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November 27, 2013

Braine Reviews: Two Roads by L.M. Augustine + Interview

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
The only person poetry-loving Cali Monroe hates more than herself is Logan Waters, the geeky kid who lives in the dorm building next to hers.

Ever since Cali's parents told her she would amount to nothing, she has felt entirely inadequate. Friendless and alone, she takes on the mean girl role in hopes it will make her feel better--and Logan serves as the perfect target. He infuriates her with his obnoxiously long lashes, his all too perfect dimpled smile, and his complete lack of personality outside of his intelligence. It doesn't hurt that he's part of the reason her brother is dead, either. So Cali hates him, and he returns the favor. Thus, their prank-filled, insult-driven rivalry is born, and torturing Logan quickly becomes the highlight of her life.

But when Cali's parents set them up on a blind date, she begins to realize Logan might not be as boring as she always thought. He shares her love of poetry, takes a sadistic pleasure in making fun of crepes, and he makes her blush when he calls her smile pretty.

And hey, maybe those long lashes of his aren't that obnoxious after all…

Two Roads is New Adult Romance about finding love, standing out, and learning to embrace who you are. It contains some language and mild sexual content.
4.75 to be exact
TWO ROADS is about two best friends turned bitter rivals after a tragic incident broke them apart. Logan Waters, Cali Monroe and her brother Ben have been hanging out since they were kids. As Ben and Logan are a little older than Cali, she worshiped them and even had a crush on Logan before things went south. When Ben committed suicide four years ago, Cali blamed Logan for her brother's death and since then, she vowed to make Logan's life miserable. And that she did but not without serious retaliation from her ex-bestie. TWO ROADS is a flirty, snarky and very funny new adult contemporary romance that will have you laughing, giggling, smiling and maybe even crying in it's silly fuzziness.

The cauldron rating says it all and the only reason why I didn't give it a full 5 cauldron score is because it was a little predictable on some parts but even if it were so, I still had a blast reading TWO ROADS. Suicide is a serious issue and losing someone close to you because of it is not only painful but polarizing. Cali and Logan has been wallowing over Ben's death for years and they blamed everyone and everything, including themselves, for Ben's suicide and dealing with that kind of guilt over something you can't control is brutal. Now though TWO ROADS' theme is heavy, I liked how L.M. Augustine tackled it with a lot of humor which I think is more effective than presenting it in a dark and sorrowful way.

Even if I was constantly laughing and giggling over these two's silly pranks and ball busting conversations, I felt the sadness and denial seeping through their otherwise snarky banter. One can tell Cali and Logan are masking the pain of Ben's death and it's during those moments where they reminisce that I felt the most emphatic to these two. There's nothing more permanent than death and and all those questions that will forever remain unanswered coupled by a multitude of what-if's are the ones that got to me the most.

TWO ROADS is told in Cali's POV and this little lady is a piece of work. She really took to heart being a mean girl not just towards her friends but her parents too. To describe her relationship with her mom and dad as strained is an understatement because Cali is simply disrespectful to them. She would curse them out, do things to defy them even go to the extent as to make them believe she's promiscuous just to prove the point that they can't tell her what to do. Cali definitely deserves a hard shake, a furious smack and hard spanking because of her despicable behavior. Still I found it hard to really dislike her because I saw how bad she's suffering in silence and despite the attitude, Cali is self-aware and remorseful for her actions.
But the thing is, this mean girl front gives me a place to hide from all of the guilt I feel over Ben's death. It gives me strength, meaning. Like if I can bring everyone else down to my level, I won't be so alone.
Logan Waters is a geeky dream boat, math equations, hot chocolate and all. On the outside he might be giving Cali tit for tat for her aggressive pranks but in hindsight, I feel he simply let her use him as an emotional punching bag as she sort out her feelings about Ben's death. Cali came close to taking it too far with Logan a couple of times but this dude kept his cool and rolled with the punches. It's so hard not to love him because Logan is so in tune with Cali and was basically her rock while she goes through her levels of grief. And like what I said in Click To Subscribe, I wish I met and hooked up with 'em geeky boys and maybe my formative years would've been better. 
The truth is, when Logan and I are going at it like this, we're in our own little world. A world full of fire and passion and hate and dying puppies, sure, but our world all the same.

Everything is intense when it comes to Logan. Everything feels amplified. The hate, the confusion, the passion -- all of it is so freaking strong.
TWO ROADS is definitely a winner! It gave me lots of LOL moments stemming from the back and forth pranks these two are throwing at each other. I was beyond entertained over their verbal foreplay, felt warm and fuzzy over their love for poetry and more tender moments. I also felt sad and a little helpless over Cali and Logan's feeling of loss. Mr. Augustine did a great job in writing a heartfelt story about loss and love from a girl's POV. He wielded his wit carefully and tastefully without sacrificing the message that death is one of the most permanent kind of pain there is and the polarities of grief that go with it. Mr. Augustine is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors and you can bet that I will gobble up his upcoming adult contemporary novel. I'm sure it'll be another hit.

Before y'all go rabid on me, I know Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone may not be the exact fit to play Logan & Cali BUT when they have the right kind of personality to pull it off. These two can pull off snarky perfectly
Peter Parker (Spiderman) meet Olive (Easy A).

Purchase Two Roads




BRAINE: Hi L.M. or should I say, Brad! Congratulations on TWO ROADS! I've read several glowing reviews for your New Adult novel and I have to say, I can't help but feel proud of you! Woot! So let's chat about this a bit to encourage our Supies to give it a whirl shall we?

L.M. Augustine: We shall! I've returned from my usual duties of saving the world JUST for this interview. So you could say I'm excited. ;-) 


BRAINE: Your debut novel, Click To Subscribe, which I totally LOVED, was YA. It was received really well by the blogosphere and I was half expecting you to write another YA Contemporary. What made you shift to New Adult?

L.M. Augustine: Well, it wasn't actually that big of a jump. TWO ROADS is definitely on the younger side of NA, but the themes I was going for weren't YA themes, and Cali and Logan were definitely college characters so writing it as NA just felt right. I don't write for a particular category, though, in any of my books, so you'll see a mix of YA, NA, and adult from me in the future; I do whatever the stories wants.


BRAINE: And that's why I'm such a big fan of your work not just because of the humor but really because of what you've mentioned. Even your characters don't take things too seriously which I find very appealing. From a writer's perspective, was there a significant difference between writing YA v NA?

L.M. Augustine: Yes! I definitely think the difference between the two is in the themes. While it would be easy to say what separates the two categories is the amount of sex and the emotional intensity, I just don't think that's true. YA is about learning to be independent and to be your own personal while NA is about actually going out and making it in the world, living on your own, and so on, which are two very different things, so it was a big change to write a story that is more "in the real world." 


BRAINE: Click To Subscribe was told from the male perspective, should we expect the same thing from TWO ROADS?

L.M. Augustine: Nope! I tried my hand at the female POV this time. It was actually lots of fun, and I think/hope I did it pretty believably. 


BRAINE: As you can see, I think you did pretty well, Angie would be proud. New Adult is known for its heart wrenching and tearjerker stories, do we need a reading kit for TWO ROADS? If so, what do you recommend that said kit contain?

L.M. Augustine: Um… so I actually didn't intend for TWO ROADS to be all that sad. Maybe a teeny bit, but I wasn't really expecting people to cry. But… lots did, somehow. So maybe bring tissues just in case? LOL. (Oh--and you'll need a punching bag. Cali may or may not do something that will make you hate her for a while, but hopefully you'll watch her grow as a person after her mistake and learn to lover her again.)


BRAINE: Speaking of Cali, can you tell us something about your characters? Aside from Logan's obnoxious eyelashes (I hate it when the guy's lashes are better than mine, ugh! You don't need it, seriously!) and Cali's annoyance about it, what is it about these two that readers can connect with and maybe love?

L.M. Augustine: I think they both embody something that we all feel at some point in our lives, in that they both have these seemingly great, carefree lives, but deep down, they both feel so left out but are too afraid to admit it to themselves or to each other. Plus there is also a tragedy connecting their pasts that will hopefully make you feel for them, but they keep it locked away, afraid to tell the other how much it still hurts them. But more importantly, they're funny. They pull off some pretty epic pranks against each other, and their rivalry is like a more intense version of what we've all felt at some point in our lives: jealousy and hatred for someone who always seems to be just a bit ahead of you.


BRAINE: OMG the pranks are really, really good!You have a penchant for writing geeky heroes, why not go the tried and tested jock, alpha, brawny male mold? Don't get me wrong, I think geeks are sexy but in the context of romance novels, they're not popular. 

L.M. Augustine: Well, I think you answered the question right there: because geeks aren't popular in romance novels. And I really don't understand that, because in my experience the most awesome people (in both genders) are the geeks. So it's my mission to put geeks back up on romance readers' radars, and to remind you all just how badass and attractive nerds can be. ;) 


BRAINE: I agree, I love geeks too! Given the right tools, I think they can be sexier than some of these models. As a new author I'm sure you've had your share of "bad" reviews. What was your reaction when you read the first "bad" review and how did you deal with it?

L.M. Augustine: Bad reviews don't bother me. They sting a little, but they're part of the job, and I seriously do respect reviewers with the courage to write an honest, negative review, especially when they can keep it civil. However, sometimes the bad reviews flood in all at once, and that's the point in which I go to Buzzfeed to cheer myself up. 


BRAINE: I can imagine! It's like being told your baby's ugly to your face and still be polite. What's your next project?

L.M. Augustine: I'm working on two things at the moment. The one I'll probably end up publishing next is adult romance, and there may or may not be strip teasing to lines of Harry Potter in it. 


BRAINE: LOL... Oookaay... but whatever it is you're writing, come back and invite me to help you pimp it out. Now for the burning question: When are you going to do an L.M. Augustine reveal? I'd be more than happy to set up a mini-tour for that...

L.M. Augustine:  Okay, okay, fine. Let's do the reveal. I'm actually…

…wait for it…

JAMES BOND.

BRAINE: Well fluck! 


L.M. Augustine is a YA romance author who is obsessed with writing about dorky teenagers, love, and happy endings. He currently lives in New England, where he spends far too much time reading books and screaming at his computer, and he believes that the solution to the world’s problems can be found in chocolate cake. Click To Subscribe is his first novel, but it won’t be his last.

L.M. prefers to remain anonymous so let's stalk him!






16 comments:

  1. Oh wow, 4.75? Great review, the blurb caught my attention but your review kept it :) Adding it to my TBR.

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    1. This is so funny I hope it makes you laugh too.

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  2. I'm so glad you LOVED this, Braine. It's been on my TBR and now I know I'll enjoy it. :) I have to admit I am surprised at the amount of humor...but that only intrigues me more.

    Thanks for the fab interview, too. I can see that LM would include humor in his writing. And I'm glad he took a shot at a female POV. I loved his answer about his characters...I mean, it's a great thing when an author gives us a relatable character, no?

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    1. Yes! Some of the scenes are childish but it's in context with the story and who doesn't love to laugh? Read it soon, Brandee!

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  3. WOW, another book to add to my TBR asap! I love geeks, and when there is some kind of rivalry or animosity on the outside, but something much softer on the inside, I'm usually hooked very quickly.

    Thanks for the great review, I look forward to experiencing Two Roads myself!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  4. Oh wonderful! A new book to me and I'm impressed by the rating. Mainly if the plot is predictable because sometimes it"s a big problem for me. But now I'm curious! thanks for the lovely review!

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    1. The predictability won't bother you because the characters are fleshed out so perfectly and it is kinda romantic actually.

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  5. Despite the predictability this sounds like a fantastic find. I love the sound of both the characters and the plot..adding to my list sweetie!

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  6. a near five star read? this i gotta read. i'm especially touchy to the subj of suicide, so i'm intrigued by the book for that alone, Idk if the characters would drive me insane for all their banter, but i am looking forward to sitting down and reading it. great review Braine!

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    1. You're hard to please, girl, so I'm hoping you'll at least like this when you get to read it.

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  7. What a fabulous review/interview! I think this may be my favorite of yours yet. I read CtS, so I know I enjoy Augustine's writing. I've been meaning to get Two Roads, and your review has me convinced!

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    1. CtS is so frickin' funny and this one is too. As you liked CtS, I'm sure this will be a hit for you as well.

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  8. I love a cute story and books that make giggle. I'm adding it to my TBR.
    Great review and interview. I can't get to get acquainted with Logan & Cali :)

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    1. Yes, we all need to read something silly once in a while.

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