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World-traveler, blogger, book lover… finding beauty everywhere she looks. Mina De Caro is Italian, born and raised in small-town Southern Italy, close to medieval castles and archeological sites. She is now based in Pennsylvania where she lives with her family, but there are three different countries in the world that she has the pleasure to call home. Mina graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bari in Italy with a Master's Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Visual arts, traveling and her blog Mina’s Bookshelf are her favorite hobbies. With a background as export manager and a wide experience as international sales specialist, the only lands she hasn't had the chance to touch yet are the Artica/Antartica and Oceania. In an era of high-tech gadgets and electronic readers, Mina is very protective of her books, so whatever she is reading follows her around the house… with two little kids you never know when and where a crayon may leave a mark.

Review Of Embryo By J.A. Schneider

(Photo Credit: JA Schneider)

(Photo Credit: JA Schneider)

In its ambition to treat human infertility and genetic disorders, Madison Hospital Medical Center has pioneered advanced and acclaimed techniques for the early diagnosis and treatment of birth defects and inherited diseases. But in doing so, it may have crossed the line of what is considered ethically legitimate. When in less than twenty four hours, four different OB/GYN patients see their pregnancies and their lives end in an unexpectedly tragic way, brave and promising intern Jill Raney won’t stop in front of what is too easily dismissed as isolated and tragic coincidences. In order to find the answers, Jill will put her career and her very life (as well as the name and the life of brilliant resident doctor David Levine) on the line of fire.

I enjoyed Embryo immensely — it is a highly entertaining and well-conceived medical thriller, gripping from the first dramatic scene to the white-knuckle finale.  Driven by interesting and full-drawn characters, as well as tantalizing pace and thought-provoking story-line, this highly suspenseful debut novel by self-published author A.J. Schneider had me on the edge of my seat for the vast majority of its eventful and highly-descriptive chapters. Leading to the momentous final pages, the author breaks up Embryo’s pulse-pounding narrative with the pleasant injection of a tenuous romance and sparse, although effective, love scenes. I congratulate the author on her tasteful and wise use of sensual chemistry as a narrative tool to advance plot and character development. The female protagonist initially lacks the cool detachment that usually characterizes the spunky heroines from many a suspense novel, but she is sheer determination in doc scrubs, and despite her emotional outbreaks and show of vulnerability in front of the tragic outcome of some ER situations, she comes through as an endearing character capable of beating a system that would like to cover up its wrongs and seal her mouth.

Meticulously researched and solidly rooted in human biology, Schneider’s use of  medical terminology (especially obstetrics and genetics) is robust but not overwhelming, quite interesting rather. It enhances the realistic effect with the use of accurate medical facts and procedures that are certainly  not unfamiliar among the fans of this genre.

The Verdict: A fearless and vulnerable heroine, a charming and protective hero, an ethical debate, a malignant genius, and a final plot twist that you won’t take for granted, Embryo has it all. For me it was a skillful and intelligent concoction of  suspense and science fiction, an absolute page-turner. My only minor complaint, if any, is that the novel could have used an epilogue: the closure, although not rushed and actually well built in terms of suspense and climactic resolution, needed to deflate in some sort of tension relief, maybe even with a shift of focus on the romantic involvement between our lead characters. Brace yourselves because a sequel is in the works. All in all, yet another pleasant surprise from the usually underestimated world of indie authors.

Release Date: May 18, 2012
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Author: J.A. Schneider

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