Published by Berkley Books on August 23, 2022
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
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A STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis--with explosive results.
Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project--a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia--Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.
Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school--archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.
Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it's her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas...devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there's only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?
Having enjoyed The Love Hypothesis last year and the STEMinist Novellas a few months ago, I was extremely excited for Love on the Brain. And I did enjoy the reading experience but I had one major criticism – it was the same characters and tropes as in all four of Ali Hazelwood’s other books.
Love on the Brain follows Bee, a neuroscientist, who ends up collaborating on an NIH-NASA interagency project with her graduate school archnemesis, Levi. And consistent with all of Ali Hazelwood’s other books, it’s a hate-to-love story where the main character just thought the love interest hated her but he was actually so in love with her that he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as her. As Bee and Levi continue working together, Bee soon realises that Levi is on her side and things develop between them.
I have nothing against any of the characters or the plot of the book. In fact, I highly enjoyed the science and academia aspects, since that is my background too. I thought that the story was light and easy to read. However, it felt like I was reading yet another version of the same story. It was the same hate-to-love trope with grumpy (and absolutely huge) male love interest who isn’t able to communicate how he feels. Not to mention my most hated miscommunication trope that happens because characters don’t let each other finish their sentences.
Additionally, I felt like there were certain aspects of the story that were a bit unresolved. These aspects of the book came across to me as things that were added to give depth to the characters, but just added a few extra question marks when they weren’t resolved at the end.
Having said all that, I did enjoy the reading experience and I thought the writing and storytelling in Love on the Brain was much improved compared to The Love Hypothesis. Which is why it still gets a good rating from me.
For me, The Love Hypothesis earned high marks from me because of its novelty in the romance genre. Unfortunately, even though I highly enjoyed Love on the Brain and thought the writing was better than The Love Hypothesis, I can’t not point out that it’s practically like reading the same book. And if you’ve read the three STEMinist Novellas, it’s like reading the same book five times…
Rating: 4 out of 5
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