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    REVIEW: The Doctor’s Date by Heidi Cullinan

    Copper Point Medical: The Doctor’s Date – Heidi Cullinan

    Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
    Copper Point Medical: Book Two

    The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

    Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him. 

    Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

    With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

    This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

    The Doctor’s Date has the kind of intriguing premise that immediately grabs attention. It was almost lost in TBR limbo after my bad experience with Antisocial, my first Heidi Cullinan book. Reading it now, The Doctor’s Date is a mix-bag of feels but definitely, much better than the other book.

    The part that got me hooked is Erin Andreas, HR head and wallflower, spending $25,000 on Dr. Owen Gagnon, anesthesiologist, the world’s grouchiest grump, and his infamous nemesis, in the hospital bachelor auction fundraiser. Then Owen asked Erin to move in with him that very night.

    This has the makings of a very squee-tastic rom-com. But unlike a rom-com where the prose and events are laced with humor, the writing leans towards misery. Many events go from bad to worse for Erin and Owen, then whiplashes to uber romantic comfort scenes designed to soothe the hurts. I don’t mind some angst and drama, but there were too many miserable moments to wade through just to get to the happier parts.

    It’s why I struggled in the opening chapters. Erin’s father, head of the hospital board, was really horrible. He’s a bully who neglects him in private and belittles him in public. The guy is the kind of villain I hate the most, the lawful evil type. He made me drop the book. Owen’s dad was just as horrid, causing serious trauma to his son,. Once a musical prodigy, now Owen couldn’t bear looking at his violin.

    But I kept thinking about the premise and was compelled to pick up where I left off, hoping it would get better.

    It did!

    The bachelor auction has some of the swooniest scenes!!! I hated Owen at first. He was drunk and high and a complete asshole. But the way he swooped in to rescue Erin from his dad! And the way he spectacularly misunderstood Erin’s motive for bidding on him, causing the dork to hatch ridiculous but hella sweet plans to protect the gob-smacked but secretly swooning Erin, it was rom-com gold!

    The running metaphor here is the fairy tale about the poor prince(ss) in the tower, the ogre and the evil king. It’s fitting but a little too on the nose and repeated too often. I love the childhood connection angle in the prologue. I sensed some BL manga influences, and unlike Antisocial, it was deployed better here.

    Owen and Erin as boyfriends is everything!!! It’s their magic that kept me reading because by the third arc, the story slumped. There were the not-so-exciting slice-of-life scenes that took too long reaching key events dealing with the suspected embezzlement of hospital funds, and Owen’s and Erin’s family issues. I got impatient and tuned out.

    By the time it got to the climax, I barely cared about the goings-on. I wished the embezzlement issue was played up more, giving the plot a stronger mystery angle. But it was fun to see Owen, Erin and their friends forming their own Scooby Gang and taking down the bad guys. And the epilogue was too cute!!!

    The Doctor’s Date holds true to its promise to sweep me off my feet with a charming fairy tale. I rooted hard for the poor little prince and squee-ed with delight to discover the ogre’s golden heart. There were monsters to slay and an evil king to vanquish. Sometimes the villains were too much, but the prince and the ogre stayed strong and true. With the help of their friends, they saved the world and lived happily ever after.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Prince
    Artist: Versailles


    The Doctor’s Date is the second book of Copper Point Medical. It can be read as standalone. I haven’t read Book 1 yet.

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    REVIEW: Broken by Colette Davison

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    Heaven and Hell Club: Broken – Colette Davison

    Rule #1: Keep running.

    Jag’s rules have kept him safe and free since he escaped conversion therapy, but that was before he walked into Heaven and Hell. A no-strings fling with the club owner, Michael, turns into so much more as Jag finds himself breaking one rule after another.

    Michael hasn’t been able to commit to anyone since his partner died, until Jag walks into his club. Falling in lust with the elfin young dancer is easy, and his heart is quick to follow.

    Michael gives Jag a reason to stay, but fear rules Jag’s heart more than love. Despite his deepening feelings for Michael, Jag knows he can’t stay. Can he?

    **Contains adult themes, content, and language.**

    My introduction to Colette Davison‘s Heaven and Hell Club was its delightful prequel, Unbreakable, starring Michael’s bestfriend, Mac and Mac’s partner, Russel. Michael was still with his boyfriend, Edward, and they were saving up money to buy the club.

    Fast forward almost 6 or so years after, the club is now a thriving pole dancing club in the evenings and an exercise venue at daytime, Michael is still feeling the emptiness left by Edward’s death

    I was more or less expecting the same humorous, angsty vibe but Broken had much more angst, less humor. I wasn’t as riveted to it as I would have liked. Once I stopped reading, I didn’t feel an urgent need to pick it up again. Not that I wanted to drop it totally. I wanted to see Jag have his closure. It’s just that, it felt a little flat for me.

    Jag came in out of the nowhere, asked for a job, did one heck of an audition and earned a spot on stage as an angel. He does not talk much about himself. As the story progress, we gradually learn that he was a victim of conversion therapy a.k.a abuse. He ran away when he was able.

    Jag is a survivor. He believes he’s broken. He was a bit naive about his rights and the legalities of such therapy. Running is the only life he knows. He has rules that helped him survive. Rules that he broke one by one as he and Michael grew closer.

    Michael took a chance on a mysterious young man who wouldn’t even reveal his real name. Well, he was a really good dancer. The attraction between them was almost instant. The romance was OK. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about Michael and Jag as with Mac and Russel, but I know both MCs were what each other needs.

    I’m not a fan of age gap but here, it made sense that Michael was older. He was able to offer the kind security and knowledge of practical world matters that come with age. This was especially crucial when they set about solving Jag’s issues.

    I really liked how Jag acknowledged Edward’s part in Michael’s life, instead of feeling threatened.

    All the Heaven and Hell boys are all perfectly likable (Mac is my favorite so far). I wished they have more page time. The story was very couple-centric, most of it just Michael and Jag. We are told that Jag feels more and more at home in the club as time goes by. And that he’s becoming friends with the others. I wanted to see his interactions with other dancers instead of just being told about it.

    Broken is a hurt comfort story about a second chance at love and finding a place to belong to. It’s also about healing, trust, new beginnings and meeting the right person that makes you break all the rules. Even if I wasn’t entirely wowed, it’s still an enjoyable read overall.


    Unbreakable review here.
    Colette Davison books here.

    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Broken Songs for Broken People
    Artist: Human Drama
    Album: Broken Songs for Broken People