Not in Love by Ali Hazelwood: My Review

Look no further than this book review of Not in Love by Ali Hazelwood to determine if her new romance, which she describes as an erotic romance, is one worth adding to your TBR list.

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Not in Love is one of the most anticipated June 2024 new romance book releases. Check out all that's new in romance on She Reads Romance Books!

Not in Love
by Ali Hazelwood

Category: Contemporary Romance
Tags: Forbidden Romance, Office Romance, Erotic Romance
Published June 2024
Amazon Goodreads
Rating: ★★★★
Book Boyfriend: ★★★★★

Not in Love Summary:

Rue Siebert might not have it all, but she has enough: a few friends she can always count on, the financial stability she yearned for as a kid, and a successful career as a biotech engineer at Kline, one of the most promising start-ups in the field of food science. Her world is stable, pleasant, and hard-fought. Until a hostile takeover and its offensively attractive front man threatens to bring it all crumbling down.

Eli Killgore and his business partners want Kline, period. Eli has his own reasons for pushing this deal through—and he’s a man who gets what he wants. With one burning exception: Rue. The woman he can’t stop thinking about. The woman who’s off-limits to him.

Torn between loyalty and an undeniable attraction, Rue and Eli throw caution out the lab and the boardroom windows. Their affair is secret, no-strings-attached, and has a built-in deadline: the day one of their companies will prevail. But the heart is risky business—one that plays for keeps.

Not in Love: My Review

I don’t think there will ever be a book that Ali Hazelwood writes that I won’t read. Even when she deviates from the STEM-focused, enemies to lovers books she’s known for because she will captivate me each and every time.

Considering her last three romance book releases were 5+ stars for me, I had super high expectations for this book, (which is why it was one of my most anticipated romance books of 2024) especially when she shared a note to readers saying that this was a book different from any other she’d written, must more steamy and an erotic romance at that.

Um…if that little tidbit was supposed to be a warning, it only made me want to snatch this book up that much faster.

While I agree that Not in Love is a bit different from her other books, I still found myself consumed and enjoying it while at the same time thinking that all of her fans might not but isn’t that what a great author does? Push their writing, push their readers and give us unique and amazing stories?

For those who don’t like spicy books, buckle up because when you first meet Rue and Eli, they have connected via a dating app and agreed to meet up for some f-cking. Plain and simple. A mere transaction where both bodies are shared for each other’s pleasure. Nothing more.

And yet their simple meeting doesn’t go as plan, setting up not only this intense and immediate attraction that becomes unfulfilled, but also a storyline that exposes two people dealing with some shit and I LIKED that so much.

So yes, this is an erotic romance in that Rue and Eli, though on opposite sides of a corporate takeover, cannot deny their attraction and end up getting together to f-ck on multiple occasions. And it’s these continued physical encounters that are the basis of their eventual emotional connection and relationship.

But I think describing this book as an erotic romance might give a wrong impression. Yes, it fits the definition of this type of romance and yet how Hazelwood approached and described their meetups made it less about tantalizing f-cking and more about two “regular” people who like the act versus two people who have any unusual kinks or other taboo interests that would make this book more spicy than it really is.

It’s more about exploring how Rue felt most comfortable keeping it a simple body transaction versus actually exposing her true self. And yet at the same time, while they would hookup they also started this habit of sharing the most personal, “horrible” as they described them stories about themselves that laid them bare to the other person. This was my absolute favorite part of this book.

This personal sharing is what set the foundation of their trust, acceptance, and love for each other when regular dating was completely skipped over. Brilliant.

Usually it is Hazelwood’s heroines that captivate me but Eli stole the show in this one. Oh, how I loved this man and probably did so because this book was told from dual POV so it was easy to get in his head and really see how special this man truly was.

He saw this woman, social awkwardness and all, and had no interest in changing her. He was a man who fell first and HARD and just worked his way into her heart, slowly but surely, as he knew he was dealing with a woman who could easily bolt.

Rue was definitely a unique heroine, possibly neurodivergent (not that she needs a label) with a unique backstory. Though I found it hard to connect with her, I loved the moments when she would push past her hesitations.

This is truly a story about how these two strangers fall hard and fast despite the unfortunate work situation they are in. Their friends are involved but they paled in the background for me. Though Rue’s work is STEM-focused, it wasn’t a huge part of the story but did give an interesting angle to the company and storyline that connected them.

So while this book didn’t blow me away like Bride or Check & Mate (though I loved the quick nod to this book), two other books that also deviate from her signature, STEM and female-focused romance books, I enjoyed it all the same and highly recommend it.

Hazelwood is just one of those authors that is an auto-read because her craft just keeps getting better and better.  I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next!

P.S. Can we also just sit in amazement of this cover. Stunning!

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.

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Read She Reads Romance Books' book review of Not in Love by Ali Hazelwood to see if her forbidden romance is a book worth reading.
Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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