Friday, July 18, 2014

Blog tour (review): Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally


NOTE: I received the ARC via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

Before I write anything else, I think it's only fair to say that this is the first of Kenneally's novels I got around to reading. Which is why it's a good thing all of her Hundred Oaks books can be read separately. Thanks for that!

From all the fuss around the blogosphere, I had drawn the conclusion that I should expect something spectacular. Perhaps my high expectations were the reason I wasn't completely blown away by Breathe, Annie, Breathe. That is not to say that I didn't like what I read - it was an enjoyable novel with enough drama on the side to keep me interested. Yet, it couldn't strike that one chord that a book needs to completely captivate me. I guess, I'm more of a Katie McGarry kind of reader.

Writing style:
Kenneally has written a great, realistic story and she has obviously snagged a professional editor because I couldn't find a single fault with the writing itself. Told from Annie's POV, the writing made the story flow well. I also liked the memories that the author has thrown into the story. I'm pretty sure that without them the plot would have been quite incomplete.

Story line:
This is the story of Annie, who has lost a boyfriend, but has gained herself and a whole new world of unexpected adrenaline.
I had a couple of problems with this story. First one was concerning Annie's stomach problems. I didn't understand why her PT would take her to the doctor for her knee but not for her stomach. It just didn't make any sense.
Problem #2, I didn't understand why Matt would warn Annie to stay away from his brother Jeremiah. Sure, she was grieving and he was an adrenaline junkie, but I sort of got the impression there was something else going on. It was just never revealed and that disappointed me a little.
Problem #3 has to do with Annie's guilt trip. Why, oh why did she have to feel guilty that Kyle died? She wasn't even there! That made it a teeny bit unrealistic for me.

- The loss of a loved one can bring you down in no time.
- Grief seems to be somehow worse, but also is a necessary step to move on.
- Is it right to take upon yourself fulfilling the dreams and goals for a deceased loved one? Does that honor them in some way? Or does it simply appease your own mind?
- Dealing with new feelings when the old are still there
- The dangers of any addiction
- The fear of taking a risk vs. being reckless

Annie used to be just an average teen girl with average family, average love life and average dreams. That is to say, she had a mom and a brother (no dad to account for), a high school sweetheart and the dream to go to college. One night an accident leaves her with two out of these three and Annie is devastated. Worse, she feels guilty of her boyfriend Kyle's death because her grieving mind somehow managed to persuade her that it was all her fault.
To atone for her 'sins' she decides to fulfill one of Kyle's last dreams - she would run a marathon. That's when things get really tricky because Annie isn't the sport type. So everything is extra hard for her. She has a difficulty running the one mile for school, and now she's taken upon herself to run 26 miles.
I must say, I was greatly impressed by her spirit of determination. She came out stronger than expected and I think that by the end of her training she was actually running for herself rather than for Kyle.

Jeremiah was Annie's trainer Matt's brother. He was (of course) gorgeous to look at, had a smart mouth and was pretty much an irresistible heart-breaker. It wasn't difficult to guess that he had some kind of fault, but I didn't know exactly what it was until later. To be honest, I didn't understand why Jere's 'fault' should be perceived as such. Sure, he couldn't resist a thrill rush, but I don't think that's so horrible. There are way worse things out there.
What I want to say about Jere is that he was considering, he cared for his family (sisters and everyone else) and he knew when to push and when to pull away to a safe distance.

Matt was a side character who played an important role. As Annie's personal trainer, it was his responsibility to take care of her health all the way. Which is why I was a bit disappointed when he didn't take her to the doctor when her stomach started feeling queasy.

In conclusion:
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is a light read that will keep you interested until the end. It isn't that big on emotions, but it may be able to wring a tear or two.  

My rating is 3.5 stars, but I will round up to

Book details:

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
(Hundred Oaks #5)
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: July 15th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
“Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You.


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.

Author links: 

Giveaway details: Tour wide giveaway Ends July 29th:
-2x 50$ B&N Gift Card
-3x Signed copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe
a Rafflecopter giveaway