I discovered Talia Hibbert year when I read That Kind of Guy (which is the third book in its series but my followers already know that I'm a monster who doesn't read things in order). It was my first novel where one of the characters isn't your typical sexual-romantic on the sexuality spectrum. Then I moved on to Work For It and lost my mind over the grumpy giant falling for the smart stuffy guy. Then I read Get a Life, Chloe Brown and was totally taken in by the diversity, the invisible disability, and the dynamic characters.
Hibbert has consistently blown me away with her writing. So much so that I was compelled to interview her for my author spotlight a few months ago. You can read that interview here if you want before moving on to my review of the amazing Take a Hint, Dani Brown, the second book in the Brown sisters series.
Now, get to read why you should absolutely buy this book.
Blurb: 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?
Review: This book captured my attention from the very first mention of the phrase 'honey on her tit' which just happened to be in the very first paragraph. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert is a whirlwind of hot and anxious hero, bold and brilliant heroine, and adorably dorky dialogue. Someone bottled perfection and it is this book.
Danika Brown is an outspoken, full-figured, woman of color who is here to change up everything you thought you knew about romance heroines. The way she spoke, her thought processes, her strange habits... everything about her character was either laugh out loud funny or so relatable that I was actually sitting there going, "oh man, that's me, we're the same." It felt like I, as the reader, weren't sitting outside the book reading about her life, I was a part of her life. She's the kind of character you are honored to read about.
Authors often think that if they're going to write an alpha hero he has to be possessive, brash, tough, and strong, both physically and mentally. But Zaf is a example of what a man can be when they actively work against toxic masculinity (in fact, in the book he does work against it). Zaf was a thoughtful, kind, quiet, romance-reading man (yup, you heard me right. He's one of us!). Whenever he opened his mouth I was positively stunned by the insightful things he had to say and, as someone who suffers from anxiety, it really meant a lot to read about a character who experienced similar symptoms. Not to mention, it was nice that it was the hero with the disability and not the heroine like is most common. I absolutely loved that Danika always thought she knew what was going to come out of his mouth but she was almost always wrong because Zaf was constantly blowing her expectations of the male form out of the water.
Talia Hibbert has given new life to the romance genre with her characters that are both out of the box for the genre as a whole and also incredibly relatable. These characters could be your family, coworkers, classmates, but you won't be able to put down this book without calling them your friends because they'll feel that real. Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a pleasing, heart-warming, belly-laughing read that you'll be recommending to all your friends.
Out May 27th 2020. Check out bookshop.org to purchase your copy from an independent bookstore.