Book Review

Book Review: How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Denise Williams
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.


I thought this book was fantastic. It covered a very heavy topic that was difficult to read about, yet the infused sense of hope and strength from the main character gave this book shining colors.

Naya and Jake really do hit it off pretty well. Some cringe-worthy awkward scenes to get you going and then some truly sweet moments to make you swoon. I looooved Jake. The amount of support and communication he gave right off the bat was amazing. It allowed Naya to open up to him as she was ready and to explore herself dating again. They were goofy together and the banter was on point. Steaminess was too much for me, but past those scenes is a story worth reading.

There’s a lot of series subject matters discussed. It’s not a fluffy and light romance. Naya struggles to balance the aspects of work, and her previous abusive ex. I loved her determination to find her happy ending. The miscommunication that generally arises between the couple didn’t send me into a tailspin because it fit into the story. Naya had a lot to hold on too, and fighting to figure out where Jake fit of course led to some complications.

This was a strong debut and I look forward to what the author writes next. I loved the hopeful aspects at the end. Moving on, seeking therapy (and self defense classes!), getting to be with a partner who values and treats you as they should. It was all very rewarding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: partner violence (physical, emotional, and verbal) — there are detailed flashback scenes; gaslighting, attempted sexual assault, blackmail (specifically revenge porn)

Instagram || Goodreads

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