Cuddlebuggery Book Blog > Contemporary
What happens when you hit rock bottom and your best friend is coincidently about to headline a summer tour around the country? You take advantage of that epic road trip, of course! Reagan O’Neill is a little, well, out of control. Her family life is less than ideal and her ex-boyfriend hurt her beyond repair. Her summer vacation with her best friend and country superstar Lilah Montgomery is the perfect chance to start over. Add an adorable and handsome opening act to the mix and you get a very unexpected surprise. Even though the premise sounds like the perfect summer read, Open Road Summer was a little less awesome and a lot more genetic than I was expecting.
I was really looking forward to the road trip aspect of this novel. However, despite some exceptions, it was more of a “venue-to-venue” sort of trip instead of an exploration of the cities they visited.
“Everyone was talking about their own work as well, and about the superpowers of their agents, the bloody-mindedness of copy editors, and the perfidies of marketing departments. Darcy was swimming in a sea of publication, and all she wanted to do was drown.”
I’ve long felt that writing is – and always has been – my strength. It’s something that I have always enjoyed doing, and the feedback that it has received over the years has me believing that it’s a skill that I’m at least somewhat competent at. Yet I’ve never had much of an urge to try my hand at storytelling. Essays and reviews are all very well and good, but the thought of attempting a novel’s worth of fiction has never much appealed to me. Perhaps I simply don’t have the patience or work ethic. Perhaps I’m afraid of inadvertently telling a really, really crummy story. Whatever the reason, the concept of writing a book just hasn’t been an interest of mine.
We are officially one week away from Isla and the Happily Ever After (!!!!!!!!!) and that means it’s time to read Lola and the Boy Next Door!
If you’re new to the readalong, here’s the deal: Judith, Jamie, Lindsey, Andi and I have put together a read/reread of the series in preparation for Isla’s release (and also because these books are cute as all hell and totally worth a read for whatever reason). It’s all pretty laid back, we don’t have specific daily goals or anything though we are trying to finish each book in a week. We’ve got a bunch of fun posts lined up (see the schedule below) and be sure to join in on twitter with #IslaIsComing for a bunch of awesome giveaways and general fangirling over the books.
For those of you that are reading Lola for the first time, here’s what you’re in for:
So a few months back I went to a Fierce Reads signing — as one does — and the super cute Katie Finn, author of Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend, was there. We got to the question and answer section and Andye from Reading Teen mentions writing with different aliases. I don’t remember what Katie’s response was because I was in the midst of a WAIT WHAT moment. So naturally, I interrupted the panel and said, “WAIT. I’m confused. WHO ARE YOU?!” She smiled sweetly and said, “Morgan Matson.”
To be honest, I didn’t believe her at first. I mean, how could this have gone on for so long without me knowing?! Then my blogging buddies were all, “Uh, yeah, Steph. It’s her calm down, you’re making a scene.”
So I went to Twitter to see if I were the only one to not know this, ya know?
Boomerang is a distinctly familiar book. It’s like fanfiction and manga made a baby. It’s got that same kind of delicious story setup, constantly sprinkling of sexual tension as if it were a serial trying to keep the crowd coming back, and then a sweet, bubblegum ending that pops satisfyingly from a bubble of delight.
Mia and Ethan meet up for a one night stand only to realise the next day that they’re both competing as interns for the same position at the same company, Boomerang, a dating site. Shenanigans ensue, romantic tension is had and they both really want to bang despite a no-banging rule between company employees.
Boomerang is a little like ice cream. Perfect for what it is. Like ice cream it’s delicious, sweet and will give you brain freeze if you have too much of it. It’s a beach read. A summer read. Neither taxing on ze little grey cells nor emotionally challenging.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. We are officially in the final countdown to the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and I, for one, could not be more excited. These books are the cutest of the cute and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Isla.
‘But wait,’ you may be saying, ‘I haven’t read these Anna/Lola books. They sound quite delightful but I have yet to read them.’ Never fear dear reader! Andi from Andi’s ABCs, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner , Judith from Paper Riot, Lindsey from A Bookish Sinister Kid and I have put together a readalong (or rereadalong for those of you who have read them and want to brush up so you can be at maximum preparedness levels for Isla) in anticipation of this glorious release.
(I’ve heard a rumor that Anna and the French Kiss is $6 for kindle right now)
‘A readalong,’ you may also be saying, ‘well that sounds like a jolly good time!’ (I don’t know why you would say it like that but work with me here) ‘What does this readalong entail?’ Excellent question!
Reasons to read:
1. An unlikable main character
Hear me out. Liz is cruel, broken, and just plain toxic to those around her. The beauty about this book is that we get to experience her development. The different stages of her life–from childhood to the day she decides to end her life–are presented beautifully. While you might hate her decision, you also grow to understand them. Isn’t that awesome? Zhang created a very interesting and complex character and I love her for it.
2. The feels
As you can probably tell by the summary, this novel is an emotional sucker-punch to the heart. There’s something about it that makes it feel very personal. Reading about someone who is spiraling out of control is never easy. I didn’t get emotional but I did feel like I had a sock down my throat. I wanted to change the outcome somehow but all I could do was read and enjoy the ride.
I went into We Were Liars one cocky son of a biscuit eater, feeling above it all right from page one. I’d seen this book talked about so heavily by other bloggers and how some never saw the twist coming or how others totally saw that twist coming. All the while, I was sitting on the sidelines with my shades on, posted up with my arms folded, saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hot potato.” That’s not to say I didn’t want to read this book, because I did. I even had an ARC sitting on my shelf for the longest time, but due to a lot of the hype, I kept putting it off. Plus, I’m one of those people who usually can easily figure out a plot twist and I didn’t want to dive into something where a lot of people already mentioned figuring it out.
A conversation with myself in which I try to figure out what the hell to rate this book.
M1: I honestly don’t know. Jodi Lynn Anderson did her patented thing where she uses her words to crack your heart like a lobster shell and then play with your insides and it was beautiful and poetic and atmospheric it’s just that nothing happened.
M2: Bullshit. Things happened, it’s just that they were small, life things for the most part. And, you know, the whole serial killer on the loose thing.
M1: I object to you bringing up the serial killer, that makes it sound like that was more of a thing than it was.
M2: Fair enough. But the serial killer isn’t the point of the book. The point is Maggie and the story of Maggie, Pauline and Liam’s friendship
M2: What are you sighing about? You loved them.
“I have a subconscious list of rules for how reality should work. I did not develop these rules on purpose, and most of them don’t make sense – which is disturbing when you consider that they are an attempt to govern the behavior of reality – but they exist, and they play a large role in determining how I react to the things that happen to me. Large enough that a majority of the feelings I feel are simply a reaction to reality not complying with my arbitrary set of rules.”
Humor is an extraordinarily personal thing, so I do not find it particularly surprising that Allie Brosh’s combination comic and memoir was not quite as funny to me as it apparently has been for other readers.
That being said, Hyperbole and a Half is undoubtedly worth experiencing. An already short length combined with a heavy reliance on simple illustrations makes for a very quick and undemanding read, and Brosh utilizes every page to its maximum potential, telling an eclectic batch of stories that are frequently heavy in subject matter despite their lighthearted presentation.