Review, Tour & Giveaway: So L.A.

So L.A.

So L.A.
By Bridget Hoida
(Lettered Press, Paperback, 9780985129415, April 2012, 382pp.)

The Short of It:

Never thought a book about the shallowness of Los Angeles could surprise me, but it did.

The Rest of It:

Magdalena wasn’t always a Botox-injected, Juicy Couture wearing gal. No, life before her designer water empire took off involved a vineyard in Northern California, a brother whom she absolutely adored and a simpler life; complete with a “tell it like it is” mother. But when her brother Junah dies tragically, she is completely and utterly destroyed. The only way to get through it, is to transform herself into someone other than herself. Maybe then she can leave the pain behind and at least pretend for a while that she isn’t some pathetic creature, pining away for a brother who will never pal around with her again.

Los Angeles is a lot of things to a lot of people but when you think of L.A., I bet you aren’t thinking depth or an abundance of intellect. Right? I mean, I was raised walking the streets of Hollywood (that sounds bad) so even as a little kid, I saw the transparent, plasticky nature of the town itself. It was bad then, but it’s even worse now. So, when I was asked to be a part of this tour my first reaction was a tiny cringe. Imperceptible, but there. However, I visited the author’s website to read an excerpt and I was quite taken with her writing. It was different. Sharp. Blunt. Edgy. Not predictable but shiny, like something you see on the ground that you have to pick-up.  So, I signed up for the tour.

I. Am. So. Glad. I. Did.

When Magdalena comes up with the idea to bottle designer water. She, along with her husband Ricky, take-off for Los Angeles to build their empire. There, Ricky’s sister helps Magdalena become the person she wants to be and introduces her to designer clothing, expensive beauty treatments and saline implants. But when Magdalena begins to doubt if her marriage is really a happy one, suspicion sets in and Magdalena slowly plummets into depression where she’s left wondering if she will ever be whole again.

This is not chick-lit. It shares elements of what we’ve come to call chick-lit, but Magdalena is a very complex woman with real problems and although she’s wrapped herself in a protective shell, the pain she feels is woven throughout the entire novel as she goes through the five stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Reorganization, Depression & Acceptance).

At first, there is a lot of humor and name-dropping. Hoida sets the scene and really gives the reader a feel for L.A. Even if you’ve never stepped foot in So Cal, you’ll have a good idea of the L.A. that Mags lives in. The Beverly Hills lifestyle is in full-swing yet what makes it so appealing, is that you know right off that Mags isn’t into it. She is playing a part and between the parties and the shopping, her vulnerabilities come out in full force as evidenced by her affinity for gin and although she has some good people supporting her, none of them truly realize the severity of her depression.

I really liked this book. I liked it for a number of reasons but probably because it surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t expect to have a girl-crush on Magdalena but I have to tell you, I sort of did. Imagine the cuteness of Bridget Jones, the craziness of Suzanne Vale from Postcards from the Edge and the vulnerability of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. THAT is Magdalena.

I also didn’t expect the story to pack such an emotional punch. Her relationship with her brother and her memories of home were really quite sweet and at times, heartbreaking. No matter how glitzy the lifestyle, loss is loss and when it comes down to it, we are all imperfect humans trying to make the best of it.

I love it when a book surprises me in a good way and this one did just that.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own copy! Details below.

Bridget Hoida
To view Bridget’s other TLC tour stops, click here.
To visit Bridget’s website, click here.
To visit her Facebook page, click here.

TLC Book Tours

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

This giveaway is for one copy of So L.A. and is open to the US & Canada only (no PO boxes). A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on Saturday, September 1, 2012 (pacific). I will contact the winner.

To enter the giveaway, please click here.

Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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29 thoughts on “Review, Tour & Giveaway: So L.A.”

  1. I liked this one too, Tina…chick lit it is definitely not. I too was a little surprised at the edginess and psychological complications embedded in the story…but I really like that kind of story, so it worked well for me. I’m glad to have found this gem of an author and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next 🙂

    1. You know how sometimes, sentences are beautifully written but they seem overworked? I didn’t get that here. A few of the passages in this book literally stopped me cold. The last sentence was one and the one where Mags takes care of a rather unfortunate problem. I remember stopping cold and then re-reading it word for word.

  2. Reblogged this on Bridget Hoida and commented:
    “Never thought a book about the shallowness of Los Angeles could surprise me, but it did. […] I really liked this book. I liked it for a number of reasons but probably because it surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t expect to have a girl-crush on Magdalena but I have to tell you, I sort of did. Imagine the cuteness of Bridget Jones, the craziness of Suzanne Vale from Postcards from the Edge and the vulnerability of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. THAT is Magdalena.

    I also didn’t expect the story to pack such an emotional punch. Her relationship with her brother and her memories of home were really quite sweet and at times, heartbreaking. No matter how glitzy the lifestyle, loss is loss and when it comes down to it, we are all imperfect humans trying to make the best of it.” -Tina Reed, Book Chatter

  3. This book sounds refreshingly different. You piqued my interest when you said the book surprised you. I was sure this was chick-lit so it’s also a good reminder of not judging…!

    Love your honest, fascinating review. I’m going to visit the author’s website momentarily!

    1. Do visit her website. It was the excerpt that clued me in that the woman could write!! I know the cover is totally appropriate given the subject matter, but it reminded me of the TV show, The Hills. My drama alarm went off. LOL.

  4. Boy, this is one I never would have given a second glance – not even at the review except that after I read the short of it and knew you liked it, I knew I should read more. Great review!

    1. I think you’d like it. Funny, when the book came in the mail along with a note from the author (nice touch) I was so impressed with the book itself. It was made so well with end flaps and nice paper, etc. I pay attention to that! I carried it around in a protective bag. LOL.

  5. Southern California is for the beautiful people. Great for young people I think..Some young friends got a few thrills the other day when Aston Kutcher and his date sat at the next table at a Sunset Blvd. restaurant.

    1. When younger, I liked being able to hit both beach and mountains in one day. So Cal is good for that. A two hour drive for me can take me to a lot of places.

  6. This is one of those books I would have NEVER given a second glance. My first guess would have been that it is a shallow, chick-litty airplane book. But complex characters? Snappy writing? Girl crush? Coming from you? Wow.

  7. After looking at the title and the cover, I would never have looked twice. In fact, on some other blogs, I wouldn’t even have read the post, but I had to hear your reaction to a book like *this*. Color me surprised! It sounds fantastic. After loving The Pink Hotel earlier this year, I keep finding myself drawn to books about LA too, so this one sounds especially promising.

    1. As far as the L.A. stuff goes, she is spot-on when she describes Beverly Hills. I lived in Hollywood/West Hollywood so I saw it, and was around it but I didn’t live it. When I was in my 20’s though I spent a good deal of time on that side of town and it was hard to keep up with that lifestyle. I hope you read it.

  8. I have read other reviews of this book that convince me that there is something more beyond the glitz and glamour that is typical of LA. It entices me to want to try this one. And how interesting that the protagonist is acting out the stereotypes, but inside feels that they are wrong. Brilliant review today, Ti. This is one that I want to read soon.

  9. Isn’t it awesome when you take a chance on a book and it ends up surprising you in the best of ways? And I love the line about you “walking the streets of Hollywood.” HA!

  10. I’m glad you picked up the shiny penny!! Your review rocks and has me totally drawn into this story!!!

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