TITLE: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)
AUTHOR: Talia Hibbert
AGE RANGE: Adult
RELEASE DATE: June 23rd, 2020
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
What an absolutely sickening display. Romance clearly melted the brains of sensible women. Dani was horribly glad she had nothing to do with it.
Friends, I truly can’t even begin to tell you how incredible it felt to dive back into the world of the Brown sisters. I love this trio so much I can barely stand myself, and more than that, I adore every word I’ve ever read of Talia’s writing and this was no exception. This story is angsty, hilarious, sweet, and full of utterly delicious pining and slow-building, steamy warmth and I could not get enough! The character development is flawless and we truly get to see so much growth from both Dani and Zaf. Whether it was Dani learning to overcome her past hurts and trust herself, or Zaf finding a way to heal and accept his grief, I was cheering them both on so hard and grinning like a goofball every time either of them reached a new milestone.
“Then what’s the murder glare for?” With complete seriousness, he told her, “This is just my face. I have a murder face.”
While the writing is delightful and the characters are all absolutely fantastic, the star of the show for me was the hero. When I was introduced to Talia’s writing in A Girl Like Her a few years back, I adored its hero Evan Miller so much that I became convinced no romance hero could ever beat him in my eyes, and I’ve held that opinion solidly true until today, but… I think Zafir Ansari might be my new favorite romance hero of all time. This former rugby player is a gentle giant with a heart of pure gold, and his dedication to seeking out his very own Happily Ever After despite all the turmoil he’s been through? My heart aches to think of it. I mean, the man literally became a lover of romance books because he was so devastated by a family loss, he needed guaranteed HEAs in his stories, and frankly, that’s so relatable and soft and beautiful. Plus, the anxiety representation in his character? Everything. I literally cried a few times just over how angsty and pining he was and how badly I wanted to see him happy. ♥ Oh, AND he teaches classes for teen boys about overcoming toxic masculinity. I’m telling y’all, we stan Zafir Ansari for life in this house.
She detected a faint note of wonder in his voice that made her want to squish his cheeks and kiss his forehead. Fortunately, he wasn’t in the room, so she was saved from the horror of actually following that impulse.
Don’t get me wrong, though; while Zaf was the shining light for me, I adored Danika, too. She isn’t my favorite of Talia’s heroines (that one’s still a toss-up between Ruth Kabbah and Dani’s older sister Chloe), but she was certainly fun, and I loved the fact that she was a practicing witch! I related so much to every scene that touched upon her faith and practice, and having never seen a modern witch in a romance book before, I ate it right up. Of course, Dani could be a bit cruel to my sweet Zaf at times, but without spoiling anything, trust me when I say our lovely lady impressed me to no end with how far she progressed.
“All right,” Redford called from the hallway. “If the guy I’m supposed to kill is that big fucker from the video, we’ll need an airtight plan.”
And of course, I couldn’t review this book without giving a shout-out to all of the ridiculously lovable side characters. Not only do we get a few quality scenes with Chloe and Redford (who I have missed tremendously), but we also get new insight into Eve’s character, and I truly can’t wait to spend more time with her in book 3. She’s so hilarious and quirky and I already know I’m going to adore her. Plus, there are Dani and Zaf’s respective best friends, Sorcha and Jamal, and Zaf’s family members (who made me emotional every single time they were on the page, if that tells you anything about how trash I am for the entire Ansari family at this point). Talia excels at writing these perfect side characters that are so fleshed-out and lovable that they always make me want more time with them.
I’m a coward. I’m lost. I’m addicted to being around you and I don’t know what I’ll do when it stops. Maybe it shouldn’t stop.
There’s honestly so much more I could rave about (like the late-night phone calls, the sweet bliss of best-friends-turned-lovers, and how damn supportive Zaf is of every single one of Dani’s multitude of big dreams), but I’ll cut myself short here and just tell you that, whether you’re new to romance or a huge fan of the genre, you can’t afford to miss The Brown Sisters series. It’s sweet, sexy, hilarious, warm, comforting, and effortlessly diverse (just check the representation listings below!). I adored every word on every page and can’t wait for the finale to release next year.
grieving loss of family members, anxiety/panic attacks, mentions of depression, body-shaming (challenged), slut-shaming (challenged)
Danika Brown is Black, plus-size, bisexual, and a witch; Zafir Ansari is Pakistani, Muslim, and has anxiety; multiple side characters are queer, POC (Black or Pakistani), plus-size, and/or disabled
Another flawless home run by Talia Hibbert. I am OBSESSED.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? YES YES YES YES YES.
— destiny ♥
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