Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#TBRChallenge 2017: Tempted By Her Italian Surgeon

The Book: Tempted By Her Italian Surgeon by Louisa George

The Particulars: Contemporary romance, Harlequin Medical #742, 2015, out of print, available digitally

Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?: Pretty sure I got this at RWA 2016.  It's a category romance, I was at a conference, so naturally I picked it up.  I'm at the point where I can turn down "free books" at conferences, but not when it comes to category.  They're my kryptonite.

The Review: My habit of impulse grabbing category romances means it's an ideal format for the New-To-Me Author TBR Challenge prompt.  This was floating near the top of my Harlequin Rubbermaid Tote of Doom, and it was a safe grab since George has written in two lines I'm not well-read in (Harlequin Medical and Harlequin Kiss).  In other words, I was vaguely familiar with her name, but knew I had never read her before.

Lawyer Ivy Leigh hasn't even had a chance to settle into her new office at St. Carmen's Children's Hospital when she has her first fire to put out.  Seems one of the doctors has posted a picture of his bare backside (a delicious bare backside - but still) on the internet and it's gone viral.  To make matters worse?  In the background are a pair of green scrubs with the St. Carmen's logo as clear as day.  St. Carmen's is a children's teaching hospital and rather old school, so this kind of publicity will not do.  Ivy sets out to find the culprit and soon does.  Sexy as sin Italian surgeon, Dr. Matteo Finelli.

Matteo was not responsible for his butt becoming the latest internet sensation - rather it was a friend's prank.  But instead of getting upset about it, Matteo is all set to laugh it off.  I mean, really?  What's the big deal?  Well apparently it's a rather "big deal" to this new lawyer the hospital has hired which means Matteo now has to spend four whole days in social media "workshops" with the rest of the hospital staff.  Frankly he's got better things to do - like performing life-saving kidney transplants on sick children.  But "Poison Ivy" isn't budging, which means battle lines are being drawn.  He'll spend time in her pointless seminars and she'll spend time shadowing him in the operating theater watching the real work being done.

Basically what we have here is a Battle of Wills romance.  It doesn't quite qualify as Enemies-To-Lovers (no shared history between the couple), but things start off on an antagonistic foot.  George plays things safe here with neither Matteo or Ivy being deliberating cruel or mean.  They're both good at their jobs, passionate about their work, and that passion naturally spills over into their early interactions with each other.  As often happens in romances of this ilk, the passionate nature of both characters is hiding past emotional baggage - Matteo smarting from a relationship gone wrong and Daddy Issues, Ivy from a traumatic injury and Mommy Issues.

This was an easy read but not one that ever elevated itself, nor did it sink to the depths of dreck.  The very definition of an OK read.  Not bad enough for me to DNF, but not good enough to make me hug my print copy to my chest and fall into a swoon; and I'm still trying to put my finger on why.  Ivy is just the sort of wound-tight heroine I tend to like but Matteo is rather one-note.  Yes, the past baggage is there, but I kept waiting for him to experience his Black Moment. To get knocked down a few pegs.  And that never really happens.  Ivy goes off, running scared, but the reader doesn't see a ton of fallout from Matteo's perspective.  Which means he comes off a bit like Teflon Man. Nothing sticks. I guess I wanted him to wallow more.  The Italian playboy coming to grips with the fact that he's finally found The One and she can't seem to run away fast enough.  Don't get me wrong, he gets angry.  He gets ticked off.  But there's no good emotional wallow.

It's the sort of book that won't have me running out to buy up all of the author's backlist, but I'm also not going to turn my nose up if another falls in my lap.  And as luck would have it - thanks to my impulse Harlequin grabbing tendencies at conferences?  I've got another one of hers in the TBR.  Which means my damning with faint praise recommendation is this - if it's already in your TBR, there are worse ways to kill a Sunday afternoon.  But it also means I'm not going to tell you to drop your life and buy this book right now.

Final Grade = B-


Dorine said...

Glad to see you found one to enjoy, Wendy. I can't resist category freebies either. I have a bunch stacked up here for a marathon someday. Maybe some of them will fit our themes because I have way too many 400 page books that I can't get through fast enough for a challenge. I'm always afraid of a DNF! LOL

Jill said...

I used to gobble up medicals when I was trying to publish with Harlequin. Close, but not cigar (multiple times) and I had to take a break from reading the line for a while. This sounds cute and I do still enjoy the line so I will probably give it a try.

My read was pretty successful. I read "Scandalous" by Patricia Burroughs. She is a well-established author but definitely new to me and when I saw one of her books was on sale and had a modern day flapper, I one clicked. Phryne Fisher and Auntie Mame are my jam.

So, our heroine is Paisley Vandermeir (yes, really) and she is a recent heiress who is looking to create a scandal. She runs into Christopher Quince Maitland the Third (yes, really) during the holiday debutante "coming out" season in NYC in what is probably meant to be the late 1980s or early 1990s. I feel sad that I have to state that as a historical date, but when you know that it's not set in the present it makes more sense. Paisley decides that Chris is perfect to help her create her scandal and turns his life upside down.

I've got to be honest, the initial motivation and attraction was a little bit hard to swallow. Dare I even say it was veering towards Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Paisley had her motivations, but they weren't very well thought out motivations. Also, Chris seemed to be a bit of nonentity. I tried picturing him as a young Robert Redford (Barefoot in the Park, The Way We Were, pretty and preppy mode) and that helped. ;-) I just didn't get this sense of "insta-love" between them. But I persisted because it was only novella length and I'm really glad I did. The characters deepened over the course of the book, their motivations deepened, and the ending was really satisfying. A solid B read. I'm usually really quick to pull the "DNF" but this time I'm glad I didn't.

Lynn Balabanos said...

I read category but haven't picked up any of the medicals yet. There are so many lines and so little time. *Sigh* But I do love it when the hero and heroine are at odds with each other, so I'll put this on my list. Thanks for the review.

Wendy said...

Dorine: Since I also horde Harlequin Historicals, it means I could easily read nothing but category for the Challenge. I just might yet - although we'll see where my mood takes me in the coming months.

Jill: It's a cute, undemanding read. I zipped through it over the course of a weekend and it did the trick. And now you've got me thinking about Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park. Yummers!

Lynn: I'm really under-read in the Medical line because before digital really took root they were harder to find in the States - I think you had to order them direct from Harlequin? Anyway, I tend to be a sucker for nurses in romance so I've been trying more Medicals of late.