Houston, We Have a Problem, by Erin McCarthy

>> Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've read one book by Erin McCarthy before, The Pregnancy Test. It was a cute, inoffensive read... nothing that wowed me, but ok enough that I gave in to temptation and bought a used copy of Houston, We Have a Problem when I saw it available.

Dr. Houston Hayes has never had trouble maintaining his professional distance with both patients and co-workers...until he meets resident Josie Adkins. Every time the tiny tornado of cheery clumsiness drops a chart in his presence, he's treated to a view that makes him extremely interested in her bones. Jumping them, that is. For a man who prides himself on control at all times, this is getting to be a problem. And problems always have solutions...

All her life, Josie has wanted to be a surgeon. But how can she do that while she's suffering from the debilitating Dr. Hayes Induced Dropping Medical Equipment Syndrome? Honestly, with those ice blue eyes and powerful shoulders dipping down to a -- whoops, there goes the blood pressure cuff -- what's a girl to do? And then Dr. Hayes shocks her by prescribing a very sexy cure: one night of sheet-burning passion to erase the sexual tension for both of them. But only one night...he won't need more than that...

Suddenly, Josie has her mission -- a chance to prove the arrogant Dr. Hayes wrong. One night with her will never be enough if she has her way. And soon, both doctors may be falling into a desire deeper than any they've ever known...one that makes them hungry for more....
After two books, I get the feeling McCarthy is just not for me. *sigh*

Josie Adkins is an orthopedic resident in Florida hospital. She's a highly intelligent, capable physician. Except, that is, around hunky orthopedic surgeon Houston Hayes. Whenever he's near, Josie becomes so horny that she turns into a total klutz, dropping medical equipment right and left and generally making an ass of herself.

Houston is just as attracted to the sexy resident. The attraction doesn't incapacitate him quite as much as it does Josie, but it is becoming an unwelcome distraction. Houston's past, living with an abusive father, has left him unwilling to enter a committed relationship, so his solution is simple. A one-night stand should get rid of all that sexual tension and allow both to go back to work refreshed.

Josie isn't sure this will help. She knows herself: she's not made for a purely physical affair, so this business with Houston will surely leave her with a broken heart. But she can't resist the temptation anyway...

The positives: McCarthy has a nice writing style and there are some funny moments. Also, Josie's body isn't supermodel perfect, and yet she drives Houston crazy with lust. Cool.

Unfortunately, that's about it for what I liked. I found both Josie and Houston majorly annoying. Let's start with Houston. This is one of those outwardly icy heroes who are a mass of seething feelings inside, which is something I love, when well done. Only I didn't buy it here. His character never completely gelled for me, and his reactions didn't feel very natural. I wanted to tell the whiner to get over himself and to stop being so patronizing to poor Josie.

As for Josie, see that "poor Josie" right above? That was the problem, I guess. I kept thinking she was pretty pathetic, kind of like an eager puppy trying to get Houston to pay some attention to her. Reading about her got pretty painful, with the klutziness (was that supposed to be cute?), the constant self-doubt and the neverending whining about her body.

Given Josie and Houston didn't have much chemistry between them and that there was a huge imbalance of power, this wasn't a relationship I was very invested in. And since the romance is pretty much all we get in the book, this was why it failed for me. Oh, there's some attempt to introduce some more serious issues, like the life-changing consequences of an accident Houston has and Josie's doubts about her vocation, but I didn't think those were handled well and they didn't get that much space anyway. Some authors have a knack for including serious issues in very funny books without diminishing them, but not McCarthy, apparently.

I actually started writing this review planning on a C+, but as I kept thinking about it, I kept coming up with more and more things that irritated me. I guess this tells you something about this book: it's one you shouldn't overthink. But I have, so eh, well, a C- from me.


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