☆☆☆☆☆ (5 Stars)
TW: Assault, Emotional and Physical Abuse, Gaslighting.
Do not let this cute cover make you think this is just a fluffy romance. While there are certainly some very endearing and sweet moments, How to Fail at Flirting brings to life difficult topics around abusive relationships. Denise Williams does a superb job with this debut novel managing to bring a sweep-you-off-your-feet-romance while having very serious discussions in the background.
Naya Turner might lose her job. She’s been working eight-plus years towards tenure and now her whole department is at serious risk of being shut down. Meanwhile, her dating life has been nonexistent, so her friends convince her to make a list of all the things she should accomplish dating-wise. Meeting a stranger in a bar and having a drink is definitely one of them, but she couldn’t imagine that this would lead her to meet the swoony Jake.
Jake is visiting town for a friend’s wedding and is completely enthralled by the gorgeous brunette he meets at the bar. Their connection is instant and sparks fly between the two. But, as they start getting comfortable with this relationship and the promise of more they learn that there are so many other strings attached.
I loved the chemistry between Jake and Naya, and how the pacing of their relationship feels so real. Even though they have instant chemistry, Denise Williams navigates them from giddy strangers to interested acquaintances, to I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-you territory, to true love. It’s addicting.
For the more serious tones of this book, it can certainly be difficult to read about Naya’s ex. But, I feel like this whole plot was dealt with a lot of care and sensibility, and I was overall pleased with the resolution.
I was definitely hooked and can’t wait to read a lot more from Denise Williams in the future.
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