Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

I'm super excited to be taking part in the Thing I Can't Forget Blog Tour today! My stop has my review, and excerpt and a tour giveaway. For the rest of the tour schedule click on the banner above to be taken to the tour page!

  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review
 Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

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…
 Note: Mature themes, sexual situations, religious discussions.

My Thoughts 

Going into this I was a bit nervous since I tend to be one of those people who runs away from books at the mention of religion, but I was really interested in this so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad that I did because I really ended up liking it. Religion is a big part of it, but it's not preachy, and it didn't take away from the overall story for me. It was just who Kate was and there's no way around it. I really enjoyed the camp setting and getting to know the characters. I haven't read the previous books so I didn't know any of the characters beforehand, but I am dying to finally go back and read them now. 

Kate was a bit bothersome for me at first. She was very judgmental, and if people didn't see things her way they were automatically wrong in her eyes. She is very set in her beliefs and she can be a bit overwhelming, but I loved that she really stuck by what she believed in no matter what. Even though Kate annoyed me, it was more her closed mindedness than her being super religious. She really did grow through the book and I really liked her by the end of it. She finds a way to balance what she believes in and what other people believe in and do. She might not agree with it all, but she does learn to except it. I was proud of her when she was finally able to see the bigger picture. 

I adored Matt. He was really great! He never once tried to pretend he was someone he's not. He is religious too, but he is more laid back than Kate. He has some painful things in his past that he needs to get past just as Kate does, but I loved that he was really trying to and really put himself out there. I think he was the best thing for Kate. He made her relax and open up. He was fun, he was sweet, and he was everything that she needed. 

Another thing I loved about this book is the family aspect. Thought they aren't in it a lot, I loved that Kate and her dad were close and could talk about things. She not only talks about her parents and how she sees them, but she also talks to them. We also meet Matt's parents too and I liked them. We know that family is important to them and it's a nice addition to the story. Besides the parents, I really loved getting to know the other characters. Ian was probably one of my favorites. He was so funny. I also enjoyed getting to know Will and Parker, and need to read Stealing Parker as soon as possible. 

Although this is Kate's story, I think really all of the characters grow up a little and find themselves more. Kate and Matt aren't the only ones dealing with hard things in their lives and it was nice to see each of the characters trying to fix themselves too. I am a sucker for books about growing up and self discovery, especially when there is romance involved. Well, romance when it is done right like it was in this. I am now a Miranda Kenneally fan and plan to read all of her books! Don't let the mention of religion turn you off to this. I am very reluctant when religion is even hinted at, but this was done beautifully.  


The boy who had been staring at me got a coveted spot on the porch swing. The two girls who squealed “Megan!” sit on either side of him, and he’s laughing and looking back and forth between them. He must be a returning counselor. I can’t help but notice how pretty the girls are, with their short shorts and tanks and tan, skinny legs. My body and legs are skinny too, but I desperately need a tan this summer. I also need to gain some muscle back after my soccer injury.

“Okay,” Megan says, tooting her whistle. “We’re going to play an introduction game. Y’all have to pair your name with an animal and tell us a bit about you.”

Everybody groans, but they’re smiling. I remember playing this game when I was little.
Megan starts us out. “I’m Monkey Megan and I just finished getting my master’s in education from Tennessee Tech.”

A buff guy with brown hair announces himself as “Bumblebee Brad. I’m the games director this summer.” He says he just gradu- ated high school, but doesn’t mention where he’s going to college. I notice a series of deep purple bruises peeking out from beneath his T-shirt sleeve.

Will says he’s Wallaby Will and Parker is Platypus Parker and they are going to college together at Vanderbilt.

My turn. I swallow the lump in my throat. “I’m Kangaroo Kate—”

Shoeless Boy laughs and croons in a deep Southern accent, “Oh, cool. I can ride in your pouch.”

“What does that even mean?” his swing-mate asks, elbowing him in the gut.

“Filter, dude. Filter,” Bumblebee Brad says to Shoeless Boy.

Megan blows her whistle, giving everyone an evil eye. That whistle’ll get way old way fast. “Tell us a bit about yourself, Kangaroo Kate.”

My face burns. I decide not to tell them this is my first job. Ever. “I’m going to be a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville this fall. I’m the arts and crafts director here this summer.”

Shoeless Boy stares at me some more and I stare back. Ride in my pouch? Really?

We move on to other counselors. A girl sitting on the swing says, “I’m Alligator Andrea and I’m a senior at Middle Tennessee State University, where I’m majoring in communications. I’m also the president of Chi Omega Tau.”

This guy Iguana Ian howls like a wolf, and everyone cracks up. “Huh?” I whisper to Parker, who’s sitting on the steps.

She plays with a clump of her long messy hair. “Chi-O-T.
Coyotes? It’s a sorority.”

I raise my eyebrows. I didn’t know Christian girls joined sororities.

Next up is Shoeless Boy and I hold my breath, waiting to hear his name and interests and what he’s doing here this summer.

“I’m Marsupial Matt—”

“That’s not an animal,” I interrupt, and everyone gives me weird looks.

“Sure it is,” he says with a laugh.

“It’s a classification, not a specific animal. A kangaroo is a marsupial.”

“I know,” he replies. His mouth curls into a smile.

“What does that even mean?” Andrea asks, using the same tone as before.

“It means that a kangaroo is a marsupial.” He shrugs, and glances at me again.

She flicks his thigh, then musses her hair, watching him for a reaction. So Andrea likes Matt.

He looks so familiar.

He clears his throat. “Now, as I was saying, I’m Marsupial Matt—”

I accidentally snort and laugh, and Matt smiles. Will’s mouth falls open as he looks at me.

“Fine,” Matt says to me. “I’m Matt Brown the Mutt, and I’m from Bell Buckle. I’ll be a junior at MTSU this fall. I’m majoring in literature and I’m getting a minor in classical guitar. I’m the camp lifeguard.”

I loved that part!! I think I instantly liked Matt after reading that!

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.

Author Links: 

Tour Giveaway

Grab Bag of Miranda's Favorite Books

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  1. I've heard such great things about all of Miranda Keneally's books, so I really need to try them. I usually tend to stay away from books that have religion as a big part of them, but I'm glad that you felt it wasn't preachy, because if it's one thing I honest-to-goodness hate in books, it's preaching. I love how this is really about self-discovery, I love those kinds of reads as well. ;) And the fact that there's a great father-daughter relationship has me even more excited, because that's actually pretty uncommon to find in YA!

    Lovely review, and thanks for that awesome excerpt. I'm really liking the sound of this Matt kid! ;)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    1. I am not very tolerant of religion in books. I am just not a religious person so it irritates me more than most people probably. I have DNF'd many books because religion is mentioned. This one was different though. There is a lot of religion in it, but it's done in a non irritating way. I really enjoyed this book.

  2. You haven't read her other books?! You must get on that! I really am excited to read this one! The previous book had a lot of religion in it too. I liked it because it's just how some people are raised and I grew up in a super religious home so I was able to connect to that bit. As long as it's not preachy I'm usually okay.

    As to the question: In my grab bag I would have Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. It's DEFINITELY adult though, so if I had to have one for teens I would probably say... Oh maybe Poison by Bridget Zinn or something. Hard choice!

    1. I have Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker and I plan on reading them very soon now that I have pretty much fallen in love with her writing!!

  3. I've heard so much about this series, I'll probably give it a shot later on...I do hope it's worth it! Though the series does sound like something I'd read:)
    The Mark of Athena By Rick Riordan, while I own this book already, I feel like I need one of each edition (ebook, audio, hardcover, paperback) So yeah...I reallu crazy about Rick's books. Or maybe The Book Thief, I was so emotional in that one, cannot wait for the movie next year!

    1. I have only read the first three Percy Jackson books, but Rick Riordan's writing is great! I was totally into the story, I just haven't had time to continue on.

  4. I was nervous about reading Stealing Parker because I had heard that religion issues were in the story, but I ended up loving that book. Catching Jordan is still my favorite, but I really do want to read this one. Nice review hun.

    1. I really liked this. I'm glad that I didn't let the religion thing scare me off.

  5. Yay! This book was so good, happy you loved it. I loved how Kate grew too, like you mentioned, and still maintained her beliefs but found a good balance. You put that really well! I loved Matt, the bed moving? awwwwwwww

    1. OMG when he did that the first time I almost died. And then when Will does it with him... totally melted my heart!!

  6. I'm on the Sourcebooks your for this, and am so excited! I had a lotsa friends like Kate, and sometimes got caught up in the judgmental BS myself. I love the character growth Kenneally always has in her books. I'm so glad you like this, Amy. Great review!

    1. I worked with someone who was super religious and tended to be judgmental, but he was really a sweet person and he didn't mean to offend anyone with how preachy he was with his beliefs. It was just so strong in him that he didn't realize that others have their own beliefs. We actually got him to loosen up a little so I totally got Kate from an outside perspective.

  7. Omg you haven't read Jordan or Parker? What are you doing, girly!! haha. Jordan is one of my fav contemps of all time it's so heartwarming and some parts had me laughing so hard I had to put it down to catch my breath I swear!! I'm so happy you enjoyed this one the religion was done very well I'm not one who usually enjoys books with religion so I was very happen how it was handled. It was more a part of Kate than anything, you know. And Matt! Yay! He's so great! Awesome review, dollface! <3

    1. I know, I know!!! I have them though and plan to read them soon. I wanted to read them before this, but other things got in the way. Thanks for letting me be part of this awesome tour!!

  8. Love the excerpt! I need to read this ASAP! And thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I really don't mind it if books are a bit too 'religious' but I'm glad that it wasn't able to bother you either! I don't think i'd be bothered by Kate, because like you said, she's just too attached to her beliefs.. lol! But Matt sounds awesomeeee! Great review Amy!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  10. Nice! I love it when characters grow.

  11. Great review! I'm always interested to find out what makes other people tick, so I like books that incorporate religion in a non-preachy way. And of course, I have loved all Miranda's books. Giselle is right, you need to get on that. I'm happy to lend you mine :)

    Jen @ YA Romantics

  12. Great review Amy! I loved Kenneally's previous books but I admit I've been nervous about jumping into this one because of the religious aspect. I try to avoid religious books but it's good to hear that this one doesn't get preachy.

  13. Yay I'm glad you loved this one! I've only read Catching Jordan which was really great, and I can see how a religious book could end up being a problem, but I'm glad that wasn't the case here! :) And it sounds really refreshing to see a strong family relationship :) Awesome review, Amy! All of the characters in here sound SO amazing!


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