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text 2018-08-08 12:35
Blog Tour: A Girl and Her Elephant by Zoey Gong with Excerpt and Giveaway


Today’s stop is for Zoey Gong’s A Girl and Her Elephant . We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.


Happy Reading :) 


All of the elephants wept as one of their own lay dying in childbirth. But Kanita, the daughter of the royal elephant trainer, refused to give up. With her own hands, she helped bring the baby elephant, Safi, into the world, beginning a lifelong friendship between a girl and her elephant.
But many of the villagers worried about the curse of the white elephant with the red birthmark across her face.
Raised in the mountains of northern Siam, Kanita’s idyllic life is shattered when she is ordered to marry a much older man and leave her beloved yet cursed elephant behind. But Kanita’s stubborn nature refuses to bow to her parents’ wishes.
Kanita and Safi flee their village with the goal of redeeming Safi from her cursed reputation and cementing their bond, vowing to never be separated.
But the jungle is more dangerous than Kanita or Safi could have imagined.
From new author Zoey Gong, follow Kanita and Safi through the jungles of ancient Siam in a story of friendship, hope, and redemption.
A Girl and her Elephant is the first book in the Animal Companion series, but each book is a stand-alone novel with new characters and adventures.
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The cries of the elephant could be heard throughout the jungle.

Kanita could no longer ignore the elephant’s suffering. Even though her father—the king’s mahout—had warned her to stay away, she had to see what was happening for herself. She snuck out of her bedroom window and ran through the village to the royal stables where the white elephant was in heavy labor.

Even though it was late at night, the stables and yard were lit with torches, and mahouts were running here and there, trying to calm the rest of the elephant herd. But they seemed incapable of being consoled, and each one trumpeted in distress.

“Bring more hot water!” Kanita heard her father call to one of his men. “And my kris. I will have to cut the baby loose.”

Her father had asked for his dagger! The poor elephant, Kanita thought. If the elephant—one of the sacred white elephants—died, the king would be displeased. She moved a bale of hay to a stable window and climbed on top of it to get a better view.

On the floor of the stables was the large white elephant. She was straining to birth her calf into the world and tears seeped from her eyes.

She looked at Kanita, and Kanita’s heart froze in her chest. It was as though she could hear the elephant begging her for help.

The elephant’s wet eyes found Kanita’s, and she raised her trunk toward her.

Kanita jumped down from the hay bale and ran into the stables. She had to do something to help. As she entered the building, she saw her father walk behind the elephant with his kris.

“Por! No!” Kanita cried as she ran to him, pulling on his arm. “You’ll kill her.”

“Kanita!” he said sternly. “I told you to stay in the house with your mother. Get out of here.”

“No, I can help,” she said. She went to the elephant and looked at where the baby was supposed to come out. The area was red and swollen, but she thought she could see a trunk trying to wiggle out.

She had never helped birth a baby elephant before. As a girl, she was forbidden from becoming a mahout. But she had helped her mother bring a woman’s baby into the world just a few days before. It didn’t look so different to her. She just needed to reach inside and pull the baby out. And with her small hands and arms, she thought she was just the right size to do it.

She slid her hands inside the mother elephant.

“Be careful,” her father cautioned. “Can you feel the calf’s legs?”

She wasn’t sure what she was feeling. It was like nothing in the world she had touched before. She closed her eyes and let her hands do the seeing for her.

She felt it. The trunk. She could feel the length of it and the ridges up to the baby elephant’s face. She felt the trunk wrap around her arm.

“I feel its face!” Kanita cried.

“Keep going,” her father said.

She pushed further into the elephant, all the way to her shoulders. She slid her hands down the side of the baby elephant and gripped it under its front leg.

“I have it!” she said. “I have the leg!” She tried to pull it out, but she was not strong enough. “Help me!” she cried.

Her father wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled. “Don’t let go!” he ordered.

She could feel her hands start to slip, but she refused to release her grip. The baby elephant’s trunk wrapped even more tightly around her arm. She started to feel the baby elephant’s mass give way.

“It’s coming!” she yelled, and the mother elephant trumpeted again, forcing the baby out.

Kanita and her father fell backward as the baby elephant plopped out of her mother on top of them covered in birthing goo. The baby struggled, still partially trapped in her amniotic sack. Kanita’s father used his kris to cut the sack away.

The baby elephant took her first full gasp of air, and Kanita wrapped her arms around the baby, a baby that was probably ten times the weight of eight-year-old Kanita. A baby girl elephant.

“You did it,” her father said, patting her on the back.

Kanita breathed a sigh of relief, happy to have saved the baby elephant and her mother.

But then the mother elephant trumpeted again and let out a horrifying moan. Blood and other fluids poured out of the mother elephant, soaking the stable floor.

“Oh no!” Kanita cried as she stood, her chong kraben drenched with blood. Her feet slipped on the floor as she made her way to the mother elephant’s face.

The mother elephant groaned as Kanita stroked her face.

“I’m so sorry,” Kanita said. “I’ll take care of her. I promise.”

The mother elephant sighed one last time, her eyes focusing softly on Kanita as though she understood before closing them forever.

Kanita stood back and then kneeled, kowtowing to the white elephant, thanking her for her service to the king and honoring her as his representative. All of the mahouts in the stables—including Kanita’s father—did the same, as was proper. The rest of the elephants in the king’s stables—white and gray—let out a mournful trumpet, as though they all suffered from the loss of one of their own.

Kanita was the first to raise her head, as her thoughts were now with the baby elephant left behind. The baby elephant was sitting up, its eyes wide, apparently confused about what was going on. Kanita raised the baby’s trunk and coaxed her to follow. She led her to her mother so she could nurse. Even though the mother was dead, the milk she made in preparation for her baby should still be good for the baby’s first drink.

As the men discussed what to do next with the deceased royal elephant—they would have to inform the king and then hold a royal procession for her.

Kanita grabbed a bucket of water and started washing the baby. As she did so, she was greeted with an incredible sight.

“Por!” she called to her father. “Look!”

Her father and some of the other mahouts came to see what she was excited about.

“Well, I’ll be…” her father trailed off as he sunk to his knees.

The baby—like her mother—was a white elephant.

Once again, everyone in the stables—including Kanita—prostrated themselves before an auspicious elephant.

“Is this the first time a white elephant has been born in captivity?” Kanita asked after they all were standing again.

“King Sakda is truly a blessed monarch,” her father said.

“Hey, boss,” one of the mahouts said, calling her father to him. He went to him, and the two talked quietly for a moment, frowning at the baby elephant.

“What is it?” Kanita asked. She went to her father’s side and realized what they were looking at.

The baby elephant had a long red birthmark down one side of her face. On her pale pink skin—white elephants were not really white, but only a pale gray or pink in color—the mark showed dramatically.

“It’s nothing,” Kanita said, remembering that her friend Boonsri had a red birthmark on her back. “She’s still a white elephant. We will still honor her.”

“It’s a bad omen elephant, boss,” the other mahout mumbled.

“Don’t say that!” Kanita yelled.

“Enough,” her father said firmly. “I will send an urgent message to the king, telling him what happened and about the new white elephant. In all his wisdom, he will know what to do.”

“We should take good care of her,” Kanita said. “The king will want to know his auspicious elephant is well cared for.”

Kanita went over to the little elephant, who had now finished drinking her mother’s milk, and led her to a clean area of the stables. She finished washing and drying the elephant and laid her on a fresh bed of straw.

“Don’t worry,” Kanita said as she laid down with the elephant, wrapping her arms around her. “I won’t let anything happen to you, Safi, my sweet little friend.”

But in her heart, she worried about the mahout calling the baby elephant a “bad omen.”

ZOEY GONG was born and raised in rural Hunan Province, China. She has been studying English and working as a translator since she was sixteen years old. Now in her early twenties, Zoey loves traveling and eating noodles for every meal. She lives in Shenzhen with her cat, Jello, and dreams of one day disappointing her parents by being a Leftover Woman (剩女).

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/08/blog-tour-a-girl-and-her-elephant-by-zoey-gong-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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text 2015-07-21 01:26
Contemporary Romance Set in India
The Zoya Factor - Anuja Chauhan
Spice and Smoke - Suleikha Snyder
A Trip with the Tycoon - Nicola Marsh
A Bollywood Affair - Sonali Dev
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People - Farahad Zama
Monsoon Wedding Fever - Shoma Narayanan
The Elephant Girl - Henriette Gyland
Bollywood Fiancé for a Day (Contemporary Romance) - Ruchi Vasudeva
The Runaway Bridegroom - Sundari Venkatraman
Indian Maidens Bust Loose - Vidya Samson

It is very Monsoon like in Southern Califorina today. So, lets go to where the real Monsoons are--India.


Enjoy these great Contemporary Romance Novels set in India.


My lists are never in any particular order. 


1. THE ZOYA FACTOR by Anuja Chauhan


When the younger players in India's cricket team find out that advertising executive Zoya Singh Solanki was born at the very moment India won the World Cup back in 1983, they are intrigued. When having breakfast with her is followed by victories on the field, they are impressed. And when not eating with her results in defeat, they decide she's a lucky charm.The nation goes a step further. Amazed at the ragtag team's sudden spurt of victories, it declares her a Goddess.So when the eccentric IBCC president and his mesmeric, always-exquisitely-attired Swamiji invite Zoya to accompany the team to the tenth ICC World Cup, she has no choice but to agree.Pursued by international cricket boards on the one hand, wooed by Cola majors on the other, Zoya struggles to stay grounded in the thick of the world cup action. And it doesn't help that she keeps clashing with the erratically brilliant new skipper who tells her flatly that he doesn't believe in luck…


2. Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder


When the cameras stop rolling, the real scene begins. 


To their adoring public, Avi Kumar and Trishna Chaudhury are Bollywood’s sweethearts. Behind closed doors, their open marriage lets them freely indulge in all manner of forbidden passions. The arrangement suits them both, but as they begin filming on the set of their new movie, the heat of new and rekindled flames singes the pages of what they thought would be a fresh script. 


When costars Michael Gill and Harsh Mathur arrive on set, the sexual temperature goes up exponentially—at least for Trish. She can’t take her eyes of Harsh, for whom she’s carried a torch for years. Avi’s instant attraction to Michael, however, bounces off Michael’s solid wall of resistance. 


Meanwhile, ex-boyfriends Vikram Malhotra and Sam Khanna, cast as fictional enemies, are finding it harder and harder to control the very real demons that once cost them the love of a lifetime. 


Once the music starts, though, they all have no choice but to dance . And pray the fallout doesn’t ruin all their careers…and destroy their love.


3. A Trip with the Tycoon by Nicola Marsh


Determined to forget her husband's infidelity and bring her confident, fiery self back, Tamara Rayne is in India on a trip of a lifetime. Love isn't on her itinerary, so she hardly notices when blast from her past Ethan Brooks boards her train….

The maverick entrepreneur has wanted Tamara ever since he met her. Under the shimmer of the Indian sun, Ethan decides he's waited long enough….


4. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev


Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her. 


Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.


5. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama


Bored with retirement, Mr. Ali sets up a desk, puts up a sign, and waits for customers for his new matchmaking business. Some clients are a mystery. Some are a challenge. Mr. Ali's assistant, Aruna, finds it a learning experience. But without a dowry, Aruna has no expectation of a match for herself. Then again, as people go about planning their lives, sometimes fate is making other arrangements.


6. Monsoon Wedding Fever by Shoma Narayanan


Coming home one night, Riya was not expecting to find the man who broke her heart sleeping on her floor! He's a guest at her roommate's wedding, so she's stuck with him 24/7—and the sparks are already flying!

Six years ago Riya fell for Dhruv, whereas he didn't believe in love. Not then, not now—the other reason he's in India is to consider an arranged marriage! But as the monsoons start, Riya and Dhruv are forced to confront what drove them apart. Could this wedding fever be…contagious?


7. The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland


Peek-a-boo I see you… 
When five-year-old Helen Stephens witnesses her mother’s murder, her whole world comes crumbling down. Rejected by her extended family, Helen is handed over to child services and learns to trust no-one but herself. Twenty years later, her mother’s killer is let out of jail, and Helen swears vengeance. 

Jason Moody runs a halfway house, desperate to distance himself from his father’s gangster dealings. But when Helen shows up on his doorstep, he decides to dig into her past, and risks upsetting some very dangerous people. 

As Helen begins to question what really happened to her mother, Jason is determined to protect her. But Helen is getting too close to someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden …


8. Bollywood Fiancé for a Day by Ruchi Vasudeva


Winning the chance to meet the ultimate Bollywood heartthrob, Zaheer Saxena, is just what Vishakha needs to take her mind off her recent humiliation—being jilted the week before her wedding! And when gorgeous Zaheer offers to be her fake fiancé, the chance to save face with her family is just too tempting….


It's a deal that benefits them both—Zaheer is warding off any unwanted female attention until his next film is finished—but can Vishakha trust herself not to hope that her dream fiancé for a day could turn into forever?


9. The Runaway Bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman


Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city. 

Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her? 

Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 

When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know what she wants? 

Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness?


10.  Prince Charming Wanted; Dowry Seekers Kiss Off! by Vidya Samson


Nisha Desai is a young Indian woman who pines for romance in a country where love is in the same class as malaria, and where mates are selected using a calculator.

Normally deluged with ghastly suitors of her father's choosing, she suddenly finds herself on the short list for a bride-seeing tour by a rich and handsome nephew of a neighbor. This is the stuff of which dreams are made.

A nightmare materializes when a very un-Indian ruffian moves in next door, complete with beard and obnoxious Harley motorcycle. He might play the bad boy in one of Nisha's beloved romance novels, but in real life, he terrifies her.

So she tries to ignore the thundering engine of the bike while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming--or at least, Prince Rich. 

But arriving first is a long-lost black-sheep American aunt and her trouble-magnet teenage daughters. The aunt proves to be a New Age space case, while the cousins’ appetite for disasters threatens to level the city of Ahmedabad. In short order, the demented cousins instigate an elopement, a public protest, and a riot that gets Nisha thrown in jail. 

Nisha’s family comes to the conclusion that while East and West may meet, sometimes they shouldn't. The guests are seen as an invading force, equipped with weapons of mass corruption.

While Nisha wonders how she can hide her now corroded reputation from the dream suitor's family, insanity marches on. Nisha's father adopts a pet cow and convinces half the city it's the reincarnation of a Hindu deity. The two families are finally united in a common goal: to bilk thousands. The result is Madison Avenue's idea of a religious experience, which is not a controllable situation.

Indian Maidens Bust Loose is a hilarious romantic comedy set in the land of cows, curry, and the Kama Sutra.


Do you have a rec? Let me know! Vote on my Goodreads list: Contemporary Romance Set in India

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review 2014-03-08 03:56
The Life and Times of Calamity Jane
Elephant Girl: A Human Story - Jane Devin
Update: 3-7-14 I read quite a number of biographies and autobiographies though I seldom review them, if they engage my interest I usually become too involved to give an unbiased review. I also read books on survivors of Shoah, so I am not without sympathy to great suffering as some have tried to claim. I found out today that the author is using my review as an example of what she and others believe to be "spiteful anti-author" sentiment.

My review stands. I didn't like this book and the world did not end and Devin still sells her book. /End update.

I wanted to find something in this rambling, defeatist, black cloud of words that was the least bit uplifting, inspiring but there is nothing and nothing pretty much sums up Jane's life.

Jane sets out to tell us the story of a life, her life, marked by violence and neglect. I wanted to feel something for her, especially for Jane the child, but her writing was flat and devoid of any feeling, her litany of abuse, physical and verbal, read like a grocery list and too often I would find myself questioning Jane's lack of reaction and lack of emotion. She just seemed to wander through her life waiting for something bad to happen and until it did she was incapable of moving forward or sideways or backwards or at all.

Her dreary, passionless recitation was not helped by a rather uncertain timeline, it was hard to tell if only days had passed or weeks or months. In the later part of the book when Jane told parts of her story in flashbacks it became even more confusing. By this point I had ceased to care much and just grimly read on wanting only to finish and be done.

It's never good when you find yourself so out of sympathy with the victim. There were times when her actions or lack of them were so out of tune with what she was writing that some cynical part of my brain was wondering if she was conducting some sort of weird experiments so she could record them later in a story.

When I finished I was left feeling that Jane really hadn't changed much. She was still making a career out of being a victim only now she was writing about it instead of just making notes for later. I know that seems harsh but it's what I came away with.

I also came away with the desire to thank my late mother for all her love, advice, and encouragement, if I expressed a desire to do something she almost always was pushing me out the door to go and do it, and to thank my best friend's late mother for the words I've lived by most of my adult life. `There are worse things in life than being alone.'

Being alone with this book was one of them.
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url 2014-03-08 01:29
No Thank You
Elephant Girl: A Human Story - Jane Devin
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review 2013-11-19 18:21
Review - The Elephant Girl
The Elephant Girl - Henriette Gyland

I enjoy good romantic suspense of all flavors. Thrilling, action-packed books that keep me on the edge of my chair turning pages enjoy pride of place in my library, as do gothics which build their tension inch by chilling inch. What doesn't work for me is total boredom. The Elephant Girl promised an unusual suspense story, but much of this meandering novel just bored me silly.


As a young child, Helen Stephens witnessed her mother's murder. However, she remembers almost nothing of it and when her extended family opts to place her in foster care rather than raise her, Helen's world basically crumbles apart. Now an adult, Helen lives overseas until news of her grandmother's impending death and her own inheritance brings Helen reluctantly back to England. The woman convicted of killing Helen's mother has also recently been released from prison and Helen dearly wants to track her down for reasons of her own.


The beginning of the book certainly sets the stage for all kinds of mysterious goings-on. Helen herself starts to question whether the "official" version of the murder is in fact what happened. And it's more than obvious that Helen's remaining family have some secrets of their own. The reaction of Helen's grandmother to her homecoming is not exactly what one would expect from a woman who opted to push her into foster care rather then care for her, and the aunt Helen remembers as being kind to her meets her with an odd hostility and coldness. And then there's the quest for the convicted murderer.


This is a partial review.  You can find the complete text at All About Romance.

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