BOOK REVIEW: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

BOOK REVIEW: Love on the Brain by Ali HazelwoodLove on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
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Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

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 - 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. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school - archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas... devouring her with those eyes. 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?

The real villain is love: an unstable isotope, constantly undergoing spontaneous nuclear decay.
And it will forever go unpunished.

The way that this one hurts me to write….look. I really, thoroughly enjoyed this. I did. And, up until a certain point, I was in love-AGAIN. I was trash for Hazelwood’s first novel, and I even went in not expecting much because I HATE when people compare to an author’s first work-it’s not wholly fair. Not all books can be the same, and not all books have to contain that same aesthetic. But, here is the KICKER, we CAN expect to feel the same things. We CAN expect some sort of gravitational pull and we CAN expect to not read the same type of book we read before.

“Anyway, Harry Potter is tainted forever, and I’m not getting a cat.”
“Why?”
“Because it will die in thirteen to seventeen years, based on recent statistical data, and shatter my heart in thirteen to seventeen pieces.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

LOL! My morbidity and humor all wrapped up into one, this is exactly how I talk ^^^^ (see? I loved so much about this)

I’ll admit time and again that I am an avid serial reader of books that are all similar-but the deal is they have to be just as heart-wrenching and have moments that take my breath away-I don’t care how similar they are. And, honestly, that wasn’t my issue here-if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But I didn’t even think of similarities when I was reading this-that was what I say to all of those that think this is comparable to TLH-fair. But no, my real issue here is that where book one made science PART of the story and it wasn’t too over the top, here it just…bogged it down. And, besides that point, it wasn’t the science that got to me-nah, I can skim better than anyone and it doesn’t effect my rating- no, when I started to get mad, it was because Bee became a total ASS when she was in the office. This is when my enjoyment faltered and I started to almost detach from the story….I never hated this story. Never. But I did hate Bee.

I frown. He sounds very . . . in charge. Self-assured. Not that he usually doesn’t, but it’s having a new . . . effect on me. Oh my God. Am I a damsel in distress?

I never speak ill of MC’s because an author generally does a great job of centering a book around that MC where we don’t have a right to really fight what’s going on because it just goes. That’s how it’s meant to be. But here…she was just so…angry. Angry at the world. Angry at her field. Angry at Levi. Well…maybe angry isn’t the word. Annoyed? Biased because of some preconceived notions? I don’t know. But it just…it always took me out of reading smoothly. I just wanted to NOT have to hear her repetitive coin phrases and terms applied to men in the field. I think it’s fine that this author has chosen this as her fight when she writes these novels-it’s a real issue and she wants to tackle it-fine. But I DO feel, and I know I am not alone here from what I’ve seen, that if you want to fight these battles….shouldn’t you not be a stereotype yourself? To give into that anger and just make it your absolute life force? I don’t know. I feel she was SO aggressive with it that it was hard to read and even harder to like Bee. We get it. You hate men and you hate how you are treated…so do something about it.

FUN FACT ABOUT me: I am a fairly mellow person, but I happen to have a very violent fantasy life.
Maybe it’s an overactive amygdala. Maybe it’s too much estrogen. Maybe it’s the lack of parental role models in my formative years. I honestly don’t know what the cause is, but the fact remains: I sometimes daydream about murdering people.
By “sometimes,” I mean often.
And by “people,” I mean Levi Ward.

NOW I may get hate about that last comment because I am in no way able to identify with this field nor what these women in STEM go through on a daily basis to earn some recognition. What I will say, however, is that I still believe it just could have been written…better. And, frankly, this flows into how she treats Levi. She treats him like a dog, honestly.

It’s just so so so so clear he’s more than into her, and even after a certain point when he states that he does not, in fact, hate her, she still says so many phrases-repeatedly-like ‘well I know you’d rather not be hanging out with someone you despise’…girl. Like…chill. Every page. Every chapter. Your arch nemesis does NOT drop everything to come help you because he loathes you. Even as a dumb teenager I’d have understood what THAT is about. Her maturity level? It’s the size of a gnat.

I guess this is it—being in love. Truly in love. Lots and lots of horrible, wondrous, violent emotions. It doesn’t suit me.

My Sarah Hogle humor at play again ^^

But Levi…ohhhh my Levi. Much like Adam (who is still my fav because… Adam) he just is so sweet beyond words. Silently volleying for your success….would do ANYTHING to help you or just be there for you. One thing Ali does is just create the most amazing men that make me unable to breathe. Adam and Olive literally knocked me out of my seat, and I wish I would have had a duo to support rather than just Levi in LOTB. I just could not get behind Bee in any way, even though she has the most hilarious Sarah Hogle-esque inner monologue. I am TRASH for Sarah Hogle, so I held onto Bee a long time before I gave up on her because she just has the funniest way of saying things. And, even after I decided I wasn’t a fan, she still made me laugh and smile occasionally.

That all being said, this was an honest to God adorable feel-good book ripe with loads of snarky humor (which I live for). I just wish that I hadn’t felt so…disconnected sometimes while reading. It was just too much in this one, and I legitimately *felt* the agenda while reading. Again, I will likely be fought on that point, but I do not care. I loved so much about this novel, I still have a couple editions in the mail I can’t wait to receive but, other than that, I think I’ll just longingly gaze at my Levi and Bee art print (and cherish it because I am OBSESSED WITH IT) and pine for the love of that art print to manifest into all-consuming love for this story. Levi deserved better, period. He was the kindest, most longing, most loyal man, and he deserved better than that jerk. I guess we just love who we love. And sorry-I’m not afraid to say it.

******

AGHH THE WAY I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS!

Let’s get it, Bestie! TO THE BATMOBILE! We riddddeeeee!

(Yes, you, Arielle. Get in the damn car)

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2 Comments

  1. Sam@WLABB

    I loved Levi too. He was so misunderstood, until he was understood. I went higher than you (4/5). My issue was the “dramatic” part. That wasn’t very rom-commie. I don’t know, but it did pick up for me again after that part. I love science, went to engineering school, and taught chem/physics for over a decade, so I enjoyed the science, but I can understand it hampering the story if it’s not your thing.
    Sam@WLABB recently posted…Five Star Friday: August 2022My Profile

  2. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I have this on audio. While I read the first book, I listened to the three novellas, so figured I’d listen to this one as well. Hoping I love it more than you did sadly. But it’s nice to hear the issues you had so I know to expect them!
    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Ship Happens (Love at Sea #1) by Kate StacyMy Profile

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