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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry (Review)

Book Details:

Title: The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain
Author: Steven R. Gundry, MD
Publisher: Harper Wave
Category: Adult Non-Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Health, Fitness and Dieting
Published: April 25, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Most of us have heard of gluten—a protein found in wheat that causes widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem? In The Plant Paradox, renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.

At his waitlist-only clinics in California, Dr. Gundry has successfully treated tens of thousands of patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases with a protocol that detoxes the cells, repairs the gut, and nourishes the body. Now, in The Plant Paradox, he shares this clinically proven program with readers around the world.

The simple (and daunting) fact is, lectins are everywhere. Thankfully, Dr. Gundry offers simple hacks we easily can employ to avoid them, including:

· Peel your veggies. Most of the lectins are contained in the skin and seeds of plants; simply peeling and de-seeding vegetables (like tomatoes and peppers) reduces their lectin content.

· Shop for fruit in season. Fruit contain fewer lectins when ripe, so eating apples, berries, and other lectin-containing fruits at the peak of ripeness helps minimize your lectin consumption.

· Swap your brown rice for white. Whole grains and seeds with hard outer coatings are designed by nature to cause digestive distress—and are full of lectins.

With a full list of lectin-containing foods and simple substitutes for each, a step-by-step detox and eating plan, and delicious lectin-free recipes, The Plant Paradox illuminates the hidden dangers lurking in your salad bowl—and shows you how to eat whole foods in a whole new way.

Purchase Links: 

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I am always keenly interested in books that educate me on nutrition, health and wellness and the holistic lifestyle. The Plant Paradox caught my attention immediately just from the title. Healthy foods that cause disease? I eat organic produce and opt for a more plant-based diet so I was intrigued by these claims. I'm open-minded, however, and was eager to acquire new knowledge. It seems that there is always new information coming up because savvy scientists and doctors are exposing the mess that corrupt food industries have created with their genetically modified foods, antibiotic-enhanced feeds and sugar-laden processed junk foods that pass as healthy.

This book contains a wealth of information and is divided into three parts. The first part The Dietary Dilemma is where Dr. Gundry introduces the idea that lectins are bad for you. A popular lectin is gluten and we've heard all about why that is not good for us, primarily because as Dr. William Davis explained in Wheat Belly, it has been genetically modified and therefore no longer good for our bodies. Dr. Gundry then goes on to list all the foods that contain lectins that aren't good for us and, frankly, I was kind of taken aback. Legumes, beans, seeds, whole grains, and vegetable skins to name a few. This book is aptly titled because it does seem a paradox.

However, because I truly believe that God created us to eat a plant-based diet, I'm assuming the problem with all our dietary restrictions of whole foods is because mankind messed with the food's chemical properties, rendering what was once healthy into unhealthy. It doesn't make sense that we have to avoid eating most foods that God created for us and this book is a testament to how far gone our food source has become. Nevertheless, because of this, books like this one are good reminders that we need to exercise caution in what we eat. And being educated about our foods is always a good thing.

The second part of the book is Introducing the Plant Paradox Program and it goes into a 3-day cleanse and Dr. Gundry's program for returning to optimal health. It's doable but requires a lot of discipline and finding the right foods such as pasture chicken and beef, in other words, grass fed organic meat, which is not available at most grocery stores. However, if you suffer from an autoimmune or inflammatory illness, this diet is certainly worth considering. The last part is the Meal Plans and Recipes.

Overall, I learned a lot by reading this book. I am more determined than ever to find grass-fed meat, cook my legumes with a pressure cooker (it's the only way to reduce the lectins) and take the right supplements to enhance my wellbeing. It can be discouraging to see how bad our food supply has become. We cannot change it all, but making even a few better eating choices can make us feel better.

This book certainly offers food for thought (pun intended) and is good reading for any person who wants to learn more how to fight diseases with the right foods. This one's a keeper and a reference book that I will be using more and more as I continue my quest to satisfy my thirst for knowledge in using food to heal.

To read more reviews, please visit Steven R. Gundry's page on TLC Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

Steven R. Gundry, MD, FACS, FACC, is the director of the International Heart and Lung Institute in Palm Springs, California, and the founder/director of The Center for Restorative Medicine in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.

Find out more about Dr. Gundry and his work at his website, and connect with him on Facebook.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Appointment with ISIL by Joe Giordano (Book Spotlight, Author Interview & Giveaway!)

After reading Joe Giordano's first book, Birds of Passage, I was eager to read his latest release Appointment with ISIL. Although different from Birds of Passage, which was historical fiction, this latest work is a literary thriller. It contains the same bold intelligent writing, with mobsters jumping off the page at every turn. Check out my interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book!

Book Details:

Book Title: Appointment with ISIL: An Anthony Provati Thriller
Authors: Joe Giordano
Category: Adult Fiction, 299 pages
Genre: Literary Thriller
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Release date: June 2017
Format available for review: ebook (mobi, PDF and ePub)
Tour dates: June 19 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: PG (No f-words but there's mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as "damn", "hell" and "Oh God!", some depictions of violence or brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking.)

Book Description:

This time, Anthony's libido threatens his life. He flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov's mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant, wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme. ISIL's targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?

Praise for Appointment with ISIL:

​"A roller-coaster ride to the finish, this book confirms Giordano as a writer to eagerly watch."
- Kirkus Reviews

​"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

If you like gritty intriguing thrillers involving the FBI, Russian/Italian mobs or Islamic Terrorists you will absolutely love this book…. The characters, the plot and prose come together for an outstanding work of contemporary Americana. PRIMO highly recommends Appointment with ISIL."
Primo Magazine

Buy the Book: 

Interview with Joe Giordano:

LCR: Welcome to Library of Clean Reads, Joe. Can you describe your novel in 20 words or less?

JG: Anthony's libido gets him into trouble with the Red Mob, ISIL, and Russian Intelligence, played out on an international stage.

LCR: Your last novel Birds of Passage was an historical coming of age romance. What made you want to write a literary thriller?

JG: Ben Fountain, author of the best-selling Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and a writing mentor of mine, told me that the literary thriller was the "holy grail." I took on his challenge. The genesis of the novel was an Islamic History course I'd taken from the University of Texas in Austin, and a short story, "The Unkindest Cut," published, by decomP Magazine.

LCR: You include an art theft in your story. Are you an art lover?

JG: On my travels, I enjoy visiting museums, and have taken numerous course in Art History from UT. I enjoy incorporating some of what I've seen and learned into my writing.

LCR: How has your own Italian heritage influenced your writing?

JG: The genesis of my first novel, Birds of Passage, an Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was a graduate course at UT on the Progressive Era, 1880 – 1930. I wanted to understand the environment that my family encountered when they arrived as immigrants from Naples, Italy. I'm old enough to have known Italian immigrants born in the nineteenth-century. The famed poet, Jorge Luis Borges asked, "What will the world lose when I die?" When my generation passes, the first-hand connection to the turn-of-the-twentieth-century Italian immigrants will be lost, their culture, their thinking, their experiences. Writing Birds of Passage allowed me to reconnect with my roots. In Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller, the protagonist is an Italian-American from New York, giving the novel an Italian flavor. By the way, in Manhattan's Little Italy, on Mulberry Street, the connection with the past is maintained by Dr. Scelsa and The Italian American Museum. The Manhattan launch for Appointment with ISIL will hosted by the Museum on Friday, July 7th.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

JG: We tend to romanticize the past, especially in troubled times. Perhaps I'd be present at the Sermon on the Mount. Marching into Persepolis with Alexander would've been a blast. If I could pick a person to be, Augustus would be an interesting choice. A clever emperor, administering over a peaceful period, living large. Okay, his wife poisoned him, but only paradise is perfect.

LCR: Are you working on another novel or project? Can you tell us anything about it?

JG: My next novel will be another Anthony Provati thriller with the working title, Drone Strike, and will include some of characters introduced in Appointment with ISIL, but each novel can be read independently. Drone Strike includes a victim of "collateral damage." Where can they turn for justice? Without a higher authority to arbitrate, is the desire for revenge understandable?

LCR: Any advice for writers and authors?

JG: Read a lot. Write a lot. Criticism and rejection come by the bucketful. Embrace them. Persistence is one of life's least appreciated success factors.

LCR: Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us more about you and your writing.

Meet the Author:

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas.

Joe's stories have appeared in more than ninety magazines including The Monarch Review, The Saturday Evening Post, decomP, The Summerset Review, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller will be published by HSE in June 2017.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest

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Ends July 8

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? June 19 Edition

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I was off the computer all weekend and the break felt good. I had a party on Saturday evening and family visits on Sunday so it was a busy weekend catching up with family and friends. Not much reading done though. And school exams are over so we are all less stressed in my household!

Mailbox Monday Edition

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Another great mailbox!

Journey to Appleville
From the author for review

Appointment with Yesterday
This coming-of- age WWII set in Greece is on tour with iRead Book Tours

Bonjour Kale
A memoir set in Paris on tour with France Book Tours

Dancing in the Rain
A family saga set in Italy and on tour with Italy Book Tours

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams
Loved her last two books so I'm looking forward to digging into this one

Lady Ever After
Bought this one on sale. I read the first book in her time travel series and loved it


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

What I read and/or featured last week:

Reading Now:

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dead on Ice by Lauren Carr (Review and Giveaway!)

Lauren Carr's Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour is still on! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr's mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour. Today, I am posting my review of Dead on Ice, her first book in the Lovers in Crime series. See why I liked it so much and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win $100 Amazon gift card!

Book Details:

Title: Dead on Ice: A Lovers in Crime Mystery
Written by: Lauren Carr
Narrated by: Mike Alger
Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:11-23-16
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG-13 (for murder scenes, some sexual content, not explicit, some profanity but no f-words)

Book Description:

Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin's basement. It doesn't take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star's roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too - because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

Buy the Book:

My Review:
Reviewed by Lauren Carr

Once again, I enjoyed reading a good mystery from Lauren Carr. I had already encountered the main characters Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in one of the Mac Faraday series, so I was happy to read the first book in the Lovers in Crime series that focused on the two of them.

Lauren Carr has the ability to quickly create drama and suspense, and then take you on all sorts of twists and turns, making you suspect almost every one in the cast of characters. The story begins with one old unsolved murder mystery and then escalates into another murder and enough action to keep your head spinning as you try to guess what is really going on. This author sure has the knack for creating a complex plot that comes together nicely at the end.

Lovers Joshua and Cameron are on the same case. They're a great couple and interspersed with the murder mystery is a touch of their romance, some great pet humor in the form of Irving the skunk cat and a colorful cast of shady characters.

I both listened to parts of the audio version of the book and read parts of it on my Kindle. I enjoyed Mike Alger's narration. He was engaging and great for the men's voices but I sometimes could not distinguish the female ones as quickly. My auditory skills are not quite as advanced as my reading, where I can quickly read through a page without missing a beat. Because this was a mystery with many characters, I preferred reading the cast of characters that Lauren Carr includes at the beginning of her books, and the prologue too. I didn't want to miss even one clue! That is what is so much fun about Carr's books. She keeps the reader engaged throughout in trying to catch the killer!

This was a fast read/listen and a good mystery, making me want to read more of Carr's books. They are addictive books and I'm already digging into Real Murder, the second one in the Lovers in Crime series.

To read more reviews of Lauren Carr's audiobooks, please visit her page on iRead Book Tours.

Books I read by Lauren Carr:

Mac Faraday Mystery:
Three Days to Forever
Cancelled Vows
Candidate for Murder

Lovers in Crime:
Dead on Ice
Killer in the Band

Thorny Rose Mystery:
Kill and Run
A Fine Year for Murder

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Meet the Narrator:

A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel "Snow Storm," and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.

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Ends July 22

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Speaking with Strategic Impact by Kate LeVan (Book Spotlight, Author Interview & Giveaway!)

The business woman in me will always be attracted to books that help with communicating better, along with having presence and persuasion. Today, I'm spotlighting this new book by Kate Levan. Check out my interview with her and enter to win a signed copy of Speaking with Strategic Impact, a $20 Amazon gift card, and an optional coaching call with the author!

Book Details:

Book Title: Speaking with Strategic Impact: Four Steps to Extraordinary Presence & Persuasion
​Author: Kate LeVan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 152 pages
Genre: Business
Publisher: Delton Press
Release date: May 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 12 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Speaking with Strategic Impact is for business people who make their living—or their mark—through presentations long and short.

It’s a must-read if you’re a consultant, analyst, pitch team leader, roadshow executive, technology specialist, project manager, internal or external marketer, sales rep, subject matter expert or innovator.

Do your presentations unexpectedly fall flat? Do others hijack your meetings? Do you spend more time compiling slide decks than actually influencing decision-makers? Has someone vaguely told you that you “should look more confident up there” or that you “lack gravitas”? Have you watched TED Talks but wonder how you can bring that level of effectiveness into real business presentations?

Speaking with Strategic Impact gives you the key to leadership presence and persuasion. More than just tips and tricks, it outlines a discipline for navigating real business situations with consistently superior outcomes that’s favored by top business schools and Fortune 500 companies. You’ll get specific strategic and tactical advice to keep you on the mark in your presentations and meetings—and differentiate you from the vast majority of business presenters.

Read Speaking with Strategic Impact to master the means by which you make a living and a difference in the world!

Buy the Book:

Interview with Kate LeVan

LCR: Welcome to Library of Clean Reads, Kate! Can you describe your book in 20 words or less?

KL: Thanks Laura! Okay, here goes: 

Contents: One simple communication process for handling high stakes interactions that make or break careers.

Directions: Add discipline. Learn. Repeat.

LCR: That a creative and succinct way to describe your book. What motivated you to write it?

KL: I’m basically a teacher. I enjoy seeing light bulbs go on over people’s heads.

I’m also a liberal arts generalist. But I greatly admire—and am a bit envious of—people who have deep knowledge and passion about their “one thing.” I always wished I had that. On some level though, I also knew that I could get promoted or recognized over others with deeper knowledge because I knew how to be seen and heard. It gave me an edge.

In my training/coaching—and now in my book too, I try to give that same “edge” to all the people who know their stuff and who aspire to lead: the subject matter experts, analysts, physicians, business developers, engineers, technologists, scientists, project managers, innovators, etc. By doing so, I also found my passion.

LCR: There are many books on public speaking and presentation. What makes yours different or unique?

KL: Tell me about it! Everyone wants to be seen and heard, and everyone seems to have advice.

The advice that’s out there now for business people seems to fall into two categories: 1. general compilations of tips and tricks (Be animated! Tell a story! Be passionate! Be yourself!) that can discourage those who are not born “life-of-the-party” people, or 2. elaborate systems of templates, charts and checklists that experts are often drawn to, but that keep them in their own heads and disconnected from their audiences.

There’s nothing new per se about audience-centered communication. In my previous life, I was in advertising and marketing which is all about targeting and being strategic in your messaging. So, what I do is apply this discipline to interpersonal communication. I’m told I do it in a way that is “elastic” enough for those who “wing it” and need just a little more structure to rein themselves in and connect the dots adequately for an audience. But it’s also “prescriptive” enough for those who “data dump” and need the dots connected for them, so that presenting doesn’t feel so risky. I like to think of it more as a professional discipline around communication that propels careers.

LCR: In all your work experience, what was the toughest situation you found yourself in when it came to doing a presentation.

KL: That’s a tough one. It’s either the time I disregarded the president of my agency’s instruction and presented the way I wanted to during a high-stakes pitch (when he couldn’t do anything about it) or when the technology went down right before I had to address 50 senior business leaders in Chicago who were guests of my banking client.

Both situations were nerve-wracking and nothing I’d wish to relive. But I also learned things I’d never forget from each. In the pitch, I learned that being just as straightforward and gutsy as the decision-maker was a way of building rapport with that type of person. In the other situation, I learned how having a good structure or map for what you intend to say in a presentation can help you look brilliant when you only have a flip chart and markers left to save you. Other than that, I’d only recommend insubordination if you have a very good chance of winning.

LCR: How did you come up with your book’s title?

KL: At the last minute. Speaking with Strategic Impact—as straight out of the text as it is—was NOT my original title. The cover was approved and the interior text was formatted when we had to stop the presses, as they say. This was due to some testing of the title that happened at a networking event. Colleagues there slapped me upside the head with the realization that I wasn’t following my own advice: to make what you’re saying about the audience as quickly as possible! I had become enamored of a thematic title with a play on words that only people who knew my emphasis on smart planning might understand (Before I Begin). What can I say? I have a degree in literary criticism. But the audience I’m trying to reach with this book—the experts who want and need to be seen and heard as “strategic”—would never have even found me on Amazon with that one!

LCR: As a trainer, what is the most challenging element in teaching people to speak with strategic impact?

KL: Getting them to not worry so much about creating those darn slides! When you start with the slides, you are starting with the tactical—not the strategic.

LCR: Finally, if you could travel back in time, where would you go?

KL: Back when I was in high school, I would have picked the late 19th or early 20th century decades when a lady of high society would host a soiree in her Parisian salon for artists, writers and philosophers who entertained her with their sparkling conversation in return for her patronage. Since then, I’ve grown fonder of becoming a woman of substance (if not great means) in 21st century Western society who can be seen and heard for who she is—wherever and however she wishes!

LCR: Thanks so much, Kate! And best wishes for the launch of your new book.

Meet the Author:

Kate LeVan trains, coaches and collaborates on business communication effectiveness with major corporations worldwide and as an instructor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her training consistently receives top ratings from executive development program participants for its simplicity, applicability and career-changing impact.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis ​by D.M. Annechino (Review and Giveaway!)

From the minute I read the book description, I knew I wanted to read this book. Based on the true account of the author's uncle, this is the incredible story of eighteen year-old Angelo J. DiMarco, an American soldier who fought during WWII in Italy. What a story! This one made it on my list of best reads for this year. Read my review and then scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Book Details:

Book Title: More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis
​Author: D.M. Annechino
Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages
Genre: Historical Biography, WWII
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: April 2017
Tour dates: May 29 to June 16 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

Book Description:

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

From the minute I read the book description, I knew I wanted to read this book. Based on the true account of the author's uncle, this is the incredible story of eighteen year-old Angelo J. DiMarco, an American soldier who fought during WWII in Italy, and survived the bloody battles, malaria, capture by the Germans, starvation, and an incredible escape behind enemy lines.

I read the whole book in one day. It's been years since I've done that. With its short chapters I couldn't help reading just one more chapter, and before long I was in tears as I turned the last page. Although the book takes place during one of the most horrible times in history, author D.M. Annechino focused on Angelo's story and wrote the book in the first person POV. We, therefore, see the war through young Angelo's eyes, beginning with his naive optimism of quickly defeating the Germans to the sober reality of the ravages of war that began soon after his first kill.

Through the army training, the camaraderie, the battles on the field and in the foxholes, and the humorous banter and ribbing between the soldiers, the author brought alive Angelo's world as he would have seen and experienced it. Through all that he went through, and the losses he suffered, Angelo showed strength of character, determination and above all, courage. He probably would not have survived if not for his brave and dangerous attempt to escape.

Most of the story takes place in Italy, from the Southern side all the way to Rome and then Florence. It was the first time I had seen Rome, a city I have visited several times and where most of my maternal aunts, uncles and cousins live, through the lens of war. It reminded me of stories my late grandmother used to tell me of the years when they survived the German invasion in Rome. She had eight children. Angelo's story prompted me to do research online and learn more about WWII in Italy.

Angelo was American and his family is of Sicilian origin. Having grown up myself as the daughter of Italian immigrant parents in a neighborhood full of kids whose parents were also Italian immigrants, several of whom were Sicilian, I could relate. Angelo joined the war so he could make his father, who is a hard unfeeling man, proud. My paternal grandfather was such a man. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes between Angelo and the Italians he met and who generously helped him when he was a fugitive. As a parent with a teen son, my heart ached for Angelo and all those young men who fought and suffered and died alone on the battlefield.

It was only once he was in his eighties, lying in a hospital bed that Angelo finally decided to tell his son Steve about the wartime experiences he had kept secret all his life. And Annechino's storytelling talent brought them to life for us to read.

More Than a Soldier is a moving, coming-of-age story that will remain with you long after the last page is turned. It is inspiring, unforgettable and perfect for readers who enjoy WWII stories. It is one of the best books I've read in 2017.

To read more reviews, please visit D.M. Annechino's page on Italy Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me copy of this book. I was not told how to rate or review this book.

Buy the Book: 


Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
- Kirkus Reviews

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.
- The iRead Review

Meet the Author:

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends June 24

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? June 12 Edition

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

It's been busy since my return from BookExpo and I'm a little run down from all the activities last week and this one. My right ear was throbbing yesterday and I wondered if I had an slight ear infection. A few antibiotic drops and rest took care of that. Weather is warmer here in Montreal but still not warm enough for me. I think I was born in the wrong country!

Mailbox Monday Edition

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

My mailbox was really full this week! I have so much reading to do...he..he..


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

BOOK EXPO 2017: Meeting some awesome authors!

Back Pocket Coach by Diane Brennan and Alexandra Ross (Review, Author Interview & Giveaway!)

June is Audiobook Month! (Giveaway and free audiobook offer)

Reading Now:

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June is Audiobook Month! (Giveaway and free audiobook offer)

June is Audiobook Month! I recently started to listen to audiobooks again. To see the top five audiobook recommendations from bloggers who love listening to audiobooks, there is a blog tour and giveaway organized by the Audiobook Publishers Association. Check it out. 

But to celebrate, I have my own giveaway (see below) plus I am offering a free audiobook if you want to try one from Lauren Carr's mystery series. More info below!

Last month I reviewed Your Holistically Hot Transformation. If you want to improve on your eating habits and lead a healthier lifestyle but don't know where to start, or feel too overwhelmed, this is the perfect book for you. Enter today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr's mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!

If you would like to listen to any one of these audiobooks and agree to post a review anytime between now and July 14, let me know by contacting me at (ireadbooktours at gmail dot com) and I will give you an Audible code for you to get a free copy of any one of Lauren Carr's audiobooks featured here.

Learn more about each audiobook here.

What am I currently listening to?

Look for my review on June 16!

Listen to an audiobook today.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear (Book Spotlight)

Today I'm pleased to be spotlighting AnneMarie Brear's latest novel. I love books that feature strong women in historical fiction. And this one is also set in Australia. Brear is a new to me author and I hope to try out her books one day.

Book Details:

Title: Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Choc Lit
eBook; ASIN: B071P7KBH6
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Western
Content rating: I haven't read this book, so unsure

Book Description:

Can she hold on to her dreams...? It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place... Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through. Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa's dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family's land, even if it means losing everything else...

"A compelling story of a headstrong woman who defies the traditional female role and forages a successful life through hard work and a strong vision. Excellent descriptions of the outback and the hardships of life in Australia in the 1850's." - Amazon Review

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order! AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK. 

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Love audiobooks?

Wrote a Book Set in Italy?

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