I reviewed the three novellas separately, but I might as well combine them into one post!
Under One Roof
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ali Hazelwood, since this is the first time I’m reading her work, so just be warned that (if it matters to you) there is explicit sex. Clearly Hazelwood has got a little subgenre going on here: women in STEM have romances — and I’m very much here for someone staking out that ground for all of us.
Mara’s a fun protagonist — a bit chaotic, generally well-meaning, but very capable of being petty and human. I feel like the romance was telegraphed a mile off and all the signs were super obvious, so if totally ignoring all those very obvious signs is a trope in Hazelwood’s work then that might bother me… But I’m very aware that there really are people like that, and in one isolated instance (the first time I’m reading anything by Hazelwood), I just found it kind of funny (as in funny-haha, not funny-weird).
Loved that Mara got Liam suckered into watching the Bachelorette with her.
Stuck With You
So, this one ran into one of my pet peeves because it hinged on a miscommunication, or rather, lack of communication. One that sort of made sense, but still: the answers were there if Sadie had bothered to take any time at all to check her gut reaction, or see what Mr Corporate Thor had to say about the accusation.
It’s also a bit “insta-love”, and I didn’t love that Erik was kinda much when it came to tracking down and reading Sadie’s thesis, etc.
Points for Erik being very into enthusiastic consent for the sex, though; that part is a positive.
I didn’t like this as much as Under One Roof, for sure; just a few red flags for me.
Below Zero follows the third of the three friends whose stories are covered in Under One Roof and Stuck With You, a wonderfully trope-filled series of novellas. (I’m pretty sure Ali Hazelwood is fully aware of the tropiness, and playing into it enjoyably.)
It’s probably not my favourite — I think my favourite remains Under One Roof, because it has the most time spent with the characters just learning about each other. Below Zero has some build-up for the relationship, following an almost one-night-stand at the start, but still… it feels like the relationship development happens through pining off-screen rather than events and conversations we get to witness.
It’s a bit more adventurous than the other two stories, and the stakes are considerably higher. Plus, they’re working for NASA! So even though it hinges on a misunderstanding like Stuck With You does, it still feels like the novellas are three very distinct stories, which is nice. Sometimes this kind of thing gets very samey.