Summer Sisters

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Rosanna Chiofalo

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Rosanna Chiofalo Why we love her: We heart discovering fabulous new authors!

Her debut: Bella Fortuna

The Scoop on it: Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.

But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make.

Our thoughts: Liz lent this one to her friend Jean, who said it best: Bella Fortuna is a novel about friendship and family. Chiofalo writes a beautiful story about the struggles, fantasies, luck and second chances that come along with finding true love. Bella Fortuna is a wonderful portrayal of Italian-American life and a compelling story about destiny!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Monday, September 3rd after 3pm PST.

Fun Fact: Rosanna met her future mother-in-law while on jury duty. She then introduced her to her hubs!  Cute!

Where to read more about Rosanna: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I worked in publishing for twenty years as a copywriter/copy director and developed a few contacts. I was able to connect with an editor through one of my publishing contacts, and after submitting an outline and four chapters of my novel, my publisher bought the submission.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? That would be the token "Although your writing is very strong, we can't accept your submission at this time." I never quite understood that; however, I did realize it's important to offer some constructive criticism along with the rejection!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? The first thought that comes to mind was that I was working full time while writing my debut novel on weekend mornings. Since I hadn't seen my characters or was in their lives for a week, I'd have to reacquaint myself, so to speak, with what had happened in their lives when I last wrote. Also, making sure that what I had written in the earlier parts of the novel was consistent with what I had written in the latter half of it.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? My best advice was staying true to myself and writing about what I loved and knew best. My worst advice would have to be something that's told to many aspiring writers, which is to follow whatever writing trends are hot at the moment. Many aspiring writers write based on whatever genre is the hottest or selling the most at the moment, and if you aren't already a fan of that genre and/or reading it on a regular basis, your writing can come across as very stilted.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I went out to an ultra fancy restaurant with my husband. We're big foodies and love having special occasions to celebrate at one of our favorite restaurants or at a new place we haven't discovered yet. I also treated myself to a beautiful necklace. Jewelry is my weakness!

6. Who is your writer crush? There are so many. It's hard to choose just one. I love the novels that Cathy Lamb writes, which are often about the strong bonds of family and friends in women's lives. Her favorite novel of mine is HENRY'S SISTERS. Although I discovered Judy Blume as an adolescent, I still love to reread some of her novels. And I especially love her adult novel SUMMER SISTERS. I had heard about Daphne DuMaurier's REBECCA for so many years and last year, I finally read it. I still get chills down my spine when I think about that book and how brilliant it is. And two of my favorite classics are Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES and Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Oh, you're going to make me choose just one again? Okay. I'd have to say LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani. I cried for Lucia during and after I finished reading the book, and she still pops into my mind now and then. I love, love, LOVE that book, and if I were stranded on a desert island I'd want a book that is as engrossing as that book is.

8. What's on your iPod right now? LMAO, Cristina Perri, Lady Gaga, U2, Adele. I'm also a big '80s child much to the chagrin of my husband!

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Massages, especially an intense deep-tissue massage. I get the worst knots in my shoulders and upper back probably because I'm a Virgo who over-analyzes everything! But even when I don't have knots that need to be worked on, I love how relaxed I feel after a massage. I make sure to get one every time I go on vacation as well.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? My recipe for Palline di Limone Biscotti (Glazed Lemon Cookies). Once you pop one of these flavorful lemon cookies in your mouth, you'll be telling everyone how good they are! But even if EW doesn't put my cookies as their bullseye, you can get the recipe in the back of Bella Fortuna!

Thanks Rosanna!  xoxo, L&L

Top Ten All-Time Faves by Liz

Discussing all the reasons why I love chick lit has made me nostalgic for my favorite books.  So I've decided to list my top ten all-time favorites and would love to hear what is at the top of your reading list. Twilight disclaimer: Okay so it won't be on my top ten but I did like it!  It is beautifully written and engaging, but I wanted to highlight books that I've gone back and read two and three times just so I could visit the characters again. So don't tag me as a Twilight hater, I'm not. But I'm not gonna lie, Bella's damsel in distress act starting getting on my nerves in New Moon.

Liz's Top Ten All-Time Faves

1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

I'll admit that the only reason I had picked up this book was because of  my childhood loyalty to classics like Are You There God?  It's Me Margaret (They talked about her period! gasp!) and forbidden fare like Forever (oh, admit it, you know you all had a copy of it hidden under your bed in the 80's!)

However, Summer Sisters turned out to be a wonderful novel about the complex, lifelong friendship of two girls.  I have read it over ten times and still have my dog-eared copy on the bookshelf.  This is a must-read!

2. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

I love these two books and think that you should read Ya-Ya first and then Little Altars Everywhere second even though they were written in the opposite order. This is also a story about life-long friends set in the South.  I was so bummed when the movie came out, I thought it didn't do the book justice at all!

3. Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin

Lisa and I have talked about writing a book together for fifteen years, but it wasn't until we read these two books that we felt inspired to start.  What I love best about these books is that Something Borrowed is told in the voice of Rachel and then the story picks up again in something Blue in the voice of Darcy, Rachel's best friend.  Emily Giffin does a awesome job of making these women likeable even though they make bad decisions.

4. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

From page one, I was in love.  I know that In Her Shoes gets a lot more attention because of the movie, but I believe this story about Cannie's journey to self-discovery is her finest.

5. Jemina J by Jane Green

Love, love, love this story about a women who sends a man a fake picture and then has to reinvent herself into the fictional person she's created when he wants to meet her.

6. Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

I love Liza's ability to write sophisticated characters that we can all still relate to.  A great read for anyone that feels they are always trying to live up to other's expectations.

7. Me Vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski

I adore this book about a women who can't decide which path to choose so she starts to live them both after her wish on a falling star comes true.  I have such a soft spot for novels that have a little magic going on!

8. A Most Uncommon Degree of Popularity by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

I just read this book for the first time a few weeks ago and LOVED it.  Once I started it, I literally didn't put it down until I finished.  A story about trading in your corporate life for the mommy track and the competitive insanity that can come along with it.

9. Straight up and Dirty: A Memoir by Stephanie Klein

Lisa loves memoirs and turned me on to this hilarious story about a woman's journey to find herself again after divorce.  Stephanie's brutal honesty about life is refreshing and makes this a must-read.

10.  Names My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane

I love Megan's witty humor and complicated characters that are filled with depth and emotion!  Smart and Sassy chick lit.

So there you have it!  What are your favorites?  I need some suggestions on what to read next!