Review – Hello LAlaland

Wine pairing: Champagne, preferably a mimosa made with Piper-Heidsiek

Rating: 4 Wine Glasses

Before I get into the awesome that is Hello LAlaland, a quick note: Madi gave me an ARC of her novella with the agreement that I would, as a very close friend, give an honest review. Lucky for me, LAlaland was an absolute joy to read.

Reading Hello LAlaland was like a long overdue, gossipy brunch with your best friend – immensely satisfying and leaving you wishing for more. I would suggest making an icy pitcher of Mimosa’s and enjoying the by turns hilarious, frustrating, and hot relationship Wini Chapman has with Tony Ricci.

The story opens with Wini flying into Los Angeles for her ten-year high school reunion. She is mostly ambivalent about the reunion experience; more than anything she wonders how her classmates will treat her given her celebrity (she is the owner/designer of WynnLynn House of Design and fashion world it girl).

The bulk of Hello LAlaland takes place during Wini’s reunion. There are a few deftly placed flash backs that add depth and meaning to the present day interactions Wini has with her high school classmates. Unsurprisingly, the Queen Bee mean girls are still mean and her closest friends are still the people she chooses to hang out with.

And then there is Tony. Oh my. Tony is Wini’s long standing crush who has grown into a beguiling, sexy devil of a man. When sparks fly between Tony and Wini, the heat is so intense you will be glad you made that pitcher of mimosas and kept it on ice. The chemistry between Tony and Wini is wild and doesn’t let up.

The feisty and fiercely independent Wini is stunned by how strong her reaction to Tony is, even after ten years. Tony is stunned by the seemingly juvenile way Wini treats him after their steamy night together.

Wini wants Tony. Tony wants Wini. Wini is scared. Tony is determined. The sex – well the sex is so damn hot that nothing else may matter. Can a reunion at the reunion lead to something more?

I can’t give away the answers. But I know you will enjoy the ride as much as I did!

 

Make sure to visit Madi’s website so you can see what she has coming up next!

 

Rating Guide:

1 wine glass – at least you got to drink wine while you read the book

2 wine glasses – passable, but probably not something you would read, or drink again

3 wine glasses – enjoyable, thought provoking, complex, but not perfect. Definitely worth a second look.

4 wine glasses – A perfect pairing. The words, the wine – an experience to indulge in more than once.

Hello LAlaland Book Cover

Hello_LAlaland_Hi-Res_Cover-1

 

Hello LAlaland release day has arrived!

Hello LAlaland

 

Paparazzi, vodka cocktails, and sex. Welcome to LAlaland.

Winifred Chapman isn’t thrilled with the idea of her ten year reunion; especially not the idea of returning to LAlaland. Even in the midst of her thrilling career, she’s managed to avoid LA as often as possible, which is saying a lot for a world-renowned fashion designer. She has a life which women everywhere would envy, and has everything she needs . . . or so she thinks.

Anthony Ricci was the most popular guy at Westlake High, and the one Winifred thought would never look twice at her. A former professional athlete, he now runs a successful Italian restaurant in New York City. When they run into each other at the reunion and give in to a widely passionate night, Anthony decides he may want more than Winifred is willing to give.

Hating being known by the men she’s dated or slept with, Winifred has learned to take what she needs from them without investing emotionally. When she discovers Anthony’s old desire for her and disappears after their night together, he refuses to give her up.

Will he be able to show her that love doesn’t have to be a battle, or will LAlaland prove to be enough to destroy her carefully constructed walls?

Hating being known by the men she’s dated or slept with, Winifred has learned to take what she needs from men without investing emotionally. When she discovers Anthony’s old desire for her and disappears after their night together, he refuses to give her up.

Will he be able to show her that love doesn’t have to be a battle, or will LAlaland prove to be enough to destroy her carefully constructed walls?

 

Get a quick glimpse at Tony:

 

Check out what Winifred is all about:

 

Get the book from Kobo, TWCS Publishing House, amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.

Madi also has some paperback copies available. If you’d like a signed one, please contact her through her website, www.authormadimerek.com, or below.

Follow Madi on Twitter and like her Facebook Author Page!

 

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Rave Review for Hello LAlaland: “…deserves ten damn stars, not five.” – Cecily’s Book Review

… You are an awesome writer and this book freaking kicks ass. I am now officially in love with Tony and his sexy ass.Again thank you so very much!! I loved this book. I couldn’t put this book down I had to finish it right away. The writing was amazing. The story line is brilliant, sexy, romantic, wonderful, and amazing. I loved all the characters. Winifred is a strong, amazing, successful woman. She is head strong and knows exactly what she needs and doesn’t need in her life. I admire this character very much. She will not let any man break her heart or it come close to breaking her. Anthony is so…ummmm yummy! I could read about him all day long. He is strong, sexy, hot, manly, and successful too. He wears his heart on his sleeve for the woman that he loves. Tony is my new book boyfriend. The history that the two of them have is crazy, sad, and makes me want to shake them both. Then I want to smile like a kid eating an ice cream cone for the first time. Yes this story is that damn good. I honestly could read this book over and over again. I love how I got sucked into this story. I am so digging the ending of this book and I can’t wait for book 2. Congrats on writing this freaking amazing story!!!! All I can say is that I am so glad that I got the chance to read this book and I am looking forward to reading so much more.

Interview with Madi Merek

On April 1, 2014, my dear friend Madi Merek will be celebrating the publication of her first book, Hello LAlaland. What better way to christen In Libri Quod Vinum Illic Est Verum, than by having a book birthday party? Pull up a chair, pour a flute of champagne, and join the fun!

Because Madi is a wonderful friend (truly my twin separated by birth and time), she let me play interviewer, so I could share some of her insights about her first publication with you.

 

Hello LAlaland heavily features Wini’s HS reunion. What were you like in high school? 

Oh, high school . . . Well, I was an outspoken brat most of the time. I was very opinionated in politics and religion – very pious and incredibly innocent. We wouldn’t have been friends back then.  Probably true. I would have mocked you, if I bothered to notice what you were doing at all (I was pretty bratty in high school myself).

I was so in love with the 1940s that one of my teachers let me prepare and teach her class for a few days. I put on Big Band music, brought recruitment posters, and the whole shebang. I wrote my first novel back then. It was about nurses and soldiers, using my friends names, and very amateur, but my senior year is when I began penning Message to New York – my next novel and masterpiece.

I sang in choir, wrote for the school newspaper, was a teacher’s aide a few times to get easy credits and play on the internet, and I published some of my poetry in the school’s “literary magazine.” I took French – my favorite language – for three years; I still think in it sometimes. I crushed on a few teachers, including an Italian one who looks a lot like my husband today. I loved the same boy through middle and high school, and **cough** I’m sure you can guess where that brings us with LAlaland. 😉

 

Wini has a few people at the reunion she wants to see. Did you stay close with anyone from high school? Is there anyone you want to see at your reunion that you didn’t stay in touch with?

Yeah, absolutely. Two of the girls I was friends with in middle school were in my wedding and are still my friends today. Shondra and Ashley (whose names have been combined to Ashley Gard in the book). We all live in different states, but we see each other a few times a year.

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people. I sort of feel like Wini in the respect of “I wonder if they’ll even recognize me?” vs. “I’m a freaking PUBLISHED AUTHOR . . . I bet some of these girls have read my book!” It’s a surreal feeling. I look forward to seeing Mr. Love of My Teenage Life (though I’ve seen him several times in the past two years), and all the people I was in choir with.

I’m afraid they’ll all be disappointed that my life’s ambition is no longer to become the First Lady of the USA (yes FLOTUS, not Madame President **rolls eyes**), but I bet they’ll all enjoy that I’m no longer the conservative, “Righty the Elephant,” Bible-carrying girl I used to be.

 

As a writer, you can’t help but be inspired by the people you know. Were characters from Hello LAlaland influenced by people in your life? Is anyone going to recognize him or herself in the book?

Of course! The girls I mentioned above play a role in the book, as well as one of my dearest friends (and Scarlett’s Godmother) Marcie. She always told me that she wished her name was spelled without the “e” so I gave her that, forever in print. I really don’t think that the boy who inspired it will notice, but who knows. I will give him a copy when I see him. **laughs** While I say that, Tony really is more my husband than anyone else. The sex, the delicious goodness of fighting and making babies – that’s all Jon.

The one thing that’s for sure is the people in my life who live in Westlake Village (where much of the story takes place) aren’t going to appreciate how I’ve depicted their little bubble – even though it’s accurate. We lived there for a time, and I got to see the ugliness of the “beautiful” people. What a bummer.

 

I know music plays a role in your writing process. What were your top 5 songs for writing Hello LAlaland?

OOOOOOOH! I love this question the most!! It was amazing how my playlist ranged from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Katy Perry to Frank Sinatra. **laughs**

1. “Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and (sorry to break the rules) “Californication” by the RHCP

2. “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant

3. “Royals” by Lorde (I was listening to this before it was popular. Damn people taking away my hipster music. 😉 )

4. “All Eyes on You” by St. Lucia

5. “Last Nite” by The Strokes

 

Hello LAlaland is your first published work. What about the publishing process surprised you?

There was a lot of in-depth editing, suggestions of removing chunks of story for example. But I refused; instead I reworked those parts and moved them around to make sure they remained in the book. I was also surprised by how quickly my book was desired. I sent in the query and was negotiating a contract a week later. That was surprising and amazing!

The other thing that surprised me was the length of time it takes to publish something. It’s a long, but amazing process, and I can’t believe it’s here.

 

What can readers expect next from you?

YAY! This is my favorite question now!

What readers can expect next is my masterpiece. It’s a tumultuous historical/literary fiction, filled with angst and pain and joy, set in the late 1930s through the end of 1945.

It’s not your typical World War II historical fiction. Message to New York is about a female intelligence officer, truly one of the first of her kind, working in Austria during the Anschluß (German annexation of Austria). She’s in a marriage, as expected of women at the time, but in Austria she falls in love with a Jewish man named Max.

Readers can find more information about Message to New York on my website: http://www.authormadimerek.com/#!books/cx1l

 

Madi – thank you for the interview!

Next up, a look at the gorgeous cover and my review.

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