REVIEW: Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood

Posted July 29th, 2022 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Recommends, Novella, Review / 2 comments


In Below Zero (The STEMinist Novellas #3) by Ali Hazelwood, Hannah Arroyo has never really been the type to get emotionally involved with, well, anyone really. Aside from her two best friends, Mara and Sadie, that is. And even that’s touch and go. Because Hannah pretty much focuses all of her energy on getting her PhD, spending minimal time on friendship and hookups. Then Hannah meets Mara’s cousin-or-something, Ian Floyd. A scientist himself at NASA, she’s attracted to the behemoth of a guy right away–both for his looks *and* for his huge…brain.

‘The worst part, the one that actually hurts, is how thoroughly I misjudged Ian. I actually thought he was a good guy. I liked him a lot, when I never let myself like anyone.”

But after a hot and heavy stolen moment together, they don’t see each other for about four years. That’s when Ian vetoes Hannah’s expedition plans to Norway. So of course after she gets funding somewhere else and everything goes awry on the trip, with her falling into a crevasse, who should be her rescuer? Yep. Ian. Hannah’s fury quickly leads to confusion when she learns more about Ian’s decisions and soon, the last five years take on a whole new meaning.

‘He smiles, and the thought that I could have died–I could have died–without being smiled at like this, by this man, has my lips trembling.’

A delightful novella that proved not everything should be taken at face value, Below Zero was Ali Hazelwood keeping the best for last in her STEMinist trilogy.

‘He opens his arms and pulls me to his chest, and…I fit inside them so perfectly, it’s as though there was a spot ready for me all along. A five-year-old spot, familiar and cozy.’

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the STEMinist novellas but there was something just so sweet and adorkable about Hannah and Ian together. The combination of her forthrightness while initially pursuing him and his humble, almost shy, nature paired up perfectly. It was Hannah misunderstanding a few things along the way that set her and Ian up for failure–until he rescued her in Norway, spilling all the details that changed her entire perspective.

Hazelwood might have a particular setup for some of her books: a highly intelligent feminist heroine matched up with a hulking equally smart hero, but it works for me. Because as we see in Below Zero, the plots are unique enough and the personalities different enough to give each story its own spin. And I was fully charmed by the sparks that flew between Ian and Hannah. But I think what I enjoyed most was how they ended up loving each other for exactly who they were, flaws and all. They didn’t want to change each other. At all. And that–along with how Ian saved Hannah–was pretty darn sigh-worthy in my humble opinion.

QOTD: Aside from Ali Hazelwood’s work, have you read any books with a strong, intelligent heroine whose career is in science (or academia in general)?

Book Info:

Publication: Published July 5th 2022 (Audio first: April 5th 2022) | Berkley | The STEMinist Novellas #3

It will take the frosty terrain of the Arctic to show these rival scientists that their chemistry burns hot.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Hannah’s got a bad feeling about this. Not only has the NASA aerospace engineer found herself injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station—but the one person willing to undertake the hazardous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

Ian has been many things to Hannah: the villain who tried to veto her expedition and ruin her career, the man who stars in her most deliciously lurid dreams…but he’s never played the hero. So why is he risking everything to be here? And why does his presence seem just as dangerous to her heart as the coming snowstorm?

To read Mara and Sadie’s stories look for the novellas Under One Roof and Stuck with You available now from Berkley!



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