Cover Image: A Quantum Love Story

A Quantum Love Story

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Member Reviews

You know how some days, you try half a dozen books and nothing clicks, and then you will finally find a book that clicks with you and you can read it in one sitting? That was how it was with Mike Chen's A Quantum Love Story. This book had initially caught my attention with the STEM aspect though I may not be that way orientated, I do find STEM novels great and enjoyable. The other thing that surprised me was that it was written by a male author as normally I have found the men tend to stick with writing adventure or thriller novels. A Quantum Love Story had a Groundhog Day mixed with a Back to the Future sort of vibe going on. We first meet Carter who works in the mechanical side of the particle accelerator - Big Bang Theory Vibes right as I could imagine this like the Hadron Collider. Carter knows that the Particle Accelerator is going to blow up at lunchtime every day and has relived this death multiple times. One day he changes his routine and meets Mariana, she is a neuroscientist working on the genetic project Relive and is currently touring the facility. There is something about her and she ends up getting stuck along with Carter in the time loop. Can these two discover how to stop the loop before something terrible happens and they are stuck this way forever? If you love STEM Novels, Geek Chic Lit, and want a book written from a male perspective, then check out Mike Chen's A Quantum Love Story which contains romance, time-traveling and suspense.

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Fun, fast-paced, and captivating! Carter & Mariana were great characters and I cannot imagine being stuck in a time loop, but if I were...I'd want it to be JUST LIKE THEIRS.

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I'm a sucker for YA time loop stories especially ones with romance in them. While living in a loop four days at a time it manages to keep your interest and I was fully invested in Carter and Mariana's story. I was here for their explorations and ALL the food ! I was also obviously completely on board with the slow burn friends to lovers in a forced proximity setting . Overall a very successful YA sci Fi contemporary romance.

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Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a review from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Ah, time loops. An old sci-fi trope, but a good one – you relive the same short period of time, over and over, until you can find some way out of it. Such a loop forms the backdrop of “A Quantum Love Story” by Mike Chen, a clever and warmhearted little sci-fi tale with an oddball romance blooming at its heart, and a message about the importance of really living life instead of just existing.

Tennis-player-turned-scientist Mariana Pineda is grieving over the loss of her best friend/stepsister, and decides to quit her job at a facility with a revolutionary particle accelerator. But on that fateful day, she has a weird encounter with a technician named Carter Cho, gets hit with a beam of green energy… and awakens on the previous Monday morning. She’s now in a four-day time loop alongside Carter, who has already relived the same few days several times.

The two of them put their heads together to try to figure out a way to break the loop and return to regular life… even though Mariana discovers that there’s a kind of freedom and joy to spending time with Carter, free from worries about money, personal problems or cholesterol. The two of them begin to fall in love as Carter teaches Mariana about how to really live her life… but when his memory starts to disappear, their only chance for happiness is to break free once and for all.

There’s a kind of warm, quirky, friendly, comfortable quality to “Quantum Love Story,” despite the well-worn sci-fi premise. Mike Chen takes his time not only handling the scientific aspects of the story (Mariana provides a lot of the technobabble and theoretical substance) and the mystery of how the time loop occurred, but the slowly blooming relationship between the two lead characters as they get to know each other.

And the titular quantum love story is pretty charming, although not overwhelming or mushy – honestly, the story would work just as well if the characters were just friends. Chen depicts the relationship between Carter and Mariana as one that enriches both their lives, especially since Mariana has lived a rather sterile, staid, lonely life. Her blossoming connection with Carter is about teaching her how to live – mostly through his lusciously sensual love of food, which he has a natural gift for.

Since the story revolves around the lead characters almost exclusively, Chen has to make them very likable, or the titular love story would be torture. And fortunately, they ARE likable. Mariana starts as a tightly-closed bud of a person who has encountered happy free-spirited people, but never been one herself; it’s only with Carter’s influence and the freedom afforded by the loop that she starts to unfold. Carter is her opposite – a man who, despite the disappointment of his parents, seizes every opportunity to be happy and enjoy life. And food. So much food. Food food food.

“A Quantum Love Story” is a charming intersection between a light romance and a sci-fi mystery – a story about not only breaking out of time loops, but out of the ruts where people live their lives. Thoroughly enjoyable in every dimension.

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I generally like time travel and time loop stories. I’m not sure why this one failed to capture my attention but I had to reread several parts of the book due to my mind just wandering.

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A Quantum Love Story wll entrap you in its time loop race to right the world.

I love groundhog/ time loop stories, and when they are done well, I’m always in awe of the plotting that must occur to write them. A Quantum Love Story is a shining example of this genre. It mixes questions about science, humanity and what we’ll sacrifice for life.

This is a beautiful book by a strong writer. I don’t want to share too much of the plot because it would be way to easy to spoil this book. Instead, I want to talk about Carter and Mariana. They are two strong characters whom we get to know over the back. Because of the time loop aspect of the book, we really learn from the showing of the character’s actions over and over again. It became a fun game for me to watch what changes, and how it alters the loops during each regeneration. Do the small details matter? Carter and Mariana ask themselves that and you’ll be asking yourself that as well.

Carter and Mariana both start off as pretty closed books and strangers. Through the story we learn about their desires and goals and why they are at the particle accelerator, and what is happening there. The research there is really about looking at life at a microscopic level. Carter and Mariana both also begin to look at life in detail. When you live the same few days over and over again, it helps. They learn ways to be able to have themselves remember the situation and each other through the loops, and through that, learn to care for each other. This is a really slow burn story. Although the title has the words love story in it, I would say the romance is more of a complement to the main plot rather than being the plot. The ending is quiet and suits the story.

The book deals with some fun science and tech but is really about life, friendship and grief. This is a beautiful and poignant story that stuck with me long after I finished it.

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ARC provided by Harlequin Trade Publishing and NetGalley!

I'm rather late in submitting this feedback, but I wanted to put out there how charming of a book this is!

A Quantum Love Story is a pretty typical Groundhog Day time loop novel. Neuroscientist Mariana is grieving the loss of her sister while consulting at a top secret particle accelerator. She meets a mechanic- Carter- who knows everything about her and informs her that they are stuck in a time loop. Carter and Mariana soon join forces to attempt to fix the loop and restore the space-time continuum.

Overall, this story is charming- definitely the only "cozy sci-fi" I've read at this point. Though the lack of "hard" sci-fi details initially bothered me, I was eventually taken in by the cozy story Mike Chen weaves. I wouldn't recommend this to the hardcore science fiction fan, but for a romance reader that's looking to dabble a bit I think this would be perfect.

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3.5/5…This book is 2/3s of a classic time loop, with a twist. Plotted out neatly enough, but the protagonists just didn’t click with me.

Thanks to NetGalley for access to this ARC!

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Set in San Francisco, A Quantum Love Story follows two strangers whose lives intersect as they get trapped in a 4-day time loop together involving a quantum lab catastrophe and work to find a way out. This is my second book this year by Mike Chen and I’m really loving his smart, quiet, hopeful writing style. He gives as much space for character development as he does for plot, an interesting and heart-warming choice for science fiction. This story is no different, with a slow burn that feels equal parts Gabrielle Zevin and Blake Crouch.

If you want thoughtful, emotional, slower-paced sci-fi, pick up A Quantum Love Story.

A Quantum Love Story released January 30th, 2024.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy.

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I loved this cute and cozy scifi romance. I am a sucker for any book involving time travel or time loops. They are my all time favorite type of book and this one didn’t disappoint.

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A quirky time loop/ travel novel that is more sci-fi than love story. The book starts out with Carter doing an experiment of time down to the milliseconds. It turns out that Carter is experiencing a time loop in 4 day cycles. He is trying to figure out how to get out of it.

During one of the cycles, he meets Mariana, a neuroscientist, visiting his workplace, the Hawke accelerator project in a futuristic San Francisco in 2080. Mariana is mourning the loss of her best friend and part of ReLive, a project for remembering. When Mariana realizes that she is also in the time loop after Carter tells her to remember a singular detail, she starts using her time on the ReLive project to help them get out of it. Carter starts to lose his memories after each cycle resets itself and they need to fix it before it’s too late.

This started out at Carter’s story before taking a turn and making it into Mariana’s story. While the first half sets up the story, it’s a lot more repetitive than I think it needs to be. I enjoyed the second half more than the first as that’s where the action really takes place.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA for this eARC. A Quantum Love Story is out now.

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A decent time loop story but I didn't love it. The first 50% is just okay, and the story finally picks up after that. But the ending isn't very satisfying and while the author claims he wanted to write a book with romance as a main plot point, it's kind of not.

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Science fiction plus raw human emotion is a hallmark of Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen. I loved watching these characters trying their darndest to get out of this time loop situation. Add in a low simmer romance and themes of grief and friendship and this was a very layered book.

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I listened to this on audiobook, and it took me a while to read. Although it has an interesting premisse, I felt like it was slow to get going and things felt really drawn out for a lot of the book. However, towards the ending I became more emotionally invested and I ended up loving the rest of the book.

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The title for this novel is a bit misleading. It's really not a romance at all. It's primarily a time loop story and those aren't really my thing.

However, I did enjoy this novel. It was slow at times, but overall fast-paced and funny. I wanted the characters to have more depth. I’m not going to harp on the repetitiveness of this book since it’s sort of implied with the time loop, but there’s no believable romance to be found here, nor is the main character Marianna a particularly like-able person. In the words of Jessica Day I find it fundamentally weird that she’s not a dessert person.

Since there’s no romance, I was at least hoping for a little more action, a villain or some other main plot of some kind to take hold of the story but nothing really presents itself. There could have been an excellent twist story line with the half sister but if you’re reading this in hopes of that happening I’ll spoil it for you now and tell you that it will not.

That means what you’re left with is a pretty flat book about time loops and time travel, a nonexistent romance, and a cast of characters that leave quite a bit to be desired.

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3.5 -4 stars...

I love books about time travel. This was heavier on the science, less on the love/romance. I am so fascinated by time loops, quantum jumping, etc . – albeit fiction, I was still intrigued and enjoyed this one.

Thank you to the publisher & netgalley!

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Chen's new novel is a new addition to our Groundhog Day time travel stories. Originally, the author planned to offer this book as a time loop graphic novel for readers, but it never took off, and this project sat for years before he returned to it. And the question is why did he return?

Chen shared that during the pandemic, he felt like he was living in a time loop with an endless combination of waiting and extreme isolation through this season.

And this daily existence brought him back to this story as an homage to what he lived through as his lived experience. I’m sure that is an element we ALL can relate to.

This story offers a dual point of view that is set in 2090, where Carter Cho, a technician at a scientific lab, and Neuroscientist Mariana Pineda find themselves trapped in a never-ending time loop.

The initiation of this incident occurs when Mariana, newly grieving the loss of someone in her life, finds herself on an unexpected tour of Carter's secretive facility, where he's tinkering with the Hawke Particle Accelerator.

But their excursion takes a dramatic turn when the reactor unexpectedly detonates, hurling them into a bewildering time loop that spans four days.

As they are the only ones retaining memories from each cycle, they embark on a journey to unravel the mystery behind the loops while discovering some unexpected feelings for each other.

This book is for readers who like thorough explanations of the reason behind the why of the time loop rather than for readers who crave light time travel descriptions.

Of note, the second half of the novel weaves a more complex backdrop of quantum physics and leans heavier into science fiction while both characters admit that they're not really sure WHY these things are happening but the reader is given privy to each hypothesis as the time loop happens.

Chen is known for blending science fiction with heartfelt storylines and speaking to that, this has a couple of really charming elements, like the love and routines we crave for our pets, even when the world seemingly falls apart.

Carter is also obsessed with good food, and with his repeating time loop, he takes advantage of ordering from many fancy restaurants and eating loads of treats each day without worrying about his budget or his cholesterol.

At its center, it's also a storyline about how we can fight for each other when we know that times feel unsure or dangerous to someone we love.

All of this was beautiful, especially the first two or three loops, but this became a bit cumbersome as the story progressed and, ultimately, a hurdle with the pacing for moving the time loop forward.

This novel showcases my personal difficulties with time loop stories because I need light time travel set up, and I need the repeating patterns to REALLY start changing to hold my interest.

Speaking to the love story component, the author did admit that this element was something he had a hard time writing and that this fell outside of his wheelhouse because he shared that he is Asian and grew up without a lot of expressed emotions around him.

While this writing component was challenging for Chen, the romance was secondary to the time loop story and not as romantic as pitched by the title or through the threads of this novel. And, perhaps, that is showcasing Chen’s discomfort of trying something new as this is lightly embraced.

This novel stays firmly in the PG-romance realm, and I want to recommend it for readers who have teen readers who love science fiction. I see this novel easily being honored with an Alex Award as a great crossover book for a teen audience this year.

Patti Murin does a phenomenal job with the audiobook narration and Chen, certainly builds a believable imagined 2090 world with this science-fiction selection.

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I have enjoyed Star Wars books by Mike before, but I just couldn’t get into this one. I am a mood reader, and I just don’t think I was in the right mood for this one. Might read again in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the Arc.

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Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

▫️Mixture of short and long chapters
▫️3rd person narration
▫️Time loops/time travel—very Groundhog Day-esque
▫️Set in the future, but felt current
▫️Themes of grief, love, friendship

I kept thinking about this book so I upped the rating to a 4/5 ⭐️ I really loved Mike Chen’s writing style (e.g., he *showed* that Mariana was grieving vs. telling us she was grieving). And boy did the friendship love story in this one get to my emotions! 😭 Got me cryin’ in the club.

This takes place in the 2080s, and ‘Motion Sickness’ by Phoebe Bridgers was mentioned as a classic from the 20s 👵🏻 The technology Mike Chen created in his futuristic world felt very Black Mirror-esque (e.g., AI, memory hacking).

The only reason I couldn’t give it a higher rating was that the Groundhog Day feeling was getting repetitive, and I found myself skimming at times. But I really grew to love the characters and I was ROOTING FOR THEM SO HARD!!

Definitely pick this one up if you loved the happier Black Mirror episodes like San Juniperro 🥹❤️

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I thought this sci fi romance was really sweet. The romance was light and the sci fi was digestible for someone who doesn’t read a lot of this genre. I didn’t find it overly predictable and thought the pacing was good.

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