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Love on the Brain
Cover of Love on the Brain
Love on the Brain
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A #1 LibraryReads and Indie Next Pick!
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.

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?
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A #1 LibraryReads and Indie Next Pick!
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.

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?
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover 1 - The Habenula: Disappointment

    Here's my favorite piece of trivia in the whole world: Dr. Marie Skłodowska-Curie showed up to her wedding ceremony wearing her lab gown.

    It's actually a pretty cool story: a scientist friend hooked her up with Pierre Curie. They awkwardly admitted to having read each other's papers and flirted over beakers full of liquid uranium, and he proposed within the year. But Marie was only meant to be in France to get her degree, and reluctantly rejected him to return to Poland.

    Womp womp.

    Enter the University of Krakow, villain and unintentional cupid of this story, which denied Marie a faculty position because she was a woman (very classy, U of K). Dick move, I know, but it had the fortunate side effect of pushing Marie right back into Pierre's loving, not-yet-radioactive arms. Those two beautiful nerds married in 1895, and Marie, who wasn't exactly making bank at the time, bought herself a wedding dress that was comfortable enough to use in the lab every day. My girl was nothing if not pragmatic.

    Of course, this story becomes significantly less cool if you fast forward ten years or so, to when Pierre got himself run over by a carriage and left Marie and their two daughters alone in the world. Zoom into 1906, and that's where you'll find the real moral of this tale: trusting people to stick around is a bad idea. One way or another they'll end up gone. Maybe they'll slip on the Rue Dauphine on a rainy morning and get their skull crushed by a horse-drawn cart. Maybe they'll be kidnapped by aliens and vanish into the vastness of space. Or maybe they'll have sex with your best friend six months before you're due to get married, forcing you to call off the wedding and lose tons of cash in security deposits.

    The sky's the limit, really.

    One might say, then, that U of K is only a minor villain. Don't get me wrong: I love picturing Dr. Curie waltzing back to Krakow Pretty Woman-style, wearing her wedding-slash-lab gown, brandishing her two Nobel Prize medals, and yelling, "Big Mistake. Big. Huge." But the real villain, the one that had Marie crying and staring at the ceiling in the late hours of the night, is loss. Grief. The intrinsic transience of human relationships. The real villain is love: an unstable isotope, constantly undergoing spontaneous nuclear decay.

    And it will forever go unpunished.

    Do you know what's reliable instead? What never, ever abandoned Dr. Curie in all her years? Her curiosity. Her discoveries. Her accomplishments.

    Science. Science is where it's at.

    Which is why when NASA notifies me-Me! Bee Königswasser!-that I've been chosen as lead investigator of BLINK, one of their most prestigious neuroengineering research projects, I screech. I screech loudly and joyously in my minuscule, windowless office on the Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health. I screech about the amazing performance-enhancing technology I'm going to get to build for none other than NASA astronauts, and then I remember that the walls are toilet-paper thin and that my left neighbor once filed a formal complaint against me for listening to nineties female alt-rock without headphones. So I press the back of my hand to my mouth, bite into it, and jump up and down as silently as possible while elation explodes inside me.

    I feel just like I imagine Dr. Curie must have felt when she was finally allowed to enroll at the University of Paris in late 1891: as though a world of (preferably nonradioactive) scientific discoveries is finally within grasping distance. It is, by far, the most momentous day of my life, and kicks off a phenomenal weekend of...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 6, 2022
    Bestseller Hazelwood’s charming and intelligent sophomore outing (after The Love Hypothesis) follows a pair of noted young scientists on their rocky path to love. NIH neuroscientist Bee Königswasser is thrilled when she is tapped for the position of a lifetime: leading BLINK, a program that will build performance-enhancing technology for NASA astronauts. Unfortunately, her co-lead is her graduate school nemesis, Levi Ward. As Bee, who’s still nursing emotional wounds over a cheating ex-fiancé, encounters a series of obstacles in her attempts to get BLINK off the ground, she assumes Levi is stonewalling her. She takes to her popular twitter account @WhatWouldMarieDo, where she doles out advice to academics in the voice of Marie Curie, to blow off steam. She finds solace in trading quips and commiserating with the smart and witty @Shmacademics, another popular account, to whom Bee vents about working with Levi while @Shmacademics pines over a married woman. When it becomes obvious to Bee that it’s not Levi blocking her requests and instead that someone else is first subtly, then overtly, working to sabotage BLINK, she and Levi must band together to save their work. The snappy prose, engaging and twisty plot, and utterly endearing characters combine to create pure romance gold. This brainy offering should win Hazelwood even more fans. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2022

    Hazelwood (The Love Hypothesis) offers another contemporary rom-com featuring women in STEM, this time introducing pierced, tattooed neuroscientist Bee K�nigswasser. Bee is a purple-haired devotee of Marie Curie and the owner of the anonymous @WhatWouldMarieDo Twitter account, which shines a light on sexism in STEM. She is also the co-lead on an innovative new project with NASA that could launch her career and get her away from her sexist boss, but only if she can manage to work with her longtime nemesis Levi Ward, a man who's hated her since grad school. The tension between Bee and Levi grows and changes from mistrust to attraction as their program is beset by seemingly random setbacks that put their potential relationship, and Bee's entire career, at risk. VERDICT Bee is an appealing character who manages to recognize unfair practices in STEM while also using experience and practical skills to navigate them. Readers will quickly recognize the misunderstandings behind Bee and Levi's antagonism but will be no less compelled by their chemistry and scorching love scenes for that. An ideal selection for fans of The Kiss Quotient or Courtney Milan's "Cyclone" series.--Meagan Day

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    June 1, 2022
    Snappy dialogue with witty zingers make this tender enemies-to-lovers story, set at NASA in Houston, an unforgettable follow-up to neuroscientist Hazelwood's popular The Love Hypothesis (2021). Colorful hair, tattoos, and piercings make Dr. Bee K�nigswasser, an otherwise serious National Institute of Health neuroscientist, stand out. She is thrilled to be a leading investigator for BLINK, a neuroengineering research project to add performance-enhancement technology through neurostimulation via astronauts' helmets. Bee worked in the same lab as engineer Levi Ward in graduate school. His behavior convinced her that he couldn't stand the sight of her and didn't want anything to do with her, so she is horrified when she finds out she will be co-leading BLINK with Levi. They start out acrimoniously, but gradually bond over vegan food, cats, and their fruitful sci-tech collaboration. Emotional neglect and constant pressure from his family to go into the military has closed Levi off from people and his emotions. Abandonment and frequent moving in her childhood has Bee craving stability yet fearing commitment. Hazelwood sensitively shows that for Bee and Levi, love is an act of valor. Light espionage, some derring-do, and an unexpected villain are just some of the delights in Hazelwood's smart, unusual, and superbly enjoyable tale.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2022
    A neuroscientist is forced to work with her academic nemesis on a career-changing project in this STEM-celebratory contemporary romance. Bee K�nigswasser is over-the-moon excited when she's asked to lead BLINK, a joint project between NASA and the National Institutes of Health designed to build better technology for astronauts. The invitation to the team is enough to get Bee out of the funk she's been in since she discovered her fiance cheating and her engagement fell apart. Her excitement is short-lived when she discovers she'll be co-leading the project with engineer Levi Ward, her grad school nemesis, whose cold, cutting behavior and outspoken inability to work with her on an assignment have stuck with her. Their work on BLINK is an improvement though, as Levi doesn't immediately bail on the project. But when little things start to go wrong for Bee and her team, she begins to wonder if her co-lead isn't above sabotage. Adding an additional layer to Bee and Levi's rivalry is the fact that they run two very popular anonymous social media accounts. Since the accounts are both rooted in science and academia, Bee and Levi unknowingly frequent the same internet circles and have even developed an online friendship without knowing each other's identity. While the epistolary elements of the book, including tweets and direct messages, are novel, it often feels unnecessary. The quiet, pining hero in a lab setting isn't new territory for Hazelwood, and readers may wonder if she pushes it in a new direction here. The answer is no. While Hazelwood is clearly a talented writer who's tapped into readers' desire to find powerful, proudly nerdy women in science getting happy-ever-afters, she's missed the opportunity to try new character types that don't feel like The Love Hypothesis (2021) with slightly different packaging. A quick read, though less than fresh.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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