All The Books I Can Read

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Review: The Love Experiment by Ainslie Paton

on October 9, 2017

The Love Experiment (Stubborn Hearts #1)
Ainslie Paton
Carina Press
2017, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Can you fall in love in thirty-six questions?

The closest rookie lifestyle writer Derelie Honeywell gets to megastar reporter Jackson Haley is an accidental shoulder brush in The Courier’s elevator. That is, until the love experiment: a study designed to accelerate intimacy using thirty-six questions and four minutes of sustained eye contact.

As far as Derelie is concerned, Jack Haley has always been a man best imagined in his underwear. He’s too intimidating otherwise. But participating in the love experiment is her make-or-break chance. With another round of layoffs looming, Derelie knows holding on to her job means getting the story no matter what. Even when the what is kissing Jack like a maniac.

Jack Haley has zero interest in participating in a clickbait story. He didn’t plan on finding Derelie smart and feisty and being mesmerized by her eyes. He certainly had no intention at all of actually falling in love with her.

The conclusion to this experiment? Thirty-six questions might lead to love, but finding the answer to happily-ever-after is a lot more complicated.

As soon as I read the synopsis for this, I had to request it. I absolutely loved the premise and thought it sounded like such a fun idea. It encompasses a lot of the things that I really enjoy in terms of romance books and I thought the idea of the 36 questions was really interesting. I’ve actually come across a few people/books that have mentioned that lately but this is the first book I’ve read that actively includes it.

Derelie (rhymes with merrily) is a small-town girl who moved to Chicago not that long ago and works writing for the online site for a newspaper. Mostly what they term as “clickbait” articles – top 10 things you didn’t know were hot this summer, etc that get people clicking on them and helping keeping the site views ticking over. She’s quite desperate to prove herself so when the paper looks like it might be laying more people off there’s nothing she won’t do to keep her job – even participate in a fluff story to see if any two people thrown together can build something using the 36 questions. The fact that her partner is set to be Jackson Haley is equal parts exciting and intimidating. He’s the paper’s hot shot who brings down corrupt companies and champions the wronged. He doesn’t even know that Derelie exists and he’s definitely not keen to do this piece. In fact he actively tries to get out of it.

I really loved the set up and the early dynamic between Jackson and Derelie. Jackson is kind of a legend in the city, he’s uncovered numerous stories that have put people in jail or seen them removed from their jobs and that comes with positives and negatives. He’s a pretty stand offish sort of person, very businesslike and tends not to get involved with people. With Derelie at first he’s quite brisk and often uses her to do things revolving around his story and tends to dodge answering the questions seriously. He reads like he has quite a few intimacy issues but…..the questions start to work and there’s an attraction between Jackson and Derelie that builds. Jackson can be quite cynical and he clearly had a less-than-ideal upbringing which still impacts on him in the present day. Derelie doesn’t seem to be cynical and had an entirely different upbringing so sometimes they’re like total opposites but they do really work together.

Jackson works for the print aspect of the paper and Derelie primarily for the online blog version and there was some interesting stuff about the current state of journalism in the age of the 24hr news cycle and everyone possessing a smart phone to upload things to various places on the internet as they happen. Journalism is definitely evolving rather fast and I know that most people now (myself included) tend to get their news online. I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper – occasionally I might read one when we are at a cafe and they’re sitting there but not often. In among the fun of the experiment and Derelie and Jackson answering the questions and getting to know each other there was also a pretty serious look at the state of uncertain employment when it comes to journalism. Which kind of led to the final conflict between Jackson and Derelie and I have to admit, I didn’t love it. It felt a little out of place with the rest of the book and changed the focus. I loved reading about them answering the questions and getting into discussions where little pieces of themselves would slip out, almost with them being unaware of it.

Overall I really enjoyed this – it was a super fun story. I liked both Derelie and Jackson and I think they were awesome together. They had a lot of chemistry, even when Derelie was intimidated by him and Jackson was trying to do anything to get out of the assignment. I loved Derelie’s determination – she really would not take no for an answer and did not accept Jackson trying to weasel his way out of it. Also the questions are listed at the end of the book, which is nice – should you want to find someone and try the experiment with them!


Book #165 of 2017


One response to “Review: The Love Experiment by Ainslie Paton

  1. Lily Malone says:

    I love Ainslie Paton. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Bree. I reckon Ainslie does chemistry as well as any author I’ve read.

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