Book Review: How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams


Thanks NetGalley and Berkley Romance for sending me an electronic copy of How To Fail at Flirting in exchange for an honest review.


Title: How to Fail at Flirting

Author: Denise Williams

Page Count: 336

Publication Date: 12/2020

Rating: 4/5 stars

I’m a sucker for a good romance novel. And no, I’m not talking about books where you’ll find a shirtless, Fabio-like male lead, wrapping his arms around a fair-skinned damsel in destress with mouths agape in what I can only assume is ecstasy, on the cover.

For one, I happen to like my leads with their shirts on thank you very much. Well, most of the time anyway 😏.

As for the fair-skinned damsel? I can do without stories of White Knights saving her from the clutches of some sinister force with a kiss that sweeps her off her feet.

Also, why does she have to be fair-skinned? Is a leading lady that looks like me too much to ask for?

Thankfully, over the past few years, I’ve noticed an influx of WOC taking center stage in their love stories, and How to Fail at Flirting is the latest of the growing collection.

But before we get into the review, can we discuss how absolutely ridiculous this cover is? Like, what is going on here?

A love story you can count me out of. Respectfully.

Alright, back to what we came here for. How to Fail at Flirting is the debut novel by Denise Williams about Naya Turner, a 30-something-year-old college professor whose unexpected behavior puts her in the hands of a quirky yet charming man in a difficult period of her life.

Still reeling from the effects of an abusive relationship, her best friends convince her to let her hair down and unbutton her cardigan for a night out on the town. When a blip in her plans leaves her to her own devices, she bumps into Jake, a geeky yet charming businessman. The almost one-night stand turns into a bit of a romantic adventure.

Unfortunately, moving forward proves to be impossible for her without dealing with the past, and with her job at the university on the line, emotions are high as she has to decide if facing her demons is worth a chance at love.

This book isn’t the cavity-inducing super sweet rom-com I expected, but that made me like it even more. Naya isn’t a “Strong Black Woman” who can handle it all, nor is she a damsel waiting to be saved. She’s a good person with a bruised spirit who’s just trying to move on as best as she can. Obviously, the road is bumpy, but let’s be real, this is a romance novel, so we know things will turn out fine in the end.

Oh, and she’s mixed, and I like how her background plays a role in the story since Jake is white.

Speaking of Jake, I thought he was great as the male lead. Definitely not as brooding and masculine as Fabio, but a handsome, successful late bloomer who kept Naya on her toes early on.

There isn’t much I didn’t necessarily dislike about the book. But unlike the last book I read, it probably won’t stick with me for days to come, but I needed a read with a happy ending, and that’s what I got.

What else can I say except this book is a good read? That is if you’re into romance and are prepared for mentions of abusive relationships.

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