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Cristofori's Dream

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In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . When Christopher Russo was in middle school and struggling with an unhappy home life, his artist-mother gave him one of many secret family treasures entrusted to him: an ancient diary unearthed from the mountains of her ancestral Austria. “Use the Book,” she implored him o In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . When Christopher Russo was in middle school and struggling with an unhappy home life, his artist-mother gave him one of many secret family treasures entrusted to him: an ancient diary unearthed from the mountains of her ancestral Austria. “Use the Book,” she implored him one fateful night. “It will save you.” To escape their monstrous father, if only in their minds, Chris and his younger sister turned to their faith and added a fantasy story called FOREVER CHRISTMAS; a Victorian-era Dream World inspired by all the art and artifacts—the sacred and the unholy—so influential in their lives. But after a deadly legacy claimed his mother and his first true love abandoned him, Chris tossed aside his “childish” beliefs, turned to science for solutions, then rewrote the story to fit his enlightened views—and settle old scores with all who have hurt him. But the Book is steeped in Christmas legends, holds a dark secret, and an even darker power that takes control during the Holy Season of Magic. And when his story came to life . . . . One year later, another holiday season approaches. Chris, now a high school freshman, is battling his sister’s failing health, his treasure-seeking father who doesn’t “believe” in doctors, and his guilt for a terrible tragedy—all the while haunted once more by visions from the Dream World that he can no longer deny exists. Despite all the misfortune, there is one last hope still echoing in his mother’s words: a permanent escape to that Dream World where they’ll be free of neglect, illness, and shame. But Chris must confront all of his creations—the sacred and the unholy—if he wants to recapture all the love he once knew, and save his sister from the legacy that relentlessly stalks her. Beware the power of science, and the Holy Season of Magic. Because it really does matter what you believe, especially this time of the year . . . .


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In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . When Christopher Russo was in middle school and struggling with an unhappy home life, his artist-mother gave him one of many secret family treasures entrusted to him: an ancient diary unearthed from the mountains of her ancestral Austria. “Use the Book,” she implored him o In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . When Christopher Russo was in middle school and struggling with an unhappy home life, his artist-mother gave him one of many secret family treasures entrusted to him: an ancient diary unearthed from the mountains of her ancestral Austria. “Use the Book,” she implored him one fateful night. “It will save you.” To escape their monstrous father, if only in their minds, Chris and his younger sister turned to their faith and added a fantasy story called FOREVER CHRISTMAS; a Victorian-era Dream World inspired by all the art and artifacts—the sacred and the unholy—so influential in their lives. But after a deadly legacy claimed his mother and his first true love abandoned him, Chris tossed aside his “childish” beliefs, turned to science for solutions, then rewrote the story to fit his enlightened views—and settle old scores with all who have hurt him. But the Book is steeped in Christmas legends, holds a dark secret, and an even darker power that takes control during the Holy Season of Magic. And when his story came to life . . . . One year later, another holiday season approaches. Chris, now a high school freshman, is battling his sister’s failing health, his treasure-seeking father who doesn’t “believe” in doctors, and his guilt for a terrible tragedy—all the while haunted once more by visions from the Dream World that he can no longer deny exists. Despite all the misfortune, there is one last hope still echoing in his mother’s words: a permanent escape to that Dream World where they’ll be free of neglect, illness, and shame. But Chris must confront all of his creations—the sacred and the unholy—if he wants to recapture all the love he once knew, and save his sister from the legacy that relentlessly stalks her. Beware the power of science, and the Holy Season of Magic. Because it really does matter what you believe, especially this time of the year . . . .

46 review for Cristofori's Dream

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Grossman

    Cristofori's Dream is a spiritual experience. I just emerged from the depths of someone else's dream, swirling, whirling about, sometimes in a soothing cloud of visuals, other times in a jarring bolt of fear. All the while there was a Presence of an Omniscient Being to steady my journey, faith became my grounding. The author allowed me the opportunity to explore the dimensions of love, trust, fear, life, death, illness, loss, strength, control, good, evil, and personal crisis in a secure way. Th Cristofori's Dream is a spiritual experience. I just emerged from the depths of someone else's dream, swirling, whirling about, sometimes in a soothing cloud of visuals, other times in a jarring bolt of fear. All the while there was a Presence of an Omniscient Being to steady my journey, faith became my grounding. The author allowed me the opportunity to explore the dimensions of love, trust, fear, life, death, illness, loss, strength, control, good, evil, and personal crisis in a secure way. This is a book to savor like a fine red wine. While reading, I often wished it were a cold winter evening and I was curled up on a plush sofa under a warm blanket. At times I became suspended and was just dangling there. In space. In heaven. In hell. In mystery. Robert Italia earns 5 stars just from the sheer endeavor of writing language in such a way that paints breathtaking moving visuals. I like that my Catholic experience enriched the references and concepts. It's not a necessary requisite to enjoy the read, but I felt the comforting feel of familiarity. Christianity, Godliness, The Universe, all those backgrounds add to the readers' experience. I do feel as if I've just read a book, seen a film, and perused an unusual art gallery simultaneously. You can't be in a hurry to read Cristofori's Dream. That strategy just won't work. Readers must release themselves over to the dream and let it take them where it wants to. Release your mind and soul and relish the fantasy. This story will stay with me a long time. I want to reread several very powerful, very startling chapters that rattled me, thrilled me, moved me deeply.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    2.5 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Ummm... I will start with the parts that I enjoyed about Christofori's Dream. First, Janey was a bright and real character, wise beyond her years and I envied her relationship with her brother. I also liked the alternate worlds and recognizing each character from one world to the other. Most of all, the ending was glorious (if I understood it correctly) and also very unique. I have never read a story that was about the strong bond of love between a brother and sister and their individual mission Ummm... I will start with the parts that I enjoyed about Christofori's Dream. First, Janey was a bright and real character, wise beyond her years and I envied her relationship with her brother. I also liked the alternate worlds and recognizing each character from one world to the other. Most of all, the ending was glorious (if I understood it correctly) and also very unique. I have never read a story that was about the strong bond of love between a brother and sister and their individual missions to save one another. Now, what I found hard to bear. The book is entirely too long. Hardly anything interesting happens until almost page 200. I feel that these pages could have been summed up to about 20 pages, as they really just provided some background of Chris, Janey and all of the people and the roles they play in their lives. It was painful to read much of it. When things started to get interesting, the story itself was so frequently blocked by Chris' memories or inner thoughts. Now, as if this wasn't bad enough, the reader has no idea what is going on most of the time. I was frequently asking myself "Did I just read 3 pages about nothing that seems related to the story?" Many of the conversations that occurred between Matteo and Chris and Dr. Samuele and Chris were PAGES long full of confusion and a whole bunch more nothing. It is full of riddles, goes in circles and was tedious to read. One minute Chris is as confused as the reader, then the next, he is confident and has figured the puzzle out. But the reader never gets a clue. To sum up, if the book was cut in half and had less intent to create enigma, I may have liked it more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sammie Mays

    I am still currently reading this book and believe my rating will go up as I continue reading. I won this book in a GoodReads First-Reads giveaway. Darkness & Light. Who do you trust? So far Chris is being bullied. He's trying out for the football team and he's being made fun of - by the coach, by the kids. He thinks he can trust the coach - I hope so because he really needs an ally. Can't wait to find out what awaits "Cristofori" and if he can protect those he cares about. I am still currently reading this book and believe my rating will go up as I continue reading. I won this book in a GoodReads First-Reads giveaway. Darkness & Light. Who do you trust? So far Chris is being bullied. He's trying out for the football team and he's being made fun of - by the coach, by the kids. He thinks he can trust the coach - I hope so because he really needs an ally. Can't wait to find out what awaits "Cristofori" and if he can protect those he cares about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marie Sampair

    Great read for the season!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roxann

    I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. From book cover: In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . In this timely and haunting tale about revenge and forgiveness, writing and painting, a bullied young teen--overwhelmed by tragedy--abandons his faith for science, then escapes to a world of his own making in search of a Christmas miracle for his dying younger sister. There, he must confront all of his creations--the sacr I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. From book cover: In a magical quest for a Christmas miracle, he did not understand the power with which he played . . . In this timely and haunting tale about revenge and forgiveness, writing and painting, a bullied young teen--overwhelmed by tragedy--abandons his faith for science, then escapes to a world of his own making in search of a Christmas miracle for his dying younger sister. There, he must confront all of his creations--the sacred and the unholy--if he wants to recapture the true love he once knew, and save his sister from the deadly legacy that relentlessly stalks her. Because it really does matter what he believes, especially this holiday season . .. It took me a little while to get ‘into the book’, but once I did what a great story. The love between brother and sister was amazing. The two of them would do almost anything to help each other. The book evoked many different emotions-such as smiles, tears, astonishment, regret, and anger. The characters go through all of the emotions themselves. Bullying was also a part of the story when the football team didn’t want Chris to join. This was a wonderful story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Seregon

    I have mixed feelings about this. I love the story and world building. I love the messages of fighting for what you want, nothing comes easy, and the metaphors of good/evil. I also get that this is a coming of age story, and while I don't know what it's like to be a teenage boy, I DO know what it's like to be a teenager. I felt bad for Chris always being picked on and how he's trying to compete, but I'd had it with the "man up, be a man, manly manly" yada yada yada. Girls go through something si I have mixed feelings about this. I love the story and world building. I love the messages of fighting for what you want, nothing comes easy, and the metaphors of good/evil. I also get that this is a coming of age story, and while I don't know what it's like to be a teenage boy, I DO know what it's like to be a teenager. I felt bad for Chris always being picked on and how he's trying to compete, but I'd had it with the "man up, be a man, manly manly" yada yada yada. Girls go through something similar, and it's part of teenage rights of passage to feel like you "don't belong". I get that he feels less "manly" because God friggin' forbid he not have giant biceps and play football, but come on! After the 50th time reading that in less than 17% into the book - and when Chris felt inferior to his sister and her "girl brain" - I just gave up. Enough with the alpha male culture! If you have a problem with your sister's physical strength, see a shrink. And for the record, crying is NOT a "girl thing". Seriously, I think the author has a problem. And it's a shame, b/c if it weren't for all that I would have kept reading b/c the story was interesting and I wanted to see how it would all play out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christina Browne

    this story was both heartwarming and heartbreaking chris looses his mother and in which he creates a magical world which he comes back and forth from trying to escape his lifes problems and his abusive father chris has to go through so many turmoils and his losing his beliefs but his sister always tries to help him regain his beliefs his created world is built on his mothers paintings and from his nightmares this is the place where chris tries to rebuild his troubles and in so he finds unexpecte this story was both heartwarming and heartbreaking chris looses his mother and in which he creates a magical world which he comes back and forth from trying to escape his lifes problems and his abusive father chris has to go through so many turmoils and his losing his beliefs but his sister always tries to help him regain his beliefs his created world is built on his mothers paintings and from his nightmares this is the place where chris tries to rebuild his troubles and in so he finds unexpected surprises from goodreads forst reads

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received this as a giveaway from Goodreads and was looking forward to reading it. I feel bad but I just couldn't get into it and eventually gave up. Other readers loved it so probably it just wasn't a book to my tastes. I received this as a giveaway from Goodreads and was looking forward to reading it. I feel bad but I just couldn't get into it and eventually gave up. Other readers loved it so probably it just wasn't a book to my tastes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    I really enjoyed this spiritually story about family , love and hope.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I won this on First Reads. I have received this. Review will follow soon.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Geetanjali Thanta

  13. 5 out of 5

    Staci

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Stanley

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen fLOYD

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily Sampair

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sofi St. John

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike Italia

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cissy Steinruck

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  22. 5 out of 5

    Khalima

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stohelit

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dixie Goode

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jan farnworth

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tej

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise

  31. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  32. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  33. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  34. 5 out of 5

    Amy Campbell

  35. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  37. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  38. 4 out of 5

    Candace

  39. 4 out of 5

    Žana

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Fitzgibbon

  41. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

  42. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

  43. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Darkins

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

  45. 4 out of 5

    falory

  46. 4 out of 5

    Layal

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