Book Reviews

Book Review: How To Fail At Flirting by Denise Williams

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.

Content Warning: Abusive relationships

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

My Review: How To Fail At Flirting was a really great story with heartbreaking moments mixed in.

I love Naya and how passionate she is about education and her research on how video games can help children whose first language isn’t English learn to love math. Even after she’s managed to get out of an abusive relationship it still haunts her physically, mentally, emotionally and professionally. She doesn’t go out much, has two friends, and spends most of her time on her research. It’s a safe bubble for her to exist in even if at times she gets lonely. The author depicts this pretty accurately as well as the doubts, the shame, the self-deprecation, the fear.

So when she meets Jake things seem almost too good to be true, but she still tries despite the lack of confidence. I love the chemistry between Naya and Jake. It’s instant and very steamy for a good portion of the book. I love how they bonded over terrible jokes and continuing telling them as a way to flirt with each other. The progression of their relationship was so sweet and super funny. I adored it all.

I was so worried for them both because things could go wrong if they weren’t careful. Naya especially had much to lose because she’s a black woman, not tenured, and the damaging aftermath from her breakup with her ex.

Jake is adorkable and quite the charmer. He is serious about his job but, like Naya, also carries dark secrets that he has been trying to move on from. Trying to get back out there and regaining one’s confidence are other things this book does well showing. How it’s not easy so you have to keep trying because the end result will be worth it: a better, stronger you. My heart ached for Naya and Jake because they’re such good people and deserve the happiness they find within each other.

How To Fail At Flirting was captivating story with beautifully complex characters and fiery romance. I really loved this story and will definitely be reading more books by this author.

If you or someone you know is or may be in an abusive situation, below is 24/7 help and support.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

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