Friday, 17 August 2012

Vanilla Queens Dream Reads #1 Stealing Parker

Last month Rachel and I had a lot of fun putting together a joint post on our thoughts of Pushing the Limits (we hope you all enjoyed this as much as we did!). So we have decided to make this a regular feature on The Readers Den, called Vanilla Queens Dream Reads. Each month we will read the same book and put together our thoughts and feelings about it; what worked for us, what didn’t, which character had the greatest impression on us etc. I know we named this feature “Dream Reads”, but this sometimes may not always be the case, sometimes a book may not work for one of us, but with this feature we want to get across our honest opinion, to make it easier for you to decide if you want to pick the book up or not. As this feature is something we are still working on, we would love to have your feedback; how can we make it better? And are there any books you would us to read?

This month’s Vanilla Queens Dream Reads was certainly a dream read for both of us. Rachel and I absolutely adored Miranda Kenneally’s debut read Catching Jordan last year and so we couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy of Stealing Parker.

Here’s a little about the book.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

Favourite character and why: 
Rachel: Hands down, Will! He was such a sweetheart, and the way he treated Parker and his little brother, Bo, just melted my heart! Also, any boy who can tolerate drool (from Parker, heehee!) and a chick flick is alright in my book! On a side note, Will is also known as Corndog (yes, a ridiculous nickname, but there’s a story behind it) but I had to laugh every single time Parker’s dad would mix up his name, and say Corn Fritter instead of Corndog!

Jasprit: This is such a tough question, as Stealing Parker had such a fantastic set of characters from Sam, Drew, Parker’s dad, Parker and Corndog. I think however who touched me the most was Parker. She was a tough MC; she’d been through so much and was still dealing with a lot just at 17; taking on several responsibilities and having this reputation hanging over her head. She made a few mistakes along her way but realised quickly enough she was making them. A book is always made for me when I have a strong connection with the MC. And I definitely had one with Parker.

Most hated character and why:
Rachel: Parker’s ex-best friend, Laura. Ugh! Instead of supporting her through hard times, she takes advantage and crushes Parker down further. It’s almost like she was happy at Parker’s troubles. You can tell her actions were fueled by jealousy, even in the flashbacks to when they were friends. I couldn’t stand the fact that she held Parker back from Will, when they were younger, not because she actually wanted him, but because she didn’t want Parker to have him. That is no friend in my opinion. 

Jasprit: I don’t want to ruin anything, but there was one character in particular who has the book progressed certainly displayed their true colours. I had an inkling about them, but didn’t think they could stoop so low. There are also others who continuingly thought they were above everyone else and continued to put the Shelton family down. But overall it was just that one character who buggered me over.

Scene that made us the angriest:
Rachel: I think two come to mind. The scene with Laura pitching to Parker, it just screams: bitter jealous hag! Then the flashback to the 8th grade homecoming dance, when Will asked Parker to dance, Laura proves that she’s a horrible friend (once again) by claiming to have a crush on him, and make him off limits to Parker.  

Jasprit: Again I don’t want to spoil things, so all I’m going to say is car scene and a character being a little too presumptuous.

My copy overfull with post its
Favorite or most swoony/steamy scene:
Rachel: I would have to say my favorite swoony scene was when Will and Parker are babysitting Bo.  They’re watching a movie on the couch, and there is a quite undercurrent of attraction there that seemed even sweeter with Bo asleep between them. You really feel the pull between these two.

Jasprit: I had so many favourite scenes, and the fact my book was over the top full with post its provides a clear indication. But I think just the simplest gestures that characters made ended up being my favourites. My favourite has to be when Drew Corndog and Parker were hanging out at Jiffy burger, Parker is already super-conscious about what she eats, but when some knuckleheads turn up too, Parkers mood goes even more sour. But Corndog just makes the sweetest yet simplest gesture, knowing Parker watches her weight he buys her a burger and fries just the way she likes it without asking. And sometimes that’s all you need when you’re in a lousy mood.

“Right then, being here with these two guys, everything is perfect”

Scene that made us saddest:
Rachel: It’s not one particular scene that made really sad. It was more the way Parker felt at the beginning of the story, how she’d give anything for her family life to go back to the way it was before her mom left them for another woman. I felt bad for her mother having to lead a life that was false, but to leave your kids to pursue your own desires?  Parker’s feelings of rejection come through loud and clear. Her behavior was a direct result of that.

Jasprit: Despite Stealing Parker on the whole being a fun light read, there was an underlying theme running through which caused a lot of heartache. But the saddest scene for me was when everything went crazy for Parker. Like I said earlier, she already had so much to deal with and then to be put in that situation which some would say was her own fault. But I hated seeing her like this.

Scene that made us most happy:
Rachel: The prom of course! Here’s a little teaser that had me a little weak in the knees: He digs his fingers into my waist and yanks me closer, acting all sexy alpha male.” I just wanted to say: YES!!

Jasprit: When Parker finally stood her ground. *fist pump!*

Most liked secondary character:
Rachel: This is a toss-up for me. If we had more scenes with Bo, Will’s little brother, I would say him.  With those big gorgeous and innocent blue eyes (something he has in common with his older brother Will!), he’s so adorable! I think Tate was my favorite secondary character because he’s never judgmental with Parker and sticks by her side even when everyone else shuns her. I liked him better than her best friend Drew. 

Jasprit: Corndog aka Will Whitfield aka Corn fritter. As there were several characters making re-appearances from Catching Jordan I had to do a double take when I came across Corndog, because if he was in Catching Jordan I surely wouldn’t have missed him right? It’s like he always knew the right thing to do or say, he spoke up when he needed to and was always there for his friends when needed. Of course the fact that he had a dimple in his right cheek (why does a character with one dimple always get to me?) had become buff after bailing hay on his dads farm (not that he’s realised this) and doesn’t really care what people think of him; (his current ride is a lawnmower and no one really refers to him by his real name but Corndog). Some of his lines just made me melt. At the end of the day he was a true sweety through and through.

General Thoughts and Final Rating:
Rachel: I gave Stealing Parker 4.5 Stars. The only reason it wasn’t five stars is because I wished to see a little more at the end, but I thought this was another great from Miranda Kenneally! I really connected with Parker and liked her, in spite of some poor choices. Even with the hurt she’s experienced from her family’s problems and mother’s abandonment, we never see a bitter Parker.  Instead we see her trying to be a good friend, sister, and daughter. We draw close to her through her thoughtful and heartfelt journal entries/letters. Some of these entries really touched and hurt my heart! 

Stealing Parker M & M's 
Jasprit: I was super excited about reading this book, but I was a little worried, would it live up to my expectations? Would Kenneally manage to be able to wow me again? I didn’t have to worry though as I absolutely adored Stealing Parker, I loved being around an awesome bunch of characters who made me go through a whirlwind of emotions, I loved the pace and setting of the book, I loved Kenneally’s writing. Simply put I loved everything. 4.5/5 stars

Rachel: I totally recommend this book! Stealing Parker stole my heart just like Catching Jordan. I will be reading anything Miranda chooses to write in the future. But Miranda!! If you can see it in your heart, will you PLEASE write us a follow-up scene with Parker and Will, aka Corndog, aka CORN FRITTER?!!! Pretty, pretty please?!!

Jasprit: YES! If you’ve read Catching Jordan, you will honestly love this too! And if you haven’t read anything by Kenneally yet, seriously grab a copy now! 


  1. Yay! I'm so glad you two loved this book! In all honesty, it seems to be MUCH better than Catching Jordan already and while there does definitely seem to be drama, it isn't the same type that was present in Catching Jordan. I thought that dragged on just a little too long, so I'm really looking forward to this now! :) Plus, I looove this feature! I feel as if your thoughts flow together very succinctly and you two never repeat any information, so we're always hearing about more characters and plot details than we would have with an individual review, which I love. You've also broken it down very well and made it so easy to read, so I'm thrilled that this is going to be a regular feature on The Reader's Den! :D *squeal!* I'm seriously looking forward to this one now though, so wonderful joint review, you two! :)

  2. Oh my gosh, that feature name is so adorable and creative! "Vanilla Queens Dream Reads". :D LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the joint post, ladies! I haven't read Catching Jordan (yes, I know, I'm an idiot) but I will, ASAP. :) The M&M's look delicious, and the swoony/steamy scenes sound fantastic! Yay to my two favourite Vanilla Queens!

  3. Such a fun post ladies! I really liked reading each of your viewpoints. I have Catching Jordan on my ipad and haven't had a chance to read it and now this is a must buy!

  4. Awwwww, I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH! I really really want to read Catching Jordan since I've been hearing great things about it (and I LOVE books about sports! Especially when the main female character plays a sport too ;) Will and Parker both sound really AMAZING! I am now really dying to read Stealing Parker although I haven't read Catching Jordan (which means I need to read it soon!)

    Awesome joint post, Rachel and Jasprit! ♥ Thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. I love this feature! And I love that you post it your books as much as I do. :)

  6. Great post you two! I think I need to read Catching Jordan soon and work out if this author is for me or not. You know what I'm like - I probably won't get around to it for another few months. ;) I'm glad you both enjoyed this companion book. Will sounds adorable! As does his brother, Bo. Anyone who can tolerate drool from his younger brother is a sweetheart, I agree with that! :)

  7. I think I've already told you that I love it when you two do reviews together, so I'm happy that you're starting Vanilla Queens Dream (awesome name by the way!).
    I'm dying to read Stealing Parker because I loved Catching Jordan too. Now that I've read your thoughts on this one, I'm even more excited.
    Bo seems like a little guy who I will adore and I already love Will! :)
    I really want to know why he's called "Corndog". I sense a funny story behind the name.
    Ughh Laura seems like a piece of work. I'll get my hatred gear ready for her! :)
    I'm happy to hear that you guys enjoyed this book so much! :)
    Great post, lovelies! <3

  8. Such a wonderful, funny, lovely review!!!!! I really love this idea of you two answering the perfect questions on an awesome book! I feel like i really know Parker, Will, Bo and the other characters now! Definitely will check this book out!
    The name for your feature is awesome!!!! Corndog is a wonderful nickname. When I was reading this wonderful review, I had to keep reminding myself that Corndog is will too.
    <3 Have a relaxing weekend!

    1. Thanks for including your signed copies of this book side to side! Love!

  9. YEAH LADIES!!!! I loved Catching Jordan so much so I was dying in my wait for this book! I was lucky enough to snag a copy at BEA and it was the first book I read when I got home. LOVED! Especially Corn Fritter, my love for him runs deep ;-)

  10. I was already excited to read Stealing Parker, now I'm dying! I love this review format. So fun. I'm glad you ladies enjoyed this book!

  11. I love that you're calling these reviews Vanilla Queens Dream Reads. I love anything Vanilla, i even named my cat Vanilla! Ha ha. Great review on Stealing Parker. It really is fun to hear two people's take in the same book.

  12. Hah, so Vanilla Queen is now and official term! Darn! I should claim copyrights and make some money here! :D
    So when my two favorite vanilla queens in the whole wide world get together and write such lovely things about a book, I simply must read it. Jordan, then Parker. Sold.

    1. Maja, we really should be paying you royalties for the name as you coined it! Lol!

  13. I LOVE this feature!! I love the name and the whole idea of it. Your review on PtL was awesome, and this is equally amazing. I think I need to check out this author. Her books sort of look like they're maybe not for me, but I can't help but be convinced to give her a go thanks to your review. I also love how you guys never seem to always agree on something, you each have your own opinion and covey them honestly. Awesome review, ladies! :)

  14. Sounds like some really well done characters, I look forward to reading about Will.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  15. This is adorable. I love that you two are doing this, the picture you took, and everything you've said here. 4.5 stars?! This main storyline reminds me of the Dairy Queen series. Just sports-related and a girl's relationship, though this is a bit opposite in that respect. I'm not sure how seriously I could take someone called Corndog, though:)

    1. That was a ridiculous nickname but you really don't notice after a while. :)

  16. This sounds like such a good read, girls , and I love the new title of your feature :)

    I have to make time for Miranda's books, I'm intrigued by this story now and want to read about the scenes you've described

  17. This is fantastic! You girls have done a great job with this post and thanks for lending me your copy Jasprit. =) P.S My copies of The Iron Fey series looks like your copy of Stealing Parker. Lol


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