Consider me thoroughly charmed! Talia Hibbert has done it once again. By “it,” I mean create a beautiful and diverse cast of characters that make my heart squeeze with happiness. This friends to lovers // fake dating story was just what I needed. Danika Brown is the snarky, bisexual queen of my dreams, and Zafir Ansari is my new favorite grouchy cinnamon roll hero (crusty on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside).
Once again, Hibbert has written a… prickly isn’t the right word, maybe tough and guarded (?) heroine. Those Brown ladies are tough nuts to crack, good thing their heroes are up for the challenge! I think the best part about watching Dani fall so, so hard is how subtly Zaf got under her skin. She made Zaf a priority in ways many people wouldn’t notice or understand. Of course, Zaf being in touch with his emotions, and Dani’s, sees the soft and kind woman under it all. He also sees the romance in the small ways Dani reaches out to him. It was a beautifully balanced romance once those two crazy kids figured it all out.
One of my favorite parts of any Talia Hibbert novel is the rich cast of secondary characters that support and push the main characters in their growth. Both Dani and Zaf needed to grow individually to make their romance work. Their family and friends were the perfect catalysts for change.
I did feel like there were parts of the dialogue that were pulled out way too long, and at times around the 70% mark, the plot started to drag for me. I just wanted them to get to it! Maybe that’s because I was so excited for my beloved characters to finally get their HEA. I also thought the fake dating plot point was thin, really thin. But it didn’t take away too much from my overall enjoyment of the story.
Overall, this is another winner from the indomitable Hibbert! If you like charm, representation, and a hero that will make you feel swoon-y, this is the book for you!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**