Tag Archives: medical

Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

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Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

Allison Ashley. Would You Rather. Harlequin, 2022. 336 pp. ISBN 9780778386490 $15.99

**1/2

Noah would do anything for his best friend Mia, who is on a list for a kidney transplant. They have an prankfest at work, as well as an ongoing game of “Would you rather…?” and are equally comfortable with silence together. He’s a commercial design commercial design, and she’s the administrative assistant at his firm, but longs for a career as a pediatric dietician. Her illness and schedule of infusions, doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations (and ensuing medical bills) have kept her from pursuing her degree–and, from pursing Noah. They had a moment in college, but decided not to risk their friendship. Other issues: she’s on a two -year communication hiatus from her family, who betrayed her; he’s still coming to terms with the death of the older brother he adored.

When Mia wins a scholarship for non-traditional returning college students, she can’t accept for risk of losing her excellent health insurance if she has to drop hours at work to go back to school. Noah nearly immediately proposes, willing to give up two years of his life until Mia either completes her program or gets a transplant and goes on Medicaid. They intend to keep their insurance fraud a secret, but someone else who wants to be partner in the firm overhears and begins blackmailing Noah. They move in together, maintaining separate beds until things slowly amp up: they have to kiss when they marry, then they have to kiss at a family get-together, then a friend needs to crash after drinking too much at game night, and there’s only one bed; they go camping with friends and there’s only one bed. And then she accidentally sees him naked when he accidentally leaves the bathroom door open while he showers…

The details of Mia’s chronic illness felt real and complete. Things I didn’t love: Claire tries to manipulate them into confessing their feelings, in college and again at her birthday dinner. Noah tells Mia to unsubscribe to some fact and inspiration sites after sharing facts and quotes with him–and she agrees. There are a LOT of lies and deception in this book. And, all that buildup, and the door closes before we get the witness the consummation of decades of love and longing. No discussion of consent, protection, or STI screening, either.

I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #WouldYouRather from #NetGalley

A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings

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A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings

Eddings, Mazey. A Brush With Love. St. Martin’s / Griffins. ISBN 978-1250805980 336 pp. $16.99

Obsessed with success, Harper, driven to be an oral surgeon, is surpassing all expectations at dental school–and vaulting all obstacles, including contending with rampant misogyny from patients and members of her co-hort. She yearns to do high end work for low-income patients, and needs a great internship placement. The last thing she needs is a distraction! Enter dental student Dan, who is nearly flunking out and enlists her help for studying and playdates. Their attraction is immediate and inevitable and Harper resists, for #Reasons. In typical romance fashion, they get together, break up and get back together when they finally decide to be real and take a risk with one another.

This novel has a great supporting cast of friends of both Dan and Harper, vivid but not gory medical details, and great conflicts. It came with trigger warnings.

Side note: their meet-cute (a literal crash together on the stairs) had me, as a manager, cringing, when heads were hit and no paperwork completed for the college’s risk and liability department.

I read an advance reader’s review copy of #aBrushWithLove from #NetGalley

Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown, #1) by Josh Bazell

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Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown, #1) by Josh Bazell

Bazell, Josh. Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown, #1). Little, Brown and Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0316032223 320 pp. $

*****

Intern Peter Brown is inconveniently mugged on his was to his shift at Manhattan Catholic Hospital early one morning, but it’s no worry–he used to be a professional hitman, so he manages to disarm and knock out his assailant before confiscating his gun and carrying him to work with him. When he responds to a page about a patient in the resort styled VIP wing, he’s stunned to find his worlds collide again; the patient calls him Bearclaw, breaching Brown’s WITSEC identity, and jumpstarting the novel’s tandem stories, Brown’s past as a teenage hitman, and his present shitty day.

Bazell brilliantly and successfully mixes the mafia with a medical thriller. I loved all the little tidbits of information I gleaned from the book, loved the voice, loved the black humor, the footnotes, the pacing. His use of tense to distinguish the present from the past was successful for me.

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

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Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

Picoult, Jodi. Handle with Care. Atria, 2009. ISBN ‎ 978-0743296410 496 pp. $27.95

****

Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter Willow is born with Oesteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare degenerative bone disease that makes her bones brittle. By age 6, Willow has suffered over 60 fractures. On a family vacation to Disney World, before they even get to the parks, Willow slips on a napkin and is rushed to a local ER, where the staff don’t believe she has IO. The parents are taken into police custody and Amelia, Charlotte’s teenage daughter from a previous relationship, is too flustered to properly explain how her younger sister fell.

The situation is quickly clearly up with a call from Willow’s doctor, but policeman Sean wants someone to pay. The lawyer the family visits says they don’t have case, but suggests a wrongful birth suit–implying that if Charlotte had known that her baby would not be healthy and would require daily care and financially exhaustive medical costs, she would have opted to abort the fetus. A twist: Piper, the midwife who missed the OI diagnose happens to be Charlotte’s best friend; Sean doesn’t agree they should litigate. Marin, the lawyer who takes the case, is adopted and seeking her birth mother, and brings another dimension to the “keep or give up your unwanted child” debate that is central to the novel.

Picoult is a masterful storyteller. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, represented by varying typefaces: Charlotte, Sean, Amelia, and Marin all get their say, speaking as if they are relaying the events of the suit to Willow. The narrative is interspersed with recipes; Charlotte’s former career (before becoming Willow’s full-time caretaker) was a pastry chef, and she explains a variety of baking terms (tempering, proofing, weeping) that are metaphors for the action taking place within the story. Her handle on courtroom procedures and deftness with medical explanations adds authenticity to the story. The issues are meaty, the pacing is perfect; the action is suspenseful.

This was a compelling, richly layered unputdownable read. The gift of the magi styled ending evoked a strong evisceral reaction, but that’s typical of me & Picoult: I get to the last 10 pages and want to hurl the book across the room, even as I admire the author for not ending her novels in a predictable, or even fair, way.