Monday, December 31, 2012

Kicking Eternity by: Ann Lee Miller

 Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
 
Okay, so I have to be completely honest when it comes to this book.  I did not know it had religion as a basis when I first cracked it open, and it threw me off.  Now, I'm not an atheist by any means, nor am I against faith, but I do have a wee bit of a problem when it comes to religion, so I automatically wanted to dislike the book.  I stopped reading it after 13%, and put off reading it for two days.  After getting an email from Ann warning me that there was religion in it, I felt bad and decided to 'toughen up' and get through it.... and I'm glad I did.
 
Ann has a quality to her 'voice' that is almost magical.  It draws the reader in, and in my case, against their will.  I found myself falling into and absorbing the emotional impact the pasts of the characters had on their religion, or in some cases, lack of religion.  The plights throughout the book that dealt with the characters not only doubting themselves, but also their faith and God's will was refreshing to me when it comes to religious ideals.  99% of the time when I'm confronted with religious views or ideals, its almost like the people are sitting in a dozer, trying to shovel eighty thousand pounds of 'you will go to hell if you don't believe this, this and this' down your throat, which is why I was against this book.  But, the religious aspect of this book is not meant to throw religion or the threat of hell in your face, but is more of an aspect of the characters, much as their flaws or virtues are an aspect.  So, it was easy for me to get over my reservations the more I delved into the story.
 
The characters themselves are beautifully flawed.  Not in the sense that she didn't do her research and just slapped traits here and there, but, more in the sense that each character has a fear, or a burden, or an inhibition that makes them extremely human and relateable.  The love between the characters is also extremely relateable, even when they become confused about they're feelings.  I don't believe anyone can honestly say that they've never felt emotions for someone, been heartbroken, then realized you loved someone else.  If you can say that, you've never experienced adolescence.
 
What I loved most about this book was the purity of the story.  I'm not saying that everything was flowers and 'oh holy moley, I'm so pure and untried and see everything through rose colored glasses', because that is far from the case.  The characters face many, many obstacles and real life situations; from meth addiction, rebellion, parental pressure, sex addiction and uncertainty to forgiveness, closure, love and heartbreak.  All of which makes this an extremely well rounded book.
 
I give major kudos to Ann for writing a religious romance, knowing how many people, including myself, view them.  But, you have a new fan when it comes to your work, and that would be me :) religious aspect and all.  Keep up the good work suga!
 
So please take the time to read Kicking Eternity.  It is a heartwarming story you can definitely sink your teeth into.
 
To get your copy of Kicking Eternity, click HERE