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Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood – Book Review!

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?

” It is a truth universally acknowledged that a community of women trying to mind their own business must be in want of a random mans opinion.”

Bee Königswasser lives by the code ‘What would Marie Curie do.’ Something that has served her well through most of her life. Now she has the chance at a dream position with NASA, the only problem, her co-lead, Levi Ward can’t stand her. Sure he’s attractive, but he made his feeling towards her fairly obvious years ago, so there’s no reason to think anything of his turning into a somewhat ally… right? He’s backing her plays, listening to her input, literally bringing her thoughts into reality. Bee’s used to asking herself WWMCD?, but when it comes to matters of the heart, the only real question she can ask is what would Bee Königswasser do?

If you liked The Love Hypothesis, you’re going to adore Love on the Brain. Bee is such a fantastic POV, another STEM woman in a world dominated by men, used to being mansplained too by people with lesser knowledge than her, so when she gets the chance to co-lead a NASA project, she jumps at it. She knows Levi Ward detests her, but surely he can be professional this one time right? She’s feisty and witty, and not afraid to back down when she knows she is in the right. She uses her secret twitter account WWMCD? to highlight the inequalities between men and women in STEM She knows what its like to feel alone, and wanted to create a safe space for people to talk through their issues and hopefully get guidance from others in their field. Thanks to being passed around from family member to family member as a child, she has had a life most would dream of, but she longs for somewhere steady, somewhere to set down roots, she just needs to trust in herself and start asking the question, not what would Marie Curie do, but Bee Königswasser.

Similarly to The Love Hypothesis, Hazelwood gives us a tight knit and definitely quirky group of side characters. From Reike, Bee’s twin sister who decided she liked the globe trotting life and never stays in one place long, to Rocio her slightly weird but adorable lab assistant, who is full of interesting and sometimes disturbing facts. We also get a similar antagonist to the first book, but this one is significantly subtler, putting on a facade of niceness and support, which made their deception all the worse. And then there’s Levi, our talk, dark and handsome love interest, Hazelwood has a type ok, and clearly so do I because I instantly fell in love with Levi, and can’t blame Bee for literally swooning into his arms her first day of NASA (ok so she passes out more than swoons, but it still ends with her in his arms so…)

As usual, Hazelwood has given us a kick ass heroine in the world of STEM and, as much as I was 100% here for the romance, I also loved learning about all the science bits she puts in. Every single one of her characters is incredibly smart, giants in their field and she doesn’t shy away from showing that off. But she also shows the reality of what it’s like to be a woman working in STEM. I leant the Love Hypothesis to my sister, who works in STEM herself, and she couldn’t help but relate to a lot of the situations from the book. Women being looked over, being mansplained too by people with less experience in their field, being used for reasons other than your mind. Don’t get me wrong, Hazelwood isn’t out here man bashing, there are plenty of men in her stories that are allies, support our MC’s, but she shows the reality of how many out there don’t think women should be working in their fields which makes for both angry and humorous situations.

Now what were all here for… The romance. I did just want to jump in this book and slap Bee over the head because it was SO obvious that Levi liked her, but she had been told by someone she trusted (and absolutely should not have) that he hated her, thought she was worthless, and that had stuck with her for years. They had a lot to overcome, not just Bee learning to trust that Levi, in fact, does not hate her, but also him being able to express his emotions in front of her without it looking like he wanted to kill her. What I loved most was their twitter exchanges. Both Bee and Levi run STEM themed twitter accounts who support and encourage each other and through them, they have formed a sort of bond, a friendship, only neither knows who the other one was. This added a whole new dimension to their relationship, not only creating some hilarious scenes, but also allowing us to see them open up to each other more than they would had they known who was on the other side. Seeing their honesty towards each other, and seeing the emotions when they realise who it was they were bearing their heart too was amazing. Their scenes were humorous in parts, steamy and also a little sad. Both of these characters have been broken in some way, and I adored seeing them piece each other back together. It was a kind of unknowing enemies to friends to lovers and the development of their relationship was brilliant to read, slow burn (which I love) and a little of idiots in love, so if you like any of those tropes definitely check this out. There’s also a side romance that had me cackling in parts because I could see where it was heading before the characters did and when it went off, it went off with a bang… literally, a bang on a desk!

There were parts of this book I preferred over The Love Hypothesis and vice versa, but it’s safe to say Hazelwood has another hit on her hands. I love everything from her characters to her romances and cannot wait to get my hands on her next book.

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