzzle. "And being stubborn is his way of getting out of it."


"Your dad lets you keep Wrigley even if he can't race?" Caring for a Thoroughbred for one year costs more than a new pickup truck.

Jack pats the horse's neck. "I love him — and I believe we can train him. You're really good with horses. Does your dad own a farm?"

I laugh again. "Me? Own a farm?" Wrigley pushes against me and nickers. He's saying hello. "Hello," I say back.

"Wrigley," Jack says, securing the lead around his hand. "It's not nice to be so forward."

I kiss the horse again. "You're such a pretty boy."

"Thank you," Jack says, grinning.

"I was talking to the horse."

"I don't believe you. My bro Wrigley is nothing compared to me. Right, bro?" He slaps Wrigley's side.

"Is Jack always such an ass?" I ask the horse. I can't believe I said that. I feel my face turning the color of strawberry ice cream, but Jack just laughs and keeps on beaming. I better watch my mouth before the Goodwins boot me right on out of here.

I reach into my back pocket to grab a sucker — an orange one. You know how some people take antianxiety meds? Well, I eat candy. I rip off the crinkly wrapper and stick the sucker in my mouth. Instant relief.

I peek up at Jack's blue eyes. He's nicer than I figured he'd be. And he has a sense of humor too.

"Who are you?" Jack asks with this shit-eating grin on his face. "Did you come with Senator Ralston to meet with my father today? Are you related to him?"

Me? Related to a senator? I look down at my holey jeans, boots, and tight black T-shirt. I'm about to fess up that I've just moved into the Hillcrest dungeons and therefore he and I can never speak because his family values their privacy when a man storms out of the house and up the hill to us.

"Jack!" The man is dressed exactly like him — pressed shirt, dark jeans, and cowboy boots. "Abby Winchester has called the house eight times since breakfast looking for you and I'm about to smash the phone against the wall."

Eight times? Stalk-er, I sing in my head.

Jack keeps a firm hand on Wrigley's lead and lets out a long breath. "Hi, Dad."

Mr. Goodwin goes on, "Why aren't you answering your cell —" He stops. Takes one look at my red hair, freckled skin, and short, jockey-sized body, and then his eyes grow wide. "Are you Danny Barrow's kid?"

"Yes. Savannah Barrow."

Jack furrows his eyebrows. "You're the new groom's daughter?"

Mr. Goodwin drags a hand through his hair. "Can I see you in my office, son?"

"Yes, sir. Savannah, can I catch up with you later? Maybe we could —"

"Jack. Now," Mr. Goodwin says.

Jack ties Wrigley to a hitching post, his voice changing from casual to super serious. "Nice to meet you, Savannah. If you'll excuse me." Then he disappears inside the house with his father and the three hounds at his ankles.

I gently pat Wrigley's muzzle, as I stare up at the white manor house.

Now that Jack knows who I really am, the groom's daughter, he doesn't even give me a second glance.



The Tryout

On my way to Hillcrest to retrieve my riding gear, I skirt the stone wall that doubles as a fence bordering the property. Mom once told me, "They call them slave walls." It had embarrassed me to hear Mom say something so un-PC, but when I confronted her, she said, "We can ignore history or we can learn from it. I choose to learn from it."

What I wouldn't give to hear her voice now.

She died when I was eleven after having been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before. It was stage four by the time the doctors caught it, but Mom fought hard. We didn't have insurance, so we couldn't afford the medical bills that skyrocketed to over $200K. Then Mom was suddenly buried ... and Dad was buried under a mountain of debt. And without her, my whole world fell apart.

Dad worked as a groom for a wealthy horseman who was more interested in gambling than the racehorses themselves. Mr. Cates didn't give a crap that his employees didn't have insurance, and he worked his horses into the ground, racing them when they were injured with stress fractures or worse.

Shortly after my mother died, Dad said he needed my help with a sad mare named Moonshadow, who had been lethargic ever since her first foal had been weaned. Mr. Cates didn't care that the horse was sad, but I did. I told my dad I would help her feel better again.

I rubbed the mare's nose and searched her eyes. "I know how it feels to lose somebody too."

I started riding Moonshadow nearly every day, and she taught me just how great at riding I am. She made me feel proud of myself. As soon as I got to know her, I told her all my secrets.

The first one?

"I love my dad, but I'm never gonna end up working for minimum wage like him. I want more."

* * *

Back in Charles Town, Dad spent 99 percent of his time in the barns, and coming to Tennessee hasn't changed that habit one bit. So I figure he must be in Greenbriar, where the Goodwins' best horses live. It's the fanciest barn I've ever seen; it has a digital contraption that keeps flies and mosquitoes at bay and classical music plays 24/7. I don't even have an iPod, for crying out loud.

After grabbing my riding gear from Hillcrest, I tramp through mud on my way to Greenbriar, passing by two of the smaller barns. The Goodwins own about forty horses, but they have enough barn space to house over 1,200. Apparently they make a lot of their money renting stalls (studio apartments for horses) to Thoroughbred owners who use the Goodwin practice tracks to get ready for the real races on weekends. Mr. Goodwin keeps plenty of people on staff — veterinarians, farriers (blacksmiths) to fix horseshoes, farmers to work the hay, tons of grooms and exercise riders, and stall managers.

I arrive in front of Greenbriar to find Dad and a bunch of guys sitting in lawn chairs.

"What a bunch of lazy asses."

Dad jumps to his feet as the other guys laugh at me. "It's break time." He draws me into his arms for a hug. I bury my nose in his shirt, inhaling his earthy smell of grass and leather and hay. My dad's only thirty-six, and his height makes him look even younger.

When I pull away, I bounce on my tiptoes, scanning the group. "Is Gael around?"

"Gael? What do you need him for?"

"I want to talk to him about riding —"

That's when this douche of a jockey comes strutting out of Greenbriar. Bryant Townsend is 5'1" — an inch taller than me, but I could take him.

"Forget the horse, Barrow. Come ride a cowboy," he says, making rude gestures with his pelvis. What an ass. Dad looks like he might kill Bryant, but I hold him back — I can handle myself.

"Tell me when you see a real cowboy and I will."

"Oooooooh," the guys say, laughing.

"You're all fired," Dad says. He waves an arm at the guys, and they go back to talking horses and trucks, ignoring my father.

"Wow, what a great help you are, Dad." He gives me a noogie, and I duck away. "Not the hair!" It takes forever to bind my red curls in a French braid.

It doesn't surprise me that Dad fits right in here. He's a good head groom — he knows when to be strict, but most of the time he's relaxed, which keeps his staff relaxed, which ultimately keeps the horses calm. And he knows more about horses than anyone I know. I completely understand why Mr. Goodwin snatched him away from Charles Town.


Excerpted from Racing Savannah by MIRANDA KENNEALLY. Copyright © 2013 Miranda Kenneally. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Front Cover,
Title Page,
Chapter 1. Roots and Beginnings,
Chapter 2. The Tryout,
Chapter 3. There's No Place Like Home ... Sort Of,
Chapter 4. The Colors Were So Real,
Chapter 5. At the Races,
Chapter 6. Why Can't Things Stay Simple?,
Chapter 7. If Pie Cured Confusion,
Chapter 8. Blinded by Inspirational Posters,
Chapter 9. An Honorable Man,
Chapter 10. The Race and a Change of Pace,
Chapter 11. The Dance, Truth or Dare, and Beef Jerky,
Chapter 12. You Can't Help Who You Love,
Chapter 13. Hold on Tight,
Chapter 14. My First Race,
Chapter 15. Taking the Road Less Traveled,
Chapter 16. The Walk of Shame,
Chapter 17. Dead Last,
Chapter 18. If Circumstances Were Different,
Chapter 19. Show Time,
Chapter 20. Future Plans,
About the Author,
Back Cover,

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Racing Savannah 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Ambur More than 1 year ago
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 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! * I was provided with an ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and to participate in RACING SAVANNAH's blog tour. All opinions are my own. * This review also appears on my blog and on other social media sites.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
A rich boy … the girl who works for him at his stable … an unforgettable story that will warm your heart.  Oh yea, I went there.  Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally is another great book in her Hundred Oaks series.  Not only does it include a sweet coming of age story, it also brings the reader deeper into the world of horse racing and shows just how big a deal it is for females.  Apparently, they’re pretty rare, and Savannah will stop at nothing to make her dreams come true. Moving to the Goodwin estate should be a good thing.  Better opportunities for both her and her father.  Make some money to help out with a new baby brother on the way.  Perhaps move her way up at the Goodwin stables.  But nothing prepared her for this:  Jack Goodwin, son and heir to the Goodwin fortune and becoming a female Jockey. But the ever present rule of “thou shalt not date the bosses son”, Savannah can’t fight her attraction to Jack.  But the dreaded question of whether Jack feels the same connection that Savannah feels is always on her mind.  If Jack will do whatever it takes to make his father proud, including dating someone that he feels absolutely no attraction to, can Savannah be even sure that Jack’s intentions are true?  Or is he using Savannah in order for him to win a race… Feel good books make me smile.  And yes, when I turned the last page of Racing Savannah by Miranda Keneally, I totally had a smile on my face.  You do not have to read the other books in this series to completely enjoy this book (as is the same with the other Hundred Oaks books). Do past characters make an appearance?  Yes…and no.  It seems Racing Savannah is a little ways into the future, where past characters are beyond the high school/early college emotional life situations.  I guess I was so committed to the story line of Savannah and Jack, that the actually reappearance of past characters totally flew way over my head…until I finally had the ahh ha (!) moment.  Yes, yes…shame on me. Needless to say, Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally is a great addition to the Hundred Oaks series.  Fans of a star-crossed lovers type reads, with a dash of horses and horse racing action, will really enjoy reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im not spoiling it but at the end it tells you what happened to the catching jordan chatacters
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
Racing Savannah was such a great young adult novel. It was the second book in my Miranda Kenneally-binge last weekend and I enjoyed it just as much as the one before. This time it's all about a working class girl and a rich guy – and the girl and her dad just happen to work for the rich guy and his family.  Savannah and Jack were both great, relatable characters. I loved them both, but Savannah came out on top as far as I'm concerned. She was wonderful. I loved her drive and her heart. She was wonderful with animals and her relationship with one of the most difficult horses at Jack's family's farm was something truly special... just like Savannah's character. Jack was a good guy in a tough spot. His father had given him a chance to run their horse farm, but he wasn't an easy guy to please. One of his father's strictest rules was "don't date the staff." I think we all know that one was doomed to be broken. Jack wasn't all swoony all the time, but he won me over when it was all said and done.  Savannah and Jack had their issues – most coming because of the differences in their backgrounds and upbringing – but I still thought the romance was sweet and had a ton of heart. I loved watching both characters grow as a result of their time together, too. Despite their differences, they made a fantastic pair. It was a bumpy road, but it was also a real one.  Racing Savannah takes place a few years after the first few books in the series and there was a fantastic scene a little more than halfway through the book in which we were treated to an AMAZING checkin with some of the earlier characters in the series. It totally melted my heart. I mean, big time cheesy smiles for pages and pages. I get a huge grin on my face just thinking about it! <3  I love the Hundred Oaks series. I love how real and honest it is, and how Ms. Kenneally isn't afraid to tackle tough subjects in the books. These books touch on everything from sexism to religion and abortion to the "war" between the classes. They feature characters its impossible not to fall for and a storyline I just can't get enough of. I love the friendships and the romance. They're truly the total package. If you're not reading this series, you should be. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I love all of her books! Miranda's books are definitely must reads! I really enjoyed this because I ride horses and and I love the drama between the families!
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
Racing Savannah is the fourth of Miranda Kenneally’s books I’ve read, and I enjoyed it as much as I did the previous three books in the Hundred Oaks series. I specifically enjoy this series because each book brings in new and/or familiar characters in a setting that is already well-known to the reader, but every time with a brand new story. I would even go as far as comparing it to watching a new season of a well-loved tv series. I finished this delightful read in less than a day. Halfway through the first chapter I already felt right at home in Savannah’s world, and I was captivated by and totally in love with the Goodings’ farm and their horses. That’s right. I didn’t let anything get in my way of finishing this book the same day I started it. By now I’m so used to this author’s easy-reading style of writing I devoured this novel in mere hours. What stood out for me is how extensively the author did her research on professional horse racing and horse mannerisms. If I didn’t read in the afterword that all the interesting tidbits she shared about horses throughout the story came about because of her thorough research, I would’ve easily believed that she was sharing her personal experiences growing up around horses with the reader. I’m saying Savannah’s story had a very realistic feel to it. Not only because of the horses, but also because of Savannah’s impoverished background. Savannah is an amazing character and one that could serve as inspiration to young women everywhere regardless of background. I loved almost everything about this girl. She’s down-to-earth, yet confident and sure of her choices. She makes mistakes but learn through it. She reaches out to others and puts her unborn sibling first; and though her family is dirt poor and she’s caught scrubbing floors by her love interest, she holds her head high and doesn’t back away from a challenge. But most importantly – and this is what made her an unforgettable character in my opinion – is that she understand her self-worth and never feels she needs to be validated to be appreciated. She shows respect to her dad and his pregnant girlfriend even though she doesn’t always agree with their choices and decisions. Also, she never hesitates to place her trust in people, although she’s been hurt before. There’s so much more I can say about Savannah as she’s a multilayered character, but then I’d go on forever. Apart from Savannah, there is actually an entire cast of characters worth mentioning. But to keep it short I’ll just say that each and every character contributed to the overall awesomeness of this book. Now for the dreaded romance. OK, so I’m not fan, but, like a few of my other favorite authors, Kenneally knows how to write romance and keep it short and sweet. This is, after all, a love-story, but the author adds so many layers to it with family dynamics, new friendships, horse racing, and the main character learning through life’s little lessons how to make important decisions about her future, that you get so much more out of it than a mere straightforward tale of love and lust. I liked Jack’s character as well, but we don’t really get to peel away the layers on him. I loved how he had his three farm hounds milling around his feet in most of the scenes he meets up with Savannah. It added that rural lifestyle feeling to the story. That brings me to another point. I know nothing about life on a farm, much less one where they train race horses. I’m a born and bred city girl. But, and here I have to hand it to the author, she effectively managed to put me right there on the Goodwins’ farm, and she did it so well I swear I could smell the horse manure! Even at the horse races I could feel the wind blowing through my hair and the mud spattering on my legs when Savannah was racing Jack’s stubborn horse, Star. One of the elements of this book that touched me deeply was the family dynamics. I’m a sucker for good family set-ups in books. Bottom line: I want to feel part of it. Family is very important to Savannah, and also to Jack. In their own way, they each try to keep their family happy with little sacrifice on their part. It’s the first time I come across a novel where both the protagonist and her love interest have this in common; them both being respectful and considerate towards their parents. Jack is used to having money and having people serve his every need, while Savannah is one of the people working for Jack and his family, cleaning their house and tending to their horses. Savannah knows what it’s like not to have any money, while Jack’s future is cemented. So then, what is the common denominator that brings these two together? One very cheeky and headstrong horse named, Star. But really, it’s not as simple as I make it sound. Keep in mind that Savannah and Jack’s families can’t allow them to be together as employer is not supposed to hobnob with employee (it sounds very Romeo and Juliet-ish, but without the drama and tragedy). Racing Savannah is a wonderful read written by a very talented author. It has all the elements I loved from the previous books, but with new characters (and a few the reader might recognize from previous books), and an entirely new and refreshing plot. It’s not necessary to have read the previous books in the Hundred Oaks series to enjoy this one. Racing Savannah stands entirely on its own, but because I have read the first three books before reading this one, I felt I would’ve missed out on some of the secondary character relationships had I not read the other books first. Of course, it’s all up to you whether you want to start at book one or jump right in and see what this excellent book with its exceptional characters and storyline is all about. Whichever way, I highly recommend Miranda Kenneally’s books to young and old alike!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Love all the series, I love the author and great storyline. Any teenage girl would love this book and all the series.
MyndiL More than 1 year ago
I'm really enjoying this series that seems to focus so much on how girls can do anything boys can do and strong female characters showing that they can pursue their dreams no matter what. In this story, we have another girl who is interested in a job that not very many women aspire to. She determinedly follows her dream and takes steps to make it happen. There is also the romance aspect of the story, but I feel like even in that this character shows a true strength in knowing what she wants and not settling for less than she deserves. I love how each book mentions something about some of the past characters in the series, so that while each book can be read as a stand alone, it's still got something tying everything together. I'm looking forward to continuing in this series and I intend to attempt to make my daughter read them as well.
iamslim More than 1 year ago
Spoilers maybe: This book was good. I figured that Jake and Savannah was going to date. Plus I also like Rory :D
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read this one because I've seen a lot of good things about the series and the author. This is the only one in the series that I have read, and I wasn't lost, there were other characters mentioned and it did seem like a drop in to see how they were doing, but that was okay with me. It especially spoke to me because when I was younger I love the Thoroughbred series and I rode horses of my own so that's always something that's interesting story line for me with the personal connections as well. While racing Savannah that was some pretty heavy issues including are losing her mother. she also takes on some of the responsibility for her family they are pretty low income and her step mom is pregnant and having a hard time working social take on some of these shows that her step mom supposed to do. this really told me a lot about Savannah's character that she was very giving and she had a really good heart that she wanted to help. I also liked how determined she was and that she learn to dream and she learned sometimes helping herself in the short term will help family and friends in the long term as far as her dreams and aspirations and finally entertaining the thought of college for herself. Racing Savannah also dealt with some classes since the romantic interest jack is currently working under his father learning to take over running their farm which entails breeding horses racing horses and the care of them. Jack and his family are really well off they have people to take care of their house their horses and all sorts of things and Savannah and her family are hired by Jack's father. I like Jack, he really seemed to bond with Savannah and he really respected hard time because Savannah just had a way with words of understanding them and figuring out what they want and how to get them to perform. there's a lot of chemistry between Jack and Savannah but Jack is also just learning to take over the business and he very much considers what his dad would think and how he would react to basically dating the help. His family is also in negotiations with another Pharm and he has kind of been pushed up on the daughter and order to help seal a business deal and this also affects the kind of how I saw Jack. But I love his character development even though for quite a while in the book I kind of question his motives and if he was going to be the man that Savannah needed him to be set of just two people who have a lot of chemistry and then she kind of moves on to someone else but I really appreciate how it was done and I ended up liking that romantic angle by the end of the book. I would read more of the Hundred Oaks, but am a little sad that horses won't be featured in the other books. Bottom Line: Quick, entertaining, like the horse aspect and Savannah as a character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even if “Racing Savannah” had been a standalone, I’m pretty sure I would’ve breezed through it. I’ve been a horse racing fan for most of my life, and I had high hopes for another awesome Kenneally story about a girl participating in a sport that isn’t exactly female-dominated. Savannah’s connection to the horses she rides shines through as clearly as her connection with her new friends and her loyalty to her family. I loved that her relationships with the animals were handled so carefully, and her surprising bond with the Goodwins’ star Thoroughbred was a believable reason for Savannah’s promotion. Her transition from exercise rider to jockey also made more sense than, say, groom or hot walker to jockey. The class difference between Savannah and love interest Jack–not to mention the importance of their business relationship–added a whole extra layer of tension. It was hard to forget how much Savannah and her family were indebted to Jack’s father, for their residence and for their jobs. That angle really kicked the whole ‘forbidden love’ thing into high gear. Unlike in “Catching Jordan,” the romance almost took a backseat for me here. Whether Savannah and Jack got together or not mattered less to me than whether Savannah would win a race, or figure out how to help secure her family’s future. There was a lot going on for such a quick read, but I never felt like any of the story’s threads were lost. As a total tangent: seeing other characters from the Hundred Oaks series mentioned made me want to go out and read the rest of Kenneally’s books. Soon! Check this out if you’re looking for a cute love story with very real stakes. Check this review out if you enjoy terrible horse racing puns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is Savannah.....I love my name! You shouldn' t hate it, or let yourself think that it's ugly or any of those other things for that matter. There are a hell of a lot worse names that you could have! Just saying that Savannah is an awesome one! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Do you sometimes feel like you are attending Hundred Oaks High, too? I wouldn't blame you. That's because Miranda Kenneally's books always feel like home, and her characters like your best friends. When I read a RACING SAVANNAH excerpt months ago I was so desperate to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible (Miranda had me with the promise of spending some quality time with a bunch of puppies) and was lucky enough to snatch an ARC at Frankfurt Book Fair. Miranda's fourth book in the HUNDRED OAKS series has everything for animal lovers. I'm just like Savannah, whenever I see a cute animal I can't resist to cuddle it and immediately want us to be friends. The horse racing was a different kind of sport than the other HUNDRED OAKS books featured. It was interesting in the aspect of exploring the bond between animal and human. You need to be professional and disciplined, but you have to be friends, too to win the race. Some parts of the story solely concentrate on Savannah's training with Star and her friendship with the horses. I'm not the biggest fan of horses and was surprised that Miranda picked this sport for her fourth book (glad she did). I learned a lot about horse racing, what it takes to be a respected jockey and had so much fun following Savannah's training. I would love to go see a real horse race some time. RACING SAVANNAH is as much about the big race with Star as it is about family and romance. Savannah and Jack are just like Miranda's other couples. You have to love and root for them from the very beginning to the ending and beyond. From the first scene they had together, I knew they would make for an adorable couple. Savannah and Jack's romance is influenced by their difference in money and class and the worries about their parents not approving of their feelings for each other. The romantic scenes are as hot as usual, steamy and equally gentle and swoon-worthy. They both have strong tempers and some of their quarrels and misunderstandings didn't feel like they were leading anywhere. I wished they would have found to each other much sooner, but I'm sure Miranda will consider the needs of her readers for more of them in her future stories. Savannah and Jack are a good team and I definitely want to see them again, in bed, on the racetrack and mucking out the the boxes, doesn't matter. The stories of Miranda's other characters from her three previous books are continued in RACING SAVANNAH as well. This is always my favourite part about Miranda's books. We don't have to part with our beloved book friends. Rory, Will's brother from STEALING PARKER makes occasional appearances, too. So Will and Parker fans are definitely in for a great treat here. I'm always anticipating Miranda's next book while reading her current release. Her HUNDRED OAKS companions are absolute feel-good novels! 4/5 **** RACING SAVANNAH – A naturally funny and sportive read lightening this cold December with country flair, the smell of fresh hay and sunny days spent on the racetrack. RACING SAVANNAH is your lucky horse shoe in YA, meaning it won't disappoint and will get you out of every reading slump. It's every YA readers' sugar. This book will make you whinny. Ok, enough with the horse references. Seriously, this book is my December highlight! Who could say no to an entire farm of horses, puppies and a cute boy?
breebree16 More than 1 year ago
This book is so freaking amazing!! I loved it. Savannah was a exceptional protagonist. Jack and Savannah had so many feels. I love love love this book and I can't wait to read the other books by this author.
bookbingerlady More than 1 year ago
Since the age of 13 when my parents bought my first horse, I have loved anything to do with horses. This of course included reading books about horses, like Black Beauty, King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, etc. Thus, when I saw Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally I had to read it. In Racing Savannah, Savannah’s father has just taken a job as the head groom on a top Thoroughbred racing farm. When Savannah sees a horse without a rider racing towards her, she stops and catches the high-strung colt. The ranch’s owner-in-training,  Jack, rides up and flirts with her thinking she is a visitor. When he finds out she is an employee, he knows she’s off limits. However, Savannah’s calm manner of handling the high-strung colt, impresses him and he decides he wants her to work with Star. Savannah is excited about this turn of events, because she gets to work with both Star and Jack. Jack’s and Savannah’s attraction grow but Jack’s father, Savannah’s dad, and the no-mixing-between-staff-and-owner rule, prevent their relationship. Savannah believes they should fight for each other but Jack won’t go against his father.  Pros Both Savannah and Jack are relatable and realistic teen characters that have  strengths and weaknesses. Savannah’s character is the most engaging. She’s a strong young woman determined to pursue becoming a jockey, in a male-dominated sport. She’s also kind and compassionate, which you see when she secretly gives her money to her father and when she helps in the Goodwin house. However, Savannah does have one weakness–Jack. She mistakenly thinks Jack is like her, strong enough to fight for their relationship. But when Jack won’t confront his father, Savannah decides to stop seeing him because she deserves better. I like that Kenneally created a character that stays strong in a romantic relationship and can’t be manipulated. Jack, on the other hand, is a boy trying to please his father and who doesn't have Savannah’s strength of character. He’s sweet when he pushes for Savannah’s racing career but turns manipulative when he’s afraid that Savannah wants to announce their relationship to his parents. At times, you like Jack but at others not so much. The story is well-written, engaging, and layered. The class difference between the employees and the owners was interesting and added to the conflict between Savannah and Jack. The forbidden romance between Savannah and Jack is steamy and realistic. Cons Jack’s change of heart at the end of the story is abrupt and jarring. Kenneally could have explained why Jack suddenly decided to have his change of heart. Conclusion Romance, horses, and memorable a heroine. What’s not to like?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Miranda's work when it comes to writing books. Racing Savannah is not as great as Catching Jordan but just as good. I love how Savannah wants to stand up for her & Jack's love for each other & how Kenneally mentioned Sam,Jordan,& Carter in the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It was very loving but my favorite book is Catching Jordan and the other ones i recommend reading all of her books because theyre really full of love and happy endings. So in conclusion read all of them P.s theyre also really funny <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! I read it in two days and could hardly put it down! I am so glad that i read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Miranda Kenneally did it again. She created a great book. This book is amazing. It has everything from making new friends to horses to first love. It was very interesting and holds your attention. I would recommend this book because it never fails to entertain you and is so fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont normally write reviews but I love this auther so much that I thought I should. I absoulutly love this book. It was an easy read and it was so easy to fall into the story and be apart of savannah and jack's journy. Catching jordan is still my favorit but this is a very close second! Can't wait for her next book!