Review + Author Interview: Paparazzi by Christina Dennison.

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publication Date: 01/01/2018

Length: 325 Pages

Purchase Link: click here to purchase from Amazon


 

img_5110img_5109img_5108

2834c221-031b-49a3-b2d5-e678442e6d35

 

 

When the daughter of an elite Italian family, fashion photographer Francesca Garancini, meets star soccer player Paolo Romaldo their chemistry is immediate and electric.  If the two aren’t tearing off their clothes (Tom Ford and Valentino, naturally), they’re jet-setting from Capri to St Kitts to Istanbul.  Amid their lifestyle of fast cars and high heels, can their relationship survive the distractions, dalliances, and differences that threaten to tear them apart?

The only thing to which Francesca has ever committed wholly is her career as a photographer.  But in Paolo, she finally finds someone she can’t give up.  The two dodge paparazzi while taking in an opera at La Scala, share an intimate, champagne-fueled romp on Christmas Eve, and make a pizza delivery man more than a little uncomfortable.  On the surface, they’re the perfect couple: beautiful, glamorous, and successful.  And then, on a trip to Turkey to shoot for a controversial magazine, Francesca meets Selim, married scion of a powerful Istanbulli family.  Selim is magnetic, and intent on seducing Francesca amidst the glittering lights of Topkapi Palace.

In the glamorous tradition of Judith Krantz’s ScruplesPaparazzi explores an erotically-charged relationship between beautiful people in a sexy, international setting.


About the author

Christina Dennison lives in New York City. She discovered a copy of Judith Krantz’s novel Scruples on a high bookshelf when she was young and has been writing ever since. She does her best writing on planes, eats pasta unrepentantly, and loves a still Negroni in a dark cocktail bar. Paparazzi is the first book of the Francesca Trilogy and her first novel. 

img_5156

Facebook: @christinadennison

Insta: @christinadennisonauthor

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChristinaDennison

Website: https://christinadennison.com/


54cdf076-7c98-4173-a43b-9cc5f03d1f42

A special thanks to Christina for taking her time to answer some interview questions for this post! 

1.) Aside from the Francesca Trilogy, do you have any other books in the works?

I do! I’ve got two concepts I can’t wait to start writing in earnest. One is a family saga that takes place in a New England town similar to where I grew up, and the second idea is inspired by a trip I took to the Dominican Republic. Both of them would have romantic elements.

2.) Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

I embarked on a project in 2014 to spend that year only reading books written by women, and it actually changed my life. I read novels, non-fiction, genre fiction, anything that was recommended to me, as long as it was written by a woman. I discovered so many great writers and books, so here are some of them:

– Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward

– The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (I studied classical Greek in college and this is a poignant love story)

– What Happens in Scotland, Jennifer McQuiston

– Green Darkness, Anya Seton

– The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

3.) What is your favorite part of Paparazzi?

I like the really hard parts, maybe because I’m a masochist when it comes to my characters. Two moments stand out really clearly for me–the first is Francesca and Paolo’s trip to Naples, particularly the cemetery scene and the sex scene right after it, because it shows them trying to connect and failing, but pushing forward anyway. And the second is the scene toward the end, when Francesca and Giulietta are drinking champagne and eating oysters on the roof of the department store in Milan, because I think it’s some of the best writing in the book and gets to the heart of how complicated it is to be an adult, regardless of money.

4.) What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

What an interesting question! I’m terribly intimidated by beautiful people, especially when they have kind personalities and clairvoyant powers, so I have to say Natalya, the model / friend with whom Francesca and Paolo go on vacation to St Kitts.

5.) Are any of your characters based off real people? 

Oooh, the kiss-and-tell question… Yes, and it’s Selim.

6.) If you could spend time with a character from your book, who would you choose and what would you do? 

I think the only acceptable answer is to go to the opera with Paolo, no? Actually, I would love to take Francesca to volunteer somewhere, maybe at God’s Love We Deliver (where I volunteer weekly). Or go to the playground with Leo, because that’s something my nieces and I love to do together.

7.) When you aren’t reading or writing, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I work full time in the fashion industry, and I love my job (it also provides me with lots of inspiration). I travel a lot, for work and for pleasure, and I love observing different people and the ways they live. When I’m home in New York, you can find me spinning at Flywheel. And I love just spending time with family and friends, sitting on the couch with a glass of wine.

8.) What do you love most about the writing process?

I love actually sitting down and writing a first draft, because I get to take the story from my mind and see it take shape. And though I don’t like revising, I love when changes lead to significant improvements, and I can tell when a scene is better than when I started.

9.) What gives you inspiration for your books? 

Art–when I travel, I try to visit museums and galleries, if only to absorb art and find new ways to see the world. Relationships–I am always trying to understand how people connect, what causes us to love, what drives us apart. I’d be remiss not to say food, there are many memorable meals that work their way into my writing–I’ve plotted whole scenes around certain foods!

10.) Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you! It’s so important to read, share, and promote women’s writing. Our voices become stronger as we amplify them together. When we write about our desires, we start a conversation about sexuality. When we talk about sexuality, we become accustomed to the language of our bodies and that gives us power. Women can bring about positive change when we speak truth to power.


My Rating: 5 Stars

My Review

Christina is a new author I recently discovered. She reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing Paparazzi. After reading the synopsis, I knew this would be something I would be interested in. I’m so glad I decided to give it a go. I LOVED this book. Christina is a very talented author and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Francesca Trilogy! 

Francesca is an inspirational woman. Her family is well known and very wealthy, but she doesn’t want to use that power to influence her career. She works with a professional name so she can succeed on her own. I think I would do the exact same thing if I were ever in that position. I would want to know I got to where I am without the help of my families name. I’m very independent like she is and I feel so accomplished when I do something without the help of others. 

I enjoyed reading about Francesca’s travels. Unfortunately, that isn’t something I will be able to do a lot of in my own life, so it was fun pretending I was her while I was reading. What woman wouldn’t want to have a lavish lifestyle of travel, a successful career, and clothes to die for?!? I loved her style…Prada, Gucci, Valentino…a girl can dream! 

The relationship between Francesca and Paolo is hot and heavy, but is that enough for a relationship to last? I loved the chemistry between them and the steamy sex scenes, but I was conflicted with how I felt about Paolo. There were a few scenes where I wanted to reach in the book and slap him. 

I am very interested to find out what happens next with Francesca and Selim! The ending of Paparazzi is a cliff hanger and I am counting down the days until I can read the next book in the trilogy! 

Paparazzi is definitely a book I would recommend to my book friends!

Thank you for taking your time to read my review!

img_5026

img_5048

Advertisements

Review: The Evolution of Ivy: poison & antidote by Lauren Campbell.

a385aec1-2b6a-413d-815d-4f8e2f32277f-2113-0000007fe31878fb 51SJ9u+W94L

My Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publication Date: 

The Evolution of Ivy: poison- 1/30/2017

The Evolution of Ivy: antidote- 09/20/2017

Length: 

The Evolution of Ivy: poison- 300 pages. 

The Evolution of Ivy: antidote- 374 pages

Synopsis of The Evolution of Ivy: poison-

“They won’t recognize the new me.

But they know the old me well–the me she harmed, and the me he loved.

She thinks she has him. But I’m going to take him back.

He thinks she’s the one. But I’m going to show him he’s wrong.

I thought it was over. But now I have a chance.”

Synopsis for The Evolution of Ivy: antidote-

It should have been easier. 

I changed everything. Became the beauty I didn’t think he’d resist. Lived the lie I thought he could love. 

I sacrificed my soul to recover the years that she took from us, yet I’m still empty-handed.

But he’s mine. I’ve earned him. It’s time to collect my prize, and I’ll be damned if I let anyone come between us this late in the game. 

If only I’d known my greatest obstacle would be me.


img_5051

I totally have a girl crush on Ivy 😍

Her character made me laugh so hard that I almost peed my pants!  You never know what is going to come out of her mouth or what she is going to do!

Ivy’s half psycho, half hopeless romantic… I just can’t get enough of her! She kinda reminds me of myself ha!

Here is a little taste of Ivy’s sense of humor. There’s a lot more, but you will have to read the books to find out the rest! 😉

Warning: there are some explicit words, so if you are easily offended, don’t read this lol.

“I can’t believe I lost my virginity to a piece of plastic, I think. I can definitely never tell anyone that … ever. But I do wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.”

“Yes, of course,” I say, and I’m not really lying, because he didn’t specify which pill. I take Xanax and Claritin every day.”

“Her forced smile and weak hug when she arrived highlighted her fakery. Bitch.”

“I text my address once he’s out of view, then set an alarm on my phone titled Clog Your Garbage Disposal.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone is allowed to have one fuck-up. You’re human.” But she’s not human. She’s the devil.”

“Maybe he’s as fake as my outsides are right now.”

“I almost feel like a terrible person for it. Almost.”

“so yay for basically telling the truth!”

“Penis Jansen, meet the future Pussy Jansen. Ha!”

“I’m a special slut, not a regular slut!”

“But here I am—up, showered, and murdering weeds.”

“I give him the cross streets of the shoulder I’m pulled over in, and adjust my tits, because my knight in shining armor is on his way to rescue me!”

“But the only finish line he needs is the crack of my ass.”

“Either way, I’m not a happy girl. I’m a depressed, broccoli-murdering girl who’s gonna have some terrible ass gas if I don’t stop.”

“Yawn. Love ya, Jesus, but this guy’s voice may as well render my coffee decaf.”

“That I must stand here and pretend I don’t know he was talking to some whore is like having a yeast infection and no fingernails and no Monistat.”


 

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison & The Evolution of Ivy: Antidote are both currently on Kindle-Unlimited!

Check out Natalie’s GoodReads profile to learn more about her by clicking HERE!

Thank you for taking your time to read my review!

img_5026

 

 

img_5048

Review: I Know This of Myself by Lina Holloway.

41uKP1l+-nL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

My Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publication Date: 10/31/2015

Length: 335 pages


Synopsis:

A story of love, loss, and forgiveness. Nia’s entire world has fallen apart. She is stuck in a cycle of depression she cannot pull herself from. Her sister, Noie, and her college friends are determined to help pull her from the darkness. Will she find a way to truly live again and the strength to imagine a new future for herself?


My Review:

img_4238-1

This isn’t my typical kind of read, but I needed something different. I honestly don’t even know how I ended up with this book. I’ve struggled with Clinical Depression for the last couple years. I’ve always had occasional depression & anxiety, but it’s been horrible this time. I felt like I could possibly relate to Nia, so I decided to give it a try, plus it was FREE on Kindle-Unlimited!

I Know This of Myself jumps between “Nia Now”, “Nia Then”, “Nia Diary”,  and “Ian Then”. I knew Nia suffered from depression from the description of the book, but I didn’t know what triggered it. Lina Holloway does an amazing job of telling the story of Nia & Ian without giving away too much at the beginning.

I don’t cry very often when I read, but I did while reading I Know This of Myself. Nia’s emotions are so raw and you just feel so bad for her that it tears your heart apart.  I definitely didn’t expect what happened to Ian. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just leave it at that.


My Story of Depression:

I truly believe depression is a disease. So many people try to sweep it under a rug & just pretend that it doesn’t exist. I have been told once before to “snap out of it”…if it were only that easy. The best I can describe depression is living in your own personal hell. No one would ever want to live that way if they could help it. Trust me.

A couple years ago, I finally got the courage to leave my drug addict boyfriend of 3 years. He wasn’t addicted to drugs the entire time we were together, which made things harder because I knew the good-hearted person he was deep down inside. About a year into our relationship, he became addicted to pills. I struggled with him for 2 years after that trying my best to “save him”, but I ended up needing someone to save me.

I was afraid to leave him because I was sure as soon as I did, he would overdose. He was never violent with me until he started taking the pills. He turned into someone I didn’t know anymore, and I did too. I started withdrawing from friends and family and I kept most of my life a secret, which ate at me. I finally had enough one night and I left the next morning. It was the best decision I had made in a long time. It wasn’t easy though.

I felt guilty for leaving him, but I didn’t have a choice. He was hitting rock bottom and taking me down too. I was financially destroyed from trying to pay all the bills and take care of everything while he laid passed out on the couch most days. I didn’t even have enough money to get an apartment when I left. I had to live with family.

For the first year, I had constant flashbacks and cried all the time. I tried new medicines and nothing ever seemed to help, so I just tried to deal with it my own way. I’m stubborn, so I don’t ever ask for help or talk to anyone because I hate to feel like I’m a burden. People shouldn’t have to feel like a burden just because some people don’t believe depression is real.

Nia had an amazing support group, and that is exactly what someone needs when battling depression. Trying to handle it on your own will destroy you. I had a few members of my family that I’m close to and felt like I could talk to occasionally, but I didn’t want to overload them with my problems. Everyone has their own problems and I didn’t want to add to theirs, that’s just how I am. I’d rather hurt than to hurt someone by letting them know how I feel.

I suffered silently. I tried to keep my mind busy by starting to workout outside, read more often and basically avoid any depressing thoughts. That worked for a little bit, but depression was still there. One day, my body finally just gave. I couldn’t handle things anymore. I think it was a mixture of a new medicine I was on & the amount of depression I had that literally made my body give out. I ended up in the emergency room from basically having a breakdown.

I didn’t have health insurance at the time and I still don’t because I “make too much” to qualify for any assistance & I just can’t afford it since I don’t have group health insurance. My primary doctor had done his best to control my depression, but it just wasn’t enough. He doesn’t specialize in mental health and that’s what I needed. The problem is that it is very costly. If I made a lot less than I do, I would get help for free, but since that is not the case, I cannot get the true help I need.

Do you know what it costs to see a psychiatrist if you don’t have insurance? About $200 per session. I can go elsewhere and get counseling for lower, but I need to see a psychiatrist to get on the correct medication.  I can’t afford the treatment, so once again, I suffer in silence.

This is the case for so many people, and it’s sad. People can’t get help unless they completely break down or try to hurt themselves, but all they get then is a visit to the hospital and discharged after a few days and then get a bill for about $10,000. I pay taxes and have since I was 16 and I can’t get help. I think mental health care should be free. I would be ok with my tax dollars going to something like that.

Some people may disagree with me, but until you have all but given up on life and you know how much it hurts, you don’t have a right to say depression is not real. I would never wish this on my worst enemy.

I hope I have shed some light on depression. I Know This of Myself did a great job portraying some aspects of depression. I would highly recommend this book!

If you are feeling depressed, know that you are not alone. If you ever become suicidal, I hope you will reach out to someone or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit their website to chat by clicking HERE.

There are several other organizations, so please reach out to one of them!


 

Check out Natalie’s GoodReads profile to learn more about her by clicking HERE!

Thank you for taking your time to read my review!

img_5026

 

 

img_5048