Sunday, June 23, 2024

Not In Love - Ali Hazelwood

My reading is all over the place at the moment, it's also included a lot of advance review copies and I'm never quite sure what the etiquette is for those - do review when I've read them, in this case a month or more before they come out, or do I wait as I did with Cairn? I think I wait, which means my head is full of Jen Hadfield's extraordinary biography about her life in Shetland, but I'm looking at Not in Love which I read a couple of weeks ago pre-funeral when I was in a totally different mood.

Ali Hazelwood continues to be my favourite contemporary romance writer - and as I've given up dabbling much in that pool that'#s unlikely to change anytime soon. She has a note at the beginning to say this book is less romantic comedy and more erotic romance - which is sort of true although I'm not a hundred percent convinced it's markedly more erotic than her previous books. The mood is slightly different though and her plotting and characterisation improves with each book so I'm not complaining.

You know what you're getting with a book like this, and you definitely know what you're getting with Ali Hazelwood - is the heroine an intelligent and able scientist with her life mostly together but some personal issues - yes she is. Is the hero equally smart and capable in his daily life but emotionally flawed - yep. Do they work it out together - they certainly do.

This one skirts around kinks, is more sex-positive than some of the earlier books in that the characters unapologetically enjoy hookups (in this it's a more explicit take on Mallory's character in Check and Mate) but has the same enthusiasm for consent that previous books have. Consent is sexy so that's a plus in y reading. 

I liked that the villain here (SPOILER) was a not much more senior female scientist and the setting is industry rather than academia - not a huge difference at the end of the day, but with Hazelwood, it's the background details of the workplace and the associated politics that make her books stand out. Basically this does exactly what it says on the tin, it's intelligent and funny romance with a convincingly happy ending. 

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