Friday, April 12, 2013

Review of Things I Can't Forget and a special guest post from Miranda Kenneally!!!

Today is my lucky day....and yours too!  I not only have a review of Miranda Kenneally's new book, Things I Can't Forget, but she also stopped by to give me a list of her favorite guys from her own books!  So without further ado, lets get on to the good stuff!

Book:  Things I Can’t Forget
Author:  Miranda Kenneally
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Date:  now available
Source:  Publisher
My grade:  A

Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. 

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Initial reaction
I thought all the Jesus stuff would make this book weird for me, but it totally didn’t!

Cover story
I love the covers of these books.  It’s nice the way they all work together.  Even with all the headless people.  And the titles are great as well.

What’s the Story?
So, this book has a lot of religion talk in it.  Now, normally, I’m just not into that sort of thing, but honestly?  It didn’t bother me in this book.  And I think it’s the way Miranda handles it.  It’s not preachy, it just is.  Not to say that Kate isn’t sometimes preachy and judgmental, but it doesn’t branch out into the tone of the book.  The book stays neutral, even if the characters don’t.  That’s a hard thing to pull off, but Miranda rocks it!

This story was really compelling.  I loved being able to see Kate grow and change and examine herself, her beliefs and her actions.  I think that’s one reason why the religious aspects of the book worked.  Kate’s self-reflection led her to look at her actions and how she came across to those around her and seeing her growth as a person was amazing.

Of course, the setting is epic!  Summer camp, people!  Remember going to summer camp?  Sitting around the fire at night, singing silly songs, doing crafts, swimming in the lake, catching glimpses of cute new boys?  Yeah, it’s all here!  Only now I got to see the grownup side of it, and you know what?  It wasn’t much different!

I really loved Matt.  He was just swoony.  He was so nice and so thoughtful, but he wasn’t anywhere near perfect.  Which is what made him perfect.  He struggles with his own religious beliefs and it was nice to see him respect Kate’s beliefs.

Which leads me to one thing that I loved about this book.  I loved seeing Kate stand up for herself and what she believed in and seeing the boy respect her for that.  I think that’s a good message to send out to teenage girls, because too many of them are giving in to pressure and engaging in activities they really don’t feel comfortable about, but they don’t want to lose face.  It was nice to Kate come to a compromise about some things, but then stand firm on the things that really meant something.  Go Kate!!

One last thing that I really enjoyed about this book was seeing the characters from the first 2 books show up in various ways throughout the story.  It was nice to re-visit those characters, like seeing old summer camp buddies year after year.

The Soundtrack

Of course, no summer soundtrack would be complete without the original summer love song:

Summer Lovin’ by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta

Summer of Love by The B-52s

Stand Up by Fireflight

Trying by Lifehouse

Wait for Me by Rebecca St. James

All In by Lifehouse

The Final Grade

My final grade for this one is an A.  I wasn’t sure going in, but I ended up loving this one as much as I loved the first 2 books.  Miranda Kenneally has become an author that I will automatically read when she publishes a new book.

Miranda Kenneally's favorite guy characters from her books

They say you shouldn’t play favorites, but we all do! So here are my favorite guy characters from my books, counting down from 10.

10. Ty Green: He is a love interest from Catching Jordan, and he works hard to take care of his family. He sure is pretty to look at. He even makes leaning against a school desk sexy.
9. Jeremiah Brown: He’s the younger brother of the main guy character from Things I Can’t Forget. Jeremiah only appears in one scene, but he made an impression on me. I’m planning on making him the love interest in a future book! Jeremiah is addicted to texting.
8. Drew Bates: Drew is in Stealing Parker. He stayed loyal to Parker even after her other friends ditched her. Drew is obsessed with Harry Potter and likes having Harry Potter marathons. He wants to be a sports reporter for ESPN one day.
7. Mike Woods: Mike is Jordan Woods’ older brother. He teases Jordan, but also looks out for her and isn’t afraid to tell her the hard truths. I would love to write an adult book about Mike and his college escapades one day!
6. Will “Corndog” Whitfield: I love Corndog because he has a great sense of humor but isn’t afraid to speak his mind. I didn’t intend for him to become the love interest of Stealing Parker, but he kept showing up and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I went with it! (Also, author Trish Doller kept wanting to read more about Corndog, so it’s partially her fault he exists).
5. Jack Goodwin: You’ll get to meet him in Racing Savannah (December 2013). He is the owner of the farm where the main character works. Jack has three hound dogs that follow him around everywhere: Thor, Athena, and Jasper (he let his little sister name his dog after a Twilight character).
4. JJ: JJ is Jordan’s friend in Catching Jordan. Yeah, he’s kind of a man slut and he gets kicked out of all-you-can-eat buffets for eating too much, but he has a good heart.
3. Sam Henry: When I set out to write Catching Jordan, Henry wasn’t even a character! He just showed up one day and started taking over every single scene. At first I started to fight him, but then I realized there was no use in fighting Sam Henry.
2. Jake Reynolds: He is Jordan Woods’ brother’s perverted best friend who loves cheesy pick-up lines. “I may not be Fred Flinstone but I sure can make your bed rock.” He was in Catching Jordan and he might be making a cameo in another book of mine very soon…
1. Matt Brown: The love interest in Things I Can’t Forget. I love him because he’s broken, but still finds the fun in life. The little boys at camp call him “The King.” Also, he’s a lifeguard and who doesn’t like lifeguards?!

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