Review: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Alexis:

Since I’m unfortunately recovering from lung surgery, I decided that continuing with my rom com binge and sticking to more lighthearted reads might be a good idea. 

I read The Love Hypothesis earlier this year and was pleasantly surprised. The writing was easy and accessible and the story was funny and heartwarming. 

Needless to say, I picked up Love on the Brain. And I have to admit…I’m a little baffled.

Was this fun to read? Yes. Like its predecessor, Love on the Brain contains so much interesting science talk (as well as a focus on neuroscience) and you can tell Hazelwood knows what she’s talking about. 

That being said, I got major déjà vu when reading this book. I kept thinking, “Have I read this before?” There were so, so many scenes, moments, and plot points that were almost the exact same as The Love Hypothesis. 

Now: yes, I am aware that both books started out as Reylo fanfic (but I like to keep an open mind!). So I knew there would be some similarities. However, both of the main characters, Bee and Levi, were nearly carbon copies of the main characters in The Love Hypothesis, except Bee somehow managed to be a more unhinged version of Olive. 

At least I liked Levi’s character. But there was also a plot point at the end that was honestly so ridiculous that it made the story unredeemable for me. 

Final thoughts: It started off as a fun read, but I wasn’t able to enjoy or get sucked into the story because it was just a worse version of The Love Hypothesis.

Book Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

A mug of green tea sits in front of a pink paperback copy of The Last Letter From Your Lover. A dilute calico cat sits behind it.

Alexis:

Sort of ironic, isn’t it, since Anna just mentioned Me Before You, Moyes’ trauma porn story? 😬

I needed another beach read, so I grabbed this one from a used bookstore. And though it’s not my usual kind of read, I saw a trailer for a Netflix adaptation, and thought I would pick it up. 

After Jennifer gets into a car accident in 1960, she has amnesia. She doesn’t remember her husband; she doesn’t remember who she is. And when she stumbles upon a letter from a lover, she realizes that her marriage was unhappy, and that she was in love with someone else. The problem is: she can’t remember who he is or where to find him.

Despite not being gothic, this book almost immediately gave me Rebecca vibes. There’s no ex-wife, but Jennifer feels and sees her lover, “B,” everywhere she looks, and it gives a similar sort of mysterious vibe. Plus, Jennifer is the wife of a rich man with a huge estate.

It took me a little while to get into this one. Part of the beginning seems a little unnecessary; Jennifer spends a lot of time getting to re-know her high society friends, only for them to become unimportant characters later on. 

What I did like was Moyes’ engaging, flowing writing style. I liked how the story is non-linear. However, the story switches to the POV of Ellie, a journalist in 2003, and while I enjoyed her perspective, it didn’t come until page 231. I would’ve liked her POV to be more woven into Jennifer’s POV. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I think if you’re looking for a historical fiction story that focuses on love, memory, and sacrifice with light Rebecca vibes, then you’ll enjoy this. 

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Alexis:

I don’t usually read romance books, but I’ve had so much intense reading for class lately that I needed a fun book to read as a distraction!

The Spanish Love Deception follows Catalina, a Spanish woman living in NYC. Her sister is getting married back home in Spain, and Lina promised to bring her boyfriend as her date to the wedding. The only problem: she doesn’t have a boyfriend. But her coworker, Aaron, convinces her to take him along, and pretend to be her boyfriend.

What I liked:

The dialogue was fun, snappy, and playful. Lina and Aaron are foils to each other in many ways; Lina is loud and talkative, and Aaron is serious and quiet. Their relationship is fun to read about, and I enjoyed the dynamic between them, as well as Lina’s dynamic with her family.

The romance takes a while to happen (definitely a slow burn) but it was written well (it does get steamy!)

What I didn’t like:

The book went on a little long. I definitely think 100-200 pages could’ve easily been condensed or cut out. Because of this, the writing, including Lina’s internal narrative, often feels repetitive. We see Aaron’s description literally every chapter; I got a little tired of reading about his blue/ocean eyes and huge/bulky physique.

That being said, if you’re looking for a fun romance, specifically enemies to lovers, an office romance, and the fake dating trope, consider picking this one up.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐