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Friday, April 22, 2016

Evanthia's Gift by Effie Kammenou (Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour for Evanthia's Gift by author Effie Kammenou!

Book Review

Evanthia's Gift by Effie Kammenou
Book 1: The Gift Saga
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: August 7, 2015
Format: Paperback - 558 pages
               Kindle - 1870 KB
ISBN: 978-0692471838
ASIN: B013MG484M
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.

The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.

Evanthia's Gift is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.

Book Excerpt:

She looked at him with those large innocent brown eyes, and he could see that the pattern of her breathing had changed. The top forty radio station was set low, Roberta Flack singing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” as Dean sat down beside her, taking her face in his hands to bring her in for a deep passionate kiss. He needed to have every part of her, to touch her, possess her. He untied the back of her halter-top, leaving the tie around her neck to hold up her shirt. Looking to her for approval, the expression on her face showing no fear, he untied the bow around her neck, letting the top fall to her lap, exposing her breasts. Surprisingly, she didn’t try to cover herself with her hands, but sat there for him, waiting for what came next.

“You’re so beautiful,” he told her, adoration in his voice. He took both of her perfect small breasts in his hands, using his thumbs to circle her nipples, and he felt her shudder. Their eyes locked, Sophia slowly pulled his t-shirt up and over his head as they sank back onto the pillow. In one swift move, he had her cutoffs and panties off, strewn onto the shag rug. He was so hard he thought he would explode, and he kicked off his own shorts in a frenzy. He kissed her breasts, licking and tugging gently, her moans giving him pleasure. He teased her stomach with his tongue, making his way to her bellybutton, as she fisted her hands in his hair and called his name.

“I don’t want to hurt you. You’ll tell me, okay?”

She nodded, not saying a word. He could see she was lost in his touch and he felt the throbbing in her groin when he touched her there. With maturity and a sensitivity he’d never displayed with any other girl, Dean was loving and tender, thinking of her needs first. He touched her gently and she instinctively opened her legs to him. He couldn’t believe how ready she was for him and he was aching to be inside her. He slid the condom off the nightstand, sheathed himself quickly and crawled up to kiss her, his legs in between hers. He wanted to thrust inside her with total abandonment, freeing him from the restraint he’d used for months. But he chose control, never wanting to be the cause of her pain or discomfort. He entered her carefully, moving slowly in and out, going a little farther each time. She was wet for him, but she was still tight and he thought he heard her wince.

“Soph?” There was concern in his voice. But his hesitation was unwarranted. Pleasure curved the corners of her mouth and her eyes closed as she gave every part of herself to him —her body, her heart and her soul.

“I need you. Please, Dino.”

Grabbing his bottom with both her hands, she pulled him closer to her, letting him understand that she was ready for more, that she wanted more. Reality left him. His mind was a blur. Intoxicated by the moment, he lost himself in loving her and touching every corner of her being. He took her hands, laced them in his as they found a rhythm and moved in perfect tandem. Their bodies united. Two souls fused into one body, the experience like no other he’d known. When her body stiffened beneath him, he felt the strong pulsations inside her. Grabbing onto his shoulder blades, she moaned softly and called out his name as they went over the edge together.


Lying naked, they spooned, not wanting to break free from each other. Sophia had never felt more complete, as though she’d found a piece of her soul that was missing. All the accounts she’d heard of “the first time” were that it was painful or disappointing, but for her the opposite was true. Yes, there’d been a brief moment of discomfort, but that gave way to the intense pleasure of having Dino inside her, where she could be completely his. And the emotional connection made all the difference, she thought, knowing for certain that there would never be anyone she could love more. She turned to face him, her long hair covering her bare breasts. She pushed a few locks of hair off his gorgeous face, and sighed as she studied him.

“This,” she began, “could have only happened with you. No one else. I mean, I would never-”

He stopped her.

“You’re mine — only mine.”

She smiled, totally satisfied, and relaxed in his arms as he caressed her neck. On the radio Paul McCartney crooned. Her head lying on his chest, Dean stroked her hair and smiled lovingly as he sang softly in her ear.
Sophia was content to stay right where she was. She was never happier. As long as she lived, she would remember this moment and would always think of And I Love her as their song.

“I love you too. You’re my everything. My forever,” she vowed drowsily, as she fell into blissful unconsciousness.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Evanthia's Gift, author Effie Kammenou weaves a beautifully written multi-generational Greek-American love story that will pull at the heartstrings. This compelling family saga spans fifty years (1950s - 2000s), and transports the reader to two continents: Greece and New York, chronicling the rich Greek culture and heritage, lives, and relationships that unifies and intertwines two families.

Evanthia's Gift is a compelling multi-generational Greek-American family saga of life, love, family, choices, and consequences. The story follows the lives of Ana and her daughter Sophia, and the trials and tribulations they both face in life and love. The author does a wonderful job of weaving an emotional and dramatic story that easily captivates the reader's attention, and transports them through fifty years of Greek tradition and culture, family life and duty, hopes and dreams, love and loss, secrets and truth, and second chances that will stir the soul.

Evanthia's Gift is written in a richly descriptive style that flows so smoothly through the decades as the story of Ana and Sophia unfolds. There are enough intriguing twists and turns and stunning dramatic scenes interwoven throughout the story that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions and wanting more. So what is Evanthia's gift ... you'll have to read the story to find out. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the author intersperses the chapters with wonderful Greek recipes that will make the reader's mouth water. I look forward to reading the next book in The Gift Saga.

Evanthia's Gift is an amazing women's fiction tale of heritage, culture, family, friendship, and love.


About The Author

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actress. Instead, she's worked in the optical field for 40 years and has been the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog,, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

Her debut novel, Evanthia's Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the book.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

Amazon Author Page
Fan Contact:
Food Blog
Linked In

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Schedule:

April 18 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 19 – LiteraryChanteuse – Excerpt
April 20 – Aroundthe World in Books – Excerpt
April 21 – Queenof All She Reads – Excerpt
April 22 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

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