Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blog Tour ~ Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally ~ Interview, Review + Giveaway!

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Follow the full tour HERE
Very excited to have an interview with Miranda Kenneally today! I'm a huge fan! You can check out my previous reviews of her books here
Catching Jordan  ~  Stealing Parker
Today I have a review of Things I Can't Forget as well as a giveaway! Thanks for stopping by!


Tell us about your inspiration for Things I Can't Forget and how you developed the story and characters.

My inspiration is somewhat autobiographical. When I was a teenager, a friend of mine got pregnant twice. The first time I stuck by her as she had the baby and gave it up for adoption, even when other people teased her and teased me for being friends with her. The second time she got pregnant, I was really pissed at her for being irresponsible again. She asked for my help in getting an abortion. I said no because I didn’t want my parents or kids at school to find out. I didn’t want to be teased anymore. My friend had to have a random stranger drive her to get the abortion, and our friendship fell apart after that. To this day, I don’t know whether I made the right decision or not. What I do know is that I let other people’s beliefs drive my decisions. I wrote THINGS I CAN’T FORGET to show teenagers that they can believe whatever they want to believe, whether it’s about life after death, or Coke vs. Pepsi, or Mets vs. Yankees. This book is all about a willingness to be open.

As for how I developed the characters – I have no idea. They just kind of showed up on the page. Although I will say Matt’s appearance is loosely based on a super cute frat guy I met once upon a time.

What was your favorite scene to write? What was the most difficult scene?

My favorite scene to write from THINGS I CAN’T FORGET is when Matt and Kate fool around on top of the parachute in the big field. Poor Kate was so out of her element and I loved being the evil author yanking her out of her comfort zone and making her partake in a hook-up scene.

The most difficult scene to write is the one near the beginning of the book where Parker tells Kate off for being judgmental. It was such a hard balance to keep Kate likeable, while showing she’s flawed. It took help from 3-4 friends to get that scene just right. Hell, I’m still not totally sure I nailed that scene.

One of your favorite quotes from Things I Can't Forget

I try to escape but Matt wraps me up in his arms. “You’re like a straitjacket,” I say, trying to break free. “A straitjacket of love.”
I slap his chest. “I can’t believe you just said that. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”
Does that mean he loves me?

Do you draw from any of your own teenage experiences for your writing?

Sometimes. You know the scene in STEALING PARKER where Brian admits to having drilled through the concrete in the boys’ locker room so he could peek into the girls’ locker room? Two of my guy friends in college did the same thing, but they were trying to peek into the hot girl’s dorm room next door. I didn’t tell either friend I put this in STEALING PARKER, but just a couple weeks ago one of the guys emailed and said, “I read Stealing Parker. I remember chiseling through the dorm room walls! We called it Operation Penetration.”

I loved Sam, Will (Corndog), and Matt (Miniature Poodle Matt) especially their nicknames by the way! :-D Who are some of your favorite book crushes? What makes a good love interest?

To strike my fancy, a male love interest needs to be physically strong, humble, have a great sense of humor, and care about the woman more than himself. But he also needs to be a bit of a jerk, because all boys are jerks sometimes. Some of my favorite book crushes are Po and Brigan from Kristin Cashore’s books GRACELING and FIRE. I love John After from GOING TOO FAR and Grayson from SUCH A RUSH. Rowan from WANDERLOVE was pretty yummy, too, and recently I loved Braden in ON DUBLIN STREET.

I’m glad to know you like the boys in my books! Wait until you meet Jack in Racing Savannah.

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading ALTERED by Jennifer Rush. Jenn sure knows how to write real, sexy boys, huh? *fans self*

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Mostly I read trashy romance novels, eat Mexican food, gossip with people, drink coffee, and watch too much TV.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?

Probably Alaska. I’ve had a hankering to go there ever since I read the TWILIGHT books. What does that say about me?

Can you pretty please possibly share a teaser quote from Racing Savannah?!?

I’ll do you one better! Here’s a teaser excerpt:

I find the dogs in a nest behind a toolbox, and when I see them nursing from the mama dog, Ash, I let out a low squeal. “Oh my gosh you’re so cute.”
Not even a minute later, Jack appears in the barn doorway. He stops to light a lantern and carries it toward me. I instinctively take a step back, then stop.
I swallow. “You actually came.”
All you had to say was puppies,” he replies with a soft smile, kneeling to the ground.
They aren’t even 24 hours old yet,” I say, squatting next to Ash’s little nest she dug out. A puppy chirps, and the mama dog moves to lick it. Seeing how much she loves her babies makes my chest hurt. Love is so simple, but so complicated sometimes.
I pet the brown and white dog’s ears. “You did such a good job, Ash.” The exhausted dog looks up into my eyes.
She did, didn’t she?” Jack says. “What are there? Twelve babies there?”
The nursing puppies are all tangled together, wriggling and whining. “I think so.”
A slow rock song blares from the wedding tent. I must have a wistful look on my face as I gaze in the direction of the band, because Jack takes my elbow and gently lifts me to my feet.
Dance with me,” he says, pulling me up against his chest. I listen to the rapid beat of his heart through his cotton button-down shirt. Burying his face in my neck, he runs fingertips up and down my arms, melting my skin, making my toes curl.
I’ve always wanted to dance at one of your mom’s parties,” I say.
Oh yeah?” Jack murmurs, swaying slowly. “I prefer this. It’s quiet and private. Not to mention puppies are present.”

Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks, #3)
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Release Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Haunt Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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…

Kate helped her best friend through something really difficult. It was something Kate didn't believe in so now she just can't move on. Her friend is trying to move on and Kate continues bringing up all the guilt so no one can move on. They get in a big fight. Kate has to work at a summer camp without her. Kate flashes back to the emotional event throughout the book. It weighs heavily on her mind.

Kate is very hard to relate to at first. She is trapped in her own little box and when people don't fit into it she gets angry or tells them off. Like when they arrive at camp and everyone sleeps in the same cabin the first night since they don't have kids yet, instead of joining in the sleepover, Kate freaks out and says everyone will get pregnant and she will sleep in her own cabin alone.

Then she runs into fellow camp counselor, Miniature Poodle Matt! Matt is so adorable. At first I was a little surprised at how well he took to Kate but they have a special history. They first kissed at the summer camp when they were little and it meant so much to Matt to find someone who accepted him. All these years later and they found each other again. Kate has so much guilt over her best friend that she is often pushing Matt away. She realizes now how when you really like someone it is hard to not want to do everything with them and go all the way.

Kate begins questioning her beliefs and I actually began crying for her. Even though I don't share her beliefs I can understand how it is so hard to stick to what you want/need/believe when everyone else is different and changing. She doesn't want to lose Matt but she just can't fully give up what she believes in. Matt is very patent and understanding. Kate does learn to open up and except others while still keeping her own beliefs.

I loved that Parker and Will were also camp counselors and such a huge part of the book. It was great to get to see their relationship develop even further and they become great friends for Kate. Kate is really judgmental to Parker at first but eventually they find common ground and help each other out. Jordan and Sam also make a small guest appearance. Like all Miranda Kenneally's books, it is a huge emotional journey to friendship, love, and finding yourself that is very relatable. I highly recommend all her books! If you're a bit weary of the religious aspects, like I was, I still recommend giving it a try or at least starting with Catching Jordan and working your way through! Such great reads!

"Why did y'all bring so much stuff?" yells Charles, a little boy. I can already tell he'll be a handful.
"Hey, hey," Matt says to Charles. "You never say things like that to a lady. The reason they have so much stuff is so they have all the outfits they need to look beautiful every day."
"Awww," says Isabella, a girl with blond curls. On the inside, I'm saying awww too.

Rating: 4/5

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.



  1. So happy you enjoyed this, Jennifer! I love all the books in this series and happy you're a fellow fan! :D Great interview as well ALTERED was pretty good! I also adored the fooling around scene it had just the right amount of awkwardness and romanticness ;)

  2. I totally agree! at the beginning Kate was SO judgmental, I wanted to strangle her at times but I love how much she grew up and Miniature Poodle Matt!!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  3. Great interview. I have to say that I also fell in love with Braden from On Dublin Street. I just finished it yesterday and loved it.
    My favorite read would have to be Olivia Cunnings Backstage Pass or EL James 50 Shades of Grey. I can read both of those books over and over and never get tired. Both are great, sexy reads.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

  4. This is a series I really want to get started on soon. Great interview and review Jennifer and thank you for the giveaway :) I'm glad this is a series you're enjoying too :)

  5. Great interview. Lol at Operation Penetration. That's too funny!! I loved the excerpt from Racing Savannah.

  6. Twilight made you want to visit Alaska? Well, better than suddenly having the urge to move to Folks where there's barely any sunshine the whole year around!
    I loved Altered, those boys were really all special. I'm dying to know how the story goes on in the second installment! And reading about your favorite guy characteristics, I think I got a really good one for you: Travis from Beautiful Disaster & Walking Disaster. Gosh, he's just so... raw. He misses the humble part, though. ;) Yet, he'd definitvely go into the favorites bag first!

  7. "Operation Penetration" I'm dying! That's so hilarious. I need to read these books SO bad!

  8. I love that the idea for this book came from the author's life experiences. I can imagine that sometimes makes the read a good one but also a hard one to write.

    Great interview!

    I agree with Beautiful Disaster, it will always be a favorite of mine.

  9. I want to read this and more from this author! Great interview and review!!

  10. I freaking LOVE Catching Jordan and really like Stealing Parker, but I didn’t love this one as much as I was hoping. I liked it…but not loved. Kate was not a likeable person. She was naïve and judgemental but I still liked the message of the book. With the plot twist of the previous books (Henry/Will) I was never sure if Matt was gonna be ‘the’ guy or someone else. I think I was 75% in when I realized he really was the love interest. Not that I minded…looking forward to the next book.


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