Just Read: “How to Fail at Flirting” by Denise Williams

Read June 29, 2020 – June 30, 2020

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This particular novel initially caught my eye because of the title. I feel like I could probably write a nonfiction book with a similar title, LOL. This one, however, is straight up fiction! Denise Williams is an accomplished educator who is especially interested in diversity and women’s issues. She hosts a seminar that breaks down the romance genre and has a blog on her website where she recently discussed the topic of black and multiracial authors in the romance genre. This novel releases on December 1st!

What is it about? 

It’s less about how to fail and more about how to push past your boundaries and succeed in the arena of love. Naya is the leading lady – she’s a professor, HELLO DOCTOR, and has had a rough go at relationships in the past. The last time she engaged in anything romantic was in a very abusive relationship; it has left a lasting impact on her ability to trust men. She isn’t too interested in healing until her best friend decides it’s time to make a to-do list to help her get out of her sexual rut. Sex solves some problems, right?

Aiming for a one-night stand, Naya goes out and tries to meet Mr. Right Now but Mr. Right Now, Jake, turns out to be quite the charmer. Naya wasn’t aiming for more than a check off her list so Jake the romantic is a bit of a problem. Their lives get intertwined and it’s hard to pull away but physical distance makes things a little easier… yeah, not really. Distance makes the heart grow fonder! There’s more drama in the mix and Naya spends a good part of the narrative concerned about losing her job, she isn’t tenured and she doesn’t have the best reputation. 

What does it have?

  • Abusive Ex
  • Finding Yourself
  • Workplace Stresses

Williams does a good job at keeping the reader’s interest and I was pleasantly surprised at how she handles the intimate moment(s) between Naya and Jake. She doesn’t shy away from the description and it’s pretty hot! Williams also does a good job at highlighting racial inequality in a couple of scenes. It isn’t obsessed about by any means but it is acknowledged and addressed. There is a great part where an extremely racist older man comments on the coloring of Naya’s skin and you experience a little of what it is like to be looked down on based on skin color alone. I’d quote it but the version I read isn’t final so it would potentially be an incorrect quote – you’ll just have to pick up a copy for yourself when it comes out!

Is it worth reading?

Yeah, I had a good time with this one. There was a surprise with the erotic scenes and I loved how you get to watch the main character struggle with and overcome some insecurities. Naya felt like a very real person with quirks like the rest of us. I also enjoyed how it commented on both abusive relationships and racial biases. It won’t be out until December but you can pre-order and add to your holiday wish list! J

Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Comment below if you’re planning to add this to your wishlist ❤

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