THE iREAD REVIEW
In a heartrending tale of hardship and small triumphs, a spirited Greek boy living on an island in eastern Aegean searches for love, belonging, and his destiny.
In hopes of securing a better life, Yanni's mother has left him with his caring grandparents until she returns from a job she has taken overseas. Months turn into years as the stumbling blocks of illness, relative relations, and tribulations at school feed his yearning to see her again. With World War II and the German occupation, life on the island turns into a silent battle for survival against constant terror and starvation, but Yanni endures. When he finds himself leaving his homeland to be reunited with his mother, he hopes to finally find the life he's always dreamed of.
Christopher Stratakis creates a beautifully written coming-of-age story placed during a turbulent, historical time in the rich and lively country of Greece. The book is broken down into four main sections, each beginning with an older Yanni sharing a few gentle thoughts as he reflects back on pivotal moments of his life. Like an artistically placed collage, events from his past are picked out and strung together to form a seamless composition of heartfelt struggles, desires, dreams, and disappointments.
Although many of his experiences are based in a harsh reality evoking raw emotions, others expose the gentler sides of life that mold a young boy's personality and expectations. Each scene is depicted with vivid descriptions, revealing Yanni’s vibrant yet provincial island life while remembering to paint the world through his point of view. The reader is immersed into the emotions which shape and drive Yanni through his life and bring him to the realization that destiny isn't something achieved in a single moment but rather through an entire lifetime.
THE iREAD REVIEW
An entertaining look into what just about every girl dreams of and what happens when it actually happens. Set in Beverly Hills, If This Was a Movie creates a modern-day Cinderella tale in which she must learn to live in the spotlight if she wants to keep her Prince Charming.
Seventeen-year-old Nora Novak is trying to start over. After her father died of cancer, her stepmother Cecilia pulled out an updated will that left everything to her. When Cecilia begins to verbally and physically abuse Nora, she packs up what little of her life is left in Texas to live with her Aunt Jen in Beverly Hills. At a farmer’s market, Nora’s ‘Keep Austin Weird’ T-shirt catches the eye of Eli Evans. The two soon begin dating, but she quickly learns that nothing is how it seems; Eli Evans is also known as Elijah Rosseau, an up-and-coming movie star. Once the media gets wind of this new relationship, Nora is forced into the spotlight and her evil stepmother wants to join her in it.
In Nora, Ginna Moran has built a perfect character for every young girl who has imagined dating someone famous. Extremely grounded and realistic, Nora is very easy to relate to, what with her not-so-perfect past and the way she handles herself in her friendships and relationship. Readers will enjoy that Nora is able to be true to herself throughout her journey and will cheer when she finds a perfect balance.
Nora and Eli’s relationship provides a good look into the perks and the not-so-great aspects of fame. The decisions she makes while dating him are carefully thought out and show a maturity that is inspiring. Along with enjoying a perfectly sweet romance with plenty of adorable and spicy moments, Nora also deals with troubled friendships and an even more troubled step-mother with diligence, care, and grace. Readers also get an inside look into high school and social events in Beverly Hills.
If This Was a Movie is a fast-paced, exciting, drama-filled and swoon-worthy series starter perfect for young adult and new adult audiences alike that gives readers a taste of celebrity romance under the glare of the paparazzi’s bulb.
THE iREAD REVIEW
Anthony Provati has the smoldering good looks and wandering eye of a man luckier than he is—now all he needs to do is uncover ISIL’s plot, recover priceless paintings, and convince the Red Mafia not to murder him.
He’s really done it this time. Playing the baby grand in the corner of a seedy neighborhood bar in Manhattan, Provati catches the eye of Sophia, the sensual girlfriend of famed Russian mobster Gorgon Malakhov. The trouble starts there, and Provati’s efforts to disentangle himself from the gangster’s black list will force him to begin touring the underbelly of a global crime ring. When it’s discovered that Malakhov may be selling strontium-90, material used in building dirty bombs, Provati finds himself twisted up in an escapade that will take him from hot pursuit to chilled fear, and from Malta to Istanbul, Alexandria to Naples and beyond, where every step will bring him closer to Malakhov’s potential buyers: ISIL.
Giordano’s writing wraps readers in a web of love and lust, gun fights and murder. Painting various storylines with a skillful brush and adroitly bringing them together, Giordano makes his readers care deeply, carefully coloring in the background for why his characters behave the way they do, making them unapologetically human and deliciously multi-faceted. Providing a deeper, intelligent look into the relationship between religions and cultures that at first glance seem at odds, Appointment with ISIL dips into current affairs while adding a dollop of old-world charm.
A sexy, all-in-one-breath read, this is a story for those eager to strap on their boots and immerse themselves in a whirlwind adventure that will take them from espresso in New York with the Italian Mafia to walking the Old City of Jerusalem with the chief of Israel’s security service.
THE iREAD REVIEW
In Annechino's gripping biographical novel, a young army recruit fights to survive on the battlefield and on the run behind enemy lines in war-ravaged Italy.
In 1942, 18-year-old Angelo DiMarco enlists in the military partly out of patriotism and partly to provoke emotion from his distant father. After distinguishing himself at training camp, he is disappointed to be assigned a non-combat commission in England. Determined to see action, he petitions for a transfer and is ultimately assigned to the 1st Ranger Battalion stationed in Italy, under German invasion as the two countries’ alliance crumbles. After sustaining heavy losses, the overmatched Rangers are forced to surrender, and survivors are boarded on trains bound for German work camps. Determined to avoid this fate, Angelo plans his escape with three fellow Rangers.
Much of the story’s tension and suspense derive from skillful plotting. The novel opens in February 1944 on the German prison train, then travels back to 1942, when Angelo enlists, and follows his experiences chronologically to meet the fateful decision on the train, roughly midway through the book. The second half builds suspense around Angelo’s predicament as an escaped American soldier in enemy-occupied territory. The precariousness of his relationships with locals and the uncertainty of whom to trust evoke W. Stanley Moss’ Ill Met By Moonlight.
Annechino’s poetic descriptions of Italy’s beautiful landscape and architecture play counterpoint to unflinching depictions of devastation and gore. The juxtapositions, reminiscent of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, subtly and effectively signify Angelo’s emotional transformation from naive recruit to battle-scarred soldier fighting not only for his physical survival but also to sustain his capacity for empathy both for his “brothers” and enemy soldiers. While the bonds that develop among Rangers are compelling and powerful, they don’t romanticize the steep cost of war. Instead, they become another means through which Angelo meditates on what it means to be a man.
Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.