Blog Tour: The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything (Review and Interview)

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Click on the book image to learn more about the book!

How did I get it?:
Received from the lovely Diversion books for part of the Birthday Bash Blog tour.

Synopsis:

Mina Clark is losing her mind—or maybe it’s already gone. She isn’t quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can’t shake—a “temporary” condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten. A routine trip to the dentist changes everything for Mina, and suddenly she’s not sure if what’s happening is real, of if she’s just now fully losing her mind… especially when she realizes the only person she thought she could trust is the one she fears the most.

This latest novel by Francine LaSala (Rita Hayworth’s Shoes) is a fast-paced, richly layered, and darkly humorous satire filled with quirky characters and unforgettable moments of humanity.

Thoughts:

I heard about this book from Diversion Books. I didn’t really know a lot about it, but having enjoyed books from them in the past, coupled with an intriguing synopsis, I thought I’d give The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything a try. I’m glad I did, because it was an intriguing, original read.

The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything is the first book that I’ve read of Francine LaSala’s. I would definitely read more from her. I found her writing to be incredibly accomplished and readable. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet. I would describe the plot as highly original, mysterious and interesting. I kept on trying to guess what was going on, but I couldn’t. I love that it wasn’t predictable.

Francine LaSala has created some fantastic characters. I could easily compare some of the characters to people I know in real life!

The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything is well worth reading, if you enjoy a magical, mysterious read.

Interview with Francine LaSala

What inspired you to write The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything?

Inspiration came from many places, including where I was in my own life (mother of young children, unemployed, hating the dentist), but like any story, you start with some raw material and then the story kind of just unravels the way it wants. Yes, I do live in a condo complex like Mina, but mine is nowhere near as lavish as where she lives. (Though my Home Owners Association may be as obnoxious as hers.) Basically I wanted to tell the story of a woman who was lost in life, and found her way again, becoming stronger than ever. I do that a lot in my stories; this is just how this particular story turned out.

What do you find easier to write, fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction is SO much easier! Even if I’m ghostwriting it. I suffer writing nonfiction nowadays. I get bored. But fiction just flows out of me. As an example, I just wrote a short story for a Christmas anthology called Merry Chick Lit, coming out later this month. It was nearly 9,000 words long. Not that impressive except that I wrote it in a day, and that’s with working full time (and not writing it at work, which I’m not just saying because I’m worried my bosses are listening, because even I can’t believe I did that). I also wrote the story just after completing an insufferable biography ghostwrite, which took 5 weeks. I was creatively exhausted after that and I may have backed out of writing this Christmas-themed romance had the project not been for charity. I was worried I would have nothing left in me. But not so. In fact, writing that short piece seemed to energize me. Writing fiction is definitely like breathing for me.

Were you encouraged to read as a young child?

Oh yes. My dad likes to read but my late mother was a real reader. She loved mysteries and quirky authors like Janet Evanovich. I definitely got that from her. I started reading when I was four. It was a book about fall leaves–funny, the things you remember. I think I spent my childhood with my nose in a book. I’m seeing that starting to happen in my older daughter and I’m also encouraging her to read as much as possible.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

Who wouldn’t want to have written Bridget Jones’s Diary, starting a whole new fun movement in writing fiction? Or a runaway bestseller that lands a film deal and a lifetime of financial security? Though to be honest, and dramatic, yes, it’s sort of like asking (for me, who is overly dramatic), “Is there a child you wish you had given birth to?” So the answer is yes, there is more than one book I wish I’d written–the ones I’ve written. Now don’t ask me if there’s a book I wish I hadn’t written… 🙂

You seem to keep really busy with many different projects! What do you see as your biggest achievement?

Professionally speaking, my biggest achievement was getting my first book out there. It took more than 10 years for me to finish writing and then publish Rita Hayworth’s Shoes. I think once you get past the first one, you can do anything. It took me only months to write The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything, and it’s a far more complicated, involved book. But I was able to do it because I did the first one. I accomplished that and the floodgates opened for everything else.

Quick-fire questions

Favourite author? Voltaire

Favourite book character? Bridget Jones. I will always love her.

Favourite place to write? Panera Cafe. My writer’s Mecca.

A fictional character you love to hate?  Bridget Jones. She makes me nuts.

Who would you cast as Mina if The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything was made into a movie?  Christina Applegate for sure. In fact, I have the entire cast plotted on my Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/francinelasala/pins-inspired-by-the-girl-the-gold-tooth-everythin/). You know, just in case Hollywood asks…
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Slumber

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley, thanks to Diversion Books.

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, Ruby believed in magic…

When Ruby volunteers to take her mother’s housecleaning shift at the gothic Cottingley Heights mansion, she thinks it’s going to be business as usual. Clean out the fridge, scrub toilets, nothing too unusual. But nothing could prepare her for the decadent squalor she finds within. Rich people with more money than sense trashing their beautiful clothes and home just because they can. After the handsome Tam discovers her cleaning up after him and his rich friends, Ruby has never felt more like a character from her sister’s book of fairy tales.

Tam sees beyond Ruby’s job and ratty clothes, and sweeps her off her feet, treating her like a real princess, but Ruby is sure this beautiful boy is too good to be true. And as one tragedy after another befalls Ruby and her family, Ruby painfully learns that magic is all too real, and it always comes with a price.

Thoughts:

Let me start this review with… I’m completely in love with this book. Help! Diversion Books have done it again to me. I absolutely loved Outcast, published by Diversion Books and this time round I picked up Slumber. Boy, oh boy did I love it. The cover screamed at me to read it, then from the first page I was immediately drawn in. I couldn’t put it down.

Slumber isn’t just a story about magic (however awesome a story about magic is). It’s much deeper than that. It’s about family and how far many of us would go to protect the ones we love. In this case Ruby, our protagonist needs to save her sister and her mother from a curse. I absolutely loved the relationship between Ruby and her sister. It was just so heart-warming and relatable. My sister may be older than me, but I still feel the same protectiveness over her like Ruby does with Shelley.

Ruby herself is one of the best characters I’ve come across in this book genre. She’s so strong and protective over those that she loves. She was a real kick-ass character. I loved her! Tam is an intriguing character. I think I knew from quite early on that he wasn’t what he seemed. I started to wonder what exactly he was…

Tam is a Fae. The fairies he hangs around with are pretty vile fairies, particularly Violet. I absolutely loved to hate them. Ruby gets dragged into their world… but I don’t want to spoil what happens to her. Read it yourself and enjoy! I know I certainly did.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Reading next:
The Elite- Kiera Cass

The Man Who Rained

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How did I get it?:
I bought it after loving The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw.

Synopsis:

When Elsa’s father is killed in a tornado, all she wants is to escape – from New York, her job, her boyfriend – to somewhere new, anonymous, set apart. For some years she has been haunted by a sight once seen from an aeroplane: a tiny, isolated settlement called Thunderstown. Thunderstown has received many a pilgrim, and young Elsa becomes its latest – drawn to this weather-ravaged backwater, this place rendered otherworldly by the superstitions of its denizens. In Thunderstown, they say, the weather can come to life and when Elsa meets Finn Munro, an outcast living in the mountains above the town, she wonders whether she has witnessed just that. For Finn has an incredible secret: he has a thunderstorm inside of him. Not everyone in town wants happiness for Elsa and Finn. As events turn against them, can they weather the tempest – can they survive at all? The Man Who Rained is a work of lyrical, mercurial magic and imagination, a modern-day fable about the elements of love.

Thoughts:

I really loved Ali Shaw’s first novel The Girl With Glass Feet. It was such a beautiful and unusual read. I was blown away by the writing and the imagination of the author. I didn’t love The Man Who Rained as much, but it was still an incredibly creative and descriptive read. I like a bit of a magical element in a book, I often find myself glued to the pages to find out what’ll happen next.

What stands out in Ali Shaw’s books are the descriptions. They’re so well written that you imagine yourself right there in the story observing it as a bystander not a reader completely outside the imagination of the author. Yet, the metaphors used don’t feel forced at all. It flows completely naturally and adds to the beauty of the story. The only thing that didn’t flow beautifully was the story as a whole. I enjoyed reading it but it felt like something was missing. I can’t quite pinpoint what.

The Man Who Rained isn’t as deep or poignant as The Girl With Glass Feet was, which is why I think I didn’t enjoy it as much. However, I do think it’s worth reading, even if you just read it to experience some beautiful writing and imagery.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Reading next:
Secret For A Song- S.K. Falls