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Add These 2 New Westchester Books to Your Reading List

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A Helluva Ride: How a Father-Son Family Business Overcame Crisis to Achieve the American Dream | Photo courtesy of Joe Vericker

Explore a fast-paced fantasy adventure by a Somers-based 18-year-old or peek into the world of a high-stakes local business, courtesy of Paraco Gas CEO Joseph Armentano.

A Helluva Ride: How a Father-Son Family Business Overcame Crisis to Achieve the American Dream

By Joseph Armentano

Partly a loving tribute to his late father, Pat, Joe Armentano’s A Helluva Ride offers a peek into the high-stakes world of a prominent Westchester company. “It’s a combination memoir and a business book,” says Armentano. “It has business lessons, but I think more than anything else, it is a book that describes family business and the journey that occurred in our particular family business.” This particular business is Rye Brook’s Paraco Gas, one of the nation’s largest gas companies, with a history that stretches back to 1968.

Armentano’s memoir takes readers through the seeds of the company to one of the most difficult moments he and his father ever faced, following the death of a Paraco driver. Rising above all this is Armentano’s love for his dad, which serves as the text’s heart and soul. “[The book] is filled with life lessons from my father,” says Armentano, who began interviewing his father in 2008, two years prior to Pat’s death in 2010. “He was such a captivating personality that I knew I had to write a book. My father was almost like a character out of a movie; he was the most charismatic man I have ever met in my life.”

Legacy of Smiles Publications (2021); 277 pages (pbk)

A Helluva Ride: How a Father-Son Family Business Overcame Crisis to Achieve the American Dream

Photo courtesy of Joe Vericker

The Colson Legend: Ice Queen

By Michael Nyikos; Illustrated by Lainey Rothschild

Michael Nyikos was just 18-years-old when he began writing his rollicking fantasy epic, after his college sent students home due to the pandemic. “When we were sent home for COVID my freshman year, I was watching a lot of movies, and I decided to create an idea for a film, which then sparked the idea for the book,” shares the Union College junior and Somers resident. “The entire process took 16 months.”

According to Nyikos, the text blends several genres: “The story can be seen as a coming-of-age tale, but I would say it is more a fantasy and adventure story with a little bit of sci-fi,” he explains. The story follows Jack Colson, a high school senior who, after joining forces with a powerful ice queen, takes on a nefarious billion-dollar organization set on world domination. It all amounts to a fast-paced fantasy epic that follows a young man discovering himself, as well as his powers, amid a world teetering on ruin.

Kose Ventures LLC (2021); 260 pages (pbk and digitally on Amazon)

The Colson Legend: Ice Queen

Photo courtesy of Jeff Nyikos


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