Finished Reading: Love on the Brain

What It’s About:

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?

Now let me just start off by saying that I am of sound mind as I write this next statement: I liked this book more than The Love Hypothesis. Now let me explain why.

While this book does suffer from quite a few of the pitfalls as the first book, it does seem like Ali Hazelwood grew as a writer with this novel, which I think is definitely something. You want authors to grow as they move from one novel to the next even if the growth is minimal.

Let’s start off with the characters. While this is another possible (most likely) alternate universe Reylo fanfic, I feel like we actually get a sense of who Levi Ward is, his feelings, and the things he cares about. For some he will fall flat because his coldness and awkwardness are very similar to the first book’s male hero. But Levi is definitely given a lot more depth. Yes, he is still described as the hugest man to ever huge, but I think Hazelwood is testing herself to see how far she can take those descriptions. Because some of them were so hilarious that I had tears in my eyes. Next is Bee Königswasser, who is definitely QuirkyGirl™, but I thought she was a lot more interesting than Olive and her constant pop culture references. I like the way she was described from her purple hair to her interactions with her twin sister to her love of Marie Curie. Bee’s research assistant, Rocio, was an absolute delight as well.

What I really enjoyed was the project itself that Levi and Bee were working on at NASA. And while I have a tiny brain of insignificant thoughts and ideas, the science did feel explained and accessible. I could also feel myself raging incredibly hard at how Bee’s worth, work, and leadership were undermined throughout the project. Those slights of not being included on emails or invited to meetings or not having equipment delivered all sounded plausible to me. No doubt in my mind, that women in science or in any profession that is male dominated have experienced this.

This also wasn’t really an enemies to lovers story because ultimately, it was all a misunderstanding. They also don’t spend much time in this book being enemies at all.

One of the things I didn’t enjoy was the miscommunication, which happened time and time again. I just kept screaming at the characters to talk to one another and to truly say what was on their mind now rather than later. For so long, Bee refused to even consider the thing with Levi was even serious and Levi would not correct her.

Another thing I didn’t like was the weird mystery that was inserted into this book, which is largely ignored but then turns into a sudden moment of ridiculous danger towards the end. For a romance that is supposed to be cute and fun, the sudden serious moment felt so out of place. It made very little sense.

In conclusion, Ali Hazelwood does not reinvent the wheel with Love on the Brain, but she is slowly growing as a writer. 100% she will give you science and some good jokes. You will have a fun time reading this book if you go into it without expectations and with a heart that wants some fluff.


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