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on October 24, 2014
I am so sorry that I spent $9.39 for this Kindle Book. I suppose it serves me right for not reading more of the reviews or downloading a sample. The writing is very amateurish and the dialogue (especially when Pia is involved) is dreadful. Does not ring true at all. The bad boy biker character goes from saying "How you doin'?" with a "strong New Yorker" accent to saying "I take it from your hesitation that you've never been on a motorcycle". Yeah, right. And just how many times do we have to hear about Pia, Francesca and numerous other characters mentally or physically rolling their eyes? The descriptions of the "action" are plodding and wordy. Pia and Francesca have "rules" for dealing with men that are incredibly juvenile. I don't know if this novel was intended as a young adult romance, but as another reviewer observed, young adults should really be reading well written books to help them grow and learn. This book will not help anyone learn. It's a mildly entertaining read and if I had paid $1.99 for it I would feel I got my money's worth.
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on February 19, 2014
Like most folks, I make assumptions about published authors - that their grammar, wording, imagery, phrasing & storytelling abilities are at a higher level than the rest of us. But the more I read recent fiction from young women authors, the more disappointed I am as a reader & consumer. I returned to school a few years ago as an older adult & was excited to have ENG:Creative Writing as one of my first semester classes. I was literally stunned by the juvenile grammar, spelling & overall composition of my classmates. This author writes like she has no idea her work is being read by adults. Other reviewers have said her work should be classified "young adult." I don't agree young girls should be given inferior books to read. How will they themselves mature as writers or readers?

This author is one in a crop of published writers in the past 10-15 years who write in loose, overly explanatory sentences that ignore a reader's own ability to "fill in." It's as if they write in a "stream of thought." Even more important, these current book editors are unsophisticated themselves & do not "get" how to hit the editing mark. When I sit down to read I don't want to feel like I am "listening" to gossip over coffee.

I should have known her second book wouldn't improve. I didn't get beyond chapter two in either book. The search continues for mature, interesting, solid creative writing!
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on August 27, 2013
Ms. Chiolfano has done it again. Carissima is a story rich in characters, family secrets and life's lessons in losing and finding love. Set in Astoria, New York and Rome, we meet young and old Italian Americans, trying to find their way in families steeped in Italian history. This novel is about two women, Francesca Donata and Pia Santore there relationship with their sisters, and how this changes their lives.

Francesco Donato is an Italian film star, who has not made a film in ten years, but is still adored by her fans. She has many names she has earned in her films, her least favorite is Dolci Labbra , Sweet Lips, and her favorite Carissima, Dearest One. She has been a recluse for years and is now coming out of hiding with her bodyguards to visit Astoria, New York. Her arrival is cloaked in mystery, and for several days it is just a rumor that she is even there. Neighbors gather daily, morning till night hoping to get a glimpse of Signorina Donato.

Pia Santore is a young woman from California visiting her aunt in Astoria for the summer. She has dreams of being a journalist, that were stalled, but she now hopes are back on track. Pia has an internship at Profile magazine and is anticipating soaking up all the knowledge she can while there, then returning to California and her family. She has such high hopes for this experience. " But harsh reality has set in over the course of the past few days as it becomes more apparent that Colin wants a secretary rather than an editorial intern whom he can mentor."
Suddenly the news breaks that it is indeed Signorina Donato visiting the beautiful , but aging mansion of Signora Tesca, down the street from Pia's aunt's home. Pia is now one of the many neighbors standing outside for a glimpse of the infamous film star. If she can just get a photo, or a word, she could take it to Colin and convince him to let her write a story!

It is so delightful to encounter the neighbors and characters from Bella Fortuna. Olivia De Luca and her bridal shop, Antoniella's Bakery owned by Pia's aunt, and so many other familiar names. I could almost smell the Biscotti, and other delectable delights from the bakery.

I have had the privilege of visiting Rome, and Ms. Chiofalo's descriptions brought it all to life for me again. I have my own memories of throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain.
I loved this novel filled with people , emotions and wonderful history, and I highly recommend it. I turned the last page of this sweeping novel enthralled with this beautiful story, but sad that it had ended.

I received this novel from the author for an honest review.
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on September 19, 2013
I loved this book. My one word description would be "delightful." I'm ready to spend time in Astoria, New York and Rome Italy eating, shopping, and experiencing the culture. The author does great job creating a very real sense of place. In addition, the major characters are all well developed. The story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of the two main characters, Pia, a young woman interning for the summer at a celebrity magazine and Francesca, a retired Italian star of the silver screen. Both woman have a strong voice as they tell their intertwined story and slowly share the secrets of their past. I was amazed at how quickly I was immersed in the story and how hard it was to put down.

Pia put her life on hold three years ago when her younger sister died. She is finally pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist by interning at a magazine in New York for the summer. It is definitely an eye-opening experience (think The Devil Wore Prada). She is living with her aunt who immigrated from Italy many years ago and now runs an Italian bakery in Astoria, New York. Shortly after Pia arrives a rumor spread through the neighborhood that a retired famous movie star, Francesca Donata has been seen at the local "mansion" (nicest home in the area). The rumors are true. Francesca is visiting her estranged sister in hopes of reconciling. Pia runs into an attractive young man, Gregory, one evening as he is leaving the house. He turns out to be the son of an artist who painted Francesca years ago. Francesca wants Gregory to paint her portrait. Pia and Gregory begin dating and with his help Pia arranges to interview Francesca for the magazine. Pia hopes this will be the big break that sets off her career. Through much heartbreak and coming to grips with the past both women are able to move on with their lives and find forgiveness and love.

Disclosure: I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it.
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on January 19, 2014
I absolutely enjoyed this book. Ms Chiofalo takes the reader on an exciting journey. Carissima is an intriguing story that has the reader captivated from the beginning to the very end because there are many twists and turns.
I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately ordered Bella Fortuna another book by this author.
Thank you so much Ms Chiofalo!!!!!
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on October 15, 2013
Terrible read. Once I start a book I need to read the whole thing and this was agony. Was it a travel guide of Italy? Was it an Italian language primer? The writing was so shallow I never got a grasp on the main characters. And the story line of love. loss, and forgiveness never moved me,I would never recommended this book.
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on December 19, 2013
If you Loved Bella Fortuna like I did...then Carissima is a must read for you!
Rosanna Chiofalo has created another Italian Family Saga for us.
She introduces both new characters and revisits our old friends too.
She makes you feel like..."Whew...maybe my Family isn't so bad after all!"...
While reminding us that ALL Families are DIS-FUNCTIONAL to some degree.
Though I found it slightly less exciting than Bella Fortuna....I still enjoyed the
journey...and so will you.

Always Happy To Review Great Reads For Book Readers Everywhere,
LadyInRed
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on March 28, 2015
A fun read. Easy to see where the story is going. A little too trite for me but I do like when characters from previous books appear. Feels very familiar. Fun characters with real issues. I'm from a Sicilian family and am all too familiar with family feuds. They do last decades!!!
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on April 5, 2015
Story told by two very different women. A love story with lots of depth and surprises all the way to the end. Great descriptions of NYC and Roma where the story takes place through the years. complicated and believable characters.
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on September 27, 2013
Author Rosanna Chiofalo's new novel, CARISSIMA, is a stunningly beautiful and poignant story of Pia Santore, a commitment phobe whose breezy manner hides a vulnerable heart. When her sister dies, she is left feeling guilty. Flying to New York to escape family and tearful memories, Pia resides with her aunt, who owns a bakery down the street from Signora Tesca, the sister of a movie star. What starts as a deceptively simple story in the beginning builds into quite a complex and multilayered novel that is sensitively charged and often quite artfully perspective. Pia's obsession with her sister's death, along with her insecurities, quite literally debilitates her. I often wondered if she was going to make it, but Ms. Chiofalo did a pitch-perfect job of handling a heartfelt transformation. Pia wins a job as an intern at a high profile magazine firm. Luck comes her way when she meets a handsome man who knows Francesca Donata. He introduces them and an interview follows with the difficult, diva movie star. The dialogue crackles with electricity between the characters, especially Francesca and her sister. There are so many secrets and much anger between them! There is a burgeoning love story, many romantic entanglements, surprising secrets, along with beautiful depictions of Rome and New York. Warning; this story will make you hungry! Pia eats many wonderful pastries at her aunt's bakery. CARISSIMA is the most beautiful, heartfelt story I have read this year! Perfectly balanced like a nice red wine!
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