Thursday, December 10, 2020

BLOG TOUR - How to Fail at Flirting

:   How to Fail at Flirting
Author:  Denise Williams
Publisher:  Berkley
Genre:   Women's Fiction; Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   336
Date of Publication:   December 1, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars


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.


Thinking I was going into a lightweight romance, with some hot moments, turned into an emotional read for me. Naya Turner is a professor working hard at tenure, despite a seriously troubled past in her previous relationship. She has spent a few years alone, finding life easier to navigate. When her best friend and husband practically dare her to cross a few things off of a list that would make her an expert at flirting, her life changes, and not always for the best.

While at a bar one night, she decides to put things to the test and flirts with a handsome stranger. She has a checklist on her phone, and in her mind, and the guy, Jake, is perfect for what she has in mind. However, her baggage is quite heavy and things become complicated very quickly. 

Not only do things progress rapidly with Naya and Jake, there are some things in the way. The most important issue is Naya's job, so her continued relationship with Jake just might cost her everything. So, not only is Naya gravely concerned about her job, her past lands right in front of her, causing her great angst.

It is this aspect of the story that drew me the most. Her ex, Davis, was a real piece of work and it nearly broke my heart watching Naya navigate her way around her past and present. So, how will Naya handle issues at her job, her past with Davis, and most importantly, her growing attachment to Jake?

This book no doubt comes with a trigger warning due to the abusive relationship that Naya survived. The fact that it was not truly behind her brought tears to my mind more than once. I love that Jake was the kind of guy he was, but truly hoped that Naya could learn to trust again so that what they had could lead to a wonderful future. Well, I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved the conclusion of this book, although my heart was in my throat while reading it. How to Fail at Flirting is a fabulous debut novel that I will remember for a long time to come. 


Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD in education, going on to work in higher education. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.

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