REVIEW: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

“Feeling is always worth it.”

Title: Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Publication: June 23, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
CW/TW: anxiety, depression, panic attack, mention of death
Notes: I received an advanced reader copy via Netgalley

Is there anything better than a good rom-com?

In my eyes, Talia Hibbert is one of the queens of this kind of contemporary romance. Last year, while I was reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first in the Brown Sisters series, my heart was about to burst, it was so cute. The banter between the two main characters, the romance, the depth…it all got me.

So when I received an ARC of Take a Hint, Dani Brown, I was…conflicted. The premise sounded amazing, and I recalled enjoying the scenes with the other Brown sisters in the first novel. But having loved Chloe and Red’s story so much previously, I worried Danika’s story wouldn’t live up to my expectations. After all, I have a tendency to be disappointed by sequels/companion books, especially when it comes to romances.

In the end though, all of my worrying was for nothing.

Of course Talia Hibbert knocked it out of the park again. How could I have ever doubted her? How foolish.

In Take a Hint, Dani Brown, we meet Danika, and man, is she cool. She’s smart, confident, witchy, and bisexual. She frequently dyes her, has the wardrobe of my dreams, and is well-versed in feminist theory in literature (she’s on track to get her PhD). And did I mention that, when we are first introduced to her, she’s asking an actual goddess to send her a fuck buddy?

Danika Brown? Yeah, she’s the coolest.

And then there’s Zafir. Stoic and solid Zafir. He likes his coffee black – the complete opposite of his heart, which is pure and full of a desire to help others. Zafir is a former rugby player, now working in security at Danika’s work. But his real passion is fighting against toxic masculinity and teaching young boys how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.

Zafir Ansari? Yeah, he’s the sweetest.

Together, the two fall into a routine. On the days she teaches, Danika always brings coffee for Zafir, he always greets her with a protein bar, they banter. It’s cute.

And then things get interesting.

Long story short, Danika and Zafir find themselves at the center of a viral phenomenon: #DrRugbae. The exposure is good for Zafir, who is trying to gain traction with Tackle It, his organization that hopes to help young boys/men deal with anxiety in healthy ways. Suddenly, everyone wants to talk to him, and donations are rolling in. The only problem is…well, people think his relationship with Danika is real.

You already know where this is going.

The two begin a fake relationship, one that includes public displays of affection and lunch dates. Danika even turns Zafir on to the beauty of tofu because, oh yeah, she’s also a vegetarian. As if she couldn’t get any better.

Is it any surprise that Zaf catches feelings?

I love how Talia Hibbert writes stories and characters. She perfectly balances real life problems, witty banter, and steaminess. Danika, Zafir, and their friends and family never felt phony. And while Danika frequently frustrated me, she made up for it in heart. She’s so real. And so is Zaf. Much like Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the characters in this sequel deal with real-life problems, whether it’s Zaf’s anxiety or Danika’s workaholic tendencies and social awkwardness…Zafir and Danika are patient with each other, supportive, and understanding. But they also antagonize and tease each other, and it’s such a beautiful thing.

Danika and Zafir might be the most perfect couple, and Talia Hibbert, billed as an author who “writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation,” might just be the perfect writer.

Have you read any of Talia Hibbert’s other novels? Will you be reading Take a Hint, Dani Brown? What books are you looking forward to this summer?

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