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Practice Perfect #1

Acute Reactions

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The man with allergies never gets the girl, at least according to the movies—and Portland restaurateur Ian Zamora wants to be the guy who gets the girl. So to rid himself of the sensitivities brought on by his sometimes-girlfriend’s cat, he makes an appointment with allergist Petra Lale. But he suddenly finds himself acutely attracted to the very woman who is supposed to be helping him take care of his problem.

Petra’s intrigued by Ian’s quiet strength and sexy body, but her solo practice is new and struggling. She can’t afford to compromise her ethics—or risk her medical license—by dating a patient. Falling in love certainly wasn’t this doctor’s order. She tries to stay away from Ian, but fate, and her weak willpower, keep bringing them back together.

Do two career-driven people with inexperienced hearts stand a chance of finding the right prescription for love?

302 pages, ebook

First published March 23, 2015

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About the author

Ruby Lang

22 books182 followers
Ruby Lang is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, essayist Mindy Hung, has written for The New York Times, The Toast, and Salon, among others. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,241 reviews266 followers
Shelved as 'life-is-too-short'
May 6, 2019
I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t do doctor/ patient. The list of what I can’t do is very short, but that’s one of three categories. However, I can do it, at times, depending, so I’m a bit of a liar. This is the type I can’t do. I thought ok, great. She stops treating him, bunch of time passes, he’s the one pursuing...this just might work.

But. She thinks it’s unethical. (She’s the MD, my bad) she’s early in her career. She listed a lot of good reasons, and he dismisses them instead of hearing her. He was a sweet, charming hero. But this kind of “I know better than you how this will affect your career or I just don’t care,” is a real turnoff. There’s ways to execute this, but I’ll save my time and move on.

I really enjoyed this book and the writing. I’ll read the author again for sure.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
363 reviews46 followers
December 23, 2018
A newly-minted 'allergist' heroine, a geeky restauranteur, an interesting secondary cast, and lots of cat dander make for an original romance. Enjoyed this fresh read from an author new to me.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,299 reviews722 followers
April 27, 2015
When I received this review request, the blurb charmed me so I thought I'd give it a try.

The man with allergies never gets the girl, at least according to the movies—and Portland restaurateur Ian Zamora wants to be the guy who gets the girl. So to rid himself of the sensitivities brought on by his sometimes-girlfriend’s cat, he makes an appointment with allergist Petra Lale. But he suddenly finds himself acutely attracted to the very woman who is supposed to be helping him take care of his problem.

Petra’s intrigued by Ian’s quiet strength and sexy body, but her solo practice is new and struggling. She can’t afford to compromise her ethics—or risk her medical license—by dating a patient. Falling in love certainly wasn’t this doctor’s order. She tries to stay away from Ian, but fate, and her weak willpower, keep bringing them back together.

Do two career-driven people with inexperienced hearts stand a chance of finding the right prescription for love?

What a cute book. Smart, funny, and good banter. Some of my favorite things.

Ian is a restaurant owner trying to balance his heavy workload with his personal life, but isn't doing too well. Working ridiculous hours, he decides the least he can do is address his extreme allergies to his girlfriend's beloved cat, even if he rarely gets to spend with her. Finding himself in the lobby of a very sparse, yet clean allergist office, he is bit nervous about getting jabbed with lots of needles.

Using money left to her by her father, Petra decided to open her own practice straight out of medical school, but she isn't so sure that was the right decision. A lot of her colleagues joined larger practices or those 24-hour clinics, and are getting steady paychecks. Petra is a great doctor, but not good with the marketing skills. Her website is weak, her networking is non-existent which means, there are not a lot of patients walking through the door. She has a cute inner-monologue:

Six years of medical school, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Now, Petra was standing in front of a combination fax/copier/printer that she barely understood. She stabbed at a button with her finger. It worked! You are awesome! she told herself.

It was the little things.

She is desperate to have patients, and is delighted when Ian walks through the door. He is also super sexy.

Since Petra is an allergist, she starts to have a love affair with his arm. It's so cute. It's the one body part she gets to touch and rub and think naughty things about. One of the big themes in this book is the doctor/patient relationship. Petra is just starting out in the medical world and she falls for her patient. That is a huge no-no. This weighs on her mind heavily and it's addressed well in this book. Petra has two good friends she met in medical school who also weigh in on this topic - and they are blunt and a little harsh. But realistic. Their friendship really felt real - it wasn't rainbows and sunshine. They get mad at each other and speak their minds. They are there for one another but hold grudges and get upset. It's a portrayal of a girlfriend relationship that you don't always see in romance books. Yes they get together and eat ice cream and talk about boys, but they also fight and say harsh words to one another - and maybe judge one another *gasp* I liked it.

There are cute moments like this:

The phone rang. Luckily, it was on her night table and she only had to move her arm to find it. "Tell me. Tell me why I'm already a failure at age thirty-one," Petra said, without bothering to see who it was. It could only be one of her best friends: Sarah or Helen.

"You need a good fuck is all," Sarah said.

"Why do gynecologists always think that everything begins and ends in the vagina?

"Well, it does, in most manners of speaking."

Anyway! I've neglected Ian! Ian puts in long hours at work, but that's par for course when you own a restaurant. When he meets Petra, he is smitten. Just smitten! Now yes, he does have a girlfriend but it's nothing that serious and he does end things with her before truly pursuing Petra. He definitely is the chaser in this relationship, as Petra is so worried about crossing ethical boundaries. Ian is kind and funny and wears glasses. His business partner Gerry has some good scenes in this book and I really got a good feel of Ian at work at his restaurant. I could picture him well.

A few things that I didn't love - there is a twelve-year-old named Kevin that has a few amusing scenes in the beginning but I didn't love how much he was included throughout the story. And I thought Petra acted pretty immature with her mother sometimes. That annoyed me a little.

But overall, a fun sexy book. I hope we get more from this author - I really like her voice.

Rating: B
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,583 reviews218 followers
January 14, 2018
2.5 stars

The beginning was promising. I enjoyed the exploration of medical ethics, and the interactions between the hero and heroine. But the things went down hill in the back half of the book. I'm not a huge fan of drama rama and even less of a fan when that drama is caused by an evil ex-girlfriend. I don't feel that added level of conflict did anything for the story and it completely turned me off. I finished it, but with way less enthusiasm than when I began.
Profile Image for Robyn.
827 reviews132 followers
January 29, 2019
3.5 stars. Had a hard time connecting with Petra, the lead, but liked it overall. A very realistic romance.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,166 followers
August 23, 2020
I’m generally iffy with doctors as main characters because I used to be a medical social worker and am therefore keenly aware of what authors get wrong. And I avoid doctor-patient romances because that’s Ethical Violations 101. But I am interested in stories that actually grapple with ethics (although I’m not sure romance is the best place for this) and Ruby Lang is a favorite author so I thought it was worth giving this one a try. Plus, I loved the third book in this series.

So how this one do according to medical ethics? So-so but definitely better than others I’ve tried. Petra is an allergist who has just opened up her own practice when Ian comes to her for help with his allergy to his girlfriend’s cat. They’re both immediately drawn to one another but he’s her patient and he has a girlfriend so nothing’s going to come of it. But Petra grapples with her feelings as his visits continue and as they unintentionally interact outside of work. She also talks with her two best friends who are also doctors. Sarah is vehemently against Petra even thinking about Ian as a possibility, whereas Helen is more pragmatic because this is how her parents met and they’re still happily married.

For various reasons, Petra terminates Ian as a patient by letter and they don’t see each other until 5 months later, when she attends the opening of his new restaurant, not knowing that it’s his. And since he’s no longer with his girlfriend, the dilemma begins anew. Former patients are a gray area for the AMA. The guidelines are to generally wait at least six months after a patient ceases to be a patient but it also needs to be pretty clear that the doctor isn’t going to be their healthcare provider in the future either.

While they do discuss why doctors should not get involved with their patients and the risks with dating a former patient, Ian doesn’t take Petra’s concerns as seriously as I’d like, nor do they lay out the parameters for how dating could be possible. They only have one month standing between this being less of an awful idea and it really bothered me that this conversation didn’t happen and they didn’t make more of an effort not to blur the lines.

And because they fall into a relationship, Petra continues to have a ton of anxiety and doubt, not only about the relationship but about her abilities as a doctor. Not to mention the resentment that creeps in or the insecurity about what to do if and when people ask how they met.

That said, I did like them together. They were really good for one another. But they have to navigate a lot of bumps in the road. And I wish there hadn’t been an Evil Ex subplot and that Petra’s 12 year old patient Kevin hadn’t gotten so much time on page. The story focuses on Petra’s codependency and Ian’s need for control and this could be interesting but also felt drawn out in places.

Overall, I’m glad I gave it a go, even if it didn’t quite live up to my hopes. It’s a great one to try if you enjoy chef heroes or if you want more behind the scenes of a medical practice. I also loved the friendship subplot with Sarah and Helen, especially since I already know Sarah’s story and have Helen’s ahead of me.

Character notes: Ian is 32 and appears to be biracial (white mother, dad appeared to be Latino but I did not see his race or ethnicity specifically listed.) Petra is 31 and biracial (white mother and Indian father.)

CW: anxiety, anxious parent, codependency, anaphylactic shock due to food allergy for minor character treated with Epipen, Evil Ex, hero’s father died of melanoma and mother died of pulmonary embolism, heroine’s friend cheated on her last boyfriend
Profile Image for Saly.
3,433 reviews512 followers
April 6, 2019
This wasn't very romantic. h had too many neurotic hang-ups and I didn't like her friends and how she made every little thing into a mountain. I had to force myself to finish. The hero deserved better.
Profile Image for Ana.
2,346 reviews317 followers
November 19, 2017
While the story does lean a little too much on Petra's insecurities, I still really liked the couple's dynamic and this was a fun debut novel. I'll be looking forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for Amanda.
578 reviews62 followers
July 31, 2017
3.5 stars

Ruby Lang is an author I've seen recommended on Twitter several times, and I finally decided to take a look at this series.

I'll start off by saying that I really like Lang's voice. She reminds me a bit of Jennifer Crusie (a compliment!). This book was funny and irreverent with a bit of angst thrown in (which is where it sort of lost me).

When Petra and Ian first meet, Ian is getting allergy shots so he can live with his then-girlfriend and her cat. Petra is his allergist. You can tell they are pretty smitten with each other from the beginning, and it doesn't take long for Ian to break up with his girlfriend. However, he and Petra don't get together right away, either.

They are a couple for a good portion of this book, so it's less about them dancing around each other and more about their actual relationship. Ian is basically all in from the get go. I admit that I enjoy romances where the hero is basically committed and invested in the relationship, even when the heroine isn't. It's not rare, necessarily, but somehow it always feels a bit refreshing (unless he's being a creepy stalker, and Ian isn't!) Petra is definitely the hold-out in this relationship, and that's where I had some issues with the book.

The scenes where they are first getting to know each other and first get together are delightful. I also appreciated the complex friendships between Petra and her two best friends, Helen and Sarah. I like strong female friendships in romance, but often those friendships are...sort of perfect? These three argue but clearly care about each other.

Now, the central conflict in the book is that Petra feels it's unethical to date Ian, who was once her patient. Sarah kind of hammers this idea into her head (she was a pretty unlikable character for me, so interesting to see how she fares in her own book). Ian stopped being her patient months before they ever got together. I didn't see the big deal. Not to downplay ethics here, but it just felt so blown out of proportion. And the fact that it was the Big Issue in their relationship frustrated me.

Petra, though I pretty much adored her, was too wishy washy with Ian at some points. Not to say he's perfect, but again, she's the one who is really holding out on the relationship, even when it seems to be going well. And when everything is going to shit, instead of turning to Ian for support--as you may expect in a relationship where two people love each other--she just completely pushes him away.

I got to a point reading this where I was like, "Okay...I'm only halfway through this book and they're together...so shit will obviously hit the fan." And I was right.

But having said all that, I'll reiterate that I very much enjoy Lang's voice, and I did like this book! A few people have told me the other ones in the series are stronger, so I look forward to moving on to those. Helen's book is next.
Profile Image for Jess.
2,820 reviews5 followers
February 18, 2017
This feels like a weird thing to say about a romance novel, but I really liked the exploration of medical ethics? It's certainly a unique conflict for one anyway, even if it perhaps shouldn't be given the number of doctor/patient romances that exist.

But mostly I just liked both Ian and Petra who were just trying to do the best they could. I need decent human being romances right now, you guys. I need them badly.
Profile Image for Christa Schönmann Abbühl.
896 reviews17 followers
March 12, 2020
This was an agreeable listen. I liked the main protagonists and enjoyed the different relationship dynamics with friends and family, the personal growth they both went through and some very cute scenes. The conflict felt a bit drawn out to me, maybe I would have preferred it as a novella. Also there were some of the things in it that make it harder for me to “believe” in a contemporary romance: like the kid giving advice to adults, the talking to by the best friend, the mean ex-gf, and yes, the ethical conflict seemed a bit contrived to me. Very diverse cast, and fitting narration.
Profile Image for becca.
7 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2021
man it’s a good thing i didn’t spend money on this
Profile Image for Ana.
208 reviews38 followers
August 15, 2015
Fresh out of medical school Dr. Petra Lale is trying to figure out how to keep her solo practice afloat, learning how to market herself to patients, network with peers, and establish professional boundaries with the few patients she does have.

Ian Zamora is a workaholic restaurateur, disillusioned with himself, and trying to salvage the most serious relationship in years by undergoing immunotherapy to overcome his allergy to cats. But when Ian walks into Petra's office he has a hard time remembering why he is putting in the effort since he quickly feels a stronger connection & attraction to Petra than he has ever felt for his girlfriend Danielle. Petra is dismayed and conflicted for feeling attracted to Ian and enjoying his company. When Ian dumps his girlfriend and starts to tentatively pursue Petra, she is startled, confused and scared. Her interest and feelings for Ian make her question her professional judgement and her already shaky confidence. She firmly cuts all connection with Ian in an effort to protect her practice and her heart.

The novel then picks up five months later when Ian and Petra run into each other again and try to figure out if the attraction can ever turn into a relationship given the way they met. Will any relationship be forever tainted by the way they met, can they build something together that will withstand scrutiny.

Both Petra and Ian have complicated feelings about their parents, the way they were raised & the insecurities they developed as children while very different has had a significant impact into the way they behave and interact with the world and is part of why connect so strongly. They both often second guess their feelings and instincts out of fear of repeating their parents' mistakes. Their hesitations, confrontations and misunderstandings felt realistic and believable. They are both ambivalent about their racial and ethnic identities, acutely ware of their otherness within their families and the culture at large, despite becoming outwardly successful adults.

I thought Lang did a great job developing the secondary relationships in the books. Petra's loving but mutually frustrating & maddening conversations with her mother and the restoration and healing of Petra's fraught relationship with her best-friends Sarah and Helen were as significant to the HEA as Ian and Petra choosing to trust each other enough to risk loving each other.

There were a few things that didn't work for me or downright annoyed me. The character of Kevin, one of Petra's few initial patients, never worked for me. Even with a neglectful and distracted father, I had a hard time believing that even Petra would routinely allow a child under-13 to routinely come to her office unsupervised. At 12 he was supposed to be a somewhat annoying, somewhat endearing figure who is able infiltrated both Petra's and Ian's lives, but I just found him all around annoying even before his boundary flouting came back to bite Petra.

I also didn't like Petra struggle with her "Inner Hippocrates" and was happy when that device disappeared for the most part in the second half of the book. I was less than enamored with the way Danielle, Ian's ex was used in the second half of the book. I appreciate how Ian came to regret the way he has underestimated and treated her during their relationship but instead of becoming a more rounded fuller character, she became less sympathetic and more of mustache-twirling villain in the second half, making her undeserving of Ian's regret.

Overall I was happy to have read this book, despite the small annoyances. I give credit to Ms. Lang for being able to take treacherous premise and succeed in building a funny and sweet story. Her protagonists are flawed, their relationships messy but their story was engaging.

I received a review copy of this book from the author, Ruby Lang.

Profile Image for eegriega.
6 reviews
April 16, 2015
For this month’s Literary Stylings challenge, I’ve got a love story. (Aw.)

Well, not just. It’s also a story about medical care, ethics, friendship, and really bad cookies: Acute Reactions, by Ruby Lang. [Disclosure: I’m internet friends with the author, but I was not asked to review this book and I did not receive any compensation for talking about it. I just know a lot of amazing writers.]

I really enjoyed this romance novel–-allergist Petra’s professional and personal self-doubt felt very familiar, and her chemistry with former patient Ian was great. I did, however, have to get creative coming up with an outfit for it, seeing as how my one obvious idea (a blue-green dress along the lines of what Petra wears to a wedding later on in the book) was in the laundry basket.

It will probably come as a surprise to precisely nobody that I spent a lot of time in the allergist’s office as a kid. Me and my brother both, actually. We spent years, I can’t say how many, getting weekly shots for our various sensitivities; we’re both beyond needing injections now, but I remember those long minutes in the waiting room very clearly. Even though in Acute Reactions Ian’s allergy is to cats, I first-off went with a floral skirt in honor of the really gross plant reproductive matter that makes my mucus membranes swell even today.

My voluminous button-front shirt isn’t particularly conservative-looking, but as a second piece it was the closest thing I had to Petra’s professional, doctor-y workwear. I can’t imagine her wearing something with puffy sleeves under her lab coat, but what can you do?

Finally, I haven’t worn the heavy black belt seen up above in a while. When I pulled it out of the dresser, it reminded me of Petra’s attempts at rigid self-control and the difficult standards she holds herself up to. Her desire to push away her feelings and be a perfectly ethical doctor, and to prove herself in other parts of her life as well, causes a fair amount of tension between her and the potential love interest, Ian, so why not hold things together outfit-wise with a little restriction?

There are a lot of things to like about Acute Reactions: for one thing, it’s a romance novel where most of the main characters are people of color, which is dismally rare. Admittedly, I’m still a relative newcomer to romance novels, but I can’t think of too many other examples where the heroine is half-Indian, or where the hero is partly Latino–much less both in the same book.

I also really appreciated the amount of story dedicated to Petra’s relationships with her two closest friends Helen and Sarah (also both women of color); between their dynamic and Petra’s professional life, her world had a lot of depth to it. So did Ian’s, for that matter. They both had rounded inner lives that gave the story a lot of realism. Plus, you know, the smooching was pretty great.

So there you have it: Acute Reactions is a dang fine contemporary romance! It certainly inspired me to dig through my closet and put something together.

Originally posted on Reading in Skirts with outfit photos at https://readinginskirts.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Melanie Greene.
Author 24 books140 followers
April 17, 2015
Ian! Petra! I so enjoyed getting to know them both.

Ian's smart and sweet and competent and maybe a bit of a pushover when he should stand up for himself, a holdover from a childhood that left him in the wake of his parents' lives.

Petra's bright and driven and nervous that the big gamble she's taken with her professional life will fail, and after being the one all her life to take care of her family and friends, she doesn't know how to take care of herself (or trust her care to others) if disaster strikes.

They both take personal and professional journeys that are influenced by the other, though not dependent on the other for their outcomes - I love that, to see the characters as discrete individuals who learn to think differently because of each other but who achieve stuff on their own. And then, of course, there is the romance, where they are very much tied up in each other. Their initial attraction can't move forward from either side - she is his doctor, and he is in a relationship - but once those hurdles are (mostly) cleared their journeys of discovery towards each other are rapid, sometimes painful, and always deeply felt.

Lang writes smoothly and engagingly and with a ton of wit - the pages really turn! (Or, they would if I'd read a paper copy. But 'the screens really swipe!' doesn't sound right.) I'm excited to read much more by her.
200 reviews1 follower
May 1, 2018
This was a charming romance novel. I loved the Portland setting (disclosure, I used to live in the Willamette Valley, so I'm a sucker for the City of Roses), but more importantly, I loved the characters.
Ian Zamora is a career-focused restaurateur, and Dr. Petra Lale has just struck out on her own right out of medical school as an allergist. He comes to her practice for immunotherapy so he can deal with his girlfriend's cat, and then sparks begin to fly.
Ian and Petra's relationship felt natural: great chemistry and a reasonable plot, without insane manufactured obstacles or problems that sane humans would resolve in a five minute conversation. Plus, I loved the racial diversity of the characters, because romance can be such a monochrome genre. And the sex was great too. I can't wait for sequels!
Profile Image for Weekend Reader_.
700 reviews40 followers
February 20, 2023

You know when a character reminds you of your friends yeah I know a Petra. Anxious baby, who's always focused on worst case scenario, feels a bit negative but you know she means well bc she will get you through an emergency. I felt for her bc either you get it or you don't. What reads like indecisiveness is really fear and boy was there a lot of back sand forth with Ian. Who btw is another anxious baby but he smooths everything over so they balance each other out. The last 5 chapters of this book is where it really comes together for me. Bc the pacing in the beginning and a little in the middle was a bit sluggish but by the end all came together. Big themes on fear of failure, abandonment, friendship, conflict resolutions, ethics, and really the messiness of life. I can't wait to read about Helen and Sarah bc these 2 are a mess. And I hope Kevin makes cameos in their books too what a fun gut check side character he was. Oh and Danielle I hope Juan breaks up with you 🙄

CN: cheating, emotional cheating, parental death, dissociation, anxiety, allergic reaction, panic attacks, absentee parent,
Profile Image for Victoria.
Author 4 books30 followers
April 28, 2018
First book completed for the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!

This book is so much fun but also complicated in ways I completely relate to. I particularly love how most of this book isn't the story about how Ian and Petra get together but actually about their relationship - and their lives outside that relationship.

I tend to mostly read historical romance but contemporary books like this remind me why I should branch out more - and I very much look forward to reading the next two in the series.

Also, Simon & Shuster, if you're reading this, BRING BACK CRIMSON ROMANCE.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,666 reviews
March 27, 2019
Sometimes I was really rolling my eyes at how pedantic these people were ... I mean, do you read a romance novel for pedantry? ... but then I ended up liking their humanity and their quirks and how they had to work at love. So, 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Kelly.
666 reviews24 followers
April 26, 2018
Really great story with well-developed, interesting characters and a great supporting cast. The ex girlfriend thing was a little... ? But I liked everything else, especially the family dynamic.
238 reviews21 followers
February 1, 2018
I liked this a lot, until about the 75 percent mark, when something happened that was patently ridiculous, to rush on the black moment.

The heroine is quite high-maintenance, but I still enjoyed her, and I loved the complicated friendships she has with her best friends. The hero was adorable, but far less interesting than she was. And there was a plot moppet who really needed to be in school more often than he was, but who did, for all that, feel like a genuine teenage boy.

I've already got the second one TBR.
Profile Image for Sadie.
126 reviews19 followers
February 19, 2023
This was…uneven. The romantic parts were very good, but I did not care about any of the (four!) sub plots. I would try a different series or stand-alone by Ruby Lang though.
Profile Image for lexi.
59 reviews1 follower
October 21, 2022
this book was so terrible. i honestly don’t even know how i read as far as i did tbh. i ended up skimming the last like 4 chapters bc i genuinely could not read this book any longer. and it’s not even a long book either but i could only read a few paragraphs at a time before i had to take a break and do something else. LMFAO

every single main character sucks too. petra is so annoying and very unnecessarily rude to her mother. why are you so involved in your mother’s love life?? leave her alone you freak. and if you have so many issues with dating a former patient THEN DONT!!!! we don’t need to hear about it on every. single. page. ian isn’t as bad as petra but he’s still a weirdo too. and don’t even get me started on sarah. she’s just heinous. idk if she thinks she’s a god or something but she needs to calm down. acting like she’s so morally above everyone else bc she would never date a former patient. ok we don’t care. helen is boring and idc that she cheated on her bf either. kevin was the only one i kinda liked but idk why he set petra up like that.

anyway, this author lowkey needs to be banned from writing. some of the things written in this book were just so weird and cringe. especially the whole panties thing. please be serious….. even thinking about this rn is making me mad ugh. i can tell why this was free on apple books LMFAO. definitely will not be reading the other two.
Profile Image for Jackie.
Author 8 books148 followers
October 7, 2016
An allergist is attracted to a restaurant-owning patient, and he's attracted to her, but medical ethics (dating a patient, especially when you're just starting your own practice) keep them apart. I enjoyed the sexual tension between sexy Ian and careful, pessimistic Petra, but Petra's worries strained credibility at times; I did not understand why even after Ian started seeing another doctor, she was still so hung up about potential conflict of interest issues. Petra's issues with her mom also felt a bit over the top.

I did enjoy Ian and Petra's cultural backgrounds being woven in as part of their character development (Ian has a European-American mother and a [I think] Spanish-South American father, while Petra's father was Asian Indian); as Ian says, "like you, I've got that ambiguously ethnic thing" (136). And I enjoyed the relationship Petra has with her two med school friends, who look to be the heroines in the upcoming books in the series. Enough promise in this one to check those out.
Profile Image for Mmeguillotine.
496 reviews22 followers
May 19, 2015
3.5. Not badly written, but unfortunately, I must be something of a drama-monger because this is one of those books where the characters, relationship, plot, language is so every day and commonplace that I can't find enough enthusiasm for it. Much like books by Jill Shalvis, I finish up just feeling an overwhelming sense of Meh. It's not you, it's me.
Profile Image for Limecello.
1,995 reviews27 followers
September 16, 2019
Oof, y'all.

I ... I mean, TBH I spent a lot - A LOT of this book thinking "every single one of these characters needs therapy." ... In fact maybe only the heroine's younger sister didn't fall into that category? Or the sister's girlfriend...

So I read the book 5-6 days ago and already can't remember the character's names. :X I remember how this book made me feel though which ... it started out pretty nicely. Then by I think I looked at it and it said 73% I was like "this is more like a punishment" - and sure it ended well, (I think? - nothing stands out) ... tbh if this wasn't a book by Ruby Lang who I've wanted to read I think I might've DNF'd it.

Ah. Ian and Petra. (Yes I looked it up) - forgot how the heroine's friends/family called her Petey or Pete. .... >.> O_o

I thought all the stuff with her mom was interesting. Her mom being ... awful herself. Like, yeah - her mom totally messed up Petra. (And likely her half sister?) ... I kinda spent a lot of this book thinking "how on earth could someone/someones who have gone through a psychology/psychiatry rotation be SO CLUELESS." But then I thought about the cobbler's children/doctors being "the worst patients" so maybe that's part of it. >.>

But like ... her friends. They're... supportive, but SERIOUSLY AWFUL. Her one friend, Helen? I think? Helen and the other one... Helen (full Asian?) was ... my god. The worst. Incredibly INCREDIBLY judgmental and honestly an asshole 99.99999% of the time.

And you know - normally I'm all "BURN DOCTOR/PATIENT TO THE GROUND" - but I figured Ruby Lang would make it work and this book y'all - she went too far for me, actually, in the opposite direction. By which ... like - making it seem SO VERY CAREER ENDING - when he was CLEARLY no longer her patient.

I almost texted some doctor friends being like "hey so in this situation ... what WOULD happen?" (I guess for lawyers your license could/would be suspended if you were reported to the bar association for having a relationship with a client currently but ... once the legal relationship is over - and I'd have to check professional responsibility rules because I don't remember that ... but TBH it seems like the bar association would just give you a warning... I mean it'd be HUMILIATING etc but ...)

ANYWAY - the attraction is there ... and Petra is a super neurotic head case ... so we're always in her head and I think don't get an "accurate" perception - things being not as dire as she believes etc. (I think.)
Anyway, she freaks out ... Ian is really cautious too - generally - she "fires" him as a patient for missing two appointments (one I thought he canceled...) anyway about six months later they run into each other. In the book it says once you're in the six months zone you're free and clear for the ~governing board.

What I didn't find so realistic is Petra being neurotically almost to the level of paranoia concerned re: boundaries with Ian ... but then ... ~hanging out with Kevin.
[And then his dad freaking out.] ... Although that seemed a SMIDGE of an overreaction I guess I can't imagine what one of the parents would do if they saw me having a meal with one of "my kids." (Granted I can't imagine having a meal with any of "my kids" out and about...)

Anyway - and Ian's idiot IDIOT friend the chef. Like ... wow, so dumb it hurts.
AND THEN when his ex girlfriend blackmails him. That really annoyed me - how he's so apologetic etc. He ... O_o like the book jumps into him being a major user asshole but ... uh ... all he did was break up with her? YOU'RE ALLOWED TO DO THAT. ALWAYS. Not only that, but she was awful, and only used him to pet sit, and they never saw each other. WHY DOES HE JUST LET HIMSELF BECOME A DOORMAT?
[Also - would the medical board really listen to a vindictive bitch? Why didn't/couldn't/wouldn't they just turn it on her - report her to the bar for coercion and blackmail? That's ... not exactly ethical behavior - and IMO much worse than what Ian and Petra "did" (which was nothing).

They're SO FREAKING unsure of each other - which could be cute if there was balance, but there wasn't. There wasn't balance - this entire book was a cry for help.
Ian is a grown ass man. I think it said he's 32? I mean sure 32 isn't that old but it's old enough to have known better than to let his ex blackmail him. And also to hide that from Petra since she goes off the deep end so easily.

Then her mom's guy who is SO SHITTY to Petra - which sure she deserves SOMETIMES - but not that time at his house. [Because omfg is that family toxic.]
And I guess it's easy to SAY all these things - not to DO by just ignoring it etc ... <.< but bookworld is supposed to be a much more ideaL version of the world, yes?

Anyway in the end it DID work out nicely, which was good.

I'm not really interested in reading the second book, although I did like that heroine most ... so we'll see about the third. It was in my TBR but my god if the heroine is the same as she was in book 1 I might spend most of it half wanting to set her on fire. :X
So .... we'll see.

D or D+ I guess? [Can't ... :X really remember...]
237 reviews
May 31, 2020
I, myself, have mixed reactions to Ruby Lang’s Acute Reaction, published in 2015.

This book focuses on two smart people with a lot of emotional baggage who find acceptance and love with each other.

Petra Lale is a 31 year old allergist, who, unlike most of her medical compatriots, including her two best friends, decides to strike out on her own and open her own practice. 32 year old Ian Zamora is a restaurateur in Portland who spends more time attending to every detail of his successful business rather than with his girlfriend — a girlfriend who insists that Ian help take care of her cat even though he’s extremely allergic. That being said, Ian is determined to maintain the relationship since it’s the one thing in his life that isn’t quite on track. To help the situation, Ian makes an appointment with Dr. Petra Lale, the new allergist in the same neighborhood as his restaurant. When he visits her for the first time, he’s struck at 1) how little help Dr. Lale has and 2) how attractive and competent she is in spite of having to manage almost everything in her practice on her own. Petra, too, finds Ian attractive, but she’s very professional and would never act upon it. Besides, her life is currently wrapped up in trying to make a success of her business, worried that she took this big step too soon.

Not long after Ian’s first appointment, he finds he can’t stop thinking about Petra and decides to break up with his girlfriend … and her cat. However, since he knows no other way to keep seeing Petra, considering that it’s against medical ethics to date a patient, he continues seeing her professionally. Before long, he’s considering breaking off their doctor-patient relationship, but Petra strikes first by sending a letter stating that she can no longer be his doctor since he has feelings for her that she cannot return. That would appear to end that except, Ian and Petra keep running into each other and Petra begins to question her own professional ethics — let alone the worries she has about her business — and starts to wonder if she should’ve ever become a doctor. In addition, unlike Ian’s certainty regarding them as a couple, she’s unsure about her romantic choices, seeing herself as a projection of her mother whose been married a number of times. How will these two hard-working professionals make room in their lives for a romance that is off limits?

I was expecting to like this book a bit more than I did. On the upside, I love that Petra’s and Ian’s professions are such a part of the story. They are not wallpaper professionals, but are shown doing their jobs, worrying about them, and having them spill over into their personal lives as happens outside of novels. if you like competence porn, this is for you. Even though Petra is struggling in her business, she’s still extremely competent and Ian is, of course, a success, although his problem is not letting his business over shadow his personal life. In any event, this book does a great job of making Petra and Ian well-rounded people. There are a number of side characters who are more or less successful. Petra’s friends, her mother, and sister are there more as a foil for comparison in terms of Petra’s insecurities and anxieties. Ian’s friends are barely there — except at the very end. There is one character — a young patient of Petra’s — who was the most enjoyable and became important to both characters.

What didn’t work for me is that the plot seemed to stall in the middle — with both characters, but mostly Petra — spending most of the middle of the story going back and forth over their feelings, never seeming to progress. I began to lose patience with her and was surprised Ian hung in that long. Her neuroses were examined and re-examined in minute detail. It was only in the last 20 or so pages that things began happening to move the plot forward and one of those things was also a negative to my mind — Ian’s ex-girlfriend suddenly makes a re-appearance and becomes a big obstacle in Ian and Petra’s relationship despite not being a factor at all for most of the story. And, of course, she was the usual nasty “other woman”. Even though I was happy that events were happening that finally forced some action, you had to muck through a lot of annoying naval gazing to get there. I would give this book a B-.
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