Hot Fun in the Summertime #CannonBookClub discussions are now open.
Join us to talk in the comments about our three romances or the cozy mystery selection; and Zoom with us Saturday June 24 @ 7PM EST. If you haven’t gotten your invite, contact us.
I’ve posted zero reviews, and it’ll probably stay that way (yay for repetitive stress injuries!). But I will be very excited to talk with you about our 4 selections on Saturday! Hope to hear from (and chat with) some of you this coming weekend–the discussion post goes live on Friday, June 23 (how is that in 2 days? 😳), and the Zoom (see the most recent Cannon Fodder for details, including the link to Saturday’s Zoom call), will kick off at 7pm Eastern.
For now, here are some discussion topics.
First things first
Which book(s) did you read? If you read more than one, which did you like (or dislike) the most, and why?
Genres, subgenres, and tropes—oh, my!
Our four books include one mystery and three romances. We could be more specific and say that our list includes one cozy mystery and three contemporary romances. Even more specifically, we’ve got a culinary cozy mystery, one YA, and one New Adult romance. And then there are the tropes that do so much (though certainly not all) of the work of making something flag clearly as one (sub)genre or another—just moved back home, never fit in with the home crowd, mostly-well-meaning nightmare families, 2nd chances, and enemies-to…coupled-up teenagers, to name a few. The books, themselves, even make (self-)reference to genres and tropes, some in a more direct and sustained way than others. Given that…
1. Was this anyone’s first time reading any of the genres or subgenres represented?
2. Do you have a favorite (sub)genre? If yes, what is it, and why—what do you like about it? And is anyone’s favorite genre either mystery or romance?
3. Within your favorite (sub)genre, what are your favorite/least favorite tropes?
4. Did the book(s) you read meet your expectations for the (sub)genre? Did any of the books surprise you with how they executed the required elements?
Questions for Each Book
Arsenic and Adobo
5. As a book about a murder: What did you think of how the actual mystery in this book was handled? Has anyone read further books in this series? Would you recommend them?
6. As a book about family: Family (by blood and by choice) is obviously a crucial piece of both the plot and the characterization of Lila Macapagal. Sibling rivalry, family dynamics, responsibility to/for family—this is the place to talk about the family ties that bind.
7. As a book about food: The food in this book is also incredibly important, and not just as a catalyst. If you want to talk about food, this is the prompt you’re looking for. What did you think about Manansala’s food writing? Too much? Too little? Just enough? Could you relate to how important food was to Lila’s family, culturally speaking? What about food as a love language or a symbol? What’s your “desert island food?” Bonus points if you’ve tried any of the recipes referenced or included fully!
8. “I can’t believe you’re not asking about Amir and Jae!”
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
9. What did you think of the couple and how their relationship fell apart and re-developed? Fave/least fave moments? Did you find either of them compelling? Infuriating? Utterly inscrutable?
10. Celine’s and Bradley’s motivations and choices/internal conflicts are heavily influenced by their relationships with family (or lack thereof). If you want to talk about bad dads and the weight of expectations, this is the place.
11. What did you think of Hibbert’s portrayal of Brad’s OCD? Are there other romances or mysteries that you think do a particularly good job representing characters with mental health challenges?
Never Been Kissed
12. What did you think of the couple and how their relationship developed? Wren and Derick are both still figuring out who they are and what they want, in terms of both sexuality and general adulting/self-determination. What did you think of their respective personal growth and understanding arcs? Did you find either of them compelling? Infuriating? Utterly inscrutable? How about that 3rd-act break-up? If you’re here to talk Wren, Derick, or Wren & Derick, this is your prompt!
13. The friends/roomies, the Wiley’s crew, Wren’s family, Derick’s family, Alice—this is the place for the supporting cast.
14. Author Timothy Janovsky has said that “Wren understands the world through his favorite movies.” How did that work for you? Can you relate? Did you notice any movie-buff Easter eggs you’d like to share with the class?
15. In different ways, and with different results, both Wren and Georgie start by dusting off something they wrote at some point in the past, hoping it will help them figure out what to do in the present to move through a period of uncertainty and into a future that is…different? better? What do you think about Wren’s version of this, the emails he sends to his former crushes? How did that strike you as a catalyst and/or framing device? Did anything about how Janovsky handled the responder who *wasn’t* Derick surprise you? NOTE: Georgie, All Along has its own entry for the Georgie-centric version of this question.
Georgie, All Along
16. What did you think of the couple and how their relationship developed? Fave/least fave moments? Did you find either of them compelling? Infuriating? Utterly inscrutable? How about that 3rd-act break-up? If you’re here to talk Georgie, Levi, or Georgie & Levi, this is your prompt!
17. I really enjoyed how Clayborn developed Bel and Georgie’s friendship. What did you think of them, separately or together? This is also your prompt if you have thoughts on Georgie and her family, Levi and his family (yikes), or any of our close-focus characters and “the town” (its denizens or Darentville, itself).
19. Was I the only person this one hit close to home for? In some ways, I related to Georgie more than I expected to, and not only because I, like Georgie, just moved back to my hometown. (No, literally “just”—I was giving myself painful repetitive stress injuries from taping boxes shut and trying to get out of New York and then settled in New Orleans while I should have been reading ahead so I could send you a list of dazzlingly insightful discussion questions a week and a half ago.) From a more neutral standpoint, what are your thoughts on “going home” as it plays a role in this book? In the romance genre more widely?
20. “Once upon a time, I told a story about myself.” In different ways, and with different results, Wren and Georgie both start by dusting off something they wrote at some point in the past, hoping it will help them figure out what to do in the present to move through a period of uncertainty and into a future that is…different? better? What do you think about Georgie’s version of this, the friend fic? How did it work for you as a framing device? What do you think of the idea of “going back,” as Georgie and Levi call it? NOTE: Never Been Kissed has its own entry for the Wren-centric version of this question.