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Friday, August 3, 2012

Blame It on the Baby by Jennifer Archer

Blame It on the Baby by Jennifer Archer
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When an act of fate results in the world’s first pregnant man, swollen feet are the least of his problems!

Tory Beecham-Todd is fed up with being taken for granted. When will she have time to accomplish her goals and live her dreams? Her husband Dillon has it easy. He has only one job, while she’s a college student, part-time law clerk, and full-time mother to their daughter with another child on the way.

Now Dillon’s ambition to buy into the restaurant business consumes all of his time and threatens her plans to enter law school. Doesn’t he realize she needs his help? Tory wishes Dillon could experience her life firsthand. Maybe then he’d understand…

When her offhand wish is granted, Tory and Dillon struggle to regain their lives. Only a mutual understanding will change them back, but will they reach it before it’s too late?

If you remember the movie, Freaky Friday, about the mother and daughter switching bodies and its remake, then you’ll have an idea of the premise of this story. That is the only similarity because in this clever and unique book, the author took the idea and created a hysterically funny yet insightful plot that makes the movie look tame and shallow. Blame It on the Baby has a lot to offer a reader who looks for depth of character and an entertaining storyline.

The first thing the author did was set up the atmosphere. Once Ms. Archer was done, I was fully aware that, although the heroine and hero truly loved each other, life’s pressures from their professional lives were about to submarine what otherwise was a very strong marriage. The author’s insight into how a man’s thinking process differs from a female’s was crucial and it’s that clarity of understanding that made this novella shine.

Tory and Dillon were wonderful characters. I was impressed by the author’s ability to get into their heads and help a reader understand their inner insecurities, dreams, wants, fears and aspirations. The thing of it is, both the hero and heroine had valid points. There wasn’t a truly conscious selfish intention from either of them. That being said, a man can only understand his point of view and a woman hers. No matter how well they communicate, there will always be things left unsaid because they either don’t know how to say it, are mistakenly trying to protect the other and left things unsaid, or totally clueless that something should be mentioned. Throw in life’s little stresses and demands and it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire.

The paranormal element comes in through a very innocuous source. It’s never explained, it’s never explored; it just is. The crux of the plot is, will this freaky occurrence bring them closer or further apart?

In the beginning, I was a little stressed reading the book. I cringed a lot because I could feel their marriage strain and saw the possibility of it unraveling. I could also see how much of a tragedy that would be because Tory and Dillon were right for each other. Ms. Archer painstakingly set up the elements that would drive each character towards a greater understanding of what is was to be Dillon, the man, worker and husband, and to be Tory, mom, student and wife. Once that was done, then the humor kicked in.

Enter Joe. Once he came on scene, the tender gloves were off and hard hitting belly busting laughter ensued. I can’t even explain how hard I laughed but for a bit, I couldn’t catch my breath. The hilarity stems from Tory, in Dillon’s body, interacting with Joe, who is clueless of the switch. However, a woman is a woman no matter what body’s she’s in because it’s the brain and personality that makes a person do what they do. This is where understanding the differences between men and women came into the picture and Ms. Archer totally got it. The dialogue alone was enough to send me into a fit of giggles. The descriptions of Joe’s reactions to his assumptions and interpretations were comic genius. When Tory, as Dillon, had to deal with another woman coming on to her/him ended up being another great moment of the book.

Honestly, there are so many things that are worthy to share but every one would lead to spoilers and there’s no way I want to diminish the effect of this story for a reader. There’s power in the not knowing and a reader deserves the full enchilada of fun. I will say the happy ever after was completely satisfying and delightful.

Blame It on the Baby is a must read. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is going to appeal to any reader who is a diehard romantic at heart. A friend recommended that I read this and now I’m passing it on. This is a story not to be missed especially if a reader is having that kind of a day where a smile and a giggle are sorely needed. Reading Blame It on the Baby is the cure.