Samantha Morgan is excited that she will soon pick up her newborn baby, being carried by a surrogate in India, using her deceased husband's spSynopsis
Samantha Morgan is excited that she will soon pick up her newborn baby, being carried by a surrogate in India, using her deceased husband's sperm and her egg. The day of her baby shower at work, a strange woman approaches her and warns her about the man who seduced her as a fifteen-year-old. This man is now the Republican front-runner in the current Presidential Election. Shortly thereafter, women who also had youthful encounters with this man are dying under mysterious circumstances. Samantha and her friend Lisa, also a conquest of this man, go to India to pick up Samantha's baby, where they encounter Matthew Carlisle. Matthew Carlisle and his friend Lenny have also traveled to India to pick up his baby, which was conceived because of his ex-wife's desire for a child, although she left him and now he's responsible for the child. Samantha and Matthew take a dislike to each other when their personalities clash.
But Samantha and Matthew have to work together to rescue their pregnant surrogates when forces behind the Democratic incumbent plot to use Samantha's pregnant surrogate/unborn child to strongarm her into coming forward about her past with the Republican presidential candidate. Danger tracks them closely in this trek to take their new babies home, as the strangeness and beauty of India soaks into their psyches, and old emotional wounds start to heal.
The Baby Game is an interesting thriller novel that centers on the "what ifs" of a presidential election and what the candidates will do to win at any cost. The idea that this candidate was a seducer of young girls is quite disturbing, but completely plausible. It was hair-raising that people might engineer the murder of women just because they were victims of this man as young girls, and might endanger his chances of winning the election by coming forward. It was a novel approach to use the idea of two different people both engaging surrogates in a foreign country. I appreciated the view of India and the cultures exhibited in Samantha and Matthew's travels. There were plenty of humorous moments, which I enjoyed.
While I appreciated the storyline and plot, I had trouble grasping the overall tone of the novel. Initially, the story is very dark, but becomes almost slapstick towards its climax. I think that the combination of humor and wacky moments should have been more consistently distributed in the novel, instead of mostly towards the end, especially with the initial mayhem of these poor women being murdered and the idea that political parties would be willing to murder people like that.
Samantha and Matthew could have used more depth. I felt like I knew Samantha a little better, but ultimately she didn't come to life for me. She seemed to react to circumstances, but I didn't feel connected to her thought life. Moreso for Matthew. I could see that his divorce hit him hard, and had made him cynical, but I wanted to see how his experiences in India, with Samantha and his baby change him from the inside out. I just saw the end results.
Overall, The Baby Game was an entertaining read. The storyline was very interesting and unique. However, I do feel that the tone shift was confusing, and I wanted more exploration of the emotional aspects of Samantha and Matthew's experiences in India. Reader who enjoy suspense novels with a good dose of humor might enjoy this book. It's worthwhile reading just for the descriptions of India and its people.
Fifteen-year-old Veena Solomon lives in Bahrain with her parents and brother, a transplanted Indian in an Arab country, although she attends CSynopsis
Fifteen-year-old Veena Solomon lives in Bahrain with her parents and brother, a transplanted Indian in an Arab country, although she attends Catholic school. Her family moved there to seek a better life than the one available in India. Her mother is Catholic by faith and worrier by profession (although she also works as a teacher in Veena's school). Veena is trying to figure out what she believes herself, especially when her fervent prayers to grow breasts and for gorgeous Rashid to fall in love with her go unanswered. When her teacher selects her to be Juliet in the Romeo and Juliet production, opposite her beloved Rashid, Veena needs an edge to set her above the other girls. Being Indian is very low on the totem pole in status-oriented Bahrain, where European/Whites are first, Arabs second, and brown-skinned Indians, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans are on the bottom. Veena is also small and flat-chested. She's suffering from an identity crisis, wondering what's so great about being Indian when all the Arab boys make fun of her accent and she isn't blond or big-breasted like one of her popular classmates. Veena learns that being herself is the best thing of all, even if playing Juliet will get her close to the boy of her dreams.
Bras, Boys and Blunders: Juliet and Romeo in Bahrain was an incredibly fun, engaging read. I loved the view into the life of a young Indian teen and how being Indian is something she has to learn to embrace. I appreciated this multicultural view in young adult fiction that doesn't seem as prevalent as I would like. I don't know much about growing up in an Arab country, especially as a person of a different nationality like Veena, and this book gave me a view into that life through Veena's eyes.
The great thing about this book is that while Veena's experiences are distinctive from the average American life, they really aren't that different when it comes down to it. Any person who survived teenage-hood knows how Veena feels. The awkwardness of fitting in and feeling like you never measure up. For female readers, we can also identify with the inherent struggles of the mother-daughter relationship, when our mothers have different goals than what we have in life, and they force us into molds that we don't fit. How we feel we can never measure up to their standards, and they don't really seem to understand where we are coming from.
Veena was a sweet girl. She inspires loyalty and a comradeship in this reader, as I read her about struggling through those everyday moments of young life that seem like major crises, however you live to fight another day. While Veena is Indian, she is surrounded by people of various cultures, and this can cause conflicts, as issues of religion and cultural morals dictate the choices that Veena has, even if they don't fit into her own belief system, which she is in the process figuring out. The secondary characters such as Kyle, an American boy who seems determined to be the Baddest White Boy in School, and who seems to have quite a crush on Veena, although she's oblivious, add a lot to this story. They provide insight and show that while we might feel we are lacking, others actually might envy and respect us for who we are.
The humor was fantastic. I was laughing out loud through most of this book, although Samson also gives the reader a lot to think about along with those hilarious moments. Samson's light, but vivacious narrative makes me want to read more young adult books like this, where the story is just about growing up, with no major plot devices necessary to prop up a story. Coming of age is very ripe subject because of so many everyday experiences a young person goes through that are full of inherent pathos and humor.
I am really glad I had the opportunity to read this book, and I hope to read more of Vidya Samson's writing. She is a talented writer who gave me a story I enjoyed, from beginning to end.
This short novel packs a punch. I appreciate the skill that the author employs in taking faerie and Greek mythology and building a unique story of herThis short novel packs a punch. I appreciate the skill that the author employs in taking faerie and Greek mythology and building a unique story of her own. Young adult heroine, but the story avoids all the YA conventions.
I'm really glad I signed up to review this for Bitten by Books. It was very good. I love shifter romance and I like that this is on the clean side. EvI'm really glad I signed up to review this for Bitten by Books. It was very good. I love shifter romance and I like that this is on the clean side. Even without love scenes, I felt the bond between Kess and Cormac and this was really intense. The shifting aspect was very well done. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.
This case hits to close to home for Tara Chase, Minder 2 for the British Special Service. Her school friend has been involved in a sex scandal, a sexThis case hits to close to home for Tara Chase, Minder 2 for the British Special Service. Her school friend has been involved in a sex scandal, a sex video being used to blackmail her father into caving and backing out of a multimillion dollar communcations business deal by a player in the French government. One of her bosses sends her to France to investigate and to intervene in any way possible. In the meantime, her affair with a coworker is starting to get too serious, and Tara knows she's going to have to pull the plug.
This was good stuff. While the art is all black and white, it's beautifully done. The use of lines and shadows show talent that doesn't require coloring to dress it up (although I'm all for full-color artwork when it's there).
The narrative is tense and suspenseful, even though the dialogue is very economical. Tara is a complex woman. Not exactly personable, but she shows a lot of integrity and grit. I like that about her.
This is the first graphic novel I have read on my Kindle Fire, and I was pretty impressed at how easy it was to read and how good it looks. I'm kind of a cheapo, so I'm not saying I'm going to buy a lot of graphic novels in ebook format, but I will consider it more seriously now that I know I like the way they look on my ereader.
Queen and Country is spy fiction, and it works very well in the graphic novel format with the excellent artwork and good writing by Rucka. I paid $3.99 for the Kindle version, and I was pretty satisfied with the purchase. ...more
Liana is a young, transplanted Frenchwoman taken in by an older Native American when her father dies with his gold claim in the Yukon under diSynopsis
Liana is a young, transplanted Frenchwoman taken in by an older Native American when her father dies with his gold claim in the Yukon under dispute. She has learned all the many lessons that Henry taught her to survive in the cold wilderness of the North. When Henry is murdered and she flees her pursuers, she will have to rely on that training, especially when she's stranded on a deserted narrow island in the middle of the raging, icy river. The days tick down slowly and her chances for survival narrow with each day with no food and limited shelter. Liana must face the unsympathetic, cruel force of nature, all alone on her frigid island of refuge.
An Island Between Two Shores is a tale of survival that brings back my memories of reading stories by Jack London in which humans travel to the frozen North and pit their wills against the unforgiving wilderness. The story of the struggle between man and nature is not a new one. In this case, it is woman against nature. I appreciated that because gender is no factor in having the skills to survive in the wilderness. It's about knowledge, will, and sometimes just sheer luck. In this case, Liana's education in living on the land in the North comes from the best, and other than that, it's up to her wits against nature.
The writing was crisp and clear, taking the reader to this place of brutal cold and harsh elements. It had a vividly realistic feel. Williams paints a bleak picture, but there is beauty in the descriptions of nature, even at its most fierce. Liana herself appreciates the beauty of nature as she waits for the ice on the river to freeze so she can leave the island. With little to do except rest in her improvised shelter, she has time to observe it. She sees the Northern Lights and all the constellations in all their unpolluted glory. In the wilderness, man (or in this case, woman) is alone with herself and the forces of nature. Self-knowledge is unavoidable in this process. Liana's inner dialogue as the days count down and she realizes that she is growing weaker wrenched at my psyche.
This story grabbed at my gut. I wanted to keep reading, hoping all the while that she would survive, yet fearing that she would not. The sheer enormity of Liana's struggle to survive, and the bleak nature of her predicament hit home with me. I could feel the grinding ache of the fierce cold, as well as the horrible emptiness of the starvation that Liana suffered. An Island Between Two Shores will stay with me a long time. In a profound way, I identified with this young woman, who just wanted to survive the cruel, indifferent wilderness that preys on both the strong and the weak.
As much as I enjoyed this story and appreciated the writing, I felt the ending was weak and robbed this book of some of its impact because it was too quick and a bit predictable. Otherwise, this is a well-written novel. I believe those who enjoy survival tales will probably appreciate An Island Between Two Shores as much as I did.
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting foSynopsis
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting for injured wildlife. McGrath is a bounty hunter and animal cruelty investigator hunting for a bail-jumper with a penchant for abusing animals. McGrath knows instantly that Merry Anna is a woman who needs a protector. Her heart is so big for animals that she doesn't have much of a grip on reality and the danger she is in when someone is trying to kill her. He insists on her staying in his house for 24 hour protection when someone vandalizes her house. They will end up playing house together with a fostered Basset Hound and nearly newborn kitten under their care. That's saying something for two people who don't have good experiences with family or relationships. Will they be able to walk away from each other when the danger is all over for Merry Anna?
Charming Champion is well-named. This is a charming book. Merry Anna has an endearing innocence and earnestness with her passionate love for animals. McGrath is adorable. He's tough and sweet at the same time. He is clearly in over his head for a typical loner who falls head over heels for a woman who comes with baggage, the emotional and furry kind. He is a protector by nature, a man who was a sickly child who developed his body into perfect fitness and fought to escape from his overprotective mother's fold. As an adult, years of living under his mother's stifling over-protectiveness has made him wary of commitment. However, Merry Anna inspires him to want a woman in his life on a forever basis. It's very cute seeing them together, discovering love for each other.
As an animal lover, I appreciated spending time with Mr. Ponder, the Basset Hound they end up fostering, as well as Snowy, the abandoned newborn kitten they are hand-feeding. Also, I admired the work that both Merry Anna and McGrath do with animals and for animal welfare, although Merry Anna has issues to work through with her single-minded, blind determination to help animals at any cost. Often, I was frustrated at her when she would dive in headfirst trying to help animals, without thinking things through. I could understand how McGrath might have felt, since he usually had to pull her back from the edge.
A shortcoming of this novel is the fact that the suspense angle is lightweight. It definitely ties in with the overall theme of animal welfare, but the villains lacked depth and intensity. I couldn't help giggling at the various altercations with the bad guys.
Charming Champion was a pleasant, fun, heartwarming book. I think I would have rated it higher if the conflict with the animal abusers was stronger and had more impact. It was hard to take it seriously. Nevertheless, the message about care and respect for animals was well received by this animal lover. I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet with just enough sensuality, the chemistry between McGrath and Merry Anna well-written and appealing. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy lighthearted, animal-themed sweet romance.
This is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHughThis is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh touches on some very recognizable figures in fantasy and folk legends and mythology and in a way that made me go "Hmm!". It's pretty gritty and quite violent. I'm not sure I was in love with the sexuality expressed in the story though. However, this book definitely keeps your eyes glued to the pages, and the magic was fascinating and darkly alluring and repulsive in parts. I am thrilled I am able to read and review this series, since I do love my urban fantasy.