Final Countdown Friday: Miranda Kenneally Books

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It’s the final countdown…

Every so often on my blog, I do a Final Countdown Friday where I countdown books in a series or books written by a favorite author. In this Final Countdown Friday, I am counting down the books in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series from my least favorite books in the series to my favorite book in the series.

For me, this companion novel series was either hit-or-miss. There were some books that I really loved and others that I didn’t just connect with the story or the romance. Here’s my rankings:

8. Stealing Parker

Stealing Parker

There were several aspects of this book that didn’t mesh with me. First of all, there’s a coach-student relationship. While not condoned, it is just a story line that would have deterred me from reading this book altogether if I knew it before I started reading. Additionally, the other love interest goes by the name of Hotdog and it was just something that I couldn’t get behind no matter his personality. I much preferred reading about this couple as they appeared throughout the series.

7. Defending Taylor

Defending Taylor

Defending Taylor was probably the most forgettable of all the books in this series. Taylor wasn’t a very remarkable character and neither was her love interest. The ending of this book also left me very unsatisfied because I felt like some major plot points were never resolved.

6. Coming Up for Air

Coming Up for Air

I think the reason Coming Up for Air ranks as one of my least favorites it that it was different than what I expected. Even though I usually like to the friends-to-couple trope, I didn’t see enough of the two main characters as friends first. For me, this book focused too much on the physical aspects of a relationship that I never saw the emotional connection which I really needed for me to buy into their relationship.

5-4. Racing Savannah

Racing Savannah

For me, these next two books tie, but for different reasons. Racing Savannah is a cute, light-hearted book with a fun romance. All of the characters are pretty likable which made this a quick and easy read. I also appreciated learning more about horse racing.

4-5. Things I Can’t Forget

Things I Can't Forget

This is one of two books in the series that doesn’t heavily involve some type of sport, but instead takes place at a local summer camp. I really appreciated that this book featured a character who is strong in her faith, which doesn’t typically appear in young adult novels. While many of these books feature some tough topics, I feel like this book features one of the most controversial which makes this book really stand out in this series.

3. Jesse’s Girl

Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks)

Jesse’s Girl was one of my favorites in this series because it really focuses on building the relationship between the main characters, even if it takes place across a short amount of time. This is the other book in the series which doesn’t focus on a sport, but instead focuses on music, which makes it stand out even more.

2. Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan

I think I really loved Catching Jordan because Jordan is such a fun and interesting main character. Jordan, and her love interest, appear so frequently throughout the series that you get a chance to learn so much about the choices she made after her book ended. Additionally, I loved the dynamic between the football team in this book and her love interest is one of my favorites in the series.

1. Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Breathe, Annie, Breathe was by far my favorite book in The Hundred Oaks series. Annie is a character that is easy to relate to and her story is one of the most solid stories within the series. Additionally, her love interest was one of my favorites in the Hundred Oaks series and I really admired her transformation from the beginning to the end of the book.

 

Which Hundred Oaks book is your favorite?

Final Countdown Friday: Robin Palmer Books

geek charming

Robin Palmer has written several fairy tale inspired books as well as the Lucy B. Parker series. Today, I’ll be counting down four of her fairy tale inspired books. I remember when I first saw these books in the stores, I was super excited. The covers were cute and I was super into fairy tale retellings. Once I finally read through these books, I definitely had mixed feelings on a few. Here is my countdown of Robin Palmer’s modern fairy tales from least favorite to favorite:

4.) Little Miss Red 

Little Miss Red

In Little Miss Red, Sophie is a “good girl” with a boyfriend everyone in her family loves, except her. Sophie wants to shed her good girl image and be more like her favorite romance novel character. When Sophie visits her grandmother, she finally meets a bad boy, but it doesn’t go as she planned. I’m sad to say that I could barely finish this book. I rarely rate books as one star, but I couldn’t give this book a higher rating. I didn’t like either of Sophie’s love interests, especially the bad boy.

3.) Cindy Ella

Cindy Ella

In Cindy Ella, Cindy writes an anti-prom article in her school paper and is ostracized by her classmates… except for a mysterious boy she’s instant messaging. Cindy Ella follows the formula of most modern Cinderella stories, which I why it’s only a three star read for me. It was cute and fun, but extremely predictable and not as original as some of Palmer’s other retellings.

2.) Wicked Jealous

Wicked Jealous

In Wicked Jealous, Simone is labeled as a “fat girl” until she starts losing weight at her Zumba class and gains the attention of her long-time crush Jason. When Simone’s father starts dating a wicked woman and whisks her off to Italy, Simone is forced to spend her summer living with her brother and his college roommates. Simone is one of my favorite Robin Palmer characters and I think Wicked Jealous is one of her most creative retellings! This was the perfect cute and quick read that I expected.

1.) Geek Charming

Geek Charming

Geek Charming is hands-down my favorite Robin Palmer book. In Geek Charming, Dylan Shoenfield is the most popular girl at Castle High. When an accident forces her to recruit the help of dorky Josh, she must star in documentary in return. The ending of this book is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE, but the rest of it is perfect! This is Robin Palmer’s best written retelling and I love how Dylan grows into such a likable character. Even though I hated the ending, I can always watch the Disney movie which changed it to the perfect ending.

Overall, Robin Palmer’s books are quick, cute, and fun reads. Even though there are some I definitely like better than others, these books a perfect if you want not-so-serious modern retellings.

What book is your favorite retelling?

Final Countdown Friday: Candy Apple Books

candy apple

Candy Apple Books are fun, middle grade books published by Scholastic. They are written by a wide variety of authors but all of fun and fluffy reads… and some even have glitter on the covers! I remember LOVING these books when I was younger, and even though I don’t have nearly all of them (you can see a complete list of the books here), I thought I would count down the books I have read. Here’s my countdown:

7.) Totally Crushed by Eliza Willard

Totally Crushed (Candy Apple #7)

In Totally Crushed, Annabel receives a red carnation from her best friend Sam on Valentine’s Day. Things get complicated fast because Annabel doesn’t like Sam as more than a friend, but her best friend does. I don’t know if it was the hair on the cover that reminded me of my mother’s graduation photo from the 80s or that I read this when I started growing out of these books, but this was my least favorite of my Candy Apple Books.

6.) The Babysitting Wars by Mimi McCoy

The Babysitting Wars (Candy Apple #6)

In The Babysitting Wars, Kaitlyn is the best babysitter in her town until a new girl moves to the area. When the richest family in town needs a babysitter, Kaitlyn will do anything to defend her title. I loved the cover of this book when I was younger and always wanted an outfit like Nola (on the right). I think this was one of my least favorites because I thought Kaitlyn went a little too far with her war on Nola. I definitely would recommend this for anyone who enjoyed Disney’s recent remake of Adventures in Babysitting.

5.) Drama Queen by Laura Bergen

Drama Queen (Candy Apple #5)

In Drama Queen, best friends Charlie and Nicole audition for their school’s musical. Between babysitting her little sister (and her little sister’s imaginary friend), battling with the theater diva, and sneaking glances at the cute male lead, the theater world is a lot more crazy than Charlie expected. I think one of the reasons I loved this book was that I got the lead in my middle school play, so I related to all the drama in this play.

4.) Miss Popularity by Francesco Sedita

Miss Popularity (Miss Popularity #1; Candy Apple #3)

In Miss Popularity, Cassie Knight is the most popular girl at her Texas school. When her father’s job relocates the family to main, Cassie finds herself on the outs of her new prep school. Even though I only read this book recently (see my review here), I loved Cassie’s style and spunk! I really enjoyed how Cassie stayed true to herself, even when ridiculed by her new classmates.

3.) The Boy Next Door by Laura Dower

The Boy Next Door (Candy Apple #2)

In The Boy Next Door, Taryn and Jeff are best friends… until they go to middle school. Taryn and Jeff slowly start growing apart and when Jeff makes fun of Taryn’s new glasses, their friendship screeches to a halt. Can they save their friendship even though they changing? I LOVED this book when I was younger, evident by the severely broken spine. This book is SO middle school and I love it.

2.) How to be a Girly Girl in Just Ten Days by Lisa Papademetriou

How to Be a Girly Girl in Just Ten Days (Candy Apple #4)

In How to be a Girly Girl in Just Ten Days, Nick wants to ditch her tomboy style and become a girly girl to impress her crush Ben. By her best friend’s suggestion, Nick goes through a complete makeover, but struggles to remain true to herself. Like with The Boy Next Door, my copy of this book is very worn from rereading it so much. I was obsessed with What Not to Wear when I was younger, so I loved the makeup aspect of this book. The message of this book is also great because Nick ultimately decides to stay true to herself.

1.) The Accidental Cheerleader by Mimi McCoy

The Accidental Cheerleader (Candy Apple #1)

In The Accidental Cheerleader, Sophie’s best friend forces her to try out for the cheerleading squad. Sophie ends up making it, but her best friend doesn’t. When massive drama unfolds before a big game, Sophie must choose between her best friend and her new squad. One of the reasons I loved this book was I really connected to the main character Sophie. Like Sophie, I was extremely shy, but also a cheerleader. I also loved all the drama within this book and could see it actually happening in real life!

 

Which books bring you back to middle school?

Final Countdown Friday: Sarah Dessen

sarah dessen books

Day 12 of Blogentine’s Day.

My sister introduced me to Sarah Dessen’s books in high school and I haven’t put them down since. I always find myself rereading my favorites, discovering new favorites, and anticipating the arrival of a new book from her. While I love all of Sarah Dessen’s books, there are some that hold a special place in my heart.

11. and 12. That Summer and Someone Like You

That Summer and Someone Like You are both good books, but I don’t have as much as of a connection to these main characters as some of Sarah Dessen’s other characters.

10. Lock and Key

Ruby and her situation definitely pulled on my heartstrings, but like the main characters in the first two novels I mentioned, I don’t feel like I identify with her as much as other characters. I also am not as invested in her relationship with Nate like other relationships by Sarah Dessen. I love how Ruby is different than many other characters in Sarah Dessen’s novels, but I don’t find myself reaching for this novel when I want to reread a Sarah Dessen novels.

9. What Happened to Goodbye

I’ve reread What Happened to Goodbye a few times and I like it more every time I read it. Even though I like McClean’s relationship in the book, I’m not invested in it. However, I really liked getting to see Jason again in this book to see what happened it him. Once again, I don’t find myself reaching for this one again often, only when I want to try to fall more in love with it.

7. and 8. Dreamland and Keeping the Moon

Dreamland is very different from Sarah Dessen’s other books and I loved seeing a different side of her. I think Sarah Dessen tackles the topic of an abusive relationship very well.

I always find myself rereading Keeping the Moon during summer. It a short, quick read with just as much heart as other Sarah Dessen books. It’s the perfect book to read lounging by the pool in the summer.

6. The Moon and More

One of the reasons that I love this book is because the main character was learning to find her place the summer before she went to college and when this book was released, I was in the same position. Some people are unsatisfied with the ending, but it definitely was different and refreshing. Even though I have only read this book once, it holds a special place in my heart because of my connection while reading it. Also, this is probably my favorite cover out of Sarah Dessen’s books.

5. Along for the Ride

Sarah Dessen definitely knows how to write the perfect summer book because this is another one I find rereading a lot during the summer. I definitely connected with Auden while reading this books and enjoyed reading about all of the supporting characters.

4. Saint Anything

Saint Anything just came out last year and I’ve already reread it a few times. Saint Anything’s plot is similar to a few other of my favorites, but it has a different message that really resonated with me. Sydney and Mac are a cute couple and I’d love to be best friends with Layla. If I read it a few more times, my #3 might have some serious competition. This also is one of my favorite covers.

3. The Truth About Forever

The Truth About Forever was the second Sarah Dessen book that I read. I immediately connected with Macy and wished that I could work at Wish with all of the other characters. This book has the most memorable supporting characters to me and Wes is definitely one of my favorite guys from Sarah Dessen’s books (sa-woon).

2. This Lullaby

When I first reread This Lullaby, I didn’t really like it. Then, I decided to reread it and wondered why it wasn’t one of my favorites. I love seeing Remy’s transformation and watching her relationship with Dexter grow. Dexter is not like many of the other love interests in Sarah Dessen’s books, so his adorkable personality really stands out.

  1. Just Listen

Just Listen is the first Sarah Dessen book that I read and it still is my favorite. THIS BOOK. I love the message, Annabelle’s character, her relationship with her family, and her relationship with Owen. This is the first book I almost cried over and I almost cry every time that I read it.

What is your favorite Sarah Dessen book? 

 

Final Countdown Friday: Meg Cabot

meg cabot books

Day 5 of Blogentine’s Day where I countdown the books by one of my favorite authors

I started reading Meg Cabot’s books in elementary school, starting with the Princess Diaries series. I remember going to the store and my mom let me pick out a book. I already had the first book in the series, my sister chose the second book, and I picked the third (probably because it was pink).

The third Princess Diaries book

Whenever I want to read books with a light and fluffy romance, I always grab for Meg Cabot. I’ve reread her books a few times and love them more each time that I read them. Here is a countdown of my favorite young adult Meg Cabot books (excluding the Abandon series, the Mediator series, Vanished, and Jinx):

9. Airhead series

I like Emerson Watts, but she isn’t my favorite Meg Cabot character. I also wish this was more of a standalone novel. I’ve only read 2/3 of the books in this series and while I do want to know how it ends, I never find myself going out of my way to read it.

8. Pants on Fire

I really like the main character Kate in this book because she isn’t the typical Meg Cabot character. I like the story line and relationship in this book, but it isn’t my favorite and I don’t find myself rereading this book as much as some of Meg Cabot’s other books.

7. How to be Popular

Since many of Meg Cabot’s characters scoff at popularity, it is refreshing to see a character who strives for popularity. How to be Popular is a fun, quick read that I remember rereading every year that I was in high school.

6. and 5. Nicola and the Viscount/Victoria and the Rogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read both of these books when I went on vacation to the beach and they were perfect beach reads. Both are historical fiction books that follow similar plots. They are the perfect romances to read when you want a quick and light read.

4. Avalon High

I really like reading Avalon High over and over to pick up on little details that I didn’t notice the first time around. I love how Ellie refuses to believe her role is over in the story and fights until the end. There’s also a Disney movie based on this that definitely doesn’t do this book justice.

3. Teen Idol

Every time I read Teen Idol, I laugh out loud. All of the characters will remind you of someone you went to high school with and everyone has though about a movie star coming to their school. I really like the less obvious love interest and Jenny’s compassion for others.

2. All-American Girl series

I reread All-American Girl at least twice a year. There are only two books (so it is a lot quicker to go through than the Princess Diaries) and it always makes me laugh out loud. I love how Samantha realizes who she really is and stands up for herself at the end.

  1. Princess Diaries series

The Princess Diaries and All-American Girl are very close in my book, but the Princess Diaries wins out because I love seeing Mia grow from the awkward girl in high school into a leader who takes control of her own life. I’ve always identified with Mia’s character and appreciated her relationship with Michael.

What is your favorite Meg Cabot book?