Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ARC Review: Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

Necessary MedicineFrom the blurb:

With intelligence and humor, debut male/male author M.K. York delivers an emotionally charged slow-burn romance set in a prestigious Bay Area teaching hospital. 
In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there's no room for romance. So it's a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil's superior, he's also recently divorced.  
As Neil's skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn't until Neil's final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil's joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new. 
Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?

Heather's rating:

Necessary Medicine was an interesting book by newbie author, M.K. York, and I have lots of thoughts about it.

For one, I could have told you before reading the author bio at the end that the author was a doctor, or at least on the way to becoming one. As someone who has gone through dental school, which mirrors medical school in many respects, and who has had a hospital residency, which included anesthesiology, emergency medicine, and OR rotations, I recognized a kindred spirit here. The way M.K. York talks about medicine and the terminology that she uses would be extremely hard for a non-medical person to achieve. There is a comfort with the subject that clued me in, unmistakably.

Now, I was very familiar with all of the medical terms and procedures in this story, but most readers won't be. Not only am I a dentist, but I come from a medical family, with a cardiologist for a father and cousins/in-laws in the medical field. What is interesting about this story versus some other stories that feature doctor MCs is that this book is really mostly about medicine. It is about the MC's journey through his residency, and the mental and physical toll it takes on him. Sure, there is a love interest and an eventual romance, but this book truly reads like more of a residency memoir than anything else.

And that, my friends, is where I think the author misstepped.

Necessary Medicine is, plain and simple, not a category romance. Yes, there is a romance in it, and yes, it is sweet at the end, but the storyline is really not based on the romance. I wish, actually, that the author had just written this book as a medical genre book instead, maybe adding in a little less romance and a little more harrowing patient stories. I think that would have been more compelling, and perhaps found it's target audience.

For me, though I could follow along with the medical aspects of the story easily, it was a little too dreary and a little too slow for me to fully engage. Interestingly enough, I thought that the writing was really good. The author doesn't make newbie mistakes, and comes across way more polished than I would have guessed. I also adored the fact that one of the MCs knew he was bisexual and categorized himself as such, even though he had never been with a man until his mid-40s. Just hammered home the message that your sexual orientation and sexual actions aren't one and the same. Kudos for that!

I would read this author again in a heartbeat, but I hope she changes her romance-writing to be more focused on the romance, which really only happened in this story in the last 15%. Still, lots of promise there.

Oh, and that cover is terrible. Doesn't fit the story at all.

*Copy provided for an honest review*

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Keep reading, my friends!!

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