Monday, April 24, 2017

Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

Title: Necessary Medicine
Author: M.K. York
My Rating: A

Genre: Medical Fiction with a side of Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Neil and Eli
Release Date: April 2017
Publisher:  Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
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?

My Review:
This story is NOT a romance. I think the publisher has done it a disservice by labeling it so. And let me explain why I'm starting my review here, because do not doubt...I thoroughly enjoyed this story and immersing myself into this world. 

Before I got to read this book I had another reviewer contact me so disappointed with this book. She and I normally have similar tastes so I went into reading this fully expecting to have to DNF it. I didn't.

I loved the book, but could see why the other reviewer didn't. THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE NOVEL. By definition (used to apply to romantic suspense on whether it's a romantic suspense or just a suspense novel), the Romantic Writers of America (RWA) states that a novel must have 50% of the story focused on the romance for it to be considered a romance. While this book definitely had a romantic sub-plot, it only made up maybe 25%-30% of the story...and that's probably pushing that percentage. There is no HINT of anything beyond unrequited attraction up to the 62% point in the novel and that doesn't fully develop into anything resembling a relationship until 85%.

So, what is this story? I honestly don't know. I'm not familiar with non-romance oriented genres, but I'd place it firmly into medical fiction (if that's a thing). For reviewing purposes, I'd say that if you enjoy medical dramas on TV (like ER or Grey's Anatomy), especially the moments with patients and the rigors that doctors go through, then you will enjoy this one.

The book starts when Neil is in medical school or just starting his residency (I can't remember where he was at for that first lecture...I'm thinking it was medical school) and then follows him through all the years of residency. The story is about the stresses that these doctors go through and the physical and mental tolls that it takes on them. There is a TON of medical jargon (some I understood, a lot of it that I didn't). If you don't enjoy medical discussions, you will hate this book. It's really an insight into a medical student's life (and it doesn't hold back on some of the more distasteful aspects of it)...and I loved it for that. I feel like I truly have a better understanding of just how rigorous a surgeon's residency is. I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into that life. 

And now to talk about the romance subplot between Neil and Eli (note to the author...don't do that..those names are too close to the same for speed-readers which makes the beginning of a novel so difficult in keeping the characters straight). 

Eli is 12 years older than Neil. They work in the same hospital although Eli is cardio, not surgery. Still, they are not equals...Eli is senior to Neil, so he's in a supervisory role. Also, Eli is straight. There is no hope for a relationship. And it's a long, long time into the book before they're even friends. 

This is purely a one-sided attraction to a beautiful man for Neil. In the midst of his exhausting life, Eli is a reminder that maybe someday he'll have time to date again...someday. Needless to say this book has a VERY slow build up to what eventually happens. (no spoilers) I liked them, especially as their friendship developed. In fact, I liked all of Neil's group of friends and colleagues. They have a camaraderie that comes from this kind of high-stress life that binds them tightly...from Pete to Mark to Kristy...and yes, eventually Eli.

I liked the book. I found the story to be engaging and fascinating and enjoyed submerging myself into the world of medical residency. It's so hard and stressful. I have a new respect for the doctors who go through it. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

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