Blog Tour + Teasers + Excerpt + Giveaway: Two Roads - L.M. Augustine

Thursday, January 16, 2014

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.

My Thoughts:
The book radiated love – both in its luminous and ominous ways. This book had hit home for me, it made me feel attached to it. It was personal, so to speak. A sense of nostalgia arose and enclosed upon me, embraced me with its warmth. Made me miss the things I loved back in Uni – my Literature and Retorika (Rhetoric) classes. It made me remember my favorite poem since college: John Keats’s 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'. It was so explicit and I could not help but feel like an observer watching the urn. Though my favorite there was the “almost kiss”, was it really an almost kiss or after kiss? It held so much meaning and interpretation. And when I read this book, I just felt that I was like transported back in time, when I enjoyed each poem and how other poems left me clueless. It was both magnificent and perplexing, the poems, I meant. Yet it those could also describe the story of this book. The writing was just precise and clear – it just flowed effortlessly and was impeccable. As much as it had also been filled with mentions of poet, poetry and a particular convention, the book embodied a sense of how a person read a poem, it was like poetry in a sense that the straightness with its indirectness and the emotions that gushed with it overflows. Like when you read poetry there would be arguments because one perceived the poem different from the other. Too much emotion – the guilty and hatred really consumed the protagonist in this story. It already said the bits and pieces of why the protagonist hated a person, why she was what she had become after an event and it ended with something of realization, a discovery.

Cali had this sense that captured me almost instantly because she was who she was (even if she was pretending). She just took what happened the hard way and it became too powerful that she blocked out others and everything then created a new ‘shallow’ her. But, I enjoyed reading her as a character; when she let her guilt and hatred aside, she was this overtly enthusiastic and strong woman. She was a character I see anyone could relate to, one way or another. Not wholly but partially, for sure. She faced the devastation of what happened to her brother, she matured enough when she realized everything and she made the first move to her parents. It was a one-step-at-a-time process but she was getting there. Sometimes I dared ask myself how LM, the author, wrote this. Take note, a lad wrote this. Yet he was able to convey such a spot-on depiction of a girl’s emotions from the thinking to the gestures.


I am still a girl, who flails at guys.
Those that have lean muscles,
flexing and ripping.
Then, they are also intelligent,
an added bonus, I must say.
Or vice versa?
Yet drool-able.

Speaking of drool,
I remember a chocolate cake,
I don’t know why.

Maybe because both are mouth-watering?

But I would say a non-sequitur
yet congruent,
both are definitely yummy.

Logan, oh dear (look what you’ve done, I created that poem for you). Logan Waters was the total package. Well, beyond, really. He was the total: What the GEEK happened?! He was not the stereotypical geek. Yes, he was this overall nerd, intelligent-wise – glasses, weird sense of humor (not really), math whiz and the shirts (though I cracked up at the “exponential growth - natural log” one). Yet he had this totally hot body! No, I agreed with Cali: “Seriously, geeks should not have that kind of muscle”. Piercing deep blue eyes, dark hair that I coveted to run my own fingers too, biceps hard as steel, abs that was like cold-buns of bread (the other back buns were firm as well, I would like to think so). But as much as I wanted to delve on his unbelievable hotness level, he was more than he seemed to be. He was this happy guy but deep down he harbored intense emotions – like Cali. It consumed him too but he had this positivity in him that he made that guilt he felt into something good. There were times I wanted to console him, that point where Cali got too far and of course when he broke down. He was just real, he was just as shattered, he was just as broken but he was just that imperfectly perfect. I could not wish for a better guy to be on his spot. He was this geek with a real heart plus a hottie (because I would not deny that) and he was such a pleasure to meet (and to reread in the future).

This book had this 'hate underlying love' relationship. I got why Cali was mad at Logan but then again, I thought that there would be a point wherein someone always have this urge to put blame on someone – as much as it sucks. Because when you could blame someone, you could think it was not your fault. Maybe that was what Cali was thinking or because she wanted someone to feel the misery with her. She also felt alone. I could not really point a finger on her because as much as what she did was partly-wrong, she had the right to. And at the moment, everything she felt was right.  So, the moving on could not be done as she was stuck with her past and there was this pretension that she needed to keep up. To be honest, I felt exhausted for her at that point, the pretension. But that was what made her feel something other than the guilt, so let her be. Let me point this: I loved the pranks. When I wrote ‘hate’ it was both playful and serious, it was entertaining and I had such good laughs at it. I could just recount every each one and I would just laugh out loud. Oh good-sweet-awesome times.

The poems (the cited ones and the originally-made) both the gist being told and being laid upon were heartfelt. It showed that unconditional love, romance and the inevitable happily-ever-after. When Frost was mentioned, ‘Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening’ and the line(s):
“And miles before I go to sleep,
And miles before I go to sleep.”
popped in my head. Yet, it was another poem that portrayed the whole book, which was fitting. Then, I fangirled: while reading, Pablo Neruda was mentioned and I was like, ‘Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines’! And like I said, it was mentioned; only mentioned. That poem was so emotion-filled and I remember how my blockmate read that poem in front of the class with his soothing-calm (like a radio DJ at night) voice and it was perfect. I was totally thinking was over my head when I was reading this book. Even ‘I’ was ecstatic, even if I was not that knowledgeable at poems. My relief was evident when I finished the book and that the author did not add Plath’s poems – her poems make me depressed; I loved her ‘Cinderella’ but the other poems was just so disheartening. Since I mentioned such saddening author, there was this poem I remembered that really made me say, “For Cali!” because that was what she really needed! Oh and the poem I personally thought was suitable: Emily Dickinson’s ‘After A Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes’, it showed the three steps of suffering:
“As freezing persons recollect the snow
First-chill-then stupor-then letting go-.”

Lastly, this book made me realize that whenever I wrote a one-shot story, I always knew how it would end. Actually, the ending was always made first. Haiku? I needed to syllabicate it to make the 5-7-5, so I should have the word or words to execute it with the prescribed amount of syllables. But whenever I wrote a poem, I have no idea how it would end – it just led me to wherever it wanted. So I agree with Frost, as mentioned by Cali:
“Frost once said he never began a poem
whose ending he knew
because writing a poem is worth discovering.”
I knew what I wanted to write but when emotions overwhelm me, I let it surge forward and it made everything better. I could not regret what I wrote because that was what I felt at that moment – it could either make sense or not, I didn’t care. Sort of a spoiler alert, so you could not read this. This was a poem (a long one) that just popped into my head just hours ago and I just can’t ‘not’ write it. To Cali (and LM of course), here goes:

Harsh, shattering but…
Is it really liberating?
Some say it is a means of escape,
of being free,
of running away.

Is it his coward’s way out or is he
a strong person who knows when to give up?

Will I ever know?
I want to ask him, Why?
Constant why’s, questions, why it led there.
Why did you do it?
It hurts not to know,
to forever not to know.

I wish that maybe I would know
in time, perhaps?
But if not, I will just pray.
For him, for his soul.
Mostly, to let him feel free,
and that someday,
I would learn to understand
why he did it.

Because in the end,
it already happened.
I am just the one stuck,
endlessly questioning why – what trigged him.
Don’t get me wrong,
I want, need,
so bad to be able to move on,
out of my limbo of past.

Frost said that there are two roads.
Do I really need to choose?
Or better yet,
is there really a path to choose from?

I want to be happy again,
that kid that has a smile
that brightens the whole room,
but I can’t.

I wonder if he is happy now,
if I just get that assurance,
I think I will be.
But for now, I would learn to
try to move on.

And in time,
I will be happy.
As I wipe away my tears,
I look at this nerdhole beside me,
I smile,
and I know,
sooner or later, I will be.

I wish you are happy now.
I wish you are free.
I will let go for now,
but you will forever be in my heart.
I love you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I am bias, I love this pic. That guy. Oh-la-la-Logan*

“Then go to him,” I say quietly, and now I look up to meet her gaze. Her brown eyes are hard and strong, watching me intently. “Go out with him,” I continue. “Or don’t. But don’t let him go. Because if someone can be constantly on your mind like that, if they can always make you smile, if they can cheer you up one way or another, then you have to go to them. You have to tell them what they mean to you and then you can go out with them or you can stay friends or you can barely ever talk to them, but you enjoy yourself, you have fun, and then you hold fast to them and never, ever let them go. Because if someone, just by their existence, can brighten up your whole day, you have to try like hell to keep them in your life.” I take a long breath as soon as the words finish tumbling out of my mouth, a jumble of thoughts and feelings that, for me, couldn’t be more true. I don’t know where they came from other than straight from that goddamn unpredictable heart of mine, and as soon as the words leave my mouth, I know my subconscious has been working on them for a long time.

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.

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-     Jassie

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