Genre: Romance, Adult
Trigger warnings: Sex, alcohol use, anxiety and panic attacks, emotional manipulation, fire drill, non consensual internet notoriety, depression mention, loss of family members, car accident mention
Dani Brown is a badass bisexual boss bitch who has absolutely no time for relationships. She’s got her PhD to work on so all she really wants from the universe and her deities is the ideal friends-with-benefits relationship.
The universe answers her call when Zaf, the uni security guard, rescues her from a fire drill by carrying her out bridal style. Predictably, they go viral for being the cutest couple ever. Zaf would love to milk the fame to get traction for his non profit and Dani REALLY wants a fuck buddy so they cut a deal: fake a relationship for four weeks. Dani gets her sex, Zaf gets to direct some well deserved publicity to his non profit.
You know the drill… Fake relationship with a side of sex involving a romantic cynic and a hopeless romantic… *wiggles eyebrows*
So this bad bitch is out in the world!!!! I had the distinct pleasure of reading the ARC not because I have elite status with publishers/Netgalley/Edelweiss, but because I was nosy enough to find a facebook page for Avon Book where they were doing an e-ARC giveaway. I put more effort into finding an ARC for this than finishing my masters’ final smh.
Here’s my general mood about this book in a singular image:
For starters, here’s a gist of the two main leads.
Dani if anyone looks at Zaf funny because he’s tall and angery and has anxiety:
Zaf when his romance audiobook accidentally plays out loud in public:
If you’ve read other Talia Hibbert books you know the MO is badass woman ready to beat the shit out of anyone who’s in the way and sad grumpy tall boy who will also fight everyone. Not the classic smol and angry vs tol and happy but it works just the same. They’re both equally in denial about how obsessed with each other they are but one is always like a little bit more accepting of the inevitability.
Zaf is outright obsessed with Dani but in the beginning is like IS SHE LESBEEN?!?!??! and then Dani clarifies she is in fact bisexual and Zaf’s happiness spikes to astronomical levels. Adorable. He’s also a hopeless romantic who reads romance books in audio IN PUBLIC. What’s that Anne Shirley says… kindred spirits? That.
More about Zaf: He’s muslim, he’s Pakistani, a former rugby player, suffering from anxiety and depression due to the loss of his brother and father, and has started a non profit for youth to play football and work on their emotional health. Talk about perfect fictional romantic hero ahefkawljvblebgrelrkblefbl what an angel. He’s super attuned to Dani’s quirks and puts in the effort to learn about her interests….. Picture me currently typing this out with that poetic cinema guy’s facial expression. Literally Zafir is just *chefs kiss*
Dani one of those characters who like… I can’t tell if I want to BE her or MARRY her…ya know???
She’s got pink hair, dresses to kill, and allows her uni students to reference pop culture as part of nuanced seminar debate. That’s cool as fuck. (I got roasted the one time I compared Gollum’s obsession with the Ring to British East India Company. I was onto something…)
Also in Talia Hibbert style you have a dual perspective which means the mutual pining and angst is in FULL FORCE. UGH. YES. GIVE ME ALL OF IT. They’re both dorks and super protective of each other and I cannot handle how obliviously in love they are from like page two.
Another perk of dual perspective is you get so much quality backstory and family dynamics. If you’ve read Chloe Brown then you already know that all three of the Brown sisters are tight. I loved seeing them interact in Chloe’s book and I loved seeing them in this. Reading about Eve and Chloe from Dani’s perspective…there’s something about seeing siblings from each other’s eyes that really does something for me. They feel real. Also this is a major props to Talia Hibbert. She has to craft these characters individually and then re-imagine them from the POV of other characters. IDK that’s probably basic character construction but my mind is absolutely blown. I can barely write a coherent review. Homegirl is out there writing the same folks from the perspective of like six different characters like WHAT.
Zaf’s family dynamics are also so wholesomeeeeee. His mother, sister-in-law, and niece are constantly dragging the shit out of him and he just rolls with it like the giant teddy bear he is. There’s so much love among them all. The playfulness feels so honest. It’s clear they’ve had to rebuild from the loss and are holding each other up. Even Zaf’s best friend is like family to them. They’re all holding each other up. The layers of their history, although not on the page, clearly show through in the banter, teasing, mannerisms, and more.
I would have liked for Dani and Zaf to interact with each other’s families but the fact that Dani has commitment issues and Zaf is just a ball of anxiety disguised as a jock were a very clear explanations for why that didn’t happen. Bummer. It would have been an absolute blast to see Eve and Chloe eat Zaf alive.
With how much I’ve gone on about the characters, I’m sure you can tell that was primarily why I loved this book. Additional reasons are
- Fake dating- “we’re adults who can mutually benefit from this agreement what could go wrong” AHAHAHAHAHHAHA y’all fall in love that’s what could go wrong
- Dani is bisexual- Talia Hibbert has time and again said GAY RIGHTS
- Smut- I’m sure there are more on the nose reasons for enjoying the sex scenes but I was so confused about what position they were in for the exact sequence of events to transpire. I mean I could have just rolled with it but like ?????? Maybe I read sex scenes a little too analytically for the average romance reader
- Healthy conversations about anxiety- Zaf is open and honest about his disorder and Dani is receptive, willing to learn, and puts in the effort to know how to help. Plus all the talk of boys learning healthy emotional coping mechanisms instead of just using sports as an outlet for aggression.
- Healthy conversations about healthy relationships- It’s not so much Zaf saying “I can treat you better,” but “You should be treated better, period.” Relationships are a compromise for both parties and this book does a wonderful job of showing it and having a explicit conversation about it
- Talia Hibbert in general- I will read any book by her no questions asked.
That’s the most I can get out of my brain for today. My unedited and likely incoherent thoughts on Take A Hint, Dani Brown. Do read it if you haven’t already. Let me know your thoughts on the book if you have and thoughts on my thoughts if you feel like it. I love a good blog comment. See ya next time.